Check Out My New Website and Win

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Dear All:

I’ve updated and redesigned my website. I think it’s pretty cool, but I’d love to know what you think! Please take a moment to have a look.

www.deborahgracestaley.com

I’m excited about the new look of my site and also excited about the new series of novels I’m launching in July 2014. Volume 1 in the Wilde Dunes Series, Simmer, marks a departure for me. If you’ve enjoyed my Angel Ridge Series, you’ll know that I’ve been writing southern, small town, sweet romances. The Wilde Dunes novels will be more contemporary sexy romances. There’ll still be a small town, southern setting and plenty of romance that is guaranteed to make your heart melt. They’ll also make your heart race! Writing these books have allowed me to flex my writing muscles. I think you’ll enjoy both series. If not, there will be something for everyone!

So, back to the website. You may be wondering how you can win. It’s really simple. Visit the new website, go to the CONTACT page, fill it out and tell me what you think of the new site. That’s it! The winner will receive a $25 Amazon Gift Card. Winner will be announced June 1 on my Facebook page.

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The Amazon Daily Deal is Unforgettable-An Angel Ridge Novel

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Today’s Amazon Daily Deal is Unforgettable, from the award-winning and bestselling Angel Ridge Series by yours truly. Today, and today only, you can download Unforgettable to your Kindle for only 1.99. While you’re there, pick up Only You for 4.99 and A Home for Christmas for 3.99. That’s three Angel Ridge novels for the price of one!

Hurry, because these deals won’t last! And please consider 1) purchasing the books as a gift for family or friends or both if you already have all these novels, and 2) please share this with everyone you know.

Thanks for all you support!

Deborah Grace Staley

www.deborahgracestaley.com

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On a snowy night in Angel Ridge, two strangers share an unforgettable kiss.

Years later, Frannie Thompson is back in Angel Ridge to start a new life and a non-profit. When she meets with Patrick Houston, the town’s mayor, to request a spot on the agenda of the next meeting of the Town Council, she comes face to face with the man she’d kissed on a snowy night years before. A very married man.

On that night, Frannie had been a woman reeling from the loss of her sister. Patrick had been drowning his sorrows to numb the pain of his wife’s cancer and more. Kissing Frannie when he wasn’t free had been unforgiveable. With is life on track, he’s trying to make amends and raise his children has a sober, single parent. With Frannie back in town for good, the intense feelings she stirs have him wondering if he could have a second shot at forever.

Getting a non-profit off the ground and overcoming town opposition requires Frannie’s full attention. She doesn’t need the distraction of a man who wants to earn her forgiveness and trust. Frannie knows she’s wrong for him, but despite her effort to remain focused on her business, her body remembers the promise of passion and Patrick.

Mountain Traditions, Superstitions, and Old Christmas

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Mountain Traditions, Superstitions, and Old Christmas

 

by Deborah Grace Staley

The Award-Winning Author of the

Angel Ridge Series

 

What the Heart Wants

Winner of the HOLT Medallion

Is the January 5 Amazon Deal of the Day

Download for only 1.99!

 

 

January 6 is Twelfth Night, or Epiphany, if you will. In Upper East Tennessee where I come from, my momma called it “Old Christmas.” There are a couple of theories regarding Old Christmas. I always heard that Old Christmas was the date that for centuries had been celebrated as Christmas by Europeans. History bears this out. It was in 1752 that Britain moved from the Julian calendar to the Georgian calendar. In doing so, eleven days were eliminated from the year. Thus making Christmas December 25 instead of January 6. I suppose celebration of the Twelve Days of Christmas ensued, concluding with the Feast of the Epiphany on January 6, which in some Christian traditions is thought to be the day that the Magi arrived to view the Christ child.

 

Whatever you believe, here’s what I remember about Old Christmas. It was bad luck to do laundry, to wash or iron, on that day. My mother, who always said, “Now, I’m not superstitious, but…” just before she’d prove that maybe she was. And washing was not permitted on January 6. She cited a time when her family had done laundry on this day and later that year, her cousin drowned. Even if she was not superstitious, this fell into the category of “Don’t tempt fate.” Don’t do it, just in case.

