Category Archives: Author Feature

THE MONTANA RANCHER: Release day blog post featuring Paula Altenburg!

A few years ago, Tule gave me the opportunity to create my own story world and Grand, Montana was born. The McGregor Brothers of Grand, Montana became its first residents. Jake, Luke, and Zack McGregor are descendants of the town’s founding fathers, two Irish brothers who made their money selling whiskey to soldiers. The McGregor brothers proved pretty popular, so Tule suggested I keep Grand growing with a new series set in the same world. 

Dan McKillop, a good friend of Zack McGregor who features in Zack’s and Luke’s stories, starts off The Endeavour Ranch of Grand, Montana series with The Montana Sheriff. Dan and two friends inherit the ranch along with several billions of dollars. (I can never remember how many—I feel like Dr. Evil when he tries to blackmail the world for a million dollars in Austin Powers. Too little? Too much? Either way, it’s a lot more than I have in my bank account…) 

So, Dan gets his story, then Dallas Tucker gets his (in The Montana Doctor—are you seeing a theme?), and now, readers get to find out the story behind Ryan O’Connell’s dark past in The Montana Rancher

But I won’t be stopping with Ryan. Now I’m invested in both Grand and the Endeavour Ranch. Next up is The Cowboy’s Christmas Baby, which comes out in October, and features a character who makes a brief appearance in The Montana Rancher. After that, a character who appears in The Montana Doctor will drop in for the Endeavour’s Christmas party, and he’s getting his own story in 2023. I think I know who else gets a story in 2023, but I’m not one hundred percent sure about him yet. There are a couple of characters talking to me.

I do know that Roxanne Snopek will be joining the town of Grand in 2023 with her Lost Malones of Grand, Montana series, and we’re both pretty excited about that, because Grand is finally beginning to live up to its name. 

We hope readers are excited, too!

 

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.


ESCAPE GIRL: Release day blog post featuring Michelle Dayton!

A favorite part of my writing ritual over the past few years has been to create a playlist of songs that correspond to the book I’m writing.  During the drafting stage, I’ll put on my headphones and listen to the playlist while I’m doing dishes, folding laundry, and walking the dog.  It keeps me in the headspace of my main character and invigorates me to keep writing.

Want to see my list of songs for my new release, ESCAPE GIRL?  It’s definitely an eclectic mix, but I bet there’s at least one song here that will make you sing out loud!

ESCAPE GIRL Playlist

  1. Million Reasons – Lady Gaga.  This is a “second chance” love story and this song hits the right emotional notes for me of where Emily and Bobby are at the start of the book.
  2. Piece of My Heart – Janis Joplin.  At the heart of Emily’s emotional journey in this book is her relationship with her late mother.  This song was her mother’s favorite and Emily thinks of it often.  Part of this book takes place in San Francisco, so I loved including two Janis songs on this list.
  3. Sex and Candy – Marcy Playground.  Bobby is one of my favorite heroes I’ve ever written. He’s a sexy, sweet cinnamon roll, and this song just makes me think of him.
  4. Here You Come Again – Dolly Parton.  Emily *thinks* that she shouldn’t be with Bobby.  But she’s never been able to resist him.  
  5. Me and My Bobby McGee – Janis Joplin.  This song features heavily in my favorite scene of the novel.
  6. I Feel It Coming – The Weeknd, Daft Punk.  Sexy times, people.
  7. GHOST TOWN – Benson Boone. This is my “black moment” song.  You can’t listen to this song without tearing up – you can’t!
  8. Good as Hell – Lizzo.  Bobby sings this song in the shower, lol.  But it’s also how I want readers to feel at the end of this book!

 

About the Author

There are only three things Michelle Dayton loves more than sexy and suspenseful novels: her family, the city of Chicago, and Mr. Darcy. Michelle dreams of a year of world travel — as long as the trip would include weeks and weeks of beach time. As a bourbon lover and unabashed wine snob, Michelle thinks heaven is discussing a good book over an adult beverage.


SOMETHING DEADLY ON DESERT DRIVE: Release day blog post featuring Kris Bock!

Chat with Kris Bock, author of the Accidental Detective series

Something Deadly on Desert Drive brings back Kate Tessler, an injured war correspondent forced to return home to Arizona. Kate and her quirky gang of sidekicks have new problems to solve. Kate’s father and his coffee group are worried. Their friend Larry married a younger woman who now claims he has dementia. They think she’s lying. Before they can dig out the truth, a murder raises the stakes, and Kate’s father is among the suspects. To save him and Larry, Kate must reveal the real murderer – but her investigation could put all their lives at risk.

 

What first drew you to cozy mysteries?

I’ve always enjoyed reading mysteries, starting in childhood with Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden. I read all the Sherlock Holmes stories in high school. I don’t always like cozy series that strike me as cutesy, but I don’t like too much violence either, and I demand a happy ending! Series featuring main characters who are police officers, FBI agents etc. tend to be darker and more depressing. Cozy mysteries give you the intrigue of a puzzle, the fun of interesting characters, and a guaranteed satisfying ending.

 

This series is called cozy mystery, but it has aspects that could make it suspense. Why make it a cozy and how do you keep it there?

A cozy typically has an amateur detective rather than a police officer or private investigator. Kate is a journalist, which is an investigator in one sense, but so far no one is paying her to investigate these crimes. Cozies avoid swearing, sex on the page, and gory violence, which fits my series. Many cozies also feature crafts or cooking in the plot and might include recipes or craft instructions. Mine doesn’t have that, so maybe it’s more of a traditional mystery. But there aren’t really strict definitions for these subgenres. I think readers of cozies will enjoy the series for its humor and its relatable characters.


Do you write in any other genres?

I write fiction and nonfiction of all types for children and adults. As Kris Bock, I also write sweet romance and romantic suspense. My Furrever Friends series features the employees and customers at a cat café. The Accidental Billionaire Cowboys will start with The Billionaire Cowboy’s Christmas, coming Nov. 8. My romantic suspense often involves outdoor adventures and Southwestern landscapes (Learn more at my website or visit my Amazon US page or Amazon UK page. For other countries click here.)

