One Thing Writing Young Adult Taught Me & a Giveaway

“You just don’t understand!”

How many times have you heard that line from an unhappy teen?  As the mother of two grown kids, I’ve heard it plenty of times.  And for what’s it worth, many of those times, I heard it, but didn’t really hear it.

What I mean is, our teenagers have a point. We sometimes don’t understand.  Oh, we understood at one time, but as we grew into adults, as we became parents, protective beings out to assure our children avoid the pitfalls of life. I think we forgot.

We forget what it was like to be a teenager.  And I don’t just mean the surging hormones or peer pressure.  But yes, that is certainly a part of it.  What I mean is we forget that they are adults in the making.  They have their own personalities.  Their own goals.  Their own likes and dislikes.  That they have their own lessons to learn.

And yes, that last one is the hardest for us as parents.  We want to protect them from facing anything close to dire consequences.  And yet so many of the lessons we learned in our early years are the ones that helped shape us as human beings.

We often forget how hard it is be under the control of someone else.   We decide where they’ll live, if they move from state to state, and where they’ll go to school.  We decide if they’ll live with both parents or with only one.

Yes, so much of this is out of our control.  And yet we forget how those decisions can affect their lives.

We try to oversee who they are friends with.  What career path they’ll move into.  We try to dictate who they’ll love.  What clothes they’ll wear.  How they’ll wear their hair.

And yes, as parents this is our job.  We are meant to lead. To guide.  And yet so often our guidance is directed by our own beacons and sometimes even our own prejudices.  We neglect to remember how our own paths led us away from that of our parents.  That an essential part of growing up is discovering who we are and how we differ from those around us.

Sometimes I think we forget a valuable tool we have as parents is the one to step back and not to crowd, to listen and not command, to advise and not rule.  Yet sometimes even though stepping back is exactly what we need to do, we overlook that option.  And yes, knowing the when it’s right and when it’s wrong sometimes feels impossible.

I think as parents we often forget that our children are not immune to our mistakes, our missteps, the consequences of our bad choices, and even the bad luck we encounter.  Even when we have no fault, when life hits us hard, it hits them, too.

In my young adult books I plagiarize from real life and often from my own teen years.  In my novel that releases March 26th, In Another Life, a young adult thriller, I write about how Chloe’s life is turned upside down by her parent’s bitter divorce and her father’s adultery.  Add her mom’s cancer and depression and you have a girl who is more emotionally stable than her own parents.

In Two Feet Under, the second book in my Mortician’s Daughter series that releases in December, Riley lost her mother when she was young and is being raised by her father who is an alcoholic.  A man who drinks to hide the pain of his past.  A past that Riley senses holds secrets about her own life and now she’s determined to unearth them.

When I was asked to write young adult, I questioned my ability to do it.  Could I crawl into the skin of teenager and relate?  I believe I accomplished this by taking a long stroll down memory lane.  Amazingly, I discovered that teens today deal with most of the same issues I dealt with as a teen.  Yes, they have social media and it makes it’s harder, but the underlining issues are the same:  parents, peer pressure, drugs, alcohol and sex.

I wish I’d have gotten into writing young adult books sooner, when my children were younger. I think it would have made me a better parent to them as teenagers.

And just as writing these books opened my eyes as to how I could have been a better parent, I believe reading them can offer the same benefit to others.

Do you look back at your own coming-of-age time?  Do you remember one thing in which you wish your parents had given you a little more leeway?  Do you recall something that your parents did that felt so unfair and yet, now you see they were right?  If you are a teen, is there something that you feel your parents just don’t understand?

One person who leaves a comment will win a $15 Amazon card.

Happy Reading!

Movie Favorites

I love going to the movies. I don’t go as often as I  like because, well, I’m a writer, so I spend a lot of my time writing. So, often I end up watching a movie on Netflix or Amazon. But I still enjoy seeing them. I have some old favorites, ones that I’m always ready to watch, and I have a few newer movies I love. I thought I’d share my favorites with you.

Here are a few older movies I love:

While You Were Sleeping

A hopeless romantic Chicago Transit Authority token collector is mistaken for the fiancé of a coma patient.

