Category Archives: Author Feature

Tule Author Q&A: Sinclair Jayne watched YouTube videos for research!

Sinclair Jayne stopped by the Tule blog to discuss her new Christmas book, Lighting Up Christmas!

 

Where did you get the inspiration for Lighting Up Christmas?

I was inspired to write Lighting Up Christmas after a conversation with friend, author and Tule publisher, Jane Porter, when we were talking about occupations for heroines. She had had a recent meeting with a film producer who wanted heroines outside of the more mainstream film heroine occupations of bakery or shop owner, librarian or teacher, etc. for books geared for Christmas, and I had an image of a woman in a Christmas party dress, work boots and tool belt arriving in a snowy landscape, to save the day—get the lights back on for a party. The way businesses, main streets and homes are lit up for Christmas has always been one of my favorite parts of the holiday seasons—lighting up the dark, welcoming people in. Driving around and looking at Christmas lights was my favorite holiday tradition, and of course I did it with my kids. Riley Flanagan, third generation electrician was born. 

 

If you could spend the day with Riley or Zhang, who would you choose and what would you do?

While I would love to spend the day with Riley—I love her energy and enthusiasm and go-for-it, no matter what it is approach to each and every day, Zhang’s quiet, thoughtfulness and hidden sweet and vulnerable is so appealing to me. I would love, like Riley, the challenge of showing him a different way of experiencing something. He is so intellectual, and Riley is experiential. The scene with her tilting her head back, arms spread wide, to taste the first snow, is so something I would do. I remember being on a first date with my husband, and I stopped in the middle of a Vancouver BC street at midnight coming out of a Pink Floyd show and even in the crowd of people, I stopped and marveled at the moon. He was so surprised and entranced, and I loved that he noticed something he never had before with me—the moon’s orange hue, the shift in a breeze, a fragrance, the sparkle of water.

 

What kind of research did you need to do for this story?

The most research I had to do for this story was about being an electrician. I know less than zero so I googled tools and asked questions and trouble shot problems using YouTube. I also needed to know a bit more about the wine industry of Southern Oregon. I live in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, and my husband and I have a small vineyard, Roshni, (yes you are welcome to visit and have a tasting), but we grow pinot noir, and southern Oregon, not so much. So, I researched some local wineries to see what they were producing and read the tasting notes (unfortunately online, not in person…but soon!) Research is a fascinating part of the writing. I learn so much but only a fragment appears in the story, but if I don’t feel that I have enough of a knowledge base, I would feel lost and paralyzed about making certain choices.

 

Photo of Christmas Baubles on Tree BranchesDo you have any favorite Christmas or holiday traditions?

My favorite holiday tradition is wrapping lights around a few key outdoor trees and then driving around or walking different city or town streets to look at decorations. I just feel such a sense of pleasure, sparkle and simple happiness looking at the colored lights against the black velvet of the sky. 

 

What are you currently reading?

Right now I am deep dive reading one of my own books in order to make edits—definitely not relaxing. I am also an editor for Tule so two of my favorite hobbies are now part of my job (SO MANY fantastic Christmas books in Tule’s line up this year), but I also rarely feel like I am working.

I hope you enjoy Lighting Up Christmas as much as I loved writing it.

 

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!


A GHOSTLY SHADOW: Release day blog post featuring H L Marsay!

The Ghostly Tales of York

With over five hundred reports of spooky happenings within our ancient walls, the International Ghost Research Foundation has declared York to be the most haunted city in Europe. Well, when I heard that, I just had to write a book that included some of the city’s most famous ghost stories. A Ghostly Shadow, the third Chief Inspector Shadow Mystery takes place at Halloween and involves several of York’s ghost walkers, the men and women who guide visitors around the city and entertain them with scary and gruesome tales.

Shambles

Two of my ghost walk guides dress up as York’s most infamous sons, Guy Fawkes and Dick Turpin, who are both said to haunt the city. Guy Fawkes was born in York. He was a Catholic at a time when King James, a Protestant, was on the throne. Desperate to return the country to the ‘true faith’, Fawkes and his fellow conspirators hatched a plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament and assassinate the king in November 1605. However, they were betrayed and Fawkes was arrested next to the gunpowder in the cellars beneath the Palace of Westminster. After being tortured in the Tower of London, he was put to death as a traitor. Now every November 5th we celebrate this event with fireworks and burning effigies of Guy on bonfires. Please note, the only place that does not celebrate is York’s St Peter’s School where Guy was educated – they think it’s bad form to burn an old boy!

