When’s the Next Author Signing?


 JOIN ME ON JUNE 10TH AT THE CHESHIRE STRAWBERRY FESTIVAL

Come on down for some great live entertainment, tasty food, and cool vendors!

Mark your calendar for  Saturday, June 10th from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.! I’ll be at the Cheshire Strawberry Festival on the Green (111 Church Dr., Cheshire, CT) selling and signing books in Booth C9.

So if you’d like to meet me and have me autograph your book or take a photo together, please stop by this free event!

You can find directions and all the info you need on the Strawberry Festival’s website: http://www.funcheshireevents.com/info/cheshire-strawberry-festival-and-craft-fair

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I sent out an author update to all my email newsletter subscribers on May 31 about the event (from kourtney(dot)heintz (at)kourtneyheintz.com). If you didn’t receive it, please check your spam because the email included a free unpublished ghost story for all my newsletter subscribers.

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If you aren’t subscribed to my newsletter and you’d like to get a copy of the short story, just hop on over to my website and sign up for my author updates: http://kourtneyheintz.com/contact/

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Today is the last day to enter this Fantasy/Urban Fantasy giveway. You can win up to 28 ebooks including The Girl Who Ignored Ghosts!

Make sure you get your entry in today, June 5!

Posted in author appearance, Events, Giveaways | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

The Best 100 Novels Challenge

When I first read about the 100 Best Novels Challenge on Nathan Bransford’s blog, I thought this would be a fun challenge.  It was definitely fun at first, but then I reached 50 books and it got hard. Really hard. I’ve read tons of novels, but I got stuck on what makes a book a best novel.

For me, it was something that stuck with me years later, something that left an indelible mark on me, something I’ve reached for and reread, something I can still tell you something about now. Some of these inspired my own work. Some of these made me a better writer. Some had characters that resonated with me. Others had unique plots of world building. Some of these are just reads that I truly loved.

Then came the ranking. I did the best I could. But it’s hard to compare a YA vampire to a classic mystery and decide which is better. Especially since I adore the paranormal. Decisions, decisions.

Here is my list of the 100 best novels:

  1. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
  2. Le Petit Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (I read the French version)
  3. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Caroll
  4. Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll
  5. Palimpsest by Catherynne M. Valente
  6. The Witch of Black Bird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare
  7. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
  8. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
  9. Ocean Sea by Alessandro Baricco
  10. The Picture of Dorian Gray Oscar Wilde
  11. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
  12. The Ocean at the End of The Lane by Neil Gaiman
  13. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
  14. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
  15. The Time Keeper by Mitch Albom
  16. House of Spirits by Isabelle Allende
  17. 1984 by George Orwell
  18. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  19. Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White
  20. Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
  21. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
  22. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
  23. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
  24. And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
  25. No-No Boy by John Okada
  26. 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher
  27. Last Sacrifice by Richelle Mead
  28. Animal Farm George Orwell
  29. New Moon by Stephenie Meyer
  30. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling
  31. The Shadow Behind the Stars by Rebecca Hahn
  32. City of Glass by Cassandra Clare
  33. Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway
  34. Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler
  35. Ms. Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
  36. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
  37. Ensnared by A.G. Howard
  38. The Velveteen Rabbit Margery Williams
  39. Winnie-the-Pooh by A.L. Milne
  40. The Fire Sermon by Francesca Haig
  41. The Probable Future by Alice Hoffman
  42. Bones of Fairie by Janni Lee Simner
  43. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
  44. The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley
  45. The Amaranth Enchantment by Julie Berry
  46. Wait For Me An Na
  47. The Secret Life of Bees Sue Monk Kidd
  48. The Murderer’s Daughters by Randy Sue Meyers
  49. An Ice Cold Grave by Charlaine Harris
  50. The Woman in Black by Susan Hill
  51. Invincible by Dawn Metcalf
  52. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
  53. From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg
  54. The Dust of 100 Dogs by A.S. King
  55. L’etranger by Albert Camus
  56. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
  57. The Hound of the Baskerville by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  58. Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
  59. Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton
  60. To Kill A Mockingbird Harper Lee
  61. Franny and Zoey by J.D. Salinger
  62. Catherine, Called Birdy by Karen Cushman
  63. The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle
  64. Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
  65. South of the Border West of the Sun by Haruki Marukami
  66. Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
  67. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
  68. The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides
  69. City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare
  70. If Onions Could Spring Leeks Paige Shelton
  71. Double Up by Gretchen Archer
  72. Juliet Immortal by Stacey Jay
  73. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
  74. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
  75. Death’s Dream Kingdom by Jessica Penot
  76. Deadline by Chris Crutcher
  77. The Future of Us by Jay Asher
  78. Dead Harvest by Chris F. Holm
  79. Nightshade Andrea Cremer
  80. Blood Promise by Richelle Mead
  81. Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
  82. The Sign of Four by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  83. The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer by Jennifer Lynch
  84. Unhinged by A.G. Howard
  85. The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd
  86. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  87. Divergent by Veronica Roth
  88. Mischief Amanda Quick
  89. Witch Hill by Marion Zimmer Bradley
  90. Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach
  91. The Call of the Wild by Jack London
  92. Caught by Harlen Coben
  93. Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King
  94. Storm Winds by Iris Johansen
  95. Fatal Fixer Upper by Jennie Bentley
  96. Heist Society Ally Carter
  97. Millicent Min Girl Genius by Lisa Yee
  98. Sun Blind by Gwen Hansen
  99. The Darkwater Liar’s Account by K. Lyn Wurth
  100. Slumber Party by Christopher Pike

