Friday, November 03, 2017

THE STARLIGHT INN - Lucie Ulrich - One Free Print Book or Ebook

Dear Readers, if you’ve followed my blog very long, you know that my favorite things about Christmas are the Christmas novels and novellas. Lucie and I were both author participants at the Crave Him! event the day before the ACFW Conference in September. I believe this is the first time we met in person. She gave me a copy of The Starlight Inn, a Christmas novella. When I read it, I knew I had to schedule it on my blog to introduce both the book and Lucie to you.

Welcome, Lucie. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
I do my best to keep myself out of my books, but inevitably some familiar phrase or mannerism shows up. I have to be careful not to make any young character sound older than they are. In truth I write more of my taste/style into my books. My kitchen remodel showed up in one, while my dining room table and chairs showed up in another.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
Propose to my husband. Well, not in so many words. We’d been dating for a couple of years and had talked a little about marriage, but my not-yet-husband wasn’t in a big hurry. One day, while we were driving, I turned to him and said, “So, are we going to get married or not?” Some proposal, right? Lol!

When did you first discover that you were a writer?
I never had a desire to write until I became part of my church’s drama team when I was in my early-forties. The moment I wrote my first skit a few years later, I knew God had put something in me that had never been there before. It took a little longer for me to have a go at writing novels, and another nine years before I signed my first book contract, but that first skit was all it took for me to know.

Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
I’m all about romance, and that’s usually what I stick with. I tend to read more Christian/inspirational books but I will read secular as long as it’s clean. I prefer contemporary to period pieces, but I do enjoy the occasional western or WWII read. I’ll also throw in a good biography from time to time.

How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
It helps that my husband and I are retired, so our world isn’t as rush, rush as it used to be. We set aside three or four times a month to check out estate sales, and we enjoy road trips (short or long), and taking the occasional trip to the mountains. One thing I do differently from my husband is that I use my phone as little more than a phone. I’m not a social media fiend, but I do find myself distracted when I’m at home and on my laptop. When I leave the house, I refuse to take social media along with me. I chose to disconnect from the influences and opinions everybody feels the need to share, and enjoy whatever I’m doing at the moment. Some people think I’m crazy, but grocery shopping is one of my favorite escapes.

My husband won’t even get a smart phone. He has a flip phone, and he calls mine a smart phone and his a dumb phone. He does, however, ask me to look for things on my phone a lot. How do you choose your characters’ names?
Mostly from names I love—at least for the first name. I’ve also been known to check out lists of names online if I’m looking for something a little more unusual. I’ve been known to change a character’s name if, as I’m writing, I realize it simply doesn’t fit. In an upcoming book, I researched Scottish names for my male lead. Even though he’s American, his father comes from Scotland, and I wanted something simple, yet fitting. In my series that takes place at various inns around the country, the only recurring character is an elderly woman named Tillie. Technically, it’s Matilda, but her character is a free spirit (and a bit of a busybody), so Tillie suits her best. As for surnames, if nothing pops into my head, I go to the Internet. If a name reminds me of someone I’m not fond of, or had a bad experience with, that name is out!

What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
Raising two children who love the Lord. That’s not so say there weren’t a few rough patches along the way, but to see my children honor and serve God in their daily lives, as well as their jobs, blesses me beyond words.

If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
Probably a mule. I can be very stubborn at times. Lol!

What is your favorite food?
Steak—preferably medium rare with just the right amount of spices. A close second would be some authentic Tex-Mex.

Our taste in food is similar. We’ll celebrate our 53rd anniversary this weekend at Abuelo’s. What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
Self-doubt. When I first started writing, I was like a machine—nothing got in my way. I had stories to tell and I told them—not that many of them were read by more than a handful of people. It was easy because I didn’t have to worry about sales, promotion, blogging (which I seldom do), social media interaction, and everything else that comes once a book is published. 

I have five (going on six) books to my credit, which in the grand picture, isn’t all that much. I never set out to write sequels, yet I have two in the works. I’m a slow writer, which means time lags between books. I check my Amazon numbers often—too often, and I compare myself to other authors.

It’s an ongoing struggle, but I’m learning to encourage myself and put my trust in the One who gave me the desire to write. If a story or character touches one reader’s life, I’ve done my job.

Tell us about the featured book.
The Starlight Inn is my first novella and first Christmas story. It’s a fun, light romance that takes place primarily in Vermont.

 On her way to celebrate her birthday and Christmas with her family, Ella Dixon finds herself trapped in the middle of a blizzard. She seeks refuge at The Starlight Inn. Though the inn is full, an elderly guest offers to share her room. Accepting the kind offer, Ella soon realizes Tillie Spencer isn’t your average “little old lady.” She knows things nobody else does, and appears to come and go on a whim.

Nick Wallace runs the inn along with sister, Fran. The attraction Nick feels for Ella is instantaneous and unexpected, but with the miles that separate them, and both busy with their careers, Nick doubts much will come of their Christmas Eve meeting. Tillie, on the other hand, holds a much different view.

Please give us the first page of the book for my blog readers.
Christmas music filled Ella Dixon’s workspace, lifting her spirits as it always did this time of year.
Her cell rang.

She ignored it.

Three minutes later it rang again. Without looking, Ella knew who was on the other end.
Finishing the hem on a pair of women’s black silk pants, she set them aside to be pressed, and reached for her phone. “Hi, Eva. What’s up?”

