Tule Author Q&A: Paula Altenburg talks on her successes and inspiration for her stories

Paula Altenburg popped by the Tule blog to share some insights to her writing process, touch on her writing inspiration, and give us a glimpse into a future project with Tule!

Transitioning from a career in aviation and aerospace to writing contemporary romance and fantasy is quite a shift. What inspired you to pursue writing, and how has your background influenced your storytelling?

This is a hard question! I don’t think I pursued writing—writing pursued me. Story ideas are no problem because there’s a voice in my head that’s constantly whispering, “What if?” Sticking with a project to the end is the far bigger challenge, but I’ve learned to take pride in my work. A demanding day job has taught me two things—treat writing like a professional career and create a professional product to be proud of.

Living in rural Nova Scotia sounds idyllic. How does your environment influence your writing, especially in terms of setting and atmosphere?

I had this talk with a writer friend recently. I will always and forever be a country girl, whereas she’s a big city girl, and it really shows in our work. I write cowboys because I know small towns inside out. The same when I write fantasy. I stick to rural areas—the few times I’ve tried a city setting, the atmosphere I was trying to create didn’t ring true. My friend finds the same. She’s tried cowboys, but her city settings work much better for her. Unless you have a deep curiosity about an unfamiliar setting and are willing to put in the work to bring it to life, I don’t believe it will carry onto the page. At least, that’s how it is for me. I can Google setting details, but atmosphere is a whole other thing.

As a USA Today Bestselling Author, congratulations on your success! Can you share some of the key moments or milestones in your writing career that you’re particularly proud of?

The thing I’m most proud of? Always being willing to learn. You’re never too old or successful to learn something new—about craft, about business, about publishing trends. What’s the new hottest genre? (Right now, it’s romantasy.) What’s the next hottest trend? (I have a prediction on that in my head.) How can I add more detail to a setting? What would motivate this particular character? I’m also proud of my story ideas. I don’t want to copy someone else’s ideas or follow trends blindly. I want my work to stand apart.

You write contemporary romance and fantasy with romantic elements. What draws you to these genres, and do you find any common threads between them in your writing?

Right now I’m focused entirely on contemporary romance. I have a fantasy in the works, but it’s going to have to wait until I can give it the attention it deserves. The common denominator between my contemporaries and my fantasies, I’ve discovered, is the setting, because other than that, they’re worlds apart. (See what I did there?) I tend to focus on the characters, so both genres are deeply emotional, but with the contemporaries, I like to add more humor. I like to take the ridiculous and make it believable. That’s probably another similarity between them, but expressed differently—in my fantasies, I like to take the fantastical and bring it to life.

How do you engage with your audiences and what do you enjoy most about interacting with readers?

Engage? Interact? It’s like you don’t know me… I’m as big an introvert on social media as I am in real life. Facebook is my hangout online. Unlike most people, I don’t go out of my way to friend others. If I send you a friend request, check first to see if I’ve been hacked before you accept. If you send me a friend request, I will check out your profile before I accept. (Only because I want to make sure that you’re human.)  But once I accept, I will follow you faithfully. I look at your posts. I like them or send hugs, depending on what they require. Occasionally I’ll comment, but I’m not nearly as funny as I like to think I am, so I try not to say too much. But if a reader sends me an email through my website to tell me how much they liked one of my books? Fair warning. I will respond to the point you’ll have to block me. I’m like the boring guy at the party you made eye contact with and now can’t get away from. 

With a husband and two sons, how do you balance your writing career with family life? Do your family members ever inspire characters or plotlines in your books?

These days, my sons occupy my thoughts more than my time. (I really need to update my bio.) However, having said that, I do have a day job that I really like. (And a husband I’m passingly fond of.) I get to work from home and my bosses are lovely. They don’t mind that my career is my writing. But I learned early on that writing every day isn’t for me. I need to think about things. I get up at 5 am, write/think about writing for a few hours, work at the day job, go back to thinking or reading. The weekends are when I try to get actual words on the page. I try to keep family and friends out of my work, but at the moment, I have one son who’s making that really hard.

What are some of the challenges and rewards of writing fantasy with romantic elements compared to contemporary romance?

This one’s an easy question. In fantasy, I love being able to set my imagination loose and create my own worlds. (I do the same thing in contemporary romance, but reality interferes.) The challenging part about fantasy worlds is having to make them seem real, because, interesting fact—readers can’t see inside my head. I have to make them buy into what I create.

Are there any particular themes or messages that you strive to incorporate into your novels, regardless of genre?

A good story will usually have at least one message/theme, possibly more. I don’t always start out with anything particular in mind—each book is different, and the characters and their circumstances usually make those decisions for me. The book that really stands out for me is my first Grand, Montana story (it’s also one of my USA Today bestsellers!), The Rancher Takes a Family. Jake McGregor isn’t in touch with his feelings, but when his sister and brother-in-law are killed in a plane crash and he finds himself the guardian of three very young, very lost children, he doesn’t question the need to step up. He knows the right thing to do. The message is family first. Because he discovers firsthand how devastating it is to lose a big part of one. 

What advice would you give to aspiring authors who are looking to pursue a career in writing?

Never forget the importance of craft. You can have the greatest plot ever, but in today’s competitive world, polishing up the little details will set your work apart. Also, always pay attention to innovative ways to earn money if you want to make writing your career. Technology is progressing at light speed, and new opportunities seem to crop up daily, like weeds. And, oh yes… Repeat after me: Marketing and promotion are my friends

Looking ahead, what can readers expect from your future projects? Are there any new genres or themes you’re excited to explore in your writing?

