What I Wish I’d Known

A little while ago, I was asked to write a letter to myself, my teenage self, by Dear Teen Me. It was what I, as an adult, would say to me as a teen. I gave it a lot of thought and I decided it was worth sharing here.

Dear Teen Me,

You know that boy you’re certain is going to break up with you because you don’t want to go all the way, and you know you’ll die when he does? Well, you are wrong. Not that he won’t break up with you. He will. But you won’t die. You made the right decision. I know it’s hard being you. I know you feel as if you don’t fit in. Even saying ‘here’ when the teacher calls your name makes you cringe. But don’t worry, once you find your real passion in life, all those insecurities fade away. Heck, you can even use those insecurities to help you achieve success in your career. Someday, you’ll stand up in front of thousands and give talks. You’ll make them laugh; you’ll encourage them to believe in themselves like you have learned to do.

I know you think I’m lying because you feel as if you’re not good at anything. The one thing you felt you could have been successful at was gymnastics. So short. So limber. Then you got boobs in fifth grade, before everyone else, and you were too embarrassed to do flips in front of people because they jiggled. Guess what? They’re going to jiggle a lot more when you’re older. But don’t worry, gymnastics didn’t turn out to be your passion. And yeah, school is really hard. You feel stupid, and those report cards validate that. Well, when you’re an adult, you’ll discover that you’re dyslexic, and you never were stupid. As a matter of fact, you’re not nearly as bad as you think you are.

But here’s the one thing you’re going to love knowing. Remember all those teachers and adults who told you if you didn’t get your head out of the clouds you’d never amount to anything? Little did they know that’s how you’d make your living—that, young lady, is your passion. Funny how you didn’t even consider being a writer. But getting lost in your head, in your dreams, creating those stories about all those cute guys, that wasn’t a waste of time. That was grist for mill, a writer in training. As an adult, you even took those tough times as a teen–your parents getting a divorce, losing a family member, getting pushed aside because you wouldn’t sleep with a guy–and you plagiarized your own life to create your character Kylie Galen in the Shadow Falls Series. Yeah, you’ll have to work hard to learn to put your stories down on paper, but you’ll eventually prove all those people wrong. You’re gonna make it. So don’t give up.

Oh, I know you’re going to make mistakes. Getting married so young. That wasn’t smart, but you know what? All those mistakes you’ve made molded and shaped you into the person you are today. So don’t worry so much about the mistakes, just learn from them. Because making a mistake isn’t so bad, it’s repeating them that makes us failures. So take a deep breath, get though the tough times of the teenage years, and the not happy early twenties years, you have a lot of life to live.

Sincerely,
The Adult Me

 

So that’s what I wish I’d said to myself or at least someone would have told me when I was a teen. Of course if it would have been my mom telling me, I probably wouldn’t have listened. But life would have been a lot easier for me if I had.

Now, tell me what is it you wished you’d known when you were younger, or what do you think you’ll be telling younger self when you’re older ?

Winner!

Last week’s winner of a Shadow Falls t-shirt is Carolyn McMahon. Congratulations, Carolyn! Please email your mailing address and t-shirt size to cc@cchunterbooks.com.

Big News!

What’s in a name?  What’s in a title?   I know it’s important to readers, but how about authors?   Can a title influence the plot or the heart of the story?  Does a title influence a writer?  Hmm?

med_bamI say  . . . heck yes.  The reason I say this is because, originally, Shadow Falls wasn’t the series title.  As a matter of fact, it didn’t get changed until after the first book was all finished.  Only a few weeks before Born at Midnight was to go to print, I got a call from my editor.  She said,  “Well, at the last minute, marketing decided that Bone Creek Camp sounded too much like a western.”  (Yes that was my original series title.)  Anyway, she said that marketing suggested that we change it to, Shadow Falls.

I liked it and so did my editor, but then she said,  “There’s only one problem.  There’s not a falls at the camp.  Do you think you could go back in and just add a water fall?”

