Friday, May 27, 2016

Chicken Update, Fox Attack & Upcoming Tour

Hello, everyone! This is a quick update post because I've been swamped on the work and home front.

As you know, the third book in my 'From Kenya, with Love' series released this month (June for UK/Aus). I've also been working on a proposal for a new series for Heartwarming. But just to add a little spice to my writing schedule, my eldest...who is graduating from high school in a few weeks...broke his wrist during a track and field meet. It wasn't just any break. The whole thing involved CT scans and a visit to a hand specialist because of the nature of the break. He's in a cast and will be fine. We've also had our share of illness, out-of-town visitors, end-of-year homework projects etc...

Then this past week, as if things weren't crazy enough, we had our first fox attack. It wasn't pretty. Almost three years with backyard chickens and we never had a fox problem. I know they're around (it's a given, living in the country), but they've never bothered coming into our fenced backyard, especially since our dogs run around there and leave their scent. Well, our dogs are not out at the same time as our flock because they love chicken and not in the guardian dog way. Unfortunately, so do foxes. This gorgeous red fox attacked right in the middle of the day. From what I could see, our three roosters did nothing to stop the carnage. We lost 3 hens, plus several were injured but got away. I've been nursing the most severely injured girl in my makeshift basement chicken clinic. She was seriously cut up on her back and suffered a leg injury. I've been spoon feeding her (and watering) because of it, but she's been a trooper and, amazingly, is recovering!

I kept the flock locked in their coop for almost a week and, when I tried to let them out for a few hours, the fox came back. This time, she had her jaws around a hen's neck but I stopped her in time. For now, the flock is staying under lock.

I love all wildlife and understand that it's spring and that fox has kits to feed. I just have to build a secure pen with buried hardware cloth and only let them range under supervision in future. Unless I get a guardian dog, but I don't dare right now. The pup might learn bad habits from my two zany dogs.

On the bright side, I have a broody hen sitting on a clutch of eggs. We haven't been through this before, so I'm hoping it all works out and we have baby chicks in a few more weeks. I'll keep you all posted!

Finally, for anyone interested, I was recently interviewed at Romance Reader and the post includes a giveaway. I saw some familiar 'faces' there, so thanks for the visit and comments!

I also have an upcoming excerpt/review tour with Prism Book Tours, June 5-12...and that also includes giveaways! You check out the schedule HERE.

I hope my U.S. friends all have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend!

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Henna Head Giveaway Winner

Happy Saturday, everyone!

Many thanks to everyone who commented on my Henna pictures here, on Facebook and over at the Heartwarming Authors blog. I had so much fun with all of you! And thank you for the henna head compliments :). Everyone seemed to like it!

Everyone who posted (whether here, there or FB) was put in a random drawing and I have a winner! The big announcement is over at the Heartwarming Authors blog, but I'll mention it here too. BUT please take a minute to pop over to the Heartwarming Author blog for my Sit-Down Saturday post. It includes photos of the Hollywood stars who I'd cast as the hero, heroine and their teen nephew in Through the Storm. I also included the 1980's hit song that I think fits this story so perfectly! Any guesses? ;)

And the giveaway winner is...

Tanja Dancy!

Congratulations, Tanja! Please contact me through my website with your mailing info!

Thanks again to all who entered. Have a super weekend!

Tuesday, May 3, 2016


(NOTE: You'll find this giveaway post on the Heartwarming Author's blog today as well. Let me know what you think of my henna head and get entered in my giveaway!)

Happy May! I’m celebrating the release of Through the Storm, the third novel in my ‘From Kenya, With Love’ series for Harlequin Heartwarming with 1) a GIVEAWAY and 2) by JUMPING HEADFIRST INTO A BOWL OF HENNA! You heard right. Henna.
Photo by Aftat Courtesy of
Okay, I didn’t jump in…at least not exactly. I leave that kind of danger to the hero in my book, Serengeti bush pilot Mac Walker ;). But allow me to explain. 

Why am I now a henna head?

As many of you know, my Harlequin Heartwarming ‘From Kenya, With Love’ series is set in East Africa…specifically Kenya and its majestic Serengeti. I spent much of my childhood living in North Africa and one thing the entire region (from Africa to India and many other countries/cultures) has in common is the use of Henna, a natural plant based dye. Henna is used as a hair dye, as well as for elaborate, ‘temporary’ (they eventually fade…eventually) tattoos. Culturally, henna tattoos are used in celebrations such as weddings. The designs are endless, detailed and quite beautiful. Although I don’t specifically mention henna in my Kenya series, it’s definitely used there and henna designs are a traditional part of wedding preparations there, including with the Masai…who do appear in my books!