A hundred years later, Dick Turpin, the notorious highwayman, suffered a violent death too. Originally from the south of England, he was a thief, who killed a gamekeeper then ran away to York and changed his name to John Palmer. While here, he was arrested for stealing a chicken. From prison he wrote to his family, but by a cruel twist of fate, the postman who delivered the letter was the man who taught Dick to write and recognised his handwriting. When his true identity was revealed, Dick was hanged on the Knavesmire and afterwards his body was put on display in the cellar of the Blue Boar on Castlegate. A replica of his coffin is still there today!

Blue Boar Inn

Perhaps our most famous ghost story takes place at the Treasurer’s House. Originally built to house the man in charge of the Minster’s finances, it eventually became a private home. In the 1950’s, Harry Martindale, an apprentice plumber, was working alone in the cellar. He could hear the sound of a horn being blown, but assumed it was a radio on upstairs. Then he heard the sound of horse’s hooves and a huge carthorse suddenly emerged through the wall behind him. On the horse’s back was a Roman soldier. Harry fell from his ladder in horror and watched as the horse was followed by a procession of other soldiers. Unlike the Hollywood depiction of Romans in red and gleaming gold uniforms, these soldiers were dirty, dishevelled and dressed in green. He could also only see them from the knees up. When telling his story to historians from the university, they confirmed that his description of the soldiers was accurate for the legions who were based in York, but the details he gave were unknown outside academic circles. They also explained that the Via Decumana, the original Roman Road, was buried fifteen inches beneath the cellar floor which was why their lower legs were not visible.

Treasurer’s House

Not far from the Minster and Treasurer’s House, stands the Plague House. The bubonic plague arrived in London in 1665 and soon spread north. A little girl was bricked up inside the house with her parents who had symptoms of the deadly disease, to prevent further contamination. Although she didn’t have the plague herself, the little girl was left to die, with no food or water. Since then, her tear-stained face has been spotted staring out of the window.

The Plague House in the shadow of the Minster  

Those of you who have read A Long Shadow, the first book in my series, may remember that a victim was discovered in Bedern next to one of Shadow’s favourite Italian restaurants. Bedern means college or house of prayer in Anglo-Saxon. It was once home to the Minster’s choral scholars. All that now remains is Bedern Hall, the old refectory or dining room. In the nineteenth century, Bedern Hall was used as a school and workhouse for the city’s orphans. It was run by a man named Pimm, who was more concerned with the money he could make than the welfare of the children in his care. Many of those in his care died of starvation. At first, he buried their bodies but when winter came and the ground became hard, he hid them in a cupboard. Soon the guilt and his drinking drove Pimm mad. His crimes were discovered and he was taken to an asylum. Today it is still claimed that as you walk along Bedern you can hear the sound of children playing, but if you stop and listen, their laughter soon turns to screams.

Bedern Hall today

I hope you’ve enjoyed these ghostly tales of York. If you have, why not come and find me on Facebook where I often post about the weird and wonderful happenings in my home city.

HL Marsay | Facebook

Happy Halloween!

About the Author

H L Marsay always loved detective stories and promised herself that one day, she would write one too. She is lucky enough to live in York, a city full of history and mystery. When not writing, the five men in her life keep her busy – two sons, two dogs and one husband.


Tule Author Q&A: Nancy Robards Thompson’s daughter helped her brainstorm!

Nancy Robards Thompson stopped by the Tule blog to discuss the third book in the Wedding Bell Mysteries series, Ending on a Die Note!

 

Where did you get the inspiration for Ending on a Die Note?

Hi! Thanks so much for having me on the Tule blog to celebrate the release of ENDING ON A DIE NOTE. It’s the third book in the Wedding Bell Mysteries. My daughter helped me brainstorm this book. We were having lunch at Panera one day (pre-Covid) and I was telling her about my bare-bone ideas and before I knew it, she’d helped me flesh out the story. It was such fun!

 

How do you feel Maddie and Jenna have grown and changed throughout the Wedding Bell Mysteries series? 

Well, they’ve certainly become more adept at solving murders. LOL! They’ve both experienced a lot of personal growth over the three books…especially in the romance arena. To avoid spoilers, I can’t be too specific, but let’s just say the mystery about Maddie’s husband, the navy pilot who has been missing in action since the start of the series, is finally solved in this book. That, in itself, allows for a lot of growth in both characters.  

 

If you could spend the day with Maddie or Jenna, who would you choose and what would you do? 

I love both of them, but I’d love to talk cozy mysteries and motherhood with Maddie.

