Jacqui Nelson’s North of the Border with guest Dani Collins

Who’s next on my North of the Border guest blog series? Today we have Dani Collins, author of Proof of Their Sin, The Maid’s Spanish Secret, and her latest Harlequin Presents, Untouched Until Her Ultra-Rich Husband.

Where does Dani get her inspiration? How is Canada part of her inspiration? Read on and see...

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Write What You Know – except if you’re Canadian?

I took a long time to publish (twenty-five years. True.) In that time, I wrote many, many manuscripts, but only once wrote a Canadian heroine. I waited until last year to write my first Canadian hero. (It hasn’t sold, but stay tuned. I hope it will!) 

I’m not sure what my prejudice is. I’m very proud to be Canadian. Some of the most common writing advice I hear is, “Write what you know,” so you’d think my native land would have inspired every book, but I balk at writing anything too close to home. In fact, within my home, if family happens to walk into my office, the first thing I say is, “Don’t look at my words.” I never want to hear what people close to me think of my books. 

Fun fact: I don’t even like people to see my grocery list, I’m that sensitive about feedback on my writing. What are they going to say? “Why do you need apples?” I don’t know, but I don’t like it. 

When I write, I prefer to disconnect from my real life as much as possible. That’s why I love the world of Harlequin Presents. I can set my stories across the world in places I’ve never seen full of people from far-flung places. I guess you could say, I find it easier to write what I don’t know. Even when I write small town romance, I prefer to set it in Montana or Washington State rather than my own backyard of Southern B.C.

Having said that, since selling my first book in 2012, I’ve managed to write a handful of Canadian heroines. My first was Lauren from Montreal in Proof of their Sin. I’d never been back east so I asked my brother-in-law if there was a wine region in Quebec. He said, “Quebec is maple syrup, Dan.” So my heroine inherited her grandmother’s estate full of sugar maples. 

My next Canadian heroine, Natalie in Seduced into the Greek’s World, was also from Montreal, but I sent her to Paris for a work event for most of the book. Maybe in my mind Canada isn’t exotic? I don’t know what my problem is, but several books went by before I wrote another Canadian. 

Consequence of His Revenge came out in 2018. It featured my one Canadian heroine from before I published. In fact, I wrote the first draft of that story when the Vancouver Olympics were announced. Not when they happened in 2010, but five or six years before. That heroine, Cami, was from Whistler—finally I was writing closer to home! Of course, she gets whisked off to Sicily, but still. 

This August, another Canadian heroine will come out in The Maid’s Spanish Secret. Originally, I was going to make Poppy from Winnipeg, where my sister lives. At least I’ve visited that beautiful city! But I wanted Poppy to be from a place that was very tiny and rural and given to harsh Canadian winters where the Northern Lights occasionally make an appearance. So she’s from Saskatchewan. Where I’ve never been. 

In 2020, yet another Canadian heroine will show up. Cassiopeia lives and works at a hot spring resort. I could have set it in the real-life spa my husband and I visited in Vernon, since it was the inspiration for her workplace. Or I could have set it in Banff, which my husband and I visited last year when I met my editor there. But no, being me, I had to set it near Jasper—which I visited as a child and can’t remember at all. 

Sparkling Hills Spa, Vernon BC
Obviously, I need help. Do you consider Canada an exotic location? When you come across a Canadian protagonist, what distinctly ‘Canadian’ characteristics do you tend to see in them? 


Leave a comment and I’ll randomly draw one lucky name on June 7th to win a digital Advance Reader Copy of my next Canadian heroine, Poppy in The Maid’s Spanish Secret.

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untouched-until-her-ultra-rich-husband book cover
Dani’s latest Harlequin Presents, Untouched Until Her Ultra-Rich Husband, features a Chinese-American hero and a Venezuelan heroine. The story takes place in Singapore, Paris, Africa, New York and Italy. She doesn’t know why Canada isn’t on the list, but this sexy, marriage-of-convenience romance goes on sale Jun 1st. Start reading here.

Amazon US | UK | Aus | Can


Dani Collins Author PhotoAward-winning and USA Today Bestselling author Dani Collins thrives on giving readers emotional, compelling, heart-soaring romance with some laughter and heat thrown in, just like real life. Mostly she writes contemporary romance for Harlequin Presents and Tule’s Montana Born, but her backlist of fifty books also includes self-published erotic romance, romantic comedy, and even an epic medieval fantasy. When she’s not writing—just kidding, she’s always writing. She lives in Christina Lake, BC with her high school sweetheart husband who occasionally coaxes her out of her attic office to visit their grown children.

Subscribe to Dani’s Dear Reader newsletter and get Cruel Summer as a welcome gift. Subscribe here


Website: danicollins.com
Dani’s News: danicollins.com/news

~ All pictures (except for the 1st) are supplied by today’s guest with their assurance of usage rights. 


