Dream Big II

There are young people in the world struggling with learning differences (sometimes called learning disabilities) who may or may not feel they aren’t as good as those who don’t have these disabilities/challenges.

Last week, you heard from YA author Bethany Averie about her learning difficulties and how it affected her life. Most importantly, she told you how she learned to cope with her disabilities and go on to become a multi-published author. (If you didn’t read her interview, you really need to!)

This week, I have another author for you. Like Bethany and me, Ryan Jo Summers grew up struggling with a learning disability. She is sharing her journey with us today.

Our wish is for you is to never be afraid to dream big. In a world where less than someone’s definition of perfect can mean the difference between acceptance and rejection, we want you to stand up and pursue those dreams no matter your learning disabilities/difficulties. Don’t let those things stop you. If we can do it, so you can you!

Given the sensitive nature of this topic, we ask that those who choose to comment only post positive and encouraging comments. We’re wanting to build people up and inspire them, not bring them down.

Ryan Jo Summers

Briefly tell us about yourself (your name, your YA story titles, anything else you wish to say about yourself):

Me 4-25-2015 choice 1My name is Ryan Jo Summers. I write contemporary romance fiction and free-lance non-fiction, essays and scribble poetry for fun/ therapy. I have written a YA novel, working title of Flashes of Lightning and currently am working on trying to find a publishing home for it. I love animals and six of the seven animals living with me are rescues with their own luggage of differences. Three are occupational hazards of when I used to be a veterinary technician.

 

 

 

What are your learning disabilities/difficulties and do you remember how/when you were diagnosed?

Dyslexia, poor eyesight and being left-handed were the biggies. Now days we don’t see being left-handed as a disability, but back when I was young, it was unacceptable to be ‘different’ from everyone else. Because of the poor eyesight, I struggled to see the blackboard. It took to the middle of second grade for my parents and teacher to figure that out, so by the time I received glasses, the impaired learning was already set.

As a result of being ‘different’ I was frequently called “retarded” at home by my family, who did not understand my issues were either not really issues at all or could have been easily corrected much sooner. This degrading caused low self-esteem and certainly depression at an early age, which fed into the “I’m retarded and useless” thinking, which fed into the “I can’t learn” mentality. I also suffered incredible headaches, which made it hard for me to concentrate, retain information or recall information.  I had small seizures, in which I drifted off and became ‘lost’ to what was happening around me. To many, that just confirmed I was ‘retarded’.

To this day, I still loath and cringe at the word ‘retarded’.

51C4mnTGwgL._SY346_It would take many years—up into Jr high to prove my family wrong. There was never an official diagnosis until I was grown. And made it a point to educate myself.  I eventually outgrew most of my difficulties. Eyeglasses brought the board into my world. I studied hard, brought up my grades. In Jr High and High school, I carried a 4.0 GPA. I took advanced, challenging classes, excelling in English and science courses. Finally no one could call me ‘retarded’. I still struggle with dyslexia, especially with numbers. And today being left-handed is no big deal. The headaches were finally diagnosed as migraines, once I left home, and I take daily medication for both that and the occasional seizures I used to have.

Since finding out, what are your emotions towards your learning disabilities/difficulties? Why?

I don’t recall much, except resenting and being hurt by my family’s insensitive actions. They were supposed to be my support system. Not the case. I was socially challenged, not having many friends until I became a teen. Eventually, I learned to use school as my place to escape, a place where I could earn acceptance by the school staff. That unconditional acceptance was a precious blessing to a depressed and lonely kid. I could work hard, study hard and knew my teachers appreciated my efforts. Now I know that was wrong, in a way, but it worked then. I regret my family could not have been understanding and encouraging of my struggles, instead of adding to them.  To this day, it still hurts.

I feel parents and school staff should be more open to correctly diagnosing symptoms they see instead of quickly slapping a label on them. I raised two special needs step sons from the ages of 3 and 6. The older one was considered ADHD & Learning Disabled and the younger one was considered Learning Disabled. The older one was hyper, but he was also acting out because of his parent’s divorce, the fact he had no control in his life and he was angry and scared. The younger one certainly was slow to learn, at three he uttered instead of talking and was not potty trained yet. Like me, he was a bed wetter well into his teens. Much of his issue was reinforced by his older brother’s treatment to him. He eventually caught up to where he needed to be and today is an eloquent, intelligent, and methodical young man.