I’m writing a series with my brother, scriptwriter Douglas J Eboch, who wrote the original screenplay for the movie Sweet Home Alabama. The Felony Melanie series follows the crazy antics of Melanie, Jake, and their friends a decade before the events of the movie.

In addition, I write for young people under the name Chris Eboch. I do a lot of educational publishing and have also published middle grade novels (for ages 9 to 12). I’ve even been a ghostwriter on some very well-known children’s mystery series.


How have readers responded to your Accidental Detective series?

In the humorous Accidental Detective series, a witty journalist solves mysteries in Arizona and tackles the challenges of turning fifty. 

Book 1 is Something Shady at Sunshine Haven: When patients are dying at an Alzheimer’s unit, a former war correspondent must use her journalism skills to uncover the killer and save her mother. Kate has followed the most dangerous news stories around the world, but can she survive going home? 

Something Shady at Sunshine Haven made Barnes & Noble’s list of “Handpicked Favorites You’ll Love.” Reviews have been great:

“A great start to a new series, Something Shady at Sunshine Haven by Kris Bock has a little something for everyone. Readers will enjoy this new cozy mystery and eagerly wait for more sleuthing with Kate and the Coffee Shop Irregulars!” ~Reading is my Superpower

“This is a fast-paced book that keeps you thinking. It’s a great jump start for this new series. I will anxiously await the second book.” ~Socrates’ Book Reviews

Something Shady at Sunshine Haven by Kris Bock grabbed me from the first page to the last. Ms. Bock is a new-to-me author, and I will be back to read more of her books if this showcases her caliber of writing.” ~Novels Alive

 

How about a sneak peek at the series?

Sign up for Kris Bock’s newsletter (unsubscribe any time) and get The Case of the Missing Monkey, a ten-page mystery short story set in the world of “The Accidental Detective” series. This is followed by information about the first books in the series, the first chapter of book 1, and three fun, short stories originally written for children. You’ll also get Lions and Love at the Cat Café, a thirty-page sweet romance set in the world of the Furrever Friends cat café, and “22 recipes from the cat café.”

 

Here’s an excerpt from Something Deadly on Desert Drive:

“Looks like we’re the last ones to arrive.” Dad raised his hand to acknowledge his friend’s wave. 

I followed Dad to the diner table where his friends sat. They greeted me warmly. This was only the second time I’d joined Dad’s twice-weekly coffee group in the month I’d been home. They were nice guys, but since I was living with my father again, I wanted to ensure he had a social life apart from me. This time, however, they had specifically requested my presence.

Which meant they wanted something.

I couldn’t wait to find out what. 

I’d gotten through my first week back home, after decades of traveling the world as a war correspondent, by solving a mystery at my mother’s Alzheimer’s care unit and putting away a killer. The next month had been filled with writing articles about those events. I was ready for a new mental challenge.

I already had enough of a physical one with PT and getting used to walking with a cane.

“Thanks for coming, Kate. We need your expert advice.” Joe Washington and his wife had helped with the nursing home investigation. Joe wore his white hair trimmed close to his head, forming a handsome contrast to his dark skin.

“Glad to help,” I said. “What’s up?”

The four men looked at each other. Dad nodded to one of them. “You start, Clarence. You were the first to notice something wrong.”

“We’re worried about our friend, Larry,” Clarence said. “His wife died last year, and he remarried in the spring. We have concerns about his new wife. She is very young, maybe your age.”

While I chuckled at the thought of being “very young” at 49, I had no desire to get involved in someone’s marriage, especially if his friends’ disapproval was only due to the age difference or loyalty to the old wife.

“At first, Larry seemed happy after he married Pamela,” Clarence said. “They went on a month-long honeymoon that must have cost a fortune. After they returned, I reminded Larry to revise his will if he wanted to make sure his children got some of his money. He agreed he would. That was the last time he seemed happy.”

The other men nodded.

“He hasn’t joined our coffee group in over two months,” Dad said. “Pamela says he’s getting dementia. She won’t let him leave the house.”

I could understand being protective of an ill spouse. As a younger wife, she might be embarrassed by her elderly husband’s infirmity. But when someone was old and sick, keeping him away from his friends wasn’t helpful. Was she overprotective and perhaps making bad decisions, or was something more serious happening?

“I’m glad to help if I can,” I said, “but I’m not sure how. You need to know if Larry is really suffering from memory problems, and if so, if he’s getting the right treatments.”

Joe leaned forward. “When you were investigating Sunshine Haven, you pretended to be writing a story so you could talk to the family members.”

 

About the Author

Kris Bock writes novels of mystery, suspense, and romance. She has lived in ten states and one foreign country but is now firmly planted in the Southwest, where many of her books are set. Her romantic suspense novels include stories of treasure hunting, archaeology, and intrigue. Readers have called these novels “Smart romance with an Indiana Jones feel.”  Learn more at www.krisbock.com or visit her Amazon page.

Kris’s Furrever Friends Sweet Romance series features the employees and customers at a cat café. Watch as they fall in love with each other and shelter cats. Get a free 10,000-word story set in the world of the Furrever Friends cat café when you sign up for the Kris Bock newsletter.

Kris writes for children under the names Chris Eboch and M. M. Eboch. She has published over 60 books for young people, including ghostwriting for some famous mystery series.  Her novels for ages nine and up include Bandits Peak, a survival thriller; The Eyes of Pharaoh, a mystery that brings ancient Egypt to life; and The Well of Sacrifice, an action-packed drama set in ninth-century Mayan Guatemala, used in many schools.

Kris lives in New Mexico, where she enjoys hiking, watching the sunset from her patio, and hanging out with her husband and their ferrets.


LOLA AND THE SINGLE DAD: Release day blog post featuring Kelly Hunter!

G’day.

Yes, Aussies really do say that, although ‘Hi’ works equally well. ‘Hello’ or ‘Good morning’ works a treat if we’re feeling more formal. Aussies can do formal, when pressed. Come to think of it, ‘G’day’ is clearly a sneaky protest against English formality. Who knew?

