Tuesday, February 28, 2012

HOPE & LAST CHANCE

LAST CHANCE BEAUTY QUEEN
Forever
ISBN: 0446576085
Gracious me, my beautiful daughter Rocky sure could use my help. I always knew she wasn't much interested in the local boys - but who'd have thought she'd come home with English royalty?
Trouble is, Hugh wants to buy some of our folks' land. We don't want to sell, but Rocky's job depends on her closing the deal. And though Hugh's obviously smitten, I'm not sure he's right for my Rocky. Oh, he's classy and handsome - and you should've seen the way he judged pies and fixed stock cars at our Watermelon Festival! - but what do we know about him, really? I know I sound like a nervous mother hen, but after forty happy years with my Elbert, all I want is to see my little girl find the same.

Well, time for me to quit chattering and get back to Miss Bray's wet set. Always nice talking to you, and remember: the Cut 'n Curl's got hot rollers, free coffee, and the best gossip in town.
See you real soon,
Ruby Rhodes

HOME AT LAST CHANCE
ISBN: 0446576107

You won’t believe what’s happened. My son Tulane has come back home! You remember Tulane? He’d set out to find fame and fortune in the big, wide world outside of Last Chance, and I’m mighty proud. But that’s not the half of it-Tulane isn’t only back, he’s brought a young lady with him.
Now Sarah-she does PR for Tulane’s stock-car team-she’s from Boston, but she’s just about the sweetest girl you could meet. I think she’s meant to keep Tulane out of trouble after that story in the papers, but he doesn’t want to talk about it. Anyhow, the Ladies Auxiliary can’t wait to start matchmaking and introduce Sarah to our Reverend Ellis. But mark my words, Sarah is tired of being a good girl. And no one is better at breaking the rules and raising Cain than my son . . .
Listen to me going on and keeping customers waiting. I best get back to work, but you come round again. The Cut ‘n’ Curl’s got hot rollers, free coffee, and the best gossip in town.
See you real soon,
Ruby Rhodes
WELCOME TO LAST CHANCE
ISBN: 0446576093
Yes, our town is way off the beaten path but strange, wonderful miracles happen a lot around here.
I’ve owned the Cut ‘n Curl beauty shop for years, and I’ve seen folks come for a visit then stay for a lifetime. Take Jane—that pretty firecracker of a girl who just arrived in town. I would swear she’s running from something. She came with only five dollars in her pocket but she’s worked real hard to make a fresh start. She’s turned my son Clay’s life upside down without even realizing it.
And thank goodness for that! Every since Clay left his country western band, he’s played everything too safe. He needs to take a chance on Jane. Besides, the more he tries to keep his distance, the more he’ll realize that he and Jane are singing the same tune.
But I should quit ramblin’ and go check on Millie’s permanent wave. Next time you’re in Last Chance, be sure to swing by…we’ve got hot rollers, free coffee, and the best gossip in town.
See you soon,
Ruby Rhodes
HERE’S HOPE
Hope Ramsay was born in New York and grew up on the North Shore of Long Island, but every summer Momma would pack her off under the care of Aunt Annie to go visiting with relatives in the midlands of South Carolina.  Her extended family includes its share of colorful aunts and uncles, as well as cousins by the dozens, who provide the fodder for the characters you’ll find in Last Chance, South Carolina.  Hope earned a BA in Political Science from the University of Buffalo, and has had various jobs working as a Congressional aide, a lobbyist, a public relations consultant, and a meeting planner.  She’s a two-time finalist in the Golden Heart, and is married to a good ol’ Georgia boy who resembles every single one of her heroes.  She has two grown children and a couple of demanding lap cats.  She lives in Fairfax, Virginia where you can often find her on the back deck, picking on her thirty-five-year-old Martin guitar. 

HOPE, HOPE & MORE HOPE
In 2010, a group of ladies (& 1 lone guy) banded together with excitement building for two months while we waited to discover who might win a our industry unpublished's highest award: the RWA Golden Heart. Thank goodness we weren't both finalists in the same category, but we did have an additional bond: we'd both sold before the winners were announced. I thought I’d share a little of the Q&A with THE CREW (other Unsinkables) today. A wonderful special welcome to our Unsinkable sister, Hope Ramsay.
MAUREEN: What was your favorite book when you were 12?
HOPE: Jane Eyre.  Until I was 12, I read nothing but action adventure stories that were cast off from my older brothers.  One day my Aunt Annie decided that I needed something girly and she put Jane Eyre in my hands.  The rest is history as they say.  I had no idea there were books like Jane Eyre.  Jane Eyre remains my favorite book of all time.  I re-read it every few years. 

