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?
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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.
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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!