After spending hours on this, I’m hesitant to tag anyone with this mighty task. So if anyone wants to participate, comment below with a link to your list and I’ll link to your post here in my post. And if you just want to share your top ten or chat about the books on my list, comment below.

 

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Posted in novels, reading | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

My Reading Round Up

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been reorganizing all my books. This is a 1/3 of what I tackled. As I dusted and rearranged my books, I realized it was time for a reading round up here on the blog. Especially since I’ve given myself a Goodreads Reading Challenge of reading 39 books this year.

But first I want to disclose that I am now an Amazon Affiliate. The legal disclosure will now appear in the footer of my blog going forward. What that means is that any time I include an Amazon link on this blog, if you click on it and make a purchase, Amazon will then pay me a percentage based on what you buy. It doesn’t cost you anything extra, but it’s a way for me to make a little more money and also track if sales happen from my links.

It in no way impacts my book reviews because I always write positive reviews of books because I feel there is an inherent conflict of interest in authors reviewing books and giving  negative reviews of other authors. If I don’t like a book, I simply don’t review it.

So far I have read 13 books this year. Instead of posting all those reviews here, I’ll just give you a one-sentence thought excerpted from my review. (The books are listed in chronological order of when they were read.)

The world building is exquisite and I never felt lost–not for a single second.

http://amzn.to/2pLcAoq

2.

The sequel was a terrific follow up and had me hooked from the first page.

http://amzn.to/2pLHKeR

3.

This is the best end to a trilogy that I’ve ever read.

http://amzn.to/2qfJocy

4.

I am in awe of how Ms. Clare can loop all these plot threads together so perfectly.

http://amzn.to/2r6bwiY

5.

This was a quick read and sure to delight fans of feel good romances with a Christian touch.

http://amzn.to/2rfFqyG

6.

My last book release had me dreading promotion, but Tim Grahl’s handbook has given me the tools and the perspective to dive into the next book launch with gusto.

http://amzn.to/2pL4pbW

7.

Once again Gretchen Archer delivers a lightning-fast, fantastically fun read in her Davis Way series. I’ve read every single one and each one is better than the last one–which is saying a lot because the first book was awesome!

http://amzn.to/2r5Fzra

8.

I would highly recommend this book to people with a passion for the ocean, an interest in marine environmental issues, or who wonder what ocean exploration might be like.

http://amzn.to/2qG3xcL

9.

Intricate plotting, cool mystery, sweet romantic subplot, and a host of Hollywood stars invading Star City, Utah, all conspired to create a great read.

http://amzn.to/2pLcOMp

10.