Even though the heroine Lola and hero Max in Lola and the Single Dad are Aussies living in Aus, I don’t think they use a lot of slang. They never, for example, look like a stunned mullet or chuck a sickie. No one pops the esky in search of a cold one. No one wears thongs on their feet. I even refrain from mentioning all the deadly creatures just waiting to have a go, ya mug. I know I’m writing for an international audience. I want my words to be universally understood.

And yet… there’s a tone to my Australian stories that I can’t erase. If the slang doesn’t get you, the spelling just might. And the humour…that can be downright self-deprecating, but that’s okay because we make fun of everyone else too. We exaggerate, satirise, and stereotype. Even when we try to be dreadfully good and keep a lid on it, irreverent humour will out.

For my heroine Lola, saving face is not a thing. She puts herself out there, over and over, and has a go. When she gets smacked down, she gets back up, dusts off and tries a different approach. She’s resilient. That’s a global trait rather than an Australian one, but resilience is more important than ever these days, don’t you think? Resilience and humour are excellent companions.

I’m thrilled to bits to be closing out the multi-author Outback Babies series for Tule. There are four stories all up, and while each can be read as a standalone, they’re all set in the small country town of Wirralong and characters do weave in and out of other stories. So whaddya reckon? Are you keen? 

Because here they are:

And have a good day.

 

About the Author

Accidentally educated in the sciences, Kelly Hunter didn’t think to start writing romances until she was surrounded by the jungles of Malaysia for a year and didn’t have anything to read. Eventually she decided that writing romance suited her far better than throwing sterile screw-worm flies out of airplane windows, and changed careers. Kelly now lives in Australia, surrounded by lush farmland and family, 2 dogs, 3 miniature cows, a miniature pig, a 3-legged cat and a small flock of curious chickens. There are still flies, but their maggots don’t feed on flesh. Bargain. Kelly is a USA Today bestselling author, a three-time Romance Writers of America RITA finalist and loves writing to the short contemporary romance form.


TO WIN A HIGHLANDER’S HEART: Release day blog post featuring Gerri Russell!

Warrior Women by Gerri Russell

History is filled with unsung female heroes who not only took care of hearth and home, but also brandished weapons, fought in battles, and proved not only their physical strength, but mental abilities. They proved they were just as capable of leading armies and protecting their kin as well as any man, all while defying gender norms.  There are many notable examples such as Ana Nzinga, Zenobia, Lozen, Artemisia, Tomoe Gozen, Queen Teuta, Joan of Arc, Margaret Ann Bulkley, Lady Triệu, Boudica, Grace O’Malley, and the list goes on and on. 

I want to highlight four brave women in Scotland who are often not mentioned in the history books who should also be remembered for their bravery, cunning, and daring feats. I’ll talk about each of them below. I used these women to form the basis for my heroine, Isolde Nicolson, in To Win a Highlander’s Heart. Isolde is a warrior, as good at her craft as any Scottish male. He was determined, loyal, brave, all while still maintaining her femineity.

Image purchased from iStockphoto.com

Queen Scathach of Skye

This warrior woman comes from myth and legend which often have a foundation in truth. Scathach’s name translates to “the shadowy one” in Gaelic and with good reason: Scathach was a woman warrior you did not want to trifle with.

Legends claim that she trained warriors in battle skills mixed with martial arts at her covert school, so covert in fact, that if you wanted her to teach you, you had to find her first. Her fortress sat on the Isle of Skye northwest of Scotland. But reaching the fortress was just the beginning: Scathach’s impregnable castle had a gate that was guarded by her fearsome daughter, Uatach.

Scathach’s training regime was as difficult and deadly as the journey to her island. She imparted on her trainees how to pole vault over a castle’s walls, fight underwater, and use a special weapon of her own making called a gáe bolg, which was a barbed harpoon. 

It is said that she trained the Ulster hero Cúchulainn, after who the Cuillin mountains are named. He sought out Scathach when his future father-in-law made it a condition for marrying his daughter. 

In addition to training scores of great heroes and warriors, Scathach also became the goddess of the dead. If a warrior was strong enough to defeat her in mortal combat, they could enter the Land of Eternal Youth as a reward for defeating one of history’s greatest women warriors.

Lady Christian Bruce

Lady Christian Bruce was the older sister of Robert the Bruce and after spending six years as an English prisoner played a vital role in the Wars of Independence, leading the defense of an Aberdeenshire castle against British forces. 

Lady Christian’s third husband was Sir Andrew Murray who was appointed Guardian of Scotland after Robert the Bruce’s death in 1329. Sir Andrew was a vital figure in the second War of Independence against Edward III, who wanted to install Edward Balliol on the Scottish throne.

In 1335, English forces besieged Kildrummy Castle in Aberdeenshire. The defenders were commanded by Lady Christina Bruce, who held out until reinforces marched north and defeated the English at the Battle of Culblean.

Following that victory, Lady Christian continued to play an important role in Scottish politics until her death in 1357 at the age of 84.

Image purchased from iStockphoto.com

Lady Anne Farquharson-Mackintosh (Colonel Anne)

Lady Anne Mackintosh was the wife of the chief of the Mackintosh clan who played a prominent role during the 1745 Jacobite uprising. Anne married Angus Mackintosh at the age of nineteen. He was a captain in the Black Watch, a fighting unit the English government raised from loyal clans to police the Highlands in the aftermath of the 1715 Jacobite uprising. 

Despite her husband’s affiliations, Lady Anne’s sympathies lay with the Jacobite cause. When Bonnie Prince Charlie raise his standard at Glenfinnan, Anne rode around the clan lands, wearing a tartan riding costume and carrying a pistol. She raise over three hundred and fifty Farquharsons and Mackintoshs to fight with the Clan Chattan regiment in the Jacobite army. 

During the uprising, Captain Angus Mackintosh fought on the losing government side at the Battle of Prestonpans in 1745 and was subsequently captured. He was later released into the custody of his wife. When they met, she greeted him with “your servant, Captain.” To which he replied, “your servant, Colonel.” And although Anne never actually led troops into battle, the nickname has stayed with her through history. 

