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Ruby Release Spotlight: Hope Ramsay & Welcome to Last Chance

You’re tooling down the interstate at dawn, the needle of the gas gauge hovers over E, you need a restroom, and you see a sign that says Last Chance.  What would you do? 

Me, too.  

By the time I found a town, the car was sputtering and my eyeballs needed water wings.  Unfortunately, it looked like a place where the sidewalk unrolled only during business hours.  Seeing an older woman with a wealth of curls wreathing her face, I coasted to the curb, jumped out, and asked (okay, so maybe I begged) if she could point me to the nearest restroom.float; right 

She must have a literal bent because she unlocked the Cut ‘n Curl Salon and pointed toward the back.  All but sobbing my gratitude, I ran. 

Upon emerging, I asked, “Who would put a sign on the interstate that says Last Chance when there’s nothing for miles?” 

 “That sign wasn’t for gas or food or restrooms,” my hostess informed me, amusement twinkling in her eyes, “although we do have all three here in Last Chance, South Carolina.” 

And that’s how I met Ruby Rhodes, owner of the Cut ‘n Curl and matriarch of the Rhodes family.  Of course, Miz Ruby has a business to run, so she agreed to be interviewed while she worked.  As a result, I encountered some of the most quirky, unique, and enchanting folks this side of—well, it could be either heaven or the loony bin.  That’s something you’ll have to decide for yourself.

 Gwynlyn:  Miz Ruby, thank you for agreeing to visit the Ruby Sisters. 

Miz Ruby:  How could I resist coming here to a blog with a name like this?  

Gwynlyn: So, enquiring minds—and people fooled by the sign on the interstate (namely, me)—really want to know how Last Chance got its name. 

Miz Ruby:  Oh, well there’s a story that goes with that.  You see the land where the town sits used to belong to the Rhodes family.  Directly after the Civil War, Chancellor Rhodes came home and found his plantation in ruins.  To raise cash to pay the taxes, he took to gambling.  One evening he found himself in a high stakes game holding four of a kind.  He bet the farm on that poker hand.  It was a desperate bet, all the way around.  Unfortunately Diamond Jim Marshall was holding a straight flush.  

Jim Marshall eventually settled on the land he won from Chance Rhodes.  He built a sawmill and supplied lumber for the reconstruction.  Eventually his descendants built the Country Pride Chicken processing plant that’s now our biggest employer.  

Anway, when the town was incorporated back in the 1890s, someone suggested calling it Last Chance, after what was universally referred to as Chance’s Last Chance. 

Gwynlyn:  Besides Country Pride Chicken, what else does Last Chance offer? 

Miz Ruby:  We have everything a small town needs.  I own the Cut ‘n Curl beauty shop where you can get a body wave, a manicure, hot coffee, gossip, and borrow a one of those paperback romances that Nita Wills won’t allow into the Allenberg County Library.  

If you’re looking for scrumptious apple pie you’ll want to stop in to the Kountry Kitchen Café.  When you’re there, you tell Betty hey for me.  Betty is such a sweet thing, I really wish I could get my oldest boy, Stone, to pay attention to her. 

If you need your car worked on, there’s Bill’s Grease Pit.  Bubba Lockheart works there and he’s real good with cars, and I always say that the NFL’s loss is our gain.  He’s won the demolition derby at the Watermelon Festival I don’t know how many years running. 

My brother, Pete Whitaker, is the owner of Lovett’s hardware.  Jack Lovett used to own that place, but Pete took it over about thirty years ago—same time as Pete married Jack’s ex-wife, Arlene.  I’m worried about Pete, he’s got cancer and he’s not doing so good. 

Now, you be careful to stay away from Dot’s Spot and the Peach Blossom Motor Court, you hear?  Those places are on the other side of the railroad tracks. 

Gwynlyn:  I passed a huge statue of Jesus on a miniature golf course on the way into town.  Can you share with the Ruby Sisters what that’s all about?

Miz Ruby:  My husband, Elbert, owns Golfing for God.  He inherited it from his daddy back in 1968.  He just loves that place.  It has 18 holes featuring fiberglass obstacles and an impressive set of water hazards that Elbert put in during the 70s.  The first nine holes are dedicated to the Old Testament, and the back nine cover the life of our lord, Jesus Christ.  Elbert’s got a big barn out that way, which looks like Noah’s Ark.  He keeps a small petting zoo for the kids.  Maimie the long horn is a particular favorite.  Golfing for God was just listed in America’s Best Roadside Attractions.  You can see a full description of all its holes at this website:  http://www.hoperamsay.com/GFG/GFG.htm. 

