What a year it’s been. Between both my author personas, Christie Craig and C.C. Hunter, I’ve released six books this year.
I’ve traveled all over Texas: Terrel, San Antonio, Dallas, Euless, and Palacios. I’ve jumped a plane and flown to Wisconsin, Maine, Alabama, Ohio, and Phoenix, where I talked about writing and shared my passion for this career and the art of storytelling.
I’ve visited with old fans, hugged and laughed with old and new fans, and made so many new friends. Some of them even looked a little strange.
I’ve watched a miracle as my hubby got a new kidney. I spent almost a month living out of hotel, so I could be close to the hospital during some later complications. The good news is that I have him home now and he’s improving and the kidney is working.
I’ve had a year of joy, tears, love, laughter and success. I could have done without some of hubby’s health issues, but considering things are looking up, I’ll call it a good year. I hope you, too, have some good times to reflect back on in this year. I wish this New Year will bring all of us more love, laughter and success and a lot less tears.
Wow! So many of you have gotten some really weird gifts. Rats? A plastic cereal bowl? An empty box? A toilet brush? Gosh, you have some weird friends and families. It was a tough decision, but the winner of a paperback copy of Unbreakable is Amanda who received used panties. YUCK! Amanda, you have one week to email your mailing address to email@example.com. Congratulations!
This week I’m giving away another paperback copy of Unbreakable to someone who leaves a comment telling me about your New Years Resolutions. What is on your list? What are you going to change about yourself or try to do better?
It’s a busy week for everyone. The gifts are bought, the tree decorated, and my cookies are in the oven. I love baking those delicious sugar cookies that I can decorate. I still need to wrap a few presents, but I expect they’ll be done in time.
I’ll be spending Christmas Day with family. My children are grown now, but they’ll still be here with us for the holidays. I always loved watching my kids’ faces light up when they were little and they opened something they’d asked Santa to bring. It seems like it was only yesterday, and now I’m watching my granddaughter’s delighted face.
I did receive one early present. It didn’t come through the chimney, but the doggie door. Lady, my Border Collie mix, brought in a live toy and dropped it at my feet. Neither I nor the squirrel appreciated it. Imagine me screaming, hubby running, Lady barking, and the poor squirrel raising hell. Long story short, we managed to get the terrified squirrel back outside. I know Lady brought me the squirrel out of love, but that was probably the oddest present I’ve ever received.
I’m wishing you a day surrounded by family and friends, good food on your table, books at an arm’s reach, laughter and love.
I posted on Facebook that I have a few paperback copies of Chase’s novella, Unbreakable. So I’m giving away one copy to someone who leaves a comment. So, what’s the oddest present you’ve ever received?
I’m often asked to do interviews, and my readers want to know the answers to a lot of the same questions. So, I’m republishing an interview I did for a member of my Street Team, Maria Anderson. It originally appeared on her Instagram and tumblr accounts. And many of you email me asking for writing advice, so I think my answer to the last question my be particularly helpful.
1. After Shadow Falls and Shadow Falls: After Dark will you be writing any other teen novels?
Yup. I’ve already sold another series. I’m really excited about it, too. It’s tentatively titled Glimmers. It’s a story about descendants of grim reapers. It will be spooky, and sassy just like my Shadow Falls books.
2. Did any of the Shadow Falls characters have different names before the ones they have now?
Funny you would ask that. Miranda was Isabella. And it was as if when writing her dialogue, she turned and told me, “I hate that name. You have to change it!” So I listened to her and gave her Miranda. And Lucas’ was named Hunter. But then I had one of those duh moments and realized that his first name would be the same as my pen name. So Hunter became Lucas. I think I like Lucas best, too.
3. Do you have any advice for future writers?
I have three pieces of advice for new writers. First, remain positive and focused on your goal. What works for me is to do something each and every day to achieve that goal. It can be a little thing, such as researching something you need to know before you write a scene, or it can be something bigger, such as writing X number of pages. One thing I really believe in is that keeping a positive outlook is vital to building a career as a writer. Surround yourself with people who share your positive outlook, and try to limit your contact with those who spread negativity.
My second piece of advice goes along with my first, and that is to work hard to become a better writer every day. Take a writing class or workshop or read a how-to book. Expand your horizons and read widely. Become a sponge and soak up as much about the writing process as you can.
Last, and perhaps most important of all, accept that rejection will happen, no matter if it’s your first book or your 20th, and it’s never personal. I worked hard to get published and believe me, I had my share of rejections before I published my first novel with Silhouette Romance in 1993. And I’ll admit—I thought all my worries were over once I signed that first contract. I thought I’d made it and the days of getting rejections were over but I was wrong. The rejections kept coming. When I wasn’t having any success selling a second novel, I decided to focus on my freelance non-fiction. I did well with that. I’ve had over 3,000 national credits and my non-fiction writing assignments have taken me all over the world, but along with that success came a lot more rejections. And when I switched back to writing my adult romance novels, I racked up more rejections and even after I broke back into the market (I sold four novels in a single day), I still got my share of rejections. But I never, ever let those rejections stop me from pursuing my dream. And neither should anyone else.