After the defeat of the Jacobites at Culloden, Anne was arrested by government troops and held at Ulster Castle for six weeks. She was later released without charges into the custody of her husband. Despite their support for opposite sides during the 1745 uprising, Anne and Agnes lived contentedly together. Anne is known as the only female military leader during the 1745 uprising and the first female to hold the rank of colonel in Scotland.  She died at the age of 64.

Lady Agnes Randolph (Black Anges)

Lady Agnes Randolph faced down an English army without ever raising a sword and won. She was called Black Agnes because of her dark hair, dark eyes, and olive skin.

Agnes married Patrick Dunbar, 9th Earl Dunbar, 2nd Earl of March. She was his second wife. One of the earl’s castles was the formidable fortress of Dunbar near Berwick. The castle was seen as the key to the southwest of Scotland. Edward II had been keen to capture it, and the earl had even leveled it to the ground to keep it out of English hands. After that, he rebuilt the castle and by 1338 the castle was completely restored as a mighty fortress.

Despite Scottish victory at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314, the English had not given up hope of conquering Scotland. Edward III wanted desperately to oust David II, Robert the Bruce’s son, from the Scottish throne and replace him with the much more pliable Edward Balliol, the exiled King John Balliol’s eldest son. While the Earl of March was away on military duty with the king in the north of Scotland, leaving Lady Agnes and a handful of men to hold Dunbar. Edward III sent his best men to attack Dunbar. 

Willian Montague, Earl of Salsbury, descended on Dunbar with his army and demanded its surrender. These men thought victory was imminent since Berwick had already fallen and the castle was only held by a small contingent of men and a woman. Salsbury was shocked when Agnes told him no. In response, Salsbury began his siege, bombarding the walls with boulders and lead. Agnes instructed her warriors to save the boulders then paraded with her ladies in their best gowns and dusted the ramparts with lace handkerchiefs, astonishing the Englishmen below and angering Salsbury. 

In retaliation, Salsbury brought out a battering ram and pounded the gates, but the boulders that they had previously been launched at Dunbar were returned on English heads from a great height. When force didn’t work, Salsbury tried to bribe a guard to open the castle gates. The guardsman kept the money but told Agnes immediately. Salsbury’s small band of men almost got trapped in the castle but hey escaped. Agnes taunted him as he fled, “Fare thee well, Montague, I meant that you should have supped with us and support us in upholding the castle from the English.”

 So Salsbury settled in to wait. He would starve them out. What he didn’t know was that there was a secret door where men and supplies were replenished by Sir Alexander Ramsay of Dalhousie. After the castle was resupplied, Agnes gave the English a gift of a fresh loaf of bread and a bottle of wine. 

As a final straw, Salsbury captured Agnes’s brother and presented him before her with a noose around his neck. He claimed if she didn’t submit, her brother would hang. Agnes called back that he should do it with her thanks as then she would inherit her brother’s titles and land.  

Five months later, the Earl of Salsbury was defeated. He negotiated a truce and marched away with Dunbar still in Scottish hands. The only victory Salsbury had at Dunbar was to write a song about his nemesis. “She kept a stir in tower and trench, That brawling, boisterous Scottish wench, Came I early, came I late I found Agnes at the gate.” 

Image purchased from iStockphoto.com

These are but four examples of determined Scottish women who were willing to defy gender expectations for the sake of their homeland. The lesson here is: do not mess with a determined Scottish woman. If you’d like to read about another fictional warrior woman, check out Isolde Nicolson in To Win a Highlander’s Heart.

 

About the Author

Gerri Russell is the award-winning author of historical and contemporary novels including the Brotherhood of the Scottish Templars series and Flirting with Felicity. A two-time recipient of the Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart Award and winner of the American Title II competition sponsored by RT Book Reviews magazine, she is best known for her adventurous and emotionally intense novels set in the thirteenth- and fourteenth-century Scottish Highlands. Before Gerri followed her passion for writing romance novels, she worked as a broadcast journalist, a newspaper reporter, a magazine columnist, a technical writer and editor, and an instructional designer. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and four mischievous black cats.


THE BABY WHISPERER: Release day blog post featuring Fiona McArthur!

Helloooo, big smile here, it’s Fiona McArthur waving to lovers of western romance across the ocean from Australia. We’ve hit winter and the winds are blowing so hard all the gorgeous red and gold autumn leaves from the liquid amber trees have filled the gutters around the house. I might need to clean those out before we have the next rain for our water tanks. Still, there’s so much water still lying around from the floods that we don’t need water yet. This photo was taken a few days ago at sunrise.

We live on a farm most of the time and have been a part of the local community for nearly forty years where I loved my job as a rural midwife and my husband was a paramedic. Now we’re transitioning to an even smaller town at the beach. I love small towns and I love to write about them. 

One of my favourite small towns to write about is Wirralong, a fictional, old-gold-mining town in Oz, in Victoria. I so love connected books. Do you? I have quite a few series out there in reader land. This series runs with multiple authors, and is my fourth book for Wirralong and TULE. You may have noticed my books always have a birth in them, and all my midwives are friends, so there’s continuity there in the Outback Brides. This time, in Outback Babies, we started with Barbara Hannay, then Trish Morey, myself and the fabulous Kelly Hunter to close up for this series. 

My book, The Baby Whisperer, comes out, on the 9th June and I think Eli is one of my favourite ever heroes. This book is about healing from loss and learning to trust your heart. My leading lady is Stephanie, a midwife and a mothercraft nurse. 