You can check out these links for examples of intricate henna work:

National Geographic Swahili wedding henna (you can imagine this on some of the characters in my books)

Henna can also be used for any ‘tattoo’ design. I personally love what the pregnant women in these images did to celebrate the beauty of their growing bellies!

Pregnant belly henna designs (These are gorgeous! No chance of that happening now lol, but maybe I could henna tattoo an HW and a heart on my ankle for the RWA conference ;)! Hmmmm.

Henna is great for hair and can also be used as a routine hair dye…free of harsh chemicals. The catch is pure henna is red. What shade of red depends on what color your hair was to begin with. What I love about it is that, on brown hair, it shows up predominantly as highlights that glisten in the sun.

As a pre-teen/teen, I often had henna in my hair. My mom used it to keep my hair conditioned and healthy. Plus, where we lived in Africa, henna use was super common (still is). One fun tradition was that, whenever henna was being prepared for hair (think women’s henna party), the ladies would literally get ‘we kids’ out of their hair (pun intended) by placing a dab of henna in our palm and having us curl our hand into a fist. The idea was that the tattoo shape that our scrunched fist would form would be a surprise…and if it looked like a fish we’d have good luck (or money would come our way ;). We’d run off and play, all the while keeping that fist until our moms said we could wash our hands for the big reveal.

Back then, I almost always got a fish shape, so I thought I’d try it again. Last week, I bought some henna, mixed it up and slapped it on my hair (picture many towels, plastic wrap and gloves because this stuff is like thick mud). While it sat on my head, I put a dab in the palm of my hand. The result? You tell me. Alas, it’s definitely not a fish, though money luck would have been nice lol. I’m thinking some sort of bird. A rising phoenix?

Rula's not-so-artistic henna hand
Here are my before and after hair photos. I’d love to hear what everyone thinks! And, yes, those are little elephant earrings ;).

BEFORE: (I do have some natural red highlights but more subtle. Gray hair in my part...not so subtle lol)

Before Henna
Before Henna

AFTER: (Taken in different lighting because it was hard to get the red to show up on, it shows how it changes with light...sometimes burgundy...sometimes orangy. I'm a chameleon head! I had a pet one of those in Algeria too...and he used to sit on my head lol.)
After Henna
After Henna
After Henna
And in the name of Africa and celebrations (including my book release this month), I’m giving away a ‘From Kenya, With Love’ gift pack!

This gift pack (and, honestly, any Harlequin Heartwarming book) would make a great gift for moms, grandmothers, sisters or anyone who enjoys tender, heartfelt romance. It includes a ‘From Kenya, With Love’ set of three 15 x 15 ½ inch canvas tote bags, 3 bookmarks, a pen, Harlequin sticky note pad, a ‘Think Harlequin’ pin, a ‘sweet and heartwarming’ bracelet, a cute mama and baby elephant figurine set and signed copies of the first two books in the series, The Promise of Rain and After the Silence.

The giveaway is also posted on my blog…A Writer’s Rush…and linked to from my Facebook page. All you have to do to enter is leave a comment on this giveaway post or on the same post on the other two sites and let me know what you think about my henna head! Thumbs up or thumbs down? Or let me know if you've used henna before. The winner will be announced, along with a special behind-the-scenes post on Through the Storm, here on the Heartwarming Author blog Saturday, May 7th.

THROUGH THE STORM is NOW AVAILABLE in print online at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Harlequin or in ebook format everywhere! It’s also available on Netgalley for reviewers. Many thanks in advance to everyone who takes the time to post a review on Amazon, Goodreads or other review site…the ultimate gift to an author!


The biggest risk she'll ever take…

Tessa Henning is no damsel. But she's definitely in distress. If her husband really is involved in the ivory trade, he'll come after her when he finds out what she's uncovered. Unfortunately, the only person who can help is Mac Walker. Stubborn, fiercely independent, danger-loving bush pilot Mac Walker—with whom she shares custody of their orphaned nephew. Though Mac's no knight in shining armor, he can keep her and their nephew safe in the Serengeti while they wait out this storm. But he can't protect Tessa from the strange weather brewing inside her, stirring up feelings for Mac she wishes she could ignore.

Happy Mother’s Day and Happy Reading!

Don't forget to check back here on Saturday for the winner! I'll have contact instructions for getting the prize pack mailed :).

Rula Sinara
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