Gwynlyn:  Earlier, you mentioned your son, Stone.  Do you have any other children? 

Miz Ruby:  I have four of them.  Stone is, as I said, my oldest boy.  He’s the chief of police.  He lost his wife about five years ago and, bless his heart, he hasn’t gotten over it yet.  I’m helping him raise his two daughters, Haley and Liz.  My younger boy, Tulane, just signed a big contract with Ferguson racing.  Next season he’s going to be a NASCAR Sprint Cup driver.  We’re all so proud of him.  My only daughter, Rocky, is an aide to Senator Rupert Warren.  I worry about that girl.  She’s gone off and changed her name to Caroline and doesn’t come to see us very often these days.  I feel like I’m losing touch with her. 

But I’m really worried about my middle boy, Clay.  He’s a musician, and you should hear him play the fiddle.  He writes wonderful songs, too.  A couple of them have become big hits on country radio—recorded by that band, Tumbleweed.  I’m afraid that Tricia girl broke his heart so bad that Clay walked away from Tumbleweed and his career in Nashville.  Now he’s working at Pete’s hardware store by day and playing music down at Dot’s Spot by night.  I love having him home, but not this way. 

Gwynlyn:  One of the ladies mentioned you have a new employee? 

Miz Ruby:  Yes, ma’am.  That would be Wanda Jane Coblentz.  That girl blew into town the same day as Hurricane Jane.  I reckon that’s a sign right there.  I was looking for a manicurist, and up pops Jane just like an answer to a prayer.  She’s studied cosmetology at Beauty Schools of America. 

Jane is the sweetest thing.  She’s always finding the silver lining in every cloud, and we’ve had our share of rain these last few days.  Of course, I’ve got eyes and I can see she’s scared and running from something bad.  I don’t know what it is, but I think she needs a friend and a helping hand.  She’s a hard worker and knows her way around the manicure table, let me tell you.

Stone is certain Jane is some kind of criminal.  And that’s a big problem, because Clay is sweet on her. 

Gwynlyn:  Really?  Is there a romance in the air? 

Miz Ruby:  Well, funny you should ask.  You see Clay has had his heart broken so many times, that he has this silly idea that he needs to settle for a safe and mature woman.  So he’s consulted with Miz Miriam Randall, our local matchmaker, for advice.

Miriam told Clay that his soul mate would be coming on the 9:30 bus from Atlanta.  Jane came on that bus, but Clay doesn’t think Jane is the right kind of woman for him, seeing as she’s quite young and definitely not settled or safe.  And I’m so angry at Stone, because all he’s been doing is throwing up reasons for Clay to be cautious. 

Gwynlyn:  Sounds complicated. 

Well, I guess it is.  But to be honest with you, Ruby Sisters, if I were a betting woman, I’d put my money on Miriam Randall.  She’s never wrong about these things.  It should be real interesting to see what happens next.

 * * * * * * *

WELCOME TO LAST CHANCE is Hope Ramsay’s debut novel.  And today is the day it’s finally available!  You can order it from Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/Welcome-Last-Chance-Hope-Ramsay/dp/product-description/0446576093/ref=dp_proddesc_0?ie=UTF8&n=283155&s=books),

Barnes & Noble (http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Welcome-to-Last-Chance/Hope-Ramsay/e/9780446576093/?itm=1&USRI=welcome+to+last+chance#TABS) or Border Books.  http://www.borders.com/online/store/TitleDetail?sku=0446576093 

Come and Join the Release Day Party and leave a comment for Hope.  She’ll be here online all day taking questions about Last Chance or the characters in her books.  Two lucky people who leave comments today (one Ruby Sister and one non-Ruby) will take home a spiffy new autographed copies of WELCOME TO LAST CHANCE.

65 responses to “Ruby Release Spotlight: Hope Ramsay & Welcome to Last Chance”

  1. Elisa Beatty says:

    Congrats, Hope, on this fabulous debut!!! Oh, and welcome to the Rubies, Miz Ruby! Last Chance sounds like a wonderful place–you had me at the Cut n’ Curl (with the paperback romances forbidden in the public library!)

    I’m thrilled that the small town romance is returning; it seems like just the thing we need these days! I’ve thoroughly enjoyed all of Liz Talley’s Oak Stand, Texas books, and I’m so so eager to get my hands on this one.

    That cover is one of the most gorgeous things I’ve ever seen, BTW. Makes me happy just to see it.

