Monday, July 17, 2017

Inspiration for Our Books and Giveaways . . . by Kate James

We're more than halfway through the month of July, and Catherine Lanigan, Syndi Powell, Cari Lynn Webb and I have been having fun celebrating our releases with blog tours, promotions and giveaways!

Huge thanks to everyone who has purchased our books (or our box set) and a special heartfelt thanks to those readers who've taken the time to post reviews. The average of all the ratings on Amazon for our books, as I write this post, is 4.5 starts out of 5!

As a quick reminder (although I know many of you might not need reminding!), this is us and our July books:

You can find information about our books by clicking on the covers in the right column of this blog page.

Today, I would like to tell you about the inspiration for our books.

Syndi Powell's Afraid to Lose Her


Afraid to Lose Her is the first book of three in my Hope Center Stories series. These three books are about three women on different points of their journey with breast cancer. They were inspired by own fight with the horrid disease, and each woman has pieces of my own life inside her. Family members and friends may even recognize certain phrases, attitudes and events that actually happened to me peppered in these stories.

When I was diagnosed with cancer, I searched for books on the subject. I am the type of person that is able to view life through the lens of story, so finding fiction that dealt with a woman's fight with cancer was important to me. Later, I realized that part of my fight against cancer is to tell stories based on my experience. In Afraid to Lose Her, Sherrita Lopez is a strong, independent woman who is about to discover that there is weakness even in strength, that the journey has to be fought together rather than alone. I wanted to show the fears that come when the doctor first says the word "cancer", but I also needed to acknowledge how my family and friends rallied around me to support me in this fight. I wouldn't be here without their love and prayers.

Purchase Links: Amazon © Harlequin © Barnes & Noble

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Cari Lynn Webb's The Charm Offensive 


We moved often when I was a child because of my father’s job and now with my husband, we’ve continued to relocate around the country. I’ve been fortunate to live in both small towns and big cities and I’ve discovered there’s something to love about each place we’ve lived. There are so many wonderful romance series set in small towns and I wanted to write a series about characters who live and work in a big, vibrant city.

San Francisco has always been one of my favorite cities. I loved to visit the city as a child and I still cherish the time I lived there after college-ever grateful for the lasting friendships I made there-friends who today I consider family. I fell in love in the city and seventeen years later, my husband and I still talk about our first date to the Orpheum Theatre followed by a toast at The Fairmont Hotel. When the idea for The Charm Offensive came up, the City by the Bay was the perfect setting.

Purchase Links: Amazon © Harlequin © Barnes & Noble © iTunes

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Catherine Lanigan's Family of His Own


Where did the inspiration for Family of His Own come from?

Since the inception of The Shores of Indian Lake series when I first introduced Isabelle and Scott, I’ve wanted to write Scott’s story. His unrequited love for Isabelle, the passionate, obsessed artist, was the kind of angst that always draws me to buy a novel.

Also, I identified a great deal with Isabelle. I know what it’s like to be “in my creative zone”. But Isabelle takes her need for distance and space to an unhealthy level. I’ve seen this kind of behavior so many times not just in myself but others. My curiosity couldn’t wait to explore it. I have to admit to being a biography addict. I love reading about real people, who left a mark on this world. It’s fascinating to me to see the convoluted routes so many of us must take to get to the end goal. For artists, writers, composers…all creative types, we do have this “alternate world” we live in. It’s more than escape for me, it’s a place I inhabit with my characters. Because Isabelle is so focused on her art and is just about to accomplish her lifetime goal, when Scott finally asks her to marry him, she feels like the Titanic when it hit an iceberg. She thinks she’s making the right decision, but what she doesn’t realize is that her life is terribly out of balance.

As fiercely as Isabelle grasps her career, Scott is the polar opposite and realizes that his happiness is not to be found in a Pulitzer Prize winning piece of journalism, but in the little arms of two “abandoned” children of a heroin-addict mother. I didn’t have to do much research to learn about the “Foster Care system” in our country. I have been witness to stories told to me by patients in my brother-in-law’s dental office where I work. I know one couple, now in their eighties, who have been foster parents to sixty-three children. A former writing student of mine and his new bride have just become foster parents. Another patient in the dental practice spent three years first being a foster parent and then adopting a disabled child. Their stories tore my heart to shreds.

