My latest series, In the Shadow, came from thinking about siblings of my main characters in the previous series, Hometown Heroes. What would it be like growing up in the shadow of a sibling who becomes a hero? Would they ever feel like they measured up? Could they find their own adventures as well? So I set out to explore that idea.
Ultimately, I had a lot of fun with it. When I was writing my original series, the Hometown Heroes, I didn’t spend too much time thinking about their siblings. We had three friends—Kyle the detective, Joe the fire captain, and Scott the naval aviator. I knew a bit about their families, but when it was time to write the new series, I had to go back and see what I’d already said about those characters and how that could provide the foundation for their own adventures. It ended up being a much richer—and more complicated—experience than I anticipated.
I did end up creating a graphic for my readers that you can find here that lays out who is in what books and how they are all related. It helped me keep everything straight too.
The first book, Off the Map, is the story of Steve Collins (he goes by Collins) and Allie Ellis. Collins is Kyle Taylor’s partner from the very first book in the series, Protective Custody. And Allie is the sister of Melissa Ellis, a woman who has been helping to run a defense contracting firm.
Allie definitely feels like she’s in the shadow of her talented and beautiful older sister. When she and Collins get thrown together on a road trip, he sees it as an opportunity to reconnect with Allie, his old high school crush. But can he keep her safe when a stalker is after them?
The second book, Out of Range, finds Kim Taylor, the younger and fashion designer sister of Detective Kyle Taylor, trying to prove she’s not some flaky artist that her family doesn’t take seriously. Matthew Ellis has always been the family fun guy to older sisters Melissa and Allie. But can he be counted on to come through when it really counts? I enjoyed exploring the older/younger sibling dynamics in this book.
The final book in the series, Over Her Head, explores Jessica Blake, little sister of naval aviator Scott Blake. She certainly felt in the shadow of her older brothers, one serving his country and the other a football star prematurely killed by a drunk driver.
She hasn’t made the best choices in life, but she’s determined to make a fresh start. And she gets to do that by helping someone else in a dangerous circumstance, aided by the gorgeous but more comfortable with computers than people Austin Montgomery. Together they figure out how to make their way through some complicated circumstances.
Because it’s the last book in the series, there are plenty of happily ever afters to go around, including some from the original Hometown Heroes series. I was happy to be able to continue to include the original cast and take a deeper peek into their family dynamics.
Do you enjoy reading a series that involves family members? Can you see some of the sibling dynamics in your favorite characters? Maybe it was because I liked watching the Waltons growing up, but I always enjoy stories that show brothers and sister figuring how to navigate grown-up relationships. I hope you do too!
Kathleen J. Robison
Ready or Not?
Happy New Year! Many urgent things are filling my schedule, and ready or not, I’ve hit the year running. I got ill right after Christmas, so my best-laid plans went by the wayside. Still, I’m not worried. God has got this, and I’m so glad my life is in His hands.
Since I signed with Celebrate Lit Publishing, my retirement years gave way to a new career, and my life is no longer my own. But I love creating stories and am enjoying my newfound reader friends. I’m so excited to share upcoming book releases in 2022, so please join my Facebook Reader’s group if you want to keep abreast of what’s coming. Here’s a sneak preview.
First off, Bay Town Book Two, Restored Grace, will release in June. Carol, one of the favorite characters from Book One, takes center stage, and many of the loveable Bay Town personalities in Shattered Guilt and Revived Hope return to help her in a harrowing race against time. I’m also really excited about the book I’ve been waiting to see published, Bay Town Christmas Fruitcake. It’s due for a holiday release in 2022 and my 97-year-old mother-in-law, the inspiration for the fruitcake, is quite anxious too. She still bakes the Christmas cakes every year, and I get to help.
I recently joined a group of authors, many are also Because of Fiction Magazine contributors, and we were signed to write a Christmas and Castles Collaboration. I’ve also been signed to author a book in the Happily Ever After Mysteries Two Series. Writing Historical Fiction is somewhat new to me, but I enjoyed penning this story, and it became a favorite of mine. It takes place in rural Wales and England in 1947. I had such fun writing the intriguing romantic interest. No spoilers, though. Whew, I’m dizzy just writing all these down, but I’m trusting the Lord to fit it all in. He always does, and I’m enjoying the journey.
With so much going on, submitting my plans to the Lord is a top priority. I heard someone say be careful not to let the urgent take over the important in your life. But how do I balance? I remember my priorities, and God honors them.
What are my priorities? God and my family. So, I make sure I don’t push Him or them out. Fortunately, I have plenty of notice, in regards to book deadlines, so I make sure to plug in family birthdays, vacations, and events. I don’t want to miss the grandkids’ activities or facetime with my family out of state. And I never want to say no to babysitting my grands. And let’s not forget, hubby time!
Fortunately, I’m an early riser, so I’ve adjusted to rising even earlier to get my quiet time in before sitting down to hours of writing. No one seems to bother me between four and nine in the morning. Ideally, this works, but there are days it doesn’t, and that’s when I trust again that God’s got it, and it’ll all work out.
Whether things go as planned or life gets in the way, I pray you’ll find peace in submitting your plans to the Lord. His ways are always perfect. Ready or not!
Sweet Promises Press
Gold Coast Retrievers Series
The Gold Coast Retrievers is a series of wholesome romantic suspense books that you can read as standalone novels in any order you like.
The golden retriever dates back to the early 19th century. According to an article on the American Kennel Club website, they’re thought to be the result of breeding hunting dogs adept at retrieving things with the now-extinct Tweed water spaniels. The first three goldens were named for wildflowers, specifically Cowslip, Crocus, and Primrose.
You don’t have to have known the love of a golden retriever firsthand to be familiar with their notoriety as gentle, furry friends. In fact, these dogs’ gentleness of retrieving shot game unharmed was why these dogs were so popular with hunters in the breed’s infancy.
Modern-day golden retrievers are one of the most popular dog breeds in the United States, and they have a good reputation as family dogs. Their high intelligence and eagerness to please make them good working dogs whether it’s assisting a person with specific needs or helping first responders sniff out contraband or an arsonist.
The canine characters in the Gold Coast Retriever books aren’t your everyday ordinary pets. Each golden retriever has a special job which could be searching for missing people, providing emotional and physical support, or acting in a celebrity role on local television.
As you read through the books, you may be surprised at how immersed you become. The characters may even remind you of people you know in real life!
Although all of the books share the same setting – the fictional town of Redwood Cove, California – and characters may make appearances in more than one book, you can start reading anywhere in the series and jump around as much as you like.
The books are available as both individual titles and as special collections. You can learn more about the series and the books on the Sweet Promise Press website.
This series is a favorite among fans of Sweet Promise Press books. You don’t want to miss these sweet stories about beloved golden retrievers and their loyal human companions. Grab your favorites and start reading today!