This is such a great movie. Some of you younger readers probably haven’t seen it, but if you’re a romantic, you MUST watch this movie. Sandra Bullock is adorable! Get your tissues ready.

Bird on a Wire

An old flame discovers her ex-boyfriend from the past is a relocated FBI informant out to stop the bad guys.

This is another romantic movie, but with a lot of action. I love Goldie Hawn (for you youngster, that’s Kate Hudson’s  mom). She and Mel Gibson are great on screen together.

Lethal Weapon

Two newly paired cops who are complete opposites must put aside their differences in order to catch a gang of drug smugglers.

Another Mel Gibson movie with loads of action, but a lot of laughs, too.

Die Hard

John McClane, officer of the NYPD, tries to save his wife Holly Gennaro and several others that were taken hostage by German terrorist Hans Gruber during a Christmas party at the Nakatomi Plaza in Los Angeles.

This is more of an action movie than a love story, but I enjoy how McClane will stop at nothing to save his estranged wife. An added bonus is seeing the talented Alan Rickman play a bad guy. He’s amazing!

 

 

And yes, I do like some newer movies, too. Here are a few:

Collateral Beauty

Retreating from life after a tragedy, a man questions the universe by writing to Love, Time and Death. Receiving unexpected answers, he begins to see how these things interlock and how even loss can reveal moments of meaning and beauty.

This is a movie with a message. Wil Smith shows another side to his acting in this movie as he struggles with a loss.

I Feel Pretty

A woman struggling with insecurity wakes from a fall believing she is the most beautiful and capable woman on the planet. Her new confidence empowers her to live fearlessly, but what happens when she realizes her appearance never changed?

Another movie with a message, especially for women. I feel really great every time I watch this movie. All women really should take the time to see this one!

Okay, so most of my favorite movies have a romantic theme. What did you expect? I write romance into all my books. My Christie Craig books are all romantic suspense, and my YA novels have a romance and some danger, too.

So, what are some of your favorite movies? And why?

 

Halloween, Ghosts and Dreams

On Halloween we dress up in costumes of monsters, celebrities and ghosts. But for me, ghosts aren’t just something I think of on Halloween. I tend to think a lot about ghosts all year long, because I often write about them in my books.

In my Mortician’s Daughter series, Riley’s life is overrun by the dead.  Some of them follow her dad home from the funeral home. Others just show up. They usually need her help with something. In the first book in the series, One Foot in the Grave, Riley manages to help a young woman get justice and put the man responsible for her death away.  In the second book, Two Feet Under, Riley is faced with an even scarier ghost, one who is a murderer.

So, why my fascination with ghosts? It may date back to a dream I had as a child.

I was thirteen and I woke up that morning with sunshine spilling through my window.  But the memory of a dream I’d just had made breathing difficult. There had been no sunshine in the dream.

It was spooky, but even more strange and sad.  Like an old movie, I could still see it playing in my mind.  But unlike a movie, my memory came with all five senses.  The smell of wet earth and the scent of a storm brewing somewhere close by.  I could feel the wind hit my face, blowing my blonde hair across my eyes.   Tombstones, aged and cracked, littered the ground around me.  All was silent—deadly silent.

A small group of people stood quietly by a gravesite.  All wearing black.  Even the sky held a dismal shade of sadness.  There seemed to be no color in the image—no joy, all drab and gray. I stared at the faces of those grieving people. Did I know them?  Yes, but . . . vaguely.   And from where?

Immediately, my gaze shifted to the casket. The tiny polished box carried the only color in the scene.  A bright pink ribbon rested on top. My gaze shot back to the people again. They weren’t crying.  For some reason that seemed odd.  They needed to cry.  Cry for the child who obviously lay tucked inside that casket.  The child who would never run and play and who would never know life.

I studied the faces of the people again, trying to remember where I’d seen them. How could I know them when they looked so out of place?  Like people from old pictures.  People from another time, another life.

And then came the realization.  The woman dressed in a thick black wool coat, hugging herself against the cold and staring at the casket with empty emotion, was my grandmother, but younger.  A lot younger.  The woman was now in her sixties. But yes, I remembered seeing her younger face in family photo albums.