I’ve spent a lot of time in Grand, Montana over the past few years and I love those people. I have eight books set in the town, and two more stories are in the works. But my next contract with Tule is…I hesitate to say romantic comedy, because they’re western romances, but I went out of my way to create a setting for these books that’s going to stretch reader credibility a teensy bit. So, the setting is somewhat comedic, but the romances are genuine and will be filled with the usual scale of angst and emotion I love to explore. (I’d like to thank Tule for taking a chance on a project that I’m enthusiastic about, because as I said earlier, I prefer my writing to stand apart from the trends.) 

BONUS: What is one book that you would consider to be your comfort read that you will always reach for?

One?!? Tule has tons of great comfort reads. But Megan Crane’s Most Dangerous Cowboy (formerly Cody) is a winner for me. 

About the Author.

USA Today Bestselling Author Paula Altenburg lives in rural Nova Scotia, Canada with her husband and two sons. A former aviation and aerospace professional, Paula now writes contemporary romance and fantasy with romantic elements. You can connect with her at www.paulaaltenburg.com.

Tule Author Kate Moore shares a snippet of her Tule debut with The Lady and the Thief

Hello Tule Friends!

If we haven’t met, I’m Kate Moore, a new-to-Tule author of sweet historical romances set in England. Thanks for stopping by.

Today, I’m celebrating my first release from Tule, The Lady and the Thief, Book 1 of the Duke’s Men Series. The series follows three former ‘lost boys’ of London as they discover their true identities and become the men they were meant to be with a little help (that is love) from three strong, independent women. As boys, they lived on the rooftops of a dark London rookery until their leader, Kit Jones, reunited with his family, and assumed his true place in the world as the Duke of Wenlocke. 

In this series I’ve loved playing with unlikely lovers from contrasting worlds, orphans finding unexpected fortune, and plans interrupted by disaster. Plus, writing these books has been yet another excuse for me to dive into London’s layers of history, starting with the spectacular fire of October, 1834 that burned down the old Houses of Parliament and paved the way for the iconic building we now see. You can see what the aftermath of the fire looked like at my website. 

The Lady and the Thief begins when fearless Viv Bradish, an aspiring writer, tries to take on a pickpocket in a scandalous London street. Here’s a snippet:

London, April 1835

Lark ducked into a shadowy by-street off the Strand. A narrow slit of fading blue to the west where the street rejoined the main thoroughfare told him the shops would not close for an hour or more. He fingered the ring in his pocket. He had expected the ring to trigger a memory of his mother, but the experiment failed. Now, as he had promised, he was to meet his former partner, Rook, at the meeting place Rook chose.

Babylon Street, as infamous for the display of erotic prints in its shop windows as for the grime on its cobbles, was a street where the clumsiest of pickpockets could do a prig. Even coppers stopped to stare at print shop windows, the target of all the proper souls of London’s Anti-Vice Society. As Lark slipped into a doorway to wait for Rook, his gaze caught on a chunk of clear ethereal-blue sky, where no sky should be, on the dirty stones in front of Number 36.

The days when he and Rook and all of the lost boys had roamed the rooftops of London under the sky with Boy, their leader, were long gone. Lark and Rook had stayed firmly on the ground for years, never speaking of old days or old friends. Even now when Lark had ended their partnership. For Rook, London offered an endless supply of gulls, unwary or distracted enough to give up the contents of their pockets. But Lark had investments now and money in Hammersley’s Bank, and a new set of rooms not far from Regent’s Park.

Lark shook off the unwanted recollections of his old companions. Ten years had passed since he’d left them behind. What appeared to be a piece of sky was merely a woman in a fashionable blue dress. In Babylon Street that dress made her a mark.

The mark stretched out one feminine gloved hand over the display of dusty books in front of Number 36. A bag in rich blue velvet dangled from her wrist on thin gold cords. From the tautness of the cords, Lark put the bag’s weight at two pounds. The lady had come prepared to shop, and the titles on the sagging shelf above the pavement appeared to engross her. Lark should warn her that she was tempting fate. Rook made a pass behind her, close enough to brush against her skirts. She never broke her trance-like concentration. Rook would pass again. He glanced at Lark for a signal, which Lark refused to give. He was there to persuade Rook to quit the game and take up some legitimate enterprise.

Lark looked up and down the street, assessing the scene. The usual mix of London’s citizens passed by, tradesmen and gentlemen, ladies and drabs. People who knew the neighborhood used the by-street to go about their business more quickly than the crowded Strand permitted. Other persons, the ones Rook watched for, came into the street drawn by its reputation for radical politics and erotic prints. The mark remained absorbed in her book. No doubt Rook pegged her as an easy prig.

Lark had his doubts. In the past, his job had been to read the mark and signal a yes or no to Rook. He gave the woman a more thorough scrutiny. The vivid freshness of her appearance in the grimy street was a mystery. She was more fit for Regent Street than for her sordid surroundings. Her gown of figured blue silk had the nipped waist and full skirts of the current fashion. A short dove-colored cape covered her from shoulder to waist. A plain close-fitting bonnet concealed her face, and made it impossible to guess her age. His mind rapidly calculated the sums she must have paid for fabric and dressmaker, shoes, and petticoats. Unlike the other women in the street, she appeared to be alone. He didn’t like it. Going unaccompanied to one of London’s most infamous streets spoke of bold independence.

A sign above Number 36 read SCHOOL BOOKS. Lark wondered whether the lady’s eyes had widened as she read the actual titles of the volumes on that hanging shelf. He knew them well. She tipped a book free of its neighbors and held it open in one palm. With the movement of her arm, the heavy purse slid into the crook of her elbow. That bag bothered Lark. The bend in her arm would make Rook’s job harder, but the temptation was great, especially as the lady’s concentration on her book was deep. With her free hand she turned the pages.