 

When I got the idea for the character of Candi Heart in the Angel Ridge series, I wanted her to be from the mountains. I wanted all those mountain traditions I’d learned from my momma to be coded into her DNA. I was fascinated by the Granny Woman tradition. These were women who lived in the mountain communities of Appalachia who were respected in the community, but feared by outsiders. Some even called them witches. These women knew things. They knew how to heal with herbs. They knew how to plant crops by the signs of the moon. They knew other things, too, like the sex of an unborn child, when someone was going to take ill, and when others would die. They could tell you when it would be a good time to travel and when you should stay home.

 

I remember my mother telling me that people would come to see her mother to “ask for advice.” My grandmother would share a cup of coffee with the visitor, chat a spell, and then after the coffee had been drunk, she’d turn her visitor’s cup upside down in the saucer. She’d spin it a few times, then gaze at the pattern made by the coffee grounds in the saucer. Based on this, she’d give her visitor advice on any number of important and minor matters. I always thought that an interesting story.  I also found it interesting she’d taught my mother all sorts of home remedies, such as stealing a dishrag, rubbing it on a wart, and then burying it. This worked for getting rid of the wart. Earaches were cured with warm sweet oil in the ear and a bit of cotton to hold it in. These and other similar things were part of my DNA, and my mother’s, and her mother’s…

 

So, when I created Candi Heart (not her real name—her real name was Lark Hensley), I began researching Granny Women. Much to my frustration, there is next to no information written about them. This is because people in the mountain cultures just accepted who these women were. People from the outside who wanted to write about it? Well, most of them found these women suspect. And anyone who knows anything knows you can’t trust outsiders. So, no one talked about Granny Women. What bits I could find would be a couple of pages in texts about Appalachian culture or folklore. I’d get so excited when I found something, I’d stand in the library and read those precious few pages right there in the stacks. Minutes later, I’d slam the book closed, frustrated because I already knew what was contained in those pages. I found nothing, let me repeat, nothing I hadn’t already learned from my mother.

 

Understanding that truth was a light bulb moment for me that led me to pick up the phone and call my mother. After questioning her about the story of her mother reading coffee grounds for people, I asked, “Did she really read the coffee grounds or was that just a prop? Did she already know the answers without the reading?” At length, my momma admitted this was indeed a prop. At which point I asked about my great-grandmother. She had always been described to me as “not right in the head.” She’d died after having been bedfast for some time. You see, I’d read and heard that these Granny Women had been described as “not right in the head.” In fact, it was written into the lyrics of a Dolly Parton song called, “These Old Bones.” And I should add here, the women in my family suffer from bouts of depression. So, I asked my momma if her grandmother had been one of these mountain women who’d just known things. At which point she admitted that she had. Full disclosure, I’d had strong flashes of intuition all my life, but discounted them. At the end of this and other discussions with my mom, I realized I come from a long line of women who just knew things. Momma had known I also had this ability, but never talked to me much about it because she knew I wasn’t ready to accept it.

 

I’d be lying if I said this thing that’s a part of who I am doesn’t scare me. I don’t completely understand how it works. I know if someone is on my mind and I’m dreaming about them, something’s up and I need to reach out to them. I know when I have a particularly vivid dream about something, I need to pay attention. Like the time my son had a strange looking wound on the back of his hand. I dreamed he lost his hand the night before we went to the doctor. And guess what? The doctor told me he could have lost his hand if we had waited to have him seen. He’d been bitten by a poisonous spider. Now, I can’t tell people things on cue. I’m not a fortuneteller. But I’ve also learned that you can’t tell people something they’re not ready to hear. Dealing with what you know can be a delicate balance of the knowing and the knowing when to share what you know.

