Dani Collins: Community

dani

I think everyone knows that I find most of my favorite new authors through Megan Crane who knows great books, as well as my taste in books—emotional, tautly paced, compelling, and incredibly satisfying–and she raved about Dani Collins‘ first Harlequin Presents, insisting I read it.  And Megan was right.  It was fantastic.  And so of course later, when Tule was founded and Tule was hungry for wonderful, compelling, sexy stories, we all thought of Dani.

As part of my holiday countdown, I’ve invited Dani to join me on my JaneBlog, to talk about her Christmas story, and the connected stories she’s writing for Montana Born.

Thank you, Dani Collins for joining us!  I’m so delighted to have you here. –

If you’ve been following Jane’s Blog for a while, I’m sure you already know what a warm and generous person she is. I first ‘met’ her when she was starting out with Presents. She was signing her book at a writers’ conference in Victoria and we all whispered her name in awe. She was the first new writer that Harlequin Presents had acquired in years.

I envied her passionately for that and was quite intimidated by the sheer magnitude of the accomplishment. I’m not being funny. I’d been trying (continued to try) to sell to Harlequin Presents for years. Jane became one of those authors I watched with amazement as her career grew and blossomed. She flew so far up in the stratosphere, I knew I’d never touch her.

In 2012, my dream finally came true and I sold to Harlequin Presents. For a lot of reasons, I had pretty much dropped out of the writing community. I had moved and mostly lost touch with my local writing friends. Time was precious so I didn’t socialize online. I worked a day job, had a family, and wrote when I could. When I sold to Harlequin, I didn’t feel like a Presents author. They were all Jane Porters in my mind: brilliant and capable while I was pretty sure I’d be called out as a fake at any moment.

But I quickly learned they’re actually the most welcoming, bighearted bunch you could ever hope to meet. I had forgotten how supportive the writing community was. One of them, Megan Crane (Caitlin Crews), said to me at conference in 2013, “You should meet Jane.”

I’m pretty sure Jane has better things to do, was my first thought, but I did meet her and she was funny and normal (in her bubbly, vivacious way) and I was intimidated all over again. Then she invited me to submit a story to Tule’s Montana Born Homecoming series. I honestly didn’t know what I was getting into. I just figured, if Jane Porter invites you to do something, you say a firm “Yes” and show up in your best frock.

Writing for Montana Born has turned into one of the best experiences of my life. After focusing on writing tycoons, I wasn’t sure I could write novella length small town ranchers, but I’m a small town girl at heart and I love Marietta. I love writing about the tight community and I love that I feel part of a community in all the ways we wind up interacting with Tule’s amazing staff.

I realize this post was supposed to be about my two—yes I’ve already written two books for Montana Born and I’m working on my third. They came out in September and October and I’m so proud of them I’m completely impossible to live with.

So I’ll tell you that, like me returning to the writing community, Chase in Hometown Hero returns to Marietta and is surprised by how real the sense of Homecoming is for him. And Liz in Blame The Mistletoe is pretty intimidated by the tight circles at the cocktail party she attends, but it only takes one friendly face—Blake’s—to make showing up the best chance she ever took.

Thanks Jane (and Megan!) for inviting me to Marietta.

Have you ever been new to a community? Or gone back to an old one? Has anyone reached out to help you feel like you belong?

HometownHero-LARGE
Skye Wolcott planned to marry, have children, and live happy ever after in her hometown of Marietta, Montana.  Then her marriage imploded in a cloud of scandal. Now she’d be happy if people would just stop talking about her.
Chase Goodwin worked hard to get away from Marietta, where poverty colored his past. Living his dream as a major league baseball player, he has no reason to return beyond helping his half-brother escape as successfully. The last thing Chase would consider is staying. Then he sees Skye Wolcott, a girl he always had a thing for in high school. They get off to a rough start, but are soon carrying on like high schoolers.  Chase wants her to join his fast-paced, larger than life world, but Skye’s a small town girl at heart. Can she convince him that Homecoming is more than a game and he’s back where he belongs?

 

BlameTheMistletoe-LARGE
Liz Flowers has never enjoyed Christmas, but this one is shaping up to be the worst by far. She let her ex take her daughter to Mexico while she stays behind in a strange town, sitting her former mother-in-law’s high strung little dog. It’s an opportunity to meet new people, but this California girl doesn’t have much in common with the ranchers in small town Marietta.
Blake Canon perks up with male interest when he sees a new face at his friend’s Christmas cocktail party. His son is away and a light affair would take his mind off his financial troubles. Then he realizes he knows Liz. She was once married to the brother of his ex-wife.Their children might be cousins, but Blake and Liz do the kissing—under the mistletoe. It’s the beginning of a new view of Christmas for Liz, but when their children arrive home unexpectedly, and family secrets are revealed, Liz isn’t sure she’ll stay in Marietta for Christmas after all.