Lark glanced up and down the street again. Nothing looked amiss. He did not see any other fellows on the game. A girl passed with a tray of flowers on her head, and a barefoot boy teased a dog with a stick. The blue of the mark’s dress and the memories she stirred were reason enough to warn Rook off. Lark caught Rook’s eye and shook his head.

Rook went into his act anyway. Rook saw only a pigeon, and pigeons were made to be plucked. Coming along the pavement from the north, he pulled a bottle from his patched greasy coat, took a swig, and lurched forward. His boots, caked in river muck gave off a noxious stench that made people swerve into the street to avoid him. This time when he reached the mark, he slammed into her with his left shoulder, spinning her round. She dropped the book with a startled cry, stumbling back against the hanging shelves and flinging out a hand to catch hold of something. The purse slid down to her wrist. Rook snagged it and staggered on, bent low to the ground, dropping his bottle.

The dropped bottle was Lark’s old cue to enter the scene. He stepped out of the doorway and strode forward. “Miss, may I help? You look …” His voice faltered as he caught sight of her face. Nothing had prepared him for the effect of large, startled dark eyes above cheeks of pearl and roses.

Her dark glance flicked his way and swung back to Rook’s retreating figure. Her expression changed. She righted herself and reached under her short cape.

“Miss?” Lark needed to draw her attention to him. “Has something overset you?”

“No, thank you, I’ve got this.” From under her cape, she drew out a small pistol and pointed it toward Rook. Lark stared at the short-barreled gun, his thoughts scattering like dry leaves in a breeze. It was a Toby, a muff pistol with silver and gold chasings, expensive like everything about the mark. He’d seen such a gun in a shop on Snow Hill, but never in a lady’s hand.

“Stop, thief!” She leveled the barrel at Rook with a steady hand. “I’ll shoot,” she cried, cocking the firing pin with her thumb.

Lark stepped into her line of sight as an approaching cab pulled up beside him. The rumble of iron wheels on cobbles filled his ears. Her finger squeezed the trigger. A hot searing pain bloomed on his right side, and he pressed a gloved hand to his ribs. He had been right to distrust the lay. The lady was not the mark she appeared to be.

“Oh dear.” The woman, not much more than a girl really, lowered the gun. Lark doubted that she was a day over twenty. Her eyes were the deep brown of Turkish coffee, he thought irrelevantly. “How bad is it?” she asked. “Did the bullet lodge? Are you bleeding much?”

“Hard to tell,” he said. It cost him a sharp twinge to speak. “What were you thinking?”

“I might ask you the same. I meant to shoot the thief, not you.” She tucked the pistol away under her cape, and stepped forward. “Why did you come between us?”

“To be of assistance. I could have …” He couldn’t feel blood, just the burning sensation in his side, the sting of burned powder in his nose, and an unaccountable wobbliness in his legs.

“Chased him? I doubt it. I’m sure he’s disappeared across the Strand by now.” Her eyes had a look of disappointment. Something she wanted had eluded her.

A sudden spurt of anger heated him. He suspected that the heavy purse had been a decoy, and he didn’t know whether he was angrier at her or at Rook. “Are you mad?” he demanded. “What lady fires a pistol in a public street? Even the Peelers don’t shoot a man.”

She shot him a glare. “I came prepared. Never mind. Let me see what’s happened to you.” She stepped right up to him and gently lifted his hand away from his side. He caught the fragrance of her, something fresh and floral.

“You are bleeding,” she said. Her eyes were earnest now, full of concern.

Lark suddenly knew what verse-writing saps meant about drowning in a pair of eyes.

“I know someone who can help.”

“A good tailor, I hope. You’ve likely ruined my favorite coat.”

“A surgeon. Let me take you to him. That’s my cab, you see.”

He had the oddest feeling that he had been played, that she had seen Rook coming and laid a trap. He couldn’t think clearly, and he had no way to reach Rook. He did want a surgeon, and no questions asked. The only sawbones in this neighborhood had shaking hands and wiped them on his filthy linen. Lark should play out the scene. He couldn’t help Rook now. Rook would wonder where he’d got to, but he’d explain later. “Don’t you want your book?”

“The Spanish Brothers?” She bent down, scooped it from the pavement, and piled it back on the shelf. “No. I don’t need it anymore. Will you tell me your name?”

“Lark…in,” he said. “Edward Larkin.” It was the name he planned to use in his new life, if his old life didn’t do him in first.

She nodded. “Vivian Bradish.”

Today, I’ll be giving away two e-Book copies of The Lady and the Thief to two lucky commenters below. Do you have a favorite city? Or a favorite neighborhood in a city? What do you love–the people, the food, the vibe? Winners will be chosen on June 15. Please check back to see if you’ve won.

About the Author.

Kate Moore writes romance set in Regency England or coastal California for readers who want the lift that sweet, triumphant romance gives when clear-headed heroines bring edgy loners into a circle of love and family. Her stories offer the heady rush of finding oneself unexpectedly falling in love and conquering all the odds against happily-ever-after with kindness, courage, and wit. A Golden Heart, Golden Crown, and Book Buyers Best award winner and three-time RITA finalist, Kate lives north of San Francisco with her surfer husband, their yellow Lab, toys for visiting grandkids, and miles of crowded bookshelves.