The concept for this book immediately grabbed my attention with a fate changer and a cursed fate.

http://amzn.to/2r5L4Go

11.

Wow, I am a definite fan of Dawn Metcalf and will read whatever she writes next!

http://amzn.to/2qjrNOG

12.

Little do they know that their pranks will awaken the actual ghosts and draw them into a terrifying secret…

http://amzn.to/2r6hUGM

13.

I had to read my own book again to work on the sequel. It counts toward my reading challenge. 😉 A time travel murder mystery filled with unbelievables–ghosts, spells, and curses.

http://amzn.to/2rflgEU

What have you been reading? Are you participating in the Goodreads Reading Challenge this year?

Posted in reading | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

The Six Lessons Vertigo Taught Me

1. Appreciate the Small Things

From December through April, walking around outside went from impossible to challenging to doable with care. Being able to move my gaze around the yard while I am walking Emerson is a new treat.

2. Savor the Weird Superpowers

A side affect of the vertigo is that my eyes are still sensitive to movement and colors. It makes shopping very hard. But I notice every little change in the yard. I can spot a squirrel in a tree better than the dogs.

3. Do Less, Notice More

Each day, I have a to-do list. It’s not nearly as intense as it used to be. Many days, items carry over to the next day. I am actively doing less, but noticing so much more. My mind has time to play. To watch spring unfolding. New story ideas are germinating.

 

4. Not Much is Life or Death, Except Life or Death

Every book launch felt like life or death to me. I would sacrifice sleep, work 14-hour days for months on end, put off socializing, ignore my body, and neglect my mind–all in pursuit of that elusive success in sales. In my mind, effort would equate to success. I put so much stress on myself that my body was literally experiencing life or death stakes over something that was so not that.

 

5. Make Time for What Matters Now

Every day, I take the the goldens, Rora and Reagan, out for twenty-five minutes of play time. I also take Emerson out for ten minutes of explorer time. He hates walking, but if I let him lead me around the yard, he gets to pretend he’s Indiana Jones.

6. Balance is Elusive and Requires Work

If I stop doing my therapy exercises, my balance will erode. I have to make time every day to do my exercises and to push myself a little without pushing too hard. I am constantly running into new walls and learning when to back off and when to keep nudging.

Have you found an illness or a bad experience gave you unexpected insight or lessons you needed?

Posted in illness, Personal | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

Why Friend Weekends Are the Best Weekends

Brett came to visit me and as always we found something new to explore: Kettletown State Park. It was a pretty easy trail for a mile. I haven’t hiked since last fall so it was nice to get out in nature. The weather was 60s and pretty and partly cloudy–perfect hiking weather.

I was delighted to learn I could go about 45 minutes before my brain started to feel fatigued (from the vertigo). Luckily we were near the road and could walk there which is much easier than navigating around tree roots and rocks.

The overcast day made everything seem a little sinister/haunted–which I loved. I may have to write  a short story about this place!

The sound of water rushing toward us was invigorating.

Afterward, we found an amazing Thai place nearby in Southbury–Samui. The lunch special was awesome soup & salad and entree for $11!

I

My Tom Yum soup had two nice shrimp and was packed with flavor.

The Chicken Pad Pik Pao was savory and delicious.

We split the mango and sticky rice. It’s the perfect way to end a meal. Tart and sweet and warm.

We did some belated birthday present opening for Brett and caught up over tea at home.

Then we headed to Ideal Tavern in Southington for dinner. I love this place. It’s got a nice setting and delicious twists on old favorites.

We started with the nachos with steak. And by the time we were finished, we looked at each other and admitted that we were kinda full. Seriously awesome nachos with caramelized onions, spicy-sweet pepper, guacamole, manchego cheese, and delicious steak pieces.

Then came my meal. The reuben with a side salad. Both were delightful. The reuben was packed with meat and the side salad had a pear vinagrette. My taste buds will be thanking me for the next week.

Brett got the mac and cheese, but it was a decadent not-your-mama’s mac and cheese.

