Ten Reasons I Love my Fans!

IMG_0168On Saturday, I spent the day at the Montgomery County Book Festival.  And wow!!  What a blast.  I got to laugh, hug and just have fun with so many readers and writers!  Mari Mancusi and I gave two panels and it was a blast.  I gave away bookmarks, posters, bracelets and I signed books. Lots and lots of books.  I loved every minute of it.  But the best part was just hanging with my fans.  Hearing them compare favorite scene from my books was montgomery county book festivalunreal. I can’t even begin to tell you how great that made me feel.  Thank you so much to Natasha Benway and all her team of librarians and sponsors who organized this festival.  Anyway, it got me thinking about the reasons I love my fans.  And here’s a top ten list.

 

  1. My fans are readers. I’m a reader, so instantly we have this one thing in common, and more importantly, without readers I wouldn’t have a career.
  2. My fans give me a boost of self-confidence. We all have our down days, right?  It’s a bad hair day, or that time of the month.  And we’re pretty certain we suck.  Well, if it’s one of those day, and I run across a negative review, it stings like a paper cut.  Logically, I know that my books aren’t going to appeal to everyone.  Books are like ice cream, everyone has their favorite flavor, and I can’t appeal to everyone’s flavor requirements.  But still …it stings.  That said, all I have to do is go back and reread an email from one of my fans who tells me I’m one of their favorite authors and that sucky, stingy feeling fades.
  3. My fans light a fire under my butt and make me become a better writer. I’ll be cruising along, writing on my next book, thinking it’s pretty good and then I’ll read a comment or get an email from someone who says, “I can’t wait for your next book, because I know it’s going to the best yet!”  And right then it hits me.  I’d better get off the cruise control and work a little harder.  They expect this book to be better than the last one.   Yeah, that fire is hot and it can burn!  Ahh, but I need it.
  4. My fans remind me how lucky I am. I get a lot of emails from fans who are also writers.   People who are struggling to finish a manuscript or desperately trying to sell that manuscript.  Maybe they are just trying to improve their manuscript.  Writing is hard and I’ve been there in the trenches.  I’ve been unpublished and struggling with the huge goal of wanting my book to be in the hands of readers.   I always encourage those writers to never give up, but by encouraging them, I’m made aware of how lucky I am to be where I am.  It reminds me to never take my career for granted.
  5. My fans prevent me from looking like an idiot. Have you ever planned a party and worried no one would come?  My public events are very much like parties.  And my fans show up to my parties. And the party at the book festival last Saturday was a blast.  Thank you to everyone who came!
  6. My fans post about my events. Not only do my fans come, but they retweet or share my Facebook posts.  At my last event in Arizona, I had people attend that learned about the event from one of my other fan’s posts. The fan who posted the event couldn’t even attend, but she put it out there and several people came because of it.   So thank you for reposting and tweeting.
  7. My fans are living, breathing promotion of the best kind. Nothing, no kind of promotion is better than word of mouth.  I met several fans at the book festival who told me, I can’t stop talking about your books and now, all my friends read them.   And it’s true.  I seldom buy a book just from an on-line review, but if someone I know tells me how good a book is, odds are . . .  I’ll go buy it.  So keep telling your friends about my books.
  8. My fans remind me of what’s really important. Okay, I have to be honest.  I write to entertain, I don’t set out to write stories that will inspire, teach a few lessons in friendship, or to show readers that they aren’t alone in struggling with their problems.  However, because my characters are dealing with issues (loss of a loved one, a parent’s divorce, parents who just don’t understand us) then, these lessons are woven into the books.  And when I get letters from fans telling me how much my books inspired, motivated, and lifted their spirits, I’m totally blown away.  And it reminds me how important relationships are in our lives.
  9. My fans post reviews and comments. I love it when I pop on my blog and see all those comments.  And when I see the number of reviews I have on my books.  I’m just tickled pink, guys.  Plus, a lot of reviews gets you some free promotion.  So, I really appreciate them.  And you guys are the ones who do them.
  10. My fans get me—I mean really get me. Yeah, I know some of you are thinking, seriously, C.C., we don’t even know you, so how do you know we get you?  Well, if you are a fan, you enjoy my books, hence, you “get” my books.  You get my characters.  You probably love my characters.  You laugh with my characters.  You may have even cried with my characters.  These characters are a part of me. I created them.  I laugh with them. I cry with them.  Della, Kylie, Miranda, and yes, even the guys, they are all bits and pieces of my internal makeup.  In those pages you read, and some of you reread, there is my sense of humor, my idea of what’s important, and you’ll find what tugs at my heart strings.  So you see, you get me!  So just get used to it.