 

Books on Brown Wooden ShelfWhere and when do you get most of your writing done?

I have a cozy office with lots of bookcases and a great big antique desk that my father and step-mother gave me. My office is my sanctuary. I work Monday – Thursday and usually get settled in around 10 a.m. and work until around 5 or 6 p.m. I always have a strict schedule and page quota mapped out so that I know I’m on track to meet my deadlines. 

 

What are you currently reading?

I’m reading EVVIE DRAKE STARTS OVER by Linda Holmes. It’s a funny and poignant story about a woman who is starting over after her life falls apart. 

 

About the Author

Award-winning author Nancy Robards Thompson has worked as a newspaper reporter, television show stand-in, production and casting assistant for movies, and in fashion and public relations. She started writing fiction seriously in 1997. Five years and four completed manuscripts later, she won the Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart award for unpublished writers and sold her first book the following year. Since then, Nancy has sold 30 books and found her calling doing what she loves most – writing romance and women’s fiction full-time.


Tule Author Q&A: Leigh Ann Edwards was inspired by Ireland!

Leigh Ann Edwards stopped by the Tule blog to discuss the fourth book in The Witches of Time series, The Witch’s Reckoning!

 

Where did you get the inspiration for The Witch’s Reckoning?

Much like with my Irish Witch series and the first three books in the Witches of Time series, the inspiration for the Witch’s Reckoning stemmed from my love of Ireland, witches, faeries, dragons––all things mythical or supernatural. I also combined those elements with my interest in time travel and my desire to create powerful, poignant, steamy love stories between fated soulmates. 

 I’m sometimes inspired by listening to Celtic music or looking at photos I’ve taken during trips to Ireland and other locations in the UK and Massachusetts. I also drew on memories of the many different castles I’ve toured and the beautiful rolling green hills, majestic cliffs, stunning land formations and enchanted forests I saw in Ireland.

 

This is the final book in The Witches of Time series. How do each of your heroines, Alainn, Arianna, Ainsley and Angelique differ from each other? How are they the same?

Although the four witches are exactly the same age, twenty-two, even born on the same date, albeit in four different centuries, Alainn is probably the most mature and thought of as the leader of the group since the other three are her descendants. Alainn is from the sixteenth century and has been through a lot in her short life. She’s learned to mostly control her temper, calm her jealousy, hold her tongue and choose her battles. She and Killian have been together the longest, already married for five years and in love for much of their lives. They also experienced a tragic heartache when they lost their newborn son which changed them both. It nearly broke up  their marriage but they worked through it. They also suffered some other really traumatic experiences that most couples wouldn’t have survived which might be why Alainn is less liable to stress about the small things. That’s not to say she isn’t really headstrong at times. 

In appearance, Alainn has golden blonde hair and very blue eyes. As far as unique supernatural abilities, Alainn is the air witch and is capable of magical healing. She can also fly and create whirlwinds and tornadoes. 

Arianna is from the late seventeenth century during the witch hunts in Massachusetts. She and Darius have been married about three and a half years. They had to fight to be together, too. Arianna is likely the most hot-tempered of the four witches and quite spirited. But she’s also extremely protective of those she loves and really funny, sometimes sarcastic, which provides some comedic moments. She’s very jealous which is a trait all transcendent witches share. Arianna has unusual scarlet colored hair and striking green eyes. Arianna is the fire witch and the only witch who can create purple hellfire which can’t be extinguished by water. 

Ainsley is from the nineteenth century. She is usually fairly calm and sensible. She keeps her wits about her during a crisis. She had to learn to do so in order to excel as a skilled Civil War nurse. She is also an experienced midwife. Ainsley is very giving and understanding, but also really strong-willed when pushed. She has a dry sense of humor. She and Cal have been married for two years and were fated to live apart but they beat the odds and cherish being together again. Ainsley has shiny, jet black hair and large expressive brown eyes. Ainsley is the earth witch. She can cause earthquakes and create deep crevasses. She can also summon people or items from any century in time. 

Angelique is from modern times/ the twenty-first century. She’s probably the least predictable of the four witches. She’s kind, loving and generous, but also has a quick temper and a jealous streak. Initially, really meek and accommodating, she now speaks her mind, is sometimes sarcastic and has some very funny sayings. She also swears quite a lot which isn’t really acceptable for a woman during the sixteenth century where The Witch’s Reckoning takes place. Angelique and Faolan have been together just over a year and also face lots of difficulties. She has curly auburn hair and deep blue eyes often compared to Alainn’s. Angelique is the water witch. Water heals her wounds and she can heal others when they’re near her in water. She controls water and creates tidal waves and hurricanes. 

