Thursday, July 17, 2014

New Release: The Rose Ring by Lucie Ulrich

I am happy to introduce Lucie Ulrich today. Lucie lives in sunny Florida with her husband, and they enjoy traveling together. Her first book with Astraea Press, The Rose Ring, released just this week, and she graciously agreed to share with us about herself and her writing, as well as a glimpse of her new book!

PK: What do you do when you’re not writing?
LU: Though I do spend a LOT of time writing, I do enjoy some down time. I read, but not as much as I used to, and not as much as I should. My husband took early retirement at the beginning of the year, so I don’t have all the free time I used to—not that I’m complaining. We intend to do a lot of driving in the near future. I enjoy going on photography shoots with my hubby, and spending as much time with my grown children as possible.

PK: What would your fans be surprised to know about you?
LU: Even though I’ve lived in the United States since I was a teenager, I’m still a Canadian citizen.

PK: What’s your idea of an ideal vacation?
LU: That’s easy—getting in the car and driving. A perfect vacation would be a month in a cabin (mountain or lakeside preferably) enjoying the simpler life, scenery, and wildlife. Since we do love road trips, there would be a number of those thrown in as well.

PK: How did you choose the genre you write in?
LU: Honestly, I think the genre picked me. When I first started writing, I had teenage children, and figured YA would be something I would be good at. I wasn’t. Ideas came, but nothing came of the ideas.  As a Christian, my goal was always toward including some sort of positive, inspirational message in my writing. Since teenagers didn’t work, I moved to the slightly older generation, and discovered that it worked for me.  

PK: How did you come up with the title?
LU: In the original rendition of this book, which is quite different from the final product, the bride was given a wedding rose gold wedding ring that just so happened to be her size. When I changed the setting, characters, and pretty much everything but the in-name-only marriage scenario, my thought was that there would be a rose gold ring that was a family heirloom, but as I wrote the story, that didn’t pan out. I won’t say when the ring comes into play, but the name stuck from early in the first writing.

PK: What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author?
LU: Writing is not something I ever studied or aspired to, so when the notion hit me, I dove in with both feet. I received a lot of criticism while a member of an online critique group—some good, some bad, some harsh. But the toughest thing I read was from my first Amazon review of my first novel. The gentleman said the story was predictable. OUCH! I’ll admit that it made me a little angry for a while, but as I continued to write and hopefully improve, I realized he was right. I never want my writing to be predictable, and I thank that gentleman for being honest with me.

Micah took Sky’s hand and they hurried across the street, stopping in front of the double wooden doors. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a shiny gold ring. “Here, it’s a bit big for me, but it’ll do for today.”
She held out her hand and he dropped it into her palm. They’d gone shopping a few days ago and he’d bought her a thin gold band, but not one for himself. The fact that he only planned on wearing the ring for the ceremony solidified her in-name-only status. “Your dad’s?”
He nodded.
Sky fingered the ring. “Other than this nick, it looks brand new.”
“That nick nearly cost Dad his finger. He got it hooked on a piece of farm equipment shortly after he and Mom married. He made Noah and me swear never to wear any jewelry while working.”
“Did he ever wear it again?”
“And your mom didn’t mind?”
“Not that I was aware of. Then again, I was just a kid.”
At least she’d have a good excuse for why her husband didn’t wear a wedding band. She, on the other hand, would wear hers proudly. He might be a lug, but for the next two years he’d be her lug. “We’d better go. Don’t want to keep the judge waiting.”

With a will that reads like a piece of fiction, the return of his long-lost brother, and the possibility of losing the family ranch, Micah Cooper calls on high school friend, Sky Baxter, to bail him out of a bad situation.
Though her brain tells her no, Sky’s heart says yes. She accepts Micah’s in-name-only proposal, knowing it’s unlikely anything permanent will come of it. She’s been in love with him since the ninth grade, and if he hasn’t figured it out by now, there’s little chance he ever will.

When an unexpected kiss ignites a spark, giving Micah hope for a possible future with Sky, a tragic accident threatens to take it all away. Torn between following his heart, doing the right thing, and forgiving the past, Micah is lost in a whirlwind of pain and emotions. Will he make it through the next two years, or will a long-kept family secret be the undoing of them all?

Lucie can be found at her website, and on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

The Rose Ring can be purchased at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and other ebook outlets.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

What's in the Mail?

          I remember how I used to get so excited whenever there was mail addressed to me. Now, it's not so exciting, because in addition to those dreaded bills (the ones that don't come electronically), there is tons of junk mail. So yesterday I was pleasantly surprised to find a small package from one of my publishers. What would she be sending me?
          It turns out I had signed up for a promotional opportunity last fall - several authors volunteered to try out a new idea called drop cards. We each pitched in money to have these plastic credit card-like things made, each printed with codes that would enable the bearer of the card to download several of our books. We could use them however we wanted - as prizes, as gifts, or simple giveaways. The start-up cost was somewhat hefty, especially since we were starting on the holiday season, but I went ahead and sent the funds, and forgot about it.
          Well, now I am SO GLAD I invested in this project! The cards arrived, and all of them include my book The Samurai's Garden as well as the others in the picture above. I've got several to start using as giveaways in the many promotional activities I'm participating in this summer, starting with the Sweet Authors Promotional Event on Facebook. This Thursday evening I'm hosting the event from 8 to 10 pm EDT. You can join me by clicking on the logo below and then clicking JOIN - Several other sweet authors are participating - Christi Corbett, author of Along the Way Home, has the same cards and will also be giving some away. This is a great chance to win not one, but SIX great books - and then you too can get excited about what's in the mail!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

