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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Allison Carter, Senior Publicist

Allison.carter@harpercollins.com

(o) 615-902-2143; (c) 205-223-7085

 

A new Southern novel blooms—

“The Sweet Smell of Magnolias and Memories”

by Celeste Fletcher McHale releases May 23

 

(April 2017) – Celeste Fletcher McHale, award-winning author of “The Secret to Hummingbird Cake,” brings readers her second genuine-Southern novel, “The Sweet Smell of Magnolias and Memories,” on May 23.

 

“McHale has a way of creating characters who are believably flawed and human. Her wit and hilarity are perfect matches for the heartfelt romance in this winsome book,” wrote Publishers Weekly in its recent review of the new novel.

 

The story itself pulls on a relationship born out of storm—literally. The two main characters first meet during a Gulf-area flood and, through twists and turns in life and luck, find each other again.

 

Thomas Nelson

Paperback, 320 pgs., $15.99

ISBN 9780718039844

McHale, a small-town Louisiana writer gained recognition and credibility when her first novel—and first stab at writing—took off in popularity last year. “The Secret to Hummingbird Cake” was chosen as a 2016 Winter Okra Pick by the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA), an award given to a dozen “fresh” Southern books, and was recently named to SIBA’s 2017 Southern Book Prizse long list.

About the Book

Jacey and Colin shared the three most intense days of their lives together, waiting for help as Mississippi floodwaters surrounded them. Jacey knew Colin was the love of her life—until her rescue boat went under water, along with Colin’s last name and pieces of Jacey’s memory.

As Jacey walks down the aisle as the maid of honor in her friend’s wedding a year later, the last person she expects to see is Colin. The biggest surprise, though, is that the man of her dreams is not wearing jeans and flip-flops as he did when he held her through those long nights of the flood. He’s the preacher.

As Jacey’s memories come flooding back, it’s almost more than she can take. The fate of the young family trapped with them haunts her. The unwavering honesty—and support—of her best friend Georgia forces her to take a fresh look at herself. She’s spent her life afraid of love. But this flood is opening Jacey’s heart in the most unexpected ways.

About the Author

Celeste Fletcher McHale lives on her family farm in Central Louisiana where she enjoys raising a

variety of animals. Her hobbies include writing, football, baseball, and spending much time with her grandchildren. Visit Celeste at celestefletchermchale.com; Facebook: FletcherMcHale Twitter: @FletcherMcHale

 

About Thomas Nelson

Thomas Nelson, part of HarperCollins Christian Publishing, Inc., is a world-leading provider of Christian content and has been providing readers with quality inspirational product for more than 200 years. The publishing group provides multiple formats of award-winning Bibles, books, gift books, cookbooks,

curriculum, and digital content, with distribution of its products in more than 100 countries. Thomas

Nelson is headquartered in Nashville, TN. For additional information, please visit www.thomasnelson.com.

 

 

Thomas Nelson

Paperback, 320 pgs., $15.99

ISBN 9780718039844

 

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It's about six weeks until the release of The Sweet Smell of Magnolias & Memories! Woohoo! I'm excited and grateful for another book to be on the shelf.
But first I want to talk a little bit about The Secret to Hummingbird Cake.

Now, I don't read reviews anymore, but my friends do. And when they see something they don't like or agree with, they crack me up. I think they all try to beat each other to the telephone. Today, it was a review that said something about the characters in Hummingbird were unbelievable and "cartoonish." Since Hummingbird was based on a true story and real people...some of those people get really offended when you question the way they live their lives. Hahahaha. So...I'm going to educate those of ya'll who think small town folk described in southern books are "cartoonish" or "over the top."

For instance...if you visit my small, southern town...you may see somebody ride up to the drive thru window at the bank on a John Deere lawnmower. That may seem unusual to you...however, the driver doesn't have a car. But he DOES have a riding mower. You call it over the top...we call it ingenuity. And you may cruise down to the local bait shop/eatery and stumble upon three or four young women with their diapered only babies on their hips having a conversation in the parking lot about who's turn it is to boil crawfish or fry catfish while their men are offshore or working on a turnaround at an oil refinery. Again...there ain't nothing strange about that. And you may find 3/4 of the town at a t-ball game just across the highway and their MawMaw & PawPaw and Nanna & Poppa & Aunt Tootsie & Uncle Lefty & a host of other nicknames screaming at the top of their lungs at their favorite player to run his chubby little 3 year old legs to first base while he takes off for center field. Or you could stop by the local high school where everybody knows the entire lineage of every kid in the senior class....all 28 of them. So...it ain't that we are so very different...it's that you just don't know any folks like us. Doesn't make us "cartoonish" but it does make us pretty clannish. In other words, when you insult one of us...you kinda get us all.

