Welcome Guest Blogger Amanda Brice

Hi, Guys,

Today, I’ve got a real treat for you.  Debut YA author Amanda Brice’s debut YA novel CODENAME: DANCER released last week, and I can’t wait to read it.  Amanda blogs with my alter ego, Christie Craig, over at Killer Fiction, and I’m really excited to have her join me.  So…take it away, Amanda!

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I admit it. I’m obsessed with Dancing with the Stars. Despite the fact that each year the star quality gets dimmer, I just can’t help it. I have to watch.

I started dancing at age 3, when my mom enrolled me in a ballet and tap combo class. My parents still have my yellow Cuddly Duck costume from my very first dance recital, which will be 30 years ago this June! Throughout the years, I started taking more styles and more classes per week until I was dancing nearly 30 hours per week as a teen. Tap was always my best style, although I also did ballet (including pointe), jazz, lyrical, novelty, contemporary, and then later I studied flamenco and ballroom.

I danced on the ballroom dance team in college, which was a total blast. We traveled all over the East Coast for competitions against other schools. My favorite memory was a spur-of-the-moment decision to enter the open Lindy Hop competition at the Ohio Star Ball with my friend Jonathan. We’d never even attempted lifts before the night before…literally! But we decided to do it, and lo and behold we made it to the finals, which meant all bets were off. We could do any aerial moves we wanted.

And we won!!!! That was a real shock, but so much fun! And all the better since we dressed the part, with me in a vintage 1940s dress and saddle shoes.

I know it sounds cheesy, but dance is in my blood. So when I decided to write a YA mystery, I knew it would feature a heroine who was a dancer. I had this idea to set a series at a performing arts boarding school because it would give rise to an ensemble cast of quirky creative types to get into all kinds of scrapes.

Then one night I was watching DWTS and it hit me. What if teen celebs came to the school to film a new reality series? And thus Codename: Dancer was born.

I got to appease my celebrity Gawker/TMZ-obsession and create my own cool crime-solving chick (who I’d hoped would be a hipper Nancy Drew). Perfect!

What’s your reality TV guilty secret? Leave a comment and one lucky commenter will win an e-book copy of Codename: Dancer.

Amanda Brice lives outside Washington, DC with her husband and toddler daughter. An intellectual property attorney for a large federal government agency, she combines her love of writing with her legal career by speaking on basic copyright and trademark law on the writers’ conference circuit. Her debut novel, Codename: Dancer, was released last week. You can learn more about Amanda and her books at her website (http://amandabrice.net/).

 

Thanks, Amanda!  In addition, I’ll also give away a copy of Born at Midnight, so let’s get those comments going!

C.C.

Three Questions from Stephanie Saunders

Happy Tuesday!

I’m still hard at work on finishing Taken at Dusk, Book 3 of the Shadow Falls series, so I’ve decided to cheat a little with today’s blog.  Okay, maybe “cheat” is too strong of a term.  Basically, I’m going to showcase a great blogger who interviewed me about Born at Midnight by reprinting three of the questions I had been asked.  (See how cleverly I disguised the fact that I’m not writing new material today?  LOL.)

So, today, I’m showcasing Stephanie Saunders who hosts The Thoughts of a Book Junky’s blog.  Click here to read the complete interview and to check out Steph’s fabulous blog:  http://thethoughtsofabookjunky.blogspot.com/

Here are Steph’s Three Questions:

1) What was the inspiration for writing Born at Midnight?

CC:  I get asked this a lot and I always say that I wish I could tell you that it was all my idea.  But it wasn’t.  What actually happened was my editor at St. Martin’s Griffin planted the seed of the idea in my mind.  She did it with two words, too:  “Paranormal Camp.”

Those two words got my imagination revving, so I asked her, “What kind of paranormals?”  She said, “That’s up to you.”  I then asked, “Who is the main character?”  She goes, “That’s up to you, too.”  So, I go, “Is the main character a paranormal?”  Now, I bet you know what she said, right?  LOL.  If you guessed she said, “That’s up to you,” you’d be right.  Anyway, we went on like that for a while but in the end, I took those two words, “paranormal camp,” and went to work on creating the world that is now Shadow Falls.

2) Were there any personal experiences that went in to writing Born at Midnight?

CC:  Oh, this is a great question.  And the answer is, “Absolutely!”  When asked to write a paranormal I quickly related to my some odd things in my family tree—and things that sort of still haunt me.   I come from Alabama and one of my great grandmothers was known throughout the county as a natural healer.  When people were badly burned because of an accident, the hospital would have her come in a talk the burn out of them.  It must have worked, too, because she did this a lot.

She was also sort of known as a bit of a psychic, too.  People came to her to read their fortunes.  And in some small ways, I sort of  inherited some of that sixth sense  from her, which has freaked out my hubby and my friends over the years, believe me.  It’s never something that I can control or even predict.  We could be sitting in a restaurant, having dinner, and all of a sudden, I get this strong feeling that something has happened and that I need to call my mother.  When I do, I find out she twisted her ankle or that a family member was in an auto accident.  Something odd like that.  I’ve also had some crazy experiences when I felt I’d been visited by spirits, too, which I used for fodder  when I wrote the scenes where Kylie experiences the ghosts. .

3) Was Kylie’s characters based on anyone or was she a purely made up character?

CC:   Well, that’s a hard one to answer.  You see, all of my characters have traits that either come from me or from the people I know.  They are bits and pieces of my own experiences.  I start with the kernel of an idea about the character.  For example, when the book opens, Kylie’s parents are splitting up.  That happened to me when I was a teenager, too, so I used my experiences to flesh out hers.  But then Kylie became real in my mind, and she began to fill in the blanks, so to speak.

