On The Road Again

“Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” – Ibn Battuta

I’m planning some trips. I love traveling. I love seeing new things, new people, learning new customs.  Now, you may think just going to another state can’t translate to new customs, but it does.  Think of cities that have their own personalities?  New Orleans, San Francisco, Los Angeles.  While the ambiance might be stronger in some cities, all those places have their own feel and are very different.

14955I was just in Washington, D.C. to teach a writing workshop to the Washington, D.C. RWA. I had a great time in our capital city. The cherry blossoms were all in bloom and I met some wonderful people. I even saw some of their famous monuments. And I had a great dinner out with friends.

 

 

 

In May, I’m heading north for the Wisconsin RWA Write Touch Conference, May 19-21st. I’ll be teaching another writer’s workshop: It’s Not Just Adding A Naked Tattooed Guy: Using Humor In Your Writing. So, if you live in the Green Bay area, I hope you’ll attend.

Rotorua-isite-visitor-info-centreBut talking about different cultures and customs, come August I’ll be going a bit further from home—all the way to New Zealand! Yes, I’ll be at the RWNZ Conference, August 18-20th at the Novotel Lakeside Hotel in Rotorua, New Zealand.  I can’t wait to explore the north island of this beautiful country.

Where have you been?  Where are planning to go?  Where would you love to go?

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CC Answers Your Questions

Okay, last week I answered some of the questions I get asked the most, and I invited you to ask me any other questions you wanted to ask me. So, here I go.

1. Do you have a writing playlist or do you prefer to write in total silence? (Leslie)

I don’t play any music when I write. I find it’s too distracting.  Don’t get me wrong, I love listening to music, but only after I’m finished for the day (preferably sipping a glass of red wine)

2. A lot of my favorite writers always wrote on their blogs that they write every single day, that they always show up for it no matter how their schedule is. Back in the time when you were not a professional writer, did you write every single day? How did you do it then? Because I always feel so exhausted after class… If I do not write everyday does that mean I will never be a writer? It just terrifies me. (Sarah)

No, I didn’t write every day before I decided I wanted to be a writer. It was only after I made that decision that I tried to write every day. Some days I didn’t write that much (I had a small daughter), and other days I wrote a lot, and there were days I didn’t write at all. But the commitment and intent was there. Sure, things happen some days and you can’t find the time, but every day is a new day, and every day you commit to write.

3. I noticed you said you studied other authors and writing when you began. Did you discover a book or author that really resonated with you or changed you for the better that you would recommend? (Courtney H.)

I read and studied some of my friends who were published: Janice Hudson and Susan Elizabeth Phillips and Nora Roberts. They all had a profound effect on my writing. I learned how to give the readers what they really wanted—an emotionally satisfying ending. 

4. I just wanted to know if you have weird and secret writing rituals. Like put on some warm cat socks and have a cup of hot chocolate before you start writing or something? What helps you to be “in the mood” for putting on your writing pants?  (Sarah)

I’ve said this before, but writing is my job. I go to work every day just like millions of other people. It might just be going down the hall to my study, but I arrive, coffee cup in hand, ready to go to work. I write for an hour or so, then I usually go walking with a writer friend. Then, back to work until about 5 PM, only with a quick stop for lunch. Unless I’m on a tight deadline, in which case I’ve been known to work late into the night.

5. When will we get more details on your new upcoming series? (JayCee) AND Do you have any information on your newest upcoming book? Release date, title, synopsis, etc? (Gabrielle) AND Are you going to write anymore books like Shadow Falls? (Mia)

Soon, very soon. What I can say is that I have already finished another book, and while it doesn’t involve Shadow Falls, it is like my Shadow Falls books because it is about friendships, has a little paranormal, a bit of mystery and a whole lot of heart.

6. Are you still planning on turning Shadow Falls into a movie? If so which actors do you see playing the main characters? (Selina) AND Will there be a movie? I would love to see this series come to life! (Jaden)

I would love to see a Shadow Falls movie. The truth is, I sold the rights to CDS a while ago. They were working on a script, when they were sold to another company. So, now I’m not sure what’s going to happen, but as soon as I learn anything definite, I’ll post it on this blog. So, be sure to read this every week.

kylie1As for a dream cast, well, it would kind of depend on when the movie would go into production. I could say who I’d like to see star in a Shadow Falls movie, but I don’t know when or if it will get produced, and the actors might be too old by then. So, I hesitate to say at this point. However, if you go to YouTube.com, you’ll see several videos posted by fans that show their dream casts. Who would you like to see as Kylie, Lucas, Derek, Della, Miranda, Holiday and Burnett?