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Thanks Street Team and Fans Club!

I said it before, and I’ll say it again. I’m always watching to see who on my Street Team and Fan Club are busy reposting, commenting, sharing and retweeting for me, and especially leaving reviews at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads, etc. I promised I’d send surprises to those of you who do the most promotion for me. So, I have sent out gifts to Taryn Courville, Regina Barnes, Monica Coburn, Gabrielle Saunders and Bethany Avery. You guys totally rock! Now don’t forget, I’ll continue to follow my Street Team and Fan Club members, and I’ll be sending out more surprises to those who do the most to promote me. So, get busy. Next time, it could be you!

 

 

Time and Spending It!

Old_clockTime.  It’s this mysterious thing we can’t touch, and yet it controls us.  Oh yes, we try to control it.  Try to manage it, but it’s such an elusive little thing and so, we often fail.  We used to wear it around our wrists, now we mostly carry it around on our cell phones.  We check it quite regularly, to see where we are in our day, to make sure it hasn’t gotten away from us.

 

We spend time every day.  Some days we don’t even think about spending it.  We’re on a fast track of life and we just do it.  We don’t even consider what we spend time on.  Some days it passes so fast, that we wonder where it went, other days, it seems as if it crawls by with the speed of a one legged turtle.

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The thing that most of us do, and I’m as guilty as anyone else, is take time for granted.  We think it will always be there.  You know…  When we say, I’m gonna do that later.  Someday.   It’s on my bucket list.  I’ll do it when I get around to it. “A round tuit.”

 

 

 

IMG_0135Yesterday, on Sunday, I was in my study, working. (I admit it, I’m a bit of a workaholic. I’m actually trying to work on that.)  Hubby walked in and asked, “Are you gonna work today, or do you want to do something different?”  When I turned back to look at him, I saw the white rose, held in a drinking glass, he’d taken the time to pick and bring to me the day before, sitting on my desk.

You know, if anyone has a little different outlook on time, it’s him.  You see, for the five years he was on dialysis, it often felt like he was living on borrowed time.  Now that he has a kidney transplant, he’s sort of been given a new time account.  Time looks a little different. I think he takes time for granted a little less than others.

So I looked back and told him.  “Let me finish this scene and then let’s do something different.”  Yeah, I love my career, and I believe in setting goals and making them happen, but sometimes I need to be reminded that time is like everything else in life.  It needs to be balanced.

So we took off on a country drive.  It was kind of gloomy, even rained a little, but we loved every mile and enjoyed just talking.  We saw a Mexican Eagle, we’d never seen one before.  Spotted a few hawks, silhouetted in the big bare oak trees that looked almost spooky.  We drove to see some family, that lives out in the country, and went to eat at country restaurant we’d never tried.   We drank a bottle of wine, laughed and just visited.

clockWhen we got home, I gave my hubby a big thank you.  I needed that time. Today, I’m gonna write some more scenes, but I’ll take the time to smile at a stranger.  Give someone I love a hug.  Call someone I haven’t spoken with in a while and just say hello.  And I’ll spend some more time with my hubby.

What’s on your list? How are you spending your time?

 

 

 

Happy Valentine’s Day!

valentine-rosesValentine’s Day is fast approaching and I can’t wait. Hey. I write romance, of course I love the holiday made for lovers. Do you give a card to your significant other? Did you know that approximately 150 million Valentine’s Day cards are exchanged annually, making Valentine’s Day the second most popular card-sending holiday after Christmas?  That’s a lot of cards! And roses? On Valentine’s Day, nearly 189 million stems of roses are sold in the U.S alone.

