Tagged Lisa Wingate

“I do not know where I would be if I hadn’t read ‘Wreath'” — a new edition of a favorite book

A teenaged stranger wrote an essay about how a character in one of my books changed her life.

The new cover!
The new cover!

And this reader’s words helped change mine. Today I ask you to celebrate with me the result—a revised edition of “Wreath, A Girl.”

Fueled by this girl’s feedback and that of other readers—teens and adults—I’m launching a revised edition of “Wreath, A Girl” today. The book has a slightly different name (so readers won’t think it’s a Christmas decorating book) and a new cover. But it has the same message of resilience, perseverance and love. As part of today’s launch party, I’m giving away downloadable gifts when you buy the book. More on that here: http://tinyurl.com/WreathSpecialOffer

The Wreath Willis Series

And this revised version paves the way for the second Wreath Willis novel to release in spring 2015!

More moving words from the reader

The teen reader who inspired me said she was failing four out of eight classes in the eighth grade and had been told she would likely be held back from high school. In an essay contest on www.stageoflife.com some months ago, she wrote:

“It was soon after this when I started reading ‘Wreath,’ a book about a teenage girl who lost her mother and was doing everything she could to avoid going into foster care and still get a scholarship into college. She led a miserable life for a few months, living in a junkyard and working four hours a day in addition to school. However, she also had to learn to ask for and accept help when she was in desperate need.

… Wreath taught me to never let others decide what my outcome was going to be, but also to never be afraid to ask for help.

Wreath inspired me to believe in myself and do all that I did. She is the reason I got straight As that semester and could go into high school with my friends.

To be honest, I do not know where I would be if I hadn’t read ‘Wreath.’”

This essay reminds me of the power of stories. I love writing novels that show how we can make it through hard times and how we all need a little help along the way—exactly the kind of novels I like to read, by the way.

I have to thank the wonderful Pulpwood Queen Book Club, the largest meeting book club in the world, too, for naming “Wreath” a Teen Book of the Year. And my 13-year-old granddaughter, who mentioned earlier this year that she had reread Wreath “and fell in love with her all over again.” And then there is my dental hygienist who emailed me to say she had recently gone back to Wreath, moved again by this story.

I hope you’ll order “Wreath, A Girl,” help this new edition get off to a great start–and get the free gifts (an assortment of creative things you can download easily, from me, author Lisa Wingate, fantastic mom food blogger Jessica Maher and Monica Carter Tagore at Rootsky Books). The celebration offer: http://tinyurl.com/WreathSpecialOffer Or take a look at the book, in paperback or e-book formats: http://tinyurl.com/Wreath-A-Girl.

During December, a portion of all sales will go to help homeless children–very much like Wreath Willis–here in North Louisiana. I hope that Wreath will find a home in your heart and guide you over a rough spot. Or maybe show you how to help a friend.

Win this print by Louisiana artist Don Cobb
Win this print by Louisiana artist Don Cobb

And let me hear from you. Has a book ever helped you through a tough time in life? Leave a comment for a chance to win a special framed print of VW vans in a junkyard, just like the one where Wreath lived for nearly a year. The painting is by Louisiana artist Don Cobb. I’ll draw at noon CST, December 8.

Meet the Pulpwood Queens: Serious book lovers who don’t take themselves too seriously

Picture a big room full of exuberant readers who talk about books with affection.

Yes, that's Pat Conroy and me waiting tables.
Yes, that’s Pat Conroy and me waiting tables.
The wonderful Kathy L. Murphy, head queen.
The wonderful Kathy L. Murphy, head queen.

Add a few feather boas and a hefty number of tiaras.

Put some of the nation’s best-known authors at the microphone.

Add a major costume party.

That’s what East Texan Kathy L. Murphy pulls together each January in what has become an epic book festival, held regionally and talked about nationally. And I’m delighted to be on the program again in 2015, this time discussing “Magnolia Market.”

Early-bird registration open

Early-bird registration for the 15th annual Pulpwood Queens Girlfriends’ Weekend, moving to Nacogdoches, Texas, for 2015, closes October 1, and I hope you have this on your book-loving radar. (Details below.)