The Cowboy’s Claim: Author Sinclair Jayne’s finale to her Coyote Cowboys of Montana series

Hi Tuligans and Marietta fans,

I am so fired up that The Cowboy’s Claim—the fifth and last book in The Coyote Cowboys of Montana series will release on June 18th. I first roughed out the idea four years ago just as the pandemic started. I had two ideas—Special Forces soldiers peeling off to Marietta, Montana to do a good deed or make amends for a fallen friend, and the second idea was rodeo cowboy cousins who play a bride game during the Copper Mountain Rodeo to help their granddad. I brainstormed with my friend, Rusty Keller, March, 2020 at an Oregon beach just as the world started shuttering. It was such a weird and scary time that Tule suggested running with the fun, sexy rather mad cap idea of the Montana Rodeo Brides. I have to admit that series was fun, but organizing all the details and scenes and continuity was challenging because all three books happen simultaneously during the Copper Mountain Rodeo.  

But I couldn’t let go of my Coyote Cowboys. It took a few years to write the series, and I have loved this group of heroes—their fierce loyalty to each other and determination to honor their friend even as the task they face is the last thing they want to do. 

In The Cowboy’s Claim Calhoun Miller is tasked with solving a mystery in Marietta—something his fallen friend, Jace McBride, saw happen as a child. Calhoun arrives in Marietta, with little information, but he thrives on challenge. A sexy, anonymous hook up at Grey’s Saloon and the Graff Hotel is meant to blow off some steam before he starts his investigation. Instead, it leads him in a direction he never anticipated.

Sinclair Jayne's The Cowboy's Word book cover with cowboy leaning on fence.I was a little nervous writing this story because while it is utterly a romance, it also contains a central mystery. I have never written a mystery though I love to read them. I had been layering in little pieces of the mystery in each book—just a bread crumb in The Cowboy’s Word, a few more in Marry Me Please, Cowboy, The Cowboy’s Christmas Homecoming and The Cowboy Charm. But with the final book, I had to solve the sucker. And because I have a tendency to give in to impulse and inspiration, I make a lot of changes as I write. I knew it would be easy to derail the narrative. I think my very focused heroine, traveling doctor, Jory Quinn, who has always defied expectations, helped keep me organized and grounded.

Giving Jory and Calhoun a HEA in the most improbable circumstances, gave me such joy that I often had to get up from my desk and hop and dance around the last quarter of the book. Everything was coming together and yeah, bragging here, it felt more effortless than I had imagined it would.

I hope you get a chance to read The Cowboy’s Claim. I enjoyed writing the series so much that I took one of the characters who appears in the beginning of each book, Wolf Conte, and gave him a backstory and his own vow to Jace that will bring him to Last Stand Texas, another Tule town, this Christmas. Keep an eye out for Christmas with the Texas Cowboy coming this October!

For a fun GIVEAWAY, a question I have as I’ve been mulling ideas for future series—do you have a favorite hook or a fantasy profession—cowboy, soldier, doctor, entrepreneur, athlete, royal, celebrity, tycoon, vampire, shifter? Is there a job or profession you’ve always fantasized about? Comment below and we’ll pick one winner to receive a fun prize pack of goodies!

Thanks for your time and happy reading as we slide into summer.

Sinclair Jayne.

About the Author.

Sinclair Sawhney is a former journalist and middle school teacher who holds a BA in Political Science and K-8 teaching certificate from the University of California, Irvine and a MS in Education with an emphasis in teaching writing from the University of Washington. She has worked as Senior Editor with Tule Publishing for over seven years. Writing as Sinclair Jayne she’s published fifteen short contemporary romances with Tule Publishing with another four books being released in 2021. Married for over twenty-four years, she has two children, and when she isn’t writing or editing, she and her husband, Deepak, are hosting wine tastings of their pinot noir and pinot noir rose at their vineyard Roshni, which is a Hindi word for light-filled, located in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. Shaandaar!

One Year with The Firefly Jar and the launch of Laurie Beach’s Crickley Creek Series with Tule.

Hi Tule Readers!

I have a one-year anniversary update for you, and a sneak peek at my new series.

What has changed for you in the past year? For me, the prescription on my reading glasses got stronger, my laptop burned out, my couch acquired a dent in the exact shape of my rear-end, and I had the thrilling honor of adding “published author” to my dusty, outdated resume’.

All of that because an imaginary jar of bugs lit up my imagination more than eighteen years ago. If you read The Firefly Jar, you know what I’m talking about.

Like most authors, I experienced hundreds of rejections, took numerous online classes, and wrote many practice novels. Then, just as my children were leaving the nest, up popped Jane Porter and Tule Publishing. Fireflies are magical, so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. My dreams came true with a three-book deal. It was like a million sparks of light lifting my darkness.

When The Firefly Jar was launched one year ago, not only did the little town of Crickley Creek come alive, but the second half of my life did, too. The awe and elation of having others read and enjoy my work is just as thrilling as I always thought it would be. I’m consistently shocked by how many people know my characters and have a connection to that quirky little town. Blink Twice If You Love Me and Christmas in Crickley Creek might have been born from a business contract, but they followed in the footsteps of that little book about a jar, and are now a beloved part of my family.

And the fun keeps going! With a new four-book contract plus a Christmas novella in the works, I get to create a whole new town and set of characters. You’re about to be welcomed to Goose Island, home of some wacky folks searching for love and life lessons in places like The Saltwater Winery, Salty Dot’s food truck, Fred’s gas station, and an abandoned summer camp. You’ll find drama, surprises, and love among tiny marsh homes and showy old mansions. Where there’s history, there are sure to be secrets. 

I hope you’ll stay with me on the journey!

About the Author.

Laurie Beach is a former news reporter, advertising producer, and political press secretary who, after raising four children, is parlaying her love of reading and writing into a career as an author. She is a sucker for elderly people, grumpy animals, and happy endings. Having grown up in Alabama, she loves novels set in the South.

Celebrate Father’s Day with these Recommended Reads from Tule

Happy Father’s Day to all the great father-figures out there. Check out some of our recommended reads with these great book dads!

