Valerie Joan Connors is the author of four novels, A Better Truth (2016), A Promise Made (2015), Shadow of a Smile (2014) and In Her Keeping (Bell Bridge Books, 2013). She is a past president of the Atlanta Writers Club, an organization with more than 600 active members and a 102-year history in the Atlanta area, and she continues to serve on the AWC board as VP of Programming and Officer Emerita. During business hours, she’s the CFO of an engineering firm. Valerie lives in Atlanta with her husband and two dogs, and is working on her next novel.
Find out more about Valerie and her books on her website: www.valeriejoanconnors.com
When the frantic pace of her Washington, D.C. life becomes too much for her to bear, Willow St. Claire takes refuge in the North Georgia mountains. She buys a bookstore, hoping to spend her days talking to customers about the latest releases, and her evenings in the quiet oasis of her mountain retreat. Alone in her cabin, two miles away from the nearest neighbor, Willow must learn to cope with the terror of her past, heal from the loss of her mother, and maintain a relationship with a teenaged daughter who refuses to leave D.C. where she lives with her father. But late one night, a knock at Willow’s kitchen door sets off a series of events that will shatter her newly found peace and tranquility, and threaten to trigger another breakdown. Willow has held tightly to her own version of the truth for over three decades, because for her, real truth is far too disturbing to acknowledge.
Paperback | ISBN 978-1-944193-36-2 | 318 pages
FICTION / Thrillers / Psychological
FICTION / Thrillers / Suspense
In 1949, twenty-year-old Eva Larkin is forced to put her life-long dream of a writing career on the back burner in favor of marriage and motherhood, when an unexpected pregnancy changes everything. Eva soon discovers that she has married an alcoholic with a dangerous temper, but blames herself and “that smart mouth of hers” for her husband’s uncontrolled rage. When Leo’s violence and abuse become unbearable, Eva and her three-year-old son leave the security of their home and family in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and set out for New York City to start a new life. Eva is faced with raising a child on her own, at a time when divorce was neither common nor easily obtained. With help from the friends she makes along the way, Eva struggles to build a career, provide for her son, and keep her demons at bay. But leaving the past behind turns out to be much more difficult than she had imagined.
This novel, funny at times and often disturbing, will leave the reader with a renewed awareness of how much women’s lives have changed in the past sixty-five years.
A Promise Made is a story about hope, strong women, and the way things used to be.
Paperback | ISBN 978-1-941165-77-5 | 306 Pages
FICTION / General
Following the untimely death of her mother in 1992, thirty year-old Meredith Springfield learns the shocking truth about her origins, the father she never knew, and the mother whose life was very different than it appeared. When the attorney who prepared her mother’s will delivers Anastasia’s personal journals along with the keys to a trust fund Meredith never suspected she had, Meredith and her boyfriend, Derek, embark upon a journey from Chicago to Los Angeles to search for answers and to carry out Anastasia’s wish to have her ashes scattered in the Hollywood Hills.
In 1960, at twenty years old, Anastasia left her parents and the cold mid-western winter behind in Milwaukee and drove her powder blue Ford Fairlane down Route 66 all the way to Los Angeles, certain that’s where all her dreams would come true. Just two years later, Anastasia is forced to retrace her steps, traveling back to Milwaukee with her dreams already shattered, a broken heart, and a daughter she would have to raise alone.
Shadow of a Smile takes the reader on two journeys across historic Route 66, from Chicago to Los Angeles, and back. The first follows Anastasia to 1960 Los Angeles and the beachfront hotels where she would meet the man of her dreams and take to the stage for the first time. The second, thirty-two years later, takes Meredith and Derek on a journey of discovery that has a greater impact on their lives than they could ever have imagined.
Once Anastasia is gone, and her carefully hidden secrets are revealed, Meredith gains a new perspective on her own choices, and must come to terms with the grey area between what our hearts desire and what is right. Shadow of a Smile is a story about family secrets, the choices we let our hearts make, and living with the consequences.
Paperback | ISBN 978-1-941165-19-5 | 240 Pages
FICTION / General
Sylvia Holt’s life is almost perfect. The only thing missing is the child she wants so desperately. But after too many failed pregnancies, more than her share of heartache, and the discovery that her husband is not the man she thought he was, Sylvia walks away from her old life. She moves to her vacation home in North Carolina, hoping the fresh mountain air and magnificent scenery will help her begin to heal her shattered life. Her search for a new reason to get up in the morning leads her to a tiger sanctuary located on the adjacent property and Sylvia finds herself caring for a two-month-old tiger cub.
She also finds herself in the middle of a battle to protect the sanctuary from criminals who are intent upon purchasing the sanctuary property, tigers and all, in order to trade in tiger parts on the black market. When the sanctuary owner refuses to sell, the bad guys turn up the heat, and Sylvia learns that her ex-husband is right in the middle of it all. But when the safety of the animals is threatened, the bad guys soon discover that they’re messing with the wrong girl.
1/31/16 "Book Widows" Event—Decatur Book club
Discussion: Men, Women & Books
Sunday 6:30 to 8:30
2/5/16 Emerging Authors—FoxTale Book Shoppe
Friday 6:00 to 9:00
105 East Main Street, Suite 138
Woodstock, GA 30188
2/27/16 "Book Widows" Event—Georgia Writers Museum
This is a ticketed event with limited space, so please contact the museum to purchase: (709) 991-5119
Saturday 11:30 - Luncheon and Book Discussion
109 S. Jefferson Street
Eatonton, GA 31024
3/12/16 Dahlonega Literary Festival—Regional Writer
Saturday 9:00 to 4:30
St. Luke’s Catholic Church
91 North Park St., Dahlonega, GA 30533
4/6/16 "Book Widows" Event—Milton Library
Wednesday 6:00 to 7:30
855 Mayfield Road
Milton, GA 30009