My favorite question: Where do you get the inspiration for your stories?

My husband would tell you that he’s the inspiration for everything I write. Perhaps there is a little bit of truth to that. The things I write about are often taken right out of the things I see around me. For example: The Butterfly MurdersI first got the idea for this when a story broke in my home town of Rochester, NY about funeral homes taking bones, replacing them with PVC piping, and selling the bone marrow. I thought, what if someone was murdering people who had received organ donation? I know, it sounds dark, and it is a little bit on the dark side, but this is really a romance. A second chance romance. One of my favorite tropes. It’s really about two people who for whatever reason, spent time a part, lived separate lives, and came back together to help solve a crime and save the hero’s young son. I just got chills!

I also tend to write about the places I’ve lived, or visited, that I have strong ties to and the biggest one is Lake George, NY. Do you every close your eyes and you think of your childhood, specific memories stick out? When I think of my summers spent in Lake George, I can see the clear crystal waters. Feel the chilly air in August against my skin. Smell the fire crackling while we roast marshmallows and tell ghost stories. And I remember the feeling of climbing on the back of a State Trooper’s bike at age 8 and going for a ride down to the country store for an ice cream. I can feel how the State Trooper Helicopter swooped down low over the lake when I was 10 and I saw the entire SCUBA team moon me! What a treat for a little girl, LO.

I wrote a 7 book series set in Lake George, NY: The New State Trooper Series. Every single book is based on a location that has very strong memories for me. The first book in the series I borrow from the servants house we rented and my best-friend’s home at the time. I write about a big white hotel (changed the name) in the middle of Lake George, and a pub that was in my backyard where I used to pick big, plump raspberries. Each book has slightly different location on the 32 mile lake, but each one holds something special in my heart.

 

But, I also get inspired by mine and other people’s emotions. Their strengths and weaknesses. Their greatest moments and those times in life that bring into a dark place. My contribution to Love, Christmas 2 came to me when I thought of my best girlfriend who lost her husband and everything she has done over the last four years to help her children cope with the loss of their father, something I also know a little about since my father passed away when I was 17. The premise is based on a Hallmark movie, but the emotions are raw.

It’s often said that writers bleed on the page. I believe that is true. A little piece of me, my life experiences, my emotions, my perception of my past and my dreams of the future, all end up in my stories.

Welcome to my World! I’m an Award-Winning and Bestselling Author of Romantic Suspense, Contemporary Romance, and Paranormal Romance. DARK WATER, book 2 in the NY STATE TROOPER series hit number 10 in Barnes and Nobel overall. THE BLIND DATE hit number 1 in the Contemporary Romance/Kindle Worlds List on Amazon. JANE DOE’S RETURN won both THE MOLLY and the BEACON before being published by the WILD ROSS PRESS.

I first started writing while carting my kids to one hockey rink after the other, averaging 170 games per year between 3 kids in 2 countries and 5 states. My first book, IN TWO WEEKS was originally published in 2007. In 2010 I helped form a publishing company (Cool Gus Publishing) with NY Times Bestselling Author Bob Mayer where I ran the technical side of the business through 2016.

I’m currently enjoying the next phase of my life…the empty NESTER! My husband and I spend our winters in Jupiter, Florida and our summers in Rochester, NY. We have three amazing children who have all gone off to carve out their places in the world, while I continue to craft stories that I hope will make you readers feel good and put a smile on your face.

Do you believe in soulmates?

I’ve been married for 30 years and sometimes, when I look back on when we met, I think if there are two people on this planet meant to be together, it’s us.

But, the pragmatic person in me then thinks, well, if you, or your parents, your your husband, or his parents had made one decision differently, then would you have ever met?

I have one paranormal/fantasy novella series all about soulmates. Couples who are pre-destined to be together. It’s based on a legend I made about a Fairy Princess and a wolf and it turned into a four book series about a new creature called: Wolfairies. This is my first paranormal series and I’m honestly loving the world-building. It’s filled with action, mystery, and love.

Three of the four are available now. The last one will be out early next year. However, it’s best to read them in order since there is an overarching plot.

I hope you’ll check them out.

Amazon

Amazon

Amazon

Don’t forget to pick up your pre-order copy of Love, Christmas 2

Preorder now from Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iTunes

For 99 cents you will get a deal you won’t regret. How can you go wrong? At this time, the collection is on pre-order and will be released Oct 16th.

My book, A Christmas Getaway, is part of the collection.

Welcome to my World! I’m an Award-Winning and Bestselling Author of Romantic Suspense, Contemporary Romance, and Paranormal Romance. DARK WATER, book 2 in the NY STATE TROOPER series hit number 10 in Barnes and Nobel overall. THE BLIND DATE hit number 1 in the Contemporary Romance/Kindle Worlds List on Amazon. JANE DOE’S RETURN won both THE MOLLY and the BEACON before being published by the WILD ROSS PRESS.

I first started writing while carting my kids to one hockey rink after the other, averaging 170 games per year between 3 kids in 2 countries and 5 states. My first book, IN TWO WEEKS was originally published in 2007. In 2010 I helped form a publishing company (Cool Gus Publishing) with NY Times Bestselling Author Bob Mayer where I ran the technical side of the business through 2016.

