Monday, November 13, 2017

Book Tour Launch & Giveaway for Every Serengeti Sunrise



Hey everyone! My book tour for Every Serengeti Sunrise launched today over at Prism Book Tours! It runs today through Nov 25th and involves a giveaway package (see below for details and Rafflecopter entry). I also have multiple tour stops scheduled with never before seen excerpts, blog posts and reviews. You can see the full schedule at Prism Tours HERE. Links will go live on the days posts are scheduled. I hope to see you during the tour!

Oh, and this past Wed, Nov 8th, I saw Every Serengeti Sunrise hit the top 100 on Amazon's fiction with animals category again! This time it was the mass market paperback version and I caught it at #84. I didn't have time to keep track, so that's the only rank I saw. It made my day!


Here's a look at the giveaway prize packs. For more details, book background etc...head over to Prism Book Tours!

Also, don't forget the huge Starry Nights & Romance Facebook Party coming November 29th! Lot's of giveaways (that can count as early holiday shopping too) involved!


Prize Pack #1: (one winner, U.S. residents only)

A set of three, 15X15 in cotton canvas ‘From Kenya, With Love’ tote bags
A handmade wooden ‘Believe’ star ornament
A set of 3 plush wild animal TY Teeny Tys (great stocking stuffers!)
An autographed copy of A Heartwarming Christmas Craft & Cookbook
An autographed copy of After the Silence
An autographed copy of Through the Storm
Every Serengeti Sunrise bookmark

Prize Pack #2: (one winner, open to U.S. and International residents)

Amazon Kindle (gifted) copies of The Promise of Rain and After the Silence (Winner may substitute a different backlist book by Rula Sinara, if one of the above titles is already owned. No other substitutions apply.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, November 6, 2017

No more patio poop!


Cloudy November day in Rula's yard
Those of you who have followed my chicken keeping journey know that the one thing that has driven me nuts has been chicken poop on the patio. I'm a bit of a neat freak and the poop was driving me insane. And then I went and got ducks and geese and droppings reached astronomical levels. I couldn't take it anymore.

Over the past few years, I've tried many things, including motion detector sprayers, which of course couldn't tell the difference between a hen and a human. This got very annoying so, when the mechanism froze over that winter and cracked, I didn't bother replacing it. I've tried everything from fake owls to whirligigs and ribbons. None of them worked. I also tried temporary, ugly, plastic mesh fencing and bird netting to protect my patio flower beds. The ugliness kind of defeated the point of saving my beautiful flowers from hungry chickens. Plus, the chickens always managed to find a loose spot to squeeze under or over. Where there's a will, there's a way.

Last year, I planted comfrey under our fruit trees and down by the creek beyond the chicken coop. Comfrey is great for them and all livestock are supposed to love it. They snacked and made their way right back onto our slab of comfy concrete. I figured they were smart chickens and knew that food and scraps came through the patio door (big mistake on my part), so I began trekking around the house the long way to take them scraps. They snacked and came right back up to the patio door. In fact, whenever the sun came close to setting, instead of heading to their coop, they came up to the door, parked their fluffy butts and waited for their escort. Yes, I've been nicknamed Mother Clucker around here. Sigh. Apparently, my chickens are easier to train than my dogs.

Did I mention that my dogs have very robust, healthy vocal cords? They have the kind of bark that rattles bones and shatters eardrums. Barks they loved to use right when I would be cooking and carrying a glass jar of tomato sauce or a cup of hot tea. You get the picture. My chickens (and the geese and ducks too) seemed to get a kick out of it. Oh they loved standing at the glass patio door, taunting the dogs and knowing full well those giant beasts couldn't get through the glass. I told you...smart birds. I, however, feared the day my dogs would shatter the glass, along with my eardrums. And once the flock got locked up for the night, I would have to wash off the area around the door (or entire patio) to keep the dogs from walking through the poop and tracking it around. Very gross. The dogs, however, loved it. They seemed to enjoy eating all those droppings (lovely lumps of probiotics, to them) as much as any other type of chicken nugget. Especially frozen in the winter. Chicken poopsicles. Yum.