After losing her dad, her brother, and then her husband fighting fires over in Western Australia, Stevie makes a new life across the continent in Wirralong. The last thing she needs is another hero. Of course, then she meets Eli, grandson to a Polynesian pirate, risk-taker and her new, gorgeous builder. Seriously, the guy is hot, awesome with babies and makes her a moon gate just because he can. But she is not losing anyone else. No. But it’s such a struggle to stay focussed on not falling fall for Eli…  If you like the sound of that, and it is fun, with cranky babies and house renovations, and of course – a new baby born …you can buy the book here 

I’m so enjoying the previous books in this series, love, love, loved Trish Morey’s A Mother For Ella. I’ve just pressed “buy” on Barb Hannay’s book and have already started, can’t wait for Kelly Hunter’s next awesomeness as well. I hope you love your time in Wirralong. Stay safe, stay smiling and wishing you gorgeous books that make you sigh in pleasure. Lots of love xx Fi

 

About the Author

Fiona McArthur has written more than forty books and shares her medical knowledge and her love of working with women, families and emergency services in her stories. In her compassionate, pacey fiction, her love of the Australian landscape meshes beautifully with warm, funny, multigenerational characters as she highlights challenges for rural and remote families, and the strength shared between women. She always champions the underdog, and the wonderful, ordinary people doing extraordinary things. Then that bit of drama thrown in because who doesn’t love a few tears, a heartfelt sigh of relief and a big happy smile at the end? Make that gorgeous man earn the right to win his beautiful and strong-willed heroine’s heart because that’s something she believes in. And, absolutely, happy endings are a must.


Tule Author Q&A: Nan Reinhardt’s hero reminds her of her husband!

Nan Reinhardt stopped by the Tule blog to discuss the second book in The Lange Brothers series, Falling for the Doctor!

Where did you get the inspiration for Falling for the Doctor?

Honestly, it came with the Lange Brothers series inspiration…Max showed up in The Baby Contract, as did Ryker (The Valentine Wager) and Beck (The Fireman’s Christmas Wish), and these guys just called to me. Max is my sweet innocent teddy bear—so full of love. He reminds me of Husband when I first met him, over 50 years ago. Yikes! Has it really been that long? 

 

Can you share a fun fact about your hero and heroine, Max and Lauren, to help readers get to know them better?

Max is such an innocent and always sees the sunny side, while Lauren has been raised in such a staid academic atmosphere that she has a hard time believing it’s okay just to be happy. They balance each other well, I think. Max’s faith in Lauren is what gives them their happily-ever-after.

 

This is the second book in The Lange Brothers series, but it isn’t your first time writing a story set in River’s Edge. What was it like to come back? Will we see any familiar faces? 

Oh, yes! I love River’s Edge and there are so many wonderful stories there! I loved coming home to that little river town to tell Max and Lauren’s story. You’ll see lots a familiar faces—the Flahertys, in particular the Flaherty wives, who befriend Lauren, of course the other Langes, but also Mac and Carly from the Riverside Diner and the Breakfast Club—Noah, Butch, Harry, and Clyde. It’s a blast to give those secondary characters cameos and to introduce new characters in each successive book. 

 

What was your favorite scene to write and why? (include a snippet)

That’s a tough one—the whole book was fun to write. But I really loved Lauren’s scene where she does the tracheostomy on the little choking girl because she was back doing what she loved—surgery, even if it was a minor one. She saved a child and discovered her own gifts again there on the side of the road. And proved to herself that her instincts and talent were still there. When the chips were down, she didn’t hesitate to act. Plus there was a connection to her mom, who died several years before—so just a real moment of self-awareness for Lauren.

Excerpt:

Lauren tugged the mother away, peering around John’s shoulder. Sure enough, the child was struggling to breathe, choking and panicked, the toddler tried to speak as she clawed at her neck. 

“Let’s get her out of this seat.” Shoving the mother back none too gently, John unsnapped the clips that were holding the child in the harness and handed her to Lauren, who immediately tried a child Heimlich on her to no avail.

“Dammit, it’s not working!” Lauren laid her on the grassy verge a few feet away, knelt beside her, and opened her lips, peering inside for whatever was obstructing the airway.

Good God, the child is turning blue! 

“What was she eating when you were struck?” Lauren glanced over her shoulder at the mother, who was now sobbing.

“Listen!” John shook the woman gently. “What was she eating?”

“B-breakfast,” the mother choked out. “Sausage links w-wrapped in p-pancakes from…” She pointed helplessly back down the highway toward a cluster of fast-food joints. 

Lauren held the child’s tongue down with her thumb—whatever was blocking the little one’s airway—most likely a piece of sausage—wasn’t accessible.

The child’s mother yanked hard on Lauren’s elbow. “Stop it! I tried that already. I couldn’t reach it.” 

Lauren shrugged her off. “I’m a doctor. Let me help her.”

“She’s trying to clear her airway.” John gently pulled the woman back. “Let her work.”

Gratified he had taken the poor mother in hand, Lauren said grimly, “I’m going to have to trach her. Find me a-a straw or a ballpoint pen. Anything hollow! Quick!” She reached into the outside flap of her bag, retrieved the small bottle of hand sanitizer and slathered it over her hands.

“I have a knife in my truck.” John released the mother, who was sobbing and hovering over Lauren and the child.

“There’s no time. I’ve got this.” Lauren waved him back, while at the same time unzipping a secret pocket in the interior of her purse, fumbling for, and finally clasping her fingers around the pocketknife there.

It was her mother’s Girl Scout pocketknife—a relic from the sixties—something Frannie had carried with her everywhere. You never know when a pocketknife might come in handy, Fran had declared as far back as Lauren could remember, always be prepared. When Lauren discovered it tossed on the dresser in her parents’ bedroom the day of Frannie’s wake, she’d slipped the small emerald-colored penknife into her pocket. From that moment, she’d had it with her always, moving it from purse to purse for over fifteen years, a talisman of her mother’s love and faith in her. She’d kept it sharpened and often brought it out to look it, hold it, and remember Frannie slicing twine or opening a package or cutting a flower stem in the garden. 

Acting purely on instinct, Lauren tipped the girl’s head back to expose the cricoid cartilage, running her finger gently down the child’s throat to find the bulge. Just above it, she drenched the neck with sani, then squirted it all over the stainless steel blade of Frannie’s knife. 

“Here.” John tapped her on the shoulder, holding out a paper-wrapped drinking straw. “Found this in the console.”

“Open it, but don’t touch the end of it.”

He obeyed, using the wrapper to protect the sanitary end while Lauren applied the tiny scissor on the knife to shorten the straw. 

“You’re going to cut her throat?” the wild-eyed mother screeched, falling to her knees beside Lauren. “With…with that? No!”

