See Trailer for Book 2 Cover Tease Below...
Greetings FRIENDS OF HALLIE newsletter subscribers,
Thanks for joining me today for this very special cover reveal!
As I reflect back on the past eight months, I can tell you that the transition from writer to "published author" has been overwhelming, exhilarating, challenging, and humbling. What stands out the most though, are your wonderful messages, comments, and reviews of Paint Me Fearless.
Thank you. Especially to those of you who took the time to rate and review my book on social media, Amazon, B & N, etc. I have the Best Readers Ever!!
Guess what the most used phrase in ALL of the reviews was? Seriously. Guess.
Well, I'm happy to say your wait is (almost) over. I'm so excited for you to read the next book in the Shady Gully Series! Not only will you revisit some familiar characters, but you'll get to meet some brand new ones as well! Of course, Desi and Robin will be there, as Shady Gully will ALWAYS be rooted in their special history together.
Desi and Robin are, and always be, the matriarchs of Shady Gully. And of the series itself.
And now, how about a FIRST LOOK at the official BLURB of Book 2?
The much-anticipated second book in The Shady Gully Series picks up five years after Paint Me Fearless, Hallie Lee’s Best Selling Contemporary Christian Fiction novel. Book Two opens with a secret burial in the night. Amid a blinding, hellacious storm, a man digs a grave. He’s covered in blood, and he appears culpable. Guilty even. He also looks heartbroken…
WOLFHEART…earned his reputation as the town low life in Book One, inciting unrest and corrupting the youth with his home-grown product and signature scowl. But now, it’s five years later, and the scoundrel from across the creek is an upstanding citizen, a church-streamer, and a doting brother and uncle. Or is he?
LUKE…Desi and Lenny’s eldest son, feels responsible for Shady Gully. Always the serious one, Luke carries the weight of the town’s progress—or lack thereof—on his tense shoulders. Even as the community rolls their eyes as he expounds incorporation, Luke is a man on a mission. He’s determined to present Shady Gully with the amenities it deserves.
SHERIFF RICK…inherited the job when the last ornery official went and had a heart attack. Reluctant to trade his easy life of coasting to one of accountability, Ricky is surprised to find that the office gives him purpose. It fills a void he’s been trying to fill his whole life—with women, football, and other countless iniquities.
The morning after a torrential storm upends Shady Gully, its citizens wake to the news that Wolfheart’s beloved sister, Peony, has been brutally murdered. Revered as the Creek’s best healer, and adored by the folks in Shady Gully proper, Peony’s death rattles the community.
Luke dashes to the scene to help, and comes face to face with Bella, Wolfheart’s stunningly beautiful great-niece, and the product of Shady Gully’s most notorious scandal.
When Wolfheart stumbles onto the crime scene covered in blood, unapologetic and evasive, Sheriff Rick proceeds cautiously, as he’s mindful of the intense feelings Wolfheart evokes within the town. Extremes on both sides erupt when another body is uncovered, and soon Shady Gully explodes in chaos and violence.
As the fates of these three uncompromising and principled men collide, Desi and Robin, the beloved protagonists in Book One, find themselves smack dab in the middle of the hullabaloo.
When Wolfheart is finally led away in handcuffs, he has only one thought. How can he protect his niece and her daughter from the same fate as his sister?
If you're excited about reading book 2, please let everyone know! All you have to do is head over to Amazon and ADD it to your WISH LIST!
Soon you'll be able to preorder it for.....
October 6, 2021!
And now, the best part....THE COVER REVEAL!!
Drum Roll Please....
Wait for it.
I hope you love it!
And now, one final order of business. Welcome to all the new FRIENDS OF HALLIE subscribers!! I'm so glad to have you here. YOU, as a newsletter subscriber, will ALWAYS get sneak peeks and other Shady Gully News FIRST.
The winner of the New Subscriber drawing is: Stella Troy of Kansas.
Congrats Stella! You've won a free Audible book of Paint Me Fearless. Even better, you'll have just enough time to listen to Kathy Fox Vancil's brilliant narration before the saga continues October 6th.
Stay Fearless everyone,
Stay in touch, and Follow Me Everywhere
P.S. If you haven't seen the NEW Paint Me Fearless trailer, check it out HERE. It's a little over a minute long, and pretty cool! The full trailer for Wolfheart will be COMING SOON.
P.S. I'm on TikTok now!!!! Check me out using the button below!
Happy July to all my FRIENDS OF HALLIE newsletter subscribers!
How's your weather? I know that's a rather inane introductory, but now that my subscriber list is expanding, I'm realizing not everybody is soaked in humidity like yours truly.
Of course, my friends in Louisiana would scoff at my 77 degrees & 60% humidity. My thoughts are with y'all. Really. I bet y'all would like to be in Australia chilling with my friend Emma Lombard about now, huh? It's a nice fifty degrees in Brisbane today. Or how about Alaska? Even though it's the peak of summer there, the temps are rolling in at a nice 59 degrees.
