Please welcome Jane Porter!!!
Researching Marietta, Montana
By Jane Porter
I’m passionate about sharing what I know as a writer, and how to improve a book, taking a good story from good to great. I believe that every book can be made better. I’m constantly pushing myself to write a better book. Every new book is an opportunity to grow, and to further delight my readers. I write for myself because I’m driven to write, but after forty-five books, the outcome isn’t for me, or about me, it’s about my readers. Satisfying those readers. Wanting to entertain and engage those readers so that they truly escape, becoming immersed in my world and the story I’m telling. To do that, a story has to be compelling, believable, and fresh.
I’ve taken all my opinions and my hard work and started a publishing company named Tule Publishing. A lot changed for me in the past year. I had health stuff that meant I couldn’t pound out book after book. There were continuing changes in the publishing industry, which influenced my choices, as did the continuing disappearance of brick and mortar bookstores. I have never wanted to be a publisher or editor, and yet, suddenly I am both. But it works. It suits me. I am, if nothing else, hardworking and opinionated and Tule’s goal is to publish fantastic stories, by the best writers, to delight the reader, while satisfying the writer’s desire for creativity, freedom, and commercial success.
Tule Publishing was launched with the Montana Born imprint because Montana is mythic. Montana is about possibility and dreams and big sky… but also it’s filled with hard-working, rugged, independent people—which make it perfect for our first imprint. Tule’s founding authors, Lilian Darcy, CJ Carmichael, Megan Crane and I, embarked on a road trip to explore Montana and do research for our stories.
We piled into a car and spent a glorious week researching and doing a lot of brainstorming while checking out gorgeous places like Flathead Lake, Livingston, Gallatin Valley, Three Forks, Willow Creek, Yellowstone, and more. We threw around a lot of ideas, came up with the name of Marietta for our fictional town, (loosely based on Livingston, Montana) and then got down to the business of building and populating our new town.
CJ decided to write stories about the Carrigans, a traditional ranching family, and Megan came up with a mini-series about the Grey sisters who were raised by a saloon owner and Vietnam vet father. Lilian plotted a major women’s fiction trilogy with characters affected by the events of prom night in 1996, while I decided to write stories about the Sheenans who are a ranching family with property adjacent to CJ’s Carrigans.
We’d already discussed by email and phone calls the types of stories we wanted to write, so on the road trip we discussed logistics for our fictional town. Population, location, town history, business, ambiance, and more. We visited old houses that could be possible Bed & Breakfasts, checked out the Livingston Museum, strolled down different streets for ideas for our Bramble Lane, and generally did a lot of sightseeing to come up with descriptions for our stories:
“There’d been nothing but the crisp blue dawn, the hint of the coming winter already there in the chill of the late September morning while Copper Mountain stood high above the town, a sleepy blue and purple giant slouching in the distance.” - Tempt Me, Cowboy by Megan Crane
“He took a moment to soak in the ambiance of Marietta, Montana. It was cool in the shade, but if you stepped into the sun you could almost believe you’d been transported back to summer. He liked the look of the park in front of the Court House. And the way Copper Mountain shone above the town, sunlight glinting off the granite facets. It was a real town, solid and also beautiful.” - Promise Me, Cowboy by CJ Carmichael
“Marietta would have been a pretty town in any setting, with its classic western store-fronts, but the mountains you could see in every direction made it truly beautiful. Above the square and solid fronts of Nineteenth Century western-style buildings, you would suddenly see a row of rugged peaks, with streaks of snow still visible in the highest and most sheltered places.” - Marry Me, Cowboy by Lilian Darcy
“As usual, her route took her along Bramble Lane, the nicest street in town with stately brick and stone homes on one side and the Marietta River on the other. Many of the original mining magnates, who had built this town on the profits of copper, had chosen this road for home.
Her own mother, Beverly Bramble, had descended from one of those families, and not only this street, but also the family home, still bore their name. Sage was passing it now, a red brick mansion on a stone foundation with white trim and a gracious porch. There was a turret above the porch and a widow’s walk to the left of that.
When her mother was still alive, she used to take Sage and her three sisters to have tea with great-aunt Mabel once a month. That tradition had died, along with her mother, over fifteen years ago. But great-aunt Mabel still lived on—now supported by a grand-niece who had turned most of the bedrooms in the old mansion into guest rooms…
Several blocks further on Bramble Road, past the mansions, were some more modest homes.” - Promise Me, Cowboy by CJ Carmichael
It was one of the best research trips ever and one I’d love to do again for more story ideas!
We launched with the Copper Mountain Rodeo Series, featuring the first stories by Megan Crane, CJ Carmichael, Lilian Darcy and me, and then pulled in additional awesome authors like Melissa McClone and Katherine Garbera to populate Marietta. We’ve started the holidays early with the release of our Copper Mountain Christmas novellas, A Cowboy For Christmas by Katherine Garbera and Home For Christmas by Melissa McClone, to be followed in a few weeks by my Christmas novella, Christmas at Copper Mountain. It’s the time of year when everyone’s thinking of the holidays and making lists for shopping and our deliciously warm and cozy Christmas stories are just perfect for the season!
Montana Born isn’t our only imprint. Next year, Tule launches its second imprint, Holiday, and we also have a third imprint, Carolina Born, already scheduling stories. Editors are in place with every imprint, along with copy editors, cover art designers, and full marketing and publicity teams, too. But, for now, we’re kicking up our heels and enjoying the start of a new season with our wonderful Christmas stories!