What would you say to someone who has them who thinks they’re not as good as other people because they have learning disabilities/difficulties?

You are just as good as the rest of the world. You have something to contribute, too. Never, ever, let anyone tell you are less. You may have to try harder, but that application will be noticed. You don’t have to listen to negative, ignorant or cruel people. Never hang your head in shame. There is nothing to be ashamed for. Make no excuses. Make change. Make your own mark.

How have your learning disabilities/difficulties shaped you/what you do?

I had to become tough. To think outside the box of what seemed normal for everyone else. To believe in myself. To focus on the positives and the now. To know when to walk away from those who intended to harm me. Words do hurt, but I don’t have to stay and listen to them. I have strong opinions and I have to watch how they sometimes come across. I still struggle with occasional bouts of depression but have learned to cope. I write, draw, create poetry, cook, whatever works. Hug my dog. Water the plants.

Clearly, I don’t have much of a relationship with my family, so I have become resilient and independent. I treasure the friendships I have. My experiences in life make it hard for me to trust, but I am learning. I am also much more open minded and compassionate.

Briefly tell us about your Young Adult (YA) books, etc.:

Flashes of Lightning is the coming of age story for 16-year-old Tabitha McGowan. She loses her best boyfriend buddy and falls into a world of new friends. She is introduced to Magick, and falls for the bad-boy new mechanic in town.

She becomes estranged with her family. The reader follows Tabitha’s journey from typical teen to young adulthood. She makes lots of decisions, some good and some not so smart. She is a kid, a young lady, many can identify with and root for.

My other books are adult romance, written in a twisted blend of contemporary, time travel, mystery, inspirational, suspense, paranormal and sweet romance. They can be found at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Smashwords Most are novels, with one anthology and one novella.

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Dream Big

There are young people in the world struggling with learning differences (sometimes called learning disabilities) who may or may not feel they aren’t as good as those who don’t have these disabilities/challenges.

The three of us—Bethany Averie, Ryan Jo Summers, and me—have all faced learning disabilities/difficulties and based on our personal experiences, and what we see in the world today, were inspired to share our own stories with you.

We’ll be posting each author’s Q&A style on all our blogs for the next few weeks, starting with Bethany Averie. The next week will feature Ryan Jo Summers, then lastly will be my story.

Our wish is for you is to never be afraid to dream big. In a world where less than someone’s definition of perfect can mean the difference between acceptance and rejection, we want you to stand up and pursue those dreams no matter your learning disabilities/difficulties. Don’t let those things stop you. If we can do it, so you can you!

Given the sensitive nature of this topic, we ask that those who choose to comment only post positive and encouraging comments. We’re wanting to build people up and inspire them, not bring them down.

So, here are our stories, and we wish you all the best.

Bethany Averie

Bethany Averie photoHi, my name is Bethany Averie. I’m a wife, mother, and writer. My YA Trilogy, Immortal Dreams (Divine Love, Astral Love, Immortal Love) is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

My favorite colors are purple and green (and somehow manage to be in my novels whether I’m consciously or unconsciously aware of it).

When I was growing up, the YA genre didn’t have as diverse selection as it does now. It’s amazing to see genres grow and expand. It’s also awesome if you’re a writer like me, because then you have more room to “play” (AKA, create).

What are your learning disabilities/difficulties and do you remember how/when you were diagnosed?

I was diagnosed with learning disabilities when I was about 11 or 12 years old. I was in the 6th grade. My parents home schooled me because I was having a lot of trouble in “regular school”. It became apparent to my mom that I learned very differently from my other siblings (I’m one of 8 kids, if you can believe it—it’s true! I’m second-to-the-youngest in my family). She found out about this learning clinic and I went and got diagnosed. My two biggest disabilities are called Visual Spatial and Auditory Memory. Basically for the Visual I can see something, but I have a lot of trouble reproducing it. That one made copying things off the board extremely difficult. What was up there was never quite what I had in my notebook, which I found frustrating. The Auditory Memory has to deal with hearing a series of things and what I remember. Before I went for remediation at the learning clinic I could only remember the last thing a teacher said in a series of instructions. For example, if a teacher said, “Okay, class, take out your math books, turn to page eighty-three, and do problems one through ten.” I’d only remember I was supposed to do problems one through ten. I wouldn’t know what book or page. It didn’t matter if I had been paying close attention or not, that’s all I’d remember.