Lauren glanced up, keeping her tone as kind as she could manage. “Unless you’ve got a scalpel handy.” She didn’t blame the mother for being frantic, she just didn’t have the time to deal with her. 

John knelt and wrapped his arms around the mother, holding her back against his chest. “Shhh,” he murmured in the woman’s ear. “She’s going to help her breathe. Here.” He turned her, making sure her face was against his shoulder and held her head there so she couldn’t watch. Lauren was thankful for his response, which was exactly the right reaction to the distressed mom’s hysterics. 

Taking a deep breath, Lauren sent a silent prayer to her own mother. Help me. The child’s neck, white and delicate, nearly stopped her, but she set the blade against the skin and with a hand steady as a rock, made a half-inch cut, exposing the yellowish rings of the cricothyroid membrane. Blood filled the cut, but miraculously, someone above her thrust clean gauze at her so she could clear her field. Slicing between the rings, she inserted the piece of plastic straw into the trachea through the hole she’d made and gently blew two breaths into the tube. Air came back to her and the child immediately began breathing on her own through the straw. “She’s breathing!” 

The little girl’s color lightened in a matter of seconds and her eyes opened, huge and dark brown and terrified. 

 

What are you currently reading?

I’ve got two books going right now—Jane Porter’s Flirting with Fifty and a book by another Tule author that I have an ARC of, Sapna Srinivasan’s A Rebel’s Mantra, which I think comes out in July. I’m also slowly savoring the book my sister gave me for Christmas, The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady. It is a beautiful journal filled with amazing drawings. I don’t have the gift of drawing, so I’m getting the thrill vicariously through this lovely volume. 

 

About the Author

Nan Reinhardt has been a copy editor and proofreader for over twenty-five years, and currently works mainly on fiction titles for a variety of clients, including Avon Books, St. Martin’s Press, Kensington Books, Tule Publishing, and Entangled Publishing, as well as for many indie authors.

Author Nan writes romantic fiction for women in their prime. Yeah, women still fall in love and have sex, even after they turn forty-five! Imagine! She is also a wife, a mom, a mother-in-law, and a grandmother. She’s been an antiques dealer, a bank teller, a stay-at-home mom, and a secretary.

She loves her career as a freelance editor, but writing is Nan’s first and most enduring passion. She can’t remember a time in her life when she wasn’t writing—she wrote her first romance novel at the age of ten, a love story between the most sophisticated person she knew at the time, her older sister (who was in high school and had a driver’s license!), and a member of Herman’s Hermits. If you remember who they are, you are Nan’s audience! She’s still writing romance, but now from the viewpoint of a wiser, slightly rumpled, post-menopausal woman who believes that love never ages, women only grow more interesting, and everybody needs a little sexy romance.


Tule Author Q&A: Heather Novak was inspired by The Princess Bride!

Heather Novak stopped by the Tule blog to discuss the second book in the Love Me Dead series, Grim and Bear It!

Where did you get the inspiration for Grim and Bear It?  

It all started with a lifetime of watching Princess Bride! The quote “Death cannot stop true love. All it can do is delay it for awhile” encapsulates this book. When I sat down and asked myself who Jake’s partner should be, that Princess Bride line ran through my head. When Poppy appeared—a grim reaper who would rather be a wedding planner—I knew I’d found my perfect pairing. 

 

Welcome to Tule! Can you share a fun fact about yourself to help us get to know you?

I’m a retired theater organist and former co-host of Somewhere In Time Radio, an internationally syndicated show. We played big band and theater organ music, and I was honored to work with them for ten years, until their final show. Since I’m from Michigan and worked for the franchise, it will come as no surprise that I have the movie Somewhere In Time memorized. It helped make me the romance writer I am today. 

 

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

This was the hardest question you could’ve asked because I love them both so dearly. But…I’m going to say Poppy (don’t tell Jake!). I’d want her as my date to a wedding and then we’d sneak out early and watch some of our favorite romantic comedies. There’s just something so fun about watching romcoms with people who love them. 

 

What song would be in the soundtrack to Poppy and Jake’s love story? Why?

The top song on the Grim and Bear It soundtrack is “The Madness” by Nicotine Dolls. It encapsulates Poppy and Jake’s story and was on repeat while I was working. It’s not a love song, but then they aren’t really a predictable couple, haha. The song, based on a true story, is about struggling with mental health while trying to portray that everything’s fine on the outside. 

The lyrics go: “Gasping for life/but it’s all in your mind/you’ll be fine, you’ll be fine/just stay alive.” Poppy’s desperately trying to keep Jake alive for as long as possible, both so he can stop whoever is threatening his loved ones, but also because once he dies, Poppy will never see him again. 

 

What are you currently reading?

I’m one of those annoying people who reads an audiobook, paperback, and ebook all at the same time. In audio, I’m listening to An Acquired Taste by Kelly Cain, in ebook, I’m reading History of Us by Stacey Agdern, and my paperback of Always Practice Safe Hex by Juliette Cross is waiting for me.

 

About the Author

Bold, Breathtaking, Badass Romance.

When she’s not pretending to be a rock star with purple hair, award-winning author Heather Novak is crafting sex positive romance novels to make you swoon! After her rare disease tried to kill her, Heather mutated into a superhero whose greatest power is writing stories that you can’t put down.

Heather tries to save the world (like her late mom taught her) from her home near Detroit, Michigan, where she lives with Mr. Heather and a collection of musical instruments. She is part of the LGBTQ+ community and believes Black Lives Matter.

Follow her at www.HeatherNovak.Net

You can learn more about Heather’s rare disease at: www.Hypopara.org


Tule Author Q&A: Trish Morey loves a second chance romance!

Trish Morey stopped by the Tule blog to discuss the second book in the Outback Babies series, A Mother for Ella!

Where did you get the inspiration for A Mother for Ella?

In so many places! For one, from the stories of Wirralong that have gone before. I knew Wirralong as a warm and wonderful outback Aussie town, full of colourful characters and a kind of magic in the air that sparks romance in the most unlikely of places. And then there’s the authors I’m working with – more friends than colleagues. Barbara Hannay, Fiona McArthur and Kelly Hunter, three fabulous women who inspire me every day. It was so much fun working out our stories and I’m thrilled to bits to be part of this line-up.

