Changes

When I first started this blog in 2012, I had just published my first novel and my intention was to post about things related to my books and writing. But, as happens with life, my focus over time has changed. Over the years, my blog has become more centred around my love of gardening, and art and crafts, (which do both feature strongly in my novels!) As such, I have decided to keep this blog for occasional posts about book and writing updates, and I am starting a new blog, Foxgloves and Bumblebees, focusing on my love of nature where I can share my garden, nature walks, and nature inspired art and crafts.

My new blog will be under my real name of Christine. Many people have asked me why I chose to publish my novels under the pen name of Kristah Price instead of using my own name. The simple answer is that when I published my first novel there was already an author with the same name as mine, so I decided to publish my books under a name that was unique. Since then, I have married and changed my name, and will publish my next book under my own name.

I hope you will visit me at Foxgloves and Bumblebees.com for lots of nature inspired loveliness!

Written in the Stars

I have always had an interest in astrology; not in reading generic horoscopes in papers or magazines, but in the scientific aspect of mapping the planets and stars in the sky at the exact time we are born into this life. I love the idea that the position of the planets might have an influence on shaping our personality and our life path – our personal star map to help guide us through our life journey, while allowing our own free will and self-awareness to help us make choices along the way.

A couple of years ago, I saw that one of my favourite mixed-media artists, Suzi Blu, and her friend Courtney were offering astrological birth chart readings. I had always been aware that my personality was vastly different to that typical of my star sign and, curious to learn more about it, I signed up for a reading. I provided my exact time, date, and place of birth, and a couple of weeks later I received a PDF chart and a recorded in-depth explanation of the signs and personal interpretation of how it all related to my life. So much of it made perfect sense. Without knowing me, they were able to pinpoint my personality exactly and I was able to make sense of that which had always puzzled me. They also validated that I was on the right path with what I had chosen to do with my life, but suggested that my soul’s purpose was to delve deeper into my emotions, talk about uncomfortable things, and to write deeply things that are meaningful to me.

I am very fortunate to have had a good life with wonderful family and friends, a happy upbringing, and a happy marriage. The one thing I have struggled with over the years is social anxiety, which at times has led to crippling panic attacks, and in the past made school and work situations unhappy places to be.

After the reading I thought about what Suzi and Courtney had said and, soon after, I began writing ‘The Air that I Breathe.’ Although written as a fictional novel, this was a story with which I had a deep personal connection and could write from a heartfelt place of experience and emotion, a story that touched on my own personal experiences with social anxiety and panic attacks. But rather than dwell on the negative aspects, I wanted it to be a story of how we can create our own life path by choosing to live an authentic life and build a life around the things that allow us to feel happy and fulfilled. We shouldn’t be defined by our fears, our weaknesses and imperfections, but rather we should choose to shine a light on all that is good in our lives, on our strengths, our talents and capabilities, and on all that we have to offer others.

Available from Amazon

Social anxiety is only a small part of my life now. I have created a life around the things and the people who make me happy, a life that is full and rewarding. I haven’t had a panic attack in a long time. I know the triggers, I do my best to avoid those situations, and knowing I can choose to avoid them makes all the difference in the world to my personal wellbeing.

If it were not for that birth chart reading, ‘The Air that I Breathe’ would probably never have been written. I guess you could say that its creation was ‘written in the stars.’

This art journal page depicts my star sign, Aries. I had a lot of fun painting it, with bursts of colour denoting moments of creation in the universe. Actually, they were blobs of paint that I peeled from my pallete paper the next day and stuck to the page. I thought they added a unique element to the painting.

Book Release – The Air that I Breathe

I am delighted to announce the release of my new novel, The Air that I Breathe. It is available as a paperback and an ebook from Amazon.com.

This is a book close to my heart as it deals with social anxiety and panic attacks, emotions I have struggled with over the years. Although Zoe and her story are fictional, I have drawn on my own experiences in writing this novel, and hope it will be a story that others who have gone through, or are going through, similar experiences can relate to.

You can read the book description below.

The_Air_that_I_Breat_Cover_for_Kindle

Available from Amazon.com

Zoe Marche is afraid of the outside world. She has created a sanctuary for herself in her little bungalow on the hill, tending her beloved garden and creating magical pieces of art. But an invitation and the arrival of a stranger throw her world off-balance and cause her to question whether there might be more to life than the sheltered existence she has chosen.