I’m currently enjoying the next phase of my life…the empty NESTER! My husband and I spend our winters in Jupiter, Florida and our summers in Rochester, NY. We have three amazing children who have all gone off to carve out their places in the world, while I continue to craft stories that I hope will make you readers feel good and put a smile on your face.

My Favorite Time of Year! #mgtab @NatalieAnn121

My Favorite Time Of Year!

What is your favorite time of year? Do you even have one?

In Upstate NY most people are begging for spring after a cold winter. But oftentimes we don’t get a spring and it jumps right into summer. That is how it seemed to happen this year.

There was a record number of days over 90 and we even hit 100 a few times. We had 4 days over 90 just last week and frankly, I’m sick of it.

But now it’s September and I’m looking forward to my favorite time of year.  Fall!!

Nice days and cool nights. Sleeping with the windows opened. Football Sundays and best of all apple picking!

It’s a tradition I’ve had with my son since he was a toddler. We’d go once in September, pick a big bag of apples and I’d come home and make apple sauce and his favorite apple cake. I only make it once a year since it’s such a rich decadent dessert.

I love Fall so much, I just released a new book this week, Autumn Love. It’s based around a beloved community’s apple orchard. When the orchard got to be too much for Ali Rogers’ mom to handle she decided to sell it. Liam Sullivan is a contractor that wanted to bring the orchard back to life and found that it’s more than a business venture when he falls for Ali. Add in Ali’s meddling grandfather’s ghost and it’s a great book to curl up with!

This story has so many things in it that I love personally and I hope that you will too. It’s just 99 cents, or FREE to read on Kindle Unlimited.

And if you want to try out my famous Apple Cake, here is the recipe for you!

3 cups of flour

4 teaspoons of cinnamon

2 teaspoons of nutmeg

1 teaspoon of baking soda

½ teaspoon of baking powder

3 eggs

2 cups of sugar

1 cup of oil

1 teaspoon of vanilla

4 cups of diced apples (no skin)

  • Mix all the dry ingredients together and set aside
  • Beat eggs, then add sugar and oil
  • Add vanilla and then the dry ingredients
  • Once all is mixed well, add the apples. Mix until blended, but not until the apples are broken up. Using the mixer will bring some of the juices of the apples out and make the cake extremely moist, but you still want to leaves some small chunks in it.
  • Pour into a greased 13 x 9 cake pan
  • Bake at 350 for an hour (test by sticking a toothpick in the center. If batter comes away, continue to cook until the toothpick is clean)
  • Frost with vanilla or cream cheese frosting
  • Cover and keep at room temperature for about a week

Enjoy!

Natalie Ann lives in Upstate NY with her husband, son, and French Bulldog.  She has always had a love for books, especially happily ever after. She writes contemporary romance with a dash of humor focusing on real life (but fictional) situations and storylines. She’s inspired by the crazy, ridiculous, touching, and emotional family dynamics that most people go through. Her series are based right in her home state or cities she has visited.

What if Ebenezer Scrooge were a Romance Author? Love, Christmas #mgtab @AyalaRachelle

My hands-down favorite Christmas story is the one about Ebenezer Scrooge, a stingy, cold-hearted miser who encounters the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future. Therefore, it is with great pleasure that I re-imagined Ebenezer Scrooge’s story and made him a modern-day romance writer on a deadline.

I can’t wait to share Ebony Cruse’s story with you. She’s an obsessed romance writer who is determined to ignore the charms of her childhood friend, Marine Blaze O’Carroll, so she can write ten thousand words a day.

Too bad, the characters from her past, present, and future won’t let her rest. Join Ebony, along with her cat muse, Sugar Pops, on a very special Christmas night adventure.

Here is an excerpt:

