Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Blog Tour: Cowboys, Castles, and Cradles by Loralee Lillibridge

I'm so pleased to be a host on Loralee Lillibridge's latest book tour! I've known Loralee for a long time, and I LOVE her books! Read about her most recent romance, and be sure to check it out.

Cowboys, Castles and Cradles
By Loralee Lillibridge
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Genre: Contemporary Western Romance
Published by: Tell-Tale Publishing Group, LLC
Release Date: February 21, 2017
Length: 306 Pages

When GRACIE CASTLE agreed to be a surrogate mother to twins, she never expected to become their full-time mom. Thankfully, that’s when she discovers she inherited a large Texas ranch from a grandmother she’s never met. Clueless but desperate, she’s managing to hold her own until the babies decide to make an unexpected appearance.

Enter WHITMAN LOVETT, III a wealthy businessman who needs to lease three thousand acres of the Castle Ranch. He expects an easy deal, with the Castle Ranch in financial straits. He isn’t expecting to deliver a baby calf in a rainstorm or Gracie’s twins at the ranch. But Gracie and the babies manage to get under Whit’s skin and into his heart. The very thing he doesn’t want.

Follow Along

Monday, August 7th
Melissa Keir

Tuesday, August 8th
Authors' Cafe

Wednesday, August 9th
Creative Hodgepodge

Thursday, August 10th
Diane Burton: adventure & romance - Book Review
Christa Reads and Writes - Book Review

Friday, August 11th
Books, Reviews, Etc. - Book Review
Loren E. Pryce

Saturday, August 12th
What Readers Want
Romance Me

Read an Excerpt

About Loralee Lillibridge

Writing romance and cozy mysteries with a Texas twang and a touch of humor, Loralee Lillibridge (aka Lora Lee), loves to tell stories with believable characters, small towns where everybody knows your business and quirky, but lovable, neighbors.

A native Texan, Loralee has called West Michigan home since her marriage, but still misses seeing the bluebonnets in the Spring. Her love of travel took her to Ireland to celebrate her 80th birthday. As a child with a vivid imagination, her library card was a treasured possession. Although encouraged by her high school English teacher to put her imagination into stories, Loralee’s first published novel, Accidental Hero for Harlequin, didn’t debut until after marriage and raising a family. Since then, she’s had a cozy mystery published by Bell Bridge Books and three romance novels published by Tell-Tale Publishing. Her greatest love, however, will always be her family.

The Giveaway
Novel Book Tours

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Author/Artist for August: Mysti Parker, Oil Painter

I have a LOT of crafting hobbies, but I've never really tried painting. Maybe it's because my grandfather was an artist. We (my mom, brothers, and I) have his paintings up in our homes and I've always known I could never come close to his skill. But Mysti Parker, author of all types of romance, often posts pictures of her projects, so I asked her to share a bit about her passion.

A Writer’s Not-So-Daunting Hobby
By Mysti Parker
Once upon a time, I would often think about taking up oil painting, only to toss the notion aside. It seemed so daunting when I thought about all the materials I would need to get started. For years, I’ve consoled myself by watching Bob Ross videos. It may have been his soothing voice as he painted “happy little trees,” but to me, it just looked so relaxing to swipe those colors on a canvas and end up with something beautiful.
As an author, I do this daily with the words I write. Starting from a blank page, I can create magical worlds, poignant romance, comedy that will make you snort out your tea, and historical settings that take you back in time. Visualizing plot and settings is something most creative writers do as their stories unfold.  An interesting study in Germany revealed that writers use many parts of their brains as they work, including the vision-processing regions.
We’re naturally a creative lot, but every writer gets burned out now and then. All work and no play makes…you know how it goes. Ask any writer what they do in their downtime, and many of them will probably say they enjoy some other creative art. I know writers who paint, draw, knit, sew, and play musical instruments. We do enjoy our creative side, so we tend to use it in order to relax. Doing other creative arts activates different areas of the brain and gives our writing neurons a break.

So, in the hopes of finding a new way to both relax and enjoy my creative side, I finally decided to take up oil painting this summer. The materials needed still seemed daunting, but I researched many options. Traditional oil paints require paint thinners and solvents that can be harmful. Since I knew I would be doing some painting with at least one of my kids, I wanted a safer option.
That’s when I found water-mixable oil paints. No paint thinners or solvents needed. After a friend’s suggestion, I went online to Jerry’s Artarama and ordered a starter set of ten Lucas Berlin water-mixable oil colors. What surprised me most was how affordable it was. They had a great sale going and a free shipping offer, so I also ordered some tabletop easels. I bought brushes and canvases at Walmart and at Michael’s using an in-store coupon. We were set.
But, would they truly work as well as traditional oils? The answer is yes. You can thin them with water or oil and they still have the smooth consistency of traditional paints. A side note: If you thin with oil (we used lavender essential oil), you can also use your traditional oil paints with them. Plus, the lavender oil smells awesome and is soothing in itself.
My goal with painting isn’t to sell them or have them displayed in museums or anything like that. We’re just hanging them around the house for cheap and unique d├ęcor. When your goal is to simply have fun and relax, that takes away all the stress. Plus, it’s a great way to have quality me time and quality time with my middle child, Zoe. She’s creative-minded like me, so we’ve painted a few pictures together. Our latest is the two-canvas fish. I love how it turned out. My husband will be hanging it over his big fish tank when it’s dry. A side note: I get my painting ideas and techniques from Pinterest and painting tutorials on YouTube.
A bonus benefit to my new hobby is that it gives the writer portions of my brain a much-needed break, which is particularly helpful when I’m suffering from writer’s block or simple burnout. After a fun painting session, I’m usually ready to jump back into my work-in-progress. If I’d known it would be fun, relaxing and motivational, I’d have started much sooner! 
You can find Mysti on Facebook as well as her website, and on Twitter and Pinterest.
Mysti's is the author The Ghost of January, soon to be released at Eskape Press:
Against her father's wishes, twenty-year-old January Cooper elopes with her high school sweetheart and leaves for a fairytale honeymoon in Europe. Two weeks later, she's a widow, abandoned by her husband's family and too ashamed to contact hers. She works her way across the continent, scared, but determined to make it on her own.

Renowned food and travel blogger Diederik DeVries arrives in his native Amsterdam and hears rumors of a Ghost Lover who has supposedly left a trail of broken hearts all over Europe. A chance encounter with an American girl named Jan leaves him wondering if she could be this elusive legend.

Despite her fears of falling in love again, January is just as intrigued with the charming and handsome Diederik. Though he is determined to discover her true identity, she refuses to tell him anything about her past. All he wants is to break down the walls of her hidden heartache to find the real woman within. But will the ghosts of January's past take her away from him before he ever gets that chance?