Zoe must make a choice. Is she ready to face her fears and live her life the way that others expect of her? Or is she already living the life she was meant to live?

The Air that I Breathe is a story of choices, of possibilities, and of chasing dreams.

Character Journal

I love when the back to school sales are on and I can stock up on stationery for my writing. When I saw these Kraft notebooks with dividers advertised in the Whitcoulls flyer I thought they would be perfect for character journals. I bought an A4, an A5 and a set of 4 small tabbed notebooks.

The best part is that they have plain brown covers, perfect for decorating. I decorated the A5 notebook with scrapbook papers and embellishments.

Each section is dedicated to a character in my novel, where I can bring them to life as I record detailed descriptions of their appearances, their homes, their families, their history, their likes and dislikes. I also include pictures of things related to their lives such as  the houses they might live in. I love to browse through real estate guides and choose each character a home according to their personality. For my main character, her garden plays an important part in her story, so in her section I am including stickers and pictures of things she might have in her garden.

When I am writing a novel, I find that taking time out to do crafty things like this helps to make the whole process of novel writing so much more fun, and it helps me really get to know my characters.

Folders of Inspiration

When I am writing a novel, I like to keep a ring binder dedicated to the book. A place to store information, research, pictures from cards and magazines that provide inspiration, artwork, character profiles, and anything related to the story I am writing – all together in one place.

I love pretty ring binders. Many years ago I bought two that I knew I would find a special use for one day. One of them I used for the Wattle Lane novels. It contains artwork, recipes, research on gold mining towns, and even has a section dedicated to everything I could find about pigs. In The House in Wattle Lane, Ethan has a pet kune kune pig, and I was surprised when I started looking, just how many articles and pictures I found in magazines and newspapers about pet pigs. I got lots of pictures from visiting our local farmyard zoo, and of pet pigs spotted in paddocks around our local area. I also gained first-hand knowledge when our neighbours kept a pig in their back yard for a short time.

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The second of the folders I used for my novel Where the Moths Dance. I filled it with pictures and information on herbs, mythology and folklore of trees, magic, graveyards, ghosts, moon phases, moths, and anything to do with the paranormal.

Now I am about to begin a new novel, a stand-alone novel that I am excited about, and I have a lovely new ring binder to begin filling with inspiration and information. It is actually a scrapbook ring binder album from the Kaisercraft Fairy Dust collection, so it is big enough to hold scrapbook pages and it has plastic page protectors inside. I can’t wait to start filling it as I begin my new book. And with a new moon this weekend, it seems like a perfect time to embark on a new project!

Book Release: Christmas in Wattle Lane

Christmas in Wattle Lane

I am thrilled to announce that my new novel, Christmas in Wattle Lane, is now available on Amazon as a paperback and an ebook. Just in time for Christmas, this third book in the Wattle Lane novels continues the story of Angeline, Neave, and Lily as they prepare for the festive season.

Here is the description of the book.

Christmas is coming to Wattle Lane.

Angeline is making a very special scrapbook album for her daughter. But as she pieces together the past, will some memories be too painful to relive?

Neave is preparing for her first Christmas in Wattle Lane. As she makes decorations and bakes pies, she wonders if her greatest wish, a future with Ethan, will ever come true.

Lily is staying with Neave at the Wattle Lane Guest House while her parents are overseas. When she notices strange lights in the vacant house next door, what starts out as a quiet holiday turns into a quest to solve the mystery of the night-time intruder.

Pippa arrives at the Wattle Lane Guest House with two intentions – to escape Christmas, and to mend a broken heart. But is the small town of Kerrigan far enough away to leave her past behind?

As the festive season approaches, the residents of Wattle Lane are drawn together in joy, heartache, love , and the magic of Christmas.

Amazon.com

Amazon.uk

Visit my Wattle Lane blog for crafts and recipes from the Wattle Lane novels.

Book Update

Christmas in Wattle Lane, the third novel in my Wattle Lane series, is now finished and has been passed on to my lovely editor and proof reader.

In this third instalment, Neave and Lily prepare to celebrate their first Christmas in the Wattle Lane Guest House. As they make vintage-themed decorations and bake Christmas goodies, a guest arrives with a strange aversion to Christmas, while next door, at Wattle Lane Keepsakes, Angeline relives some emotional memories from her past as she makes a very special scrapbook album for her daughter.