JILLIAN: Since the 2010 Golden Heart, what has been you're most rewarding publishing moment?
HOPE: The best moment was the day my first novel was available in stores -- March 1, 2011.  To my astonishment, a few weeks before my book came out I got an email from a Barns and Noble store manager in New Jersey inviting me up to participate in a multi-author book signing and book talk.  I felt so special when I walked into the store.  I met Judi McCoy that day and she was so sweet to me.  The memory is a little bittersweet now that we've all had the sad news about Judi. 
SIMONE: What inspires you daily?
HOPE: David Wilcox radio on Pandora.  
CAT: What has surprised you the most about being published?
HOPE: My biggest surprise (and the very best thing) about getting published is having a wonderful editor who makes my writing better with every book.
DONNEL: Complete this sentence.  When I want to relax, I. . .
HOPE: I play guitar.  I learned how to play when I was 13 and I'm much older than that now.  When I'm really stressed, I pick up the guitar and work on playing something complicated.  Or better yet I play and sing.  Singing for any length of time is better than a martini when it comes to adjusting my attitude. 

ANGI: What’s the first book you remember reading? 
HOPE: I have a very vivid memory of reading Dick and Jane in first grade.  I don't know if that counts.  The first real, grown up, novel I ever read was John Carter of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs.  Once I read that  one I was hooked but good and plowed through the other ten stories.  I think one of the things I loved the most about these stories was the enduring love between John Carter and Deja Thorus, Princess of Mars.  You can imagine how pumped I am that Hollywood is finally making a movie out of these wonderful books, it will be released in March of this year. 
ANGI: What’s your favorite fairy tale?
HOPE: Hands down it's Beauty and the Beast.  I love stories about grace -- the act of being loved even when you don't deserve it.  The Beast is not deserving of love, and yet the heroine loves him and he is redeemed.  (I also love stories of redemption.) 
ANGI: Is there a playlist you’d recommend for reading your latest release?
HOPE: My playlists can get really long and involved because I use music as my emotional touchstone.  Right now I'm finishing up Last Chance Christmas, the fourth book in the Last Chance series that features a hero who has lost a wife and needs to learn how to love again.  So my playlist seems to be filled with songs about love lost.  Here is a small collection of the most important songs on the playlist:
I am a town, by Mary Chapin Carpenter (this song is on every Last Chance playlist)
Monday Moring Church by Alan Jackson (describes the hero's loss)
Saving Grace by Six wire (describes the way the hero and heroine save each other)
I TOOK A LISTEN TO THIS ONE AND ENDED UP WITH THE ENTIRE ALBUM !! ~A
The Longest Night by Peter Mayer (It's a holiday book -- here's a sad, but hopeful winter solstice song)
For Real by David Wilcox (This is a completely heart-wrenching song written by Bob Franke and covered amazingly by David.  When I want to get deep into my hero's head, I play this song. ) 
Love Will Find You Again by Pierce Pettis  (Sorry, I can't find a free link to this song.  But everyone needs a happy ending, and Pierce would appreciate a paid download.) 

ANGI: Where do you read and how often?
HOPE: I usually read my Kindle on the treadmill at the gym.  The reading is the sugar that helps the exercise go down.  I don't have a lot of time to read and this is one way to make it happen. 
ANGI: What sound or noise do you love?
HOPE: Acoustic guitar being played by someone who really knows how to play.  Favorite guitar pickers:  James Taylor, David Wilcox, Eric Bibb and the incomparable Al Petteway. 
 
ANGI: Fairy Tale or Action Adventure?
HOPE: Fairy Tale -- always. 

ANGI: What’s your favorite movie of all time?
HOPE: Tough one.  Probably To Kill a Mockingbird.   
ANGI: Who’s your favorite villain?
HOPE: Cruella De Vil.  OMG, talk about eeeee-vil.

ANGI’S GOTTA ASK: I love your LAST CHANCE titles. Have you played around with any that didn’t make it to the cover that you can share? Or maybe some titles that might inspire more stories?  
HOPE’S GOTTA ANSWER:  Oh boy.  Well, I have to say that the whole idea of adding Last Chance to every title was the publisher's idea.  The more books and stories I write the harder it's becoming to find titles that work.  I do have to say that the original title of Welcome to Last Chance, was "A Ticket to Last Chance." I loved that title because there are several people in the course of the story who buy bus tickets to Last Chance.  I also wanted a bus on the cover.  My publisher overruled me -- probably wisely. 
We really went round and round looking for a title for Home at Last Chance.  In fact in late 2010 I blogged about this problem at the Ruby Slippered Sisterhood, and asked for assistance in finding a title for the second book.  I got 50 comments on this post with some wonderful ideas.  You can read it here 
I came up with the title Last Chance Beauty Queen.  And the publisher told me even before I signed the contract that one of the books had to be Last Chance Christmas. 