We both ended up taking home half our dinners and having them for lunch the next day because we had to try their lemon tart. It had a caramelized marshmallow on the top and a strawberry rhubarb compote. Perfect balance of tart, tangy and super sweet.

We went home to curl up with a good movie and discovered Amazon Prime has a lot of junk. My Netflix was malfunctioning and Prime was our only option.

After 5 false starts–including annoying amateur short films which were bundled in with all the other horror movies–that we quit in 5-10 minutes, we settled on an 80s slasher flick, The House on Sorority Row. It was pretty funny–at least to us. We had a few rewind and rewatch and giggle moments.

Then we talked until we fell asleep.

It’s great to have someone to adventure with, who gets your humor, and enjoys the food you do.

Do you make time for a friend weekend? What are your favorite things to do?

 

Posted in Personal, Ramblings | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 25 Comments

Why Self-Hosting a Blog Became Important to Me

Welcome to my new blogging home! I kept everything I could about the old blog, including my 7 years of posts and my theme, and migrated it over to my website.

I’m sure lots of you are wondering why after 7 years with WordPress.com, I decided to self-host my blog on my own website.

It wasn’t a decision I undertook lightly because it was costly and time consuming.

I’d thought about it in the past as a way to increase traffic to my own website, but the cost had dissuaded me. Besides, everything was going great with WordPress.com. I didn’t have a need to switch.

But in November 2016 during the tail end of my blog tour for Highway Thirteen to Manhattan something awful happened: my blog was suspended by WordPress.com for violating the terms of service.

There was no warning. I just typed in the URL and got a this site is suspended for violating the terms of service page.

I emailed WordPress and they told me someone had notified them that my blog was spam and  therefore in violation of the terms of service because I was doing book promotion on my personal blog that they hosted.

Now, mind you, my blog is about MY AUTHOR JOURNEY. And I absolutely was posting about my book tour. But only about my book tour. I emailed with WordPress explaining this and they quickly reinstated my blog a few days later and apologized for the mistake.

This experience, however, shocked me. That my blog platform could be taken down so quickly without any notice during a blog tour told me that I could no longer remain with WordPress.com as my blog host. It was simply too risky.

I immediately contacted my amazing web designer and she began the steps to build my blog into my own website so that I could self-host it.

We began the process in December. It’s been months of migrating and checking and testing. I’m hopeful things will transition smoothly, but I’m sure there will be hiccups.

We were able to migrate all my blog subscribers, so you should still get updates about postings in your inbox. If anyone isn’t receiving them, please let me know and we will look into it.

Have any of my blog friends made the switch to self-hosting? How has your experience been?

 

 

 

Posted in blogging, Promotion | Tagged , , , , , | 30 Comments

The Story of the Door

 

Ah, the door. I promised a story, so here goes. A couple years back, I begged my old friend Ant to take me to Sleepy Hollow. I love the Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Washington Irving. After reading Jessica Verday’s The Hollow, I had to visit the graveyard.

As we wandered the cemetery where the headless horseman took his legendary ride, we came across this mausoleum. I’ve always been fascinated by hourglasses and I took 6 photos–my norm for when I find something intriguing. The design lingered in the back of my mind.

A month later, I was working on my first draft of The Girl Who Saved Ghosts. I had this scene where Kat is led by her great aunts, Jacqueline and Vivian, to the center of power in her family’s home, Dumbarton. And this door popped into my mind.

Here’s  a sneak peek at the draft:

I stood there, staring at the door. It was a greenish-blue metal and had an hourglass sculpted on it. Carved above the hourglass was a crescent moon and below the hourglass was a sun.

I looked from Vivian to Jacqueline, bewildered. “What am I supposed to do?”

“Open this door. It protects the family’s power,” Jacqueline said.

There wasn’t a knob or a handle. No keyhole. Nothing. “How?”

“Touch the door. Let it know who you are and why you are here,” Vivian said.

Nothing like major existential questions. Who was I? Katarina Preston. Now Katarina Langley. I was a girl who spoke to ghosts and helped them with their reckonings. I was the Langley heir. A time traveler who changed the past. The one who protected the Radcliffes from supernatural harm.