But this selfish, mean Mother Clucker has ended all their fun.

Last week, we finally invested in a nice patio fence. It's the more affordable aluminum, iron-look-alike and has gates on both sides, including one to my herb garden. I chose the style with spears at the top because I didn't want to give the chickens a nice landing surface. So far, they haven't tried to fly up or over. Right now, things look a bit plain, but we plan to landscape with some shrubs, flowers and crape myrtles on both sides of the fence to create a softer look and nice outdoor room space.

Part of the fenced area. The self-closing gate is propped open for the dogs after the flock is put to bed. 

Look who can't get in.
Needless to say, my chickens, ducks, geese and dogs aren't happy with me. I don't care. Call it tough love kiddos.

You all have no idea how relieved I am. The day this fence was put in last week was like an early Christmas for me! I can't wait to plant around it come spring.

In the meantime, don't forget that I, along with many of the other Harlequin Heartwarming authors, have early holiday giveaways for all of you! Not chicken fences, but tons of other cool stuff ;).

I'm on tour with Prism Book Tours next week, starting Monday the 13th through the 25th! Yes, following the tour and commenting on posts will get you entered in a giveaway. I'll post details and the schedule soon.


Nov 7th, I have a fun post up at the Heartwarming blog with Catherine Lanigan.

Nov 10th is the last day to enter my Every Serengeti Sunrise Goodreads Giveaway (this book won't be included in any other giveaways so enter while you can).

Nov 29th is the huge Starry Nights & Romance Facebook release party, featuring all of the Oct/Nov/Dec Heartwarming authors and two special guests. Check out the link for discussions at the bottom (if signed in) for sneak peeks at some of the giveaways in store (including mine): HERE!


Dec 2nd the four Heartwarming December authors will launch yet another giveaway on the Heartwarming blog, so stay tuned for those details!

Dec 5th Every Serengeti Sunrise and the other Dec HW books officially release in print format, though I believe ebook format is available on the 1st!

There's more to come in December, but I'll leave it at this for now.

I have much to do, but I think I'll steal a few moments to enjoy a hot cup of tea on my clean patio.

Peace,

Rula

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Happy Halloween!


Happy Halloween, everyone! I conjured up a little poem to get your day brewing :). Here it goes:

Something witchy this way comes,
by hats and brooms and bubbling cauldrons.

Spirits in the mist and bats are seen,
a haunting sign it's Halloween.

Potions are conjured as black cats stare.
A cackle is heard.
Beware! Beware!

(by Rula as your Halloween treat ;)

Have a sweet and safe haunting & trick or treating!

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Halloween Memories & Decor



Happy October! I was over at the Heartwarming Authors blog yesterday with Catherine Lanigan blogging about spooky Halloween memories and sharing some pics of our Halloween decor this year. Mine includes a real black cat :). The comments on the post were really fun and interesting too. Pop on over and check out the comments and photos HERE!

We also announced our upcoming Facebook party that's going to be loaded with chances to win fabulous prizes. You can get details on which authors will be there and sign up to come HERE.


Hope to see you both places!

Rula :)

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Flock & Flowers Backyard Update

Sunflower in Rula's garden wrapped in Cardinal Climber
Happy Fall! This is my favorite season and I thought I'd post some of the garden and flock photo updates. This year's chicken flock additions are doing great, as are my ducks and geese. In fact, we've been getting a very small duck egg every few days. I'm not sure who is laying, but I suspect it's my Khaki Campbell female, Amber, who is the smallest (dainty young lady) of my ducks. As for my Brown Chinese Geese, you'll recall that their size and behavior as goslings had me almost certain that I had a male and two females. Well, now the middle sized one (as a baby), Galadriel, has caught up in size to the one I'm sure is a male, Gandalf, and her behavior has changed. Her knob is much bigger than Tauriel's too. Now I'm thinking I might have two males. I'm not sure, but we'll see. I may have to get more females, although my Pekin duck female, Spirit, has a total crush on Galadriel. Yes, romance in the flock. :) Scroll through the pics below! I included a few flower pics that I'd posted on Facebook, for those who don't FB. Sorry about spacing between pics in this post. Blogger wasn't cooperating.