New Release: Never Say Forever by Kay Harborne

I am so pleased to once again welcome UK author Kay Harborne! Kay’s earlier novel The Millionaire Plan was nominated for the RONE Award earlier this year. Never Say Forever was originally published by as a People’s Friend Pocket Novel, then in large print by Linford Romance. She is delighted that Astraea Press has republished it. Here’s a little big about it:

Do you follow your dream or follow your heart?
That’s the decision Kendall McKenzie has to make when she meets hunky businessman Jake Newman. It’s obvious that he’s as attracted to her as she is to him. But Kendall has vowed to never get married – and it seems that Jake, too, is determined to never commit. When the two are together however sparks fly and it’s obvious to everyone except themselves that they’re meant to be together. Can Kendall trust Jake enough to give him her heart? And if she does will she have to say goodbye to her dream?


He turned and saw an open door leading into the kitchen where Kendall, her back towards him, was unplugging the kettle. She was wearing a neat, grey, pinstriped suit, the jacket tapering in at the waist and the skirt finishing just above the knee, with enough of a slit to reveal her very shapely legs.
She turned around and smiled at him, and his heart missed a beat. She was incredibly pretty and fresh, even at this early hour. Her glowing hair was loosely tied back from her face, which was bare of make--up apart from a touch of lipstick, and her eyes were bright and sparkling, as if she’d had a restful night’s sleep.
OK, I’m ready now. I’ve just got to get my suitcase out of the bedroom.”
Here was where he was supposed to tell her that she was staying at the Birmingham office, that he didn’t need her in Spain, after all. But the words wouldn’t come. He might not need her in Spain with him, but he definitely wanted her there.
Ouch!” Kendall’s cry of pain interrupted his thoughts. He dashed down the hall and saw her bending down, rubbing the back of her leg, the suitcase on the floor behind her.
Are you all right?” he asked, worried. His eyes rested on the hole in her tights and the bruise already forming. “That looks nasty,” he said sympathetically.
She flushed. “The case was heavier than I thought. I stumbled and caught the back of my leg with it. I’ll be fine. I just need to change my tights.”
I’ll wait in the car for you.” He effortlessly picked up the heavy suitcase. “And we’re all right for a few minutes if you want to put some ice on that bruise.” Without waiting for an answer, he carried the suitcase out the front door.
Maybe he was the one who needed the ice, he thought, as he took the case down to the car. The sight of Kendall’s bare skin peeping through the hole in her tights and hint of cleavage as she’d bent down to rub her leg had certainly made his temperature rise.
Don’t even think about it, he warned himself as he pressed the remote to open the car boot. This was a business trip, and he had to keep it that way. He never mixed business with pleasure and he wasn’t about to start now. Not even with Kendall McKenzie.
Especially not with Kendall McKenzie.


It was only as she walked into the car park at the back of the flats that Kendall realised she didn’t know what sort of car Jake drove, but the sleek, midnight--blue sedan just had to be his. She was a bit taken aback when he got out, walked around,
and opened the passenger door for her. Not many guys did that nowadays.
Thank you,” she said as she slid onto the leather seat.
My pleasure.” There was a hint of teasing in his reply, as if he knew he’d surprised her.
Love the car,” she said as he got in beside her.
He flashed her a smile. “I quite like it too.”
It might have been better if you’d got someone to drop us off at the airport so they could take the car back,” she suggested. “I wouldn’t risk leaving a car like this parked at the airport.”
ʺI’m not. I’ve left a spare set of keys with my chauffeur. He’ll pick it up later this morning then drive it home for me. It didn’t seem fair to drag him out of bed this early.”
He’s a nice guy, Kendall thought, kind and considerate yet rich and successful. In her experience, the qualities didnʹt always mix.
As they drove along, she was acutely aware of his presence beside her, of his strong hands holding the wheel casually but firmly, of his left hand reaching down to change gears effortlessly and smoothly, just a few centimetres from her knee.
How long did you teach in Thailand?” he asked her. “I spent a bit of time over there myself a couple of years ago. It’s a beautiful country.”
I was there for a year.” She was glad of the diversion. “I taught in a school in Chiang Mai.”
For the rest of the journey they spoke about Thailand and some of the other countries they had both visited, and she realised that he was actually very easy to talk to with a good sense of humour. She was almost sorry when they arrived at the airport; she’d enjoyed his company so much.
Careful, she told herself. I bet he’s as charming as this with all the women he meets. She knew he had a reputation for collecting beautiful girlfriends — Tanya had hinted as much at the engagement party. He was the eternal bachelor. Well, she was the eternal bachelor girl, wasn’t she? She could handle Jake Newman, even if he did make her go all goose-bumpy.

Never Say Forever can be found at Amazon US, Amazon UK, Barnes and Noble, and many other ebook outlets.

Kay Harborne can be found at her website, on Twitter, and on Amazon.