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Ruby Release Spotlight! Hope Ramsay & Home at Last Chance

 

Haley Rhodes Tells All!

It’s August, and Last Chance, South Carolina is sweltering, but when Miz Ruby called to tell me another of her sons was in the cross-hairs, I couldn’t resist.  Clay and Jane’s story turned out so well, and I really do want find out what happened after the Great Lightning Strike at Golfing For God.

 Reaching the Cut ‘N Curl, I hurry out of the heat, my mouth watering for a long, cold glass of Miz Ruby’s sweet tea.  I no sooner enter the shop, however, than my arms are filled with young Haley Rhodes who looks like she’s gone ten rounds with an army of chocolate chip cookies. 

The cookies, obviously, lost, but not without doing some damage. 

“Praise the Lord, Gwyn,” Ruby says.  “You’re an answer to prayer.  Elbert just called. There’s a ruckus down at Golfing For God.  Watch Haley, won’t you?”

And with that, Miz Ruby and all the church ladies bustle out the door, leaving me gaping at the gamin sprite smearing chocolate on my white blouse. 

Now I remember Haley from my last visit.  Haley sees angels.  One particular angel, who she calls The Sorrowful Angel, seems to be her constant companion.

She’s grown and lost her two front teeth since last I saw her, but her hair is still defying restraint and her clothes refusing to stay clean.  She’s just precious, and I can’t help but give her a hug as we watch Miz Ruby’s van disappear.

“I wonder what that’s all about,” I murmur, glancing around the silent shop, unsure how I’ll keep Haley out of mischief until Miz Ruby returns.

“It’s Uncle Tulane, Miz Gwyn.”  Haley shakes her head, looking much too wise for her seven years.  “He’s come home, and he’s a magnet for trouble.”

Someday, I’m going to ask Miz Ruby what she was thinking when she named her children, but for now, Haley needs me.  “And how do you know that, Miss Haley?”

“Granny says so.  She says trouble follows him like his old blue tick hound used to.  It’s so bad, he has hisself a babysitter.”

A babysitter?  Interesting.

I make myself comfy in one of the well-padded salon chairs and settle Haley on my lap.  “Want to tell me about it?”

“Yes’m.  See it’s all on account of the fact that they painted Uncle Tulane’s  racecar pink.  I don’t see any problem with a pink car—after all Barbie has one, and Mrs. Henrietta Charles down over to Allenberg got one selling Mary Kay—but Granny says Uncle Tulane is kind of proud.  And besides, I reckon pink is a funny color for a man to wear.”

“Well yes, I suppose it is,” I agree, trying not to grin.  I’ve seen a couple of NASCAR races, and Tulane Rhodes drives a car sponsored by Cottontail Disposable Diapers.  The car’s cotton-candy color is more than enough to make a man cringe, but the sponsor added insult to injury and painted a huge cuddle bunny on its hood. 

Tulane’s pit crew looks pitiful in pink.

“So, anyways,”  Haley continues, “Uncle Tulane was supposed to help at the Value Mart with the baby-changing races only he played hooky.  I reckon his boss got really mad at him for that, and he got put in the dog house. ”

“Baby-changing races?” I ask.  “What the he . . eck is a baby-changing race?”

“Oh, that’s where mamas bring their babies to the Value Mart and have a race to see who can change their baby fastest using Cottontail Disposable Diapers with the quick release tabs for quicker pit stops.”

I stifle a groan.  The tag line is cheesy enough without the child’s deadpan delivery.

“Anyways, Uncle Tulane is supposed to go to the races and of.. off…”

Unwilling to watch her struggle, I hazard a guess.  “Officiate?”

Halely nods.  (Whew!)  “Yup, that’s the word.  So, you see, when Uncle Tulane played hooky, he got in big trouble.  And that’s when the folks who make the diapers sent Miss Sarah Murray.  She’s Uncle Tulane’s babysitter.  She’s supposed to make sure he goes to all the baby-changing races on his schedule.

“I guess he doesn’t like her very much.”

“I wouldn’t say that.  Miss Sarah is really smart.  She came up with an idea for Uncle Tulane to do something instead of baby-changing races.”

“Oh?  And what might that be?”

“She wants to help mamas learn how to use car seats to keep their babies safe.  And I think that’s a real good idea because, when I was little, I was in a car wreck, but I didn’t get hurt on account of my car seat.  I want to help Uncle Tulane and Miss Sarah with the car seats, but my daddy said no.  He’s a grump.  Even The Sorrowful Angel thinks helping with the car seats would be a good thing.”

Haley releases a long, woebegone sigh—just before her busy little mind lights on another thought.

“Hey, you know what”

“No.  What?”

“Miss Sarah is smart about some other stuff, too, like Granddaddy’s putt-putt course.  She told everyone she thought Golfing for God could be the kind of fun place folks from all around the world would come to.  And she even convinced Miz Hettie Marshall, the richest lady in town, to form a committee that’s going to fix up what got broke that time when Aunt Jane’s boyfriend came and made trouble.  I’m glad about that.” 