After remediation at the learning clinic, I got better at remembering a series. But sometimes I still have to have people slow down and repeat several times what they said, which can be embarrassing.

I have other learning disabilities, but those are the two big ones.

Since finding out, what are your emotions towards your learning disabilities/difficulties? Why?

At first I was devastated. How could I be so different from my peers? I didn’t want to stand out any more than I already did (I stood out because I couldn’t run fast, I didn’t grow up with a television in my house until I was 12, and people thought I was weird because I didn’t know all the things that were popular at the time. I was a total ‘fish-out-of-water’). Now, I also couldn’t learn like they did—I was SLOW at it. So, yeah, it totally bugged me.

Eventually I got over it. Remediation helped. My sessions were a lot of fun and interesting. In high school, all my Standardized testing (whether practice or real) were untimed so I had a chance to give each question the attention I needed to understand them and put in my answer.

I learned how to touch-type on the computer, which improved other areas of my life—spelling, handwriting, and I began writing.

AstralLove-SoulmateFINALIZED 805_805x1275 (1)I started writing stories probably in Junior High—nothing I would publish, but it was a wonderful creative outlet for me. As the years went on, that love of creating new worlds and writing only grew until I got to where I am now—a published author and working on new stories.

Nowadays, I don’t mind my learning disabilities as much. In fact, I find them fascinating. Everyone learns differently whether they have learning disabilities or not, because everybody thinks and processes differently. My learning disabilities help me recognize any learning difficulties in my kids, which has proven useful. So, in a sense, it’s cool that I have them. They are part of what makes me who I am in general. And, in general, I like myself. Of course there are things I want to improve upon, but I don’t know of anyone who doesn’t want to make themselves a better person, so I’m in good company.

What would you say to someone who has them who thinks they’re not as good as other people because they have learning disabilities/difficulties?

Having learning disabilities/difficulties/differences (whatever you want to call them) doesn’t make you “not as good” or a “failure”. It’s something that makes you uniquely you. Revel in being different. Too many people want to be just like someone else. If were all exactly alike how boring would life be? Differences keep things interesting.

And you wouldn’t believe what opens up for you when you have learning disabilities. Because you learn differently, sometimes you have to get creative in how you remember, process, and put together what you learn. For someone like me—who loves to create—this is a huge opportunity to use my imagination and figure out what works best for me. And I’m always learning something new about myself, what works, or what could work. It’s a lot like how I write my novels—figure out what the story is, what goes together and what doesn’t.

How have your learning disabilities/difficulties shaped you/what you do?

Sometimes I have to take a little longer to do things. But that’s GOOD because it helps me to slow down and catch mistakes, which helps during my editing process. Being able to correct myself makes some things easier. I’ve learned how not to be ashamed of how I learn and work, but to use them to develop into a better person and writer.

Briefly tell us about your Young Adult (YA) books, etc.:

Finalized Divine LoveMy Immortal Dreams Trilogy is a Greek mythology-inspired story about an 18 year old girl named Laney Alberts. After meeting the new boy in her class, Jason Magnus, Laney finds out nothing is what she thought it was. The revelation of just how different things are take her on an incredible adventure on Earth, Mount Olympus, and even the Underworld in an effort to save both Human and Immortals from a goddess bent on world domination.

 

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Summer Time Giveaway!

9619School’s out here in Texas, so summer has officially begun. Although with all the rain we’ve had, it made for some soggy proms and graduations.  My driveway is no longer flooded, but this is the lake, aka my front yard, that I looked out on for most of May. So, I know a lot of Texans are heading off to if not warmer, at least drier places.