Speaking of Alaska and Australia, I'd like to introduce you to a really neat person who lives in Alaska. Turns out she met a really neat person from Australia, and as fate would have it, their paths crossed with little ole' me in the state of Kentucky.
How, you ask? Why, PAINT ME FEARLESS, of course.
Meet..... Necee Lomelino, an in-house reviewer for relzreviewz.com.
Necee, who has a Master's in Counseling Psychology, has lived in Alaska for over thirty years! She and her husband have two beautiful daughters, and when she's not reading and writing reviews, she enjoys sitting by her favorite river in the mountains and watching the amazing wildlife.
WHAT NECEE LOVES:
*Adventure, whether through reading or living it.
*The mystery behind why people do what they do.
In Her Own Words:
Rel and I met online through our love for books and supporting amazing authors. Her blog has been around for years, but due to how busy her work is with authors she asked if I’d be interested in joining as a reviewer with her blog a few years ago. We both love supporting authors with faith elements to their writing. We enjoy messages of hope in the midst of trials and love surpassing all.
What probably stands out the most in our friendship is our Aussie-Alaskan connection. While Rel has kangaroos in her front yard, I have moose in my backyard!
We’ve always thought how amazing it is that God connected us being so many miles away. We were able to make a trip to Australia and spent an amazing week with Rel and her family in 2019. It was a truly amazing trip. Our love of books, travel, family, food, and faith has made a lasting friendship.
We also wanted to thank Hallie for inviting us to be a part of her newsletter, I enjoyed reading her debut novel “Paint Me Fearless” and look forward to more. If you haven’t read her yet, you definitely need to check out her writing.
See NECEE'S TAKE on PAINT ME FEARLESS -----> here!
In other news, thanks to everyone who participated in last month's READERS PICK contest. I asked y'all to help me pick the name and breed of a special pooch in Book 3 of The Shady Gully Series. It was a lot of fun, and y'all are very clever and creative! I'll definitely be doing another READERS PICK in the near future.
Y'all made it tough to pick a winner. There were so many great suggestions!
Some of my favorites included Tressie's French bulldogs, dubbed Gumbeaux and Beignet. Gotta LOVE the nod to our own, Shady Gully, Louisiana ;)
I also received some super pug names (Lily May and Max) from Kayla and Jeanie, as well as a westie called Knightley from Rachel. Now I've seen photos of Knightley and he is quite the handsome gentleman :)
Golden retrievers and labs, of course, came in strong. And Buddy, an all around great doggie name from Ann, is classic. And let's not forget Bella, the prissy poodle suggested by the lovely Tana. I was also partial to a beagle named Daisy because beagles are so dang cute, and I used to have a Daisy of my own.
Jennifer's black and white-pawed mutt named Domino stole my heart as well. And Banjo was an AWESOME name via Cristie, who pictured a black and white shitzu and bichon mix. I googled that, BTW. ADORABLE!
Other great names included Jazz and Radar.
Thank you all for your outstanding suggestions. What a creative group!!
In the end though, there was one particular breed that really worked for the storyline. I'd never heard of a shiba inu, but once I saw the picture, and heard a few stories, I KNEW this was the little troublemaker set to make her debut in Book 3.
Thank you to Barbara on Instagram for your enlightening tales about this breed, and to Matt, who offered the name DUCHESS for this little rascal. Congratulations on your FREE Audio books of PAINT ME FEARLESS. I hope you're enjoying them, or that you gave them to someone with the invitation to join Desi and Robin in SHADY GULLY!
CONGRATS Readers Pick WINNERS!
I'd love to tell y'all who this feisty dog will belong to, but after you read Book 2, I bet you'll know.
Oh, did I say Book 2? That must have just slipped out. Probably because I have some Book 2 NEWS coming soon!
Stay tuned for that, and be sure to follow me on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. And don't forget to join Shady Gully's Cozy Corner Chat group on Facebook!
If you want to help me spread the positive message in PAINT ME FEARLESS, please be sure to rate and review it on Amazon, and encourage your friends to read it, and share it with others.
Let's put Shady Gully on the map! Right there with Alaska & Australia!
Here are a few pics of me as I spread the hopeful, positive message in Desi and Robin's journey.
And me trying to be Fearless on LIVE TV!
Unfortunately, Patches, my Creative Director, was not impressed.
But I'll keep on trying...
For my family, Ecclesiastes 3:1 has never felt so profound as in April/May of 2021. Our daughter was happily married on April 24th, and it was a time of extreme joy.
A month later, on May 28th, our Lucy Belle made her journey to the Rainbow Bridge. A time of deep sadness, our little Monkey Doodle is everywhere we look. In EVERYTHING we do.
But first, there was The Season of Joy...
Spring, specifically April 24th, was a very HAPPY time for my family. Our only child, our little Bug in a Rug, married the love her life, Phil West. The pictures have been slow to come in, but I managed to secretly swipe a few. Shhhh. Don't tell anyone.
And then came, The Season of Sorrow...