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You know, everybody is entitled to have an opinion about everything. That's the beautiful thing about living in a free country. You can voice your views about gun control and Presidential candidates and ketchup brands and TV shows and if you should or shouldn't wear white after Labor Day. (A no brainer if you're from the South)

The same thing goes for book reviews. Not all of us like the same things and if we did how boring would it be? So...I take no issue with bad reviews about The Secret to Hummingbird Cake. I don't read the bad ones anyway. But you know what I DO take issue with? Reading this book, purposely seeking me out on my FB page or looking up my public email address and telling me things like (and all these are quotes) "you are going to hell and your friend is already there" or "you are a slut and a whore and Jesus has turned his back on you." I got those two this past week. I'M NOT KIDDING.

So here's what...my worth, my self-esteem, my validation is not wrapped up in what you think of me. Your words don't cut, scar or hurt me because I don't even know who you are. However, I am bothered when you label yourself as a Christian and put this kind of stuff out there. A true Christian would NEVER say this to another one of God's children. It is the job of a Christian to show another soul kindness and compassion, to be a friend without judgment and a lighthouse on a dark night. There is a reason the world is beginning to turn away from Christianity and it begins with people who ridicule, accuse and shun. You exclude those you deem unworthy, as if that's your decision to make. I will gladly line up with the "different folks" because that's where you would've found Jesus eating supper.

You have a nice day.

 

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2

Two. More. Days.

This has been quite the journey. One day, four years ago, I was sitting on my front porch, and I was supposed to be working. But it was just one of those days...I couldn't find what I was looking for, couldn't keep my mind on my job, I felt...blah...yuck...irritated. But I started thinking about a night years earlier that brought an immediate smile to my face. It always does when I think about her. Always scolding me, always telling me to pull my head out of my behind. Always pushing me to choose better, think better, be better. I grabbed my laptop, clicked out the work file I was in and started to type the details of that night....Four years later, The Secret to Hummingbird Cake is a love letter to the South and to my friend, Lynn, who I miss every day.

I am, of course, thrilled that this book got picked up by one of the top six publishers in the world. Another writer told me after I signed with Harper Collins, "Congratulations, you have now done what only 1% of the population has done." I am grateful, excited and still a little shocked by the opportunity. And it's becoming a whirlwind of chaos as I prepare for my launch party and a book tour that begins on this Wednesday. I am happy, yes, but.....

She would love all the stuff that surrounds this book release and all that led up to it. She'd be making every step I did and still telling me to watch my mouth, stop looking for a fight and pay attention. She'd tell me if my pants were too tight, and they always are. She'd tell me pink lipstick made me look like I was still in Junior High. She'd fuss about my hair and tell me the 80's were over and my big hair didn't get the memo. But she'd also tell me to knock 'em dead. To not be nervous because I could talk to anybody, anytime. To remember where I came from. And she'd say she was proud of me.

And I AM proud of this accomplishment. I will be eternally grateful for the opportunity. I am thankful for a hometown and parish that has supported me and cheered for me. But I am ever aware that without her, there would be no book tour. No accolades. No book. It was all because of her and I just wanted everybody to know that.

Here's to friendship...may you be blessed with true friends who love you to a fault, who are never too busy and who always have your back.

 

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7

I am pleased to announce the launch of my new website, www.celestefletchermchale.com, in order to keep everyone posted on what has been happening over the last few months and what will be happening in the months to come.

After signing with the Liza Royce Literary Agency this past year, I have been busy writing and editing my newest novel, The Secret to Hummingbird Cake. It will be released through Thomas Nelson, a division of HarperCollins Christian Publishing, on February 9, 2016, but pre-orders are now being offered on Amazon.com.

In addition, JKS Communications has joined our team to assist with the book launch and will announce upcoming appearances soon. I can't wait to get back out there and see everyone again. This will be one crazy year!

Thank you for all of the love and support.

Small Towns...Big Spirits!

 

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