The four witches are similar in that they’re all very intelligent, uncommonly beautiful, magical and remarkably passionate in their lives and their love lives. They’re best friends, really close, like sisters. They defend each other and speak up for women or anyone who’s oppressed, abused or undermined. 

They can all magically disappear or move to another location, move items, control weather and animals, speak through telepathy, see and talk to spirits and have powerful premonitions. 

 

What kind of research did you need to do for this story?

Actually, this story required the least amount of research of any of my books. I spent so much time researching for The Irish Witch series and the first three books in The Witches of Time––what they wore during each time period, the homes they lived in, what they ate, how they spoke, what type of weapons they had, what history occurred during each era, etc. that for this installment it only required reading over sections of my other books and some of my previous notes to refresh my memory. 

Also, in this story, although the witches are back in time, they had all lived in the future for a while, therefore I didn’t feel the need to be quite so diligent about using words I didn’t believe they’d say during the sixteenth century. They were accustomed to hearing or using modern words/expressions. 

I did do some research of different mythological creatures because several took part in the battle between light and dark magic.

 

Are your characters set before you begin writing or do you let them develop as you go along? What did that development process look like for this series?

I do have many aspects of each character decided when I begin the story. However, they always surprise me along the way. I kind of let them develop as they go. Sometimes I even question, would they really react that way when they might not have earlier in this story or in another book. They change and grow throughout the series and I believe their relationships with their men and each other tend to influence how they behave. 

Living in the future for a while and getting closer to Angelique who has spent her entire life in an era when women have more rights and freedoms does impact the other witches, too. Though always strong-willed or determined, sometimes even stubborn as individuals, with the four of them together they tend to band together which causes some amusing or difficult moments for the witches’ men. 

Their friendships developed so seamlessly through the book that I just let them go with it. However, it wasn’t a sickeningly sweet friendship between any of them where they never disagreed or didn’t call the others out if they were being difficult. They supported each other through the good and bad times.

The heroes and secondary characters all developed close relationships, as well. I enjoyed the camaraderie and joking between the men, too. They backed their women and their friends knowing they’d need to count on each other during the high stakes of the perilous battle they’d be part of between light and dark magic against the Dark Lord Odhran.

What are you currently reading?

I’m nearly done The Irish Heritage by my friend, Irish author, Carole Mondragon. I’ve also just started reading A Viking’s Shadow by fellow Tule author, HL Marsay and I’m currently listening to the audio book, The Way Home by Eliana West, another Tule author. 

Additionally, I’m really excited to be writing my new four book series with Tule, titled Maidens of the Mystical Stones. The first book, Autumn’s Magical Pact, will be available September 26/22.  

I look forward to being back next fall to discuss the series. Until then, wishing you many magical, memorable moments. 

 

About the Author

Leigh Ann Edwards has always been fascinated by history, magic, romance, witches and Ireland which all inspired her first series, The Irish Witch Series. Growing up in a very small Manitoba town on the Canadian prairies allowed lots of time to create stories and let her imagination soar. Now writing her third series with Tule Publishing, Leigh Ann also loves reading, traveling, spending time with her four grandchildren, doing intuitive readings and reiki.

Leigh Ann lives with her husband, their two very large dogs and two cats near Edmonton Alberta, Canada.


Tule Author Q&A: Christi Barth drew inspiration from her real life!

Christi Barth stopped by the Tule blog to discuss the third book in her Love Lottery series, Wrong for Him!

 

Where did you get the inspiration for Wrong for Him?

I got the inspiration for the Love Lottery series when having brunch at a historic inn (I have pix I took sneaking through the upstairs while the maids were changing over the rooms, because I knew I had to write about it someday!). 

 

Wrong for Him is a sexy forbidden romance. What drew you to this trope? What’s your favorite trope to write?

Once I decided to include a brother and sister in the series, there was no question—there had to be a brother’s best friend romance. And having Amelia & Teague be good friends – that’s from real life. My hubby and I share a friend, and I always get ten times more info out of him. It may be cliched, but guys don’t talk much or deeply, but a female/male friendship mines deep. My favorite trope to write (according to my spreadsheet of all tropes in all 39 of my books, lol) appears to be enemies to lovers. But in my heart of hearts (although I can’t do it very often, it is royal romance. #obsessed

 

Person in Brown Shorts Watering The PlantsHow do you relate to Amelia, your heroine, and how do you hope readers will relate to her? How do you relate to Teague?