My Favorite Mistake by Stella Holt

Legacy of the Maguires, Book 6

“An engaging story that was about family, overcoming the past hurts and fears, and giving love and relationships a chance.” – Eileen, Goodreads

Buy Now

Be My Baby by Dakota Harrison

With Love, From Kurrajong Crossing, Book 8

“I did love this story it is sensual, beautifully written and filled with emotion and I highly recommend it and I am thrilled that there will be more to come. Thank you Dakota Harrison for another keeper.” – Helen, Goodreads

Buy Now

A Homecoming Mantra by Sapna Srinivasan

The Sood Family, Book 4

“Srinivasan celebrates love and that’s something that every heart can get behind. Through the unpredictability and pain of life, the one constant is family. A Homecoming Mantra spotlights that message of familial unity with a sweetness that touches the soul.” – Isha, Goodreads

Buy Now

Marrying the Nanny by Dani Collins 

Raven’s Cove, Book 1

“…an emotional, heartwarming, complex story introducing the three Fraser half-brothers and their orphaned baby half-sister. It’s a story about grief, life’s sudden changes, mental health, child neglect, while also a reflection about love, affection, compassion, selflessness, and the absolute adorableness of a baby girl called Storm.” – Eileen, Goodreads

Buy now

Her Cowboy Baby Daddy by Jeannie Watt

Return to Keller Ranch, Book 2

“Jeannie has pulled me into the story once again. Jeannie has a way of drawing me in. I constantly want to turn the page to see what’s next.” – Jane, Goodreads

Buy now

Your Monthly Dose of NEW Mystery Releases at Tule!

Check out our June releases for Tule Mystery! If you haven’t already done so, be sure you’re subscribed to our Tule Mystery newsletter AND, if you’re interested in cozy mysteries, check out Tule’s Cozy Mystery Cafe and read up on our new cozy authors!

Paws, Claws & Curses by DeAnna Drake
A Purr-fect Relic Cozy Mystery | Book 1
Release Date: June 5, 2024

What are cursed artifacts, a talking cat, and a dead body doing in the sweet little town of Citrus Grove? That’s what spirited shopkeeper Rebecca Cuthbert wants to find out, and she had better do it fast because she’s the prime suspect in the murder of the town’s shadiest antiquities dealer.

It’s a troubling start to her reunion with her long-lost grandfather and a far cry from the Southern California vacation she was expecting. So far, nothing in Citrus Grove is quite what it seems. Not her grandfather, who suspiciously disappears at the strangest times, not his curious antique shop, which has more secrets than customers, and certainly not the oddball neighbors, with their hidden motives and questionable connections.

As Rebecca races against time with her new feline friend to uncover the truth behind a mysterious murder, she finds herself tangled in a web of danger and deceit as captivating as Queen Cleopatra herself. With help from unexpected allies and an often-exasperating, yet undeniably handsome detective, Rebecca must outwit the cunning killer before she becomes the next victim.

Dig into this delightful series of cozy mysteries filled with quirky humor, friendships, ancient mysteries, and magic.


No Room to Hide by Carol Light
Cluttered Crime Mysteries | Book 4
Release Date: June 6, 2024

Her business plan doesn’t call for sleuthing—but murder changes everything.

Professional organizer Crystal Ward has nothing against publicity—as long as it’s the truth. But a local reporter is putting Crys in the headlines for her role in solving crimes, not clearing out clutter. Now she’s receiving requests for services that aren’t on her website, and the spotlight is wearing on her family.

At least something good comes out of the unwelcome attention: Crys reconnects with an old friend, Eva, who hires her to sort through historical documents found in a Victorian house she wants to flip. Then a dead body turns up in the parlor, and Eva confesses she’s been receiving threatening notes.

Crys knows to draw the line on the services she’s willing to provide, but this is about friendship, not business. With the reporter hot on her trail, Crys tries to maintain a low profile as she sorts out the secrets. But good intentions aren’t enough. Will this client once again lure her into an appointment with a killer with no place to hide?

The Perfect Summer Romance Releases for the Month! (Plus a Giveaway!)

GIVEAWAY: We will pick ONE winner to receive a digital book of their choice from the May romance releases. Comment down below saying which book you’re looking most forward to reading! Giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY. The winner will be randomly selected and announced at the end of the month.

Check out our new romance releases for June!

Celebrating Fathers: An Anthology featuring Jamie K. Schmidt, Kelly Hunter, Anne McAllister, Justine Davis, Nicole Flockton, and Sapna Srinivasan
Release Date: June 3, 2024

The Cowboy’s Untamed Heart by Jamie K. Schmidt
Sweethearts of the Rodeo | Book 2
Release Date: June 4, 2024


The Wedding Crush by Mia Heintzelman
The Fortemani Family series | Book 2
Release Date: June 11, 2024


The Lady and the Thief by Kate Moore
The Duke’s Men | Book 1
Release Date: June 13, 2024


The Cowboy’s Claim by Sinclair Jayne
The Coyote Cowboys of Montana | Book 5
Release Date: June 18, 2024


The Maguire Family Anthology by Stella Holt
Legacy of the Maguires | Books 1-4
Release Date: June 20, 2024


Dark Knight’s Kiss by Leigh Ann Edwards
Witch and Demon Hunter | Book 3
Release Date: June 25, 2024


Adopting with the Doctor by Patricia W. Fischer
Marietta Medical | Book 4
Release Date: June 26, 2024


Last Dance with the Texas Bull Rider by Rebecca Crowley
The Stars of Texas | Book 3
Release Date: June 27, 2024


Summer Lovin: A Sweet Romance Anthology featuring stories by Barbara Dunlop, Jami Rogers, Jamie K. Schmidt, Sarah Fischer & Kelsey McKnight, Joan Kilby and Robyn Neeley
Release Date: June 28, 2024

How Barbara Ankrum found excitement for her new series and latest release! (Plus, a giveaway!)

