Book Review and Guest Blogger Loralee Lillibridge

21 Sep

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.  

Hi, everyone, and thanks, Christine, for inviting my blog tour to stop here and chat. Since we’ve never met, I’ll start by telling you a little about myself. 

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.


Posted by on September 21, 2011 in Book Excerpts, On Writing


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53 responses to “Book Review and Guest Blogger Loralee Lillibridge

  1. Neecy

    September 21, 2011 at 11:15 pm

    Great interview, Christine and Loralee! I just met author, Nancy Gideon yesterday and she mentioned Tell-tale publishing. I have your book on my wish list, and I hope you sell a million copies.
    I love getting to know authors, the book always seems more personal that way.

  2. ChristineWarner

    September 21, 2011 at 11:26 pm

    This is a definate ‘for keeps’ book, Denice. Thank you for stopping in 🙂

  3. Ella Quinn

    September 21, 2011 at 11:27 pm


    That was a wonderful interview.


  4. Loralee Lillibridge

    September 21, 2011 at 11:27 pm

    Neecy, I’m so happy you met Nancy. She’s one of my valued critique partners and a wonderful writer.

    Christine, thanks so much for the glowing review. To know you love Buddy Lee and Faith’s story as much as I do just makes my day. I really hated to leave them at the end of the book.

    • ChristineWarner

      September 21, 2011 at 11:43 pm

      You are so welcome Loralee. I really did love this book and, like you, I hated to see the story end. There’s nothing better than a good read to pick up your mood, and this certainly did that for me!

  5. Callie Hutton

    September 22, 2011 at 12:03 am

    Wow, Christine, love your new “look”. Great review, definitely sounds like a book worth reading.

    • ChristineWarner

      September 22, 2011 at 12:07 am

      The book is a gem! Thanks for stopping in 🙂

    • Loralee Lillibridge

      September 22, 2011 at 1:10 am

      Callie, I hope you get a chance to read ALL THAT MATTERS and meet Buddy Lee and Faith. I’d love to hear your comments.

  6. Diane Burton

    September 22, 2011 at 12:34 am

    Very nice review, Christine. Great interview..I’ve been following Loralee’s “tour” and each time I find out something new. Great job, ladies.

    • Loralee Lillibridge

      September 22, 2011 at 1:12 am

      Diane, thanks for following me on the tour. Christine is a wonderful hostess and her review just blows me away!

    • ChristineWarner

      September 22, 2011 at 1:24 am

      Thank you for visiting Diane. Glad you are following Loralee’s blog tour 🙂

  7. Trish McCallan

    September 22, 2011 at 12:46 am

    Great review, Christine!

    Loralee, congratulations on your new release (love the cover!) and may this just be the first in a string of bestsellers for you.

    • Loralee Lillibridge

      September 22, 2011 at 1:14 am

      Trish, I appreciate the congratulations and good wishes. And yes, the cover certainly brightens a day, doesn’t it? I have talented cover artist, Patricia Lazarus, to thank for the awesome image of Buddy Lee.

  8. Dana Corbit

    September 22, 2011 at 12:47 am

    Great review, Christine. And you couldn’t have chosen a better book or a more wonderful author to highlight. Of course, I’m biased. I’ve been privileged to have been a member of Loralee’s critique group since the beginning. She’s just a delight. I’m so happy for her over the success of ALL THAT MATTERS. I’ve loved Faith and Buddy Lee since I met them in one of her early drafts.

    • Loralee Lillibridge

      September 22, 2011 at 1:18 am

      Dana, as one of our original four, you’ve been through the thick and thin of my writing journey. Thanks for being there.

    • ChristineWarner

      September 22, 2011 at 1:28 am

      Thanks for stopping in Dana. If all of your books are as wonderful as Loralee’s you are a critique group to be reckoned with!

  9. Jennifer Lowery~Writer

    September 22, 2011 at 2:38 am

    Awesome interview! Love your book, Loralee! To anyone who hasn’t read it don’t miss it! Congrats on the new release 🙂

    • Loralee Lillibridge

      September 22, 2011 at 3:31 am

      Thanks, Jennifer. You are a super supporter and I wish you much success in your own writing career.