 

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

Amber is an accountant – just like I was in a former life – but she’s had a bad run lately, dogged by scandal, tragedy and an imploded engagement. (Note: authors are dreadful people, we make our characters suffer terribly on their way to HEA!) Amber comes to Wirralong looking to put her past behind her and hoping to rebuild her career and reputation. All she needs is a client. 

Sinclair is a single dad doing it tough, but he doesn’t want sympathy, so keeps a low profile. He’s a great dad to baby Ella, but he’s got one heck of a tax problem, and he’s in desperate need of an accountant. 

A Mother for Ella is a sweet book of second chances, one of my favourite tropes, and I hope it resonates with the readers too. Amber and Sinclair are just ordinary everyday people trying to do the best they can given the circumstances in which they find themselves. Neither of them is looking for love, that’s the last thing on their radar, so I loved making their needs collide so they had no choice but to notice each other and discover there could be more.

 

What song would be in the soundtrack to Amber and Sinclair’s love story? Why?

Without a doubt, the playlist would include Beyonce’s beautiful song, Halo. Both Sinclair and Amber have walls that have to be breached, and in the end, they come tumbling down, even if not at the same time (which only made it all the more fun). 

 

What was your favorite scene to write and why? 

Oh, that is so hard! There were so many scenes I loved writing, but here’s what I’m hoping you’ll find a fun one. Amber has been surprised by the amount of work Sinclair’s income tax returns involved, but she’s made a start, finding a few gaps in the paperwork that she needs Sinclair to fill. She’s also started training with the West Wirralong netball team, first training was two nights ago and her muscles are seriously feeling it.
I love it because it’s starting to show both Amber and Sinclair starting to notice and warm up to each other – and maybe, just revealing a bit too much for comfort. 

This excerpt begins when Sinclair’s come to drop off his last year’s income tax assessment, and is looking around the office, surprised to see the piles of paperwork Amber has already sorted.

 

‘These are all mine?’

She nodded. ‘All yours. Contents of the first box, along with a few gems from the sundries.’

‘Wow, you’ve done all this already?’

She wanted to laugh at that, it had taken hours to get this far, and it would take the same time again to record them in her accounting system. But he looked so impressed at her efforts, it was hard not to feel a little proud. ‘And I was going to call you. There’s a couple of bank statements missing, along with a few other bits and pieces I couldn’t find—’ She pored over her desk and around the room—‘I’ve got a list for you somewhere around here. I had a quick glance through the other boxes, but no dice, so I’m sorry, but it looks like you’re going to have to have a scrounge and make another trip.’

‘No worries,’ he said with his lopsided smile. ‘I didn’t expect to get my tax returns brought up to date without a bit of effort from me.’

There was that dimple again. He looked so changed when he smiled. So wholesome. And it changed the way she felt too. Warm all the way to her toes. 

Weird. 

She’d never had a client who affected her like that. Amber had to look away before she read too much into it. She flicked through the pages he’d handed her, thankful for the diversion. ‘Excellent,’ she said, all business again, wayward thoughts under control. ‘These will help enormously. I’ll call if I need anything else.’

‘I’ll be off then. If you’ve got that list for me?’

‘Oh right. Yes, it’s here somewhere. I must have put it down …’ She spotted it atop the pile of bank statements. Of course, it would be there. She’d double-checked the pile to make sure the statements weren’t hiding there after all. ‘Here it is,’ she said, reaching for it, but the paper slipped through her fingers, fluttering onto the floor. 

She squatted down to retrieve it and instantly realised her mistake when the muscles in her legs refused to let her up again. ‘Ugh,’ she said, grabbing hold of the credenza and using it for leverage. She winced involuntarily as her muscles screamed out a protest on the way up.

He moved a step closer. ‘Are you okay?’

‘I’m fine,’ she said, when she was standing again, rubbing her legs to ease the pain. ‘Or I was, until someone talked me into trying out for the netball club. Two days later I find I can barely move.’ She passed him the paper. ‘Here you go.’

He glanced at it with a frown that disappeared the moment he folded it and tucked it into his back pocket. ‘Which netball team?’ 

‘The West Wirralong Demons.’

‘I used to play for the Demons. The footy team, I mean.’

She knew that. Monica had told her at dinner. But still she smiled at his need to specify which team. ‘I didn’t think you meant the netball team. Although I can see how the lycra onesie uniform might appeal.’

He grinned, and there was that damned dimple again, and she had nobody to blame but herself this time. ‘I wore one once, a few of us did, for an end of season awards night. We borrowed them from the club, added long wigs and called ourselves the Wirralonghairs and sang an Ode to Netball one of us had made up. It was quite the night.’

She gave a wry grin that had more to do with imagining this man in a lycra netball uniform than his actual words. ‘I bet it was. I hope there’s video evidence somewhere. Maybe I should search YouTube?’

His grin dropped so suddenly she almost laughed. He cleared his throat. ‘Maybe not. Not my finest hour.’ He glanced at his watch. ‘I better be going. I’ll dig out those missing papers and get back to you asap.’

‘Thanks. I’ll let you know if there’s anything else.’

‘Deal,’ he said.

***

Sinclair climbed into his truck and felt like banging his head on the steering wheel. He would have, too, if he’d thought it might knock some sense into him. What the hell had he been thinking, telling her that story? What must she think of him, that he was some kind of drunken misfit who dressed up in women’s clothing for kicks? Not that there was necessarily anything wrong with that, if that’s what floated your boat, but he didn’t want Amber thinking that about him.

He started the truck and headed back to the farm, banging the heel of his hand down on the steering wheel for good measure.

Flipping heck, what a moron he was. She was his accountant, not one of his footy mates down the pub. Not that he went to the pub to see his mates these days. Not that he played footy either, for that matter. Marriage had changed that. Marriage and a wife who refused to come and watch like all the other wives and girlfriends, and okay, that was her choice, but who was incapable of staying stuck all the way out there on the farm with only a baby for company, without managing to somehow spend a fortune online. It was like she was punishing him for doing something that he enjoyed, instead of pandering to her every demand. In the end, it got so that he could almost hear her one-clicking over the toots of the cars around the boundary when someone goaled. He’d quit the team then. He’d thought it might put an end to the arguments, but the spending went on anyway and the arguments did too. 

