An Easter Message

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This is the ocean view I gazed at on Easter morning, eight years ago. Something caused me to wake in the pre-dawn hours and I grabbed my Bible and nestled on the sofa in our hotel room for my own private worship service.

 

Less than four hours later, I got the call.

“I’m sorry, Kellie. It’s your dad,” a close friend whispered over the phone. “He’s gone.”

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Some of you have faced losing someone you love. You know what I felt in those next seconds. The instant regret at not having a chance to say goodbye. To tell him what he meant to me. The crippling pain knowing I couldn’t simply call him. He was no longer there.

People who knew me in my younger days shake their confused heads when they learn I’ve become a Christian. Images of me winning at beer pong and (well, let’s skip that part) still wander through their minds. “Kellie? She’s a Christian now?”

 

My debut novel, MOTHER OF PEARL, asks an important question.

Is death the end?

Because of what happened on that first Easter, I have the hope of seeing my dad again. That’s worth living my life differently. It’s worth having people think I’m small-minded, not open to progressive social ideas. It’s worth bending my knee and submitting my will to His.

It’s not religion. It’s climbing into Jesus’ lap, recognizing I don’t belong there, but knowing I’m welcome and loved by the one who made me.

If there was a Facebook emblem I could post on my profile page this week that said I’m a Christian, I’d sign up. Not to be divisive, but to acknowledge my faith. It’s not about me judging others, or acting better than anyone. It’s simply saying I know where I’m going after I die . . . and I’m grateful.

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MOTHER OF PEARL is the story of a mother who risks everything for her daughter. Available at your favorite bookstore, or at Amazon.

 

A Blog Hop!

A blog hop is like a giant game of tag to help readers discover authors who are new to them. For this hop, authors are answering 10 questions about what we’re working on now. This week, I’m it.

I was tagged by Christa Allen. Visit her blog to see who else she tagged. At the end of this post, I’ll tag more authors who will be joining the hop next week. Follow the hop long enough and you’re bound to find books you’ll love!

Here is my Next Big Thing!

1: What is the working title of your book?

I just signed a four-book contract with Baker Publishing Group and am in the middle of writing the first manuscript.  A little boring, but the working title is Book One. (smiles)

2: Where did the idea come from for the book?

I’m a former legal investigator and trial paralegal who worked on many high profile cases, including the Jack-in-the-Box e-coli litigation in the mid-nineties and the largest cattle fraud case in the United States.  People are often at their most vulnerable in these tense situations where much is at stake, giving me a unique perspective on the human psyche.  Early in my legal career, I recognized there could be value in telling stories about women facing relationship fractures, betrayal, and loss and how we often exhibit strength and dignity in these journeys.

Each of the four books I’ve just contracted with have elements of these cases.

3: What genre does your book come under?

Women’s fiction.

4: Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Before I start writing a word on a new story, I create a notebook with photos of my characters, houses, cities etc featured in my book. For my current manuscript, a photo of Sandra Bullock is the main character. I also included photos of Reece Witherspoon, Joan Rivers, and Ben Affleck.

5: What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

I can’t disclose details yet, but let’s just say readers who watch the popular television show DALLAS will love this story!

6: Is your book self-published, published by an independent publisher, or represented by an agency?

Revell/Baker Publishing Group is the publisher. I’m represented by MacGregor Literary.

7: How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

I’m writing now.  Last night at about midnight, I closed the screen down, thinking “I love this story!”

8: What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Any reader who loves Kristin Hannah, Jodi Picoult, Elin Hilderbrand will be drawn to my stories. I write poignant and emotionally-compelling stories about women in life changing circumstances.

9: Who or what inspired you to write this book?

I worked a court case for a couple of years that involved the largest cattle fraud in the nation, at that time. Certain elements from that case will serve as a backdrop to this next story.

10: What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Readers often say my debut novel, MOTHER OF PEARL, had them glued to the pages, not able to put the story down. I think readers will find this next story will keep them reading non-stop as well!

Below you will find the authors who will be joining the blog hop next Wednesday. Do be sure to bookmark them and add them to your calendars for updates on WIPs and New Releases! Happy Writing and Reading!

Lisa Wingate

Lynne Gentry

 

 

A Christmas Wish for my Readers

I LOVE CHRISTMAS!

There, I’ve said it. No holiday brings me more joy than the celebration of the Savior’s birth.

As a child, I grew up in a wintery wonderland not far from Sun Valley, Idaho. Close your eyes a minute and imagine riding on a sleigh pulled by horses over glistening snow. Or, think about a Christmas afternoon spent on a frozen lake showing off new ice skates.