On one level, I can’t relate to her at all, because she’s a landscaper and I loathe gardening. Dirt. Sweating. Yuck. But aside from all that, she is deeply romantic in her heart. She’ll do anything to help her friends. That’s incredibly relatable. And Teague’s loyalty is bone deep. He’s willing to give up the love of his life to stay loyal to his best friend.

 

Are your characters set before you begin writing or do you let them develop as you go?

I’m extremely process oriented. I plot everything out ahead of time, because it streamlines my writing process. I’m big on efficiency. When I sit down to write, I need to know exactly what needs to happen over the next few hours.

 

What did that development process look like for Wrong for Him?

It was a bit more involved, because (while it is completely a stand-alone, I promise!) it is the final book in the Love Lottery series. Lots of checking to be sure secondary characters popped up for a final time, that #spoiler a small secondary romance came to fruition, and any loose threads from previous books were tied off. And I’m just going to say, you have no idea how long it took to decide on just the right dog to add to the mix!

 

What are you currently reading?

Oooh! The latest Jayne Ann Krentz Fogg Lake book, All The Colors of Night, and The Last Book Party by Karen Dukess.

 

About the Author

USA TODAY bestseller Christi Barth earned a Masters degree in vocal performance and embarked upon a career on the stage. A love of romance then drew her to wedding planning. Ultimately she succumbed to her lifelong love of books and now writes award-winning contemporary romance.

Christi can always be found either whipping up gourmet meals (for fun, honest!) or with her nose in a book. She lives in Maryland with the best husband in the world.


LETTERS FROM GRACE: Release day blog post featuring CJ Carmichael

Love Letters & A Trilogy Giveaway

When my father passed away a few years ago we found a small, innocuous box at the very back of his closet. Inside were all the love letters he had mailed to our mother during his time in the Canadian navy, before they were married.

My father was a gruff man, not given to praise or signs of affection. So finding these letters, full of love and sweet words for our mother, was such a treasure.

I recently asked my newsletter subscribers to share their stories of saved love letters and received so many heart warming, funny, and sad stories. I really do hope that email and text messages don’t signal the end of the old-fashioned love letter for our future generations.

Love letters feature large in my new release Letters From Grace. In this book (based on a premise from my older novel, Jessie’s Father, which is no longer in print) a daughter finds a stash of love letters from her widowed father’s high school sweetheart and sets out to match-make. I’m so pleased with early reviews from Publishers Weekly and readers. I hope you will add this book to your TBR pile!

GIVEAWAY CLOSED

For your chance to win the complete Shannon Sisters trilogy in paperback format (autographed of course!), please tell me whether you have saved any love letters?

Giveaway will be open until 9/30/21. Open in the US & Canada only.

 

USA Today Bestselling author C. J. Carmichael has written over 45 novels in her favorite genres of romance and mystery. She has been nominated twice for the Romance Writers of America RITA Award, as well as RT Bookclub’s Career Achievement in Romantic Suspense award, and the Bookseller’s Best honor.

She gave up the thrills of income tax forms and double entry book-keeping in 1998 when she sold her first book to Harlequin Superromance. Since then she has published over 35 novels with Harlequin and is currently working on a series of western romances with Tule Publishing. In addition C. J. Carmichael has published several cozy mystery series as an Indie author.

When not writing C. J. enjoys family time with her grown daughters and her husband. Family dinners are great. Even better are the times they spend hiking in the Rocky Mountains around their home in Calgary, and relaxing at their cottage on Flathead Lake, Montana.


Tule Author Q&A: Winter Austin loves writing about strong women!

Winter Austin stopped by the Tule blog to discuss the first book in her Benoit and Dayne Mystery series, The Killer in Me!

 

Where did you get the inspiration for The Killer in Me?

The Killer in Me started out as an idea about corruption in a small town sheriff’s department. It was originally supposed to be set in Louisiana, but I enjoyed writing the setting in my home state of Iowa when I came back here. It’s unique in the fact that there are so few books out there set in Iowa. And we have plenty of the “good ole boy” network that goes on here that my plot of family-feuds and law enforcement corruption is real enough. Elizabeth Benoit had a slight name change to be who she is, but she’s always been the sheriff who took over with the intent of disrupting that good ole boy system.

 

Assorted Books on ShelfWhat kind of research did you need to do for this story?

