Congratulations to Latesha B! You will receive a signed copy of My Christmas with You! Fortune will be in touch with you. Thanks to everyonea for stopping by!
Y’all know I love having guests on the blog–the Author Spotlight days are my faves, but I love best simply turning the blog over to my author pals. Today, it belongs to fellow Tule author Fortune Whelan, whose Dorsey Brothers series has been such fun! Fortune’s stories are “charming, silly, and emotionally fraught” with “fast-paced plot[s] that keep pages flying.” When she’s not at her stand desk fighting off feline invaders, you can find her on her yoga mat or shelving books at the local library. Keep up with her @fortunewhelan everywhere…
Fortune is giving away a signed copy of My Christmas with You to one lucky commenter. Check out her question below!
Fortune, my friend, the floor is yours…
Inspired By True Events
As a writer, one question I’m always asked is where I derive my inspiration from. The short answer is the world. Everything and everyone and the possibilities of all things fascinate me endlessly. I don’t understand the sentiment or state of boredom. There are so many things I want to see and do, that I’m decades behind on watching all the popular television shows and movies, new music is old before I’ve even listened to it, and I reading multiple books at any one time. This doesn’t include people or places I want to visit and spend time with, and then there are activities—sports to watch and play, games to win, rollercoasters to ride… my list is endless. And it’s also not enough for me to do something once—I rewatch movies, reread books, eat food until I’m sick of it, seek out food I’m craving, climb, paddleboard, or swim until I never want to do those things ever again. I need to know everything about everything.
Some writers begin with plots, or situations, or questions, or concepts, or well-thought-out ideas. I imagine, for me, starting or knowing anything about my story would make things easier. But I’m positive I’m a masochist, a quintessential doomed tortured artist, obsessive and moody.
In another life, maybe I’m Bruce Wayne.
But I’m me, and whatever or whoever I’m in the mood to obsess over becomes my inspiration de jour.
The global pandemic gave me the time to catch up on seventeen seasons of Grey’s Anatomy and in theory, I fell in love with McDreamy, because he was brilliant but flawed. He was the older man, wore turtlenecks like no one’s business and his hair was everything. At the same time, my real-life hero, Serena Williams was taking a break from tennis to have a baby and a young tennis phenom called Naomi Osaka was taking the sport by storm. I was obsessed with them both.
Patrick Dempsey inspired Deacon Dorsey, and Naomi inspired Cheramie. Though Deacon and Cheramie’s fictional personalities are nothing like people they were inspired by, when I think about them, it’s Patrick and Naomi’s faces I see. And their town squabble? Inspired by a decades long contested piece of land in the town where I live.
In My Christmas with You, Danny was inspired by real-life professional hockey player, Steven Stamkos. He became the fictional stand-in for my real-life type—basically tall hockey players. I’ve only ever dated one non-hockey player and coincidentally, he was also the only one under six feet tall. Mabel was modeled after Rosario Dawson, who is my husband’s type. I’m not sure if I did that on purpose or if I was working something out subconsciously. That’s part of my inspiration too. Once I have my characters to my stories, I follow them around, observe what they do, try to understand their feelings and write down what I see.
“What I see” is basically me daydreaming, making stories up in my head, wondering why, or how the heck is he or she going to explain whatever happened. My characters surprise me all the time. This is my favorite part about being a creative. Inspiration comes from nowhere and everywhere.
How do I know what I will obsess over next? I never know until I’m in it.
For a while it was Harry Styles, then Darren Criss, and lately it’s Cillian Murphy after binge watching Peaky Blinders. Currently, I’m obsessed with my curly hair, paddleboarding, and my witch’s cat Sapphire who has a puffer and a dietician.
The moral of this story? Life is fascinating and there’s a story, or two, or twenty, in everything. You just have to look and listen.
So now, my question to you is this: If money were no object, what’s the one thing you’d ask for Christmas this year.” Answer in the comments below for a chance to win a signed copy of My Christmas with You.
My Christmas with You
https://outlook.office.com/mail/Christmas is a time for family and forgiveness…
Mabel Gray is no stranger to rebuilding her life. She ran away from her childhood sweetheart, ghosting him to create a life away from her controlling family in Conception Bay. Fifteen years later, she’s done it again. After walking away from her marriage and the hotel empire she built with her ex, she’s broke and a single mom to a teen. But with a loan from her mother, she plans to rise again, this time back in her hometown. Her only concern? Running into Danny, the man she’s never forgotten.
Danny Dorsey knows all about second chances. After recklessly crashing his car days after signing a professional hockey contract, he lost everything—including the girl he loved. Years later, he’s the wealthy creator of an illustrious social media and lifestyle brand. Finally feeling settled, Danny makes an unexpected detour to visit his family for Christmas…only to find himself sitting with Mabel at dinner.
Falling in love has always been easy. But will the secrets of the past once again tear them apart?
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“Are you ready?”