Why I was here? That was complicated. I wanted to find out who my family was. And I was supposed to help Evan by returning the Kingsley dagger to him. And I needed training to use my powers to protect Joshua, Evan, and everyone else I cared about. I chewed on my lip and stared at the door. Was that enough? Was there more I had to tell it?

Suddenly, the hourglass came to life. The sand began flowing in reverse from bottom to top. When it was full, the door sprang open.

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If you’d like to receive more insider info like this along with upcoming giveaways, preorder giveaways, and author events, please sign up for my newsletter:

http://kourtneyheintz.com/contact/

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If you add The Girl Who Saved Ghosts to your want-to-read list on Goodreads, you will receive alerts whenever I’m giving away an advance reader copy or a signed book. They will also let you know when the next book is the series is coming out.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34619522-the-girl-who-saved-ghosts

 

Posted in book release, Giveaways, inspiration, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

TGWIG’s Sequel Gets a Title!

BOOK NEWS

My publisher has decided on the title for The Girl Who Ignored Ghost’s sequel! I’m so excited to announce it because it was one of my suggestions!

Drumroll please…

The title for the second book in The Unbelievables series will be:

THE GIRL WHO SAVED GHOSTS

I love this title because it is similar to book one’s title and also hints at Kat’s changing relationship with ghosts. When I get the back cover blurb and cover from my publisher this spring, I’ll be sharing those too!

This book will be out in October 2017!

Since January, I’ve been working on editorial revisions for this book. I am really loving where the story is going and am polishing things up to send off to my editor on March 18.

(In my next post, I’ll tell you how the picture inspired a scene in TGWSG.)

 

BLOG READING

Most of you know, I’ve been dealing with an ongoing inner ear issue that has topsy-turvied my balance and my life.

I haven’t been reading blogs because scrolling makes me sick. I’m hoping I can do a little blog reading once I have the first rounds of edits turned in. I have to baby-step my way back to my normal level of tolerance.

In the same vein, reading a Kindle is hard for me. Before I got sick, I pre-ordered many author buddies’ books on Kindle and I haven’t been able to read them. I will. It’s a process of exposing and acclimating to the things that make my vertigo worse. So I am hoping I will be reading more on Kindle this summer and getting reviews up.

Posted in blogging, book release, Personal, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dog Days of Winter


I lay down in the snow one day and just looked up at the trees. When I lived in the city, Emerson and I would take walks and go lay on a bench and stare up at the trees. I don’t know why I stopped making time for that, so I’m going to do more of it this year.


Reagan has this new game in the snow, she takes a tennis ball, buries it, and then digs it out. This provides such entertainment for her. And as the snow goes flying past me, I can’t help but laugh.

We also play ball a few times a week. She does this thing where she bit the ball with her nose back at you to play catch. Hilarious.

Emerson and I have been playing more. He loves to take my old clothes and beat them up and chew on them.

He can make a game out of anything. Sometimes we are lying in bed and I move and he decides it’s a game and starts attacking me.

It’s funny what amuses animals. And how much it amuses me to watch them.

What do your pets do that makes you smile or laugh?

Posted in Personal, writing conference | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Taking My Time

 

I spent the past year rushing. Rushing to get revisions done. Rushing to line up promo events. Rushing to create marketing materials. Rushing. Rushing. Rushing.

I can’t remember a single moment where I wasn’t trying to do something faster or feeling like I was behind.

And in the end, I got sick. A prolonged, frustrating sick.

That brings me to today. I’m working at 75-80% of my usual abilities. I can’t rush. When I do, everything gets messed up.

And I realize I hate rushing. It sucks the joy out of what I’m doing.

So I’d rather do things at a more reasonable pace and actually, well, enjoy my life.

I’m done putting tons of pressure on myself to be faster and faster. I’m actually going to aim to be a little slower with things.

My goal for 2017: I’m going to do less in more time.

Posted in illness, Personal, revision | Tagged , , | Leave a comment