 

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FAQS

I get a lot of emails. Many of them ask me certain questions over and over. So, I thought Id just answer the most frequently asked questions right here on my blog.

  1. Where did I get the idea for Shadow Falls?

Well, I was writing humorous romantic suspense novels under my real name (still do!) when an editor from St. Martin’s Press contacted me. She asked me is I’d consider writing a young adult series. She thought my humor and smart a$$ style would translate well to that genre. She even said she had an idea: a paranormal camp. That was it. That’s all she said. Now, the idea of writing in a new genre scared the beegeezus out of me, but on the other hand, I love a challenge. I started thinking about her idea, and my imagination went wild. Before I knew it, Shadow Falls Camp, Kylie, Miranda, Della and their friends were born.

2. When did I decide to become a writer and how did I get started?

I was in my early 20s when my husband suggested I go back to school and become a teacher. I thought about it, and told him I didn’t want to teach, I wanted to be a writer. He told me to do it. No arguments, no reality check, just do it. Like the Nike commercials.  You see, I grew up telling stories in Alabama. Story telling was valued in my family, and I’d learned to tell a good story from an early age. However, being dyslexic, I’d always had a hard time reading and writing. So, the idea of me becoming a writer, well, that was a long shot. But my husband believed in me, and I really wanted to give it a try. I also knew I had a lot of work to do. So, I enrolled in every writing class I could, studied my favorite authors, but most of all, I wrote and wrote and wrote. Now, it took me years to get my first book published and another 10 years to get published again. But then I sold 4 books at once!

3. How does one become a writer? How does one get started?

Well, you just read how I got started. It was a lot of hard work. Writing for a living is a tough business. It’s a job, and you need to look at it that way. You show up ready to work every day. I don’t wait for inspiration to strike, I sit my butt in my office chair every morning and I write, even if I don’t feel like it. And I don’t make excuse about things happening in my life. I’ve written while waiting in hospitals, flying on airplanes, even while on “vacation” at the beach. When I have a deadline, I have to meet it. That’s all part of being a professional writer. I’ve written entire blogs filled with more specific writing advise. You can read them all here: http://cchunterbooks.com/blog/?s=writing.

Okay, those are the most frequently asked questions I get. Do you have any other questions you’d like to ask me?

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Facebook Likes

Boy, I’m beginning to think Mark Zuckerberg is really onto something with Facebook. J Initially designed as a networking tool for Harvard students, today Facebook has more than 1.59 billion global users. That’s 22.9% of the earth’s population!

I love Facebook as a way to keep in touch with friends, stay connected with my fans, and as a business tool to promote my books. But I also love Facebook because it makes me feel good and makes me laugh. Who doesn’t love an adorable dog video? It’s so easy to “like “ pages that share your interests or pages that post uplifting content. These are a few of my favorites.

Then there are all the FB pages of my favorite authors. If you like and author, look them up on Facebook and like their page. It’s a wonderful way to keep up with their releases and book signings. Not to mention giveaways. I hope you have liked my pages. If not, here are my links.

What are some of your favorite Facebook pages you’ve liked?

See you online!

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Male Beauty

What makes a guy attractive to women? Oh, I know, our tastes vary. Some of us like muscular guys, some like slender guys, some long hair, others like their guys with short hair. Maybe you like a strong jaw or a certain color eyes, or full lips or a rugged completion. But there are certain generalities for each era that were thought to make a man generally attractive. Looking back, we only have painting and sculptures as evidence. But generally, throughout the ages, the ideal man was muscular (and a bit more muscular during the Middle Ages to be able to support the weight of a suit of armor) with classical features. In short, men were manly men. But things started to change in the 17th century when clothes became very elaborate and men sought to look fleshier in their clothes as a Mr-Darcy-matthew-macfadyen-as-mr-darcy-10471702-500-333sign of prosperity. The 18th century took that further and added faces painted white with rouged cheeks and a powdered wig. And yes, men wore heels. With the 19th century came the dandy with corsets, heeled shoes and padded calves. (And you thought women invented padding their assets!) And don’t forget those tight breeches—think Mr. Darcy in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.

