Heather Christie gives advice

What The Valley Knows
Heather Christie
Romance, Young Adult
January 25th 2018

Millington Valley is a quintessential small Pennsylvania town: families go back generations. Football rules. Kids drink while adults look the other way. High school is a whirlwind of aspiration and rivalry, friendship and jealousy.

When smart and pretty Molly Hanover moves to town and attracts the attention of the football team’s hero, Wade Thornton—a nice guy with a bad drinking habit—longtime friendships are threatened and a popular cheerleader tries to turn the school against Molly.

The young couple’s future is shattered when Wade, drunk, wrecks his truck and Molly is thrown through the windshield. She wakes from a coma to find her beauty marred and her memory full of holes. As she struggles to heal, she becomes sure that something terrible happened before the accident. And there is somebody in the valley who doesn’t want her to remember.

Platform-Building

guest post

by Heather Christie

I thought the hardest part of writing a book was going to be writing a book. During my MFA program, I remember toiling through revisions, attempting to create perfect sentences, craft fast-paced scenes, and nuanced characters. I believed my huge publishing contract was just around the corner. There were fantasies of agents fighting over my novel. My book would go to auction and I’d have to quit my job as a real estate agent because I’d have a new career as an author. Oh, how naïve I was.

As I was crafting my novel, I should have been spending equal amounts of time building my writer’s platform. Little did I know how important it would be in my search for an agent/publisher search.

My advice to budding authors is to build an audience BEFORE YOU DO ANYTHING ELSE! Even if you are considering self-publishing, you would be wise to first create a rabid group of readers who can’t wait for you’re next word. If you can boast a true following, and you’ve written a wonderful book, your quest to secure an agent or a publisher, OR launch a successful self-published novel, becomes increasingly more attainable.

Here’s a list of simple, first-steps,  platform-building MUST DO LIST to get started:

  1. Create your writer identity/pen name and claim it across cyberspace. Heather Christie wasn’t available (apparently there’s a famous model with the same name), so I chose Heather Christie Books. (HeatherChristieBooks.com)
  2. Set up a writer page on Facebook, not a profile, which caps your followers at 5000. You can find me on Facebook @
  3. Pick two other social media platforms (three is about the maximum most people can manage without becoming overwhelmed) and create writer accounts. For me it’s Twitter (@hchristiebooks) and Instagram (@heatherchristiebooks).
  4. Now, post regularly . . . even it’s only once a week. Pick a schedule and stick to it. Share writerly meme, poems, inspirational quotes, excerpts from your WIP, recipes, word puzzles, riddles, anything that will engage people and reflects who you are.
  5. Start a blog. Write about anything (parenting, your pets, your job, your favorite books, politics)—show people you can write and what you have to say is interesting. Your blog readers will be the people who will line up to BUY your book one day!
  6. Connect with other authors. Join Facebook groups, follow other writers on Twitter, figure out who the Bookstgrammers are in your genre and then—ENGAGE. Write reviews for other authors on Goodreads and Amazon (5 stars), comment on their posts, share, tweets, build up other writers . . . create lots of good, sincere mojo—the kind of stuff you want coming back at you when your book is published.
Giveaway:

Tour-wide giveaway (US/CAN)

A signed copy of What the Valley Knows, a 30″ inch sterling silver necklace, and a What the Valley Knows mini book charm

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/d04251232263/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36198199-what-the-valley-knows

Book trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ZbVwGmysDI

Purchase:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/What-Valley-Knows-Heather-Christie/dp/1612969402/

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/what-the-valley-knows-heather-christie/1127052493?ean=978161

AUTHOR BIO

Heather Christie grew up in rural Pennsylvania and, at age seventeen, took off for New York City in hopes of becoming a movie star. Flash forward several decades, a couple degrees, a bunch of cats, two kids and one husband later, she’s back in Pennsylvania writing her heart out and chasing dreams again. She loves to read, run, drink tea, and make Sunday dinner. Follow her blog at www.HeatherChristieBooks.com and say “hello” on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Author links:

https://www.facebook.com/heatherchristiebooks/

https://twitter.com/hchristiebooks

https://www.instagram.com/heatherchristiebooks/

www.heatherchristiebooks.com

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17148513.Heather_Christie

2969404

 

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Guest Blog: Failures?