WHERE’S HOPE?
Website   Facebook  Twitter  Blame it on the Muse & Ruby SlipperedSisterhood  


THERE’S MORE HOPE:
LAST CHANCE CHRISTMAS
October 2012
ASIN: B0076DD2B8

HOPE FOR A BOOK?
Leave a comment because Hope’s drawing for a copy of LAST CHANCE BEAUTY QUEEN. 
Note: Offer void where prohibited. Prizes will be mailed to North America addresses only unless specifically mentioned in the post. Odds of winning vary due to the number of entrants. Winners of drawings are responsible for checking this site in a timely manner. If prizes are not claimed in a timely manner, the author may not have a prize available. Get Lost In A Story cannot be responsible for an author's failure to mail the listed prize. GLIAS does not automatically pass email addresses to guest authors unless the commenter publicly posts their email address.

DON’T FORGET to FOLLOW us on Twitter (#GetLostStories) or LIKE us on Facebook to keep up with all our guest authors and their prizes. Join me Friday when I host Melissa Dark. And come back tomorrow when Heather hosts Joan Swan and let’s not forget Thursday when Kristina McMorris returns as Maureen’s guest. ~Angi

HOPE'S QUESTION
There are a lot of people writing romances set in small communities, even though most of us live in much more urban areas.  What is it that you like about stories set in small towns?  Do you live in a small town? What is it that you like about living there?  And if you don't live a small town, do you think you'd like living in one?  Let's dish about the appeal of small town settings in romance novels.

25 comments:

  1. I grew up in a small town in the 60's .. and I still go back to visit.. It's nice that people know each other and will help one another in time of need or crisis.. The mom network back then was amazing considering the 'lack' of technology!! By the time you got home, the news was already there... yikes!

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    1. Sadly I grew up in a suburb and only visited a small town every summer. But it was precisely this feeling of being watched over that appealed to me. I'm sure it's one of the reasons I created Last Chance.

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  2. Hi Hope,

    I'm born in small town but now i'm stayed in city. Sometime i'm missed my small town because lived in small town is more calm then city, seem a busy and run with time ;)

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    1. Eli, Thanks for stopping by. I do remember how lazy my summers were in the tiny town of Denmark, South Carolina when I was a child. Oh if live could be like that now. :)

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  3. Yes, small town. I've lived in larger communities because of college, but otherwise, small towns within thirty miles of each other. There's nothing like it; you have no privacy, but you always have someone to count on or help you. The sense of ownership and therefore responsibility in small towns is amazing.

    Love your books, Hope! :)

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    1. Hi Gillian, thanks for stopping by. I really envy you your geography. I have spent most of my life in the suburbs. I can't recommend them. When my kids were little I felt connected to my neighbors through the school, but now that the kids are gone, I hardly speak to my neighbors. I thank God for the Internet, and my RWA friends otherwise I would feel so isolated.

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  4. I used to live in a small town with about 5,000 residents. It was a pain to have to drive 20-minutes or more to do any kind of major grocery or clothing shopping, but it was a wonderful place to raise my kids. I'm in a much more developed area now, and I miss the slower pace of my old neighborhood where I knew everyone.

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  5. Hi Laurie, thanks for stopping by.

    You know, even though my Giant Food is a five minute drive from my house in the 'burbs, the fact is that raising kids out there means living in an automobile as you chauffeur them from one activity to another. When I was a kid in a small town, I spend lots of time amusing myself. Of course those amusements involved walking the railroad rails. A modern suburban parent would have a conniption fit if their kids every took a stroll along the railroad tracks. :)

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  6. I live in a small town now but I grew up in a small community. I love living in a small town its like being home again. The people are more friendly and more like family.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Quilt Lady. Yes, I think small towns can be much friendlier. I think there's a level of trust that people who know each other build over time that's missing in urban settings.

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  7. Although I grew up in small towns and am the spawn of generations of small-town dwellers, I prefer city life. Maybe it's a food thing for me--more restaurants.

    But wherever we live, I think most of us long for that sense of community that we can find between the covers of a book.

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    1. Hi Jane,

      Yes there are advantages to urban living. I, for one, would miss going to baseball games. :)

      I think baseball is the one thing that keeps me where I am. I live only about 15 minutes from the ball park.

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  8. Just realized I've been here all morning and haven't left a WELCOME HOPE !!

    So glad for your success and the reception of your small town LAST CHANCE. I was born in Dallas, lived her through elementary school, moved to the country where unless you were "born" there you never really fit in. So there are a lot of perks, but also drawbacks to a very small community.