 

Candi Heart in What the Heart Wants is one of these women like the women in my family. She had vivid dreams about past events that are unfolding in her present…or are they part of her past? She just wants to fit into Angel Ridge and open up a shop for women with all the colorful, soft, frilly things she didn’t have growing up in the gray-green mountains. But when she is almost the victim of a hit and run incident and her shop is vandalized, it becomes clear that someone doesn’t want her moving to Angel Ridge, much less becoming a business owner. Of course, Sheriff Grady Wallace will have to step in to investigate and protect the sexy and mysterious new woman in town.

 

What the Heart Wants, winner of the HOLT Medallion for Excellence in Single Title/Mainstream Romance, is the Amazon Daily Deal today, January 5. Download your copy for only 1.99. Comment on this blog and include your email address and throughout the day, I will choose ten names randomly to receive the Kindle Version of the book. Just comment here or at this article on Fresh Fiction today.

What_the_Heart_Wants

Today’s Amazon Daily Deal!

Download for your Kindle–only 1.99

 

Happy Old Christmas Eve!

Deborah Grace Staley

www.deborahgracestaley.com

Update Update Update

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Wow! Has it been a year since I last posted? So much can happen in a year. A year ago, I was in Maryville, Tennessee, we’d had a presidential election, and I had a new book out. I didn’t now my life was about to update.

A few months later, I accepted a job teaching creative writing at Full Sail University in Florida. I packed up half my life and moved. I say “half” because my other half remained in Tennessee along with my son, my dogs, my family, my home, my mountains, and everything familiar.

I’ve learned a lot since this life update. I’ve learned I am not suited for living in a condo complex. No, communal living is not for me. I love the beach and the sound of wind in Palm trees. Meditation is amazing. It’s hard to make new friends. Teaching is not like I thought it would be. There’s more frustration than success. I didn’t anticipate that. I have a lot of self-work that needs my attention. I thought I’d have another book out this month. This type of delay was not in my plan. The continual state of change in my life has slowed everything. At the same time, everything has speeded up.

This week, the other half if my life moves south to join me in this new adventure. I’m thrilled and uncertain. Where will we live? I don’t have a lot of answers, but I know this. I need the rest if my life here with me. Out next home will be a place of peace and serenity, much like the home we are leaving. It may not be easy, but we’ll find it. It’s here waiting for us.

Leaving our home of eighteen years won’t be easy. Tears will flow. But at the end if our journey, a new home and adventure await.

Doing Dallas with Dixie

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This week, I’m taking a break from my East Tennessee winter. I decided in December that I needed something to look forward to after the excitement of Christmas. You know how there’s always a bit of a let down after the holidays: the decorations go down, the weather gets yucky and rainy/snowy/icy, everything is gray and blah. So I scheduled a trip to Dallas.

My best friend Dixie (yes, the one from the books), aka Janene Cates (formerly Satterfiled) Putman, defected to Dallas after marrying her Mr. Everything, Shane, last May. This is my first visit since she  moved, and it won’t be my last. We have had a blast! We have shopped, we had a photo shoot at Veteran’s Memorial Park in Arlington. (I needed a new publicity photo. Can’t wait for you to see it!) We saw a movie. We’ve gotten a little work done. And we’ve had some girlfriend time. Something I never, ever get enough of in my house full of men. I’ve been posting pictures and updates of our #Deb&DixieDoDallas adventure on Facebook and Twitter, so be sure to check that out. (@debgstaley, @jdixie0105, @debanddixie)

Last, but certainly not least, a new adventure begins. Practically since Dixie and I met, we’ve said that some day we were going to do the Deb & Dixie Show. Have a tour bus and the whole nine yards. Well, it’s a small scale start, but it’s a start. Our blog is live! www.debanddixie.com. We are going to have so much fun. Every month we will discuss our unique spin on books/movies/other media, current events, our favorite things, and rants (which can cover anything from stupid drivers to conspiracy theories). And each month, we will have a special event that you can attend. This month, we are having an Oscar partyon February 24. ! I promise you, it will be a blast! So hop on over and follow our blog.

