I’m happy to welcome fellow Tule author Patricia Fischer to the Spotlight today!
Even when she was a former trauma and critical care nurse, Patricia always wrote. Either in a journal or short stories, but none of her words ever saw the light of day. That was until she took a journalism class at the local community college and the idea of becoming a health journalist made sense.
Fast forward a couple of decades and several published books later, Patricia continues to combine her medical experiences into her stories, blending into stories that (hopefully) make people laugh, but also educate.
Patricia has four kids and lives with her husband in San Antonio, Texas. She earned degrees in nursing and journalism and a monthly book picks contributor to the local morning show San Antonio Living.
She also advocates on the state and federal level for ovarian cancer awareness, research funding, and education with the Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance. Locally, she also writes about foster/adoption and literacy.
The floor is yours, Patricia…
Asking the Boss
Years ago, when I wanted to write for Tule publication, I already had a few books under my belt. One with a small press, but four I wrote and published myself. When Meghan came to our San Antonio Romance Authors group to talk about writing and suggested we all pitch Tule ideas, I was right up front.
Immediately, I sent one of my books to them and confidently awaited my multibook contract, as that’s how publishing works, right?
Well, that’s not at all how it worked, but that’s not the end of the story. If it were, this would be a very short entry.
Although Meghan and the team really liked my books, they weren’t sure if my already published works were the best choice for me. BUT, what about coming on with a group of writers and being a part of the Men of Marietta series? A saucy five book series about first responders who pose for a calendar to raise money for a local after school program.
I was intrigued. “Tell me more.”
This introduced me into the world of Marietta, Montana, a lovely little diner right on Main Street and all the amazing people that live in and outside of town. Specifically, the Sheehans.
Since I am a true professional, I had to read all the books to get a good vibe of the town and the people. This required me to commit to hours of reading amazing books by Jane Porter.
Poor me, right?
What I knew of my hero was he was a first responder, a fire fighter and former military guy. But for my heroine, I wasn’t sure what her story would be.
If she were local, where had she been for these already established stories from other authors?
If she were a transplant, why would she even move to Marietta?
Then the answer hit me.
In The Taming of the Bachelor, the diner’s owner, Paige Joffe, decided to move to Texas at the end of her book.
Ah! Okay, maybe Paige meets someone there who wants to run the diner.
Thing is, in real life, this is Jane’s diner so I had to pitch my first book idea to the boss.
No pressure, right? Come in as a newbie writer and immediately ask your boss if you can use her intellectual property as a central point of your own creation?
Thankfully, she said I could certainly use it and Gabriella Marcos appeared as the new owner of the diner.
That only got my creative brain shifting into overtime and that helped me pitch another series, Marietta Medical that introduced the Davidson siblings, Lucy, Edmund, Peter, and Susan.
For those thinking those names look familiar, they are based off of the children from the C. S. Lewis’ Narnia series.
Peter’s book, A Doctor for Christmas, brings the oldest to Marietta in quite a shocking way. His first few minutes into town and he’s already crashed into Santa’s sleigh. (excerpt below)
And Susan’s book will be out very soon.
Glad to say, after a very long dry spell of writing, Susan’s book is in the final edits and we’ll have her story out soon. If I have my way with it, her edits will be done within the week.
To think, this all began because the first pitch got a big fat ‘no thanks’.
It always amazes me how things work out in this world. How a “no” can lead you down a different and better, path and how important it is as creative types, as we all are, to be open-minded and receptive to those possibilities.
There are not enough words in the English language for me to express my gratitude to Jane, Meghan, and the entire staff at Tule.
Every year, I think about how much they’ve encouraged me, helped me navigate my writer’s block and my story ideas. How they always have positive words and the great desire to help all of us be even better than we anticipated.
As we bring 2023 to a close, I wish you all an amazing, healthy, safe holiday season and an incredible New Year.
A Doctor for Christmas
Nurse Shelly Westbrook has returned home to Marietta hoping to give her son and niece a Christmas holiday to reboot a disappointing year. Christmas is magic and Marietta is the perfect place for them all to start over.
Dr. Peter Davidson has never indulged in the Christmas spirt, but he thinks he’s hallucinating when he reaches the city limits and sees a sleigh driven by a white bearded man in a red suit. The minor collision is inevitable, as is his slight concussion. His obsession with the beautiful angel of a nurse who stops to render aid is unexpected, but just what the doctor ordered.
Can two people nursing broken hearts find love in a quiet mountain town that has always promised new beginnings?
