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:

WHY DO YOU LOVE BEING A NOVELIST?

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)!

CLICK ON IMAGE TO VIEW BOOK VIDEO FOR A WOMAN OF FORTUNE

CLICK ON IMAGE TO VIEW BOOK VIDEO FOR A WOMAN OF FORTUNE

 

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 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!

It’s a Party!

 

After literally years of hard work and preparation, my debut novel MOTHER OF PEARL releases next week. Finally, the story of my heart will be in the hands of readers across America. Barrie Graeber’s journey will unfold, absolute truths and convictions will be put to the test, and readers will cheer for this brave mother as she recognizes her own vulnerability and learns to trust in something much bigger.

An occasion like this deserves a celebration. And we’re having one!

We’re launching MOTHER OF PEARL at a party in Boise, Idaho at the Adelman from 6:30 – 8:30.  There will be hor d’oeuvres served on silver platters, drinks in stemware, a short program and CAKE!  Barnes & Noble is setting up a store and I’ll be signing books. Oh, and the media will be there!

Can you say PARTY? 

The public is invited, so if you live near, I hope you’ll consider joining us.

Over the following eight weeks, I’ll be on a book tour. Below, I’ve listed the appearances in Idaho, with more information and details under the EVENTS tab here on my website.

Sept 1  –  MOTHER OF PEARL RELEASES

Sept 5  –  KTVB-TV appearance in Boise (noon)

Sept 6  –  Launch party at the Adelman (6:30-8:30)

Sept 7  –  Book signing at Barnes & Noble – Boise (5:30-7:30 pm)

Sept 8  –  Book signing at Family Christian Bookstore – Boise (noon – 2:00)

Sept 9  –  Book signing at Barnes & Noble – Twin Falls (11:00 – 3:00)

Sept 10 – Book signing hosted by Chapter One Bookstore. Event at All Things Sacred, Galleria Building, 4th & Leadville in Ketchum (6:00 pm)

After my time in Idaho, I’ll be heading back to Texas, to Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and then to Oregon.

The next weeks will be a whirlwind. I’m thrilled at the thought of introducing MOTHER OF PEARL to the world and connecting with readers.

In 2004, I whispered a prayer asking for the outrageous. This week that prayer will be answered. I am humbled, and excited, and a little nervous. In the words of my little niece, I have that buzzy feeling in my tummy.  But mostly, I am grateful. What a ride this is!

PARTY ON……!

 

Mother of Pearl (Abingdon Press) tells the story of a high school counselor who learns her daughter had an inappropriate relationship with the football coach, and how she risks everything to bring him to justice.

Available in bookstores September 1.