When I was researching Protecting the Single Mom, the detectives told me stories of these children being left in mini-marts, grocery stores, left on playgrounds and at the beach by drug-addicted parents. We’ve all read stories of babies being found in dumpsters, but the situation is becoming common. It’s not “shocking” enough to warrant a story in a newspaper or on-line column. The noble and caring hearts of these people who take in these abandoned children deserve all my respect. They are the real heroes in our world today. I wanted Scott to be that kind of guy. And he was.

I also admit that of all my Shores of Indian Lake novels, I think I cried in nearly every line of this book. Seriously, I cried for Scott so many times, I was afraid I’d short out my laptop. But then, I’m a weeper. I admit it. So there. I’ve said it.

Purchase Links: Amazon © Harlequin © Barnes & Noble©  Kobo

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And finally . . .

My Home to Stay (book 4 in the San Diego K-9 Unit series)


I’m frequently asked about how I come up with my story ideas and how much of what I write is based on my own knowledge and experiences rather than research. Writing about what I know or have experienced leads to a more genuine, believable story, in my opinion. But to write convincing, diverse stories, there is always an element of research that is necessary.

I have always had a profound sense of gratitude for the men and women who dedicate their lives to law enforcement. Toss in my love of dogs, and writing about police officers and their K-9 partners was a natural for me. Through my research for the series, I gained an even greater appreciation for the bravery and dedication of canine officers, and the intelligence and resourcefulness of police dogs. I owe special thanks to York Regional Police (Ontario, Canada) and Constable Jim Hilton, in particular. Constable Hilton, a YRP K-9 unit officer and trainer, was generous with his time, resource materials and limitless knowledge as I conducted my research. I also thank him for introducing me to his explosives detection dog, Max!

Purchase Links: Amazon © Harlequin © Barnes & Noble © iTunes © Chapters/Indigo

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And don't forget about our giveaway! Here is a picture of the prize pack (butterfly not included!):

The prize pack contains: From Catherine Lanigan: a "Romancing the Tome" tote and two autographed books. From Kate James: an aqua cross-body bag, "Dreamer Extraordinaire" charm bookmark and two autographed books. From Syndi Powell: an autographed book and breast cancer ribbon notebook and pen. From Cari Lynn Webb: an autographed book and charm bracelet.

Entering is easy! You can comment on this post, tweet about our giveaway or visit our July Heartwarming box set on Amazon.

July Heartwarming Giveaway!
The more often you enter, the better your chances to win! The contest is open until end of day July 29th. We will announce the winner on this blog on July 30th.

There's one final thing I would like to mention. I had a fantastic time with my 28-stop Prism Book Tours blog tour for Home to Stay.


Although the last post went up on July 14th, you can still see all the posts and you have until tomorrow to enter the giveaways. You can find the full tour schedule, snippets from each of the posts and learn how to enter here


Prize Pack:
  • A gorgeous aqua cross-body bag;
  • "Dreamer Extraordinaire" charm bookmark;
  • signed copy of When Love Matters Most, the second book in the San Diego K-9 Unit series);
  • signed copy of When I Found You, the third book in the San Diego K-9 Unit series;
  • an assortment of bookmarks and bookplates; and
  • a $20 Amazon gift card.
(US/CAN - if winner lives elsewhere, will receive ebooks & gift card instead.)

Signed Books:
  • Six winners who comment on any of the blog posts associated with the tour, will receive a signed book (US/CAN) of their choice from the first three books in the San Diego K-9 Unit series, When the Right One Comes Along, When Love Matters Most, or When I Found You.

In closing, this is what readers and reviewers are saying about Home to Stay:

~ “Kate James has weaved a wonderful story, filled with heartache and fear…and love.”

~ “If you love reading gripping, romantic stories with amazing main characters, Home to Stay is a definite must-read.”