So, I thought you’d enjoy some more Valentine’s Day trivia:

  1. Pope Gelasius established Valentine’s Day in A.D. 500 in an attempt to appropriate the ancient pagan Roman fertility festival, Lupercalia, into Christianity.
  2. According to Welsh tradition, a child born on Valentine’s Day would have many lovers. A calf born on Valentine’s Day, however, would be of no use for breeding purposes. If hens were to hatch eggs on Valentine’s Day, they would all turn out rotten.
  3. The most popular flower on Valentine’s Day is a single red rose surrounded with baby’s breath. The red rose was the flower of Venus, the Roman goddess of love.
  4. Shakespeare mentions Valentine’s Day in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and in Hamlet.
  5. On Valentine’s Day, many people buy flowers. Different colored roses have different meanings. Red means love, yellow means friendship, and pink means friendship or sweetheart. Red carnations mean admiration, white carnations mean pure love, red chrysanthemums mean love, forget-me-nots mean true love, primrose means young love, and larkspur means an open heart.
  6. The first recorded Valentine was sent February 1415 by the English duke of Orleans. He sent of love letter to his wife from his jail cell in the Tower of London after the Battle of Agincourt. It is currently on display in the British Museum.
  7. Each year 300,000 letters go through Loveland, Colorado, to get a special heart stamp cancellation for Valentine’s Day.
  8. Esther Howland (1828-1904) was the first person to create Valentines to sell in the United States. She first patented a lacy Valentine in 1844—and by 1860, her factory was selling thousands of Valentines, earning over $100,000.
  9. Valentine’s Day was first introduced to Japan in 1936 and has become widely popular. However, because of a translation error made by a chocolate company, only women buy Valentine chocolates for their spouses, boyfriends, or friends. In fact, it is the only day of the year many single women will reveal their crush on a man by giving him chocolate. The men don’t return the favor until White Day, a type of “answer day” to Valentine’s Day, which is on March 14.
  10. Nearly 10 new candy “conversation heart” sayings are introduced each year. Recent additions have included “Yeah Right,” “Puppy Love,” and “Call Home. And FYI: Valentine candy “conversation hearts” have a shelf life of five years.

So, how are you planning on spending Valentine’s Day? With a loved one? Or perhaps you’ll get up the nerve to declare your love to someone special. Who do you think Della should spend her Valentine’s Day with? Chase or Steve?

Whatever you do, I hope you have a wonderful Valentine’s Day 2015.

See You There!

Any one in the Houston, Texas area, I’ll be returning to the Montgomery County Book Festival in Conroe, Texas on February 21st at the Lone Star College, 3200 College Park Drive (Hywy 242). I’ll be there along with many other fabulous authors from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM. I’ll even be sitting in on a paranormal panel with Mari Mancusi. So, if you live in the area, be sure to come by for some of the fun!

Winners!

Last week’s winners of Shadow Falls: The Beginning are Jasmine Adams and  Victoria. Please email your mailing address to cc@cchunterbooks.com. Congratulations! You have till Feb. 16th to claim your prize.

Writers’ Block, a TV Series and Kylie

I’ve been getting a lot of emails recently asking me questions about writing and my writing process. So, I thought I’d post an interview that originally appeared at Miss Literati (http://www.missliterati.com/ml/home), that answers a lot of those questions.

What’s the planning process like when writing a series? Did you outline what you want to happen in all of your books before writing them?

I call myself a panther because I write by the seat of my pants and I do not plan very well. Even in the synopsis of the series, I didn’t know what the main thrust of the whole thing would be. My plan was to end the first book with finding out what Kylie was. When I got writing it, I was into chapter 12 or 13 and I decided maybe the whole series should be about figuring out what Kylie is.

posterWhat did you find most challenging when writing this series?

Having just one point of view was difficult for me and taught me a lot. It was important that everyone had a story. And with all have these things going on, I really needed to get into [everyone’s] heads, but couldn’t leave Kylie’s point of view.

Writing and getting the story from one point of view taught me some tricks of the trade. Kylie had to be very aware of the people around her and be able to read them. She either knew their story and she knew there was a story.

What drew you to paranormal writing?