And then when Sally had died, he’d avoided going into town. He couldn’t stand the looks of pity and the mumbled words of sympathy. Playing the grieving widower was like living a lie. Sure, he was grieving, but there was a hefty dose of relief mixed in, and what kind of monster did that make him? So, he’d buried himself in farm work and fighting off Sally’s parents’ quest for custody of Ella, and let his world shrink. 

Maybe it was time his world opened up a tad? Maybe it was time he thought about signing up for another season? The season hadn’t kicked off yet and there were a few weeks to get match fit. He could dust off his footy jumper, dig out his boots. Ella wouldn’t be a problem—there were enough WAGs to look after her, and plenty of other kids to keep her entertained for hours. Might even help her with a bit of socialisation; she didn’t get anywhere near enough of that on the farm with just him and Angela looking after her.

He’d talk to Nobby. Find out when training was on and whether there was a place for him in the team. His old coach had been pissed off to lose his second-best goal kicker, but hopefully he would welcome Sinclair back.

He thought about Amber and how much pain she’d been in after her netball training. For a moment he’d thought her legs had completely seized, it had been a relief to know it was only muscle soreness. 

He kept pretty fit with the heavy work at the farm, but heavy work wasn’t the same as a full-pelt footy training session, and he was bound to suffer a bit of muscle grief too when he got back into it. But that was no reason to chicken out of it.

He drove on a while, raising two fingers on the steering wheel in acknowledgment when he passed one of his neighbours coming the other way. 

Amber would look good in one of those onesie nettie uniforms. 

The idea came from nowhere and refused to float away. She’d been wearing slim-leg navy trousers today, with a skinny belt at the waist, with another of those white shirts she seemed to favour, with her hair pinned back at the top with the rest of it floating down over her shoulders. It was a good look all right, but he couldn’t say for sure that she wouldn’t look better clad in the Demons’ fitted black and red lycra with the little flippy skirt over the built-in knickers. 

He snorted.

And definitely a good deal better than he had. 

***

 

What are you currently reading?

I’m so late to the party on this one, but I finally found myself a copy of Helen Hoang’s The Kiss Quotient and I am smacking myself that it took me this long to read. I mean, everyone said it was fabulous and that always makes me a tad wary – it’s such a let down when I don’t love it the same – but gosh, it really is that good. I’m going savour this story, and then I’m going to immerse myself in Wirralong’s Outback Babies and devour all four books in one delicious gulp. 

 

About the Author

USA Today Bestselling Author, Trish Morey has written thirty romances for the internationally bestselling Harlequin Presents line and her stories have been published in more than 25 languages in 40 countries worldwide, including being published in Manga comic book form in Japan, and as Trish Moreyova in the Czech Republic. Trish was awarded Romance Writers of Australia’s Romantic Book of the Year Award (the Ruby) for short, sexy romance In 2006 and again in 2009, as well as being a finalist in the Romance Writers of America’s prestigious RITA Awards in 2012. A qualified Chartered Accountant by trade, Trish was employed as financial manager at a major business school prior to her first sale. Trish lives with her husband, 4 daughters and assorted menagerie in the beautiful Adelaide Hills.


Tule Author Q&A: Eliana West’s hero is a dog lover!

Eliana West stopped by the Tule blog to discuss the fourth book in the Heart of Colton series, The Way to Hope!

Where did you get the inspiration for The Way to Hope?

Many years ago, I watched a video from the Southern Poverty Law Center where they interviewed an undercover FBI agent embedded with the KKK and Rhett Colton’s character was born. I knew from the first book in the Heart of Colton series, The Way Forward, that I would tell Rhett’s story. Even though he doesn’t appear until book three, he’s been a part of everyone’s story. The other inspiration for this book is a dear friend who is an FBI agent. I wanted to tell a story that honors the often unknown sacrifice people in law enforcement make to keep us safe. 

 

Can you share a fun fact about your hero and heroine, Rhett and Jasmine, to help readers get to know them better?

My heroine Jasmine is a veterinarian. Her first pet was a snake, much to her big brother’s dismay. Jasmine’s brother is Isiah Owens Colton’s sheriff, and he’s never quite forgiven his sister for the time her snake escaped and ended up in his bed! 

Rhett is a pretty serious guy, but something Jasmine doesn’t know about him is that he holds the record for the largest bass ever caught in the county. When he’s fishing, Rhett can forget about all his other battles. It’s just him and the fish. 

 

Free Adult German Shepherd Lying on Ground Stock PhotoRhett’s dog, Rebel, is what brings your characters together. Tell us about Rebel. Are you a dog person or animal lover in your own life?

Rebel is special, isn’t he?! We’ve had both dogs and cats in our house. We are mainly cat people, but we have a lot of canine friends. 

Rebel is a German Shepherd mix, and very smart. The inspiration for Rebel came from our neighbor’s dog, Sally and another dog, Duke. What I love about both animals is their natural instinct to care for their humans. Sally always knew if I was upset or troubled and would come over to offer her version of a hug, pressing her body against my legs. 

Rhett may have rescued Rebel, but the truth is they rescued each other. 

 

What song would be in the soundtrack to Rhett and Jasmine’s love story? Why?

Music is a big part of my life. My son is a musician and my dear friend Donn T wrote the song Opal sings in The Way Home

I have a Heart of Colton playlist on iTunes with music that inspired each story in the series. For Jasmine and Rhett’s story, I added two songs. Something to Believe In by Citizen Cope and Lucky Me from my friend Nate Williams. 

At the core of this book is a story about hope, and I think both songs express that. 

You can check out the whole playlist on my Pinterest in the Heart of Colton board @elianawestauthor

 

What are you currently reading?

That’s a great question. I’ve been traveling a lot and trying to write, so I haven’t been reading as much as I’d like. Up next on my tbr pile is Sapna Srinivasan’s, A New Mantra and I can’t wait to dive in! 

 

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.