Until next time,

Deborah

P.S. You can now read my blog on my website. Visit http://www.deborahgracestaley.com/blog.html

Blog Hopping About Bitter Root

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Hello! If you’re visiting, welcome to my blog. If you’re a regular subscriber/reader, so sorry I’ve been conspicuously absent. More about that later.

This is the NEXT BEST THING blog tour. It’s the chain letter of blog tours. I was tagged (invited) to participate by Sandra Brannan (http://www.sandrabrannan.com/blog
) who blogged last week about her NEXT BIG THING, i.e. book project. She was tagged by my buddies, the writing team who is Sparkle Abbey (www.sparkleabbey.com). I’ve invited several of my writing pals. So far, the only one game is Loralee Lillibridge (http://loraleelillibridge.blogspot.com). You will here from her one week from today, January 30. In her post, she’ll tag several more authors, and so it goes.

Now, for my NEXT BIG THING, this is why my blog has been so quiet for the past month and a half. I am deep into research for my next novel, an historical. If you’ve read my Angel Ridge Series, you’ll know that they are a series of small town, sweet romances set in the fictional town of Angel Ridge, Tennessee. I’m five books deep in a six book contract with that series. In short, I’ve been writing this series for the past thirteen or so years given the fact that they started as short stories, moved to novellas, morphed into novels, and went through several publishers before finding a very happy home at Bell Bridge Books (www.bellebooks.com), thanks to Deborah Smith! Long story short, I need a break and thought, hey, let’s write an historical featuring a circuit rider preacher!

What was I thinking????

Sounds good on paper. Execution of same is another thing entirely. It comes out in October 2013. You’ll be the judge of whether I pulled it off or not!

So here’s a bit about it.

1: What is the working title of your book(s)?

My working title is Bitter Root.

2: Where did the idea come from for the book?

My great-grandfather was a circuit rider for the Methodist Church in the late 1800’s/early 1900’s. He was my father’s grandfather and died the year my father was born, in 1933. My dad also was a pastor. I’ve always been fascinated with my great-grandfather, Rev. James Wiley Grace, who traveled Southwest Virginia and Upper East Tennessee on his horse, Blackie, spreading the gospel. So, I thought this would be an opportunity to explore my Grace roots.

3: What genre does your book come under?

Historical Romance

 

4: Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

 

This is a hard question for me. We don’t have good westerns anymore! I see the circuit rider in my story as man with secrets from his past that he wants to remain in his past. I just love characters who aren’t quite who they appear to be on the surface. He has light brown, golden hair and whiskey colored eyes. He’s badass, which doesn’t quite fit with the image of a preacher, but circuit riders had to be tough as they traveled in all kinds of conditions, often had to sleep outdoors, and were frequently attacked during their travels. Maybe Ryan Gosling. Who would you cast?

5: What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

After the Civil War ravages East Tennessee, an itinerate preacher travels the countryside doing what he can to unify this divided community and run from his past.

6: Is your book self-published, published by an independent publisher, or represented by an agency?

This book will be published by Bell Bridge Books.

7: How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Ha! Still working on that 🙂

8: What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

How about television series? I would say Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman and the incomparable Love Comes Softly series by Janette Oke.

9: Who or what inspired you to write this book?

 

My great-grandfather.

10: What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

The book is set in East Tennessee right after the end of the Civil War, 1866ish. Reconstruction was an unsettled time in the South, but East Tennessee fared better than much of the South. 3 out of 4 people in this area were Loyalists who supported the Union. So, when the Union occupied East Tennessee the last two years of the war, things were not so bad for these folks who didn’t do quite as well when the Confederacy controlled the area. Still, the burden of supporting occupying troops was difficult with supplies limited and most men off fighting for one side or the other. After the war, those who survived came home. The confederates didn’t have a warm welcome, but the tone of East Tennessee, for the most part, was to forgive and get on with the rebuilding of the community together. Still, some southern supporters never returned. In their place were investors from the North hoping to invest in a New South.

