Ari Thatcher

About Ari Thatcher

USA Today Bestselling author Ari Thatcher is the naughty side of sweet romance author Aileen Fish. Ari has always loved sexy romance where love takes the leading role. Reviews have called her work “captivating” and “compelling”, and her characters “intelligent, intriguing and realistic.”

Meddling Family and Holiday Hijinks

My contribution to Love, Christmas 2 is Almost Christmas in Connecticut, based on the classic movie Christmas in Connecticut.


The movie involves a war hero who’s invited to spend Christmas dinner with the cooking columnist whose articles nourish his spirit while he recovers in hospital. I brought the story into the twenty-first century by making the soldier female, and her love interest, a video blogger.

One of the things I love about the movie, besides starring Barbara Stanwyck, is the madcap mishaps caused by the fact the columnist can’t cook, and the additional premise maintained in her column that she’s married and has a baby. I’m not sure if there’s a specific trope for those; it’s not mistaken identity but false pretense creating conflict. This can often lead to trust issues, but following in the movie’s spirit I focused on the opportunity presented by the truth.

I already knew the hero, Tanner Frost, as his brothers have been finding love in my Small-Town Sweethearts series. I needed a heroine, though. One who currently served in the military, and who could mistakenly be described as a wounded warrior. I reached out to readers for some suggestions and realized how important it was to get Winnifred “Fred” Carmichael right, and not insult the entire military community and all of our true heroes. How could I portray Fred as an injured soldier in a silly, short romance without trivializing the work of so many men and women?

I turned to my high school best friend’s big sis, LTC Karen Maskew, USA, Ret. For guidance. With her help, I fleshed out Fred and how she came to be invited to spend Christmas with Tanner.

Here’s a tease from the book:

Tanner had a wild urge to cross his eyes and stick out his tongue when yet another woman snapped a picture of him as he waited outside the arrivals gate at Bradley International Airport. He put up with his aunt’s idea of starring in a video cooking show, but he hated the celebrity that came with it. If he signed onto his social media accounts right then he’d see his face plastered repeatedly on his timeline holding a sign that said Fred.

Fred. Who named their kids that? Tanner had his aunt to blame for his being in the airport, too. She’d come up with this great promo idea by having some soldier come to the farm for Christmas dinner. Somehow they’d have to keep Fred from discovering Tanner was just the front man for the vlog. His aunt did all the cooking, but she claimed her face wouldn’t draw the following his would. And she’d been right about the number of fans.

Scanning the arriving passengers, he looked for a guy in uniform. Or fatigues. Whatever a soldier would wear to travel.

A tall, slender woman on crutches stopped in front of him, letting a duffle bag drop beside her. “That’s me.”

“I beg your pardon?” He wished she’d just take a photo and move along. The number of people coming and going were growing on his nerves.

“I’m Fred. You’re Tanner Frost, right?”

He ducked his head, dropped the sign and reached for her duffle bag. “Sorry, I expected a guy.”

“I get that a lot,” she said.

There was no mistaking her for a guy. She was clearly fit but had noticeable curves. He liked the look on her. He’d bet if she took her auburn hair out of the bun she wore, it would reach her waist. He wouldn’t mind seeing her all dressed up.

Hefting her duffle bag, he guessed she hadn’t brought a fancy wardrobe, which suited him fine. He had no idea what his aunt planned for their week, but it wouldn’t include clubbing or fancy restaurants. Their vlog was about home cooking, so there would be lots of that.

Luckily he’d found a parking space not too far from the arrival gate, since they had to move slowly to accommodate her crutches. She slid into the truck with a lot more grace than he could have pulled off, and he tossed the crutches in the back.

He didn’t talk while driving the maze they called an exit at the airport, but then settled back and relaxed. “So, you’re from Mississippi?”

“Missouri.”

“And you’re a marine?”

“National Guard,” she answered, laughter obvious in her voice. “I’m guessing you knew as much about this as I did.”

He ducked his head again and glanced out the side window. “Yeah. My aunt handles the behind-the-scenes stuff. You didn’t email her?”

“No, that would be my niece. She’s six. I’m so embarrassed! She said she wrote that I was a wounded soldier.”

Pointing at the navy canvas boot over the cast on her left foot, he said, “There is that.” He grinned and she smiled back.

“Wounded soldier gives people the idea I was injured in combat. The only thing I was fighting was the pile of rubble when a church got hit in a tornado. We didn’t even arrive until an hour after it passed through the town.”