Then, I recognized the other people.  My mom and dad when they were young.   My grandfather and one of my uncles.  My gaze shifted from one person to the next.  This was one weird dream.

Then my gaze returned to the casket.

Who had died?   Part of the answer came with the next cold whisk of wind:  A baby.  A baby girl.

I wanted to tell someone how sorry I was.  Emotion built in my chest.  A crazy thought hit.  Someone needed to cry for the child.  I stood back from the crowd, not really present, but somehow still there.  I felt the odd sadness.  But why weren’t they crying?

Then my grandmother, my mom, dad and uncle were gone.  As if they’d vanished into the air.  I saw the casket being lowered into the gaping chasm.  Abruptly the dream changed and I saw the gravestone.  It simply read, Our baby girl: Christie.

Christie?  CHRISTIE?  That was my name.  How could the baby have my name?  That’s when I’d woken up.  My heart still thumped against my breastbone at the memory, and I had tears in my eyes.  Not wanting to be alone, I went and found my mom cooking breakfast.

I told her about the dream, about the casket with the pink ribbon and seeing my name on the gravestone.

Shock hit my mom’s face.  “What is it?” I asked, but was almost scared to hear her answer.

“It’s just weird, you’d dream about that.”

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“Your grandmother got pregnant a few months after your dad and I were married.  It was a girl.  She only lived a few weeks.  You were named after her.”

The spookiness tiptoed up my spine as chills skittered up my neck.  I looked at my mom. “Why didn’t anyone cry?” Suddenly, I wanted to cry.

Mom answered, “Your grandma told everyone no tears.  She said she couldn’t handle the tears.  We weren’t allowed to cry.”

I dropped down into a kitchen chair and asked the question burning inside me.  “How could I have dreamed this?”

“I’m sure you heard the story,” Mom said.

“When?  When could I have heard the story?   I swear I never knew about my aunt before now.”

“I don’t know, but you had to have heard it.  How else would you have known this?”

How else?

To this day I think about that dream.  I think about the little girl, my namesake.  Did I really hear someone tell that story and my mind simply played it back to me as a dream?  Or did the spirit of Christie somehow visit me?  Did she need me to know about her?  Did she need someone to cry for her?

Now do you understand why I often write about ghosts? There’s a part of me that believes in them.  What about you?  Do you believe in ghosts?

 

 

TWO FEET UNDER

A few weeks ago, I told you about how busy I’ve been. Yup, I’ve had multiple deadlines, so I’ve been writing A LOT. My family is trying to remember what I look like because I’ve been locked in my study for so long. But I’m making headway.

So, I’d like apologize to you about Two Feet Under, the second book in my Mortician’s Daughter series. It was supposed to be released on Oct. 1, 2018, but I had to delay the release by a few months. I had a really busy summer with a Christie Craig romantic suspense release, and I had to finish In Another Life, my CC Hunter book coming out March 26, 2019. But don’t worry, I’ve been working overtime to get Two Feet Under finished so you can read all about Riley and Hayden. And believe me it is worth the wait. I’m can’t tell you how excited I am about this book! And I’ll be posting the first chapter on my blog and website soon. Then, once I have an exact release date in Dec., I’ll announce it here, on my blog. To everyone who pre-ordered it, thank you and please be patient. You’ll have your book soon.

Riley has accepted that her special gift is to help dead people with their unfinished business.  But she never thought she’d be tasked with helping the spirit of a convicted criminal who died in prison.  He may lead her on the scariest mission yet, but helping him could mean saving the life of a child.  The convict’s daughter needs a liver transplant and the one person who could still be a match is his brother…who also happens to be a gang leader.

Hayden’s not happy that Riley’s discovered who he is and is seeing him sick and unconscious in his hospital bed.  This feels like as good a time as ever to cross over and put all of them out of their misery….but Riley is in danger.  She’s visiting some of the most dangerous spots and confronting some of the creepiest low-lifes in town.  For her, he’ll need to regain his strength and fight to keep her safe.

But dealing with other people’s problems still can’t keep Riley from her own.  Her dad’s drinking has gotten worse.  And she’ll soon learn it’s because he’s been keeping a huge, horrible secret that will change everything she believes about her family and her mother’s death.

You can pre-order now.