I have a full bookshelf of research books on police procedure and autopsy stuff. I belong to a few crime writers’ groups so if I needed something answered I couldn’t find on my own, I have that outlet. But my biggest research came from the connections I have. A long-time friend of mine is an LEO with a local police department, he keeps me as straight and narrow as I can get. For emergency medical situations I tapped the shoulder of a friend who is a veteran and a former Critical Care EMS.

The Killer in Me is my tenth novel in a long line of other books that have military and police characters. I will tap into what I’ve learned in the past to reduce the length of time I need to research. But it really helps to have people who are in the field who can read and help correct you.

 

Elizabeth Benoit is such a strong female character. Where did you draw inspiration for her? How do you relate to her?

I have a thing for writing strong women, it’s kinda my signature. In fact, my best friend gave me a bracelet that is Morse Code for Kick-Ass because that’s how she sees me.

It’s taken me a long time to grow comfortable in my mindset and be who I really am, believe me that is hard when you’re an Introvert. I was the girl who said enough is enough when the boys were the ones getting to do all the fun things, and stood my ground with them, earning their respect. Exclusion is not part of my language and I’ll be in your face if you pull it on me. What I write about with what Elizabeth, and Lila Dayne, experience are the same things I see and have dealt with during my life.

Elizabeth is every woman I have ever encountered; from military wives and servicewomen to the lady running her own business in a market that is dominated by men. She’s the rancher and farmer who knew when it was time to stand by her man, and when it was time to take the reins and lead. She’s my daughter, who has stood toe to toe with arrogant adults and put them in their place and is paving her way through the world to her own tune.

This is who Elizabeth is for me.

 

What was your favorite scene to write and why?

I liked writing a lot of the scenes between Elizabeth and her ex-husband, Joel, or Elizabeth with Deputy Rafe Fontaine. Also, those scenes between Lila and Deputy Kyle Lundquist. While this isn’t a novel for romance purposes, you can’t have characters interacting without some kind of romantic elements. But I really liked the ones with Elizabeth and Lila together, showing their dynamics and how Elizabeth becomes sort of a mentor to Lila, despite the fact that Lila has the law enforcement experience.

 

The best scene between them is when they first meet:

Lila Dayne stood at parade rest, the deep-seated training instinctual, while the woman who held her future in her hands perused the dossier at her leisure. Off in the corner on a chair better suited for the dump, a red and white border collie watched her. Trying to ignore those brown orbs boring holes into her soul, Lila stared at the bare wood paneling above the sheriff’s head. 

Knock, knock, the seventies were calling.

Sheriff Elizabeth Benoit was not what Lila expected. To have a woman sheriff was rare in this country, rarer still in a rural community like Juniper, Iowa. It mattered little to Lila. She needed this job. This deputy position with the Eckardt County department was about as perfect as she could get.

“You have an impressive résumé, Ms. Dayne.” The older woman’s gaze lifted to meet Lila’s. “It would seem taking this deputy position would be a step down from what you were doing in Chicago.”

“Ma’am?”

“You worked in one of the roughest precincts, did a stint with a few narcotics task forces, trained with SWAT, and the coup de grace, you passed your detective exam and worked one year in homicide. So, why come here?”

Because this place gave her the promise of a new start she sorely needed. “Ma’am, if I may, I’m still not comfortable discussing certain private matters.”

Steepling her hands, the sheriff folded her fingers together as she rocked back in her chair. Those piercing dark brown eyes, so like her canine companion’s, roved over Lila, seeming to pick apart the elements that made her whole and find the parts that were missing. Never one to back down, Lila did her own scrutinizing.

Elizabeth Benoit was a tall woman, standing a good five inches over Lila, with rich brown hair that skimmed her shoulders. A gold star glinted over the left pocket of her desert tan uniform top, declaring to all she was top of the food chain. Except for some bits of leaves clinging to her hair and shirt, she was put together with near military precision. A tidbit of knowledge Lila tucked away for future reference.

“For the sake of an argument, I won’t press the matter.” The sheriff tapped the dossier file. “Everything I need is right here. I can study your file and read up on all of your past accomplishments ’til the cows come home. What these papers can’t tell me is what I want to know by listening to you. You have outstanding credentials, a stellar law enforcement career, and you fast-tracked through the ranks in Chicago PD. Eckardt County is by no means a place to advance a career. Especially for a woman.”

“Correct me if I’m wrong, ma’am, but you are the sheriff of this county, are you not? Elected by the people to keep them safe? A woman sitting in a position of power normally controlled by men. I’d say that’s a fine career advancement.”

Lila enjoyed watching the warm smile appear on Benoit’s lips.

“That being said, I need to know one thing from you, Ms. Dayne. I need to know where your focus lies.”

