Yup, I’m doing a happy dance! [Imagine Snoopy here–I don’t feel like looking for a free meme.] This week I received a new four-book (4 books!!) contract from my amazing publisher, Tule Publishing and I can’t find words big enough to express my excitement. I love working with Tule, both as author and as a copy editor. The folks at Tule are the absolute best friend an author (or a CE) can have–supportive, giving, kind, generous with their thoughts and ideas–all the things an author could want in a publisher.
So… I’m ecstatic and can’t wait for y’all to meet the Walkers. The guys first showed up in The Valentine Wager, as they buzzed around Kitt Boynton, raising Ryker Lange’s ire. They’ll be back in the picture with their cousin Annabelle in the very first Weaver Sisters novel, which releases in April 18, 2023! In fact, how about a little snippet from that book–The Carpenter’s Heart. What do ya think? Let’s do it!
Setup: It’s New Year’s Eve and Jasmine Weaver has just returned home to River’s Edge, unemployed, depressed, just scraping bottom. She knows her family is at the annual Four Irish Brothers Winery party, so she goes there to let her family know she’s home. She runs into the Eli Walker, her high school sweetheart… and his family…
At first, it seemed as if they were going to be able to sneak in unseen, but the thought no more crossed his mind than Jazz’s sister, Joanna—Jo, to all who knew her well—squealed, “Jazzy!” from a table near the fireplace opposite the door.
Jasmine tossed a wry smile over her shoulder at him and headed for her sisters, both of whom were rushing toward her, clearly popping with curiosity. Among the cacophony of Jo and Jen’s bubbly welcome and questions, Eli decided to grab his chance and duck along the wall to where his older brother, Jack, and their cousins Cameron and Joey sat at a high-top table near the band.
“Hey, where’ve you been?” Jackson Walker waved a hand toward the empty chair next to him.
“Just working on the Pelkey job.” Eli hung his jacket over the back of his chair and accepted a glass of wine from Sam Flaherty as she floated by with a tray and a smile. No need to go into the whole story about Jazz and the house. Not here, and not when a client provided a perfect alibi.
“I thought we agreed no work today.” Jack took a glass too.
“Keith texted with a question, so I ran by the office on my way up here.”
Cam squinted, his expression dubious. “What does he want now?”
The Pelkey job, a huge car dealership across the river in Carrollton, Kentucky, was one of the biggest commercial projects that Walker Construction had ever bid on and won; Eli was anxious to get the contracts signed and the deal nailed down. Problem was, Keith Pelkey kept adding elements to the design of the massive four-building project, which meant adjustments to the contracts, due to be signed on January third.
Joey’s dark eyes widened. “He’s not backing out, is he?”
Eli shook his head firmly. “No, not at all. Quite the opposite. He wants Anna to make the ceiling of the main building even more soaring—his word, not mine. I wanted to write it up and get it into an email to her before we meet with him on Wednesday afternoon.”
“Poor Anna.” Jack blew out a disgusted breath. “Another working holiday for her.”
“Did I hear my name being taken in vain over here?” Their cousin and Walker Construction’s own architect, Annabelle Walker, strolled up behind Eli. Setting one hand on his shoulder, she leaned in. “I got your email. Ironically, Pelkey nixed the first drawings I did of the main building, where the ceiling was high, and now he wants his ceiling to soar?”
“’Fraid so, coz.” Eli turned with a regretful smile and patted her hand. Annabelle was Cameron and Joey’s sister and one of the most innovative architects he’d ever known. When she agreed to come on board the family business, Walker Construction became a full-service concern, with Eli at the helm now that his father, Cornell, and his Uncle Lionel had retired. Jack and Cameron supervised all the construction, Joey was their landscaper, and Eli dealt with the business end of the company. It was he and Jack who had encouraged expanding into commercial construction several years ago, and Walker Construction had taken off, becoming one of the premier construction companies on the river. Eli missed the physical work of carpentry every day, but he did his best with the challenges of being in charge of the family business.
Voila! The Walker Family, mes amies! They’re all wandering around in my head, waiting anxiously for their stories to be told, so between writing and editing, my next couple of years are set. I love it when a plan comes together.
Gratitude for this week: Good walking time with friend Mary; got to meet a new Tule author, Carol Light, who writes mysteries with a touch of cozy; had Chinese food and guitars with the kids last night–fun: wrote nearly 10,000 words in five days this week–wow! and received a contract for four new books. It’s been a good, if busy, week.
Stay well; stay safe; don’t toss those masks, we’re going to need them again this winter; be kind to one another; and most of all, mes amies, stay grateful!
Oh, by the way, The Fireman’s Christmas Wish, book 3 in the Lange Brothers trilogy is available for preorder. It’s Christmas romance at its very best, I promise!