“Seriously, Ella, why can’t you ever answer the first time I call?”

Ella did everything she could to tamp down her rising frustration. She loved her sister, but they didn’t come close to filling the mold most twins fell into. Fraternal, not identical, they didn’t even look alike. Two inches taller, Ella’s light brown hair and hazel eyes contrasted with her sister’s sandy blond hair and amber eyes.

“We’ve been through this before, Eva. When I’m in the middle of a project, I sometimes don’t even hear the phone.”

“I know, but with Christmas Eve, not to mention our birthday party, two days away, I assumed you’d be done with work and ready to head out.”

Unlike her sister who was married, the mother of one with another on the way, Ella was single and ran her own sewing and alteration business. She glanced at the rack holding three dresses, a skirt, and two pair of pants that needed to be worked on. “Like I told you last night, this is the typical holiday rush. All of my clients are picking up their items by Monday morning, which means I should be on the road no later than ten o’clock, giving me plenty of time to arrive before the party.”

“As usual, you’re leaving things to the last minute. You do know there’s talk of bad weather, don’t you?”

How can readers find you on the Internet?

Thank you, Lucie, for sharing this book with my blog readers.

Readers, here are links to the book.
The Starlight Inn - Paperback
Starlight Inn (A Tillie Spencer Novella Book 1) - Kindle

Lucie will give a print book if the winner is in the U. S. and an ebook if the winner is outside the US. Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. You must follow these instructions to be in the drawing. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory or country if outside North America. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)

Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 4 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

If you’re reading this on Goodreads, Google+, Feedblitz, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment if you want to be included in the drawing. Here’s a link:


chrissy drzewiecki said...

Sisters, sisters...da da de da...🎶🎵Would love to receive this Novella. I'm Chrissy Drew from the Sacramento area.

Melanie Backus said...

Love, love, love Christmas stories!!!Melanie Backus, TX

Ann Ellison said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ann Ellison said...

Enjoyed the interview with Lucie. I am big fan of her books. I have read and loved The Starlight Inn. I have a copy so don't include me in the drawing.

Shelia64 said...

I love a good Christmas story and when you out twins in the mix that is even better! Shelia from Mississippi

Lucie Ulrich said...

Thanks for your wonderful comments, Chrissie, Melanie, Ann and Sheila.

Linda Kish said...

I love a good Christmas story and it's time to start reading them.

Linda in CA

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Vivian Furbay said...

Sounds like a good Christmas romance. If I am blessed to win, I would like a paperback copy.

Donna E said...

I always thought it would be nice to have a set of twins, and there are several sets in my family line. It is probably a good thing I didn't have twins.
But I do have a wonderful sister, and wish I could see her more often.
Would love a chance to read one of Lucie's stories.
I live in Oklahoma.

Cindy W. said...

I love the blurb and the first page. I absolutely LOVE the cover. Please enter me, I would love to win this book.

Cindy W. from Indiana

Paula said...

That first page makes me want to continue reading this. Thanks from Paula in Missouri.

Kim hansen said...

Sounds good. north platte nebraska.

VanG said...

Lucid is a new author to me, and I enjoyed the interview with her. The cover is beautiful, and the story sounds delightful. I would love to win a copy! Thanks! 😊
VanG fro NC

VanG said... old fingers hit a wrong key...Lucie

Vera Godley said...

Love Christmas novellas and this one sounds like a joyful fun read. You're a new author to me. I'd love to win a copy and then share it around to family. I'm in the USA and only read read paper books. ;)

Live in central North Carolina.

Bonnie Engstrom said...

This sounds like a really fun book! Please enter me in the drawing. If I win, I'd prefer an Ebook because I only read on Kindle.

Bonnie in AZ

Lucie Ulrich said...

Thank you all for the wonderful comments. The Starlight Inn was such a joy to write. Tillie turned out differently than my original thought. I love when God does that. She'll be back in book 2 in April. :)

Library Lady said...

What a great name for an Inn.
I'm looking forward to reading this book.
Thanks for giving me the opportunity to win it, too.
Janet E.

Pam K. said...

The cover of The Starlight Inn is lovely. I enjoy reading Christmas books each December. This looks like a good one to add to my collection. Thanks for the chance to win it.


Connie said...

I agree with the others who have commented on the cover and I hope to get the chance to read this soon.
Thank you and Blessings!
Connie from KY

Lucie Ulrich said...

The cover is one of my favorites. The cover artist perfectly captured my vision.

Pat said...

This sounds like a wonderful book. And yes, a beautiful cover. I'm from Ohio.

Lucie Ulrich said...

Thank you, Pat!

Sharon Richmond Bryant said...

Enter me in your awesome giveaway for the print copy!!
Conway SC.

Anonymous said...

Love Christmas stories,would love to win

Lourdes said...

Ok that sounds interesting, thanks for the chance to win a copy.

Lourdes Long Island, NY

apple blossom said...

Christmas one of my best things to read about. thanks for the chance to win
live in ND

Lucie Ulrich said...

Thank you all for your kind comments. I do love Christmas and snow. I live in the south, so I have to live through my characters. :)

Dianna said...

My children are still young, but they've both chosen to be baptized -- I really relate to what the author said about that being a thing of pride.
Dianna (TN)

Lucie Ulrich said...

Dianna, I feel your pride and joy. Apple Blossom, my family and I lived in Bismarck, ND for two years. One of my favorite places!