Some of Rula's flock
Rula's geese...Tauriel on the left, Galadriel in the middle and Gandalf to the right



Rula's Brown Chinese Geese
Rula's geese: Tauriel (I'm sure a female), Galadriel (sure was a female when younger, now I think she's a male based on new behaviors, knob and 'she's' so loud), and Gandalf (was the largest gosling, always on guard and I'm pretty sure is a male)
Rula's sunflowers
The Cardinal Climber that wraps around Rula's sunflowers. The hummingbirds LOVE it!


Rula's butterfly garden

 And some may have seen my harvest last month on FB...

Asian pears and apples from Rula's trees.

A cool frog on Rula's window, backlit by an outdoor light at night.

Budding zinnia in Rula's garden

Zinnia in Rula's garden

Zinnia in Rula's garden

Zinnia in Rula's garden. I love that name. I might need to call my next hen 'Zinnia'.
 And a recent sunset...

September Sunset at Rula's
I also have a little public service announcement regarding cats. You may not have a lot of feral or stray cats around your place, but I'm surrounded by farms with barns. Recently, a mommy cat and her two kittens, plus a cat I think was dad, took up residence in our garage. The only problem is that we already have a TNR'd feral calico living there and she wasn't too happy about this. The new kitties were strays (very friendly), as opposed to feral. TNR refers to 'Trap, Neuter, Release'. We have a program in our county where you can trap feral cats, have them neutered/spayed and vaccinated, then re-released in the same place they were trapped. They get to live out their live this way, while also controlling the population (litter prevention). This also keeps them out of kill shelters. Since 'mine' were strays, I took them in to check for microchipping (they weren't) and they were put up for adoption. Mama has already been adopted! I would have kept them myself, but I already have 3 indoor cats and one outdoor. Please look into TNR in your area, especially if you don't have 'no kill' shelters. And if you want a pet, adopt!

On another note, for those who don't see my announcements on FB or Twitter regarding giveaways, I also try and post them under 'news' on my website. Currently, I have a Goodreads Giveaway going on for After the Silence (Sept 22 - Oct 9). Details HERE.

Oh, and before I get back to writing, I have my next title to share! This is for book #6 in the 'From Kenya, With Love' series..the one after Every Serengeti Sunrise. No cover yet, but the title is...The Twin Test. Something tells me there might be twins on the cover, but we'll see ;). Cover or not, it's already up for pre-order (release date May 1, 2018)!

The next time I post, we'll be enjoying October...my favorite month. See you then!

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Amazon Top 100 Bestseller List - Every Serengeti Sunrise

The title of this post says it all and I had to share! Yesterday, my upcoming release, Every Serengeti Sunrise, hit the Amazon Top 100 Bestseller list for Literature & Fiction with Animals, rising to #33 on a list filled with famous bestsellers (seriously...here's the link to the list: http://amzn.to/2wJS3rj). I'm not comparing my book...just saying that I'm blown away and both humbled and honored...and extremely grateful to my loyal readers who pre-ordered the book and spread word of the series to others. I'm truly, truly grateful and hope you'll love this next story.


I just slipped off the list today, but I've included screenshots of my rank below because...well, you know...when crazy stuff like that happens to you, you take photos as souvenirs because lists fluctuate. My moment of fame was relatively brief, but I'll take it! It lasted longer than I expected! Of course, if you haven't purchased a Kindle copy yet but plan to, if you do so now, it might pop me right back onto the list :). Of course, you don't have to, but if you do, thank you in advance.