Now it’s on to the all-important book cover. Christmas evokes so many wonderful images that it will be hard to choose one to best represent the Christmas spirit of Wattle Lane – handmade paper snowflakes, vintage ornaments, or maybe some yummy Christmas fare…

Book Tour: Where the Moths Dance

 

Where the Moths Dance

 

I am excited to announce that Enchanted Book Promotions has organised a virtual book tour for my young adult, paranormal novel, Where the Moths Dance. The tour runs for the month of August and includes book excerpts, author interviews, book reviews, and a giveaway for a signed paperback copy of the book. I’ve posted the tour schedule below and hope that you will check out these great book blogs!

August 1st: Starter Day Party @ I Heart Reading

August 1st: Book Excerpt @   Sylv Jenkins’ Blog

August 2nd: Promo Post @ I’m an Eclectic Reader

August 3rd: Book Excerpt @ Ashley’s Paranormal Book Blog

August 5th: Promo Post @ The Reading Guru

August 7th: Author Interview @ Majanka’s Blog

August 9th: Promo Post @ Rose Shadow Ink

August 11th: Book Review @ Forever Book Lover

August 13th: Book Excerpt @ Realm Tramper

August 15th: Promo Post @ Editor Charlene’s Blog

August 16th: Book Excerpt @ Hollow Readers

August 17th: Author Interview @ Cassidy Crimson’s Blog

August 18th: Book Review @ Endazzled Reading

August 19th: Promo Post @ The Book Daily

August 21st: Book Review @ I Heart Reading

August 23rd: Book Excerpt @ Books Direct

August 24th: Book Review @ Books, Books and More Books

August 25th: Author Interview @ The Single Librarian

August 26th: Book Excerpt @ Fantasy Book Lane

August 28th: Promo Post @ Bookaholic Ramblings

August 30th: Book Review @ Paranormal Romance and Authors That Rock

September 1st: Book Review and Book Excerpt @ Dalene’s Book Reviews

A Sense of Place

I love to read books with a strong sense of place, ones in which I can imagine the setting so vividly that it seems real. I think the best books are those which not only describe the physical setting, but engage all the senses to draw the reader into the story. Alluding to the smell, the sounds, the feel of a place, all help to make it come alive. For me, a story with a strong sense of place helps the story to linger in my memory long after I have finished the book.

Laura Ingalls Wilder achieved this beautifully in the Little House books. Her descriptions of the places she and her family lived were so richly detailed with the sounds and smells and feel of her surroundings that it was easy to feel a part of her world. The way she describes the little log house in the big woods of Wisconsin, the enormous, empty prairie, with the great blue sky above it, the small town of De Smet where Laura and Carrie went to school, truly bring the stories to life. I could almost feel the penetrating cold of the blizzards, hear the birdsong and the whispering of the wind through the grasses, see the wildflowers, the fields of Pa’s crops, the furniture inside the little log house.

 

In Don’t Let Me Go by Catherine Ryan Hyde, most of the story takes place in an apartment building. The story revolves around a  young girl, who is neglected by her troubled mother, and who seeks help from the building’s occupants. The lives of the residents become intertwined as they are brought together in their bid to help 10-year-old Grace evade Social Services. The strong sense of place is central to the story not only for Grace, but also for another of the building’s residents, Billy Shine, who is agoraphobic and has not left his apartment in years.

 

 

A tiny island off the west coast of Ireland is the setting for Casting Off by Nicole R. Dickson. Rebecca Moray goes to the island with her young daughter, Rowan, to research a book on Irish knitting and to seek refuge from a painful past. Nicole Dickson has created a strong sense of place as we learn the history of the island and meet the many colourful characters who inhabit it. I think I enjoyed this book so much because it is the sort of place I would love to visit.

 

 

One of my favourite books I have read lately has been Astor Place Vintage by Stephanie Lehmann. The chapters alternate between Amanda, who runs a vintage clothing store in present day New York, and Olive, a young woman in turn-of-the-century New York. When Amanda finds Olive’s journal sewn into a fur muff, she learns what life was like in her own neighbourhood more than a hundred years ago. Throughout the story there is a strong sense of place in both modern day New York and early twentieth century New York. With the wonderful descriptions of the city in both eras, and of the department store in which Olive works, I felt as though I were right there with the characters. Also, I love that there are many old photographs in the book of New York City as it was in Olive’s era.