I found an interesting YouTube video to show the different looks thought to be attractive in the 20th century through 2010. It’s all the same guy, who is cute, but it shows the different looks.

I remember the hippie, metro sexual, and the feminization of the male. But now, we’ve gone from the man bun (does anyone like that look?), to full bearded, lumberjack look. CowboyHotAnd it doesn’t end here. Our idea of ideal beauty will continue to change and evolve. Me, I like manly men, and I love a Texas cowboy—the real thing! What do you find attractive in a male?

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Valentine’s Day

valentines-day1Well, it’s finally here–the day devoted to romance. Yup, it’s Valentine’s Day. And I’m a romantic, I believe in love. (Have you read my books?) After all, I found my real live prince (but I had to kiss a few frogs!). So, I enjoy the candy, flowers, etc. that defines Valentine’s Day. But did you know it had a rather gruesome beginning? The theory goes that the Roman Emperor Claudius II was trying to bolster his army, so he forbade young men to marry (apparently single men make better soldiers). In the spirit of love, St. Valentine defied the ban and performed secret marriages. For his disobedience, Valentine was executed on February 14.

In honor of the holiday, I thought I’d share a few little known Valentine’s Day facts:

  • In Victorian times, it was considered bad luck to sign a Valentine’s Day card.
  • About a billion Valentine’s Day cards are exchanged each year. It’s the second largest seasonal card sending time behind Christmas.
  • In the Middle Ages, young men and women drew names from a bowl to see who would be their Valentine. They then pinned the name to their sleeve. This is the origin of the expression “to wear your heart on your sleeve.”
  • Men account for 73 percent of Valentine’s Day flower sales.
  • The first Valentine’s Day box of chocolates was introduced by Richard Cadbury in 1868. (I love Cadbury chocolate!)

And if you don’t have a Valentine? Don’t despair. There are 119 single men—never married, widowed or divorced—in their 20s for every 100 single women of the same age.

But if you’re single and happy that way, you can celebrate Singles Awareness Day on February 15th.

So, tell me about your Valentine’s Day–or Singles Awareness Day. What did you do to celebrate?

Winner!!

The winner of last week’s giveaway is Jenny W. Congratulations, Jenny! You can pick any one of my books or novellas and I’ll send you the ebook version. Please email me at cc@cchunterbooks.com with your preference for the NOOK or Kindle version.

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It’s Not All About Winning

Try0You know, in everything you do, you are going to win some and lose some.  That said, if you even just try for anything, you also win.  I know it sounds like some inspirational crap, but I’ve seen it so often in my own life and in my career. I hadn’t sold a book in over ten years, and I was writing humorous romantic suspense.  An editor told my agent, if Christie would write paranormal, I would buy her books.  So my agent asked me to write paranormal. I didn’t want to do it, because I’d never written paranormal.  But I started writing a book about witches.  I needed to write three chapters and send it in to the editor to see if she actually would buy it.  So, I finished the three chapters, and right before I sent them to my agent to send to the editor, my agent called.  The editor had phoned her and told her she was excited to see my proposal, but to make sure it wasn’t about witches. WHAT?

Life5So, I had to start over and write about faes. I spent another two months writing three chapters about faes.  My agent sent it out and the editors loved it, they almost bought it—but then they didn’t.  Ugh!  I felt like a loser.  I had spent four months trying to do something and failed. I wasted all that time.  I was so upset.  Right after that, my humorous romantic suspense books sold.  And I remember even thinking that I could have been writing another humorous romantic suspense instead of working those paranormal ideas that gotten me nowhere!!!  Ahh, but flash forward four years.  An editor at St. Martin’s Press was looking for some new young adult authors.  And she remembered an author she’d read that she really liked who wrote a funny book about faes.  She hadn’t been able to buy the book on Faes, but she really liked my work.  And that, my friends, is how I was asked to write Shadow Falls.  And it all came about from something that at the time, I saw as a complete, devastating failure.