Get Lost with Cowboy Rebel from NYT Bestselling Author Carolyn Brown

The next heartwarming romance in this USA Today bestselling series proves it's tough to resist a sexy cowboy with a Texas drawl and heart of gold!

Taggart Baker has always lived life on the edge, making the country song, "Live Like You Were Dying" his motto, after his best friend died in a motorcycle accident when they were eighteen. But after one bad brush with the law, he realized it was time to move on. Now he's looking thirty in the eye and running his own ranch next to the Longhorn Canyon spread in Texas. Still, no one would ever call him tame...

Trauma nurse Nikki Grady likes life slow and steady. She has too much drama in her job to want a man who's only going to create more headaches. But when her best friend's younger brother shows up in the ER after a bull-riding accident, something in his haunting crystal clear blue eyes draws her to him like flies to honey. The more time they spend together, the more Nikki begins to relish the idea of his cowboy in her life forever. But just as Tag is ready to ditch his wild ways for good, his past comes calling, threatening not only their love, but their lives.

Here's an excerpt:

Taggart, or Tag as the family called him, was one of those men who turned every woman’s eye when he walked into a place—even a hospital emergency room. The nurses, old and young alike, were buzzing about him before Nikki even got him into the cubicle. With that chiseled face, those piercing blue eyes, a cowboy swagger, and a smile that would make a religious woman want to drink whiskey and do the two-step, it’s a wonder he hadn’t already put one of those “take a number and wait” machines on the front porch post of his house.
“The doctor is on his way. He just finished stitchin’ up a patient with a knife wound. From the looks of you, I’d think you’d been in on that fight.” Nikki applied pressure to the cut with a wad of gauze.
The curtain between the cubicles flew to one side, and a white-coated guy came over to the bed. “What have we got here? I’m Dr. Richards.” He gently lifted the edge of the gauze. “Knife?”
“Beer bottle,” Tag said.
“Well, the first thing we have to do is shave off that scruff. Deaden it up and then shave off the area around it, Nikki. I’ll take care of the kid who thought he could ride his skateboard down a slide, and I’ll be right back,” Dr. Richards said.
“Yes, sir.” Nikki nodded.
The doctor had been instrumental in getting Nikki her first job as a registered nurse, and she really admired him. An older man with a white rim of hair around an otherwise bald head covered in freckles, he was the best when it came to stitches, in Nikki’s opinion. Tag was a lucky cowboy that Dr. Richards was on call that night. It could have been an intern doing the embroidery on his face, and it would be such a shame to leave a scar on something that sexy.
“You still going to go out with me even though I’m clean shaven and got a scar?” Tag asked her as she prepared to shave part of his face.
“If I don’t work, I don’t eat, and I’m real fond of cheeseburgers,” she answered.
“What’s that supposed to mean?” He winced when she picked up a needle to start the local anesthetic.
“That I don’t have time to take a number and wait in line behind all those other women wanting to get a chance at taming you,” she answered.
He wrapped his hand around her wrist before she started. “I’d move you to the front of the line, darlin’.”
“Well, ain’t that sweet.” She patted his hand and ignored the heat between them. “But, honey, you’re way too fast for this little country girl. Now be still and let me get this ready for Dr. Richards.”
Without blinking, he focused on her face as she sank the needle into several places to deaden the two-inch cut. Whispers of other conversations penetrated the curtains on either side of Tag’s cubicle, but heavy silence filled the space where Nikki put in the last shot.
“That all?” he finally asked, but his piercing blue eyes didn’t leave her face.
“Except for cleaning up around it,” she answered. “And you were a good boy. I’ll tell Dr. Richards to give you a lollipop before you leave.”
“It ain’t my first rodeo,” he said. “Did you call Hud?”
“Not yet,” she said.
“Then don’t.”
“With the amount of blood you’ve lost and the shot doc will probably give you for pain, you’ll need a driver or you won’t be released,” she said. “So it’s Hud or Emily. Take your choice.”
“You’re a hard woman, Nikki,” he said.
“And you’re a hardheaded man,” she shot back as she carefully shaved the scruff from around the wound.
“We ready to fix this cowboy up?” Dr. Richards threw back the curtain. “What’d the other guy look like?”
“Not a scratch on him, but he was limpin’. His woman tried to kick his kneecap halfway to Georgia,” Tag answered.
Dr. Richards chuckled. “And I bet you were defendin’ her in some way.”
Tag grimaced when he tried to smile. “Just helpin’ out the bouncer a little. Seemed like the thing to do since ‘Whoop a Man’s Ass’ was playin’ on the jukebox.”
“Well, looks like you was the one who got the whoopin’.” Dr. Richards chuckled and turned to Nikki. “Good job there, Nikki. Now it’s my turn. We could try glue and strips, but as deep as this is, stitches will do a better job.”
“You’re the doctor,” Tag answered.
“It’s up to you whether you shave your face clean when you get home, but if you don’t, you’re going to look a little like a mangy dog.”
“Looked worse before,” Tag drawled. “And probably will again.”
A lady in pink scrubs poked her head between the curtains.
“What do you need, Rosemary?” Dr. Richards asked the nurse.
“Sue Ann just arrived. Nikki handles her better than any of us. Would you mind if I help out here and she takes that job?”
“Go on,” Dr. Richards said. “I’ve got this.”
“Where is she?” Nikki asked as she pushed back the curtain. Rosemary had fast become her friend since they both worked the weekend shift. The woman was average in every way—brown hair, brown eyes, but her sense of humor and smile were infectious.
“I’ll show you and then get right back in there with Doc.” Rosemary led the way. “Lord have mercy.” She laid one hand over her heart and fanned her face with the other one. “That cowboy could melt my panties with those blue eyes.”