“So you rescue people from disasters? That’s impressive.”

“It sounds bigger than it is in reality.” She seemed determined to belittle her part in the Guards. “We don’t get called out often, which is good because it means people don’t need our help. I’m really a tester at a cheese factory.”

Well, that was different. “I don’t think I’ve ever met a cheese tester.”

“That’s okay.” She grinned. “I’ve never met a vlogger, either.”

“Are you a follower of the vlog?”

Her mouth twisted to one side. “Um, do I get sent back home if I say no? I really don’t want to disappoint my niece. She wants a picture of us together, by the way.”

Her answer relieved him, if he was honest with himself. Aside from the need to keep her from finding out how little he really cooked, he wouldn’t have to put up with starry eyes and heavy sighs. He could be himself, as long as she didn’t have her phone handy to snap random photos.

Download your copy of Love, Christmas 2 today!

The Castle of Your Dreams~Historical Romance Settings by Ari Thatcher

What is it about estate homes in historical novels that leave us pining to live there? You know you want to, admit it. None of us laughed at Elizabeth Bennet when she declared she thought she probably first fell in love with Mr. Darcy when she saw Pemberly. We all sighed with her when she first saw that impressive prospect from her uncle’s carriage.

Is it privilege we long for? Money? Grimsthorpe Castle in Lincolnshire, shown here, stands on 3000 acres of wooded parkland. In California, where I live, the only properties with that kind of acreage are cattle ranches, and they are getting fewer with each passing decade. And most have a working farm house, not one set up for entertaining.

While researching my next release, A Christmas Dragon Scheme, I looked at floor plans of the great country houses and was impressed with one thing: the houses with a royal suite. The owners ran in high enough circles they needed a room for the King to sleep in when he dropped by. We have hotels with Presidential Suites in the U.S, not homes!

Of course, the home or castle is only a backdrop to the characters in a story, but the research is so much fun! Without the country houses belonging to the peerage, we might as well be writing about the smithy or rag lady. Those books are fun in their way, but we need our occasional chance at becoming mistress of Pemberly, don’t we?

Understanding Suicide and How You Can Help @arithatcher

September is Suicide Prevention Month, but I’m sad to say that didn’t inspire this post.

Within weeks of each other this past month, young family members of mine lost someone dear to them. Two young people weren’t able to get past the point where their minds told them death was best for their situations. Each loss leaves so many friends and family feeling lost, confused, and wondering what they missed, that, if they’d recognized it, could have saved the victim.

Yes, victim. Suicide is rarely a case of someone feeling sorry for himself or crying out for attention. A lack of attention might put him on the path that ended in suicide, but it was an illness, a malfunction of the brain, that resulted in his death.

I’m not a trained professional, I’m a survivor. To be honest, I never actually attempted to kill myself, but I had made a mental list of everything available to me to end my life. I was able to fight long enough to get help, to find someone who’d take me to the hospital. According to the leader of the therapy group I was in at that time, most people don’t survive the point I’d reached.

As I mentioned, “poor me” rarely leads to an actual suicide attempt, from what I’ve learned in the years since. The brain can normally slip into thoughts of people not caring enough, or being a loser, “I wish I was dead,” but those feelings pass. When depression has become serious enough to lead to thoughts of suicide, the brain calmly and rationally points out how your loved ones would be better off without you. You understand they’ll feel pain, but by not having to suffer through/deal with all the problems you’ll create in your lifetime, they’ll be happier.

It’s hard to imagine, isn’t it? That same voice in your head that says you really ought to get off your butt and do the dishes, begins to point out all the methods at hand to end your life. It happens that simply.

As the friend or loved one, how can you recognize the difference between the two moods? The best answer is you can’t. You can’t rush a friend to the hospital every time they mutter, “I wish I was dead,” either. But you can start by talking.

Opening a dialog can help the person who hasn’t reached ideations—the point of listing various methods. You can gauge the severity of the depression…use your gut. Talk to his friends, a school counselor, your minister. If you continue to have a bad feeling, act on it. A person can be hospitalized involuntarily in most states, if they appear to be a threat to themselves or others. A doctor will interview the person before admitting, so if it’s a false alarm, you’ll only have to deal with a pissed-off loved one. That’s far better than dealing with the loss and wondering what you missed.