If you've been a member of my FRIENDS OF HALLIE newsletter for long, you've probably already met my CEO—Chief Encouragement Officer—Lucy Belle. And you probably learned about her heart and lung tumors soon after we did.
We had almost six months with her after the diagnosis, but we would have liked longer. As I said, Ecclesiastes 1:3...
I wrote a little story about Lucy's arrival at the Rainbow Bridge. It's the way I hope it was for her....
RIP my Monkey Doodle. lucy_belle_arrives_at_the_rainbow_bridge.docx
Click "LUCY BELLE ARRIVES AT THE RAINBOW BRIDGE" below to read the short story.
In other news, SHADY GULLY'S COZY CORNER CHAT (Hallie Lee's Facebook Chat Group) has been a blast! We've spent the last few months reviewing the first half of PAINT ME FEARLESS.
A special shout out of appreciation to my friend, Mark Cermak, who authored some very provocative discussion questions. Y'all should check him out in action as I'm pretty sure he'll be a best selling author one day.
For me personally, hearing your reactions and impressions of the pivotal points in Desi and Robin's journey has been a writer's dream come true.
Shady Gully's Cozy Corner Chat will be going FREESTYLE for a few months as we take a little break. I'd like to encourage you to invite your friends to join, where we'll pick up with the second half of Paint Me Fearless this fall.
Not only will there be Giveaways and Contests all summer, but FREESTYLE Summer Chat means everything from Summer reads to Summer Vacations! Plus Tv shows! And Movies! And more!
And of course, summer cookin' :) So loan your copy of Paint me Fearless to a friend, and invite them to the COZY CORNER this summer!
CLICK HERE to Hang Out at The Cozy Corner!
And finally, while Book Two is with my publisher, who is no doubt doing magical-publisher things like working with an artist to create a cover, I am officially beginning Book 3!!
I can barely contain my joy!
I just wrote the prologue!
To celebrate, let's have some fun!
How about helping me NAME A DOG (a very special dog) who will make his or her first appearance in Book 3?
The winner will get bragging rights, a shout out in the Acknowledgements Section of Book 3, AND a FREE Audio Book of PAINT ME FEARLESS!
I'll be accepting entries from all over Social Media, but like the early sneak peek of the wedding photos, I wanted to give my FRIENDS OF HALLIE Newsletter subscribers a head start!
Send Pics if you if you want to give me a visual! I look forward to your suggestions in the comments section below!
Stay Fearless, and enjoy Your Summer Season!
Did you hear the big news? PAINT ME FEARLESS is now available on Audio! You can get it on Amazon, Audible, or iTunes.
It's the perfect gift for Mother's Day!
Or for friends who enjoy listening to books while on the road!
Or, if you've already read PAINT ME FEARLESS, and fancy a refresher before Book Two hits the stands, treat yourself!
Meet Kathy Fox Vancil, narrator extraordinaire, who beautifully dramatizes the story in her soothing, southern accent. Below is a teaser of said accent.
Kathy Fox Vancil hides most days inside her converted cargo trailer/sound studio telling other people’s stories. She practices accents in public places sometimes embarrassing her family and friends, but most folks excuse her oddities as, “It’s okay. She’s a performer.” Living in northern Minnesota with her long suffering husband, together they serve as staff for their cat and endeavor to never break Kitty Rule #1.
Here's what Kathy said about Paint Me Fearless:
Want to win a FREE copy of the PAINT ME FEARLESS audio book?
CONTEST * CONTEST * CONTEST
Email me and tell me who you want to give Paint Me Fearless to—it’s okay if you want to keep it for yourself! 😊 I’ll do a drawing on May 3rd, 2021!
Bonus * Bonus * Bonus
Encourage your friends to subscribe to my newsletter and enter the contest! Anybody can win as long as they are a FRIEND OF HALLIE newsletter subscriber.
If one of your friends WINS the drawing, you'll get a FREE audio book as well!
Good Luck, and Happy May! Stay fearless,
One of the coolest things about being a writer is getting to know other writers. Because we’re all a little…ahem….eccentric, it’s really nice to connect with others who spend the majority of their time obsessing over imaginary people.
Despite the competitiveness of authoring and selling books, writers tend to be a very generous group. We celebrate one another's victories, we commiserate when the words won't come, and we share one another's work with our friends.
So since the flowers are blooming, and giddiness reigns, let's FLING into SPRING with four of my favorite writers.
Charly Cox and I have more in common than our love of green chili cheeseburgers and our distaste for shopping. We crack each other up. And we ALWAYS have each other's backs. When she hit the bestseller list with her jaw-dropping Detective Alyssa Wyatt Series, she was kind enough to let me tag along for the ride. I've learned a LOT from her---seriously, tenses are complicated---and I've delighted in watching my friend take the literary world by storm.
Born in the South, raised in the Midwest, Charly now resides in the Southwest in the Land of Enchantment, Green Chile capital of the world, which is good because she enjoys eating copious amounts of the spicy food.
