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End of an author era

It’s been one year and a month since I published my first young adult novel The Sharing Moon. And one year and a month that I spent putting together the sequel. It wasn’t as easy as the first. Kind of like the opposite having kids. The second kid you’ve got the hang of it. The second book for me was all about being too focused on the first. Mainly on the characters who have still remained with me to this day.

Book Two took one of the bad characters and spun his own story. Not just the bad guy turns good either. This was someone who some readers might think deserves no forgiveness at all. But that’s what makes it even more fun to create him. When I considered the number of books I’ve read where the cold, unfeeling character became the opposite I figured it’s reasonable. He doesn’t just become a good, honorable person. There’s a lot of angst along the way and sometimes plenty of reminders of who he was in the first book. I’m proud of him, though, and the other characters too, because they all make it possible. Possible to redeem a hopeless soul and also give me a sense of how readers decide whether or not they will forgive someone who might have made their skin crawl at one time. Plus, he’s cute. If you make him cute, you can’t lose.

The end of this book came with the realization that unless I plan to go through another year of stress and writer’s block or become some famous author I better call it quits. I have loved every minute of every day of the entire journey. From great reviews to bad ones, from endless tweets and Facebook posts to Goodreads fans and friends that I’ve made. I have been so blessed to experience this dream. I’ve been so thankful I took the time to do it, even when I was working full time and stayed up all night long to keep going. Between doing my own writing and research and marketing, it’s easy to want to give up. Then I’d look at a message I received from someone and that was all it took to keep plugging away. Don’t ever tell yourself you can’t do it. Ever.

I fell in love with two boys and became best friends with two girls as a result of my books. I will cherish the days and nights I spent writing and crying and laughing and making every little thing about them likable and unlikable. I’ve made so many connections online and in real life. Those won’t be going anywhere. And I love them all.

Thank you for supporting me and giving me a chance.

XoXo,

Christy

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Year of the SP Author

In a couple of weeks, I will reach the one year mark for the publication of my self-published YA novel The Sharing Moon. It’s been a year of ups and downs and quite a learning experience to say the least! I’ve put a lot of heart and soul into the entire experience and decided to list some of the good and bad  things I learned but have helped me grow in my creativity. So read, learn, enjoy, hate, complain, brag, love, share and be a narcissist. Because at some point in the gist of being a writer, all of those and more will become part of who you are. Well, some of you. Okay, maybe only a few. Anyone??

The good:

Great reviews. Goodreads. Of course. When a reader can’t wait to describe your characters and feels a connection to the story it’s such a good feeling. Beyond good. It makes the whole experience worth it. Even though you love your book, it doesn’t mean anyone else will. So to receive credit and gushing, it’s a dream come true. But I still haven’t gotten a hot model giff in one of my reviews. Those are the reviews that readers feel warrant an internet search to find the best looking boy who embodies your male character. One day….

Feeling accomplished. It might be a pipe dream but just do it! I always wanted to publish a book. If I had a nickel for every time I said that, or someone else I know said that, I’d be very rich and could buy my own publishing company and ask John Green to be my CEO. He would have a hard time deciding, I just know it. Really, though, to see your work in print, in a library, (Mine, mine) in a store or in an online store (whose name is internationally known and comes with quite a sense of the wow factor. Don’t we all want to be ordered from B&N?) Amazon, anyone? Powell’s books anyone? Kobo–okay, okay. Enough. There is nothing like seeing yourself on the page of B&N, even if they can’t stock your book “just yet.” I’ve been hearing  just yet for a long time. I wonder when yet became an eternity?

Falling in love with make-believe people. I tell you, I’d adopt or date or stalk my own characters. Maybe I’m the only one, but to hear others love them too is an added bonus. One reader said she’d make my main guy hers if he were alive. Another said she totally felt close with my main girl because her parent died as well. Those are fabulous compliments, no matter how small. Because my characters aren’t real and never will be. But I think about them all the time, even after a whole year. Sometimes I want to make them come alive, but I have to rein it in so that I don’t appear a little loony. They truly are people I stole a bit of myself to create and I’m never going to fall out of love with them. Ever. Even hearing songs I heard while writing still brings back many memories.

Therapy. Writing and staying up late and talking about my book was an escape. Sometimes my husband and family suffered the consequences but I kept going. Now they are more than proud of me. Escapism is fine in moderate doses. But sometimes I traveled far away and didn’t return for a while. I found a way to balance it this time around and it works a whole lot better.