“My focus?”

“The deputy whose position you applied for quit. Let’s just say there was a major difference in opinion that caused the man to forsake his career. Before I make any final decisions, I want to hear from you what your intentions are for this job and if Eckardt County is a place you can see yourself living in for a good long while. To be frank, I have no intention of appointing someone who will bail on me the moment things go south.”

On the spot. No holds barred. Everything the dispatcher had mentioned about Elizabeth Benoit was true. Finally, someone who didn’t give a damn about their political rising star and was ready for real police work.

“Ma’am, I firmly believe this position came available at just the right time for you, and for me. I wouldn’t have bought a house here if I wasn’t certain of where I wanted to live. Being from Chicago, there isn’t much I’ve seen or dealt with that makes me turn tail and run. The final decision is yours, but I don’t sense that you’re willing to turn me away.”

 

What are you currently reading?

I’m in the middle of reading 2 historical mysteries. Murder on Black Swan Lane by Andrea Penrose the first book in her Wrexford & Sloane Mystery series. And A Duty to the Dead by Charles Todd the first book in the Bess Crawford mystery series. (At the time of writing this, I just learned that the mother of the duo of Charles Todd, Caroline, had just passed away.)

When I’m writing I tend to stay close to what I write, but not in the same time period. I’ve really gotten interested in books set during the Regency era and the World Wars.

 

About the Author

Winter Austin perpetually answers the question: “were you born in the winter?” with a flat “nope,” but believe her, there is a story behind her name.

A lifelong Mid-West gal with strong ties to the agriculture world, Winter grew up listening to the captivating stories told by relatives around a table or a campfire. As a published author, she learned her glass half-empty personality makes for a perfect suspense/thriller writer. Taking her ability to verbally spin a vivid and detailed story, Winter translated that into writing deadly romantic suspense, mysteries, and thrillers.

When she’s not slaving away at the computer, you can find Winter supporting her daughter in cattle shows, seeing her three sons off into the wide-wide world, loving on her fur babies, prodding her teacher husband, and nagging at her flock of hens to stay in the coop or the dogs will get them.

She is the author of multiple novels.


Tule Author Q&A: Eliana West researched the FBI!

Eliana West stopped by the Tule blog to discuss the third book in her Heart of Colton series, The Way Beyond!

 

Where did you get the inspiration for The Way Beyond?

I knew the minute I wrote about Jacob and Mae in The Way Forward that I was going to have to tell their story. What I didn’t know was that they were going to throw me such a huge curve ball! I also wanted to continue to tell the story of Colton, and how a community comes together to help each other.

 

How do you relate to Mae, your heroine, and how do you hope readers will relate to her?

Mae is the person I wish I had been when I was younger. She has confidence and is so brave. She’s not afraid to embrace the changes that life throws at her. Mae may come across as a bold and independent woman, but she is loving and has so much strength. I think in that way Mae and I are the same, we are fiercely protective of the people we care about and love.

 

How do you relate to Jacob?

Beneath all of his gruffness, Jacob is a very compassionate person. He cares deeply about the people around him, which is the way I am. Once I declare you are family, that’s it, you’re someone I’m going to check in on, and you will get a care package from me every once in a while. Care packages are my love language – LOL! Jacob is a bit more complicated, he’s stubborn and shows his love by pushing people away.

 

How is Mae different from her family, Callie, and Taylor? How is she the same?

Mae is the most tenacious person in her family. She has very strong principles, and she is also passionate about the people and things she cares about. Those are excellent qualities for a job in politics, but those qualities can also get her into trouble. 

 

What kind of research did you need to do for this story?

I am incredibly grateful to two friends who are FBI agents for answering my questions and providing helpful information. It was really interesting to dig into the world of undercover work and read about FBI agents who have worked on cases involving white supremacist groups. My husband and I have been members of The Southern Poverty Law Center for many years and I read their newsletter and Hatewatch updates regularly. I was fortunate enough to meet Morris Dees, the founder of the SPLC, and hear him speak about the work the SPLC has done tracking hate groups. Just like all the books in the Heart of Colton series, I drew on my family history. For The Way Beyond, I could go back and read old letters from my grandfather from when he was mayor of West, Mississippi. It was a great way to learn about the challenges of running a small town.

 

About the Author

Eliana West writes multi-cultural romance with diverse characters. When not writing, Eliana can be found exploring the many wineries in Oregon and Washington with her husband in their vintage Volkswagen Westfalia named Bianca.

She is the founder of Writers for Diversity a community for writers interested in creating diverse characters and worlds.