CHARLY SAYS: "For as long as I can remember, books have been my salvation. I always have a book (or my Kindle) wherever I go. When I was a teenager, I had an old curling iron with a broken heating element, and I would plug it in, hide under the covers with a book, and use the little orange light from that broken curling iron to read. I'm surprised I didn't damage my eyes. But, a girl's got to do what a girl's got to do, right?"
When she's not reading, writing, or plotting sinister evils with her antagonists, she enjoys doing jigsaw and crossword puzzles, hanging out with her husband and her spoiled Siberian Husky, visiting her son in Arizona, and traveling, preferably to places surrounded by sun, sand, and warm uncrowded beaches.
"As an adult, I no longer have to sneak-read, which is a relief.
These days I can be found writing my own novels (where I can legitimately say reading is research) or spending time with my husband. I love to travel to all kinds of places, but water is always a plus, with the ocean a major bonus."
Check out the rave reviews for the ALYSSA WYATT SERIES!
"Fast paced. Just brilliant!"
"One of the best crime thrillers I've ever read."
"Breathtaking. I was on the edge of my seat."
"Completely gripping could be an understatement."
All His Pretty Girls
A woman is found naked, badly beaten and barely alive in the New Mexico mountains. The shocking discovery plunges Albuquerque Detective Alyssa Wyatt into a case that will test her to the limit.
It appears that Callie McCormick is the latest plaything of a shadowy psychopath that leaves a long shadow on the streets of New Mexico – an individual linked to a string of deaths but leaving no evidence behind.
But when Alyssa makes a breakthrough that just might reveal the killer, she unknowingly puts herself in the crosshairs of a brutal maniac – one with an old score to settle.
Because the killer knows Alyssa very well, even if she doesn’t know him. And he’s determined that she’ll know his name – even if he has to extract his deadly revenge on her and everything she loves.
The Toybox : You don’t want to play their games…
All around Albuquerque, New Mexico, young women are going missing, seemingly vanished into thin air. With no link between the victims, Detective Alyssa Wyatt is quickly plunged into a horrifying case with no obvious clues.
And when Jersey Andrews, the best friend of Alyssa’s teenage daughter, Holly, joins the list of vanished girls, the case becomes personal.
But this investigation will lead Alyssa and partner Cord into the most sinister depths of humanity; an evil place where life is expendable, and where the depraved can fulfill their darkest desires – if they have the money to pay for it.
As the first bodies appear, abandoned on the streets, Alyssa is forced into a frantic hunt to track down the killers – before more innocent women lose their lives. But when the truth comes out, it seems that the key to solving the case was hiding in the last place anyone expected…
Alone in the Woods
It was a scene from a horror movie; Gabriel Kensington and his wife Lydia were found brutally slain in their luxurious home in New Mexico. A frantic, whispered phone call from their teenage daughter Addis and her best friend Emerson alerts the authorities to the killings – and worse, that the killer is still inside the house.
But when detective Alyssa Wyatt and her team arrive at the house, the unthinkable has happened – the girls are nowhere to be found.
Waking up in a dilapidated cabin, nestled high in the woods north of Albuquerque, the girls find themselves at the mercy of a brutal stranger who could take their life at any moment. While they fight for survival, it’s up to Alyssa and her partner Cord to discover just why the Kensingtons have been targeted – and fast.
Because for Addis and Emerson, solving this mystery might just mean the difference between survival – or an unthinkable death...
CHARLY GETS PERSONAL
Would you and your main character get along? Yes, I think we would. Alyssa Wyatt embodies the strength and perseverance I admire in others, and she's able to always keep her family in the forefront of all she does.
If you were to write a spin-off about a side character, which would you pick? This is actually something I'm considering. I think any of Alyssa's team would be a fine choice, but I'd probably pick Liz Waterson or Tony White.
If your book were made into a movie, which actors would play your characters? This is a great question, and I know many authors actually have an entire list of wish list actors who would be perfect if their books were made into a movie, but I'm not sure who would play my characters. There are simply too many great actors/actresses out there for me to choose. That being said, I'd want someone really tall to play Cord Roberts and someone around 5' - 5'3" to play Alyssa since those are important character traits for them. I do envision someone like Colin Lawrence (my first choice) or Michael Ealy as Captain Guthrie Hammond. (The late Chadwick Boseman would've tied for first place with Colin Lawrence.)
Follow Charly at: www.charlycoxauthor.com
Emma Lombard is perhaps one of the most generous writers I know. Her website alone runs like a well-oiled search engine. She offers a variety of resources for writers, including interviews with cover designers and illustrators, and even random things like links to query trackers. Her tips and tools for building a social platform ease the process for newbies, and her newsletter is a must-have for aspiring writers. Emma is the real deal. She's a writer's writer. She's an Aussie powerhouse, and she's my mate.