The Amy Binegar-Kimmes-Lyle Book of Failures
Amy Lyle
Funny Memoir, family, marriage
Amy Lyle
(3 May 2017)

THE AMY BINEGAR-KIMMES-LYLE BOOK OF FAILURES is a humor memoir. If you have ever failed at love, finances, been fired, not fit in, self-diagnosed yourself with disorders and conditions and/or said, "I really need to get my s*** together," this is the book for you.

You may appreciate your own dysfunction a little more as you take a journey through Amy’s debacles including: “I Was Not Talking to You,” where Amy mistakes a handsome man waving at her as a potential suitor but in reality, he was only trying to inform her that her belt was dragging on the freeway and “In the Neighborhood,” where members of a cult moving in concurred with a suspicious decline in the cat population. You will relish the chapters entitled “Calls from Sharon,” where Amy’s best friend rants about her kids not getting a fair shot because public schools are ‘so political,’ as her OB/GYN reported her vagina was ‘too clean’ and how the most eligible bachelor from 1982 married a whore. Enjoy “I’m Going to Kill You,” where Amy compares her lack of sleep from her husband’s snoring to CIA agents extracting secrets from a POW. Feel 20-32% better about your own life after reading “Getting Divorced Sucks,” where 911 was called after Amy had an adverse reaction from taking Xanax.

The book has been featured in Scoop OTP, Georgia Followers, The Atlanta Journal Constitution, Points North Atlanta Magazine, Just4Fun Radio and the WXIA-TV morning show, "Atlanta & Company.”

Ten percent of book proceeds are donated to The Place of Forsyth County, a non-profit helping people to become self-sufficient.

Now That’s Love
My book begins “I’ve been married for twenty years, not to the same people but regardless….”
I’m very pro-love and relationships. However, if you’ve never tied the knot, let me share a little of what happens AFTER you are supposed to be living your happily ever after.
That euphoric feeling of new love has similar qualities of a drug addiction: including heart palpitations, wild fantasies, lack of sleep and the vacillation between euphoria and misery eventually calms down. After being married for ten years what makes my heart race is when my
husband surprises me with a giant, gluten-filled, pack of brownies and lets me pick the Netflix movie.
It’s a challenge sleeping in the same bed and frankly, sharing a sink with another human being.
I started to ask questions I never dreamed would need to be asked:

Are those your pubic hairs in the shower soap, did you not see the pubic hairs?

Why in the world did you not rinse the soap off?

Haven’t I asked you not to chomp? You know I have misophonia (become
enraged at chomping sounds) stop chomping.

Is that oatmeal? For the love of God how does a person chomp oatmeal?

You bought a reciprocating saw and you’re upset that I bought strappy sandals?
Would you not agree that both are useful?

Did you just put sauce on my fish? That’s adding one million calories, why would you do that?

I told kid number two NOT to go out; she has a D in psychology. Why did you allow her to go out? I’m always the bad cop. Do you think that’s fair?

Do you? Do you? Do you?

Even when you love a person, the day to day responsibilities and routines can wear on your last nerves. But, having someone you trust and know in and out has its advantages.
You no longer freak out if he/she doesn’t reply to your text in less than three seconds.
In social settings, you have a secret language and understand what it means when your husband/wife says “Excuse me for a minute, I must have left my glasses at the table.” It’s code for “The guy talking is full of dog s*** “ so I need to exit immediately, or I will stab him with the tiny umbrella from your pina colada.
If a serial killer came crashing into your bedroom, they would do everything possible to save you over saving themselves.
If you’re lucky, you find a person that thinks you’re attractive in the morning, offers you ice water when you’re sick and laughs at all of your jokes.

These are the reasons people stay married. Now you know.

About the Author

Amy Lyle is an author, comedienne, actor and screenwriter who works as a playwright for a large nonprofit in Alpharetta, Ga. Obsessed with fellow female comedians, Amy developed a writing style that is self-deprecating, hilarious and slightly neurotic.

Although she describes her book, The Amy Binegar-Kimmes-Lyle Book of Failures, as a “how not to” book, her message of “You are not a failure, you’re just having a little bit of trouble right now” is prompting people to share how the book made them feel (#bookoffailures), including the relief of knowing they are not alone in the world of missteps. Fan posts of people reading the book have been popping up from all over the world, including Lake Como, Italy, Amsterdam and The Great Wall of China.