Back then, I couldn’t imagine a fake tree. Every year my dad would pile kids from neighboring ranches into his truck and we’d go cut trees.  Ladies from down the road made popcorn balls and Mom filled my sock with yummy hard ribbon candy and orange jelly wedges on Christmas morning.

My childhood holidays were magical.

Now, I live in Dallas.

No snow.

No real tree.

My parents have passed on and my sister lives hundreds of miles away.

But, this year I look forward to something very special. Something that almost tops my childhood memories.

There’s a furry spring horse that whinnys and makes clopping sounds when you press his ear waiting by our tree.

On Christmas morning, my husband and I will watch our little two-year-old grandson climb up and take the ride of his life.

I can hardly wait.

Tell me . . .  what are you excited about this season?

 

WISHING MY READERS A MERRY CHRISTMAS!  

MAY THE LIGHT OF THE SEASON FIND ROOM IN YOUR HEART. 

A Special Thanksgiving

The calendar tells me more than a few weeks have passed since I last blogged.  I have a good excuse.  As many of you know, MOTHER OF PEARL debuted in September and I’ve been on book tour.

After our big launch party and events in Idaho, weeks of promotion followed with book signings, a book festival, an art show, guest appearances on over one hundred blogs, magazine features, newspaper articles . . . and the list goes on.

I’m pooped.

And happy.

And thankful.

This is where a brand new novelist gets a little teary-eyed.  I simply have no way to express how grateful I feel for all of you who supported this effort by purchasing MOTHER OF PEARL, and for the many readers who wrote and told me they fell in love with Barrie Graeber and cheered her on as she made her way to justice against incredible odds.  A few of you cried (as I did) when life-changing circumstances altered her world forever and left her heart broken.

I think Barrie said it best:  Mothering is not for cowards.

I’m happy to report we went to second printing in the first month. My publisher tells me they are happy. If you haven’t already done so, please sign up for KELLIE’S READERS CLUB so you’ll get all my future book news, and notices of upcoming releases.

Before closing, let me wish all of you a HAPPY THANKSGIVING.  I am thankful for many things . . . my readers are very high on the list!

Book Tour DuJour

Shhh…..I’m going to tell you a secret!

Publishing a book is every bit as much fun as they say.

MOTHER OF PEARL debuted on September 1, and I’ve been riding a whirlwind of events (and fun) over these past couple of weeks.  First, we went to Boise, Idaho for our big launch party.  The Adelmann Event center (only blocks south of the Idaho Capitol Building) was packed out that evening. Guests enjoyed bacon-wrapped chicken skewers, chorizo-stuffed mushrooms and loaded potato skins while I enjoyed meeting up with friends from college and places I’d worked, friends and family. I signed a ton of books. WHAT A NIGHT!

Earlier, I appeared with Carolyn Holly on KTVB-TV.  Carolyn was so gracious and made this television novice feel right at home.  She even had me sign a book for her. Despite my nervous stomach, I had a ball!

I also signed books at the Barnes & Noble stores in Boise and in Twin Falls, where a television crew showed up unexpectedly.  I’d like to say my second television experience did not make my palms sweat, but I’m not sure I’ll ever get used to having a camera pointed my way.  Thank you, store managers Shira and Debbie for making these events a success!

By far, the highlight of the week was speaking at my former high school.  My hometown is very small (I only had sixteen people in my graduating class) and the school hasn’t grown much since I left all those (ahem) years ago.

How can I possibly convey the surreal feeling of standing behind a podium in our gymnasium looking into the eyes of the English teacher who first taught me point of view and first person present?

He still teaches, by the way.  And when all those kids came up and told me what they were reading, and how some of them are trying their own hand at writing—I realized Mr. Mecham is still motivating students to embrace literature.  I’d also like to thank Lois Stocking for bringing me the tea towels, a gesture that warmed my heart and reminded me why the little town of Carey remains embedded so deeply within my soul.

 

The Idaho leg of my book tour ended with an appearance in Sun Valley. For those of you who have browsed my website, you’ll know I worked at the Sun Valley Lodge for a summer when I was a teenager and made Ted Kennedy’s bed!

Before heading home, I drove up Trail Creek to the Hemingway Memorial. I sat on a little bench listening to trickling water and my eyes welled with emotion.

Who would have ever dreamed a little girl from Carey, Idaho would publish a book?

Thank you to each and every person who has purchased a copy of MOTHER OF PEARL. I also extend immense gratitude to the reviewers, bloggers, Goodreads members and Amazon reviewers who have said such lovely things about my debut novel.

My publisher recently informed me we went to second printing.  Much of this success is because of all of you!  Thank you, from the bottom of my heart!

Now, on to Nashville and then Portland, Oregon.  Another busy month ahead. See you there!