An index finger makes feathering swipes at one of the chocolate stains decorating my now ruined blouse.  “But I’m not so sure about what Miz Miriam says about Miss Sarah.” 

Oh, boy.  Now we’re getting to the good stuff.  Miriam Randall is Last Chance’s main matchmaker, and when she makes a match it’s a done deal.  “What does Miz Miriam say about Miss Sarah?”

“Well I’m not sure exactly, but Miz Polk and Miz Hanks have told everybody in town that Miss Sarah is going to marry Reverend Ellis.”

“Really?  He is kind of cute.”

Haley wrinkles her nose.  “He’s okay, but I don’t think Miz Polk and Miz Hanks got it right.”

“Why not?”

Despite the fact we’re alone in the shop, Haley stretches toward my ear and whispers, “I saw Uncle Tulane kissing Miss Sarah in Granny’s kitchen when they were visiting before.  He’s teaching her poker and pool and a lot of other stuff.  And I heard Miz Bray saying that Uncle Tulane and Miss Sarah were down at Dot’s Spot dancing and carrying on.”

“Carrying on?”

“Uh huh.  And Granny went shopping with her, too.  Granny says Miss Sarah hides her light under a bushel basket, and Granny should know—’cause she’s the bestest beauty consultant in all of Allenberg County.”

“Your Granny gave Miss Sarah beauty advice?”

Haley smiles and nods like she knows when Miz Ruby starts doing makeovers love is probably in the air.  “Yes’m, Granny sure did.  And after she did Miss Sarah’s hair and nails and took her shopping, I heard Granny tell Granddaddy that she thinks Miss Sarah is the one.” 

“The one?”  This was getting better by the minute.

“Uh huh.  I’m not sure what that means, but Granny likes Miss Sarah a whole lot.”

Before I can formulate another question, Jane enters the shop.  “Hey, Gwyn.”  She gives me a quick hug before taking Haley.  Needless to say, another blouse bites the dust, but Jane doesn’t seem to mind, planting a kiss on Haley’s chocolate-y cheek.  “You ready to go home, Sugar?” 

At Haley’s nod, Jane turns to me.  “Miz Ruby called.  Sent me to rescue you and lock up.  She wants you to wait at the house.”

Still jonesing for that glass of sweet tea, I hop out of the chair.  The thought of drinking it parked in a rocker on Miz Ruby’s front porch sounds like heaven, and it will give Jane and me a chance to catch up.  Knowing Jane, I’ll soon have the complete scoop on Tulane and Sarah.  I can’t wait.

“Let’s go.  I’m right behind you.”

  * * * * **

 One lucky non-Ruby commenter will win a free copy of HOME AT LAST CHANCE, featuring the story of Tulane Rhodes and Sarah Murray and a very pink NACAR racer.  You can buy HOME AT LAST CHANCE at Barnes & Noble or Amazon.com.

 *****

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 Universityof 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.  You can follow Hope on twitter (@HopeRamsay), visit her webpage (www.hoperamsay.com), or connect with her on Facebook.

64 Responses to “Ruby Release Spotlight! Hope Ramsay & Home at Last Chance”

  1. liz talley says:

    Fun interview. Makes me thirsty for sweet tea and gossip. LOL.

    I have my copy already ’cause BAM put it out too early. Felt like a lucky duck nabbing it early. It’s in the car for my car pool waits.

    Congrats, Hope! Another good one!

  2. Elisa Beatty says:

    Congrats, Hope, on the release of the second book! WELCOME TO LAST CHANCE was so charming, and I just loved the teaser excerpt from this new one! It’ll be on my Kindle today!!

    Another lovely cover….I wanna walk right in that cottage door!

    • Hope Ramsay says:

      Thanks Elisa. Yeah, I do love my covers. I heard from the art director at Forever Romance that the cottage on the cover came from a photo she took someplace in New England. I did tease her a bit that houses in the South usually have porches. But it was only a half-hearted tease!

  3. Meg Kownacky says:

    Your cover art is beautiful! I don’t know much about this works – do you get to choose your cover or does the publisher choose? I can’t wait to read more about Haley’s angel.

    • Hope Ramsay says:

      Hi Meg,

      Thanks for stopping by. I don’t get to choose the covers, but my opinion about them is sought. So I had some ideas for my covers, and so far they’ve taken every one of them. I did ask for a house with a porch, though, but I’m okay with the gate and the roses. The cover for the third book, however, is dead on to what I asked for. I’ve been incredibly blessed to be working with a really gifted artist for all of the covers. And I just got an early draft of the 4th book — a Christmas story — and it may be the best cover of the bunch.

    • Hey, Rubies, Meg is my sister (although I never call her Meg!)

      Thanks for stopping, sis. Hit Mom up for her SIGNED copy of Hope’s first book. You’ll love it. XOXOXO

  4. Rita Henuber says:

    WONDERFUL interview. Baby-chnaging races? That conjured all kinds of images LOL. Sweet tea is my drink of choice today.
    Your cover is perfect.
    Wishing you many, many sales

  5. Laurie Kellogg says:

    Congrats, Hope. May this book sell twice as well as the last one and hit the NY Times list!