    • ChristineWarner

      September 22, 2011 at 4:01 am

      Thank you for dropping by Jennifer 🙂

  10. mirriamsmyth

    September 22, 2011 at 3:10 am

    Nice interview! I read a blurb/excerpt about this book and was hooked. Your review and interview are enough for me to buy it.

    • Loralee Lillibridge

      September 22, 2011 at 3:34 am

      Mirriam, I’m thrilled to have you as a potential reader of ALL THAT MATTERS. cheers to Christine’s wonderful review and interview for convincing you.

      • ChristineWarner

        September 22, 2011 at 4:03 am

        Hi Mirriam! I’m glad you stopped in. I’m glad my review helped to hook you…it’s a great story 🙂

  11. Patricia Lazarus

    September 22, 2011 at 4:24 am

    All That Matters is a fantastic book! Loralee writes with such authentic flavor, and keeps the reader’s interest from first page to last. I had a hard time stopping to go to the ladie’s the first time I read it…but I couldn’t take it with me because it was on my computer, doggone it! I love everything Tex writes! I’m so glad to have been part of this wild-mustang ride!

    • ChristineWarner

      September 22, 2011 at 5:10 am

      Love your post Patricia! You need to buy one of those little netbooks…they are bathroom portable…lol. Thanks for dropping by 🙂

      • Patricia Lazarus

        September 22, 2011 at 9:28 am

        You’re right! I have a Kindle, but I was proofreading ATM, and wanted to make notes. Which I could have done with a netbook! In the bathroom!

  12. Cassidy Rae Warner

    September 22, 2011 at 5:06 am

    My mom knows best 🙂 I’ll be getting my copy soon.

    • ChristineWarner

      September 22, 2011 at 5:11 am

      Cass, you are a great daughter! I know how you love to read and I do think you’d really enjoy this book, especially Loralee’s turn of phrase 🙂

  13. Nancy Gideon

    September 22, 2011 at 5:08 am

    Why are you blogging, LL? You should be writing that next book! Oh, sorry, did I say that out loud? See, we are a pushy sisterhood. ALL THAT MATTERS is a fabulous read and I’m smug because I KNOW there’s more like that a home. Can’t wait for the next release.

    • ChristineWarner

      September 22, 2011 at 5:12 am

      Well, I for one am glad all of you ladies pushed her to keep writing. I loved this book and can’t say enough wonderful things about it 🙂 Glad I was asked to review it, what an easy job for me!!

  14. Elizabeth

    September 22, 2011 at 5:30 am

    What a wonderful review! It captures all the reasons LL’s ATM’s was our launch novel. The characters are so realistic, you want to call them up to grab a bite of BBQ and chat. Great job!

    • ChristineWarner

      September 22, 2011 at 6:02 am

      Well said Elizabeth! It’s nice when you can read a book and feel like you have a new friend 🙂

  15. Loralee Lillibridge

    September 22, 2011 at 6:42 am

    Christine, now you’ve met some of the terrific gals in my special sisterhood critique group, Dana, Nancy, Patricia and Elizabeth. See how lucky I am to have them watching my back? Wonderfully talented, wise and a teensy bit bossy. A barrel of laughs when we all get together. How could I not keep writing? And if all eight of us ever land in the same spot at the same time…look out, y’all! Writers are known to…WRITE. Whacha’ think I was gonna say?

    • ChristineWarner

      September 22, 2011 at 7:23 am

      LOL…I’ve enjoyed reading their posts! To have a group of women come together as critique partners and grow that bond into friendship is a true gift. You are all blessed! I’m glad you guest blogged with me today Loralee 🙂 I can see where some of that humor in your book stems from!!!

      • Loralee Lillibridge

        September 22, 2011 at 7:42 am

        Ah, Christine, I’m glad you invited me. You have a great blog site and lovely followers. I’ve been told writers are unique. Do you think it’s because of the voices in their heads? I have to admit, Buddy Lee was a very insistent voice before I ever found a heroine worthy of his devotion. But when Faith finally spoke, I knew I’d found the perfect match for him.