~ * ~

Here’s an excerpt from BLAME THE MISTLETOE:

“You don’t have to walk me in,” she insisted as she shifted the leftovers to the floor and swung her legs out the open door.

“All part of the service, ma’am.” He steadied her as she slid to her feet in front of him then started to reach past her for the leftovers.

“Wait, I won’t eat all of that. You should take some.” She started rearranging the contents of both boxes. They dithered over the different items while the snow fell and the door crowded them into the tiny space next to the truck. “Coconut?” she asked.

“Hate the stuff,” he said.

“Good, I love it, so I’ll take yours, but here, you have the mushrooms—”

“Ah to hell with it,” he muttered, stealing the container from her hands and dropping it on the seat as he swung her to face him. “Come out to the ranch tomorrow and I’ll give you whatever you want.”

He kissed her. Pulled her into the wall of his hard body and kissed the hell out of her and she locked her arms around his neck and kissed him back like it was the only kiss they would ever have. They kissed until she didn’t feel the cold, until she sensed by the way he locked his hand on her butt and pressed her into him that he was very aroused behind their layers of clothes. She was. God, he tasted good. They French kissed and breathed heavily and finally came up for air.

Little clouds puffed around them as they panted and stared at each other.

“I don’t know how to get to the ranch,” she said.

He grinned, kind of triumphant, while she mentally shook her head at herself. Just say no, Liz, but for once she didn’t have the sick feeling in her stomach as she searched for the word and couldn’t find it. She felt melty and yearning and like she’d been smiling for so long her face would stay that way.

“I’ll call you in the morning, get your email and send you a map.

~*~

Award winning author Dani Collins writes Harlequin Presents, romantic comedy, medieval fantasy, erotic romance, and lately, small-town rancher novellas. Whatever the genre, Dani always delivers sexy alpha heroes, witty, spirited heroines, complex emotions and loads of passion.

Stay current with Dani’s new releases by joining her newsletter or visiting her here:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Amazon: US | Canada | UK

~~

Dani, thank you so much for chatting with us.  I love your voice and stories and can’t wait for your next book!  Readers, treat yourself to two fabulous holiday reads and download Dani’s stories soon.

And as always, no blog is complete without a fun giveaway and this time, you can win a Dani Collins prize package.  Just comment for a chance to win!

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111 Comments

  1. I really enjoyed these books and getting to Know Dani better. I have never had anyone reach out to make me feel welcome in any place that I have lived. It took years for my neighbors here to start talking to me and they still call me Jeannie. I quit correcting them after the first few times.

  2. I love getting to know all of these authors. I have both of Dani’s Tule books in my TBR before the end of the month pile. =)

  3. Loved HOMETOWN HERO! I just posted on Amazon the following review:
    * Loved it!
    * Liked how characters told it like it was.
    * Nice HEA – brought a tear to my eyes.
    * Well written/great pacing/great beginning, middle and end of story.
    * Glad for great relationship with her ex.
    * Believable love all these years.
    * Appreciated their sensitivity – with each other and with others.
    * Glad they both recognized the need to compromise.
    BTW, I live half an hour from my hometown, so I visit often. Feel like I have the best of both worlds….

  4. Sounds great and loved the excerpt! I have lived in the same county all my life, but when I bought my house I was new to the area where my house is located. And yes, we did have neighbors reach out and welcomed us to the neighborhood which was very nice.

  5. The books sound great. Wish you both a Merry Christmas. Loved the excerpt, can’t wait to buy it and read the entire book. Thanks again.

  6. Thanks for all the info! The books sound great. I moved A LOT as a kid (Army brat) and remember people being very welcoming, but we were all in the same situation! But I haven’t had to move as an adult since I graduated from college. Hope you have a very Merry Christmas!

  7. I enjoyed this wonderful feature and the great excerpts. The books are memorable and appealing. When we moved to a new country, state and area, it was our first ever move so it was challenging and the neighbors were most welcoming and warm.

  8. Great post, loved the excerpt, your book sounds awesome and I can’t wait to read it. Thanks for the great giveaway!

  9. I hadn’t had anyone reach out in many years, but a coworker fid at Thanksgiving when she heard I wasn’t going to family. And I’m loving the Christmas books!

  10. I loved the excerpt. I will have to add to my TBR pile.
    Thanks! I like when authors I love to read suggest other authors that they enjoy to read.

  11. I too love Holiday books. Both of these are going on my TRrL.I’m so glad I met Dani here. I look forward to reading both stories. I’ve never left my hometown, lived here mywhole life. But I have met seveal people who made me feel so welcome ar gatherings and such whre I didn’t know anyone. Thank you for posting.
    Carol L

  12. I loved reading about your journey to becoming a Harlequin Presents author! It is amazing the paths that are revealed to us!