The funny memoir, dealing with everything from getting fired to trying to blend a family, has been described as relatable and authentic, while sparking conversations about how we all handle failure.

The author has been featured in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Points North magazine and the WXIA-TV morning show, “Atlanta & Company,” in addition to writing a monthly column for My Forsyth magazine.

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Snow in a Globe?

The Snow Globe Book Cover The Snow Globe
Judith Kinghorn
Fiction, historical
Canelo
25th September 2017
416

Inside the glass orb was a miniature garden and a house. If she stared long enough, she could almost see the people inside. But whether they were trapped there, or kept safe, in that miniscule snowbound world, she couldn't have said... Christmas 1926 holds bright promise for nineteen-year-old Daisy Forbes, with celebrations under way at Eden Hall, her family's country estate in Surrey, England. But when Daisy, the youngest of three daughters, discovers that her adored father, Howard, has been leading a double life, her illusions of perfection are shattered. Worse, his current mistress, introduced as a family friend, is joining them for the holidays. As Daisy wrestles with the truth, she blossoms in her own right, receiving a marriage proposal from one man, a declaration of love from another, and her first kiss from a third. Meanwhile, her mother, Mabel, manages these social complications with outward calm, while privately reviewing her life and contemplating significant changes. And among those below stairs, Nancy, the housekeeper, and Mrs. Jessops, the cook, find that their long-held secrets are slowly beginning to surface... As the seasons unfold in the new year, and Daisy moves to London, desires, fortunes, and loyalties will shift during this tumultuous time after the Great War. The Forbes family and those who serve them will follow their hearts down unexpected paths that always return to where they began...Eden Hall.

Author Bio:
Judith Kinghorn
is the author of four novels: The Echo of Twilight, The Snow Globe, The Memory of Lost Senses and The Last Summer. She was born in Northumberland, educated in the Lake District, and is a graduate in English and History of Art. She lives in Hampshire, England, with her husband and two children.

Twitter: @judithkinghorn

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/writerjudithkinghorn/

Website: https://www.judithkinghornwriter.com/

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Why to Knit?

The Woolly Hat Knitting Club Book Cover The Woolly Hat Knitting Club
Poppy Dolan
Women’s Fiction
Canelo
25th September 2017

Finding happiness one stitch at a time

When Dee Blackthorn’s brother, JP, breaks both wrists not only is he in need of a helping hand – or two – but the knitting shop he owns can’t function. Sisterly duties take Dee away from her demanding job and she is unceremoniously fired amidst rumours of inappropriate behaviour. Dee is certain that her hot-shot nemesis, Ben, is behind it all but has no proof.

When Dee bumps into an old friend who is new mum to a premature baby she convinces JP to enlist his knitting pals to make lots of tiny woolly hats. Then Ben turns up denying involvement in Dee’s sacking and she ropes him into helping the knitting cause.

But before long Dee’s good intentions backfire and she risks losing her friends, her family and Ben, who’s turned out to be not so bad after all…

A feel-good romantic comedy about learning what life is really all about, The Woolly Hat Knitting Club is perfect for fans of Cathy Bramley, Tilly Tennant and Carole Matthews.

 

