Lottie’s Gift Launches This Week

Lottie's Gift - Cover

It’s launch week for Lottie’s Gift! This amazing read is author Jane M. Tucker’s debut book, and we know you’re going to love this book.

Lottie Braun is a child prodigy pianist who travels from city to city giving concerts. So to have a little fun as we launch the book, Jane M. Tucker created a giveaway using a series of videos called Where’s Lottie? Like Where’s Waldo?, you need to find where Lottie is.

Enter the giveaway for a chance to win a Kindle version of Lottie’s Gift (look for the link at the bottom of this post). Be sure to read this excerpt first, it might contain some clues to solving Where’s Lottie?

April 1984

The usher tapped her shoulder. “Message for you, Miss Braun.”

Lottie turned from the crowd of backstage admirers and plucked the envelope out of his hand. “Thank you.”

She slipped her finger beneath the flap.

Dear Lottie,
You played well tonight. I always did like Chopin. I’ll be at Lombardi’s until midnight. I hope you’ll join me.

Every five years, the same note. Every five years she fought this wave of fear and longing.

“No answer.”

The usher melted into the crowd.

Lottie shoved the note into her pocket. She had a long, sleepless night ahead of her. And her sister would wait at Lombardi’s in vain.

She left the concert hall an hour later, followed by an eager young violinist. “You’re sure you won’t come?” he said. “We’re only inviting a few friends. Very intimate.”

She smiled. No doubt he’d been assigned to look after her. “I’m going back to my hotel. I have an early flight tomorrow.”

His face fell. “Well, in that case, let me call you a cab.”

She inclined her head. “Thank you.” The attention felt good tonight, though she seldom had trouble hailing a taxi outside Carnegie Hall. Her lofty height and crown of snow-white hair were easy to spot.

A yellow cab slid to a stop at the curb, and the young musician opened the door. “Have a good evening, Miss Braun.” He waited politely as Lottie stepped in. Then, closing the door, he ran to catch up with his friends.

“The Plaza Hotel, please.” Lottie sat back and breathed a sigh of relief. That young man would have suffered a shock if she’d accepted his invitation. Instead of the fascinating celebrity he expected, he would find only a dried up spinster, longing for her bed.

Helen would be the better dinner guest.

She shook her head at the unwanted thought and leaned forward. “Turn here, driver. Don’t go down the next block.” Don’t go past Lombardi’s.

The cabbie looked at her in the rear-view mirror. “Whatever you say, lady.”

She read the disbelief in his eyes and looked away. Why should she care what he thought? Everyone knew the great Lottie Braun was crazy. Her eccentric reputation formed a shield around her life. If she chose to stay in Europe for ten years, the classical world blamed her eccentricity. If she refused to live in New York, well, what could they expect? She’d always been odd.

“Here we are, ma’am.” The cabbie looked at her expectantly.

“Thank you.” She dropped several bills into his hand and walked away before he could make change.

The lobby stood empty at this time of night. Eleven o’clock was too late for families, and too early for the rest of the free world. She rode the elevator alone. Any other day, she’d have taken the stairs to the twelfth floor, but tonight she wanted to reach her room as fast as possible and lock her door against the outside world.

… The elevator door glided open. Lottie walked briskly down the hall, let herself into her room, and bolted the door. She pulled off her good pearl necklace and dropped it into its case. Slipping off her shoes, she padded to the sink to wash her hands and caught her reflection in the fluorescent light. Had Helen been shocked at her appearance? Her ivory skin sagged slightly now, and short, prematurely white hair replaced the blonde braids of her childhood. Her eyes were the same bright blue, but Helen wouldn’t have seen them from the audience.

She turned from the mirror in disgust. Helen must have seen a picture of her in the last forty years. She couldn’t have avoided every magazine article or album cover.

Lottie removed her long black concert dress and reached for the thick terry robe with its Plaza insignia. Tying the belt securely around her thin frame, she looked around in satisfaction. Now she was packed, ready for quick departure, and she didn’t have to come back for a long time.

She smiled ruefully. New York always made her want to flee, so she only played here every few years. Her New York fans considered themselves lucky. She wouldn’t play Los Angeles at all.

Lottie turned out the lights one by one, and opened the curtains. One of the benefits of staying at the Plaza was the view of Central Park. At this time of night it cut a restful swathe of darkness through the city’s perpetual glow. She pressed her forehead to the cool glass to drink in its stillness.

She liked the park, but felt sorry for the children who went there to play. They spent their childhoods on concrete sidewalks, instead of roving over miles of open fields. They shared their playground with thousands of other people, never knowing the joy of a solitary day. Even the sky overhead was hemmed in by tall buildings. Not so in the country, where earth met heaven on an endless horizon.

Lottie shook herself impatiently. When had she become such a sentimental fool? Without leaving Iowa, she could not have become a concert pianist. She’d done the right thing when she left home.
But she hadn’t known she could never go back.

Now that you’ve learned a bit about Lottie, you’ll be better prepared to answer the Where’s Lottie? giveaway clues. You’ll find the videos here. Giveaway runs from May 16 to May 22, 2016. Lottie’s Gift is available for purchase here.

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