So tell me, how many of you are thinking of becoming writers and what sort of books do you want to write?
The following interview originally appeared on I’mareader.com, but I thought I answered some interesting questions. So. I wanted to share it with you.
1. If you were stranded on a desert island what 3 things would you want with you?
My Kindle, so I could continue to read. My toothbrush because yuck if I don’t have it. And my family and friends, because I need them to be happy.
2. If you were a superhero what would your name be?
Perseverance. I think it’s one of the best tools any person can have to accomplish amazing goals and to reach dreams that seem almost impossible
3. One food you would never eat?
I know a lot of people love this, but not me, Sushi. I think since the cavemen worked so hard to discovered fire, we should not insult them by eating meat raw. LOL.
4. Pet Peeves?
Bullies, people who think that only their opinion matters, lemon seeds in my drinks and shoes that hurt my feet.
5. Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
Years ago, I was attending a luncheon with Debbie Macomber. She handed out little green note cards and told us to write down three goals. I’ve always been a big believer in having goals, so I did it. I wrote I wanted to write and sell a how-to writing book. I wanted to receive a three book contract and I wanted to hit one of the big lists: the New York Times or the USA Today. I have since accomplished all those goals and I have to tell you, each and every one them brought me such a feeling of accomplishment. There is something about having goals and meeting them that brings a powerful feeling of having some control in your life. Like Debbie Macomber, I recommend everyone write down their goals and start working toward them.
6. Is there a song you could list as the theme song for your book or any of your characters?
Unwritten by Natasha Bedingfield. There is actually a video that perfecting describes my Shadow Falls series as well as Kylie, my main character. I actually posted it on my blog. Check it out.
7. What is your favorite quote?
Well, since I just went over to my blog to listen to Natasha Bedingfield’s song, I will use a couple of quotes from her song. “Live with your arms wide open. Today is where your book begins. The rest is still unwritten.”
8. Can you see yourself in any of your characters?
Each of the characters in Shadow Falls has a little bit of me inside them, which makes them so relatable to me. Della is my rebellious side and don’t we all have one of those sides? However, Miranda is dyslexic, which means she gets her spells wrong sometimes. And I relate to her because I’m dyslexic, too. But of all the characters, I think I relate to Kylie the most. I based a lot of her back story on things that happened to me when I was a teenager. I had a family member die when I was around her age, and my parents got a divorce, too. That was so hard for me. Plus, I had girl friends making some bad decisions where boys were concerned, just like Kylie’s friend Sara did. I used all of the emotions I felt, all of the insecurities and uncertainties I experienced as a teenager when I molded Kylie’s character, and I think it helped bring her to life. I guess you could say I plagiarized my life to create Kylie. However, Kylie is a lot cooler than I ever was.
9. What do you do in your free time?
Am I really supposed to have some of that? Seriously, I do spend most of my time writing. I try to walk each day. Spend some time with family and sit in the hot tub, where I do a lot of plotting.
10. Horror or Romance?
Romance!!! But with a touch of danger to keep me on my toes.
11. Sweet or Salty?
12. Summer or Winter?
Neither. Spring and Fall is what I’d choose.
13. Cat or Dog?
14. Truth or Dare?
Both. Or how about…Dare to tell the truth?
Okay, those were my answers. So tell me. If you were stranded on a deserted island what three things would you take with you?
Miranda has had a lot to overcome, but she’s really come a long way since Kylie first met her. She’s gotten better and better at her spells. Oh sure, no one will ever let her forget when she turned Socks into a skunk. The poor cat still hides when he sees her. But she’s been working extra hard to learn new spells. She’s especially been practicing her protection spells. Being friends with Kylie and Della, she has a feeling they’re going to come in handy. And her latest spell she loves to cast is turning just about anything into chocolate. She’s even perfecting a spell to lite the fireplace and every candle in the cabin all at once. She wants to surprise Perry with it very soon, but she’s had some trouble with it. (Like setting her bedroom curtains on fire.) But she thinks she’s got it down now and is planning a very romantic evening with Perry, he just may want to wear something flame retardant.
(The above post originally appeared on The Reading Cave (http://tinyurl.com/lvcoxfv), 4/27/14.)
Last week, I posted three photos of possible Miranda’s, and I asked you to vote on your favorite. The image above is the one that received the most votes, and I think I agree. I can easily imagine her sitting around the kitchen table in her Shadow Falls cabin with Kylie and Della, drinking Diet Coke. I can also see this girl as Miranda in her novella when she competes in a magic contest–with disastrous results. But you’ll just have to wait and find out what happens once her novella is out. I’ll post the release date as soon as my publisher lets me know, so keep checking my blog.
And don’t forget, every three months I’ll be giving away goodies to my Street Team and Fan Club members who are out there on social media spreading the word about Shadow Falls and Della. So, get out there and let me know wherever you post about me or my books by sending me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks to everyone who voted for their favorite Miranda. The winners of my giveaway are Samantha Wallace and Maria Chanon. Congratulations, you have each won signed, hardback copies of Reborn and Eternal. Please email your mailing address to email@example.com.