Emma Lombard was born in Pontefract in the UK. She grew up in Africa—calling Zimbabwe and South Africa home for a few years—before finally settling in Brisbane Australia, and raising four boys. Before she started writing historical fiction, she was a freelance editor in the corporate world, which was definitely not half as exciting as writing rollicking romantic adventures. Her characters are fearless seafarers, even though in real life Emma gets disastrously sea sick. Discerning Grace, is the first book in The White Sails Series.
As the first full-length novel in The White Sails Series, DISCERNING GRACE captures the spirit of an independent woman whose feminine lens blows the ordered patriarchal decks of a 19th century tall ship to smithereens.
Wilful Grace Baxter, will not marry old Lord Silverton with his salivary incontinence and dead-mouse stink. Discovering she is a pawn in an arrangement between slobbery Silverton and her calculating father, Grace is devastated when Silverton reveals his true callous nature.
Refusing this fate, Grace resolves to stow away. Heading to the docks, disguised as a lad to ease her escape, she encounters smooth-talking naval recruiter, Gilly, who lures her aboard HMS Discerning with promises of freedom and exploration in South America.
When Grace's big mouth lands her bare-bottomed over a cannon for insubordination, her identity is exposed. The captain wants her back in London but his orders, to chart the icy archipelago of Tierra del Fuego, forbid it. Lieutenant Seamus Fitzwilliam gallantly offers to take Grace off the fretting captain's hands by placing her under his protection.
Grace must now win over the crew she betrayed with her secret, while managing her feelings towards her taciturn protector, whose obstinate chivalry stifles her new-found independence.
EMMA GETS PERSONAL
So cool that you live in Australia!! Have you ever run into Eric Bana at the grocery store? LOL! Seriously, tell us about Brisbane, about your country.
Haha! No, I've not run into Eric Bana at the grocery store. My only celeb encounter was a few years back at a Stargate Convention in Brisbane. A friend won tickets and asked me to go with him. When we stepped into the elevator there was already another guy in there. He smiled at me and we started chatting about what we'd had for lunch. He laughed about how he'd ended up wearing his lunch down his front and that he needed to change his shirt.
I noticed my friend being all weird and silent beside me, but I had no idea why. When Friendly Elevator Guy stepped out on his floor and the doors closed, my friend turned to me and said, "Well that just happened." I had no idea what he was talking about. Then we stepped into the convention room (it was a small one) and the compere started announcing the guest stars who were going to speak. She introduces Ben Browder of Stargate SG1 and in walks Friendly Elevator Guy! He spotted me in the crowd as he walked towards the stage and winked at me. And then I was like, "Ohhhh, I get it now!"
Though, I'm glad I didn't realise who he was in the elevator or I'd probably have been just as tongue tied as my friend! For the record, after that little encounter, I ended up binging ALL the Stargate series. Brilliant!
Australia is actually my adopted country, though I've lived here longer than I've ever lived in any other country (21 years now). I love it—it's been a great place to raise four boys. The summers in Brisbane get a bit hot and sticky (but that's what air con is for, right?) The Aussie culture is a laid back, friendly one. It's very un-Australian of me, but I don't like the beach. LOL! It's hot and the salt-water is sticky (and burns your eyes), and the SAND—don't get me started on crunching on sand sandwiches.
What is your favorite time of day to write? And why?
Between the hours of: just-after-my-morning-bucket-of-coffee-has-kicked-in and just-before-three-thirtyitis-kicks-in. This is when my brain feels the freshest and most creative. Plus it's when these old eyes of mine are rested and can cope with the screen time. Though, since getting my new specs with the anti-glare coating and upgrading my ancient laptop to a new one with better screen resolution, it's much more pleasant.
Do you write your synopsis/blurb before or after you write your book?
Definitely after. I'm a bit of a pantser, so I don't always know where my story is going at first. Then I write far too much and have to pare it back with the help of my developmental editor. Only then do I get a clearer idea of my story arc, which then enables me to write a cracking blurb. Every writer's process is different but this one is mine.
To join the crew—and snag a free copy of Discerning Grace, subscribe to Emma's newsletter: www.emmalombardauthor.com
Janetta Fudge-Messmer is a lot like sunshine. She's bright, warm, and if you get too close, you'll find your eyes leaking with laughter. Her joy is contagious, her faith is strong, and she is a character. She's also approachable. After reaching out to her for advice I came away with more than clarity. I came away with a friend for life.
Check out her Devotional and you'll see what I mean. With chapter titles like Do I Talk Too Much? and Pennies...I mean--Quarters From Heaven, how can you go wrong?
Janetta Fudge Messmer’s tagline is Turning Life into Comedy. The reason being, she loves to laugh and that’s why she writes Christian Comedy (with a touch of Romance). She’s also a speaker and an editor. For Janetta, writing and traveling go hand in hand, since she, her hubby (Ray), and their pooch (Maggie) are full-time RVers. Most days you’ll find them sightseeing around the USA in their Winnebago…but first Janetta has to sit down and write a few words.