A bit of backstory on my day yesterday...I was under a deadline to turn in the full manuscript for the book that comes after Every Serengeti Sunrise, so I had been averaging no more than 3 hours of sleep a night. Sunday night, I only got 2 hours and then woke up to being #99 on the list. One up from the bottom but I didn't care. The adrenaline had me going before I made it to the coffee maker! You don't want to know how much coffee I've had this week. The number of cups alone would give you heartburn.

Then, after telling my fellow Harlequin Heartwarming authors (because those gals are an incredibly supportive sisterhood), they took it upon themselves to spread the news to their readers! I'm telling you, these authors are truly 'heartwarming' and generous. The next thing I knew the book was at #63...then #41...then it hit #33! If it got any higher, I missed it. But here are a few screen shots to celebrate :).

At #33:



When it was at #63:

And let me tell you, I was a mess (I'm a scary sight in those last days of a deadline). But when friends celebrate with you and cheer you on, it's energizing. And when your book loving kids get super excited because they see one of their favorite dinosaur books on the same list (my 13 yo kept pointing it out lol), you laugh and dance and give him a hug. And then when your high schooler doesn't drive home right after school and you're about to get upset but he pulls the cutest elephant figurine out from behind his back because he went to the store to buy you a celebratory gift (and you all know my books include elephants and anti-poaching themes)...you cry and give hugs.


My kids are keepers ;).

My cats are too. I had to get back to finishing my deadline book, so one of my cats, Nimbus, picked his favorite place in my office to cheer me on. Okay, he cheered cat-style. As in his dreams while napping. But at least he likes sleeping next to my books and trophy. My loyal cat fan ;).


I did turn in my book yesterday and know I'll get revisions soon. In the meantime, I caught up on sleep last night and need to clean/restock the fridge and change the kitty litter. Ah, the glamorous life of a writer :).

I hope tomorrow kicks off a wonderful September for you. And for those of you in south Texas and Louisiana, I've been keeping track of Hurricane Harvey's devastation and am sending you prayers. I used to live in Texas, including in Houston, and have a lot of friends there and some of my friends have family there. Prayers and hugs to you all.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Another teaser & limited time deal!

Don't worry...not every one of my posts between now and December will be about my upcoming release. Promise! Besides, you all know how much I love autumn and I won't let it pass by without posting fall pics from my garden. But I just noticed that the second book in my From Kenya, With Love series, After the Silence, is on sale for only $1.99 (Kindle version) on Amazon! I have no idea how long the sale will last but I really wanted to mention it for those who may not have read the book yet.

Why? Well, all my books can stand alone, although the setting and characters are connected and appear in each one...and the next three in the series will feature the children from books 1-3 all grown up and facing their own obstacles to their happily ever afters. In After the Silence, you'll get to meet Maddie Corallis...the heroine in my upcoming Every Serengeti Sunrise...when she's a ten year old girl struggling to cope with a traumatic experience. In fact, you'll get to Haki Odaba and Pippa Harper (first appearing in The Promise of Rain, book 1) all grown up too.

I must say that writing a character as a child and then as an adult is an amazing experience that involves digging into their psychology, the events in their lives that changed them and seeing how it all shapes who they are as adults.

I know I shared the back cover blurb in my last post, but here's a more detailed teaser for Every Serengeti Sunrise:

Elephants, Africa’s wild savannah and three best friends…

When attorney Maddie Corallis returns to Kenya to fight a humanitarian vs animal rights case, the last thing she expects is for her childhood friend, wildlife veterinarian Haki Odaba, to be the very man she’s up against. Loyal and protective, Haki would never turn his back on the elephants he’s devoted to saving, any more than Maddie could abandon the native tribes she’s come to protect. An impossible battle…but nothing compared to the fight they face when old feelings surface and the soul-deep connection they’ve always shared threatens the worst kind of betrayal...that of their dearest friend Pippa. The one Haki is expected to marry. 

Denying their feelings is torture, but giving in is not an option. Not with the suffering it would cause. Besides, Maddie left Kenya once and she’ll be leaving again soon. An ocean, a case and a friend between them. Maybe love can’t always find a way…or can it?