  6. Vivi Andrews says:

    Congratulations on your second Last Chance release, Hope! I hope it continues to rocket you to the pinnacle of success!

  7. Carla says:

    My drink of choice is lemonade but for Haley, I’ll share. :-) Congrats on your release day!! I’ll be on the lookout and sending pics when I see it on the shelves! And tell Miss Haley to save me a cookie, please. :-)

  8. Lisa B says:

    Hope i have never red your books but i just read your excerpt and i am totally intrigued and curious and wanting to read this book now lol I love the cute kids in books who give out the good info.

    Happy release day!
    Lisa B
    @Modokker

    • Hope Ramsay says:

      Hi Lisa,

      Thanks for stopping by. Haley Rhodes is the daughter of the Last Chance Chief of Police and she is a continuing character in all 4 of the series books. In fact, her problem with a sorrowful angel is the story line that ties all the books together. Haley and her angel get into increasing amounts of mischief.

  9. Diana Layne says:

    Sounds delightful! Best of luck with this new release!!

  10. I just love the “world” you’ve created, Hope. Can’t wait to read it! Congratulations on the release. :D

  11. Hope Ramsay says:

    hey folks. we just had a 5.8 eathquake in dc and ive been evacuated from my building posting this via smart phone. i will be back on line later –

      • Hope Ramsay says:

        OK. I’m back online. Thankfully the quake did not damage my office network or phone system, although it required a reboot of both systems. I gather the National Cathedral is missing one spire, though, and the capitol and pentagon have been evacuated.

        I think God is sending me a message about the important things in life. Somehow my release day seems so much smaller and less significant now.

  12. Cate Rowan says:

    OMG, Hope! I’m glad you’re okay. And while I understand what you mean about the release day, dang it, you DO deserve to celebrate it!

    • Hope Ramsay says:

      We’re all fine and the adrenaline rush is now subsiding. Had an interesting conversation with a left coaster while we were milling around on the sidewalk outside my office building. He shook his head and said — 5.9 on the richter scale ain’t nothing. He’s probably right. No ceiling tiles fell, although the building was really swaying there for a moment.

  13. I bought your first book and promptly gave it to a friend who I thought would love it. Looks like I’m going to have to pick up another copy for myself. This entire series looks wonderful!

  14. Kate Parker says:

    Hope, I had my sweet tea and gossip at the YMCA and the bagel shop this morning. You’ve got the Carolinas nailed. Much luck on this newest story.

  15. Kelly Fitzpatrick says:

    I’m still hung over from the last release. Congrats, Hope.

    • Hope Ramsay says:

      Kelly — you must have been sneaking some port wine, because I know that Miz Ruby frowns on hangovers. And she was our special guest back in march. :)

  16. Shea Berkley says:

    Love this,ladies. You did a great job and it makes me want to read the book. I’m not a sweet ice tea lover, but I’ll have a tall glass of homemade lemonade. Talking with the people of Last Chance is too fun. Congratulations on the new release, Hope!

  17. WOOHOO, HOPE!!! So thrilled for the new release!

    And this is just a wonderful post! I giggled the whole time. Way to go!
    ~D~

  18. AWESOME! I’ve been waiting. Last Cahnace was so good, I can’t wait to read this one. Congrats on the release, Hope.

    (((HUGS)) AJ

  19. Beth Langston says:

    congratulations, Hope. Your release day will be memorable in so many ways!

  20. Tina Joyce says:

    Very entertaining post, ladies! And huge congrats, Hope, on your release!

  21. Hope Ramsay says:

    And the free, autographed copy of HOME AT LAST CHANCE goes to:

    Lisa B.

    Lisa, I will make attempts to get your email from the RSS blog administrators. In the mean time, though, you can contact me using the form at http://www.hoperamsay.com.

  22. Robin Kaye says:

    Congrats on the release, Hope! I can’t wait to read it!

    • Hope Ramsay says:

      Hi Robin,

      I, um, think you’ve already read major portions of this one. (And had to listen to me endlessly working out plot points.) Thank you for all your help. {hugs}

  23. Congratulations, Hope! Can’t wait to get back to Last Chance–and can’t wait for the Christmas one too!

    Miranda

  24. Congratulations, Hope. Enjoyed your first one. My home town is just like Last Chance, and I love it.

  25. Gmapeony says:

    Loved the first one. Congrats on this one becoming a success.

    Gmapeony

  26. Natalie's Gma says:

    Good luck with the new release. I look forward to reading it very much.

  27. Pat L. says:

    I have been waiting to read your new release. I thoroughly enjoyed the previous book.

  28. Eeek! I’m so late! Congratulations on the release of your second book, Hope! I loved Last Chance, so I’ve been eagerly awaiting Home at Last Chance.

  29. Lynn R. says:

    Thanks for a peek at the book. It sounds great!
    And the cover is very eye catching.

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