God's Grace in Our Grumbling –A Thirty-Day Devotional
On any given day, most of us are barely hanging on. Countless questions bombard our brains. The answer I’ve found is seeking Him more. When I call on the Lord, I find the pit I dug for myself wasn’t as deep as I’d imagined. He was ready to rescue me from whatever I was going through. And He will do the same for you. God will give you and me grace in our grumbling.
JANETTA GETS PERSONAL
How many books have you written and which is your favorite?
I've written eight books. My favorite is my first book. I thought I'd always write more serious novels because those are the kinds of books I love to read. Then I started writing Early Birds, and my characters came alive in my head. It turned into a series and I joke, "they wouldn't shut up."
What do you need in your writing space to help you stay focused?
My steno pad to write down things I want to remember. The other more important thing I need is complete silence. Since we're full-time RVers, sometimes campgrounds can get a little noisy. I have to wait until it's quiet again to write.
If you could spend a day with another popular author, whom would you choose?
I can't pick one. The first would be Victoria Holt. I read all of her books as a teenager and into my twenties. I'd also love to chat with Sidney Sheldon. Both were outstanding authors.
Follow Janetta at janettafudgemessmer.com
Ann Elizabeth Fryer and I met a year ago when we participated in Twitter's Faith Pitch, which is basically arranging 280 characters in such a way as to entice a publisher or an agent. I'm not sure either of us succeeded that day, but we did find each other---and haven't lost touch since. Together we've toiled and triumphed through the world of publishing, and NOW find ourselves holding PUBLISHED books in our hands. So it was clearly a Win-Win!
Ann Elizabeth Fryer loves nothing more than using story and romance to relay the depths and graciousness of a Father who holds us securely in the palms of His hands. Daydreaming her surroundings from a young age, she's lived in historic homes most of her life and regularly participates in backyard archaeology. When she's not writing historical projects, her contemporary novels show a flavor of her forever-passion for all things old. Ann, her husband, and three children make their home in small-town Illinois where they can hear church bells keep time and tradition.
Of Needles and Haystacks
A young woman inherits a farm she isn’t meant to have and uncovers a secret her neighbor planned to keep forever…
After her parent’s untimely deaths, Dorothy Trafton has nowhere to go but her uncle’s Kentucky farm, a place she’s never visited. Uncertain of her surroundings, grief festers. It doesn’t help that her war-scarred neighbor, James Bleu, knows more about her mother’s secret life—and family—than she does. And why does he lie about his involvement with her father?
When news of her inheritance, the contents of an old trunk, and a disaster upend her life, Dorothy must forge ahead by making a home for herself in a dilapidated cottage—alone. Yet, she can’t ignore Mr. Bleu’s change of ways. His kindness runs far deeper than she ever imagined…
ANN GETS PERSONAL
How did you come up with the title for your book?
I came up with the title "Of Needles and Haystacks" when I realized my character was looking and longing for something simple, yet hard to find in the mix of her circumstances. Being "farm fiction", the expression seemed to fit!
How long did it take you to write this book?
This story took me nearly four years to write (busy x 3 young kids= slow writing)--and four years to be brave enough to publish.
Do you play music while you write — and, if so, what’s your favorite?
Movie soundtracks for this romantic at heart! Ever After (Drew Barrymore) and Shadowlands.
Follow Ann at www.annfryerwrites.com
I hope you've enjoyed Flinging Into Spring with my wonderful writer friends. Treat yourselves and grab one -- or more -- of their books!
I'll leave you with a special video from my back yard. I have a new neighbor :)
How do you like the title of this month's newsletter? Hmmmm. My good buddy, Jeff Murphy, is responsible for that jewel, so you can either thank him or blame him. I'll give you his number. It’s 867-5309.
His wife's name is Jenny.
March Me Fearless is a running joke between us, because this month has been a real humdinger. FYI, the actual definition of humdinger is: an extraordinary or striking person or thing. That pretty much sums up March. Extraordinary, striking, and challenging.
By challenging, I mean I was encouraged (pushed) out of my comfort zone. Despite my hesitation, many wonderful things happened, all orchestrated by Mr. Murphy and his cohort in Public Relations, Mr. Castle.
I’m an introvert by nature, except after a glass of wine, but that’s another story. No really. I live out my adventures, suffer through my heartaches, and dabble in the scandalous, all behind a computer screen in my office. Usually wearing sweatpants and sporting day old hair.
You know that book I wrote? Paint Me Fearless? Right. Well, because of that book, I had to walk the talk, as they say.
So, with a prayer on my heart, and a whole lot of make-up on my face, I MARCHED through a video invitation (which I will extend to you at the end of this newsletter), a photo shoot, and a really honest article about what inspired me.
So, without further ado, here’s what Marching Myself Fearless looks like:
Furthermore, despite my limited skills in technology, I pushed—sorry, marched—through a new learning experience. I created a video invite for a Facebook group called Shady Gully’s Cozy Corner Chat.
The idea is to create a fun, relaxed place for readers to meet up, and chat about all things Shady Gully. It officially launches Thursday, March 11th, and we plan to not only offer provocative discussion, but play around with fun polls, contests, and Q & A’s.