 And for those who haven't read After the Silence yet, here's its blurb:

Does following her passion mean losing her way?

Marine Ben Corallis is an expert at facing death, but nothing comes close to the terror that grounds him when his wife is killed in a car accident the day he returns from duty. He's left to raise an infant, a toddler and a ten-year-old girl who hasn't uttered a word since her mother's death.

It's hard not to care for the widowed marine with three young children. Yet he's still grieving, too burdened with guilt to fall in love again. And Hope Alwanga's future as a doctor awaits her on the other side of the world, in Nairobi. If two such opposites can't agree on a common country, how can they ever create a safe place to call home?




Also, apart from fall pics and backyard flock updates, stay tuned for big giveaways this fall. All four Harlequin Heartwarming December release authors (myself included) have lots of fun planned!

And now I'm off to take care of back-to-school errands (my kids start next week) and get more writing done for book 5!

Have a wonderful rest of August!

Friday, August 11, 2017

Cover for Every Serengeti Sunrise!

Those of you who are signed up for my newsletter got a sneak peek at the cover for my upcoming December release EVERY SERENGETI SUNRISE ('From Kenya, With Love' book 4, Harlequin Heartwarming). However, at the time, I had not yet seen the back cover blurb, so I couldn't share it in the newsletter.

Well, guess what I woke up to this morning? The email with my official photo files! So here it is...cover and blurb. I'm writing this post just after 3pm and as of a few seconds ago, the blurb wasn't up on Amazon yet, so you may be getting a first look at it here!

And for those of you who have been following the series and wondering which young characters from the first three books are all grown up in this one...and which three are involved in an impossible love triangle...this blurb will be your big clue ;).


Elephants, blazing skies and her two best friends…

Maddie can’t wait to return to Kenya! Until she learns the bill her law firm has sent her to fight is the same one her friend Haki helped write. At first, her work feels disloyal to Haki, but soon the sparks flying between them aren’t anger…but something more. Much more. Which is another kind of betrayal. Her cousin Pippa has been counting on a proposal from Haki for years. But to Maddie, denying her love for Haki also means betraying herself.

Available for pre-order at:
Amazon
B&N
Harlequin

or your favorite online bookstore!

Paperback - ISBN-13: 978-0373368648
ebook - ASIN: B06ZZLXH4C

I must admit that my inspiration for Haki was a young Chiwetel Ejiofor with a little stubble and a bit of a outdoorsy/rugged look...like in this article (or really any of the actor's image searches...one of my favorite actors) and the cover model looks much younger, but the cover does have a romantic feel that I love. My inspiration for Maddie was inspired by a young Ashley Greene like here (not with her Twilight makeup lol)...and they got her spot on. Overall, I can't resist a gorgeous sunset. Such a romantic time of day.

So what do you think? And for those of you who have been following the series, I have to ask...Team Maddie or Team Pippa?

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

RWA 2017 Conference Photos

I'm back from the Romance Writers of America 2017 conference and, as promised, I have pictures to share. In fact, too many pics for one post, so I've split them up. My friend and blog sister over at Harlequin Heartwarming Authors blog, Catherine Lanigan, and I just posted a photo recap of the conference and it includes TONS of pics, from casual gatherings to the famous Harlequin Party held at the Waldorf Astoria! I'll post a few of those, plus additional photos here, but rather than duplicate the posts, here's the link to that one...which we can call RWA17 pics part 1 :). Please check them out because I was up well after midnight putting those photos and the post together!


And we can call the pics here, part 2 ;). These pics will include a few of my faves (you might see both places), as well as some with my author friends who aren't with Heartwarming (but they're just as special to me of course).

Let's start with the fact that I finally got to meet my extraordinary editor, Claire Caldwell, in person! Every time we've tried to meet over the past year or two, something has happened. I had to leave the New York conference early in 2015 because of a death in the family...then when she attended my chapter's annual retreat the following spring, I couldn't make it because it coincided with my eldest's Senior Prom and my husband was out of town. Well, this year it finally happened! I knew she was super nice, patient, smart and plain brilliant as an editor, but she was even more so in person!