Are you going any place special this summer? I’d like to rent a beach house again at some point. Nothing relaxes me more than sitting on a balcony overlooking the ocean, listening to the rhythm of the waves. Speaking of the beach, I’m having a HUGE giveaway on my blog in July, and yup, it involves the beach. so, be sure to watch for it.

So, tell me where you’re heading this summer, and I have a signed copy of Unspoken for one of you. (Sorry, this giveaway is for US residents only, and if you’re reading this on Goodreads, you have to go to my blog to comment.)

Just in case you’re going to be anywhere near where I’m having a signing, I’d love to meet you. And make sure you tell me you follow my blog or are on my Street Team, and I’ll give you some exclusive swag.

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This weekend, June 10th-12th, no matter where you live in the US, Barnes & Noble is having their First-Ever National Teen Book Festival. There will be tons of book signings by your favorite authors, activities, swag giveaways, games, and more! I’m celebrating their festival with THREE appearances in the Houston, TX area!

Saturday, June 11th, I’ll be at their Champions Forest store, 5303 FM 1960 West, Houston, TX 77069 at 1:00 PM with Joy Preble and Becky Wallace. There will be giveaways!

Saturday, June 11th, I’ll be at their Pasadena location, 5656 Fairmont Parkway, Pasadena, TX 77505 at 5:00 PM. Again, I’ll be with the talented Joy Preble. So, this is your chance to ask us questions and pick up signed copies of our books.

Sunday, June 12th, I’m off to their Deerbrook Mall store, 20131 Hywy 59, Humble, TX 77338.  I’ll be there at 1:00 PM, so join me and be ready to party!

Do you live in Southern California? Well you can catch up with me there.

July 13-16th, I’ll be at the Romance Writers of America’s Annual Conference in San Diego, CA. Wednesday, July 13th, I’ll be signing books at the “Readers for Life” Literacy Autographing, 5:30 to 7:30 PM. This is a great event where all profits go to literacy—and it’s absolutely FREE and open to the public! For more information go to https://www.rwa.org/conference.

So, come and spend a little of your summer with me!

BIG NEWS!

I’ve hear many of you say you miss my Facebook posts and announcements. So, I’ve created a private Facebook group for my die hard fans. Be sure to join today for extra offers, special giveaways, and the inside scoop on all things CC Hunter. Just follow this link: CC Hunter: Chills, Thrills, Laughter.

 

 

 

 

 

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A Great Day at the Zoo

IMG_0122aWhen I was a kid, we didn’t do a lot of vacations, but we did go to the zoo at least every other year.  And this last weekend, we took off with our granddaughter and visited the Houston Zoo.  We had a blast.  Do you ever go to the zoo?  I know I’m grown up and perhaps I shouldn’t have so much fun, but something about looking at the animals just brings the kid out in me.  Here’s a peek and some of the pictures I took.

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You Want to Know What?

QAs a writer, I get all sorts of questions tossed at me.  Some of them are what I call repeaters, questions that get asked a lot.  For those, I have my prepared answers down pat.  Some questions are downright funny–people wanting to understand the strange mechanics of how a writer’s mind works.  I usually just make up an answer for those, because please, I don’t understand how my mind works, either.

Some of the questions are just weird, and they make me laugh.  Then there are the others that give me concerns about my fans, readers, and human population in general.  (You know who you are.)

lionHowever, no matter what category those questions fall into, most of the time, I still love being asked.  Why?  First, because curiosity generally means interest and interest could result in book sales, and second . . . I love a good laugh.

So just for grins, and laughs, let me share some of those questions.  I’ll also share my answers.  And okay, because you are who you are, I’m going to go one step further and even give you the truth.

*  *  *

Question:  Do you ever take your characters with you when you go places?  (I’ve been asked that one more than once?)

Answer:  Of course, I do.  But I insist that they pay their own way, unless I have a buy-one-get-one-free coupon.

Truth:  I usually just stick them in my purse, and don’t feed them and sneak them into places without buying them a ticket.  But seriously, at times, say when I’m out shopping, I will stop and think: Would Miranda wear that outfit?  I’ll conjure her up in my mind and together we’ll shop for an outfit she’s going to wear in my next scene.