I met Kathy a half-dozen years ago at a Shreveport book festival. She has since become a friend and the only person who can talk me into dressing up like a fried-green tomato or Reporter Barbie or a circus cotton-candy seller–for the love of books. After a divorce, Kathy relocated her Jefferson, Texas, Beauty and the Book Shop to a small salon in Hawkins, Texas, and is moving the annual book festival, too.

She chooses the book-club’s reading list and festival authors with care: “I look for a story that is well written, from a perspective I have not heard before, it has to be discussable… I love to help first-time, first-book authors get discovered.”

Fellow authors Marybeth Whalen, Lisa Wingate, Carla Stewart and yours truly.
Fried-Green-Tomato fun: Fellow authors Marybeth Whalen, Lisa Wingate, Carla Stewart and yours truly.
The festival sprang from her book club, which she founded in 2000 and fiercely shepherds, “where tiaras are mandatory and reading good books is the rule.” Girlfriends’ Weekend has drawn such authors as Fannie Flagg, “Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café;” Pat Conroy, “The Great Santini” and “The Prince of Tides”; and John Berendt, “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.”

The interaction between readers and writers at Girlfriends’ Weekend takes on the feeling of a family reunion. It begins on a Thursday evening with an author dinner, where authors wait tables and attendees receive signed books. Friday and Saturday are filled with author panels, book-signings and readers chatting about favorite books. The event wraps up with a costume-party extravaganza, the “Hair Ball.”

Kathy and her members are on a mission to promote authors, books, literacy and reading—and have “some big time fun” while they are at it. “We are changing the world for the better, one author, one book, one book club member, one chapter at a time by reading and sharing our wonderful reads.”

Are you in a book club? I’d love to hear about your club and what you’re reading. Please leave a comment.

To register: Pulpwood Queen Girlfriends Weekend book festival
January 15-18, 2015
Nacogdoches, Texas
Who can attend: Anyone over age 21. The gathering is not for women only, but usually the only men who attend are authors. “We welcome all to join our book club, regardless of race, color, religion, gender or the fact they may have had cosmetic surgery or color enhanced hair,” Kathy says. “We come to this event for a time-out from all the stress and worry of normal life; it’s our escape to book-lovers’ paradise.”
Nearly 50 authors will speak, including Bill Dedman, author of “Empty Mansions.”
Early-Bird weekend-package: $350 for non-members of Pulpwood Queens Book club; $250 for members. Discount ends October 1. For a menu of registration options, see www.beautyandthebook.com.
Pulpwood Queen Book Club lifetime membership: $25


Magnolia Market final cover 10.24.13Don’t forget: “Magnolia Market,” my 8th novel, releases September 23. Join us to celebrate from 5-7 p.m., September 23, at Barnes & Noble Booksellers in Shreveport, La. You can pre-order “Magnolia Market” at: http://www.amazon.com/Magnolia-Market-Trumpet-Vine-Christie-ebook/dp/B00H6XM2NC/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=&qid=

An Author Friend & Her Dog During Dog Days of Summer

The Dog Days of Summer have officially arrived (yes, they really are a thing), bringing a perfect time to read on the Kitchen Couch–and an opportunity to introduce you to one of my favorite writers, Lisa Wingate, and her adorable dog and literary sidekick, Huckleberry.IMG_6051
Lisa is a hero of mine and a great southern writer. Huck makes me smile.

A free book

Lisa is the author of more than 20 books, including “The Prayer Box,” FREE now on Kindle, Nook and iTunes (to be read on one of your iThings). She’s an all-around nice person who writes “Fiction That’s Good for the Soul.” With a deft touch, she blends feel-good, inspirational stories with real-world challenges–always with characters you’d like to chat with.

“The Prayer Box” is about what happens when Tandi Jo Reese, running from a messy, dangerous past, is charged with the task of cleaning out an old-timer’s house on Hatteras Island. Tandi’s life changes when she discovers 81 carefully decorated prayer boxes from the life of Iola Anne Poole.

To download “The Prayer Box” for free for a limited time:Prayer Box cover (2)
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Prayer-Box-Lisa-Wingate-ebook/dp/B00CH7KXY2/ref=sr_1_1_title_1_kin?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1405455210&sr=1-1&keywords=prayer+box
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-prayer-box-lisa-wingate/1114893894?ean=9781414386881
iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-prayer-box/id640268312?mt=11

Read more about Lisa at www.LisaWingate.com or take a look at her blog post with background on “The Prayer Box”– http://www.southernbelleviewdaily.com/its-a-belle-book-club-week-for-the-prayer-box/ Her next book, “The Story Keeper,” will be out in September.

