I’m so excited today! You are in for a big treat. So grab your coffee, tea, or whatever you want to sip, sit down and enjoy today’s blog.
I recently had the honor of reading ALL THAT MATTERS by author Loralee Lillibridge. This is her debut novel with Tell-Tale Publishing, which released on September 9th. I’d like to take a few moments and share my thoughts on this wonderful story before I introduce you to Loralee. She has graciously agreed to guest blog here on my site today and share with us the importance of having a support group of critique partners.
I love reading romance, but have always had a soft spot for contemporary romance since that is what I started out reading. I admit that my time lately has been limited (and I know I’m not the only one!), so when I pick up a book to read for pleasure, I’m expecting a lot.
Well, let me tell you when I finished the first few sentences of ALL THAT MATTERS, it became all that mattered. I couldn’t put this story down. From the first page Buddy Lee and Faith’s story captured my heart. By the end of chapter one, I admit I had more than a slight crush on Buddy Lee. This charming man was pure in heart and the more I learned about him the more I rooted for him to get what he wanted. Faith’s love.
Without giving away too much, because I want you to enjoy the story the way I did, feel the emotions and the triumphs and the frustration, I will share a little bit.
Buddy Lee showed his courage in overcoming a shame-filled past brought on him by his father. He worked hard and lived by a moral code of ethics, though not everybody realized this. As for Faith, I was instantly drawn to her for all that she’d gone through. Her plight in dealing with an overbearing father and how she was made to feel she needed to act a certain way because she belonged to the upper class of their small town…it broke my heart. Together this pair formed an unlikely friendship…good girl meets town bad boy. But Buddy Lee proves he isn’t a bad boy when he rescues Faith time and time again from the situations she finds herself in. He takes the blame with no thought to how it makes him appear to others, his only concern is his friend. Faith.
Loralee is an amazing author and wove her words in a manner that made me feel like I was there with Buddy Lee and Faith, in every room listening to their conversations, but with one added bonus, I knew what they were thinking and feeling. I curled up into the soft cushions of my couch with no plans to put this story down. Loralee’s turn of phrase, her characterization, her subtle humor, made this book smooth and flowing and before I knew it—before I was ready for it—I was reading the last chapter. When I finished the last sentence I was torn. Saddened that my mini vacation in a small Texastown with two new friends—Buddy Lee and Faith—had ended, but I also had that little niggle in the pit of my stomach—you know the one—the one you get when you’ve finished a truly good read!
Now without further ado…and no I won’t be giving away anymore hints about the story…I’d like to introduce you to Loralee Lillibridge.
Hi Loralee and welcome to my blog.
I was born inTexas and lived there until I married and moved toWest Michigan. I love all things country, including the music and cowboys, rodeos and Wrangler jeans, plus authentic Mexican tamales and enchiladas. And my red Ariat boots. I have a large family that began with our four children and expanded to twenty-three at last count, with the birth of our first great-grandson. We really fill up the dining room table when everyone shows up at Christmas.
I live about thirty miles from Lake Michigan and love the beautiful lakeshore part of the state. Someday I hope to use that area as the locale for a mysteries series.
I’ve been writing romance since 1984, when I joined RWA and the Mid-Michigan chapter. My first published book was a December 2005 release for Silhouette Special Edition. I thought the world was my oyster, but the publishing industry is a very competitive market. I submitted and received rejections so many times, I would’ve given up, if not for my terrific critique partners. They were a constant source of encouragement when I wanted to quit. I attended conferences and kept writing. Went to critique sessions and kept writing.
I’ve learned so much in the years since four of us first started out getting together at a local college library. As time passed, we added another member, then another. One moved away from town, followed by another, but we kept in touch through online critiques. Another writer joined us, then two more, and we now stand at eight. None of us live in the same town any more. Two are out-of-state. But we stay connected by our writing. We’ve evolved into more than a critique group now and have become strong supporters of each other in many ways.
Throughout my journey to be published, my partners have sliced and diced my works-in-progress, pointed out the flaws and timeline screw-ups, and in general, made me sweat blood in order to make my work shine. Yes, that’s exactly what they did, and it wasn’t easy for them or me. Thank goodness, they didn’t give up. They tempered their advice with love and made me believe in myself and my work. They pushed and prodded and wouldn’t take NO for an answer when I wanted to stop submitting. Following their advice was the best thing I could’ve done for my writing career.
In the spring of 2011, I was thrilled to receive a contract offer from Tell-Tale Publishing Group for ALL THAT MATTERS, a story I loved writing right from the beginning. The contemporary romance was released on September 9, and life as I knew it changed to a whirlwind of promotional excitement. I have another romance completed and ready to submit, if I ever find time to send it. I know my partners will keep after me until I do.
To add even more to this summer’s excitement, I also signed a two-book contract with Bell Bridge Books for a cozy mystery series, JOYFUL NOISE. The first book will be out in 2012.
None of this would’ve happened without the help of my writing group. I’ve been fortunate to have wise women who shared their experience, their knowledge and, once in awhile, their fun side. Along with their non-stop support, my critique partners have given me an unexpected bonus – a sisterhood of friendship that will always be the wind beneath my wings.
I’d love to hear from other writers about their experiences with critique groups.
Thank you Loralee, and congratulations on your success! Your journey is an inspiration.
And thank you everyone for joining us. And as Loralee mentioned, we’d both love to hear your comments about your own experiences with critique partners or groups. You can purchase Loralee’s amazing book ALL THAT MATTERS by clicking here and check out her blog here.