I was a tad panicked.  I mean, I had already finished the book and felt that if the series title was going to be Shadow Falls, then the dad-blasted water fall better be important.  Problems, problems!  Anyway, I decided that instead of actually writing the falls into the first book, I would simply hint at the fact that there was a water fall.  I’ll bet some of you wondered why Kylie didn’t get to the falls in the first book. Well, now you know, it’s because there wasn’t a water fall until I went in and added her hearing it, added her thinking about it.  Added her feeling lured to the falls.

I have to tell you, I loved adding the little bit of mystery about the falls in Born at Midnight.  And look how important the falls became to the story in the rest of the books.  So just a change in the series title added a whole new element.  Now I’m sure if we’d kept the title, “Bone Creek Camp” the bones would have probably played a bigger part in the overall arc of the story, but I seriously think I like the falls better.

So why am I talking about titles?  And just what is my big news?  Well, we finally got the title for Della’s series as well as the title for the first two books.  Are you ready?

Shadow Falls: After Dark

Book one:  Reborn

Book two: Eternal

I really love the titles and the addition of “After Dark,” to the series title.  It has a little spooky connotation to it, but it also adds a little sexy essence.  And with the two titles, Reborn and Eternal, my mind is already moving a mile a minute coming up with plot twists that epitomizes those titles.

And I know a lot of you have been asking about release dates. Well, things could change, but as if right now, Reborn is scheduled to be out in April 2014 and Eternal is scheduled to be out October, 2014.  I can’t wait!!   Because all of you who know Della, knows this series is going to be one wild ride.

Giveaway

t-shirt-150x150Okay, well, I’m off to write Reborn.  Have a great week, guys, and today, I’ll give another Shadow Falls t-shirt away.  So make sure you post a comment and tell me about the titles of other book series that you love.

 Winner!

And last week’s winner of a Shadow Falls t-shirt is Josephine. Please email your mailing address and t-shirt size to cc@cchunterbooks.com. Congratulations!

 

 

Don’t Say Goodbye to Kylie Yet!

Chosen at Nightfall (1)Kylie has had a busy year. In April, Chosen at Nightfall, the last book in her series came out. Most of you have read it by now, but just in case you haven’t, I won’t spoil it for you here. Let’s just say that Kylie has a lot to deal with, and she does, at last, choose her man. But that doesn’t mean her story ends there. Oh no, her life goes on.

But I have been receiving quite a few emails lately asking for more Kylie. Readers are worried that they’ll never see her or hear from her again. But I’ve got to tell you, Kylie’s still here, sitting in my study, talking in my ear. She hasn’t left me, and she hasn’t left you.

If you read my February 1, 2013 blog, you know I was very excited to announce Della’s series. I really can’t wait to get my teeth into her story. You see, the defensive vamp with loads of attitude has a special place in my heart. She and I share a sassy side—one that has, on occasion, gotten me into hot water. (But I won’t go into that here.) If you’ve read Saved at Sunrise–and even if you haven’t gotten to read it—you can sort of see what I mean by Della’s sassy/spunky demeanor.  Of course, Kylie never backed down from trouble, and she could put someone in their place with a well-chosen word, but even Kylie had to admit that Della was a wizard when it came to sass.

Anyway, just because I’m writing Della’s story doesn’t mean you’ll never see Kylie, Lucas, Derek, Holiday, Miranda, Burnett, Perry or any of the other Shadow Falls characters again. Think about it. Didn’t you see lots of Della in Kylie’s books? Didn’t you feel as if you shared in the wonder of Perry and Miranda romance?  Of Burnett and Holiday’s?  And because they are such a big part of Kylie’s life, their stories really came alive in her series.  Don’t forget, Kylie and Miranda are Della’s best friends. And if it’s one thing I know, it’s that when a girl gets in over her head, she needs her best friends to help her out. So, I’ll tell you now, Della definitely gets in over her head—several times. And during those times, she will have to rely on Kylie and Miranda, not to mention Steve.

So, when Della’s first book comes out in 2014, don’t be surprised to see a lot of familiar faces, because they are all still here, sitting next to Kylie on my couch, telling me what to write. The only difference is that this time, Della’s voice will be louder. And that’s no surprise since she has always been a bossy little thing!

Giveaway!

I’m giving away a Shadow Falls t-shirt to one lucky reader who leaves a comment.