The dark side:

Bad reviews. Goodreads. When I got my first one, I thought I’d cry but I got angry instead. On another note, she still liked my main character. At least that’s something. Realizing that readers can be your worst enemies is a hard concept to swallow when you publish. I’ve taken solace in the fact that all but two of my reviews on Goodreads, Amazon and B&N have been great. I read them over again when I feel like a failure or need inspiration. I haven’t cried yet but I’m sure I will at some point.

The ability to not land an agent/rejection. Query letters are up there with cavity fillings. You have to endure them but they’re necessary. Getting a cavity filled while composing a query letter must be excruciating! Agents are not necessary if you self-publish but they sure make it easier to get in the stores. They can make or break you. They know all the big people. However, a few SP authors have made it very big, (Jamie McGuire, for one), and they started out in their own house typing up a dream. If you can’t get an agent to read your work, don’t rub elbows with someone who works for one, have taught at a university or co-hosted morning network television, it’s probably not going to happen. Don’t give up, though, right? One day that response might come through in an email that opens up with “I’d like to see the rest of your manuscript, it sounds interesting….”

Writer’s block. If you are at page 276 (ahem) and can’t stop looking back and revising and second guessing, it’s painful. Maybe more than rejection/cavity filling pain. I hate it and wish it away every day it happens but procrastination is writer’s block best friend and I am defenseless. I have been for two months now, considering my personal deadlines have all bypassed my mental calendar. I guess you can’t run away from it. Just wait it out. No matter how long. And seek company with other miserable writersblockheads. Hopefully those who read Book One will remember enough if they buy Book Two.

However, I’ll take this year of hopes and mistakes and tuck them away in order to mold what kind of writer I became and will still become. I can’t believe I did it, and will always pride myself on fulfilling my dream. Now I just need to keep up better on my blogging. That’s why this is such a long one.

Be safe and be good and be all you want to be.

~C

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Resurrected Blog and David Beckham. Huh?

Well….here I am. So what’s so important that’s kept me from writing? Absolutely nothing. I’m just lazy. First, my personal deadline for Book Two was January first. Then February first. But aside from book talk, there’s a reason David Beckham is in this title. A new topic has emerged in my mind after reading a random blog online by a guy I don’t know from Adam. He’s young and all that, but his blog was so interesting and entertaining that I had to click on his Twitter link and tell him so. BUT, his topic was one that just happened to be somewhat like mine. In fact, I thought about his viewpoint often. It was funny but truthful.

I think if you ask any female on the planet, Beckham is one of the hottest, most beautiful men alive. Women use two terms, but together. Hot and beautiful. Cute is included in the hot category. Sexy is included in the hot category. Handsome falls along the lines of beauty but nobody uses that term unless it’s a royal prince. So does gorgeous. But gorgeous is hot also. Pretty is beauty, they call boys that for a reason. Which is why I included D.B in my little science project. It’s all for science, baby!

Being beautiful for a man is seeing that he has a caring, humanitarian side. David Beckham supports about 1,000 charities. Ok, maybe like, ten. But all of the regular guys can at least make a drop to Goodwill once a month. Beauty is seeing him eye a woman because she is doing something classy, looks put together and he tells a friend, “I’m going to marry that girl.” (This is what Beckham said about Posh. I mean, Victoria). Beauty is becoming a husband and father and looking hot while doing so. If they post one more picture of David Beckham on the kiss cam with his daughter I just might swoon. Being beautiful is bringing your mom to a major awards show. Leonardo Dicaprio and Jared Leto: great job! But they aren’t part of this blog. Neither is Zac Efron. Dammit! He always butts into my blog. That boy doesn’t have to do anything, really. I’m so ashamed.

Hotness is that kind of smoldering, flirty, look. You are definitely hot. (H&M, H&M) But beautiful too. If you’re a husband or dad, bonus points that you pull it all off. Example: My husband. Second example: David Beckham. Third example: Jared Leto. He gets two mentions because one day, he’s going to be a husband and father, I’m sure of it.

I understand how a guy sees this. This is my guy brain… Hot: Sex. Beautiful: Respect. Pretty: Let’s have a latte! Cute: Puppies and kittens. So I might be wrong, but I did ask one girlfriend and she agreed with me. But I began to check out women differently. The ones that appeared ‘hot’ were kind of loud, lots of make-up and dressed, well… but they were beautiful too. The ‘beautiful’ ones wore little makeup, looked put together and exuded confidence. Yet they were sexy too. The ‘pretty’ ones seemed beautiful to me. And the ‘cute’ ones were all under fifteen but pretty. This probably makes no sense to a guy.