Hi Tule friends! 

So happy to be back here on the Tule blog with a new book to talk about. This year, I’ve been head down writing this new four book series for you called The Hardestys of Montana. And oh, my, gosh. I have had so much fun writing it. For the first time in my long career, I’ll have all four books out in one year, which is a record for me. I’m not what I consider to be the fastest writer (understatement!) and after an annoying slab leak in my house and reconstruction, it’s been a challenge. But like always, all those challenges feed my stories and my characters’ arcs, and hopefully makes them relatable–which is really half the fun of writing these stories for you.

The Cowboy’s Bride, Book One in the series, (out now!) opens at a Dallas society wedding, naturally. Not the hero’s wedding, however. And ultimately, not the heroine/bride’s either. It’s more of a humiliating disaster for Isabella Stanford whose biggest mistake was not listening to that little voice that warned her that something was very wrong. But she’s always been the good girl, the one who never rocked the boat. Now look where it’s gotten her! Her only option now? Run. As fast and as far away as she can and start over.

Enter Will Hardesty, the handsome ex-NFL player, limo driver who rescues her and agrees to a cross-country road trip—for a fee, of course. He is dealing with his own loss as well—the awful injury that prematurely ended his career and, simultaneously, his marriage. He is not, however, prepared for what’s about to happen on this adventure with Isabella, or the detour they end up taking to his family’s Montana ranch in Montana that he left long ago. And neither one of them imagines finding love again in the most unexpected way.

Here’s a snippet:

She had a hard time imagining how shortsighted that woman must have been to have let a man like Will go. But then, here she was, talking about love as if it were a binary thing that one could take or leave. It wasn’t. Love, she’d discovered, was fluid and complicated and had a will of its own. Love chose you, not the other way around. And for all of her bluster and denial about never stepping foot in that emotion again, she could feel it—against her will—eddying up inside her as she lay beside him, feeling protective of him, ready to fight all the trolls who thought they knew him better than he did himself and would dare call him out. 

The feeling took a different shape than it had for Theo, or any man for that matter, and had a different vibration even that settled in her chest whenever he was near. And before she could stop herself, she leaned forward and kissed him.

The first touch of her lips to his surprised him, and her for that matter. She hadn’t intended to kiss him then, or at all tonight. But there he was, looking all tousled and telling her things he probably never shared and she just … just … kissed him. 

And oh! He tasted sweet, just as she’d known he would. Like a craving for her favorite gelato or, to tell the truth, freedom, she’d craved another one of his kisses all day. She began to pull away, to apologize for the uninvited kiss, but his answer was to close the gap between them with another kiss, this one better than hers. This one—if she’d been standing—would have buckled her knees. He wrapped his arms around her, pulling her closer, until she was beneath him. She savored the weight of him, all the hard muscled strength of him holding her.

She forgot to think as his mouth moved over hers, his fingers buried in her hair, his breath coming hard and fast against her cheek.

Suddenly, he broke the kiss, touching his forehead to hers, eyes slammed shut. “I haven’t stopped thinking about kissing you all day,” he whispered. 

“Neither have I,” she said, stroking the back of his neck, feeling the heat there.

“I told you that you wouldn’t have to worry about…”

“Does this feel like I’m worried?” She curled her fingers into his hair.

He smiled and kissed her again. “No.”

The Hardestys of Montana series follows four siblings in the Hardesty family, Will, his single-mom twin sister, Shay, the baby and fixer of the family, Cami, and Liam, the one holding things all together on the ranch. Book 2 Cowboy Don’t Go is already up for presale! 

I hope you’ll love this series as much as I do. 

GIVEAWAY: I’m giving away (2) two eBook copies of The Cowboy’s Bride to two lucky commentors. Just tell me if you’d ever visit a Montana guest ranch and what would be your favorite part of that trip? Winners will be chosen on June 1st. Please check back to see if you’ve won!

About the Author.

Barbara Ankrum has a thing for the West and has written both historical and contemporary romances, all set in that magical place. Twice nominated for RWA’s RITA Award, her bestselling books are emotional, sexy rides with a touch of humor. Barbara’s married and raised two children in Southern California, which, in her mind, makes her a native Westerner.

Tule Author Charlee James shares why she loved writing a good, grumpy and standoffish hero in her recent release Sworn to Honor

Hi Tule Readers! 

I’m excited to share the second book in the SWORN NAVY SEALS series, SWORN TO HONOR. It is no secret that I love a slightly grumpy, standoffish hero who discovers how much love they have to give when they meet the one woman who can unlock their inner sweetness. I also love a compassionate, quirky heroine who more than deserves her happy-ever-after. She might not need an alpha hero to look out for her, but that doesn’t mean she has to shoulder everything alone. 

As you delve into Julian and Sam’s story in SWORN TO HONOR, you’ll discover a few details that were inspired by real life.

Julian’s Mac & Cheese 

Julian’s love language shows he cares through his actions. He understands that Sam has been on her own for quite some time and is independent. Still, Julian does little things to let her know he cares, including making his killer mac & cheese recipe as the ultimate comfort food after Sam has a particularly tough shift at the hospital where she is a music therapist. My husband, Jamie, is the chef in our house (I set off the fire alarm if I get within ten feet of a kitchen appliance). His macaroni & cheese is a staple at Thanksgiving, especially for our family’s picky eaters.  