  13. I love that you wrote a book about older people. Folks have stuff that happens, and starting over occurs all the time. Giving second chances should be something that everyone does because we ALL make mistakes and need forgiveness or new opportunities, yet so many dust off their heels and move on so quickly and easily. It’s a draw to those out there who would like another chance at Love or would like an opportunity to fix or change their circumstances. Anyway…it’s Super Cool that you stepped outside the usual and took another avenue!

  14. I enjoyed reading how Dani Collins pursued her dream and never gave up! Now she is able to do what she is so passionate about. I so enjoyed her excerpt and would love to find out what happens on the ranch! I’ve enjoyed purusing this blog.

  15. I loved Blame the Mistletoe!! Hometown Hero is on my kindle & somewhere on my long list of Tule books that need to be read. Ienjoyed your books so much that I will be looking for your Presents books – well maybe after I catch up a little bit. Your writing just resonated with me. It was nice reading about a couple in their 30’s instead of the 20’s – this coming from an older reader. Thank you for adding your voice to Tule.

  16. Yes, I am “new” here and even after 15 years I still feel outside some of the moms here. I’ve made some good friends but there are still some circles I can’t fit into. And I don’t really want to. : )

  17. Hi Dani!! As usual, I’m late to the party, but I had to stop by and give you a hug and tell you how much I’ve enjoyed your Presents books, and how much I’m looking forward to your Montana Born Homecoming stories! I’ve living in the same small town my entire life–the same town where my parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents were also born and raised. As my daughters tell me, it’s both a blessing and a curse, since everyone really does know your name–and your business! But when things get rough, as they did for me this past year, I was blessed to have my community rally around me, and provide the love and support I needed to get through a difficult challenge. I can’t wait to read this series!

  18. Wow! So many comment, this only shows how much readers love Dani 🙂 Well, she’s a new author to me and I’m glad I endeed up here. Thank you for hosting her <

  19. I just moved back home and it feels the same. I am just older now. Smaller communities are okay as long as everyone minds their own business. Ha ha ha ha like that would ever happen. Have a wonderfully blessed Christmas!

  20. Hi Dani! In 1989, after the birth of our first an, we moved from a fairly large city to the extremely small town where we now live. It was quite an adjustment as we were 30 miles from work and family.
    It turned out to be the best thing we ever did! Our sons grew up in a small close community and we all made life long friends.
    Thanks for sharing your story with us.
    Merry Christmas!

  21. Her Hometown Hero was a wonderful book. I look forward to reading more. What a wonderful giveaway. Thank you for the opportunity to win.

  22. Thank you all so very much for your warm comments. I can’t tell you what it means.
    We received some very difficult news from a family friend this week. I’m sitting here, bags packed, waiting for the freezing rain to stop so I can go to my friend. I’m very blue, and this is a much-needed ray of sunshine.
    Take very good care of yourselves and your loved ones this holiday season. Stay safe.
    Hugs,
    Dani

  23. We bought a house last summer and were new to the area. The neighborson either side of us welcomed us but other than that no. The towns librarian lived right across the street from us and s quitet and doesn’t talk to us. It makes for an akward situiation because I love to read so much. She doesn’t talk to anyone, she just keeps to herself. Would love to have an oppertunity to read your books and use all the goodies. Thank you

  24. I love reading this blog and finding new authors! Looking forward to reading your books Dani. I am not new to town but have several close friends who have moved, so sometimes I feel new to town.

  25. I have been “new to town” on many occasions. Back in the day, we had the “welcome wagon” people show up. It was nice considering I was 19 and 13 hours away from home.

  26. Love the covers. Can’t wait to 1-click them so I can read. waiting to see how many Amazon gift cards I get this year.

  27. Me and my son just migrated to the US. His first grade teacher has been really kind and helpful especially to me in reassuring me and looking after my son and helping him get settled in a new school.

  28. I love finding new authors (and with giveaways it makes it all the better!!!)I think moving to a new area where you know no one is very difficult. Except for the very rare occasion when someone comes along and befriends you, you are isolated. You have to be a strong, confident person to move to area by yourself.

  29. Thank you everyone for welcoming Dani to JaneBlog! Loved all the comments!
    Our winner is #27 Carol L.
    Carol, please email me with your mailing details and we’ll get the prize to you.
    much love to all,
    Jane

  30. This looks like a wonderful set for someone to win! I’d love to win it because I read a lot, and I also do a lot of baking. Thank you for the chance!

  31. I love to find new writers to follow. Thank you for sharing their talents on your blog. I can’t wait to go to the bookstore to pick up one of Dan’s books.

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