Amazon | B&N Nook | Apple Books | Kobo | Google Play | Tule Bookstore
“Did you just kill Santa Claus?”
Dr. Peter Davidson white-knuckled the steering wheel as he stared at the huge structure sandwiched between his car and the tall snow bank on the side of the road.
As the airbag deflated, his mind buzzed from the impact.
The fat flakes stuck to the windshield but were quickly cleared with the rapidly moving wipers he’d yet to register were still running because of the massive structure in front of him.
A sleigh. A Christmas sleigh to be exact.
Shifting the car into park, he replayed the moment when the object appeared in front of his car and…what happened, again?
“Peter? Dad?” The frantic voice of his daughter, Polly, filled the car with worry. “Are we going to get put on the naughty list?”
It took a few moments for Peter to register the word “Dad” because he’d only discovered he was a father three weeks ago. Not only a father, but the father of nine-year-old twins. A boy, Digory and a girl, Polly.
He held his hand up. “Give me a second, Pol. Trying to think.”
“Okay,” she whimpered, which sent Peter’s protective instincts in overdrive.
He popped the seatbelt and turned around. “Are you two okay? Digory? Polly? Anyone hurt?”
Both children still had their seatbelts on and they looked shaken, but no one appeared injured.
Digory pointed, his hand shaking. “You’re bleeding.”
Touching his forehead, Peter pulled back red-soaked fingers. He examined himself in the rearview mirror. “Dammit.”
“Dammit is a naughty word, Dad…Peter.”
“Okay, Digory.” Out of the corner of his eye, he noticed the fat tears rolling down his sweet daughter’s face, her bottom lip trembling. His heart sank to his feet. “Polly, it’ a cut. It’s fine. I’m sorry. I’ll try not to say that again.”
“But you’re bleeding, Peter…Dad,” she sobbed. “You’re bleeding really bad.”
“Head wounds normally bleed a lot, sweetie. All I’ll need is a few sutures and some glue.” The Charlie Brown Christmas theme played softly on the radio as Peter gathered his thoughts.
“Glue? Like Elmer’s glue? You can’t use Elmer’s glue on your face. Lizzie Carlton already tried that at school and when she tried to glue her lips closed, it didn’t stick for that long.”
“Not Elmer’s glue, Polly.” He searched for something to soak up the bleeding. The last thing he wanted to do was take off his hoodie to clean himself up. That and the jeans and t-shirt he wore were his only defense against the bitter cold outside.
“Are you going to be okay?” Digory asked again, his voice laced with concern. “You’re not going to die, are you?”
The pain in his son’s question pinched Peter’s stomach with vice-like ferocity. The last thing his kids needed was to suddenly lose the only remaining parent they had.
They’d been through enough, suddenly losing their mother and finally meeting a father who never knew they existed.
Why didn’t she tell me?
How am I supposed to do this by myself?
Am I doing the right thing bringing them here?
He hated the sudden uncertainty in his life.
Ever since he’d been a teenager, he had to take complete control of his world after the death of their father.
Peter had been the steady one.
The one who always had all the answers.
The one everyone turned to for guidance.
Now he sat, crammed between a pile of snow and a sleigh, in the middle of nowhere. Until last month, he had no idea he’d fathered two children and now his usual rational brain had no logical thought.
What the hell?
A round of rapid sniffs brought him back to center.
The kids. Think about your children.
“Polly. Digory. I swear. It’s only a cut.” He heard the harshness of his voice as soon as the words were out of his mouth. Calm down! You can’t lose it. “I’m sorry, kids. It’s going to be fine. I promise.”
“This is the OnStar operator, Carlee. Are you okay?” The voice of a woman with a strong Southern accent stopped the Christmas music and caused Peter’s heart to jump to his throat.
He let out a long breath, getting his head around the situation. “Yes. My name is Peter Davidson. I’m with my children outside of, what’s the name of this town again?”
“The closest town I see on the map is Marietta, Montana. Is that where you wanted to be?”
“Marietta, right.” He spotted the fast food bag from the stop they made less than an hour ago and grabbed it. “We hit a sleigh.”
A long pause before… “I’ve called the local EMS department and they are on the way. Sir, did you say you hit a sleigh?”
“Yes.” Peter dabbed his forehead with some napkins from the bag.
“Was anyone driving the sleigh, sir?”
His world spun around. Peter swallowed hard before closing his eyes tightly and opening them again as the world slowly came back into focus. “Yes, I believe so.”
No, no, no concussion. I can’t have a concussion right now.