51KfobWWWNL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_When you try something, put your heart and soul into it, when you learn something, you may not walk away with the blue ribbon, but you walk away with an experience and who knows what that experience will lead to.  So remember, It isn’t just about just winning and losing, there is also trying.  Can you think of how you tried and didn’t win the blue ribbon, but still walked away feeling like a winner?  I’ll give away one of my ebook to one person who leaves a comment.  (Sorry, this giveaway is only for US residents. If you;re reading this on Goodreads, you must leave your comment on my website blog to be entered in my giveaway.)

 

Winner!

The winner of last week’s giveaway of a Born to Read t-shirt is Diane Garland. Please email me at cc@cchunterbooks.com with your mailing address AND your t-shirt size. Congratulations!

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Dog or Cat? Or Both?

Most people (if they like animals) will either prefer dogs or cats. Some like and have both. According to Thought Catalog, about six percent more US households own dogs than own cats. Not only that, but in surveys dog people often outnumber cat people five to one. Why do you think that is? What are the differences between dogs and cats?

Dogs

355-happy-dogDogs are people pleasers. They want to make their masters happy and gain their approval. When you call them, they generally come to you. They enjoy playing with their masters as well as with other dogs. They require more care. You have to let them out or take them for walks.

 

 

Cats

terribly-cute-pic-cat-attitudeCats are more independent. They are as concerned with pleasing their masters. When you call them, they may or may not come to you. They also enjoy playing with their masters and with other cats. They are better suited to apartment living or living in a small house. If you have a little box, you don’t have to let them out.

 

 

I’m writing two books right now and they both have dogs in them. In one, there is a dog named Devil. He big, wiry in places and hairy in others.  He’s terribly ugly, but a sweetheart.  In my YA book there is dog named Lady—named after my own dog.  She’s a puppy, and her soft love is so healing to my characters.  I’ve used animals in my books–remember Socks, the cat? I enjoy animals in movies, too. I just read A Dog’s Purpose and loved it, and I cant wait to see the movie.

Personally, I’m an just animal person.  I love them all.   We have three cats who, because of my husband’s kidney transplant, have to live outside, but they have a dog trot and little house.  My husband accuses me of being more a dog person, and I can’t deny I might relate a little more to dogs, but seriously, I love any animal.  And the reason I use them in my books, is because I seriously believe animals make us better humans.   So tell me about your pet.  One person will win a Born to Read T-shirt. (Sorry, this giveaway is only for US residents. If you;re reading this on Goodreads, you must leave your comment on my website blog to be entered in my giveaway.)

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Goodbye to Shadow Falls

When Midnight Hour was released on Oct. 31, 2016, this interview appeared on Jennifer Mary G’s blog.  I thought you might enjoy my interview with her. I think it will mean more to those of you who have read Midnight Hour.

1. Midnight Hour is the last book in your Shadow Falls series. On your blog, you talk about the difficulty in saying goodbye to the characters. With that in mind, I wanted to ask…Which character(s) are you the most attached to and why?

It’s like in real life.  I’m attached to the characters for different reasons.  They all have parts of me in them, they have some of my traits, even some of my flaws. I spent five books with Kylie Galen.  I can honestly say, she’s more like me when I was young than the other girls.  Like Kylie, I’m an internalizer.  Even when young, I had a tendency to think something to death before I acted on it.

Della, however, she’s more like the person I’ve grown into, and often the person I wish I was more like.  She’s speaks her mind, calls it like she sees it.  I love that about her.  Ahh, but the very thing I love about her is what sometimes drives me crazy.

Miranda is smack dab in the middle of these two.  She’s kind, but can speak her mind when pushed.  But deep down she’s so insecure.  Dyslexia can do that to you.  I know, because we both share this trait.  I feel a special bond with her for this reason.  I loved watching her find herself in Midnight Hour.

But I must say, when I think about the three girls, I can’t help but to think of the boys they love.  Lucas, Chase and Perry. They all stole a part of my heart.

Then, there’s Burnett.  I love, love that guy.  In every book, I felt like I learned more about him.   If you think I have a soft spot for guys who are hard on the outside and marshmallow in the inside, well, all I can I say is guilty.

Every one of these characters feels like family.  I know, even though I won’t be writing about them, I’ll find myself mentally taking short visits to Shadow Falls.

2. The book trailer for Midnight Hour is so cool. Did you come up with the concept? Who worked behind the scenes to make the trailer come to life?