Meet Huckleberry

And then there’s Lisa’s dog, Huckleberry, the real star of this post. He’d make me want to read her books even if she wasn’t a terrific writer. Named for Huck Finn, of course, he’s her literary companion, dogging her steps (so to speak) as she writes and providing needed chuckles when she takes a break.Lisa and Huckleberry

He’s the perfect pooch to kick off a little Dog-Day Reading in our Kitchen Couch Summer Reading Club, don’t you think?

An aside on writing about dogs

While I don’t own a dog, I write dogs into my novels and get attached to them: Sugar Marie. Holly Beth. Kramer. And, of course, Mannix (the beloved 3-legged dog with a starring role in “The Glory of Green”).http://www.amazon.com/The-Glory-Green-Gone-Series/dp/1426700563/ref=tmm_pap_title_0 In my next novel, “Magnolia Market,” you’ll meet Willie and Howie.http://www.amazon.com/Magnolia-Market-Trumpet-Vine-Christie-ebook/dp/B00H6XM2NC/ref=tmm_kin_title_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=&qid= To me, pets add another layer to how a character reacts–and they’re fun to name!

I also enjoy reading books with dogs in the plot. Romance Author Kristan Higgins comes to mind; each of her novels has a dog (or cat) with a starring role. For more on Kristan’s fun romances, see http://www.kristanhiggins.com/.

How about you? Do you like stories with pets in them? I’d love to hear from you–and to learn what you’re reading now that we’re in the middle of July. Leave a comment for a chance to win a signed copy of one of Lisa’s books. I’ll draw at noon CST Friday, July 18. And stay tuned for more authors and their dogs (and maybe even a cat or two). IMG_5605

Authors at Work: How they do it

Consider a job where you sit around and make things up. You stare into space. You hit the delete key a few thousand times. You stare into space some more. You cry when someone who exists only in your mind is hurt. You take notes in church, at lunch, before you drift off to sleep at night…Typewriter photo for blog

One of my favorite topics to discuss with book clubs and other authors is the writing process. Friend and super author Suzanne Woods Fisher, www.suzannewoodsfisher.com, invited me to take part in a blog tour about this subject, and I invited author friends Carla Stewart, www.carlastewart.com, and Lisa Wingate, www.southernbelleview.com, to chat too. Eager to hear your thoughts and suggestions about how authors work!

My Writing Life

What am I working on?

I am preparing to send “Magnolia Market,” my 8th novel, into the world—an exciting and scary time. The official launch is on September 23, and you can pre-order it now. http://www.amazon.com/Magnolia-Market-Trumpet-Vine-Christie/dp/0310330572 Advance Reader Copies are going out from HarperCollins Christian Publishing for reviews (gulp!) and giveaways (fun!), my book “tour” dates are being lined up (including a party at Barnes & Noble Booksellers in Shreveport, an appearance at the Louisiana Book Festival in Baton Rouge and a spot at Pulpwood Queens Girlfriends Weekend) and I’m working on a new novel.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Louisiana is full of characters—and I don’t just mean the kind you find in books. I love living in Louisiana—and writing fiction with a Louisiana flavor. My home state makes an enticing backdrop for almost any story. I hope my southern voice, as a native of the Mississippi Delta and longtime Louisiana resident, shines through in compelling ways.

Why do I write what I do?

As a reader, I’m a fan of southern fiction, so it feels natural to pull together strands of life around me in my novels. My first seven published books were nonfiction, but I switched to fiction when I turned 50. When I read, I enjoy what I call life-affirming novels, and that’s what I want to write—books where, despite tension along the way, things work out in the end.

How does my writing process work?

I’m a binge writer who dreams of becoming a slow-and-steady writer. In addition to writing fiction, I have a lively consulting business, so I usually block off days to write and pound the keyboard like my friend Virginia plays the piano! Once I choose a novel project, I make a timeline and give myself a deadline, step by step. This is not unlike cooking a big meal when various things go into the oven at different times. I am somewhat addicted to books about writing and always pull them out to inspire me as I write.