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    • Elisa, I can tell you Last Chance is a wonderful town. I laughed, cried, and shook my head at the antics of the town residents. In fact, I even held my breath a time or two.

      I’ve already recommended it to several people. Another Blockbuster Ruby Debut!

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    • Hope Ramsay says:

      Thanks Elisa. Miz Ruby’s beauty parlor is my kind of place, too. She has a whole shelf in the back of well-thumbed regency romances with racy covers. 🙂

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    • Ruby Rhodes says:

      Hey Elisa,

      Thanks for inviting me to come and talk about my home town.

      You know I started putting those romance books in the back of the shop on account of the fact that Nita Wills, our town librarian, is a bit of a snob. You are welcome to come an borrow any of them whenever you like.

      And while you’re here, you can let Jane do your nails. I declare that girl has a real talent with polish — not to mention looking on the bright side of every situation. She’s a real joy to have around. Now if only Clay would see it that way.

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    • liz talley says:

      Darn. It took me so long to get here today. I knew when I read about the golf course dedicated to the Testaments that Hope and I would see eye to eye on a lot of things. LOL. Jeez, wouldn’t Grandmother Tucker and Ruby be something together? Too bad Grandmother Tucker’s dead….

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      • Ruby Rhodes says:

        Hey Liz,

        If you must know Ruby Rhodes is my grandmother’s name. The real Ruby Rhodes is also, sadly, departed. But I’m sure your granny and mine would see eye to eye.

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  2. It sounds delightful, Hope. Having grown up in one, I love small-town stories (so long as I don’t have to live there). Can’t wait to see if I can pick it up at my local B&N.

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    • Hope Ramsay says:

      Yeah, I know what you mean about small town life. I grew up in a larger small town not far from a big city. Last Chance is significantly farther from the beaten track.

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  3. Happy release day, Hope and Miz Ruby!!!!!

    Miz Ruby, I’m overdue for a haircut and gossip session. I’m looking forward to meeting Clay. I have a soft spot for musicians.

    Fun interview, Gwynlyn! My copy of Last Chance is apparently in the mail, so need to enter me in the draw. I’ll just have to chase Hope for an autograph in NYC.

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  4. Kim Law says:

    Congrats on your debut, Hope!!! So excited to read this one. One question…any idea when it’ll be out on Kindle? If not soon, I might just have to make me a stop at the bookstore this week!

    Enjoy this exciting day!!!!

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    • Hope Ramsay says:

      Hi Kim,

      The Kindle edition will be available March 1. I’m having what they call in the industry a ragged lay down.

      This means means the book is being made available in a kind of a haphazard way over the next week.

      You can order the physical copy of the book from Amazon, B&N and Borders, but the books are not universally out in stores or available electronically. The official publication date is actually March 1, today is the first day that the book is available for purchase, though.

      Also, a note to e-readers — the paperbound version of the book is being offered at a promotional price as part of my debut. This is one instance where the electronic version of the book is probably going to cost a dollar more than the paperback.

      I personally thought that was strange, but the publisher wanted to do it this way.

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      • Kim Law says:

        Cool. Nice to learn a new phrase! And yeah…I’ll probably even pay more to get it on the Kindle since I only have to wait until next week (but it is interesting it’ll be more). I won’t have time to read it before then anyway. I’ll be going to a retreat next weekend and suspect this will be what I’ll be reading in my down time!

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        • Ruby Rhodes says:

          Yeah, I know and understand. I’ve owned a Kindle for two years, and I’m afraid I don’t read any fiction in paper anymore. I’m one of those dratted readers the publishing industry is in a dither about.

          As a write, though, the kindle editions count just like paper editions. 🙂

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  5. Katrina says:

    This sounds wonderful, Hope. I’ve been home sick all day and the only thing I have the energy to do is read a little in between naps, so I’ve just finished Liz Talley’s A Little Texas. There’s something wonderful about reading a small-town story when you’re sick and living in an anonymous city thousands of miles away from family (well, other than my husband – but no one can beat my mom when I’m sick).

    Hope your debut release day is as exciting as you’ve always dreamed!

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    • Ruby Rhodes says:

      Hey Katrina,

      It’s me, Ruby Rhodes.

      Now you feel better, you hear?

      And BTW, I have to say that I just finished A LITTLE TEXAS, myself, and I really do approve of the way that book ended. That Liz Talley sure does know how things work in a small town. We can be meddlesome, sometimes, but we do it out of love.