Try this recipe from Kitchen Treaty—you won’t be disappointed! 

“After taking the elevator to the fifth floor, Julian unlocked his apartment door, holding it open. She stepped inside, and the scent of something wonderful, like melted cheese and smoked paprika, hit her nose. Her stomach growled, and Julian chuckled. She liked hearing the sound of his laughter, even if it was elicited by what sounded like a greedy gut goblin growling in her belly.

After the lunch Julian had brought her at work, it was a wonder she was hungry at all. The sandwich had been such a nice treat. She rarely splurged to buy herself lunch, either going without or bringing a yogurt. Funds were truly tight right now when they shouldn’t be. She’d never get rich being a music therapist, but she was a hard worker, sometimes taking clients six days a week. It was her guilt that was pulling her down into a pit of financial ruin.

“What smells so good in here?” She breathed in the scents coming from the kitchen and slipped off her shoes before moving any farther into his space.

“Thought you could use some comfort food after the day you’ve had. I make a mean mac and cheese. “Her heart flip-flopped. Julian was going out of his way for her, from promising to call a tow truck to bringing her favorite sandwich and coffee to work. Now he was making her dinner. He grabbed two bottles out of the fridge, the glass clanking together as he pulled them out with one hand. Julian popped the tops off and handed her one. She wasn’t sure if he’d made a special trip for her preferred beer, but she had a feeling he didn’t keep Blue Moon stocked in his fridge—not that she did, either. It was another one of those special treats that she didn’t allow herself often.”


Throughout the story, many of the characters are brought together in some way by Jacob, who is introduced in the first book of the series SWORN TO LEAD. Jacob is Ransom’s (one of Julian’s Navy SEAL teammates) teenage brother who has spastic quadriplegia, the most severe form of cerebral palsy. Sometimes, the universe puts you on the same path with someone so special your life is forever changed for the better. Jacob’s disability does not define him, nor does it stop him from getting the most out of life. He’s fun, compassionate, and bold and his larger-than-life personality lends to new friendships wherever the teen goes. Julian is especially close to Jacob throughout the series. 

“By the time the rest of Jacob’s classmates and friends showed up, there were at least a dozen kids, some of them accompanied by parents, peppered throughout the house. She was with Julian in the kitchen, making more punch to go in the cauldron, while Brynn and Silver were facilitating games and prizes. Ransom was refilling the food and Halloween-themed snacks. Branch assisted anyone who needed a break in the sensory room he’d set up.

“Looks like this party is a hit.” Julian scooped up more orange sherbet and added it to the pitcher.

She was separating orange slices, tossing them in with the sherbet when the wooden board got too full. “I love that there’s such a mix of kids here. Jacob has befriended the neurotypical teens, those who participate in Best Buddies, and all his classmates.”

“And all of them are having a blast. Some people might knock the younger generations, but I don’t think one person could argue that we’ve ever lived in a more inclusive time. Things can always improve, but we’re moving in the right direction.”

“I agree.” They shared a smile, getting sidetracked, until Ransom clapped his hand against the doorframe, startling “startling them both.

“Enough googly eyes. Punch is almost gone out here, and once it is, the werewolves and vampires will descend on me.” Ransom disappeared with the tray of cobweb cupcakes.

“He’s having way too much fun.” Julian grinned, the beauty of it momentarily leaving her breathless.”

Julian’s Obsession with Space 

Growing up, my mom and I would watch Star Trek and Star Wars with a big bowl of ice cream. These memories are so special to me, just like Julian and his beloved twin sister’s fascination with all things space. 

“He didn’t like sharing his personal space, even for a short period of time. The place wasn’t anything special, but it was his, and although his décor might seem sparse, it would give others a glimpse into who he was. Pictures of him and his sister—the only person he loved aside from his teammates. Wall art of deep space. The Millennium Falcon and other Star Wars replicas. Some Navy trinkets and memorabilia people had given him over the years. Bringing a woman there was like having a piece of his personality on display, and he let people see only what he wanted. Had he invited Sam into his space because his subconscious recognized she was important or had it been the desire to see how she fit there? God, had she fit. Like she’d always belonged.”

Thank you so much for being part of the Tule family! For a chance to win a digital copy of SWORN TO HONOR, please share a comment or question related to the blog post below. 

With love,
Charlee James 

About the Author.

Contemporary Romance Author Charlee James was introduced to a life-long love of reading listening to her parents recite nightly stories to her and her older sister. Inspired by the incredible imaginations of authors like Bill Peet, Charlee could often be found crafting her own tales. As a teenager, she got her hands on a romance novel and was instantly hooked by the genre.

After graduating from Johnson & Wales University, her early career as a wedding planner gave her first-hand experience with couples who had gone the distance for love. Always fascinated by family dynamics, Charlee began writing heartwarming novels with happily-ever-afters.

Charlee is a New England native who lives with her husband, daughters, two rambunctious dogs, a cat, and numerous reptiles. When she’s not spending time with her tight-knit family, she enjoys curling up with a book, practicing yoga, and collecting Boston Terrier knick-knacks.

Top 5 Mysteries to Read on a Plane

Flying these days requires a lot of patience—and there’s no better way to harness that skill than to be absorbed in a world far away from middle seats between two people hogging your arm rests, narrow aisles, and a roller bag stuffed at your feet because someone else thought the overhead bin was for their coat and purse.

Travel today is crying out for a world where there is no turbulence, just sheer excitement. So check out these Tule mysteries on your next trip and touch down in a good mood!

  1. Buried (Twisted Cedars Mysteries), C.J. Carmichael

    Decades of silence. A shocking discovery. Some secrets refuse to stay buried.

