My good friend Lora Lee, author of sweet romances and cozy mysteries, is Serious Whimsy’s special guest today. Lora Lee’s latest release, Bringing in the Thieves, Book One of her Joyful Noise Mysteries, is laced throughout with her signature knee-slapping Texas humor.
[I love the book title’s play on words, and Miss Nettie’s unintentionally humorous church newsletter column alone is worth the price of the book. See the excerpt below. :)]
Bringing in the Thieves introduces us to irreverent Frankie Lou Birmingham McMasters, a preacher’s prodigal daughter, whose former bad girl reputation still clings to her like hair on soap.
“Oh, it’s good to be bad.” So say the villains in recent Jaguar commercials on TV. Not so for Frankie Lou. When she returns to her hometown of Ruby Springs, Texas, she soon finds out that it’s not all that good to be bad, that people have long memories, and that Thomas Wolfe was probably right. You Can’t Go Home Again.
Here’s the author herself to tell you more. Welcome, Lora Lee!
Life’s Joyful Moments
Many, many thanks to my friend, Jolana Malkston for inviting me to be a guest here on Serious Whimsy today. I hope my post will bring a bit of joy to your day.
Since my newest release, BRINGING IN THE THIEVES, is the first book in the Joyful Noise Mysteries, I thought a post about the joyful moments in life would be appropriate. I’ve had a few of them and I imagine you’ve had some, also, so let’s talk about them, okay? Let’s celebrate our joyful moments!
Childhood memories of happy times are often exaggerated as we grow older. We remember our birthday parties as bigger than they really were. Our grades in school were better in those memories, too. And our social life – well, that was plain awesome. Sure it was. But I’m not talking about those kind of memories. I’m talking about the joyful moments that made a difference in your life. A monumental moment like when you graduated from high school or college, or when you got that first important paying job. How about when you met your soul mate and said, “I Do”? The birth of a child, your first Mother’s Day as a real mommy, that first Christmas together as a family – all important and joyful moments. Or how about when you met someone who influenced your life in a positive way? A teacher, perhaps, who saw your potential and encouraged you to follow your dream. Even a total stranger could’ve impacted your life by bringing you joy. Have you visited a special place that filled you with joyful moments? The list could go on and on, but for brevity’s sake I’ll share only one of mine here with you today.
Eight years ago my husband had a heart attack and emergency open-heart surgery. Thanks to the finest heart surgeons and excellent care at the heart center, his recovery was a good one. During his stay at the hospital, he had several nurses and aides who cared for him. One nurse in particular was a glowing ray of sunshine each time she entered his room. Funny, compassionate, full of laughter, she made hubby’s day a little easier for him to endure. She encouraged him and assured him he would get better. She told us she was a single mom, studying nights to further her medical career. She was an LPN but wanted to advance and become an RN. Her name was Tammy and she was putting herself through nursing school. She was following a dream. She signed hubby’s heart pillow and we thanked her and wished her the best when we left the heart center. A joyful moment, indeed!
Then, one year later we were back at the heart center. This time, I was the patient undergoing open-heart surgery. Lo and behold, who walked into my room after my surgery but . . . yes, Tammy. Laughing and asking why I’d gone to such drastic measures to see her again, she blew away my troubles and cheered my hubby with her smiles. She’d seen my last name on the door to my room and recognized it, so she came in to see us and ask if we were okay with her being my nurse. She wanted to request a change of her station and take care of me like she’d cared for my husband. Of course, we said yes. She finished her night classes, she told us, and was now an RN. She would be working as a surgical nurse soon, something she’d always dreamed of doing. It was by chance that she was still working on the floor where we were. We were surprised and happy to see her again, especially because I knew she would take good care of me. I was there two weeks because of all the inside repair my old ticker needed. My joyful moment finally came when I was wheeled out of the room to the car holding my own signed, red heart pillow against my chest. Tammy hugged us both and I cried when I thanked her. Such a special person she was and how fortunate we were to have known her. And we never even knew her last name. But she’d brought us joy at extremely stressful times in our lives and we will remember her smiles and laughter.
I have a little plaque on the wall in my office with one of my favorite sayings on it . . . “Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain.” Dancing in the rain can be a joyful moment, too. Try it and you’ll see.
I wish you many joyful moments in your life,
Joyful Noise Mysteries – Book One
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Published by: Bell Bridge Books
Release Date: December 9, 2014
Length: 168 Pages
Frankie Lou’s back and Poppy’s madder than a wet hen.
Create a church choir filled with teenage misfits?
Over Poppy’s dead body.
Minister’s daughter Frankie Lou McMasters has come back to Ruby Springs, Texas with her daughter, Betsy, eleven years after running off to marry the town bad boy. Her mild notoriety as a bad girl is prime gossip for her childhood enemy, Poppy Fremont, now choir director of Faith Community Church–where Frankie Lou’s daddy, now retired to Florida, was the preacher.
When Frankie Lou comes to the deacons with a request to add a youth choir of at-risk teens she’s been coaching, Poppy throws a fit. A few hours later, Frankie Lou finds her dead in the baptistery pool. And Poppy’s not playing possum.
Frankie Lou sets out to clear her name as the main suspect, and tries to locate the real killer. Could he be sexy Joe Camps, the father of one of her teen singers? In the meantime, her momma shows up from Florida to take charge of Frankie Lou’s life. Bless her heart.
Lora Lee also writes as Loralee Lillibridge. Learn more about her contemporary romances and keep in tune with the Joyful Noise at lora-lee.com