How Other Authors Work

One of my favorite people and an outstanding writer is Oklahoman Carla Stewart. See her post on her process at www.carlastewart.com. Carla is the award-winning author of five novels and her affection for times gone by shines in her books. She takes readers back to that warm, familiar place in their hearts called “home.” I love Carla’s voice and settings. Her brand-new book is “The Hatmaker’s Heart.”

Suzanne Woods Fisher, writer of awesome Amish fiction and nonfiction, chats about her process at http://suzannewoodsfisher.com/blog/page/2/l Yes, she writes in her laundry room. Her new book is “The Revealing,” due out in July, and she’s adjusting to a newly-retired husband as she writes her next book. Suzanne is truly a sterling wordsmith.

And watch for next Monday’s post by best-selling Lisa Wingate, one of my writing heroes, at http://www.southernbelleviewdaily.com/ Congrats to Lisa, whose book “The Prayer Box” has gone into its 4th printing. And she has a darned cute dog called Huckleberry, who will be featured here one day soon, I promise! Working out the details with his agent.:)

How about you? Any questions or comments about the writing process? Would love to hear from you. Leave a comment, and, while you’re at it, update us please on your summer reading. Please check out books by each of these great writers for your summer list!

P.S. Congrats to Lindy A. of Ohio, who won one of the early copies of “Magnolia Market” as part of of our Kitchen Couch Summer Reading Club fun!

Celebrating the release of a new novel!

Dear readers:
Sweet Olive, the first novel in the Trumpet & Vine Series, is here!
Not only is it shipping immediately from some sources, we’ll celebrate Tuesday, September 24, with a signing and book fair in Shreveport, Louisiana.
I’m thrilled to introduce you to this new community and a new group of characters.
What happens when a unique Southern town collides with the outside world and big oil?
Talented negotiator Camille Gardner must entice a group of rural Louisiana landowners to lease their mineral rights and, instead, finds herself drawn to the folk art created by those same landowners. Camille would rather be anywhere than Samford, Louisiana, the small southern town where she once spent the worst weeks of her life.
The charming residents and traditions of this small community leave Camille conflicted about her family obligations — and her own plans for the future. Perhaps she needs to give Samford a second chance.
Sweet Olive is published by Zondervan (HarperCollins Christian Publishing). 
What others are saying about Sweet Olive
(And I appreciate their kind words SO much!)
Publishers Weekly:  “The story’s fluid, Mitford-style pace perfectly matches the easygoing ambience of smalltown Louisiana. Fans of the author’s Green series will feel they’ve met new friends just down the road who share the same humidity, fragrance, and foliage that Christie so effortlessly recreates.”
Library Journal: “This tender romance (and new series launch) is blessed with a likable, strong female protagonist. As in her Green series (Gone to Green; Goodness Gracious Green) a Southern small town becomes a charming character in Christie’s able hands.”
Romantic Times: “Christie’s charming story has a cast that readers will remember long after finishing the novel. The characters were well-defined and well-written; they want the best for themselves even if it means turning their back on technology and continuing with their traditions. Christie is a talented author and her research in the field of drilling for natural gas while trying not to harm nature shines in the novel.”
Sweet Olive is a tender, romantic tale loaded with faith, hope, and heart.”
Lisa Wingate, National Bestselling Author of The Prayer Box and Firefly Island

A new novel calls for prizes, right?  Just leave a comment below for a chance to win a great Made-in-Louisiana item (Camellia Coffee, pralines, Bayou Magic cooking mixes and more). No purchase is necessary to win–just leave a comment about why you enjoy reading. I’ll draw at 8 p.m. CST on September 24, release day.


I love visiting with readers and hope you’ll spread the word.  Here’s info on a few  ways we can chat:

Thank you so much for all your encouragement on my writing journey.
And we’d love to have you celebrate the release of Sweet Olive, with us from 5-8 p.m. September 24, Barnes & Noble booksellers in Shreveport, Louisiana. Book-signing. Refreshments. Door prizes. A book fair for the Common Ground library in the Cedar Grove community. Hope to see you there!
Don’t forget to leave a comment for a chance to win a Louisiana item. I’ll draw at 8 p.m. CST on September 24,  release day.