It's the Most...Wonderful...Time...Of The Year!!
It is for me, especially once I hear Frank Sinatra bellowing, "I love those J I N G L E Bells, oh! Those holiday J I N G L E Bells, oh! Those happy J I N G L E, B E double L S, I love those J I N G L E Bells!"
THAT'S the song that kicks Christmas off for me. It's the first song on the A Jolly Christmas from Frank Sinatra soundtrack, and as soon as I hear those bells I'm overcome with a lifetime of memories. I can almost see my Mama curled on the couch, a cigarette dangling from her lips, and her long, slender foot tapping along to Frank Sinatra's tunes. Listen to it here!
In my opinion, Frank Sinatra is definitely The Boss when it comes to Christmas songs. Just like Christmas Vacation is the Must-See movie in my family every year. No matter what, every Christmas I have to hear Cousin Eddie say those magical words....
Come on, I know you know them.
If you've read Paint Me Fearless, and you remember when Cousin Eddie is mentioned in the book, Email Me with the answer. I'll give you 10% off the paperback, and I'll sign it for you. Wouldn't Paint Me Fearless be a great gift for someone you love?
After Christmas Vacation, I love to watch Santa Claus is Coming To Town. You know the one with Fred Astaire as the Mailman? As a kid, I was fascinated by Kris Kringle's red hair.
What is YOUR favorite Christmas movie? Please let me know here!
Christmas stockings, eggnog, and twinkling lights are all part of the pageantry of Christmas, but of course, the meaning of Christmas goes well beyond the festivities and traditions.
I have the pleasure of introducing you to someone very special. She's a brilliant writer, and much more qualified than me to launch you into a joyous Advent Season. Her name is Angi Aymond, and we grew up together in a small Louisiana town much like Shady Gully.
We were cheerleaders together in junior high, and as often happens, our paths diverged after graduating high school.
We recently reconnected on Facebook, and it turns out, besides our childhood history together, we had something else in common.
We were both called to write. While I express myself through quirky, imaginary characters who exhale angst, heartache, and faith through the veil of their crazy, made-up lives, Angi writes from a place of absolute truth. Total honesty. She unselfishly tears the veil away (from herself) to expose her own fears. Her own regrets. Even her own sinfulness. And in doing that, she provides a path for her readers to do the same. Her writing is sometimes painful. It often calls for self-reflection. And above all, it's always, always honest.
I'm happy to introduce you to my friend, Angi Aymond. She is a treasure. Her gift is her truth, her humor, and the joy that falls off her in beautiful, approachable, and hilarious waves. Fasten the seatbelts on your Christmas sleds, folks, and enjoy the ride!
Angi: IN HER OWN WORDS:
My given name is Angela. It falls a bit fancier on the ears. But the only people who call me Angela are strangers. Acquaintances. People from the bank.
The people who love and care about me? They call me Angi.
I invite you to call me Angi as well.
I married my high school sweetheart thirty-six years ago. We have three beautiful daughters. One of those beauties has given us a delightful little boy who calls us Gigi and Pappy. He is smart and funny, and well. You get the picture.
It’s just the two of us here in our little empty nest. We’ve acclimated well. I will be honest. It was worth the wait!
With my nest mostly empty, I've begun writing about the God revealed in the pages of the Bible, and His deep love for us. I mostly focus on the work He is doing in me, because if I focused on you, well — that would be meddlesome.
Here’s your first warning: I have been laid bare by God’s truth. Exposed. Wrecked. But, I have been tenderly clothed in His grace. And it’s from that sweet place I speak to you.
Oh, I’ve got scars. But they no longer define me. They gently remind me how deeply I am loved.
I won’t claim to be a Bible teacher. I am just a Bible learner sharing what I have learned along the way. Often, the very long and hard way.
“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” PHILIPPIANS 1:6, ESV
I encourage you to check out her website, her hilarious video below, and her first post of the 2021 Advent Season!
Merry Christmas to you all! I pray that you and your loved ones are blessed with a wonderful and joyous season!!
After a number of readers have requested AUTOGRAPHED copies of my books, I've decided to do my best to make that happen! Whether you want to buy a book for your own bookshelf or buy a gift for someone else, let's put a smile on your face and some books into your hands!