“That’s enough. I’m giving you two a timeout.” Ebony slammed her laptop lid shut. The cracking sound coming ominously from the plastic top startled her cat, Sugar Pops, from his nap.
“Meow.” He yawned and butted his head against Ebony’s hand while pawing her leg for attention.
Ebony picked up a fishing pole toy with a yarn mouse attached to it and cast it. Sugar Pops pounced while she kept the mouse just out of reach.
After a few tosses of the fake mouse, Ebony checked her digital timer display. She’d been writing all day, and she had nothing to show—except a worn delete key.
Her miscreant characters, Abby and Blaze, didn’t want to do anything but have sex. Normally, Ebony would let them go at it all day and night, but she had a deadline and she needed a real, human-interest story for a boxed set dealing with wounded warriors. All proceeds would go to a veteran’s charity, and the organizers specified sweet and sassy, not steamy and erotic.
She used a precious minute to play with Sugar Pops, then dished out a bowl of cat food for him. Since her characters were in timeout, she doled out a few more minutes to brew a pot of strong, all-nighter coffee and fix herself something to eat.
She shivered as she opened the refrigerator and extracted the half-eaten carcass of a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken from the grocery store deli. Shriveled lettuce hung like discarded rags over the chicken bones, and a half-empty can of soda, which had long gone flat, sat on the counter.
The Cruse farmhouse was drafty and cold, but since Ebony was alone, she saw no reason to turn on central heating. Instead, she sat at the kitchen table in front of an antique, cast-iron stove. A single light bulb burned above her, and dishes were piled in the sink in front of a frosty kitchen window.
Ebony had no time for housework. No time for cooking and grocery shopping. No time to do laundry or make her bed. She wore no makeup, did not do her nails, and her hair was a frizzy mess. Lifting her arm, she took a quick sniff and decided showering could wait another day. She did, however, sacrifice time from her writing by brushing her teeth twice a day. It wasn’t as if she was a complete slob!
It wasn’t easy writing ten thousand words every day, but Ebony had to keep up the pace if she wanted to live off her writing.
Boom, boom, boom. Someone knocked on the heavy farmhouse door.
“Ebony,” a deep voice shouted. “I’ve brought your groceries.”
It was Jake O’Carroll, Ebony’s mother’s ex-boyfriend, and he always looked after her whenever she used the old farmhouse for a writing retreat.
Ebony started for the door, but Jake had the door opened already. He bumped it with his hip and carted in bags of groceries which he stacked on the counter.
“Ho, ho, ho,” Jake laughed. The Santa hat on his head bobbed. He looked as ridiculous as the rest of the Christmas Creek community who acted as if they lived inside a perennial Christmas snow globe by dressing as elves, fairies, nutcracker soldiers, and old Victorian merry-makers all year round.
Ebony waved him off. “There’s nothing to ho, ho, ho about around here. I’ve only written a thousand words today. The sun’s going down, and I have to pull an all-nighter if I want to write nine thousand more.”
“Those words will come when you least expect them to,” Jake said, rubbing his white beard. He was always an optimist, even when dating her investment banker mother who’d put work ahead of family and relationships. “Why don’t you take the evening off and come watch the Christmas tree lighting at the town square?”
Ebony’s jaw dropped with aghast. “I can’t possibly do that. I have to get back to work as soon as I eat. Thanks for bringing the groceries by.”
While they talked, Jake unpacked the groceries. “Would you mind me staying here for dinner? I’m sure you can use some company.”
“I thought you wanted to go to the Christmas tree lighting.” Ebony felt itchy as she glanced at the kitchen clock. Three minutes had passed since Jake stopped in. “Thanks for bringing my groceries, but I have to get back to work.”
Ebony dug in her purse for the amount she owed and pressed it in Jake’s hand. The older man had been a loyal boyfriend to her workaholic mother, and Ebony appreciated him looking after her whenever she was in town.
“Will I see you at the Gala Ball this year?” Jake asked as he stepped to the door. “You can’t come home to Christmas Creek and not attend the ball. Everyone will be there.”
“It depends on if I finish my book,” Ebony said, not wanting to say ‘no’ to him a third time. She half-pushed him out the door by patting his back. “Have fun at the tree lighting ceremony.”
Once the door was closed, Ebony leaned her back against it for a split second and took a deep breath. The last Christmas she spent with Jake was the one her mother never made it to. Jake and his son, Blaze, had waited with her at this very farmhouse from Christmas Eve until the day after Christmas, but her mother never showed up.
She had been an investment banker and had instructed them never to contact her while at work. Unfortunately, she passed away in her office on Christmas Day, leaving Ebony orphaned at the age of seventeen.
She couldn’t leave this farmhouse fast enough. When she turned eighteen, she hitchhiked to the city and lost touch with Blaze when he joined the Marines.
That was the last Christmas she’d ever celebrated and the last time she saw Blaze, her almost-step-brother.
The timer rang, jerking Ebony out of her useless daydreams. She rubbed her hands together and was ready to go back to her story.
Sugar Pops had finished his food and was lying on the counter with one leg straight in the air while he groomed his underbelly, clearly content and not in need of attention.
Ebony opened the lid of her laptop and sat in front of it, staring at her document.
The cursor blinked. Blinked. Blinked.

[End of excerpt]. Please Pre-Order Love, Christmas, Movies You Love, Boxed Set to get the rest of Ebony and Blaze’s Christmas Carol Romance. Meanwhile, check out another excerpt narrated by the fabulous Trei Taylor on Audiobook, or order the Paperback (regular print) or (large print) to get a head start on Christmas gifts and reading.

Rachelle Ayala

Rachelle Ayala is a USA Today bestselling author of contemporary romance and romantic suspense. Her foremost goal is to take readers on a shared emotional journey with her characters as they grow and become more true to themselves. Rachelle believes in the power of love to overcome obstacles and feels that everyone should find love as often as possible, especially if it’s within the pages of a book.

Her book, Knowing Vera, won the 2015 Angie Ovation Award, A Father for Christmas garnered a 2015 Readers’ Favorite Gold Award, Christmas Stray received a 2016 Readers’ Favorite Gold Award, and Playing for the Save got the 2017 Readers’ Favorite Gold Award in Realistic Fiction.

She is also a writing teacher and founder of the Romance In A Month writing community. She lives in California with her husband and has three children and two birds.