What you missed. You’ve probably heard the usual list of warning signs, (if not, go to the Suicide Prevention Lifeline for more information), but there’s a group of signs most people wouldn’t recognize as being a problem. In some cases, the victim will have reached the decision that death is the right thing to do, but rather than do it that instant, they get their affairs in order. Someone might get all the bills paid, clean house, and cook dinner for the family–all normal enough events, but he might be unusually happy while doing so. Young people give away possessions, or might slip up and mention, “When I’m gone.”

They’re all things you see and do every day, right? Is it any wonder we miss signs? Again, I say trust your gut. You won’t always see it coming, but it’s so much better to be wrong about him wanting to do it than realizing it after the fact.

I’m not trying to scare you, just make you aware. We’re taught the signs for different types of serious illnesses, but not suicidal ideations. You can teach yourself, though, through groups like Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Like CPR training, you never know when it might be something you need to know.

I can’t tell you why I’m here and others aren’t. Some part of me fought back. Oh, and speaking of which, don’t assume that because they have an upcoming appointment or group therapy session they’ll get the help they need. Among the calls I made that night, I spoke to the suicide hotline. I was told to call my doctor Monday morning for an appointment. I wanted to scream, “I might not be here Monday.” I’m lucky. I’m blessed. I’m here.

It can’t be said enough. Please go to Suicide Prevention Lifeline and read the various articles on how you can help. You don’t need to volunteer somewhere if that’s not your thing. Think CPR or the Heimlich maneuver: learn what to do in case you one day need to.

The biggest way you can help is to spread the word. Share the link Suicide Prevention Lifeline on social media every so often. Don’t wait until next September. Make sure the young people in your life know where they can go for help, or what to do if a friend seems depressed. Just talking about it, reminding people there’s help, might fall on the right ears at the right time. You might never know whose life you saved, but his loved ones will reap the rewards of your help.

If you suffer from depression, seek help. You are worth it. You’re stronger than you think. This moment is not forever. Things do get better, but it can take time to get there. You can do it. You are loved. You are worth being loved.

Fight.

Live.

And go to Suicide Prevention Lifeline to find out how to get the help you need.

Enter My World by Ari Thatcher #mgtab

Every story has a setting that’s like a character in the book. Without that setting, the story would be completely different. Imagine Romancing the Stone set in Beverly Hills. It’s possible– a romantic-adventure writer must rescue her sister from kidnappers with the help of a brash mercenary. Subtract the jungle and swinging on vines, add in car chases and a crowded city. It’s the same story, but it’s not.

Likewise, take Pride and Prejudice out of the Regency era and drop it into present day. Oh wait, that’s been done—a few times—my favorite being Clueless.

World building is one of my favorite parts of writing, and I love visiting the worlds of other authors. In Regency romance, the social norms of the day create the boundaries in which the story evolves. Paranormal romance is more fun because I get to create physical as well as social rules for my characters. I love being my own boss.

Even in contemporary romance, setting is key to the story. Small towns, big cities, corporate business or foreign countries all create different challenges, and allow for different tools to reach a goal.

What book or movie would you like to see set in a different world?

My Regency Tales series is based on fairy tales set in Regency England. The most recent release is His Elusive Nightingale, based on Hans Christian Anderson’s The Nightingale:

The Duke of Killiekrankie extends an invitation to Senorita Jimena Abreu-Cuevas to sing for his pleasure. A reward of £200 will be given to the man who discovers her whereabouts and escorts her to Killiekrankie.

When Malcolm Lennox, part time magistrate and amateur sleuth, sees the duke’s outrageous offer, he seeks out Kitty Fairfax, the singer’s maid, to accomplish the challenge.

Kitty is hesitant to join Mr. Lennox in his search, but when her mother hears of the reward, she insists she go along, to provide for her family. Their adventure offers a distraction from daily life, but with each day that passes she realizes how empty her life would be when he returned to Scotland.

Little does Malcolm know what intrigue lies ahead, and the damage a few passionate nights with a maid will do to his heart. Will he manage to bring the songstress to the duke, and will his reward be worth the cost?

You can find it here.

USA Today Bestselling author Ari Thatcher is the naughty side of sweet romance author Aileen Fish. Ari has always loved sexy romance where love takes the leading role and is focusing on Regency historical and paranormal romance. Reviewers have called her work “captivating” and “compelling”, and her characters “intelligent, intriguing and realistic.”

Stay up to date through her website AriThatcher.com, Facebook and Twitter @arithatcher.