Please give Lucie Ulrich a warm Inspy Romance welcome! Her book, The Rose Ring, is a RONE Award finalist this year, and I’ve invited her to tell us about it. Lucie is, in my humble opinion, a woman after God’s own heart. She has a great sense of humor, too, which never hurts. I’m sure you’ll enjoy getting to know her.
My desire to write novels didn’t begin until I was forty-seven. My goal was to be published by the time I hit fifty. I missed it by eight years. Through lots of trial and error, fabulous critique partners, and a new imprint, my first book hit the shelves, or should I say the digital world, a little over three years ago. Though I didn’t reach my goal, I never gave up on my dream.
I’m not a romantic at heart, and my husband is less so than me, yet romance is my genre of choice—perhaps that’s why. Lol! In all honesty, my first two books don’t really fit the classic romance mold, but I’m good with that. I kind of like being the square peg that can’t be shoved into a round hole.
As an example, my first book, Broken Vessels, was told using six different points of view—definitely not standard practice for a romance. As a newbie with no formal training, I honestly didn’t know I was doing anything “wrong.” Thankfully I found a publisher who liked the story well enough to offer me a contract.
With my second novel, The Rose Ring, I reduced my POV usage to three; still unorthodox, but necessary for the story. The romance is there, but so is major family conflict. With brother pitted against brother, deep-seated hurts, a long-kept family secret, and an in-name-only marriage, the actual love story had to be woven in and around everything else.
For the most part I’m more of a conformist than a trouble-maker, but there are times I feel rules need to be broken, or at least bent a little. I was fortunate enough to find two publishers who allow my slightly unorthodox methods. For the most part readers and critics seem to agree. The Rose Ring is one of four finalists in the inspirational category vying for a RONE award, sponsored by InD’tale Magazine. What makes it more fun is that my buddy Heather Gray’s book, Redemption, is also in the running. There’s nothing like a little friendly competition, right?
Here is a short excerpt from The Rose Ring:
Micah leaned forward and set the cup and saucer on the table. He turned his head to look at her. “Noah’s decided not to fight the will.”
A slight tremble overtook Sky as the reality of her offer set in. She placed her cup next to his. “What’s our first step?”
“I need you to hear me out before we make any plans.”
He rubbed the back of his neck. “Did you know I asked Morgan to marry me?”
Sky’s heart thumped against her ribcage. In all the time he and Morgan dated, she’d never heard either of them mention the word marriage. He’d been even more in love with her than Sky realized. She shook her head, unable to respond verbally.
“I guess I shouldn’t have expected you to. Only people I told were Sam and Annie.” He sat back. “Took me six weeks to find just the right ring. I planned a special night and even got down on one knee. Morgan took one look at the ring, and with tears in her eyes shut the lid.” He scrubbed a hand over his mouth. “She pretty much shut my heart down in the process.”
“Micah, I’m so sorry.”
“I’m not telling you this because I want your sympathy. I’m telling you because you have to understand that I’m not ready for any type of emotional attachment right now.”
Sky wanted to kick herself for ever having said anything about the crush. It was stupid and desperate, and now she had him worried. “Look, Micah—”
“Let me finish.” He took hold of her hands. “There’s no question that you’re one of the nicest people I’ve ever known, but the simple truth is I don’t love you. At least not the way a husband is supposed to love his wife. You have to go into this marriage knowing it’s temporary.”
Tears threatened, but she blinked them back. His words hurt, but they were truth, and she’d take truth over a lie any day. “I’m not saying it’ll be easy, but I’m going in with my eyes wide open.”
“I don’t deserve you, but I sure do appreciate you.” He squeezed her hand. “Now that that’s settled, where do we go from here?”
“Good question.” She took a sip of her tea. Its warmth and rich flavor did nothing to quell the flutters in her stomach. Getting her heart to line up with her good intentions wasn’t going to be easy, but she loved him enough to risk the pain that was sure to come.
For a chance to win an ebook of The Rose Ring, (Amazon or B&N) simply leave a comment below. I’ll choose a random winner this Friday (6/26).
Finally, I’d like to thank Heather Gray for allowing me to post a bit about myself and my books. Happy Reading!
***********PRIZE WINNER UPDATE*********
The drawing winner is Sarah Venable. Congratulations Sarah!!