My behind-the-scenes person is R.M. Brand.  She’s a gamer, a graphic artist, a writer, an amazing and talented person and a friend.  We always begin working on a video by spending time talking about the book.  I’ll tell her the feel, the vibe that I want expressed in the video.  She takes that, uses her magic and always comes back with a winner.  She’ll pull something together and show me.  I usually offer suggestions to add an image or take an image out.  Then, we work on the script together.  And I can say, I’ve never been disappointed.

3. Miranda’s growing tattoo in Midnight Hour appears after a near-death experience. Is the symbolism of the tattoo more magical or spiritual…or is it a mix of both?

I think a little of both.  The tattoo symbolizes the birth of confidence, of acceptance.  It signifies the greatness we all have in ourselves when we move past our insecurities and learn to embrace what makes us different. It’s about discovering our inner strengths and moving past the stigma of how others perceive us.

Honestly, I do not write stories to send messages or teach lessons.  I don’t think of symbols while I write, and I don’t write to preach.  I write to entertain.  But when you get into a character’s skin, their character arc, their story always comes with an underlying message.  For Kylie, it was struggling with an identity crisis.  For Della, it was acceptance of change and dealing with those who can’t accept who and what we become.  Miranda’s message is finding self-esteem, discovering confidence and accepting our flaws.  This dyslexic witch learns that every flaw can be turned on its head and when dealt with properly, it can offer us gifts and talents.


You heard me talk about my characters and why I love them. So tell me, who is your favorite Shadow Falls character and why?

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The Greatest Food–Pizza!

pizza2Everyone has a favorite food. I do. I absolutely love pizza.  My favorite is veggie.  I like a thicker crust, but I know a lot of people are fans of thin crust.   I’m not a fan of Chicago style pizza with the sausage on top.  I cook my own pizza probably twice a month.  But we also order it delivered.  I used to work at Pizza Hut so I admit it might be my favorite, but because I can only get Papa Johns delivered to my house, I eat a lot of it.  My son loves pineapple and jalapeno pizza.  There are some pretty weird pizzas out there. How about Mac & Cheese Pizza? Or Carrot Crust Pizza, Butternut Squash and Crispy Sage Pizza, or Spaghetti Pizza? The creepiest pizza pic I came across had scorpions on it. Surely, they can’t mean for people to eat that? No, I prefer mine with lots of normal pizza veggies: green pepper, onions, mushrooms, olives, etc.

Spaghetti-Pizza

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pizza1

 

 

 

 

I love Pizza so much I added it to a book, put the recipe in the back and called it Austin’s Pizza.

Austin’s Thick Crust Pizza Pizza Dough

1 cup lukewarm water (105–110 degrees F)

1 envelope yeast (fast-rising, if possible)

2 tablespoons sugar (3 or 4 tablespoons if sweeter dough is preferred)

1 tablespoon olive oil

¾ teaspoon salt

2 to 2 ½ cups flour

Directions

  1. Stir warm water, yeast, and ½ teaspoon of the sugar together, cover with plastic wrap, and let stand 5 to 6 minutes until yeast is dissolved.
  2. Add the oil, remaining sugar, and salt to above mixture.
  3. Slowly add flour until stiff.
  4. Knead dough 5 minutes, then cover with cloth.
  5. Let rise in warm place 1  to 1 ½ hours until it doubles in size.
  6. Poke down and use or refrigerate (dough can be frozen).

Pizza

½ cup of pizza sauce (more or less, depending on taste)

Pizza toppings: fresh veggies and meat should be lightly sautéed before garnishing pizza

Nonstick spray or 1 teaspoon of olive oil

1 ½ to 2 cups shredded pizza cheese blend or mozzarella cheese

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 475–500 degrees F.
  2. Put pizza dough in a slightly greased 9 x 11 glass or metal casserole pan or a round deep-dish pan of equivalent size.
  3. Spread pizza sauce on dough.
  4. Spread ½ cup cheese on pizza crust (bottom cheese will help keep toppings from falling off).
  5. Garnish pizza with desired toppings.
  6. Add remaining cheese on top.
  7. Cook for 9 to 12 minutes on lower rack of oven. Remove pizza when bottom crust is brown and dough is fully cooked.

Enjoy!

What’s your favorite kind of pizza? And let me know if you make Austin’s Pizza and how you liked it.

 

 

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