You're all invited! Here's the Welcome Message:
Welcome to the Cozy Corner! Relax, kick back, and let’s chat about Shady Gully! This is THE PLACE to hang out at the four way stop! If you haven't read PAINT ME FEARLESS, consider this your official SPOILER ALERT...because the folks at The Corner aren't afraid to dish!
We’re going to do polls, Q & A’s with Hallie, and much, much more! We want you to feel comfortable offering up your thoughts on everything from JENNINGS, I PRESUME, to A T-SHIRT THAT SAID BOOGIE.
And now, let’s get COZY!
I’ll close this newsletter by wishing you all a happy March. I hope it’s filled with lots of joy, peace, and luck! March on, y'all, and stay fearless!
It's almost February! I love February!
Why? Valentine’s Day, of course! While my husband insists it’s a manufactured holiday, I say, who cares? Flowers, chocolate, a fancy dinner? What’s not to like, right?
WELCOME to all the new Friends of Hallie subscribers! Please make yourself at home. Feel free to browse, comment, or post your V-day pics! Or your senior animal pics…speaking of--
Since my last newsletter, my CEO, Lucy Belle, visited an Oncologist in Cincinnati. We’d hoped she might be a candidate for radiation therapy, but, we got some unexpected and not-so-good news.
Not only had the heart tumor grown, but the CT scan picked up another tumor on her lung. This insidious growth was even larger, and surrounded by a number of suspicious, smaller nodules.
Still, if not for her cough, you’d never imagine her little doggie body was riddled with cancer. In fact, she’s got a higher IQ than her people, it turns out. She has the uncanny ability to root out the tiniest pill in a Pill Pocket. And, she has supernatural powers that easily detect a supplement spread onto her favorite dish.
Clearly, we are losing the human vs. dog battle, so if anyone has any suggestions, please let me know.
As to my Creative Director, Patches, after twenty years, she’s finally starting to show her age. She needs the occasional lift atop the food counter these days, and between her nap in the bedroom, the living room, and my office (yes, she has a kitty bed in all the rooms), she meanders about meowing at the top of her lungs. Whether this is because she’s totally deaf, or having trouble conveying her wishes to her below-average-humans, we’re not sure.
My husband and I equate our Geriatric Animals to the Wack-A-Mole phenomenon. Just when Lucy Belle lets down her guard and we get a pill successfully smashed into her food, Patches throws up her meager lunch on the living room rug.
These extreme emotional ups and downs remind me a lot of--
Since I’m a newbie at this real live author stuff, I was shocked and awed when my publisher emailed me with Congratulations and four nifty Bestseller Badges from Amazon.
Apparently, Paint Me Fearless debuted at the #1 spot on Amazon’s Hot New Release chart in Contemporary Christian Fiction, as well as Best Seller in the same category.
How could this be? How could he KNOW this? Was it a publisher’s magical intuition? No. There is a list, and….are you ready for this? IT UPDATES HOURLY. How cool is that?
Not very, it turns out.
Again, much like the Wack-A-Mole analogy, I go from joy as Paint Me Fearless holds its own with big-leaguers in Christian Fiction, to despondency, as it plummets in the rankings—all in the span of an hour.
Nope. Not for me. I’ve decided to limit my ranking-checking to once a day. Hold on…I’ll be right back.
Seriously, my biggest REWARD is hearing from YOU, my wonderful readers! Your response to Paint Me Fearless has brought me great joy, and a few of you have even gifted me with real-live-reactions after each chapter! Now THAT was fun.
Anyway, please continue to let me know what you think, and I encourage you to rate and review on Amazon and/or Goodreads. See Links Below.
I’m going to close this month’s newsletter with my very first interview. The lovely Gail Kittleson invited me to be the featured author on her popular Blog, DARE TO BLOOM. I’m a big fan of Gail’s not only for her inspirational, prolific writing, but for her wisdom, her guidance, and of course, her flowers!!
Gail Kittleson’s DARE TO BLOOM Blog – posted on January 22, 2021
A big welcome to author Hallie Lee, who has published screenplays and now writes women’s fiction. Impressive! She gives us a look at her novel, Paint Me Fearless, which debuted at the number #1 spot on Amazon’s Hot New Release chart in contemporary Christian Fiction, and continues to battle the top spot out with Robert Whitlow.
She has agreed to an interview, so here goes:
1) Tell us what is unique about your novel.
Paint Me Fearless depicts real struggles in women’s lives in a way that’s both edgy and innocent. Told in first person, the story alternates between the two main characters, Desi and Robin. They are young, and insecure. Like we all are at that age! What makes this book unique, I think, is the truth about the way we carry those insecurities into adulthood, even when we should know better, we still struggle with feelings of inadequacy, body hatred, loneliness – and jealousy.
Through these characters, we see how fear affects the choices we make, and how it can alter our lives. The message is how we can overcome the falseness of the lies, and be free of the fear.