*  *  *

Question:  When you hear your characters talking to you, how do you know that it’s just creativity and not that you really are crazy?

Answer:  Does it really have to be one or the other?

Truth:  Anyone who sits around all day and spends hours envisioning and writing about the lives of their characters, along with making facial expressions in the mirror so she can describe them, has to be a little bit bonkers.   I’m okay with that.

*  *  *

Question: Is your husband jealous of your heroes? (This answer has variations.)

Answer if Hubby isn’t present when question is asked: “Of course, he’s jealous.  My heroes are so hot, he knows he can’t compete.”

Answer if Hubby is present:  “Jealous?  Why?  He knows I pattern all my heroes after him.”

Truth:  Just as there is a little of myself in each of my heroines, there really is a bit of my husband in all my heroes.

*  *  *

Question:  What do you do when your characters misbehave?

Answer:  I call the fiction police to arrest them and put them in solitary confinement.

Truth: I generally sit back and enjoy it.  Generally speaking when characters start acting out, those are the best scenes.

Now it’s your turn. Do you have any crazy (or not so crazy) questions for me?

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Attitude: Is it Everything it’s Cracked Up to Be?

AttitudeYou’ve all heard the saying, “If you think you can, you can.  If you think you can’t, you’re right too.”

You’ve heard, “It’s all in the attitude.”   Yup, you’ve heard those positive people say it, haven’t you?”

But do you believe them?

Do I believe them?

Do I believe we can think ourselves to a better life– a better place?  Do I think we can think ourselves published? Or publish at a new and bigger house, or in the genre we would prefer?  Can we think ourselves on the New York Times list?  And it doesn’t have to be about publishing, it can be any goal.  Do I believe it?

Nope.  Sorry, I don’t believe we can.  I don’t believe positive thoughts alone can bring about change.

I can hear all you negative Nellies out there shouting with glee, “Thank gawd, finally someone who’ll admit the truth!”  But before you defeatists get too excited, you’d better read on.

I don’t believe positive thoughts alone can bring about change any more than just buying the $49.95 book on being thin will automatically make the pounds melt off and help me fit back into those size five jeans.  Sadly, I’ve tried.   But I’ll have to read the book and apply the weight loss steps.

PositivePositive attitude, or in the case above, buying the book, can lead to motivation, motivation leads to action.  Actions can bring about positive results.  Actions can get us to a better place, they can get us published, get us multi-published, keep us published, and they can even land us on the New York Times.  Oh, and they can get me back in my size five jeans.

I can’t tell you how many writers I’ve seen on this path to publication who gave up their dreams.  I started writing in 1984.  My first book was out in October of 1994.  So I wasn’t an overnight success then.  But it gets better, or I should say worse.  Because after that first book, my dreams of book two and book three selling, and my dreams of that career as a novelist, well, it didn’t happen right away.  My second book didn’t release until 2007—in case you’re not good in math, that’s thirteen years later.

Now I went through some detours during those years, and while there were periods of time that I didn’t pursue the fiction writing, I never stopped writing altogether.  I wrote and sold magazine articles as my day job.  It was in 2000 when I became recommitted to my dream of novel writing.  By 2006, I had completed eight manuscripts, and six proposals.  Gone through one bad agent experience and collected hundreds of rejections.  I had two different books that got passed on to the senior editors with the recommendations to buy, only to get knocked down again.  So close.  No cigar.  Ouch.

Did I get discouraged?  You’re dang right I did.

Did I swear I was going to give up writing all together and consider a better money-making career of asking people if they wanted fries with that that burger?  You betcha.

But the next day, or even sometimes the next week, before I went out and got another job, I would realize that I didn’t want to be a quitter.  I’d start up my computer and start a new story.  I’d write fiction and still pen a few articles to bring some income.

Now today, with self-publishing always an option, the trials and hurdles of new writers will be different.  But they are still there.

Through my years, I’ve seen a lot of people give up on their writing dreams.  They had talent, some of them had so much talent I swear their grocery list was good enough to be published. But they didn’t have the staying power. They simply gave up.  Just as many of the new writers give up today.