Carolyn Brown is a New York Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, Publisher’s Weekly and #1 Amazon and #1 Washington Post bestselling author and a RITA finalist. Cowboy Rebel is her 97th published book on the market. She’s a recipient of the Bookseller’s Best Award, and the prestigious Montlake Diamond Award, and also a three-time recipient of the National Reader’s Choice Award.
Brown has been published for more than 20 years, and her books have been translated 18 foreign languages. They’ve also been published in both book club editions and large print, and many are available in audio format. She and her husband live in the small town of Davis, Oklahoma, where everyone knows everyone else, as well as what they’re doing and when—and they read the local newspaper on Wednesday to see who got caught. They have three grown children and enough grandchildren to keep them young.

When she’s not writing, Carolyn likes to plot new stories in her backyard with her tom cat, Boots Randolph Terminator Outlaw, who protects the yard from all kinds of wicked varmints like crickets, locusts, and spiders. Visit her at www.carolynbrownbooks.com.

Good morning to everyone! It’s a pleasure to be here today talking about Cowboy Rebel. This is Nikki and Tag’s story.

Taggart (Tag) Baker has always lived life on the edge, making the country song, "Live Like You Were Dying" his motto, after his best friend died in a motorcycle accident when they were eighteen. Trauma nurse Nikki Grady likes life slow and steady. She has too much drama in her job to want a man who's only going to create more headaches.

Nikki and Tag are with me today so y’all could ask them some questions today. Of course, you’re free to ask me anything you like, also, so if everyone has a cup of coffee or tea in their hands, let’s get this party rolling.

Question for Tag: What is it about Nikki that drives you crazy?

Tag: (With a smile and a wink toward Nikki). She’s the only woman that I’ve ever met that was immune to my charm. I thought I’d plumb lost my mojo, and that drove me crazy. She made me really work for a place in her heart and life.

Question for Nikki: What color would you make the sky if it couldn’t be blue anymore?

Nikki: The sky will always be the same shade of blue as Tag’s eyes to me. Even if tomorrow I lost my sight, I would still see the sky as the same color in my imagination. He was one of those bad boys that mama’s everywhere warn their daughters about, but his eyes told me that he was an old soul just looking for someone to help him get past the guilt of his past.

Question for Carolyn: What’s your favorite fairy tale?

Carolyn: Cinderella, hands down! That story shows us that even though we might be at the bottom of the heap, we can still dream big, and that our circumstances do not necessarily determine the outcome of our lives. I grew up poor, but I knew I wanted to write stories. My dream is being fulfilled every day.

Question for Tag: What is your “kryptonite”? What will bring you to your knees?

Tag: Nikki’s big brown eyes. If she’s crying or sad, I can’t stand it.

Question for Nikki: Did Carolyn tell your story just like you wanted it told?

Nikki: Yes, ma’am, she did. Somehow she even got my mother’s character down to a T. I have to admit that sometimes late at night, Tag and I’d wake her up to fuss about changes in the last scene, or to talk about what we thought should be written in the next one. But she always managed to work with us and get it told right.

Carolyn: Thank you again for having us, and for having some pretty good questions ready for us to answer. We’ve got to be going now to the next interview, but we’d love to hear what you all think of our story when you read it. 

But first, it’s our turn to ask questions. Nikki would like to know what you think of the cover. She thinks that Tag is a pretty dang sexy. What do you think? Tag wants to know if you like bad boy cowboy books. 

And I’d like to ask what is your favorite genre? Is it cowboy romance, women’s fiction, paranormal? 

I’m giving away a signed copy of Cowboy Rebel. Winner will be chosen from comments, so let us hear from you as readers!!