      I have a new shelf I’m creating in the back of the beauty shop for all ya’ll’s books. I have to work hard to keep up with Millie and Thelma. Besides matchmaking, they love to read their romance books.

      So ya’ll better keep writing them.

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      • Katrina says:

        Thanks, Ruby. I hope you’ll keep a bit of space for my novel. Might not be out for several years, but I’ll send you one when it is. 😉

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        • Ruby Rhodes says:

          Honey, you just keep the faith and it will happen. I’ve got a feeling about all you Rubies.

          In the meantime, there’s space aplenty on my shelf of all ya’ll.

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      • liz talley says:

        So sorry I’m so late (Don’t think me too rude, Ms. Ruby) I’m so excited about this book. I’m going out tomorrow to buy it (if it’s on the shelf at B&N). Just told my mom about it and mentioned the golf course. She laughed so hard I think she might have wet her pants. Said she’d have to get that one too.

        So proud for you, Hope. And glad Ms. Ruby is getting her spotlight. She seems made for it 🙂

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    • Hope Ramsay says:

      Thanks Katrina. You feel better, soon.

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  6. Kelley Bowen says:

    Hope,

    Golfing for God is perfectly hilarious. I’ll have to jump over to your site to go over the back nine. One can never know too much about Jesus.

    Enjoy every second of the ‘ragged lay down’…hmm, that sounds a little bit kinky but you know what I mean 🙂 Congratulations. I’ll be scanning the shelves of Barnes and Noble this weekend looking for Last Chance.

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    • Ruby Rhodes says:

      Thanks. I had a lot of fun with Golfing for God. The mini-golf course is a story arc unto itself.

      And, yeah, the first time I heard the expressiong “ragged lay down” my mind went immediately into the gutter.

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  7. Kathy Altman says:

    Talk about a post that will keep you grinning! 🙂

    Yay, Hope! Big Congratulations on your Release Day!! I can’t wait to “meet” Miz Ruby myself!!

    Enjoy this awesome day!

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  8. Adele Dubois says:

    Major congrats on your release day, Hope! :::throws confetti::: I wish you many sales!

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  9. Tamara Hogan says:

    Your voice just shines through in this interview, Hope. Hilarious! And I hear ya about ragged laydowns. TASTE ME is also “officially” being released March 1, but I got an email from Amazon last week stating that they’d start shipping 2/21. And no e-book yet. The raggedness of the release makes it challenging to answer people’s questions about when they can expect to see their books.

    Congratulations!!

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    • Hope Ramsay says:

      Hey there, congratulations back at ya! Yeah, I know, everyone is wanting to know when it will be in stores, and it’s like in some stores and not in others. All the dust will settle by March 1, though.

      Enjoy your own new release day, too.

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  10. chris k says:

    so glad this day is finally here – been waiting for this book – it sounds like such a solid good fun read!

    I’m even more thrilled to see the list of books to follow so closely together – woo hoo!

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    • Hope Ramsay says:

      I’m so glad someone is happy about all those close together releases. I’m really strugging right at them moment go put book number three to bed. And then I have NO TIME to write the 4th one. The schedule seemed so reasonable last February when I signed the contract. What was I thinking?????

      0

  11. Caroline Hattrich says:

    Congratulations!!!

    I am so excited for you and I wish I was there to help you celebrate. I am going to buy the book this week and I can’t wait to read it. I am also looking forward to reading the other books in the series especially the one about Rocky/Caroline.

    Maybe I need to ask Ms. Ruby some advice about finding the perfect man. 🙂

    Love ya,
    Caroline

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    • Hope Ramsay says:

      Hey coz, thanks for stopping by.

      Hey, Ruby Sisters, Caroline is a real bona fide South Carolinian who lives not too far from the ficticious locale of Last Chance, South Carolina.

      Caroline, if I could make my matchmaking soothsayer, Miriam Randall real, you’d be made in the shade. (So to speak!) She’d find you a soul mate, no doubt about it. Miz Miriam is never wrong. (And she sort of looks like your Granny, too, only with Aunt Thelma’s crown braids.)

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      • Caroline Hattrich says:

        I reckon I am still waiting for my prince charming. You just never know and I do know that if you had it in your power you would have done just that. Maybe I need a magic wand. lol I am hoping my bookstore has your book. I can’t wait to get off work and go find out.

        Congrats again hon you deserve it. xoxoxo

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  12. Amanda Brice says:

    Congrats Hope!!!! I’m buying copies for all my SC relatives.

    And welcome to the blog, Miz Ruby. I’ll definitely have to drop by your beauty shop soon for a cut and curl.