If you do Apple Pay or Venmo, and you see something you like in my STORE, just email me at BOOKS@HALLIELEE.COM and tell me what you'd like and how you want it signed.
TO CELEBRATE the LAUNCH of the HALLIE LEE BOOKS STORE, combo sets of Books 1 and 2 (either hardbacks or paperbacks) are 10% off!
*REMEMBER, you must email me at: Books@HallieLee.com to place your order.
The store is located on my website, in the drop down menu under BOOKS. Just slide down to SHOP, and enjoy! Here's the direct link: SHOP HALLIE LEE BOOKS
I look forward to hearing from you!
Guess what? I updated my website!
If you click SHADY GULLY on the menu-bar above, you'll find some fun pics of small town life. Things like "old dogs, children, and watermelon wine." Actually, I couldn't find any pics of children or watermelon wine, but if you run across any cool pics that bring Shady Gully to mind, send them to me here.
My plan is to fill the Page with images and anecdotes that highlight small town life. Eventually, I'd like to include a map of the town, four-way-stop and all! I'll just need to enroll in art school first.
You'll also see a RECIPE section on the drop down menu. You'll probably recognize some of the recipes Desi and Robin chat about in the books. The good, the bad, and the ugly. If you've already read Wolfheart, you know I'm talking about one character in particular. I'll keep my lips zipped at this stage, but I do hope you enjoy the page, and the little "hints" and "notes" under the recipes.
The featured Southern Recipe for this month is Shrimp & Crawfish Pie from Glenda Jolly Hathorn. If you have a great southern recipe, send it my way. Who knows, you might just find Desi and Robin chatting about it in the next book!
Speaking of Desi, Robin, and the four- way-stop, have you read Wolfheart? Reviews on Amazon & Goodreads are very important to new authors. Check out these early bird reviews:
"Hallie Lee scores again with Wolfheart, the sequel to 2021’s Paint Me Fearless."
--Jeffrey Pentz, author of Sins of Our Fathers.
"I can't give enough stars or recommend this book highly enough. I was glad to be back, didn't want to leave, and cannot wait to return to Shady Gully." --Mark Cermak
"Wolfheart was a joy to read!" --John Brothers
"I liked Wolfheart better than her first book and that's saying a lot." --Amazon Reader
"Loved the first book in the Shady Gully Series, but loved this second one even more!!!" --Mona Wright
I can't wait to hear your thoughts on Wolfheart, both via Amazon and Goodreads, but also in Shady Gully's Cozy Corner Chat on Facebook. If you haven't joined the group, please do so! It's a relaxing place to chat about all things Shady Gully.
While promoting Wolfheart, I've participated in a lot of Q & A's. All the interviewers have been very clever and their questions have ranged from serious and thought-provoking to amusing and hilarious. I've plucked a few of my favorites for you.
The first one is very, very silly...but required a lot of thought!
Would you rather fight 100 duck-sized horses or one horse-sized duck?
I hate to admit how much time I spent on this one. Quite a quandary. I'm going to go with the 100 duck sized horses. A horse-sized duck sounds especially fierce, and I'd have to make eye contact with him when he killed me. LOL!
FRIENDS of HALLIE, how would YOU answer that one? Come on, what's it gonna be for you? 100 duck sized horses? Or one horse sized duck?
The second question is more serious.
Now that you have written and published two books, with a third on the way, how has being an author changed your life? What does it mean to you to connect with your readers in this way, through story?
It means everything. As a child I remember having trouble expressing myself. Even with my parents and people I felt safe with. It was frustrating because I knew what I was trying to convey, but I couldn’t pluck the words from my head in a way that made sense. Honestly, when it comes to verbal communication, I still struggle with that today.
I suppose at some point in my life I began to use characters and stories to communicate, using imaginary people in imaginary settings to express frustration, grief, disappointment, and joy.
So honestly, being able to connect with readers in such a profound way is the most rewarding gift I could imagine. I’m deeply grateful.
Thank you, readers. I'm thankful for you all. I wish you and yours a beautiful, joyous, and very blessed Thanksgiving month! Is there something you're especially grateful for this year? Please let us know in the comments below....after you answer the duck/horse question, of course! LOL
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