 

I always try to create a strong sense of place in my own writing. I ask myself What would I see, hear, feel, and smell if I were the character?

Where the Moths DanceIn Where the Moths Dance, much of the story takes place in an old graveyard, surrounded by gum trees, whose gnarly old roots encroach onto the pavement leading up the hill. The graveyard is Jessie’s sanctuary, where she talks to the dead, and can navigate her way around the gravestones in the dark like a night hunter. She finds comfort in the sound of the wind through the gum trees, the cawing of the crows as they fly between the branches overhead, the smell of eucalyptus after it has rained. But Gum Tree Hill Cemetery harbours something more sinister, and when Jessie’s sanctuary is threatened, the graveyard becomes vital in Jessie’s battle to protect those she loves.

 

Scrappy Cupcake AngelsScrappy Cupcake Angels is set in Kerrigan, a small New Zealand town with a gold-mining past. The story revolves around a scrapbooking shop, in a converted Victorian house, down a small lane. As the aroma of coffee swirls tantalisingly through the shop, drifting out the door to lure in passers-by with the temptation of warmth and comfort, Angeline teaches the folk of Kerrigan to embrace their creativity and make beautiful keepsakes. For four women, it is the friendship, and the chance to escape from life’s hassles for a few hours each week, that keeps them coming back to the cosy, little shop, where problems seem to mysteriously sort themselves out.

New Cover for Scrappy Cupcake Angels

My novel, Scrappy Cupcake Angels, has just come out with a new cover. I think the new design has more of a crafty feel and is perfect for the story inside.

Most online retailers are now selling the new edition, but some, such as Amazon, may still have the old cover on their website until they have sold the books they have in stock. It is available as a paperback, hardback, and ebook.

Here is the new cover.

Scrappy Cupcake Angels

 

Amazon.com

Amazon UK

Barnes & Noble

Fishpond (NZ)

Also, I have a new blog, which will be all about the book. It will have recipes and crafts from the story, as well as news on upcoming books in the Wattle Lane series. Click here to take a look. www.wattlelane.wordpress.com

Book Release: Where the Moths Dance

I am thrilled to announce that Where the Moths Dance is now available on Amazon as both a paperback and an ebook.

Where the Moths Dance

A young adult, paranormal novel about a haunted graveyard, a ghost boy, and a teenage girl who must battle the evil that has invaded her sanctuary.

Amazon.com
Amazon.co.uk

If you enjoy reading the book, then hop on over to my new blog wherethemothsdance.wordpress.com where I will be writing about everything to do with Jessie’s world of moonlight, moths and magic.

Cover Reveal: Where the Moths Dance

I am excited to reveal the cover for my new book, which will be out in the next few weeks. Where the Moths Dance is a paranormal ghost story, and my first novel for young adults. The design is by Heather McCorkle of McCorkle Creations who, as well as designing fantastic covers, is an author of fantasy novels for young adults and adults.

Where the Moths Dance

This is the full front and back cover, which I am thrilled with!

Where the moths dance

About The Book

Sixteen-year-old Jessie Hale lives in the caretaker’s cottage at the bottom of Gum Tree Hill Cemetery. She feels more comfortable surrounded by the dead than the living, and the graveyard is her sanctuary, a place to escape from her troubled home life and from her mother’s despicable boyfriend, Conrad.

Elliott Rossi has found a way to come back from the dead. He needs to warn Jessie about a demon who can also access the living world and has his new prey firmly in his grasp.

When Jessie learns who has become the demon’s latest victim, she must enlist the help of her friends to battle the evil that has invaded her sanctuary, turning her life upside down and threatening to destroy everything she cares about.

Then there is the small matter of falling in love with a dead boy.

Stay tuned for news of the book’s release!

My 2014 Art Journal

At the beginning of this year, I started a new art journal. I’m using a sketchbook that I bought last year—I just love the cover!

journal1

Inside, I created a title page. I painted the background and stamped on random shapes using bubble wrap, corrugated cardboard and a cardboard tube. Then I glued down pictures cut from scrapbook cardstock and cards.

