Pioneer Storytellers

“Stories have to be told or they die, and when they die, we can’t remember who we are or why we’re here.”       ~Sue Monk Kidd, The Secret Life of Bees

images Don’t you love that quote?

It’s true, isn’t it . . . that well-told stories define us? Much of who we are is formed by the stories we’ve read in books, watched on the big screen, or the ones we’ve listened to while sitting around a campfire.

When I was young, I read A WOMAN OF SUBSTANCE by Barbara Bradford Taylor and decided I wanted my own life to matter. I read GO ASK ALICE and determined I would not entertain myself with drugs. I turned the pages of MR. AND MRS. BO JO JONES and learned that a few minutes of reckless pleasure could change your lifetime. These stories shaped me.

Stories matter.

So do storytellers.

Today, I want to highlight a few brave-spirited storytellers who made decisions to tell their stories on their own terms. These are “indy authors.”

In this volatile and ever-changing publishing environment, these brave authors released the tight grip on traditional publishing, instead stepping into that role and bringing their stories to readers solo. And, they are succeeding.

These authors have my admiration for their business acumen and pioneer spirits. I’m delighted to introduce each of these talented writing friends by sharing their answers to one single question:


Harris Barbara Harris, writing under the pen name Leann Harris (her website):

“I love being a novelist because I can tell stories I love, never put on make-up or drive any where, and do I job I know I was supposed to do.”




Deese Nicole Deese (her website):

“I love being a novelist because it gives me an outlet for all the crazy voices talking in my head.”





Buffaloe Lisa Buffaloe (her website):

“I love being a novelist because fiction opens doors beyond traditional non-fiction writing. Novels allow the reader to go on a journey. Readers are given opportunities to laugh, cry, and walk alongside characters, hopefully leaving with a good read and a story that touches their hearts.”



Matayo Amy Matayo (her website):

“The thing I love most about being a novelist is that I can wear yoga pants daily, shower only occasionally, remain make-up free if I wish, and readers will never know. I rarely do this, but it’s nice to know the option is always there.”




Stimpson Michelle Stimpson (her website):

“The thing I most love about being a novelist is that what I have to do and what I want to do are the same thing.”





Carroll Patricia “PacJac” Carroll (her website):

“The thing I most love about being a novelist is the joy of discovering story. The surprise twists and hidden secrets of the characters and how it comes together to entertain and encourage readers.  And me.”



Castle Jackie Castle (her website):

“The thing I most love about being a novelist is: I’ve never been much of a public speaker, or even outspoken. Writing offers me the chance to put a voice to my thoughts and beliefs.”




I hope you’ll check out these authors and their books! You can follow them on social media (follow links on their websites) and sign up for their newsletters.

Don’t forget to check out my recent release, A WOMAN OF FORTUNE (Baker/Revell)!




My Own Bronco Chase

OJ If ever there was absolute proof that time really does fly, it’s realizing this weekend marks the TWENTY-YEAR ANNIVERSARY of the murders of Nicole Simpson and Ron Goldman, with the subsequent famous white Bronco chase down the freeways of Los Angeles.

Being the news junky I am, I kept my nose glued to the coverage of these unbelievable events during those early days following the gruesome and heartbreaking murders in June 1994.

Did OJ do it?

Later that fall, I joined most of America and followed the criminal trial (People of the State of California vs. Orenthal James Simpson) and was especially intrigued to find myself on a legal case in Los Angeles and staying at the same hotel where the OJ jurors were sequestered.  I was hooked!

The entire case fascinated me on so many levels. Not only did the lengthy proceeding (nearly a year-long!) showcase state-of-the-art courtroom presentations I would soon learn to use in my legal profession, but we were introduced to amazing characters (can anyone say Kato Kaelin?) and a storyline few novelists could dream up.

The legal wrangling was better than any television drama. We were introduced to Marsha Clark, Judge Ito, Robert Shapiro, Johnie Cochran, F. Lee Bailey, Alan Dershowitz, and Barry Scheck. We watched police witness Mark Fuhrman tank the case for the prosecution, and our hearts broke for Nicole and Ron’s families as the details of that night were revealed.

However, few would admit what I am about to tell you.

The following year, I took my own not-so-famous bronco ride. Our family was on vacation in the Los Angeles area taking in Disneyland and all the other tourist attractions.  After much urging on my part, I finally convinced my husband no trip would be complete without a trip to the famous Rockingham and Bundy addresses in Brentwood—the locations I’d seen flashed on my television screen for months.

To get a clear picture of what transpired next, close your eyes and imagine my bored boys in the back whining they just wanted to get back to the hotel pool. Imagine an over zealous woman perched on the roof of our own Bronco with a video camera.  Sit and hear me hollering at my husband to ease forward so I could get a close shot of the playhouse and the gate at the driveway. Then watch my husband lean out the driver’s window and yell back, “Kellie, get back in the car. There’s a cop.  Get in the car!”

“Just a minute . . . drive forward. Okay, now stop!” See me jump off the roof, camera in hand and shove the lens through the hole in the hedge.