Was anyone ever ready to sign divorce papers? Mabel Gray definitely was and good fucking
riddance. Her soon-to-be-ex-husband Piers was an asshole, a liar, a cheat, and exceedingly more
patient than she, willing to allow negotiations to drag on for months and years if she’d let him. If
he couldn’t have everything, then he’d bleed their accounts dry with lawyer fees. That kind of
“They’re waiting outside, Mabel. It’s time to go.”
She inhaled, clenching her jaw as she stood from the sofa and swept her gaze across the sitting
room. She’d designed the house, worked with the contractors, chosen the décor, hosted dinners
and parties, raised their daughter. Piers believed holding out for the house would hurt and maim
her in inconsolable ways, but he’d never really known her.
The antique Persian rugs, the Granville Redmond on the wall, the redesigned mid-century furniture, the house. They were all things. Expensive things, but they could be replaced. With her
decade-long working relationship with San Francisco’s auction houses, they could be replaced
and recreated easily. Things were easy to walk away from. People were harder. But she’d been
able to do that too. As much as it ripped out her heart, she’d done it before, and she could do it
again to save herself.
“I’m ready,” she said, finally. “Let’s do this. And thanks for being here, Antony.” He wasn’t just
here as an attorney; he was a family friend. Mabel didn’t have many of those. She convinced
herself she was too busy—and introverted—but she hated confiding vulnerability to anyone. Her
mother and grandmother taught her to be strong. Unfortunately, strong, she found out, also meant
“Of course, I wouldn’t let you walk out of here alone. Not like this—I tried—”
“This was my choice. I’m done. I can’t do this anymore. He can have everything if it means I can
have my life back.”
“Yes, but the exchange, the signatures, the transfer of property, this could have happened in our
offices. And there’s absolutely no need to parade you in front of the neighbors like this. It’s
No, it was humiliating. Tragic, maybe. That’s how their neighbors would remember her and
whisper her story until she was a myth, larger than life. Piers would loathe that. But she knew
how to push his buttons too, since he always had to get in the last word. Mabel smirked at the
buxom Frasier fir tree dominating the landing between the twin staircases and inhaled its pungent
aroma. It smelled like dignity and victory and freedom. Piers hated all things Christmas because
he was a hateful person. The reel in her head ran with images of Piers trying to rid himself of the
tree, his arms wound around its thick, bushy trunk, the branches scratching at his face, the mess
of needles scattering to the floor as he waddled it toward the double front doors. It wouldn’t fit
easily; she’d made sure of that. He’d have to drag it outside kicking and cussing. No, the
neighbors wouldn’t remember her humiliation today; they’d remember his. It made walking out
on her old life that much easier. Piers would scream as soon as he walked into his house and saw
the tree, and she’d relish every second of his agony, like he’d done to her for years.
“Do you have a purse? Suitcases?” Antony asked.
“In the car. I’m ready.” Truthfully, she’d been ready since the first time Piers dared to raise a hand
to her. She wasn’t a punching bag but felt compelled to make sure for herself and for her daughter
that she did everything to save the family so that there would be no doubt that when she did walk
away, it was for good and for the right reasons.
Mabel led Antony past the prickly fir which she brushed with her fingers with a silent thank you,
you’re the best, through the kitchen with its gleaming twenty-foot island covered in Christmas
desserts, and out through the door leading to the garage. It was a scene out of The Sopranos:
folded card table, Piers seated askew with his hands clasped between his thighs. Flanking him
were his attorney and his girlfriend, sweet girl by the way.
Mabel’s heels clicked but didn’t echo. Antony pulled the metallic chair back for her to sit and
Piers’s attorney retrieved the paperwork from his leather briefcase.
Two police officers stood beyond the dividing line between garage cement and driveway
concrete, charged with keeping the peace and nosy, gawking neighbors off their lawn.
Luckily, all the places requiring her signature were flagged with blue sticky tabs. The ceremony
was over quickly. A few pen scratches, the tap-tap-tap of the bundle of papers on the table, and
she’d signed over everything she’d built and worked for to Piers. He reaped the rewards for the
last fifteen years of her labor. But she got to walk away with her dignity and the rest of her life to
live, knowing she could always build another business and make more money. Piers would not.
He’d blow through all the money left in their accounts in five years if she was being generous
with her projections.
She stood first, eyeing her getaway car with her mind’s eye. “Is that all?”
Both lawyers nodded, and Piers’s grin grew to Joker-like proportions. “I’m sorry our marriage
didn’t work out,” he sneered.
Total bullshit. He was a horrible liar. “Yeah, me too.” Because she’d actually tried and loved him
once. And for all his dickish qualities, he gave her a miracle daughter.
He didn’t have to, but Antony opened the door of her black Audi S8, a ’99, the first and only car
Mabel ever owned. The only reason Piers didn’t want it was because it was old, outdated, and
ugly “like her” he spat on more than one occasion.
Mabel started the engine and backed out of the garage slowly, waiting for her neighbors to scatter.
She idled at the curb as Piers took his victory stroll into his house. It didn’t take thirty seconds for
the front door to disappear with Piers yelling insults and obscenities about the tree and the holiday
Mabel quoted her favorite line from Home Alone, pulled her sunglasses down over her eyes,
gunned the engine, and drove.