Tule Author Q&A: Jamie K. Schmidt wants to ride horses!

Jamie K. Schmidt stopped by the Tule blog to discuss the fifth book in her Three Sisters Ranch series, A Cowboy for June!

 

Where did you get the inspiration for A Cowboy for June?

I knew that Esteban needed someone when I was writing the original trilogy for The Three Sisters Ranch.  I read Cowgirl magazine and watch the women rodeo events, so I knew I had to base my heroines for the next trilogy off of professional women barrel racers.

 

If you could spend the day with June or Esteban, who would you choose and what would you do?

Tough question!  Esteban makes a mean ropa vieja.  Here’s a recipe that inspired me for that. But June is one of the Wild Grayson sisters, so she’s a party in a “Bad Reputation” studded Stetson.  I think I’d spend the day with June and her bestie, Emily, riding horses on the Three Sister Ranch.

 

What has been your favorite part about writing stories set in Last Stand?

That the community is there every time the characters step off the ranch.  I like that it intertwines my story with the other authors’ who write in the Last Stand series.

 

What song would be in the soundtrack to Esteban and June’s love story? Why? 

“Ain’t Going Down Til the Sun Comes Up” by Garth Brooks 

because it’s fast paced, wild, breaks all the rules and doesn’t care.  But a more romantic song would be “I Run to You” by Lady A. for the lines “This world keeps spinnin’ faster
Into a new disaster, so I run to you”

 

What are you currently reading?

I’m a fickle reader, mostly because I always misplace my book I’m reading and I have different moods where I want to read different books.  Right now I’m reading Undercover Bromance by Lyssa Kay Adams, Shades of Wicked by Jeaniene Frost, An Amish Match by Jo Ann Brown, and I’m listening to Susan Ericksen read Golden in Death by J.D. Robb.

 

About the Author

USA Today bestselling author, Jamie K. Schmidt, writes erotic contemporary love stories and paranormal romances. Her steamy, romantic comedy, Life’s a Beach, reached #65 on USA Today, #2 on Barnes & Noble and #9 on Amazon and iBooks. Her Club Inferno series from Random House’s Loveswept line has hit both the Amazon and Barnes & Noble top one hundred lists. The first book in the series, Heat, put her on the USA Today bestseller list for the first time, and is a #1 Amazon bestseller. Her book Stud is a 2018 Romance Writers of America Rita® Finalist in Erotica. Her dragon paranormal romance series has been called “fun and quirky” and “endearing.” Partnered with New York Times bestselling author and former porn actress, Jenna Jameson, Jamie’s hardcover debut, SPICE, continues Jenna’s FATE trilogy.


SHE GETS WHAT SHE DESERVES: Release day blog post featuring Denise N. Wheatley

I love chatting with readers and fellow authors about which they prefer, standalone novels or series. The answer is always mixed. People love both for different reasons. A Fearless Fairytale is the first series that I’ve ever written. And I have to say, I’m having a ball watching my heroine evolve with each novel.

Book 1 in the series, She Gets What She Wants, tells the story of Devon Jacobs, a small-town living, aspiring television writer whose dreams are way bigger than her confidence level. After getting her heart broken by her longtime crush, she throws caution to the wind and moves to LA to pursue her goals.

After I wrote that book, I thought I’d told a complete story. But then I realized that there was more to Devon’s life that needed to be explored. What happens after her dream of becoming a tv writer comes true? Does she make it in the business? And what about her burgeoning relationship with Ryan Roberts, the actor who she starts dating at the end of the novel? Does their relationship work out? And then there’s Devon beloved best friend, Gabby, who’s newly engaged and pregnant at the conclusion of She Gets What She Wants. Even I wanted to know what happens with her character after the book ended.

So needless to say, there was a lot of life left to this story. And I am so pleased with how my characters continued to grow in Book 2 of the series, She Gets What She Deserves. At this point, the hero, heroine and secondary characters have taken on a life of their own. They tell me where their storylines should go next. And as the tagline of She Gets What She Deserves says, some fairytales come with a plot twist. This book certainly did.

If you haven’t had a chance to read She Gets What She Wants, I certainly hope that you will do so. Once you’re done, I promise you’ll want to find out where life takes the characters next in She Gets What She Deserves.

Spoiler alert: I am currently working on Book 3 in the series, She Gets A Happy Ending. This novel is filled with just as many ups, downs, twists and turns as the first two. It also includes a fun spark of Christmas magic. So buckle up and join me on this exciting, fearless ride!