Amazon: https://tinyurl.com/y7a7cnt3

Barnes & Noble: https://tinyurl.com/y94w97ka

I hope you’re all going to read my Mortician’s Daughter series. I actually wrote it with my Shadow Falls fans in mind. Riley is a really great character and she reminds me a lot of Kylie, but she has her own unique struggles.

Just wondering…how many of my books have you read?

Girls’ Night Out!

Do ever have a girls’ night out?  When you and other girls spend some girl-time together?  It could involve dinners out, chick flicks, or chocolate sundaes.  But almost always, it involves lots of laughter. It can be sisters, girlfriends, family or a mix.  However it plays out, there is just something about surrounding yourself with other girls, talking girl stuff, doing girl stuff, and celebrating our girl power that’s so rewarding.

 

Well, I recently set up a very special girl’s night out.  My mother and stepfather came visit me in Texas from California.  So I planned a night out.  A whole night.  We left hubby and stepfather at home and my daughter, my granddaughter, my mom  and I took off for an excursion and adventure.

I made reservations at a nice Marriott.  We were going to get pedicures, but my mom had just had one, so we skipped that and went the shopping.  We bought pajamas, panties, sweats, and a toy.  After shopping we went to the movie and dined out.  Leaving the movie we spotted one of those camera booths.  And you know we had to do it.

First question.  Could we all fit?  Answer.  No.  Not really.  But that didn’t stop us.  We piled in.  Put in our money and laughed so hard we cried.  When we were finished there were actually people standing outside who said.  “I think you girls are having too much fun.”

Then we went to our hotel and we laughed some more.   We laughed about silly girl stuff.  We ate chips in bed.  And we stayed up watching television.  The next morning we ate breakfast out and did some more shopping.

If there’s such a thing as too much fun we had it.  And our memories included four generation of girls.  If you haven’t had a girls’ night out, plan one.  They are good for soul.

Do you have girls’ night out? What do you like to do?

Winner!!!

Wow, thanks to everyone who participated in my Take Your T-shirt Off Test. It helped me a lot. The winner of a Born to Read t-shirt from last week’s blog is Michaela Duve. Michaela, please email me at cc@cchunterbooks.com and tell me your t-shirt size and your postal address.

 

The Take Your Shirt Off Test

I’ve been a very busy girl. Like nose-to-the-grindstone and no-more-nose-left kind of busy.  The type of busy that when you finally catch up, you still feel that antsy gotta-keep-going feeling.  It’s as if you’ve forgotten what it feels like to be still, to not be under the gun.  Yeah, that’s been me.

I finished my second book in my Christie Craig Texas Justice series.  Of course, it was running late, and then I had to go back in and cut the word count before I could send it in. My books are always running long these days.  I blame it on being Southern.  It can take a Southerner fifteen words to say something that a Northerner can say in five. (I envy them a bit.)

At the same time, I got my copy edits on my March 26th release for my young adult thriller novel, In Another Life.  For those of you who don’t understand what “copy edits” entail, it’s when someone (a copy editor) reads your book and makes corrections on both grammar stuff, typos, missing words, and they’ll mark anything that needs tweaking.  As in “You said she spoke to her dad, but she really just listened to a voice mail.”  Yeah, it was something I changed in revision and didn’t correct in the following scene.  It’s an oops, and we writers appreciate our copy editors for finding those errors.

So, an author has to go through all the changes a copy editor makes to confirm they agree with those changes.  Then they need to address anything she agrees needs to be changed, like the voice-mail thing.

That said, there was one comment this copy editor wrote that gave me pause.  And here’s where I’m going to explain the title of this blog.  In a scene where the hero and heroine go swimming, I have the hero pull off his T-shirt,  i.e.  He crossed his arms, reached down and caught the hem of his shirt and pulled it over his head.

When I saw that sentence marked, I wondered:  What’s wrong that that? Her comment explained that boys don’t take their shirts off that way. Only girls.  She wrote that girls take their shirts off that way and boys reach over their heads, grab their shirts by the back of their neck, and pull it off.

I’m like . . . uh . . .  that’s not true.  There isn’t a gender specific way of removing a shirt.   I’m mid-ponder on this when in walks in my hubby.  I look up.  He’s wearing a T-shirt. Perfect. I’m like . . .  uh, “Take off your shirt.”