~ “There were twists I didn't see coming.”

~ “It was an emotional rollercoaster ride.”

~ “Through all the twists and turns this story will take you on, you’ll be on the edge of your seat.”

~ “Kate James has an impressive descriptive writing style. She makes her stories come to life in a beautiful, emotional way. I love her empathy and her great skill to explore what her characters are feeling through and through.”

~ “[Home to Stay] has plenty of unexpected twists and turns, and it's captivating and really well written.”

~ “The tale of loss, grief, moving forward, faith, hope and forgiveness is complete.”

~ “This book had a lot going on emotionally, so brace yourself for a rollercoaster ride of emotions! Love, respect, fear, suspense, worry, excitement, happiness, sorrow and surprise. And don’t forget there are dogs involved!!”

~ “A sweet and enjoyable read with a strong story line filled with moments of tension and others of heart.”

~ “Wow, I really got into this book. Love the mystery and suspense of it, love the characters and especially the dogs. I just love how Kate James knows how to tell a great story, brings the characters to life. This is a great series but each book can stand alone.”

~ “This romantic-suspense book moves very quickly, and you’ll want to keep reading to find out what happens! There are some great twists and turns that will keep you guessing. I loved the ending, and you will too! Add Home to Stay to your must-read pile of books!”

Huge thanks to everyone who reads our books. Happy reading!

Kate

48 comments:

  1. It's hard to believe that July is half over...and 2017, too! Kate, you know I loved HOME TO STAY! I started FAMILY OF HIS OWN over the weekend and I was pulled in from the start. Great giveaway!

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    1. Yes, time seems to be flying.

      I'm so glad you enjoyed HOME TO STAY. I know you'll love FAMILY OF HIS OWN and, if you get a chance to read them, Cari's and Syndi's books, too!

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  2. What a wonderful month of stories!

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    1. Thank you, Liz! I'm thrilled to share a release month with Catherine, Syndi and Cari.

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    2. Hi, Jill! What a lovely compliment. Thank you so much! I'm halfway through Cari's book right now and Syndi's is next. Home to Stay was phenomenal!

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    3. Thank you, Liz! It's been a blast already and this is Kate's and my second July release together. We should write a theme song for us. July Jewels, jutting down the jetty....Ok. I'll stop.

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  3. Congratulations to all of you for the meaningful topics and hard work of promotion! The books look great.

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  4. These books do deal with such meaningful topics, as has been said. The longer I'm in this business, many decades now, the more I want to now about what inspires books, both fiction and nonfiction. Thanks! What a wonderful lineup of releases!

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    1. I'm finding that with most Heartwarming books now, Virginia. Thank you!

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    2. It's really true, isn't it, Virginia? The world we live in now is changing so fast and our everyday lives for the ordinary man and woman are impacted by grave issues. Things that 30 years ago I never thought would touch me, come very close to my home...and are corrupting my little hometown.

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  5. I really loved reading the inspiration stories.
    Syndi, I remember the scare...
    Cari, since you move often, when are you moving to AZ?
    Catherine, I am addicted to biographies too. My favorite was Esther Williams.
    Kate, anything dogs.

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    1. We're glad you enjoyed the post, Pamela. As for me, correction . . . it's not "anything dogs," it's "EVERYTHING dogs!" :)

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    2. Pamela - my husband lived in AZ before he moved to San Francisco where we met. Arizona is one of his favorite places. I loved Sedona and would like to go back there.

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    3. Esther Williams was my mother's favorite person ever.She really idolized her. I think I read her biography years and years ago. Maybe I should go back and check it out again!

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  6. I'm already reading and enjoying! I love to see how different authors construct and develop plots, characters and especially, lure us into other worlds. All the best to the four of you!

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    1. We're glad you're enjoying the books, Janice! Thank you for your good wishes!

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    2. Thanks for the good wishes, Janice! Happy Reading!

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    3. Thanks so much, Janice! I hope you're having a great week!