Catherine Lanigan (also one of Claire's lucky authors) and amazing editor Claire Caldwell. 

Claire Caldwell and me at the Harlequin Party. Sorry for the red photo. Mood lighting!

Claire, myself and Catherine
Okay, I'm posting a little backwards here, since the party wasn't until Friday night, but my other post on the Heartwarming blog goes in chronological order, I promise.

One of the best parts of my conference was getting to see my close friends and annual roomies, Harlequin author Jeannie Watt and her daughter, author Jamie Dallas. Jeannie received an award for reaching 25 books with Harlequin and Jamie had just found out she'd won a Stiletto award (Contemporary mid-length for The Wrong Brother) at an event right before the party! You go girls!

Jeannie Watt, me and Jamie Dallas

Jeannie Watt and Jamie Dallas in front of the Harlequin sign honoring their award recipients. Beautiful ladies!
Jeannie has written for Harlequin Superromance and American in the past...in fact she was my favorite cowboy author long before I got published and, for those of you who follow my posts, you'll remember her as my mentor and the author who made me pitch the book that ended up being my first sale and debut :). I'm so excited that she'll be bringing her cowboys to the Heartwarming family!

Jeannie on the end with her 25 book award. There were more awards afterwards...all the way up to 150 books!



Jeannie and Jamie with her Stiletto contest award.

The lovely and sweet Miranda Indrigo, who is always there to answer any questions we Harlequin Authors have.

Okay, this one's on the other post too, but I had to tease you with how gorgeous the room and dessert set up is at the Harlequin Party. More pics if you follow the post link above!

Authors Cari Lynn Webb, Amy Vastine, Jennifer Snow and Carol Ross at the party.
See that giant screen in the back? Well, Harlequin had book covers rotating through. See my other post of the Heartwarming covers that made it on the big screen. Here's one of Jeannie Watt's 25th book.


Catherine Lanigan and me on our way to the Harlequin Party.

Catherine Lanigan and Kate James. We shared a taxi to the party :).

Our traditional pic! See the other post for the one we took back in 2014!
And then there was the Reader's For Life Literacy Autographing which is open to the public and raises funds for literacy. Check out the other post for pics of all the Heartwarming authors signing. I didn't this year because my next book release isn't until December. Here's a shot of Cari and Jeannie who sat next to each other last year too. These two are a riot. They had me laughing so hard and readers loved them. One reader even brought Jeannie a specially made gift with her book cover on it!




Always great to see Donna Alward at the conference!


And I was excited to see Nancy Holland. It's so fun to run into people you usually see online.


I ran into so many friends and I don't have pics of them all. Some have been shared on Facebook and Twitter though, if you hang out there or lurk. Gosh, if I try and post names, I know I'll miss someone, but a few were Karen Foley, Cathryn Parry, Barbara Wallace, Tanya Agler and so many more! If I forgot to list you, it's from sheer exhaustion...not because I don't love you.

Again, I posted many more pics at the above link to the Heartwarming blog, so I'll leave you with this last (somewhat blurry one). I love it because, although we attend the conference to learn at workshops, meet with our editors/agents and find out about publishing trends, the conference is also about getting to see friends (sometimes only this once a year) who understand what it means to be a writer and who are always supportive and giving.

Kate James, me and Catherine Lanigan
So now that I'm back home, I'm feeling recharged and inspired (albeit tired from travel). I'm working on book 6 in my From Kenya, with Love series, due at the end of the month. Book 5, Every Serengeti Sunrise releases in December (and is up for preorder). I just saw the cover for it and it's very romantic. I'll be doing a cover reveal in my newsletter by tomorrow, so anyone who wants to get an early look at it, sign up soon on my website!

I hope you all get a minute to check out the pics on the Heartwarming blog too. Thanks for visiting and checking the ones I posted here!

Until next time,

Rula :) (who really, really missed getting to see Victoria Curran. Wish you were there!)