2) How would you categorize your genre?
Honestly, I think it crosses genre lines and would resonate with fans of both mainstream women’s fiction as well as uplifting Christian literature. While certainly grounded in a Christian worldview, the characters are flawed, relatable … and redeemable. Like all of us.
3) What’s your background? How’d you get here?
It took me a while! I wrote short stories in high school. Romance novels in my twenties. I got a lot of no’s. A lot of rejection. But my mama read everything I ever wrote. She inspired me. Encouraged me. So I never gave up. I suppose I honed my skills when my family moved to Santa Fe. It’s a movie making town and I had a lot of opportunities there. I learned to write screenplays, and had some success.
4) I see you’ve won the Actor’s Choice Award at a screenwriting conference in Santa Fe and a Silver in Drama in the PAGE International Screenwriting Contest. Tells us about that. Did you meet any movie stars? Ha!
I did! I met Shirly MacLaine. I saw Alan Arkin in Whole Foods. The Longmire guy, Robert Taylor, in Albertson’s. Ali McGraw. But in Santa Fe you have to be real cool about it …Ha!
5) You grew up in Louisiana, right? Is that what inspired Shady Gully, Louisiana? Will the rest of the series take place in Louisiana?
Paint Me Fearless spanned Louisiana, New Mexico, and Kentucky. Write what you know, right? Ha! It’s the Shady Gully Series, so sure, mostly in Louisiana, but my characters will take a few trips to the land of the bluegrass in Kentucky for sure.
6) What should readers expect in Book 2?
A little more intrigue. And a lot of humor, believe it or not. It will take place five years from the end of Book 1, and this time, the story will be told through the point of view of men. We’re going to learn more about Wolfheart, the anti-villain of Book 1. But we’re going to see Robin and Desi and all the gang as well!
release date is january 6, 2021, but you can preorder today. Where? everywhere! Links to buy below!
Reviewed by Tammy Ruggles for Readers' Favorite
Paint Me Fearless (The Shady Gully Series Book 1) by Hallie Lee is an emotionally engaging contemporary Christian novel about female friendship. On the outside, Desi, the new girl at school, and Robin, her not-so-popular lookalike, forge an unlikely friendship that carries them through high school and beyond. Raised differently--Robin in a strict religious home; Desi in a non-religious one--they find common ground amidst the challenges of coming of age in a small-town high school, as well as some hard family issues. But can their friendship survive the secrets, lies, and revelations that threaten it now that they're adults?
This is the kind of book that takes you on a journey with the characters from high school to adulthood, showing all the growth and change in between. The character development by Lee is exceptional. She really knows her characters and shows their dynamics, and allows them to tell their own story. The pacing of this novel is pitch-perfect. You glide through the scenes and events effortlessly, even though the characters face some daunting obstacles on the way. This author is as fearless as her characters, taking you into territories that some writers shy away from. You will connect with Robin in high school, and Desi and the others, and by the time you reach adulthood with them, you are fully invested and as impacted as they are when things get dicey. I like that the characters have some flaws, some quirks, insecurities, and fixations. They feel like real people. I like the study of friendship and how it behaves over time. I wish I could divulge some golden nuggets, but that's for you to discover when you read this book. Paint Me Fearless (The Shady Gully Series Book 1) by Hallie Lee is a standout novel for contemporary women from all walks of life.
As wonderful as this review is, I'd love to hear from YOU! Once you've read Paint Me Fearless, I'd love to know what you think. Feel free to comment below or contact me directly. And may I ask a favor? PLEASE rate/review PMF on Goodreads or Amazon or wherever you bought the book. Good recommendations will help spread the positive message of the story! Thank you! I have the best readers in the world!
I hope you enjoyed your time in Shady Gully.
And now, onto Book Two!
I’m an avid reader. I love books in all shapes and forms and genres. I enjoy Thrillers, Book Club Fiction, Criminal Procedurals, Inspirational stories, Literary Fiction, and--
Well, I digress.
The thing is, until I signed a publishing contract, I had NO IDEA what went into getting a book on the shelf. Or on a Kindle. And I had no idea how many decisions had to be made.
The cover is without a doubt the hardest decision of them all. Although picking a title was pretty dicey. And of course, there was that angsty comma drama in Chapter Four.
My point is…
Decisions are my enemy. I mean, talk about a commitment, right? To complicate my Decision-Making-Disorder, I’m a People-Pleaser. So, my DMDPP syndrome made selecting cover art difficult.
How could one image, one face, one picture incapsulate over a year’s worth of work? Much less, all the amazing and complex women in the story?
In the end, the image I chose is yours.
It’s Desi. It’s Robin. It’s Sunny. It’s you. It’s me. It’s every woman. It’s all of us. And beneath all the layers—and the hair—we all have the power to be...FEARLESS.
January 6, 2021
Book One of The Shady Gully Series
Paint Me Fearless
welcome new subscribers!
©2020 by Hallie Lee Books
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