Of course, he doesn’t have a clue what’s going on.  “Uh, what?”

“Just take off your shirt,” I say.

“Why?” he asks.

“It’s for the book,” I explain.

Now you know he thinks all my heroes are based after him, so he smiles and follows my order.

Much to my dismay, he reaches over his head to the neck of his shirt and pulls his T-shirt off.  I’m shocked.  “Why didn’t you grab it from the hem and pull it over your head?” I ask.

“I don’t know.  It’s just how I take my shirt off.”

First of all, I was disappointed that obviously I haven’t paid enough attention to guys removing their shirts.  LOL.  How could I have missed this?

So I do what I always do when something puzzles me.  I Googled it.  And duh, I found articles on the subject trying to explain this phenomenon.  Basically they listed five reasons.

  • Hair
  • Boobs
  • Guys copying other guys
  • Flexibility
  • How the clothes are made.

But you know you can’t believe everything you read.  So I wanted to test this theory more, so awkwardly, I called my son and requested he take his shirt off, then I called my daughter and asked her to get my son-in-law to take his shirts off.  (Hey, they are used to their mama doing crazy crap.)  Much to my dismay, they all used the tug-the-shirt-over-their-neck method.  Now I want to test this theory more, but I don’t know how walking up to men, other than my hubby, and asking them to take their shirt off will be received. So I’m asking you to do it. Do the test with a boy/man you are comfortable with and ask them to remove their shirt.  One person who leaves me an answer will win a Born To Read T-shirt.  Sizes are limited. (Sorry, but this giveaway is for U.S. residents only.)

And here’s one of the articles I found about this.

https://www.seventeen.com/life/friends-family/news/a41810/have-you-realized-guys-take-their-shirts-off-differently-than-girls/

Hope your October is turning out to be a good month!

Happy Reading!

CC

Questions, Anyone?

A few weeks ago, I asked you to leave some questions that you’d like to ask me if you ever met me at a book signing. So, I thought it would be fun to answer a few of those questions for this week’s blog. If you think of any more questions you’d like me to answer, leave them in the comment section and eventually, I’ll answer them all.

Paula Bell asked: My question would be do you ever have writers block and what do you do for it? I have never been to a book fair or festival. A friend and I are working on that. I hope sometime soon I’ll happen.

CC: Well, Paula, I don’t really believe in writer’s block.  You see writing is my career, my job. My dad was a plumber and he went to work every day. I know there were days he didn’t feel like it, but he still went. He never claimed to have plumber’s block (no pun intended). He did his job, and I do mine. I don’t always feel like writing, but I make myself write. Because even if the writing isn’t that great, I can fix that later, but I can’t fix a blank page.

 

Shauna Tramutolo asked: Is there any chance of there being another book for the Shadow Falls gang? I would really love to know where they all went and what human college was like for them as supernaturals.

CC: Sorry, Shauna, but I have no plans to write another Shadow Falls book at this time. That’s not to say it will never happen. Heck, I’m old enough to have learned to never say never. However, right now I’m busy writing my Mortician’s Daughter series. I started this series with my Shadow Falls fans in mind. While Riley has different problems in her life, she still reminds me a lot of Kylie. I also release my first stand alone book This Heart of mine, which is my most personal book yet. I drew on the experience I had when my husband had a kidney transplant and all the ways it impacted our lives. I also tossed in a young romance, some mystery and a touch of woowoo.

 

 

BN100 asked: Would ask you how you prepare for festivals and book signings.

CC: Mostly, I just want to make sure I get the word out about the event, so people turn up. I also want to be certain I’ll have enough books to sign. Then I get ready to have fun.

Shania N. Soler asked: If I were to ever get the chance to meet you in person I’d probably ask a million and one questions about Shadow Falls and all its characters and the dynamic world in which you’ve set it in, though the first question I think I’d ask would be: What first inspired you to start writing?

CC: First of all, I’m dyslexic, so reading and writing were difficult for me when I was growing up. So the thought of becoming a writer never occurred to me. But I did enjoy making up stories. I’d head off to my favorite place in the woods and weave all sorts of stories in my head—some went on for days.