    ~Angi

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    1. Angi -- Thanks so much for the invitation to spend the day here on your love beach. I'm just enjoying the heck out of the sunset image and the waves. :)

      And I agree -- there is no one perfect place. Unfortunately there are always small minded people wherever you go. I even wrote a few into Last Chance. ;)

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  9. Hi Hope! Welcome to GLIAS today...so lovely to see you! And congrats on another great book in your series. LOVE the cover and blurb.

    I grew up in a city, but right before high school, my parents abruptly moved us to a small town (286 people). I, of course, freaked--it's a hard time to make a life change anyway, and one so drastic... But, I adjusted and in the end, am grateful that I had the opportunity to experience life in both places, as I am a person who is comfortable in both environments. Of course, I ran back to the city for college and have lived in one ever since...but my brother, who was younger when we moved, chose to stay in a smaller town. As did my parents. So I get to experience both still.

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    1. Heather, thanks for hosting me.

      We both can count ourselves lucky. I grew up right outside New York City in a very close-in suburb, but I spent my summers in a tiny town about the size of the one you moved to. So while I didn't live there, I was a summer resident for many of my childhood years. The fact that this town was smack dab on the Edisto River, provided horseback riding, fishing, canoeing, and a wonderful collection of Aunts and Uncles made it perfect. I will always feel that I was shaped by this summer time experience. Not too surprising that I managed to work that experience into my books.

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  10. Hurray, Hope!

    The LAST CHANCE books are incredibly charming, and those bright, happy covers are beacons on the bookshelves in contrast to all the dark, dark covers out there today!

    I don't live in a small town, but your books (and Liz Talley's) make me wish for a cozy cottage in one...which is saying a lot for a born-and-bred city-girl like me.

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    1. Hi Elisa,

      You know the best thing about reading stories is that they can sweep you off to places you've never been before. Places you might want to visit, but perhaps not live. And, of course, historical romances can take you back to a time where even London was a small town. I'm sure the matrons of the ton were as big a gossips as my Last Chance church ladies.

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  11. I do live in a small town. I have lived in both big and small towns/cities and prefer the small towns. Everyone watches out for everyone, you can fell safe, don't have to worry as much about the kids getting lost or taken. I live in the country on an acre of land. Love it. I do like the small town stories, because everyone knows everyone and usually the story does not just wrap around the 2 main characters, but the whole town and everyone in it. I think that a lot of the times that the secondary characters of books, usually make the story. Plus that is usually who is going to be in the next book.
    I would love to win and read this book. Hope is a new author for me and always looking for new books to check out. thanks for the giveaway and the chance to win.
    christinebails@yahoo.com

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    1. Hi Christine. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. I totally agree with you about secondary characters. Quite frankly I have way more fun with my secondary characters than my hero and heroine. I have a bunch of matchmaking church ladies who are humorous and surprisingly effective.

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  12. I love the idea of living in a small town because of the community. Everyone seems to know each other, and it's easier to be yourself and open up. It's a place I'd want to raise a family. I live in a mid-size town and have many of the conveniences of a big town. So far now I'm content to "live" my small-town life via stories.

    Cambonified(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. I went to college for a while in a medium-sized mid-western college town. And it struck me that it had the best of all worlds. It was small, but it had the big university right there providing culture and sports. I've often thought about finding a nice college town for my retirement. But, in the meantime, I'm like you. I'm vicariously living in a tiny town through my writing.

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  13. I would not call where I live now a small town. But 95% of my life have been in small towns. It is a part we miss. While our neighborhood is rather small townish. We always loved the closeness, generosity. There is nothing better than coming to the aid of a family or friend or stranger as a community. Recognizing people. Safety. We never locked our doors. Never took the keys from our cars. We once came home from a vacation to find our door standing wide open. It wasnt long before we realized the last person out didnt realize they were the last person out and never shut the door. Thankfully, it wasnt winter. But there was a bird in the house that took us hours to get out and lots of mess to clean up! Yuck! Can you tell, yes, I loved living in a small town.

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  14. Hi Hope,
    I'm so late to the party--as usual. I love your books and look to them as inspiration for the small town I've created. I spent my childhood in Minneapolis, then moved to the 'burbs for Jr. & Sr. High. Hubby and I couldn't wait to move to the country where we could have horses and raise our kids. I like city living and I love country living. I would never move back to the suburbs.

    Funnily enough, my kids were raised as small-town kids and they couldn't wait to get to the suburbs. They didn't like the small town where everyone knew everything. I find it humorous--just like your books! So, we're a mixed family for sure!

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  15. Thanks for joining us, Hope!!

    AND

    Congratulations to Christine. Random.org selected your number to receive Hope's LAST CHANCE BEAUTY QUEEN.

    Just send an email to GetLostInAStory@gmail.com and we'll get you set up. Thanks to everyone for stopping by.

    ~Angi

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