  16. ChristineWarner

    September 22, 2011 at 9:19 am

    Loralee, I’m the one that’s glad you agreed to guest blog. I’m enjoying it! As for the blog site, thank you again, I owe it all to my talented daughter. And authors are unique, keeping track of all those characters is a talent for suer. Something else I’ve discovered along the way, all the authors I’ve met along the way are so generous with information and advice with the business. I don’t think I’ve run across anyone that hasn’t been willing to answer a question or help.

    As for Buddy Lee, and Faith, I’m glad Faith spoke to you, because I can’t imagine their story not being told.

  17. Nikki

    September 22, 2011 at 10:00 am

    All right, I have this book on my wish list, but your review makes me want it NOW!! LOL

    What a great interview- and review!

    • ChristineWarner

      September 22, 2011 at 11:31 am

      Thanks Nikki…I’m so glad you stopped by. All That Matters is a wonderful read!

    • Loralee Lillibridge

      September 22, 2011 at 12:19 pm

      Nikki, I hope you enjoy ALL THAT MATTERS. Christine did a wonderful review. So glad you stopped by.

  18. Na S.

    September 22, 2011 at 10:48 am

    Hi Loralee and Christine!
    This has been such a fun tour getting to know everything that matters in writing and in “All That Matters”. I really liked the review on this page and for me the best stories are those where I feel a part of the characters and can connect with them. Some authors really have a way with words.

    Support groups are like a family in itself. They give advice, support and encourage all the way. I can only imagine that the road to publishing isn’t easy, but that is not to say it is impossible. Never give up. Good for you Loralee. I hope you keep writing.

    • ChristineWarner

      September 22, 2011 at 11:33 am

      Very nicely said! I couldn’t agree with you more!

    • Loralee Lillibridge

      September 22, 2011 at 12:23 pm

      Na, thank you for following the blog tour. I’ve enjoyed being a guest here with Christine. Her review has introduced new readers to Buddy Lee and Faith, and for that I’m truly grateful. As for keeping on with my writing, I most definitely will. It’s encouraging comments like these on Christine’s blog site that keep me motivated.

  19. D'Ann Linscott-Dunham

    September 22, 2011 at 11:29 am

    Wow, great interview. And I love the sounds of this book. It looks wonderful!

    • ChristineWarner

      September 22, 2011 at 11:35 am

      Thank you for dropping in D’Ann, glad the blog sparked your interest!

    • Loralee Lillibridge

      September 22, 2011 at 12:31 pm

      D’Ann, If you love to read romances, I’d love for you to meet Buddy Lee and Faith and discover the final favor she asks him. A favor that could cost him more than his dream of success…it could cost him his heart.

  20. Cassandra Devi Riana Singh-Suwal

    September 22, 2011 at 12:20 pm

    This sounds like a really interesting read! I’ll definitely be checking it out soon =) Great review Christine!!!

    • Loralee Lillibridge

      September 22, 2011 at 12:32 pm

      Cassandra, I’m so glad you enjoyed Christine’s review and hope you’ll be reading ALL THAT MATTERS real soon. Thanks for your interest.

    • ChristineWarner

      September 22, 2011 at 1:05 pm

      Thanks for checking out my blog Cassandra…glad you liked the review…and you’ll love the book!

  21. Cara Neuman

    September 22, 2011 at 1:06 pm

    This story sounds like my kind of romance. I really enjoy when the characters have a long relationship that builds into real love. That it’s set in a small town is also a favorite of mine and I feel sure I will enjoy this book when I am able to read it. Thank you Christine for introducing us to Loralee Lillibridge .

    • ChristineWarner

      September 22, 2011 at 1:08 pm

      Glad you dropped by Cara…when you find the time to read it, you’ll be glad you did! A truly wonderful romance!!

  22. Cheryl Yeko

    September 22, 2011 at 1:12 pm

    Great interview, great blog site Christine.

    Loralee is truly blessed with a wonderful talent and family. Twenty-Three children and grandchildren. Now, that is an accomplishment!



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