  1. Can you tell your readers something about why you chose this particular topic to write about? What appealed to you about it? Why do you think it is different and your approach is unique? I’ve wanted to write a novel with knitting as a theme for a while now, seeing as I love all things crafty. But I wanted to put a little bit of a spin on what you might expect – so my heroine Dee isn’t at all crafty, but her brother JP is! When he can’t run his haberdashery on his own, she has to throw herself into a woolly world…
  2. How long do you think about a topic before deciding to write about it? Do you have a set of notes or a notebook where you write down topics that appeal before making a decision as to which topic this time? I try to combine a burst of inspiration with a lot of thorough planning, so that my idea gets carried through the whole story. I use notebooks and post-its and scribble ideas anywhere I can, if needs be!
  3. How long does it take to research a topic before you write? And for this book? Seeing as I’ve been a keen knitter for more than ten years, I didn’t need to research anything new for this novel. I could dig up all my crafty nerdiness!
  4. What resources do you use? In general and for the last book that you wrote? [Not sure this applies to me, sorry.]
  5. How helpful do you find authority figures such as the police when you say you want to write about them? Is there a good way to approach them in your experience? [Not sure this applies to me, sorry.]
  6. How many times have you been rejected before your first novel was accepted or before this book was accepted? My first novel got rejected by a whole host of traditional publishers and it took me a long time to get over the heartbreak and disappointment.
  7. Did you need to self-publish on e-books before a publisher took you up? When I did work up the courage to try again, I self-published a novel called The Bad Boyfriends Bootcamp and things took off from there! I’m now very lucky to be published by Canelo, who are an amazing team
  8. Would you recommend self-publishing and building an audience before approaching a publisher? If so, what benefits do you see that it might have for the aspiring novelist? I think it comes down each individual author and what sort of goals they have and how much time they have. Self-publishing was an amazing jumping off point for me but I now find so many brilliant benefits to being with a publisher – they have lots of expertise I don’t have, the work of publishing and promoting a book is spread across a whole team rather just being down to me and when I’m having a wobble there are people to lead me in the right direction!
  9. Does writing provide sufficient income to live on? And how long did it take before this happened? Not for me, sadly!
  10. What is the funniest thing that happened to you on a book tour? I’m yet to go on one, but if I do I’ll make a note of anything funny that happens…
  11. Why did you take up Knitting? I love anything crafty, so I picked up my first set of needles when knitting became fashionable again about 15 years ago.
  12. What is the first thing you ever knit? I knitted a big chunky scarf which took me months and lots of trial and error! I think I gave it to my mum.
  13. What reasons would you give for people to take up knitting? It’s really relaxing and can help crack your phone addiction! Plus, you’re never stuck for gifts to give people.

 

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More about Crows

Crows of Beara
Julie Christine Johnson
Ashland Creek Press
(1 Sept. 2017)

Nature as Cultural Artifact

A guest post by:

 Julie Christine Johnson 

I didn’t set out to write an eco-lit novel, to make a political statement with my story. I am a writer of landscapes that transport readers from their worlds into those of my imagination and of characters whose conflicts and choices are urgent and relevant to my readers’ souls. I don’t write with a genre in mind; I’m a storyteller who often discovers her themes many drafts later, when the bones of a story have been fleshed out and its heart is beating strongly.

THE CROWS OF BEARA was meant to be my love song to Ireland. A place was all I had in my pocket when I sat down with my notebook to begin sketching characters. I set the place aside and focused on the who, for it is from the characters that my stories are built. WHERE gives me a foundation; WHO is the framework. I discovered a protagonist and a main character linked by the same weakness and the same strength: addiction and art. Bringing them to stand before each other on a dividing line was a third “character” which I met by chance in my research: the Red-billed chough, a species of crow which cycles on and off the endangered list as one nesting ground thrives and another is threatened. It is found along the southwest coast of Ireland, where cliff meets pasture on one end and ocean on the other. In CROWS, a copper mine would bring needed jobs to a struggling community; it would also destroy the habitat of this beloved small black bird with a crimson beak and feet. The chough became the book’s touchstone.

Deep into revisions, months after CROWS had been accepted for publication by Ashland Creek Press, I met an artist-anthropologist using 3-D photography in a breathtaking marriage of art and science to preserve natural artifacts gathered from manned and unmanned space missions. Through her art, she shows that our cultural heritage is alive in these rocks gathered from places so distant, the mind bends in trying to comprehend. In talking with her, I realized I had been dancing around but unable to name the central core of my characters’ artistic drive. Nature is a cultural artifact that we have the power to preserve, and art can be a unifying force when politics threaten to tear us apart.

There’s a scene midway through THE CROWS OF BEARA where Annie sees Daniel’s art for the first time. And in observing his own work through her eyes, he realizes the power of what he does, how his art can change minds, perspectives, lives. Art as an act of resistance and healing is one of the major themes of the book and it’s very much how I feel about what I do as an artist. Words are my voice, my sword, my hand out to the universe. Art, whether it’s visual, literary, musical, or of the body, connects us to ourselves, to each other, to the greater world. It’s what keeps us moving forward toward light in times of greatest darkness.

 

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