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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