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    • Ruby Rhodes says:

      Hey Amanda,

      Now where do your kin live? I may just know them. And you tell them to come on by the beauty shop if they’re ever in town. We’ve got hot coffee and good gossip. (Not to mention those romance books on the back shelf.)

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  13. Congratulations Hope. Your day is finally here! I plan to stop somewhere today and pick it up. Last Chance sounds like a wonderful town – love the golf course!

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    • Hope Ramsay says:

      Hi Marley,

      Thanks for stopping by. As noted above, the book may not be in every B&N or Borders until March 1. I’ve got random reports of book sightings, but my local B&N is waiting until March 1 to put the books out.

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  14. Congratulations, Hope! Can’t wait to settle in with the citizens of Last Chance and get to know them all! Woo hoo, Happy Release Day!!!!

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  15. Shoshana Brown says:

    Happy release day, Hope. I can’t wait to read Welcome to Last Chance!

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  16. Golfing for God. I love it! Congratulations, Hope! You must be so excited. Last Chance sounds like a great place to visit.

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    • Hope Ramsay says:

      Hi Laurie,

      I’m glad Golfing for God tickles you! Wait until Books 3 and 4 where the golf course becomes more than merely a setting, but an entire plot layer.

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  17. Kudos and congratulations, Hope. I know you’ve been waiting for this day for a long time. I remember meeting you at your “booksigning” at RWA in Orlando last year. WELCOME TO LAST CHANCE sounds wonderful. I’m more than a little intrigued with Stone. Must go get my copy. 🙂

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    • Hope Ramsay says:

      Hi Laurie,

      Thanks for coming to my first “sort of” book signing. That was a really exciting day for me, too.

      By the way, my first official book signing will be next Tuesday, March 1, at the Barnes and Noble in East Brunswick, New Jersey. I’ll be signing with authors, Terri Brisbin, Roni S. Denholtz and Judi McCoy. If you’re close by, come and visit.

      Here’s a link to the event info at Barnes & Noble:

      http://store-locator.barnesandnoble.com/event/3084645

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      • Oh, thanks Hope. I’m close by alphabetically, but not geographically. New Mexico here. But I hope the event is a huge success. Maybe I’ll catch you at the next RWA. 🙂

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  18. SQUEAL!!!Congrats on the release, Hope. I can’t wait to head to B&N for my hard copy, which I will want autographed BTW. I just know I’m going to love the story. I just know it. (((HUGS)))

    Great interview, ladies. Nice to meet you Ms. Rhodes.

    AJ

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  19. Woot!!!! Super congrats, Hope! So excited for you and this interview is just fantastic, you two! I seriously cannot wait to get my copy!
    Yay!
    ~D~

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  20. Rita Henuber says:

    Congratulations sister Hope. So excited for you.
    Great interview you two.

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  21. Vivi Andrews says:

    Happy release day, Hope! Best wishes for the success of the Last Chance series.

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  22. Shea Berkley says:

    What a fun interview!! Great job, Hope (and Gwyn – the intro was very cute). It seems like it was just yesterday you announced your sale, though I know it must feel like forever for you. I’m so very excited your release day has finally arrived. Many congratulations, and with a voice like that, I know your books will sell like ice cold lemonade on a scorching day.

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  23. Tina Joyce says:

    Happy release day (ragged though that laydown may be–what a funny term)! Thanks for giving us a taste of your voice in this interview. I love small town stories, and this one promises to be a fun read. Can’t wait for the e-version to come out!

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  24. Hope Ramsay says:

    AND THE LUCKY WINNERS ARE….

    Today’s lucky Ruby Sister is Autumn Jordan.

    And our lucky visitor is Kelley Bowen

    Autumn, I think I know where to reach you in order to get your snail mail address.

    Kelley, if you would be so kind as to visit my webpage: http://www.hoperamsay.com and use the contact us form to send me an email with your snail mail address, I’ll get your autographed copy of WELCOME TO LAST CHANCE in the mail right away.

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    • Kelley Bowen says:

      Hope,
      This is wonderful…thank you! I can’t wait to read it…and the next one and the next one.
      Congratulations again.

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  25. Jerrie whitfield says:

    Congrats on your release Hope! Sure can relate to the small town southern mentality! You captured it well. Feel like I know Ruby…in fact she even sounds like someone I know.

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  26. Jeannie Lin says:

    Happy release day!
    Sorry to be late to the party but just wanted to say I grabbed my copy and can’t wait to read.

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