Thursday, November 6, 2014

Saving Gracie {+ Giveaways}

SavingGracieAudio books are a great way to ‘read’ when you’re busy doing something else. With that in mind today’s post is the first installment of three that I’ll be featuring this month in which I talk with two authors who have audio books and the narrator who gives voice to their books.

It’s my pleasure to welcome author Terry Lee-Rosing to Thoughts today. Terry’s here to talk about her writing and audio books. In addition, Terry is offering several great giveaways to some visitors. Please see the end of the post for more giveaway details.

First, here’s a brief description of two of Terry’s books and then Terry will visit.


        Kathryn Broussard has managed her life with dignity and an I-know-you-have-feelings-but-I’m-coming-through-anyway attitude. She exudes confidence and control over the land much as a queen rules her court. Her main focus-Grace, her daughter. Although grown, Grace depends on her mother’s razor sharp decision-making ability for everything. All is well in the land of dysfunctional mother-daughterhood until the unthinkable happens. Kathryn dies.
        With her mother now gone, Grace is forced to manage her own life for the first time. And Kathryn must find a way to maintain control of her daughter, even though unusual circumstances from the “Other Side” present a fair share of obstacles to overcome.
        Saving Gracie is a story about a relationship, while strained in life, found a way to blossom in death.


        Houston, a fast-paced city filled with Midtown lofts and to-die-for shopping malls is where Darcy Daniels calls home. At first glance she comes off as shallow as a wading pool and as wrong in how she pursues the ideal life as offering a can of Budweiser at a Junior League event. The need to portray success clouds her head with every desire from the perfect pair of shoes to the outfit that might catch the eye of Mr. Right. Fashion magazines and celebrity television have created a distorted bubble which hovers overhead, skewing her vision of a meaningful existence.
        No one knows her self-esteem is as low as her opinion of the clothing she snubs at discount stores. She’s someone she's not. And she knows it. When she unravels the string holding together her shabby-chic faux existence, what will she find? Her key to happiness glistening like a crown jewel in a display case? Or a handful of diamonds in the rough rejects lacking the designer seal of approval.

Welcome, Terry. Tell us how you came to be an author and your books.

I’m not one of those who can say “I’ve been writing all my life” or even “I knew one day I’d write a book.” Actually, writing, with the exception of journaling, was not even a blip on my radar. I’ve been an executive secretary, worked as an accountant, became a licensed substance abuse counselor (LCDC) in the state of Texas in 1994, and a licensed massage therapist (LMT) in 2000.

The beginnings of SAVING GRACIE has three layers. The first began when my mom died on Easter Sunday, 1987. Being the mother of a 10 and 15 year old, I was in no way prepared to face motherhood without having my mom as my “touch stone.” I was 35 at that time and literally felt a part of me died with her. After a decent grieving period life moved on, as it should. Through the years, though, I had the distinct feeling Mom wasn’t that far away. I’d hear one of her favorite songs or find a sand dollar on the beach, just to name a few examples, and I would swear I could feel her beside me.
The second layer came when I went through training with Houston Hospice to become a volunteer in 2004 (what a phenomenal/humbling experience). On the suggested reading list was a book, Final Gifts, written by two hospice nurses, which I highly recommend. Having the privilege of sitting with those nearing the end of their journey here on Earth, I experienced what Final Gifts explains as “nearing death awareness.” As the near-death person/soul prepares to depart, the person has the ability to communicate with those on the other side waiting. The book explains this phenomenon as having one foot here in the present, while the other foot has crossed/stepped over. Although debunked by many, this resonated with me. 

The final “ah-ha” layer happened one day when I watched a rerun of the movie Always with Richard Dreyfuss and Holly Hunter (not the original, by the way…a remake of A Guy Named Joe with Spencer Tracy, Irene Dunne and Van Johnson, 1943). Then I started thinking of the movies I’m drawn to…Chancer Are, Heart and Souls, Ghost, Heaven Can Wait, Defending Your Life, Kiss Her Goodbye, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir…I’ll stop here, but I’m sure you get the picture. A life ends and immediately picks up after “death” on the other side.

Partly Sunny coverHmmmm…so, if I feel my mom is so close verses far, far away, I began to wonder what her life was like. Does she get to choose what she wears? Is there a Starbucks? Can she still have her one glass of wine at 5:00 every day? Are umbrellas necessary? 

And so, SAVING GRACIE was born. Due to the nature of the story, I tried very hard to write the book not from a religious or non-religious viewpoint, but a story about what her life might be. As a funny side-note, I have to mention my grown nephew who was probably around 7 years old when my mom, his grandma died, questioned as to whether Grandma Bettye was really like Kathryn. “Absolutely not,” I reassured him (with the exception of a few mentions in the dedication). 

Creating Kathryn Broussard in my mom’s image would have been a book many would have not found entertaining. Being sweet, passive, kind, offering unconditional love, are not characteristics I could use to create any sort of conflict. And I learned there has to be conflict. So Kathryn, the mother of the story, SAVING GRACIE, I believe created the term “helicopter mom” with more than a touch of control issues. 

I love to write about relationships with humor, but my stories also have to have depth/heart. As Truvy (Dolly Pardon) says in Steel Magnolias – “Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion…”

Having SAVING GRACIE brought to life through a narrator was quite an experience. My publisher at the time informed me she had someone who wanted to audition for narrating SAVING GRACIE. Wow! “What do I do now, I asked?” She said I’d be sent the first chapter as a sample. 

Another side note: I can’t speak for other authors, but I’ve been hearing the voices of the characters in my head for years and knew how I thought they should sound.

After listening to the first audition about 50 times, I felt disappointed, depleted and sad for the potential narrator because I just couldn’t give it a thumbs up. I started to realize how unrealistic for me to get hung up on the sound of the words flowing from my head, into the book and on to the narrator.