Here’s where I have to say that I’m not crazy.  All writers feel their characters are “real” and we have conversations with them.  Lucky for me, my hubby has gotten used to it.  LOL.

So…to end this blog, I have  a question for you.  If you were a character in a book, what of your own traits you would give a character?  What personal experiences of your own world would show up in the lives of your characters?  I know not everyone even thinks of writing, but I think it’s fun to explore our lives and see how bits and piece of ourselves might play out in a book.

CC

Do You Know Your Thing?

Hi, Guys,

Today, I’m rerunning a blog that recently appeared at Barnes and Noble’s YA bookclub forum.  Hope you enjoy!

In Born at Midnight, Book One of my new YA paranormal series Shadow Falls from St. Martin’s Griffin, sixteen-year-old Kylie Galen feels invisible.  What’s worse, she feels surrounded by people who seem to know exactly who they are, what they want to do with their lives, and what they want to become.  I chose Kylie’s character traits because in so many ways, I was Kylie.

I was raised in a small town in Alabama.  I was the quiet one, the one who never got into trouble, or really got into anything at all.  I was the middle child between two brothers—brothers who didn’t suffer from any sort of identity crisis.  My older brother was into music.  He had a band.  (And he had some cute friends come over and practice in our garage, too.  You can imagine how many hours my thingless self sat in that garage and watched them practice.)  My younger brother was into sports.  He played football and any other team sport he could sign up for.

Me . . . well, I didn’t have a thing.  Unless you considered being what my parents called “a thinker,” as a thing.  Perhaps if curiosity was listed on the “thing” list, people would have said, C.C.’s thing is being curious.  And I was inquisitive.  At night, I would sit on the porch steps and stare at the car lights on a nearby highway as they rushed past, twinkling and finally disappearing from view.  I’d wonder who was the person in the car that faded into the night.   I’d guess where he/she were going.  And if the story I imagined, if this stranger and their destination was interesting, I’d continue to think about them.  I’d tuck this imaginary person away in my head, and create stories of their lives.  Amazingly, in my mind, there were a lot of cute guys riding in those cars, and some of them looked like my brother’s band members.  Looking back, I realize I was creating characters and storytelling.

Not that I suspected I would grow up and become a writer or even considered it my thing.  Being dyslexic, I barely passed in school, totally sucked at spelling, and was considered a slow reader.  I never dreamed of pursuing writing as my career.

Like Kylie, I didn’t know who I was, or what I was going to be.  Unlike Kylie, I wasn’t sent to a camp for supernaturals where I’d learn I wasn’t human.  Kylie actually started figuring out things much earlier than I did.  I was twenty-three when my new husband asked me.  “What are you going to do with your life?”

He wanted me to go to college, maybe get a teaching degree.  Was he joking?  School was hard, why suffer through that again?  So I confessed something to him that I’d hardly ever confessed to myself.  “I want to be a writer.”

One problem, I had to learn to write—had to learn to put the crazy things happening in my head down on paper.  I had to relearn those boring grammar rules and especially how to spell. And if I wanted to write stories, I’d have to start reading stories.  There were so many things standing between me and my newly discovered “thing.”   It didn’t happen overnight.  It took ten years, before I sold my first book.

I’m not writing this blog to tell you how I became a writer, I’m writing it because I think there might be several of you out there who are like Kylie and me.  Feeling…”thingless” and still unsure what you want to do with yourself.

Well, I’m here to tell you, that it’s okay to not have all the answers. Don’t panic. But if you look deep within, you might see clues.  If you start noticing what makes you tick, even when no one knows you’re ticking–like me, creating characters by watching strangers drive past my house–you might discover your thing a lot sooner than I did.

Chances are “your thing” will suddenly become clear. It may be something that, after you figure it out, you then have to work on it—like me and writing.  Let’s hope that it’s not nearly as devastating as Kylie’s discovery, because learning you’re not human , and being sent to a camp with vampires, witches, shapeshifters, werewolves and faes is a big thing to have to accept. Good luck on finding your thing.   And I hope you enjoy Kylie’s journey of self-discovery, romance and friendship.

C.C. Hunter

Join Me at RT’s Teen Day

Hi, Guys,

Just a quick post today (and, yeah, I know it’s late.)  I’m in Los Angeles at the Romantic Times BookLovers Convention.  I’m really excited about this year’s convention because of Saturday’s Teen Day.  There will be a booksigning with lots of YA authors, plus workshops and Meet and Greets and a party at the end.  If you live in the Los Angeles area, and you’re free on Saturday, please swing by and say hi.

C.C.

Winners!

Winners!  Winners!

First, I want to thank everyone who participated in my Tweet My Book and Win a Kindle contest.  You guys were awesome!  As promised, I chose the winner’s names at random, and I’m ready to announce the winners.

Grand Prize Winner of the Kindle

@brandileigh2003

Winners of a copy of Born at Midnight:

@Ksmeza

@aliraluna1

@HeidiJoVT

@MamaBookWorm

@Alterlisa

Winners of an ARC of Awake at Dawn*

@EllzReadz

@Danny_Bookworm

@Castergirl172

*will be sent out when ARCs are available, probably June

Congratulations!

Just a reminder, if prizes are unclaimed after one week, another winner will be chosen.  So, guys, make sure you shoot me an email with your mailing address to claim your prize.  You can use the contact form here at my website Email C.C.

C.C.