So why?  Why do some give up, and some don’t?

Per1I think it can be summed up in one word:  Perseverance.   And how does one persevere?  I believe perseverance is directly related to positive attitude.

I meant what I said earlier, I don’t believe a positive attitude alone can bring about positive results.  But it is the secret to perseverance.  So, do I believe positive attitude is all it’s cracked up to be?

No.  I think it’s more.

Because while I don’t believe positive attitude is the direct path to success (you have to actively seek success), I do believe that negative attitude is the direct path to failure.   Negative attitude leads to a state of apathy, a state of idleness.  And those both can lead one to toss out their dreams.

I look back at how many hurdles I faced, the times it would have been easy to just give up.  The hundreds of rejections, the years passing without selling.  The difficulty of getting an agent.  Of having to fire one agent and finding another.  All of this when self-publishing wasn’t a viable option.

Instead of continuing to write, I could have been sitting around whining, commiserating about the hardships of writing with all the other writer whiners. (And writer whiners really exist. I’ve met and pulled away from many of them in my writing journey.  And they still exist.) But instead I chose to remain positive, to allow those positive feelings to help me persevere and to continue to actively pursue my dreams.  I didn’t just think about making it happen.  I set out to make it happen.

Some people think we are born either an optimist or a pessimist.  I agree it comes easier to some people.  However, I think believing you have no choice is probably your negative attitude talking.  And you need to start talking back.  Sure, we all go through some tough times, and those times can rob us of our positive attitudes if we let them.

So how do you guard your positive attitude from being ripped off?

I believe the number one thing is to work on your circle of influence.  Negativity is as contagious as a stomach virus.  Hang out with negative people, and chances are, you will become negative and disillusioned.  But the good news is that positive attitude is also contagious.  Hang out with people who are actively pursuing their dreams—those dreams don’t even have to be writing— and you’ll be more likely to do the same.

OptimistYou protect your positive attitude by setting reachable goals and celebrating them when achieved.  You keep it by recharging your creative batteries, and nothing can recharge a battery more than continuing to learn.   You keep it by refusing to let anyone steal your joy or your passion for writing.  Remember, if you are real writer, you love writing.  Your joy shouldn’t be solely attached to publishing.  Write because you love it.  It will show in your work.

Remember, you may not get where you want to be solely on attitude.  But attitude to success is like gas is to a car.  Just because you have a full tank doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get where you want to go.   But without it, you may never set out on the journey.

So work on building a positive attitude.  Then work on protecting it.  And while I hope your dreams come true a lot quicker than mine did, I hope your journey is as satisfying as I have found mine to be.

So tell me, what are your goals?

Winner!

Last week’s winner of a Born to Read t-shirt is Sarah C. Congratulations! Sarah, send your mailing address and t-shirt size to cc@cchunterbooks.com.

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What You Don’t Know About Me–Some Surprising Facts

 

Okay…let’s get to know each other.  And yes, that usually means telling secrets, or just some surprising facts.  I’ll go first, then I expect you to join in.

 

  1. Years ago, I acted in one made for television movie. Kent State.  It was filmed in my old home state in Gadsden, Alabama.  I was an extra throughout the movie, but I had one, just one, speaking part.  “Go away pigs!”  It got cut.  The reason?  Because I was supposed to sound like a northerner.  I remember them saying.  “The word ‘pigs’ is only supposed to have one syllable.”
  2. I interviewed one movie star. And yes, he is someone you would know.  Tom250px-Magnumtomselleck Selleck.  It was only  over the phone.  I thought he’d give me five minutes.  We were on the phone for almost forty-five.  Sad thing was, I was the one who had to end the call.  Yeah, I practically hung up on Tom Selleck.  I saw the time and my son was in kindergarten at the time, so I had to go pick him up.  Now I think… The kid could have waited.
  3. I speak Spanish. Yup, I lived in South America for almost two years.  And I speak it well enough that when I was there, I actually got in an argument with someone that refused to believe I was an American.  According to him, all Americans were tall.
  4. In my other life I was a photographer. I did photo journalism for about ten years. And the strange thing is that I’m not really good with recognizing people’s faces, but if I take a picture of someone, I can remember them forever.  I met a guy in a restaurant in the middle of the Chicago airport.  And I knew him, but wasn’t sure from where.  He started looking at me the same way, so  I went up to him.  He lived in Houston and I had written an article about him and his wife about ten years earlier.
  5. I believe in ghosts. No, I don’t sit around talking to them.  I’m too busy talking to my characters.  But, I’ve had too many eerie things happen to me that make it hard not to believe that spirits don’t exist.

