Friday, February 20, 2015

Hitting the Big Time

Have you ever had a spotlight shine on you unexpectedly? Or had a microphone handed over to you when you had absolutely nothing to say? Or been called on to speak in a meeting? That’s sort of the feeling I got last month when the gorgeous cover for my novella Searching for Lady Luck won the Crème de la Cover Contest at In D’Tale Magazine. Though I was thrilled to win simply for the recognition, the prize included a quarter page ad for winning the weekly contest, and a full-page ad for winning the monthly contest!

After the initial excitement, I started to panic. How on earth was I going to come up with two ads? I do a little bit of digital image manipulation, but nothing that people are going to look at in a magazine. I felt like I’d walked into the wrong party and everyone was looking at me. Knowing I wouldn't be able to do this alone, I asked my daughter for help, since she took a lot of computer courses in college, and she agreed to work with me.

But then I decided to gift the full page ad to my publisher (you  know, to thank them for putting my books out there) and in return she paid the cover artist to create my ad for me! Today I got the finished product. I am so thrilled, I wanted to share it with you.

What do you think?

Monday, February 16, 2015

New Release and Review: Bringing in the Thieves by Lora Lee

I am so pleased to host my good friend Lora Lee, as she begins a blog tour for her latest book, a cozy mystery called Bringing in the Thieves. I had the pleasure of reading this book when it first released, and I’m so glad I did! I’ll let Lora tell you about how she came up with the story, and then I’ll share my thoughts.

         The truth is I never intended to write a cozy mystery. Honest! I had three contemporary romances published and figured I would stick with that genre. I loved writing romances. Loved reading them, too. But one day in a flurry of free-writing, trying to fill my creativity well when I’d hit a brick wall with a current romance project, a character developed along with a story that wasn’t a romance.  Where in the world did that come from? And what should I do with it? The story flowed easily from my imagination as I played with it. No pressure, no deadline – just writing for fun. I had no plans for the project because it didn’t fit the market I was targeting. But the characters stuck in my mind, so one day I showed it to my critique group. They agreed it wasn’t a romance but told me it sounded like a fit for the cozy mystery genre. That’s all it took to jump start the Joyful Noise Mysteries.
Next thing I knew, Frankie Lou Birmingham McMasters became a preacher’s daughter with a tarnished reputation. One mistake led her to the altar with Ruby Springs’ bad boy while her daddy kept one hand on the shotgun leaning against the pulpit and the other on his Bible as the bride and groom repeated their wedding vows. Protesting was never an option for the couple. Now, Ruby Springs, Texas, had a whole new topic of gossip. The story took off from there and well, it ended with a published cozy mystery, BRINGING IN THE THIEVES, and possible future books, thanks to Bell Bridge Books.
Now, here I am traveling the cyber-highway on a month-long blog tour. If you’d like to learn more about the characters in the Joyful Noise Mysteries—and believe me, there are some quirky ones in Ruby Springs—come along and follow the blog tour. Oh, there’s a nifty giveaway you’ll have the opportunity to win - a $25 Amazon gift card and a signed copy of BRINGING IN THE THIEVES. Don’t miss out on the fun! A little joyful reading will get you through the long winter days. 

Lora Lee

Blurb for Bringing in the Thieves:
Minister’s daughter Frankie Lou McMasters has come back to Ruby Springs, Texas with her daughter, Betsy, eleven years after running off to marry the town bad boy. Her mild notoriety as a bad girl is prime gossip for her childhood enemy, Poppy Fremont, now choir director of Faith Community Church–where Frankie Lou’s daddy, now retired to Florida, was the preacher.
When Frankie Lou comes to the deacons with a request to add a youth choir of at-risk teens she’s been coaching, Poppy throws a fit. A few hours later, Frankie Lou finds her dead in the baptistery pool. And Poppy’s not playing possum.
Frankie Lou sets out to clear her name as the main suspect, and tries to locate the real killer. Could he be sexy Joe Camps, the father of one of her teen singers? In the meantime, her momma shows up from Florida to take charge of Frankie Lou’s life. Bless her heart.

My Thoughts:

Frankie Lou is a struggling single mom, but she's got a truckload of Texas grit. In spite of her own challenges she plans to form a new chorus of young singers from the "wrong" side of town. Having worked with choirs, both at school and at church, I had to sympathize with her right there. But she's hindered by the big-haired, over-accessorized, Mary Kay pink- wearing choir director, who's been an adversary since Frankie's high school days. When the choir director turns up dead, Frankie's already chaotic life gets even more frenzied. Now she's got to prove her innocence. This is a great intro to the series, and I can't wait to read more. I loved reading about all the characters and their antics. The kids in the choir were especially endearing to me, and I hope to learn more about them in the next installment!

Lora Lee’s Bio:
Though author Lora Lee insists the series isn’t about her in any way, shape or form, she does admit to being a real-life P.K. (that’s preacher’s kid, in case you didn’t know.) She was born in Texas and her Southern blood runs deep. Her daddy told her any place below the Mason-Dixon line was part of the South, including the Lone Star State.
Since living in West Michigan most of her married life, she’s lost some of her Texas twang, but once in awhile, a might could and a y’all or two slips into her conversation with her critique partners. They love her, anyway. So does her husband of fifty-plus years and their children. With a current family count of twenty-three, get-togethers often resemble an old time revival when they all gather for fun and food.
Lora Lee is a member of Romance Writer’s of America, Mid-Michigan RWA, Sisters-in-Crime, RWA’s specialty chapter Kiss of Death and is currently published in contemporary romance. She is also a proud graduate of the Grand Rapids Citizens Police Academy.
When not writing or trying to keep up with her ever-growing family, she enjoys reading, music and travel.

Bringing in the Thieves is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and other ebook outlets.

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