Teen Author Kaylie Hathaway

Today I have a very special guest blogger for those aspiring authors out there. Kaylie Hathaway is a teenager who has already had her poems and books published.  Her books, Beautiful Disorder and The Virus are available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Beautiful Disorder

Beautiful_DisorderLux never expected life to be so unfair- or so surprisingly complicated. Sixteen-year-old Lux Richardson has been wrongly convicted of vandalism, and no one believes her. Not her parents. Not the judge. Her sentence? A summer’s worth of community service at Graceland Church’s Home for the Elderly, in the little hick town of Brickleton. Furious at the injustice of it all and dreaming of revenge against the real criminal, Lux is determined to simply get her punishment over with. What she doesn’t count on is the feisty Payson, who seems to hate her, or Diana, the sweet old lady who tells her stories…and gives her far more than she could ever dream.

 

 

The Virus

The VirusThe Virus. I thought I could control it. And I was dead wrong. My name is Travis Metros, and I create computer viruses for fun. I don’t send them anywhere…just save them to my laptop. But when I was 14, I engineered a virus that, if released, would infect the entire planet with an actual medical virus. I should have been more careful-installed a shut-down code-but I didn’t. Then my laptop was stolen. Now the most dangerous weapon of all times is in the wrong hands. A biological weapon of massive force that could shut down every computer and pass on a deadly, mysterious virus with no cure. Now only my friends and I stand between the bad guys and their plan of world domination.

 

 

So, I asked Kaylie  few questions, and I thought you’d be interested in reading her answers.

CC: How old were you when started writing?

Kaylie: At age ten, I started and finished my first book.  It was short, had too many characters, and didn’t end up making sense in the end!  But that doesn’t matter now–what matters is that I was hooked.  I knew I’d found something I loved to do, and it was something I felt I was good at.  Beyond that, however, I feel that this is what God wants me to do with my life;  He gave me a talent and passion for a reason.

CC: How did you sell your first book?

Kaylie: I went to a writing conference called the Colorado Christian Writers Conference, where I met Ramona Tucker, the co-founder of OakTara publishers.  She liked the sample I had of The Virus and had me e-mail her the rest of it!  Then the next time we caught up with each other, she read the proposal and beginning of Beautiful Disorder, and told me she wanted to publish both books.

CC:  I hear from a lot of my young readers who want to be writers. Can you give us five tips for other teens who would like to follow in your footsteps?

Kaylie: Tip #1:  Write.  Write all the time.  When you don’t want to, when you do want to, when you’re not sure if anything good will come out.  Just write.

Tip #2:  Go out and meet people in this field.  Go to writing conferences and talk to the people there.  If possible, go to a conference that provides face-to-face access to publishers, editors, authors, speakers, agents, and/or anyone else in that field.  If they meet you and like you, they’re far more likely to want to help you.

Tip #3:  Don’t compare yourself to other writers.  Whether it’s to say you’re a better or worse writer than them, it’s a trap either way.  Don’t compare.

Tip #4:  Read–it’s important!  Read as much as you can, as often as you can.  And while you’re reading, try to pick out why you did or did not like a word, sentence, phrase, paragraph, chapter, etc.  Then take what you like and apply it to your own writing.

Tip #5:  Love writing.  If you don’t love it, then you’re never going to keep with it.  You need a love for writing, a passion for it.

 CC: What is next for you as far as writing?

Kaylie: With my books that have already been published, I’m praying that God will use them to point people to Him.  As far as future novels go, I recently started another book that I hope will be published.

 CC:  Is writing something you want to do for a living as an adult?

Kaylie: I’d love to go into the world of editing.  I want to be a person who looks at someone’s manuscript, sees something that could be incredible with a bit of work, and then help that someone bring their manuscript to its full potential.

Thanks for being my guest blogger today, Kaylie!

Kaylie Hathaway 1_0Kaylie Hathaway is a teen with a passion for writing novels of all genres and poems of all lengths. When she was twelve years old, a poem of hers was published on an online magazine. Since then, she has thrown herself into the writing world by taking creative writing classes and going to writing conferences. Although she enjoys writing poetry and devotionals, Kaylie’s favorite things to write are novels.

Today, Kaylie is going through school while continuing to write. She lives in Texas with her parents and three siblings.