Well, I’ve always loved ghost stories! As a writer, we need all these different options. When you’re plotting a scene, they tell you to name ten things that can happen. Then they say not to take your first choice or second choice because a reader would expect that to happen. In the paranormal world, anything is possible! I’m drawn to the endless options of what can happen.

This was your first time writing a series. How does it differ from your other writing? 

No matter what, a book needs to have a beginning, middle and end and I feel like I’ve been able to feed that to my readers in each book with the mysteries of the ghost. After each ghost Kyle’s story continues. I totally get why readers are drawn to series now!

Is Kylie based off of yourself at all?

KylieAs soon as I got into the characters, it was magical to go back and be my 16-year-old self. I definitely plagiarized my life a little with Kylie. But she’s cooler than me. I was a misfit, a quiet wallflower. At 16 my parents got a divorce and my girlfriends took a ride on the wild side. I was stuck and analyzing everything. I’ve always been the type of person that analyzes things. I wanted to think things through.

All the characters have a little of me in them actually. I knew I wanted to have a character also be dyslexic, so I had that be Miranda.

We didn’t know you were dyslexic! What an accomplishment to overcome that and become a writer! Did you struggle a lot when getting started?

Being dyslexic, I suffer from leaving out words. I don’t see the little words like so, is, to. I have a couple people that read through my work and check for spelling errors like that. I will forever have my mistakes and never be able to write a perfect copy.

But dyslexia helped me realize things in life are tough and you don’t always get it right the first time. When I started writing, I didn’t expect to get it right. The rejections I got didn’t stop me. If a rejection came in, I’d still continue to work.

They also say that dyslexia makes you read people and pick up on things better. I think being more intuitive definitely made me a better writer.

That being said, I really didn’t start reading until I was in third grade. I didn’t start reading a lot until I was like 18 or 19. But for me, my love of writing is the same as my love of storytelling. I really am a storyteller more than a writer. Being raised in the south, I was told that if a lie made a story better it wasn’t a lie. So I’ve been telling fiction my entire life.

What’s your drafting process like? Do you have many drafts for each book you write?

writers-deskYa know, I don’t have a lot of drafts when I write and I don’t normally have a lot of revisions. I think this is because I write very linear. Something happens, and because that happens, this happens.
About how long does it take you to complete a book?

It varies on whether or not I have a whole lot of interference in my life, but normally a book takes me about two-and-a-half to three months to complete. I find myself finishing about three books a year.

Do you ever get writer’s block?

I was raised by my father who was a plumber and never in all my life do I ever recall my father waking up and saying, “I have plumber’s block, I can’t work.” There are days that I am much more fruitful and then there’s days when I decide to blog or focus on marketing a little instead.

I treat writing as a career. I can’t afford to buy into the fact that there is a muse helping me and if I don’t have that muse then I can’t write.

How is the transition from writing adult romance novels to YA paranormal novels?

The transition isn’t too hard because I am a character driven writer. I write from the character and once I find her, I see life through her eyes and see what her goals are. I torture my characters and give them problems and conflicts. I know what they don’t want to face and then I make them face it.

I don’t think my voice changes a whole lot when writing romance and YA. I think the characters and the age of the characters define what the thought process will be.

What’s one of your goals when writing?

One of the steps I really try to do is make all my characters human. I really want everyone to be able to relate to them. I want everyone to say, “I know someone just like that.” It was important for me to build these characters with human interaction and where people can relate.

Do you see the Shadow Falls series becoming a book-to-movie series?

Well, it has received a lot of interest and I do have a film agent. What he is looking at right now though, is a TV series. These kinds of deals are a long process so who knows what will happen. But it’s definitely something I’m open to!

Winners!

The winners of last week’s giveaway-a copy of Shadow Falls: The Beginning are Charlene and Shonnia. Congratulations! You have a week to claim your prize by sending you mailing address to cc@cchunterbooks.com.

Another Giveaway!

SFBeginningDidn’t win last week’s giveaway? Well, good news! I have two more copies of Shadow Falls: The Beginning to give away to two lucky people who leave a comment here. (Sorry, but I have to limit this giveaway to US residents.)