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  7. All of your inspiration stories touched me. It's definitely a testament to how much emotion and gems of ourselves go into writing a story.
    Syndi, huge hugs for all you've been through and kudos to you for using your writing gift to help/touch/strengthen others battling cancer. A toast to you!
    Cari, I love that your readers can experience the places you've been in a way that only having lived there can convey. In a way you get to journal your journeys in your stories!
    Catherine, I just finished A Family of His Own and loved it!! A very beautifully written and touching story and, yes, the theme of finding balance in one's life is one I (and I'm sure others) can totally identify with. Love the theme of not losing our imagination or the child inside of us, even when we have to pursue our dreams in more grown up ways.
    Kate, for the love of dogs! ;) It's so cool to experience the life of a law enforcement officer from their perspective in the 'real' and accurate way you portray in your stories. It's clear you know a lot from experience and hands on research. Add to that romance and dogs! What's not to love? :)

    Great giveaway too, gals!!

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    1. Thank you for the considered and lovely comments about the inspirations behind our books, Rula.

      I know a little about the inspiration for some of yours, and I love it, too! :)

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    2. Rula - A journal of journeys sounds like a terrific title :)

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    3. Rula- thank you for such an insightful comment on my story. As YOU well know, that one was so emotional for me. Not that others are not, but truthfully, I went through a couple boxes of tissues during the writing. See you soon!

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  8. I love reading about the inspirations for these wonderful stories. Thank you for sharing.

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    1. We are glad you enjoyed reading the post, Melanie! We appreciate you stopping by our blog.

      Happy reading!

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    2. Melanie, thank you for taking the time to come by and comment. This time of year...well, we are all so busy, aren't we? it's nice to hear from you.

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  9. Thanks for the inside look into what inspires y'all. The books sound amazing and are all sitting on my Nook right now, waiting for me to read them. I can't wait! I hope you are all having a fabulous summer!

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    1. Thank you, LeAnne! We hope you'll love our books, as much as we love yours! :)

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    2. Love your stories, too! I'd love to hear about your inspirations!

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  10. I have started Syndi's book and thought, "Oh my, I'm in for a ride!" Great stories...all so different...all powerful. Best!

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    1. We're glad you're enjoying Syndi's book, M.K. Thank you for the good wishes!

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    2. M.K. you can never go wrong with Syndi's books. I love them. This one promises not to disappoint!

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  11. I've finished reading all four of this month's Heartwarming stories. Each different, but wonderful. Can't recommend them enough.

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    1. Aww...thank you, Roz. We're thrilled you enjoyed our books. High praise, coming from such an accomplished author! :)

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    2. WOW! Thanks again, Roz. Like Kate said, coming from you...what a Kudo!

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  12. I agree with Roz. Each story is different, but I loved them all. I'd have a hard time choosing a favorite.

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    1. Thank you, Beth! We're thrilled that you enjoyed them...and, honestly, I wouldn't want you to try to pick a favorite! :)

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    2. Big hug and thanks from all of us, Beth! I'm so happy you enjoyed them, too!

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  13. Love reading about the inspiration for each of these books! They all sound great - but I wouldn't expect anything less from this group :)

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    1. Hi, Amy! Thanks for the lovely compliment. Yeah, the pressure is on when you see who you're releasing with. Whew! Keeps me on my toes!

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    2. As Catherine said, thank you for the wonderful compliment, Amy! As for the other part of Catherine's comments, she keeps us on our toes! :)

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  14. All these stories sound wonderful. I loved reading about everyone's inspiration .. Thank you for sharing and such amazing stories.
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

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    1. Hi, Carol! It truly is interesting isn't it? And you know, the inspiration changes with every book. I never know what that next "trigger" is going to be.

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    2. We're glad they sound good to you, Carol. Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to comment!

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  15. Happy July, Kate, Catherine, Cari Lynn, and Syndi! Can't believe how it's flying by! Looking forward to reading your newest releases!

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    1. Thank you, Fedora, and happy July to you, too! If you do get a chance to read our books, we hope you'll enjoy them.

      Happy reading!

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