Then, in my early 20’s, I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. My hubby asked me what I wanted to do, and I said that I wanted to be a writer. Being the great man he is, he told me I should “go for it.” So I took every writing class I could, studied my favorite authors and wrote every day. It wasn’t easy and took my many years and lots of hard work to get where I am today.

Kira Moericke asked: I’d probably ask how you come up with such clever sass (that everyone loves) in your characters, especially the sass in Della.

CC: Oh gosh, Della has always been sassy. When she first popped into my head, she already had an attitude. But really I just think she comes from the sassy part of me that I tend to keep under wraps. With Della, however, I had to open that up and let my sass run free. Once I did, it was a bit like Pandora’s Box, it’s hard to box it back up. But that’s okay., I kinda like it. Now, my hubby may have a few reservations…

As I said, leave any questions for me below and I’ll answer them in a future post.

 

Winner!!!

The winner from last week’s giveaway is Angie. Congratulations, Angie, you’ve won a copy of This Heart of Mine and a cool Shadow Falls bracelet. Please email me at cc@cchunterbooks.com with your postal address and I’ll send you your prize.

Angels Walk Amongst Us

Has anyone ever walked into your life and left good footprints on your soul?  I don’t mean spirits, I mean a real person, someone whose smile, whose encouragement makes a difference?  Someone, who when you see this person, makes that moment so much better?  I smile when I remember Shawna, I want to cry knowing I will never see her again. Last week, I lost one of my angels.

Shawna Springer, whose beautiful spirit imprinted on my life, died way too young.

I met Shawna when she reached out to me, asking me to do a book signing at a book club meeting.  Shawna always wore such a big love-you smile.  And all you book lovers out there would have loved her, too.  She was . . . the biggest book geek I’ve ever known.

She worked at Barnes and Noble in Pasadena, Texas.  She loved to read.  She knew my characters almost as well as I did.  She was one of those booksellers who seriously had a passion for the written word.  She’d order cases of my books for book signings and would have me sign them all before I left.  I asked her once if she wasn’t going to send them back.

“Heck no,” she’d say.  “They’re going on my recommend shelf.  I’ll sell them.”

And she did.  She’d hand sell books in the store all the time.  Not just my books either.  When she loved an author she was a fan like no other.  She had a way of making authors feel special.  Her bubbly glee over my books energized me as an author.  And I know I wasn’t alone. She did that for so many authors.

She also loved doing crafts.  She made me a Shadow Falls dream catcher that hangs in my office.  She made This Heart of Mine charms that I put on bracelets.  When I’d pay her for her crafts, I would also pay her more than she charged.  I told her, “You don’t charge enough.”

She’d reply, “Yeah, but it’s about books and you know how I feel about your books.”

I wish I could pick up the phone and tell her one more time how much I appreciated her.  Oh, I told her many times, but maybe not enough.

I wish she was still here.  But she’s not.  So I encourage you that if you have someone who makes a difference in your life, pick up the phone or better yet go to them, hug them, and tell them what they mean to you.

I hope Shawna is in the hereafter, and I sure as heck hope they have a library, because I know wherever she is, she’ll be happier if surrounded by books.

Today in honor of Shawna I’m giving away a hard cover of This Heart of Mine and one of the bracelets with the charms she made.  To enter just leave a post telling me about someone who makes your world better. Sorry, but this giveaway is for U.S. residents only If you’re reading this on Goodreads, you must go to my Website to enter.)

Winner!!!

The winner of last week’s giveaway is Taylor Thomason. Congratuations, Taylor, you’ve won a tote of book swag. Please email you postal address to cc@cchunterbooks.com so I can get you your prize.

Thanks for all the great questions last week. I promise I’ll write a blog soon to answer them all.

 

 

 

Book Fests and a Giveaway!!

I love meeting my fans. I enjoy chatting with them and answering their questions. Some tell me how my books affected their life. How the issues my characters were facing felt similar to the issues they faced in their own lives. Others have specific questions for me or for my characters.  Some just want to get their book signed and snap a selfie with me. Whatever connection they feel to my work, I really have a great time meeting them. It’s probably my favorite part of being an author. What’s the best way to do that? Well, I have book signings at book stores and I attend book fairs, conferences and events with other authors. I also speak at middle and high schools.