See the police lights . . . hear the siren.

“Miss . . . we’re going to ask you to get back in your car and move along.”


“No buts. Move along.”

Back inside the car.  “Mom, that was SO embarrassing!”

Rockingham See my beaming face. “But, I got the shot!”  (and I even interviewed Nicole Simpson’s neighbor who was walking her dog when I was playing tourist at the Bundy address!)  All-in-all a GREAT VACATION!

Most of you are likely rolling your eyes by now. I admit, my antics were probably a bit over-the-top.  Those who know me well are not especially surprised by any of this story.

You see . . . I love the news, I love anything legal, and I love family tensions and drama.  All these elements were showcased in the OJ trial. They are also showcased in my new novel A WOMAN OF FORTUNE .  And, you don’t even have to embarrass your family to enjoy it!









So, tell me in the comments—did you watch the famous white Bronco chase?

A Woman of Fortune_cover

My Top Ten TV Shows

TV I love a great book!  Even so, there are times when vegging in front of the television has a definite place in my life (and heart!)  Perhaps this stems from childhood, where on Sunday nights my mother would give my little sister and me our baths, put our hair in curlers for the coming school week and let us watch The Wonderful World of Disney with a bowl of spice drop candy and a shared orange soda.  Or, maybe my fondness for television grew from nights at Gram’s where I’d cuddle on her lap and we’d watch Lawrence Welk together. Oh, how I wanted to be a Lennon sister . . . even though I was barely old enough to say their last name at the time.

Today, my tastes have morphed considerably.  I love a great family drama, a nail-biting crime who-done-it, a poignant Lifetime or Hallmark movie. None of that reality show stuff for me! But I do watch talk shows and the news.

Here’s my list of FAVORITES!

1.     PARENTHOOD – best family drama on television, bar none.

2.     GOOD WIFE – thought I would lose it when Will died.

3.     THE CLOSER – Brenda Leigh Johnson has a way with words, doesn’t she?

4.     DUCK DYNASTY – hard to admit, but yup! I love it.

5.     CNN, FOX NEWS and LOCAL NEWS – I’m a news junkie!

6.     QVC – I write and have no time to shop in stores, and Susan Graver reads my books!

7.     DR. PHIL – “How’s that working for you?”  Enough said.

8.     NASHVILLE – I like the music. Okay, and Deacon Claybourne.

9.     NURSE JACKIE – despite its crusty edge, I root for Jackie and her addiction recovery.

10.    FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS and ARMY WIVES – both cancelled, but worth the mention.

Before I hit send on this post, let me provide a little something close to my heart for your viewing pleasure. PRESS HERE to watch the book video my publishing house made for A WOMAN OF FORTUNE. I think they did a great job of capturing the story, and hopefully readers’ interest.  Do you agree?

What are YOUR favorite television shows?  Tell me in the comments.


GR photo

“I found out what the secret to life isfriends. Best friends.”

–“Fried Green Tomatoes”

Who didn’t watch the movie Fried Green Tomatoes and fall in love with the sage wisdom of Ninnie Threadgoode? For certain, she’d figured out the things in life that really mattered, as evidenced by this quote.

Beyond God and my family, by far my greatest blessings on earth are my girlfriends (and that includes my sister!) I have some really good ones. A few I’ve known since childhood. Some, I met as recently as last month.

I’m (a’hem) years old, and here’s what I’ve learned about close girlfriends:

  1. They keep your children, and your secrets.
  2. They don’t always tell you you’re right, but they usually tell you the truth.
  3. They still love you, even when they disagree with your choices.
  4. They listen when you lose a job, your hair, or a marriage.
  5. They hold your hand and pray with you when your children break your heart.
  6. They’ll laugh hysterically with you over something that isn’t that funny.
  7. When your parents’ minds and bodies fail, they listen and nod in sympathy.
  8. They don’t mind when their shoulders get soggy from your tears.
  9. They come early to help you cook for a party and stay late to help you clean.
  10. They open your fridge and help themselves.
  11. They’ll listen to your problems for hours over the phone or a cup of coffee, even when you repeat yourself over and over.

Yup, I have a few of these kinds of friends. They are treasures.

Maybe that’s why I write women’s fiction—stories meant for moms, daughters, sisters, and girlfriends. I love a good historical, enjoy a cute romance, but ah . . . what I really adore is a story about women and their relationships, especially their friendships.

In my newest book A WOMAN OF FORTUNE (Revell), protagonist Claire Massey would not have survived having her extravagant lifestyle ripped away had it not been for Jana Rae – a tart-mouthed friend who remained firmly in her corner, sometimes telling her the truth she needed to hear.

On the night the book releases (June 3 at 7:00 pm central) we’re having a launch party and hosting a live online chat. We’ll be talking books and giving away prizes. Every attendee will receive a complimentary digital subscription to RT Book Review magazine and a half-priced lifetime membership to the Pulpwood Queens, the nation’s largest book club that was featured on Good Morning, America! Here’s the registration link:   Or, you can simply click on the invite on my website

Hope to see you there!