 

5518Now, it’s your turn.  Tell me some surprising facts about you.  I’ll give away a Born to Read T-shirt to one poster.

 

 

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Paranormal Boyfriend/Girlfriend

UnbreakableSo, you’ve read my books. You know about vampires, werewolves, fae, and shapeshifters. If you had your choice of picking a paranormal boyfriend or girlfriend, which one would you pick and why?

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Back to School

image4brownsvilleYou guys know I love to visit schools.  What makes them extra special? It’s when the school has lots of students who have read my books.  And at Lopez High School in Brownsville, Texas, there were many students who had read my Shadow Falls books and were excited to talk with me about them.   Most of you have heard me say that Kylie, Lucas, Derek, Miranda, Perry, Burnett and Holiday are like my friends, but nothing is better than when I meet people who feel the same way.  So, I’ve got to say, I really had a blast meeting all the students and chatting about our mutual friends.

image3So, if you’d like me to visit your school, ask your principal or librarian to contact me at cc@cchunterbooks.com. Check my Events page on my website to see if I’ll be in a city near your school soon. Or I can make a special trip to your school.  I’d love to meet you and your friends.

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Before I went to Brownsville, I was in Las Vegas, Nevada–yup that exciting city in the desert. I went for the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention. The Rio Hotel, where RT held its convention, was beautiful. I only wish I’d had a little time to sit by their pool, but I was too busy having fun catching up with old friends and making new ones. The Teen Day was so awesome and the giant book signing was mobbed! But I did leave the Rio and spend one night at the Paris Hotel. It was awesome! So, here are a few of my favorite pics from my trip.

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Where is YA Going?

MidnightHour_Final CVR_revisedThere has been a lot of talk in the publishing industry and among writers about the future of YA books. Where are we headed in 2016? Which genres are hot and which are fading? Some publishers are saying the popularity of paranormals like Shadow Falls are fading. But my fans always ask me to write more. And look at the success of writers like Colleen Gleason and Cassandra Clare. Vampires, Shadow Hunters and werewoles abound!

I just read an article in the Huffington Post that said time travel story lines are an up and coming trend. And of course the twist on the old classic has been selling well for a while. Think of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies 51xDeJ-9R2L._SX325_BO1,204,203,200_(there’s even a movie!) or books like Cynthia Hand’s My Lady Grey, a twist on British history’s Lady Jane Grey as a teen. Actually, I’ve heard anything with strong, royal female leads is popular. Meg Cabot’s The Princess Diaries helped bolster that trend–and it has kept getting stronger.  Royalty in any time period seems to go over well, especially with a strong female lead that changes things or goes against authority.

Best friend themes have been around for a while, and I don’t see them going anyplace anytime soon. Doesn’t everyone love a good story about besties that will go to great lengths for one another? But much of the YA fiction is issue driven with relatable stories filled with problems everyday teenagers face. And with the success of The Fault in Our Stars by John Greene, contemporary stories with heavier topics and “illness books” are also on the rise.

So, I’d like you to tell me your favorite YA genre and the themes that you like to read.

Catch Up With Me

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I mentioned my friend and fellow author Colleen Gleason, and if you live in the Grand Rapids, Michigan area, Colleen and I will be at Schuler Books in Grand Rapids on April 28th at 7:00 PM. If you haven’t read Colleen’s Stoker and Holmes series, you’re missing out! Come by Schuler’s and say hello. We’ll be giving away t-shirts and my tote bags.

 

cover-chess-queen-enigmaEvaline Stoker and Mina Holmes never meant to get into the family business. But when you’re the sister of Bram and the niece of Sherlock, vampire hunting and mystery solving are in your blood. 

 

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