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I journaled my goals for the year—nothing too adventurous, just simple things like gardening, writing and crafts. Oh, and most importantly, adopt a dog! Then, throughout the year, I am going to journal about the things that make me happy, the things that make up my everyday life. It might be places that I visit, things I’ve seen, a book I’ve enjoyed, or flowers that are blooming in my garden.

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journal5

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By the end of the year my journal will be filled with thoughts and imaginings, photographs, drawings, clippings, stickers, and anything else I might want to put in there. It will be like a scrapbook, a way for me to creatively document my year, and at the end of the year I will have a colourful journal of memories.

Hidden Dreams

Over the past few years, I have had several novellas published in My Weekly Pocket Novels, and People’s Friend Pocket Novels, in the UK. Recently, I decided to publish them as eBooks to make them available to a wider readership. The first, Hidden Dreams, is for sale on Amazon, now, as a Kindle eBook. To read more about it, click here.

Hidden Dreams

Chasing A Dream

For as long as I can remember, I have dreamed of making a living as a novelist, of working from home and creating stories that people might want to read. As I dreamed, I worked as a supermarket deli assistant, a fiber tester, a data entry operator, an apple picker, a cider bottler, a home help, and a despatch worker. Eventually I sold a novella to a magazine in Scotland. Then I sold a few more. But I realised that this would never provide me with the means to give up my day job and write full-time. So I started writing novels. But several novels and a pile of rejection letters later, I decided that if I was ever going to achieve my dream, I would have to take control of my career and be proactive.

Last year I set myself some goals. I would write a novel, publish it, and promote it myself. Then any success or failure would be down to me. So I wrote a novel about a subject I love—a scrapbook novel, I bought a self-publishing package, I set up a website and blog, and I chased my dream.

I chose Abbott Press to publish my book. As a division of Writer’s Digest, whom I have found to be a valuable source of information and resources over the years, I knew that they were all about helping authors realise their dreams. Abbott Press have been wonderful, helping me to produce a book I can be proud of. With their guidance, I felt in complete control every step of the way. I learned a lot about my writing and about the whole publishing process, from formatting to editing and design.

These are exciting times for writers, with so many opportunities to take control of your own career, and not have to wait around forever to be noticed by an agent or publisher. With self-publishing and e-publishing, and the great opportunities available for self-promotion through social media and blogging etc., it has become easier than ever for a writer to turn their dream into reality. With a little imagination and a lot of hard work, the possibilities are limitless.

Last week was an exciting time for me when I got to hold my book for the very first time. Although it was incredibly exciting to have my first story published in My Weekly all those years ago, there is nothing quite as special as seeing your name on an actual book.

What the future holds, nobody knows. Although I am not yet making a living from writing, at least for now I have been given the chance to live my dream, to stay at home and write stories—and hope that they bring people enjoyment. I have many more stories to tell about Wattle Lane Keepsakes and the people who gather there to explore their creativity and embellish life’s magic moments. I look forward to sharing more of their stories with you, my readers.

Scrappy Cupcake Angels

Nothing can quell Angeline Dunwich’s excitement as she stands before Wattle Lane Keepsakes. As she opens the door to her scrapbooking shop for the first time, Angeline hopes to encourage the residents of her small New Zealand town to explore their creativity and capture memories. Little does she know that Wattle Lane Keepsakes will very soon become the weekly destination for four women drawn to scrapbooking for widely different reasons.

Every Thursday Angeline teaches the Scrappy Cupcake Angels how to find joy through scrapbooking, and each of the four learns to confront her fears and to understand what is important in life. As Grace works on a scrapbook for her mother who has dementia, she wonders if it will help her mother cling to her last memories. Tegan scraps her travel photos with an insatiable wanderlust while contemplating where her heart really belongs. As Jodi creates beautiful layouts of her daughter, she questions whether any of her efforts will help mend her broken family. Kayla finds it easiest to express herself through her art, but secretly speculates whether she will ever gain the confidence to realise her dreams.

As Angeline opens her home and her heart to her new friends, only time will tell if the Scrappy Cupcake Angels can help her overcome her own greatest fear and fulfil a lifelong dream.

Scrappy Cupcake Angels is available as a paperback, hardback and eBook from:

Abbott Press

Amazon 

Barnes & Noble

Amazon UK

Fishpond (New Zealand)