“Is there someone in the sleigh, now?”
“I’m pretty sure there was someone in the sleigh, ma’am.” Polly twirled the tail of a small stuff unicorn Peter bought her in the airport gift shop during their layover in Chicago.
Sitting up, he placed his head on the headrest as his headlights illuminated the rich wood of the structure. “I have no idea because I don’t see anyone now. I guess it could have been sitting here on the side of the road.”
But Peter didn’t remember the sleigh being in the road beforehand. In fact, he had no idea where the damn thing had come from.
The tall evergreens stood like toy soldiers on either side of the snowy road and swayed with the gusts of arctic wind. They kept large amounts of precipitation between themselves and the highway.
Peter anticipated he’d have to get out and inspect the scene, something he wasn’t looking forward to because cold weather and he did not mix.
“Sir? Did you say someone was in a sleigh?” Carlee’s voice quivered as though she were barely holding on to a gut-busting laugh. “And the man is wearing a red suit?”
“No, I didn’t say he had a red suit. I don’t see anyone right now.”
“No reindeer?” the operator snickered.
“Did you send help for us or what? I’ve got kids in the car.” Glancing around, Peter tried to figure out how the sleigh even operated.
No horses or cattle or reindeer. What the hell?
Best he could remember he heard what sounded like the roar of a lawn mower and then bam! They stopped where they were right now.
“Yes, sir. EMS has already been contacted. They are getting there as fast as they can. According to their dispatcher, the roads are a mess and they’re cleaning up a site south of town. You said you have children in the car.”
“Yes.” His brain wobbled and he prayed to stay awake until help arrived. I can’t flake out on my kids.
“Is everyone okay?”
“Operator. Peter’s bleeding,” Digory yelled, making the ache in Peter’s forehead vibrate into his teeth.
“I hit the airbag, I think. I’m okay.” Peter let a long breath out. Stay calm. Stay focused.
“Is there anyone in town that I can call for you, sir?” Carlee asked as the snow appeared to be coming down heavier and faster than before.
“You can do that?”
“Yes. Who can I call for you?”
So much for surprising them. “My brother, Edmund, and my sister, Lucy, both work at the ER in town. I’d have to look up their numbers to get their cells.”
Quick tapping on a keyboard could be heard through the speakers. “I’ve located the Marietta Regional ER. Is this the hospital, sir?”
The world began to uncomfortably spin. “Yes.”
“I’m calling the ER now. Please stay on the line.”
“What are we supposed to do?” Polly asked as she clutched her stuffed animal to her chest. “Can you go check and see if we hit Santa’s sleigh?”
“We’re supposed to stay here, Polly. It’s too cold to go outside.” Taking slow deep breaths, he calmed the spinning for a moment.
“For you.” Digory rolled his eyes as he held his plush penguin in a white-knuckle grip. “You don’t have a good coat.”
“No, Son. I haven’t had any time to get one. Been taking care of a few things.” Ever since he met his son, they had been oil and water. Peter hoped the animosity of their relationship would calm a bit now that the children’s mother’s funeral was over and they were out of school for the Christmas holidays.
“I’m worried about you, Peter…Daddy.” Polly’s sweet voice filled the car with angst. She’d been nothing but helpful and loving since Peter walked into their lives, but he worried her syrupy demeanor served as a defensive act to keep herself from facing the sadness of instantly losing their mother.
To bring the kids to this winter wonderland to meet two of his siblings would be a solid way he could get his feet underneath him and his mind on straight. Peter needed to be grounded by Edmund’s level head and Lucy’s loving heart since his instant “father” titles had thrown him sideways. “It’s going to be okay, Polly. I promise.”
“They have been notified at the ER.” The operator cleared her throat. “Who was driving?”
“I was driving.” The bleeding on his forehead slowed, but he already knew he needed some sutures and glue for sure.
“Now, Mr. Davidson–”
“My apologizes. Dr. Davidson. Who drove the sleigh?”
The sleigh? That’s right, a sleigh. Thoughts ran through Peter’s brain like runners with no sense of direction. His sight temporarily blurred, then his eyes stung as a warm drip of something fell into his line of sight and another drip fell on his hand. He pressed the napkins on his forehead again.
Glancing up again, Peter noticed a figure slumped over in the front seat of the sleigh when the wipers cleared the windshield and the snowfall decreased. Reality slammed him to center and his doctor brain took over. “Oh crap! There is someone out there.”
“Daddy hit Santa!” Polly screeched.