Featured characters include a raven-haired beauty who was the Captain of the Blount County Ladies Home Guard. A former Union Soldier stationed in Knoxville who is relocating to Maryville as an officer of the government and peacekeeper. He’s also taken with the aforementioned spunky and outspoken lady. There’s another character, a woman who’s relocated to the area from Kentucky. Having lost her entire family in the war, she’s come to Maryville after the war to live with her uncle, a country doctor, and she’s considering converting her mother’s former mansion into a school.

 

I hope this has peaked your interest. Visit my blog again to follow my progress on this project, and please visit my website, http://www.deborahgracestaley.com. You can follow me on Facebook. My Twitter handle is @debgstaley.

Tag, Loralee. You’re it!

 

–Deborah

Why Baby Why

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Why Baby Why

 

I don’t know about you, but I get hung up in the why loop. I think this peculiarity is what made me a writer. I always wonder why. Why things are the way they are. Why people are the way they are. Especially why people are the way they are. Why do some people like being around other people, and why are others more introverted and struggle in crowds. Why do some people love the holidays while others don’t? Why do some people like to cook and others prefer to not. Some people have tons of motivation; others don’t. Why?

But here’s where I can really get hung up. Why do I feel like I do? Why do I think the way I do. Why can’t I get excited about that holiday gathering? Why do I have days or weeks where there’s much that I am thankful for and excited about followed by days or weeks where I struggle to get excited about anything. The things I enjoyed last week don’t interest me now. Highs and lows. I think highs/excitement suck my energy and the lows naturally follow. It’s ebb and flow, right? Don’t get me wrong; they’re not debilitating lows. It’s just a kind of ambivalence for everything. But it passes. When the lows don’t pass, I know I’m in trouble.

I watch other people when I’m ambivalent. I’m interested in people who are upbeat all the time. These are my favorite people. They fascinate me. They are the perky cheerleader types. They are encouragers. They decide they’re going to have a positive outlook no matter what. But I think all that energy they put into being positive affects their productivity, because they don’t seem to get much done. But I do appreciate the encouragement they spread. Some of us really need it!

And then there are the driven people. I used to be driven. I was determined that I could achieve my goals. I set some high ones. I wanted a college education. Check. Then I wanted a masters degree. Check. I wanted a career. Check. I’ve had several. I wanted to be a published author. People used to ask me, do you really think you can be published? Honestly, it never occurred to me that I wouldn’t be published. So add another check. And boy, has this led me down a rabbit hole where I have absolutely no control over many, many aspects of this beast called publishing.

For example, I can write a really great book. And that’s pretty much it. The rest is not up to me. I can’t make a publisher want to publish it. I can’t make them want to market my books. I can’t control whether people will buy the book. I can’t control whether they’ll like the book if they read it. And Oh Mercy, when there is a promotion going on, like this month where two of my titles are 1.99 on Amazon, I can make myself nuts watching the numbers. While I’m so grateful that the publisher is doing a promo for me, it makes me crazy. I can’t NOT look at the numbers and wonder. Why is my book doing just okay while others are doing great? What ramifications will an average promo have for me? Why can’t I just be grateful that people are buying my books? I am grateful people are buying the books, but there’s so much other stuff going on in my head that sometimes the grateful gets crowded out.

So, yeah. I used to be driven until I realized that I’m no longer driving. Nope, I’m just along for the ride, wondering where I’ll wind up. Is there going to be a spectacular crash or is there a sweet little luxury car that will take me into the future? I, of course, am hoping for the latter!

Which brings me back to why people are the way they are. Clearly, I overthink things. And often my thinking is wrong. That, they tell me, is part of depression. So, I try to recognize it. I even do that self-talk thing where I say to myself, “Stop thinking that way. Think another way.” Usually it helps.

Mostly I wonder, why baby why?

 

Debbie

Help Feed My Insanity, Buy a Book

A Home for Christmas and What the Heart Wants

Both Still 1.99

BUY NOW