So in a female’s world of physical attractiveness, men are all the same terms, not one or the other. Apparently in a guy’s world you might not be beautiful but you’re hot and sexy. That is just so…funky. However, once you get past the awkward conversation or unmentionable visualizations, women are all of those terms together too. And the entire goal at some point, of course, is to look beyond a face or a body and see the heart and soul of a human being. Of course! 

So you can agree with me or not agree with me, I really don’t care. Well, actually I do. I need more visitors.

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Cheating on Book One

Well, I’m halfway through my second book, the follow-up to The Sharing Moon. I feel really bad though. I’m working on it less than I did the first and I can’t stop thinking about my first whenever I’m writing the second! I find myself drifting . . . I think about my first guy when I should think of my second. I never knew how sentimental it would be to write two young men, totally opposite of each other.

To break it down, I have the nice guy and the damaged guy. The damaged guys always sell the books. I see it and know it but I still wrote one with a good guy anyway. And I love him. But now I’m kind of feeling it for my second guy. He’s not so bad after all is said and done. Is he? I won’t tell. But I’m having fun changing everything from emotionally haunting and romantic to raw and dark. I find it disturbing that bad guys are redeemed in books even when they’re really, really, bad. Not quite JD in Heathers, but sometimes close. I couldn’t go that far. But hopefully he’ll win some hearts or some fantasies or something, my second guy. And I am NOT putting a shirtless model on the cover, just as a FYI. I’d rather dress him as a mummy before I’ll do that.

The girls are complete opposites as well. One is depressed and trying to claw her way back to a normal life and handle first love at the same time. The other is kind of fiery but has her own issues. She’s much stronger though. It’s much easier to think about the guys than the girls with both books, so it proves I really am a low down, dirty cheater. But I just can’t ever, ever forget about Elijah.

As a new writer, (well in this decade), I am excited to see everyone’s work and I devour books similar to mine and not even close to mine. I always wonder how the authors write trilogies. Don’t they get all misty eyed when they close the book on one character to bring another front and center? (Delirum, cough cough). I do know this–I’m all done with the young adult genre for a while, after these two because I feel the urge to delve into a broader range. With YA, I find it pretty much a pattern to have dystopian societies, love at first sight, bad boys with tattoos and vampires and lots of other supernatural high school creatures. Mine doesn’t really fit into those so I see that most of my readers according to stats are 25-42 years old. Everyone wants to be back in high school again, eh?  But I’m a sucker for them too. In adult novels, you can take any premise you want, have the characters act as crazy as you want them to, they can cuss like sailors and have, like, well, COFFEE together, A LOT. So although I loved writing about teens, I’m not sure if I’ll do it next. I might try the big girl stuff and see how it goes. I can always revert back to my teenage dreams and I’m sure I will. But hopefully I’ll have my day job by then and writing will become just my insomnia buddy. Why I can come up with the best ideas when I’m punch drunk exhausted, I’ll never know. Maybe I’ll ask Kay Redfield some day. I’ll save Kay for another blog because she is absolutely amazing and deserves her own page.

I wish everyone a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Kwanza and everything else in between. Be good, be fun and remember to count your blessings. We all have them. even when we don’t think we do.

~Christy

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Inspiration….

Inspiration....

Lake Michigan sunset

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The Sharing Moon

Check out this book on Goodreads: The Sharing Moon http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18369772-the-sharing-moon

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Frustration and Sex.

I haven’t blogged in almost two weeks but it’s not my fault. It’s the virus’ fault. But now, it’s pretty much non-existent. I’m still talking about the virus here . . . not my hope for book success this week.

I’ve reached that plateau where a few things rear up: the fact that my reviews/ratings are stagnant, the fact that I’m writing the follow-up to my first book (even though no one might ever read it), and lastly, a depressing revelation about young adult fiction. That revelation being about the emotionally charged books out there that remain at the end of the young adult line. Kind of like mine.