    True crime writer Dougal Lachlan swore he’d never set foot in Twisted Cedars again. Not even for his sister’s upcoming wedding. But an email promising the story of a lifetime pulls him back to his hometown against his better judgement.

    Thirty years ago, five librarians were murdered across quiet coastal towns in Oregon, leaving a trail of unsolved mysteries. All signs point to a serial killer.

    As Dougal plunges into the investigation, he enlists the help of local librarian Charlotte Hammond, who prefers her mysteries between the covers of a good book since the disappearance of her older sister Daisy.

    The more they dig, the more buried secrets they unearth only to realize nothing is quite what it seems, and the danger may be closer to home than they thought…

    Recommendation: 21k reviews at Amazon with a majority of them 5 stars says it all. CJ Carmichael’s easy style draws you in, so pull out your neck pillow and settle in. If it’s a long flight, download the series. You won’t want to leave small-town Twisted Cedars, Oregon!

  2. Killer Close to Home (Cluttered Crime Mysteries), Carol Light

    Not all clutter is visible to the human eye …

    Professional organizer Crystal Ward’s latest client, her neighbor Roscoe Tremaine, is changing his will, an announcement that sets off an explosive reaction within his family. That same night, a gas leak ignites, destroying his house, killing him, and rocking the Ward family at its foundation.

    Her husband, Rick, is injured in the blast, so Crys hires Roscoe’s former caregiver, Wink Keller, to help him recover after surgery. But trouble is just beginning. Both Crys and Wink are beneficiaries in Roscoe’s will, and their alliance sends accusations flying from the Tremaines’ side of the fence.

    Crys has her hands full dealing with her client’s not-so-grieving relatives, a teenaged girl stalking Wink, and a suspicious fire inspector. But when threatening “gifts” left on the Wards’ doorstep escalate, Crys is forced to sort through a tangled web of relationships, including her own, to keep her family safe.

    Recommendation: A story that is as much about family as it is solving the mystery, Killer Close to Home absorbs you into this very real neighborhood that feels just like your own. The setting is Chicago, but the appeal is to every suburban traveler looking for reassurances that nice folks don’t finish last.

  3. A Chain of Pearls (Martha’s Vineyard Murders), Raemi A. Ray

    The last thing she wants is to dig up the past…

    When the body of a celebrated journalist is fished from the Edgartown Harbor, the official report rules his death accidental. But why was he alone on a senator’s yacht during a nor’easter? That’s only the first question London-based lawyer Kyra Gibson has when she arrives on the idyllic island of Martha’s Vineyard to settle her estranged father’s affairs.

    She’s not looking for closure. She’s not seen him in decades since he left her with her aunt following her mother’s death. But as Kyra delves deeper into her father’s life, she learns he had many regrets and wasn’t as retired as she believed. The more Kyra discovers, the more questions she has. With the help of world-weary detective, Tarek Collins, they uncover a web of intrigue and corruption involving a powerful senator, a dubious energy company, and brutal murder.

    As they chase down clues, Kyra and Tarek flirt with danger and race against time to solve the murders and uncover the dark secrets lurking beneath Martha’s Vineyard’s picturesque façade of old money wealth and privilege.

    Recommendation: An idyllic island setting known for its iconic lighthouses, fantasy cottages, and famous residents is an excellent vacation destination—but even if you aren’t bound for the East Coast, this Martha’s Vineyard mystery brings the mystique right to your seat. Bonus points for a hot detective, too.

  4. Something Shady at Sunshine Haven (The Accidental Detective), Kris Bock
    She’s pursued the most dangerous news stories around the world. But can she survive going home?

    Injured in a bombing, war correspondent Kate Tessler returns to her hometown in Arizona to recover. For the first time in her life, she’s starting to feel her age of nearly fifty despite living like a teenager again: staying in her childhood bedroom with only a cat for company, trying to understand why her sister resents her so much, and running into people who still refer to her as Kitty. The hardest part? Seeing her once-sharp and witty mother stuck in an Alzheimer’s unit.

    When an old friend asks her to investigate suspicious deaths at the nursing home, Kate limps into action. Is a self-appointed “Angel of Mercy” killing patients to end their suffering? Are family members hastening their inheritance? Is an employee extorting money and removing the witnesses? Kate uses her journalism skills to track clues, but the puzzle pieces simply won’t fit.

    If Kate can’t uncover the truth quickly, her mother could be next on the killer’s list.

    Recommendation: The father-daughter relationship will warm your heart far more than Phoenix, Arizona, sun in this Southwestern setting. Kate’s used to danger, knows how to investigate, and that makes her the best option to tackle problems that don’t interest the police yet, so you can count on plenty of clues, twists, and characters in this whodunnit.

  5. A Long Shadow (Chief Inspector Shadow Mystery), HL Marsay

    Old sins cast long shadows…

    When the bodies of a young, homeless girl and a girl who disappeared thirty years ago are found on the same day, residents in the historic city of York are aghast. It seems unlikely the two cases are related, and yet some of the same players knew both victims. As Detective Chief Inspector John Shadow and his eager new partner, Sergeant Jimmy Chang, dive into their investigation, they uncover a complicated web of pop stars, pub owners, shopkeepers and old school friends who each have something to hide.

    John Shadow is a man of contradictions. A solitary figure who shuns company, but is a keen observer of all he meets. A lover of good food, but whose fridge is almost always empty. He prefers to work alone and is perpetually trying to dodge his partner, who’s full of energy, modern ideas and theories.

    But as the two men gradually learn to work together to solve the case, it’s clear that the past is never as far away as you think.

    Recommendation: Seasoned British detective. Eager young pup for a partner. Enough said. With a name like John Shadow, you know this inspector has many fascinating layers just waiting to be revealed.