And I’ve got some of my favorite events coming up…

On November 3rd, I’ll be at The Origin Event in Austin, TX. I’ll be there with a host of other authors, and we’ll all be signing our books—and chatting with our fans. There will also be bags of swag given out to attendees. This one usually sells out, so get your tickets now.

Then, Feb. 1st, I’ll be back at Teen Book Fest by the Bay at the American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, TX.  I’ll be there with over 50 other YA authors. I’ve been going to this fest every year for a while now. I go back because it’s always a lot of fun.  This event is FREE.

On May 15-19th, I’ll be in the Big Easy. That’s right, I’ll be at the Book Lovers Con in New Orleans, LA. They’re calling this the “Ultimate Reader Experience” with lots of events like Voodoo Vampire, an evening of dinner and dancing with the undead and the huge Book Bash Book Signing.

 

 

 

 

 

Have you ever been to a book festival? Which one? Do you attend author’s book signings? If you and I met up at a book festival, what question would you ask me?   I’ll give away a tote filled with book swag to one person who tells me the question they would like to ask.  And I’ll try to answer these questions in the next few blogs. (Sorry, this giveaway is limited to U.S. residents only.)

Writing Advice

Every now and then I like to give some writing advice on my blog because so many of my readers are also writers. I also get a lot of emails from young (and not so young) fans asking for advice.  So here’s a handout for a talk I give about five things to know before you cozy up to the computer and start writing.

Five Things You Need to Know About Writing Before You Get to Work

By C.C. Hunter

Point of View–POV

POV basically means who is telling your story.  Whose head are you in during this particular moment, in this particular scene?  That is your POV character.  Think of your POV character as your camera, your recording device, and your only method of gathering story data.  If your POV character can’t see it, you can’t describe it for your readers.  If they can’t hear it, you can’t let your readers hear it.  If your POV character doesn’t know it, you can’t tell it to the reader.  If your character wouldn’t think that way, then you can’t write that way.

Goals

What are your character’s goals?  What does she/he want right now and does this goal tie in to what he/she wants as a long term story goal?  Is the goal hero/heroine worthy?  In other words, wanting to become a cheerleader so you can be popular is not a worthy goal for a heroine/hero.  But wanting to become a cheerleader so you can finally feel as if you fit in at your new school . . . that is a hero/heroine worthy goal.

Motivation

The most important question to ask your characters is “Why?”  Why do they do what they do?  Why do they want what they want?  Why do they fear what they fear?  Generally, the answer to the “why” questions will lead you to your character’s motivation.  In real life, sometimes we don’t always understand why we do things.  Sometimes in our books, the “why” may not be clear to the characters, but it definitely needs to be clear to the reader.  The reason for this is simple.  It is human nature to want to understand what motivates people.  If a reader can’t understand the reason your characters are reacting and acting in certain ways, they may not believe in them.

Think about it this way:  Motivation leads to caring.  When an action is good, understanding the “why” behind the action increases the reader’s anticipation of seeing the character achieve his or her goal.

Motivation also leads to understanding. When a character’s actions or emotions are somewhat misguided, hard to grasp, or lean toward the unethical (lying, breaking a law, behaving badly), motivation becomes even more important.

Conflict

A writer’s job is to be mean to their characters.  To say no to everything the character wants and make him/her work harder.  Every story, every scene in a story, needs conflict to be interesting.

Hooks

If you want a reader to read your book, you need an opening hook.  But that’s not all.  You also need an ending hook to every scene.  And you need chapter hooks, too.  So, what is a hook?  A hook is basically anything that instills curiosity or a question in a reader’s mind.  It is the thing that propels the reader to turn the page and keep reading.  It can be new or an unexpected piece of information.  It can be a startling action.  i.e., She looked up and saw the eighteen-wheeler coming right at her.   It can be a character about to come to a conclusion, or even a character internally asking a question that will lead to a realization that puts everything into a different perspective.   i.e., If Johnny showed up today, it would mean he cared.  But if he didn’t show up…What would that mean?

So tell me, are you a writer or do you want to become a writer?