Shortly, I received another audition tape. This one was Michelle Babb. With a different mindset and listening to her narration of chapter one only a few times, I knew she could do the job. We had an excellent working relationship. I sent her my storyboard of who I saw as the characters (which were all movie stars…ensemble cast:). We had plenty of conversations about different aspects of the narrating. 

I was absolutely thrilled to hear how Michelle portrayed two particular characters with distinct accents. Being from up north (I’m a native Houstonian) was definitely a plus for Michelle to narrate Ruby. I saw Ruby as a Rosie O’Donnell, kind of like she sounded in A League of Our Own. Then there was Maggie who had a British accent (and who I saw as a Maggie Smith). Michelle nailed it with these two! I proofed the entire audio book and we had a go!
Terry, thanks so much for visiting with us today and sharing how SAVING GRACIE came to be. I like how you combined the three stages for such an intriguing story.

Now let me tell you a bit more about Terry.

As a native Houstonian, a rarity these days, Terry holds two licensures in the state of Texas: one in chemical dependency counseling, the other in massage therapy. In 2004, she trained to be a volunteer for Houston Hospice, a life-changing training session she believes would benefit all. -“Hospice, contrary to popular belief, is not about dying but about helping people live until they die.”

Although writing has been part of her genetic lineage, the writing bug didn’t officially bite until 2007. From then on, her passion sprouted and came into full bloom. She is an observer by nature… “ask any close friend or family member. I’ve studied movie characters and dialogues for years, which can often become annoying to said above friends and family…I can almost see the bobble-head nods of agreement…”

Her intent is to deliver stories with wisdom, warmth, a medley of emotions and always a touch of humor, which she often finds to be the elixir of life. “When I write, I pull from what I know—real people, real life and all the obstacles in between.”

Terry is proof it is never too late to reinvent yourself or pursue a dream. Her first novel, Saving Gracie, was published in 2012, the year she turned sixty years old. Her second novel, Partly Sunny was released in September 2013. Time Trials is scheduled for an early spring 2015 release.

Terry said, “I’ve always said I’m a late bloomer…”

For more on Terry and her writing, visit her website and blog, and connect with her on Facebook, and Twitter.


This giveaway is for two separate gifts – a signed copy of SAVING GRACIE and an audio version of SAVING GRACIE. The giveaway will run for 10 days.

To enter, just click on the Rafflecopter widget below and follow the instructions. It may take the widget a few seconds to load, so please be patient.

Thanks so much for stopping by today during Terry’s visit. Have you ever had moments when you felt the presence of someone you had lost? Which format would you like to win – print or audio?

*This post contains affiliate links. a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Terry, thanks again for visiting with us. I enjoyed learning how your book came about and how Michelle came to narrate it. Wishing you much success.

    1. Thank you! Thank you! It's truly been a learning process (and I'm still learning:)

  2. Congratulations Terry. A late bloomer you might be - but your garden is a picture now.

    1. Ah...what a wonderful garden is a picture now. I love that. Thanks so much Elephant's Child!

  3. With the passing of your own mother, I'm sure you poured a lot of emotion into the story along with the humor. Glad you found a narrator that got the voice right.

    1. Alex, thanks for stopping by. You're right about having first-hand experience about the passing of my own mother. In the beginning I literally over-wrote much of her illness and death. Believe me, it went on and on. However, cathartic for me, I realized the reader would have gotten bogged down. So the slasher moved in and cut about 5 or so pages which I renamed "my journal."

    2. Alex - thought your name sounded familiar. S. L. Hennessey was (and still is) one of my most beloved critique group peeps!

  4. Both books were written with great insight and a wonderful sense of humor - great reads!

    1. Thank you Dr. Terry Gilmour. I appreciate your kind words!

  5. Mason - Thanks for hosting Terry.

    Terry - Thanks for sharing your story. I'm glad you found the right person to narrate it, and I'm glad you found a way to use your inspiration. I wish you success.

    1. Margot, thanks for your words. Saving Gracie definitely had some difficult moments in it for me in the beginning. There may be more tears than laughter in SG, but Partly Sunny turned out to be just the opposite. I gave myself permission to have fun with that one:)

  6. I hope someday to be successful enough that one of my books is made into an audiobook version!

    1. Hi Stephanie, thanks for stopping by. I have learned you can narrate your own book. I believe it takes a lot of time and effort to get the process down, but if you have the right voice, go for it girl! I happen to have asthma and often run out of air at the end of a sentence....wouldn't sell many audio books, I fear:)

  7. Terry, I've added your books to my Amazon list. They both sound so good. I'm another native Houstonian, although I now live in San Antonio. Great to meet you.

    Thanks for this post, Mason!

    1. Carol - ahhh, glad to meet another native Houstonian. I hope you enjoy the books, and since both are Houston-based...I'm sure you'll be able to recognize some of the settings! Thanks for stopping by:)

  8. I love the premise of saving Gracie. Maybe more so right now because I recently lost my dad and I'd love to think of him still getting his two cents in. But I'm still more of a fan of print books than audio. I guess I'm just a visual kind of gal.

    1. LD - thanks for stopping by. I've had several people say Saving Gracie helped them after a loss which always makes me feel SO good. I'm actually more a fan of print books also. Back in the early 90's after returning to school to become a counselor, I was told I had an auditory processing disorder. Lectures went right over my head. Unless I had read the material ahead of time I was completely lost. The vast majority of books I read are print. However, when I travel or drive short distances around Houston (say about 30-40 miles:) I listen to audio books. I think it's helped my concentration somewhat. Print books definitely have their place in the literary world. Audio is just another option. And I'm definitely a visual kind of gal too! Thanks again for stopping by and leaving a message...


I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's post. Thanks for dropping by.