The Sharing Moon is not fluffy or characteristically sexy. It’s complicated and mysterious. My book is not about characters in high school or college that either: 1. Have sex 2. Want to have sex 3. Talk about sex. See, if I wanted fourteen year olds to read it, including my own child, I’d better put a lid on such. I also find it rather unsettling to think of friends or family reading those scenes, since I am new to publishing. So maybe in another book. What is so frustrating, is the fact that I know my book is suffering in the female market because it doesn’t have that very element. I know that love scenes are a part of that, but I’m limited because I’m the mom of a tween. She’s so impressionable right now and she isn’t yet fully aware that people in books do it. Her old High School Musical book series probably still has some bearing on that. And since I brought up HSM, hang on a minute while I think about Zac Efron at his age now . . . do you know there are women my age exactly that have a huge crush on him? Creepy women . . .

Back to the frustration part. Mostly I see that the male character hooks them right away with his swagger, his body and his ability to pop up right when the female character is having fantasies about him. Magical, that dude is. I’ve become surprised at the number of poorly plotted books being so high in demand. But then someone pointed out to me that one book, Fifty Shames of Earl Grey that started a chain of hot obsession with women young and older, and it’s kind of worked its way into the fragile mind of a teen reader. Ah ok. Not true, I say.

So the following message board comments I saw on books with sex and boys are based on real events. Some names and identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, (well, since my guy has been both) or actual events is purely coincidental.

“OMG.OMG.OMG. (Blank) is HOT!” May or may not include a GIF. If there’s a GIF, usually it’s a big accomplishment.

“(Blank) is so f-ing HOT. I couldn’t f-ing put it down!” May or may not include a GIF.

“The writing is horrible but the main character is so HOT that was good enough for me.” May or may not  . . . okay, forget the GIF thing.

You get the GIF. This is an ongoing trend and maddening battle with me. I can’t seem to win with an emotionally raw book. The kind I like to read. My character Elijah is HOT, yes. But he’s nice. He’s flawed. He keeps it in his pants. I’m not sorry I wrote him that way. I admire all authors who work hard. But teen girls and their obsession with sexy bad boys is scary. Especially when those girls are under sixteen. Those feelings should only be allowed after a driver’s license has been issued. (Former note to self).

It’s defeating to see my book swimming upstream in the YA river of sexual thoughts. But it won’t fit into that boat because I chose to write my characters differently. I can still fantasize though, about what it might be like to finally see a GIF in one of my reader reviews. Oh, and I know you clicked on my blog because of me and not my title, so thank you!

TTYL,

~Christy

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More Mr. Nice Guy

When I wrote my book, I never had any intention to make my male character, Elijah, a bad boy. There are enough of them in fiction right now. I know the appeal…brooding, dark-eyed, walks crooked, smiles crooked, (what is it with all the crookedness)?? bossy, punches people out for no apparent reason, may smoke or drink, wears black all the time (that is NOT flattering) and thinks that his female lead is just another bolt in his motorcycle frame. I grow tired of them, even though they are fun to read sometimes. I prefer dysfunctional male characters over dark, chauvinistic ones. Give me a messed up head over huge biceps any day.

I’ve had some good feedback on my good boy in The Sharing Moon. Elijah is no angel, despite what the novel portrays. He has a huge secret. But he is loyal and sweet and very protective of those he loves. He wears typical teenage clothes with color and plays sports that he really doesn’t want to play. He is both gorgeous and emotionally tormented. And he does punch someone out. But I still know inside that he won’t sell like the rebels do. I know that as I write the follow-up about Damian, the bad guy, I may get more readers.

Writing someone refreshingly compassionate however, was easier than I thought. As long as he was beautiful on the outside too. So Elijah is. He’s tall. He’s dark-haired. He’s long-limbed and clear skinned and his only flaw, which doesn’t count, is a gap in his front teeth. (Thank you Taylor Swift). Unfortunately in our human psyche, characters have to be beautiful or most young adults won’t read about them. By going the young adult route, I took a risk in creating someone who is handsome but cares about his female counterpart right away, instead of later on. He smiles at her with that smile, instead of shooting her daggers and undressing her with his really blue not brown eyes. As a mother, I found it inappropriate for me to write Elijah as a sex crazed machine. I have a nearly thirteen year old daughter. But he’s still a normal, formerly dead, hormonal boy. I just wrote the those parts in a very respectable manner. YA authors that I typically read have done a wonderful job making the hero and heroine the focal point rather than sex. The books that I’d let my daughter read or that I’d recommend have no sex scenes in them at all. Or if they do, they are married by the fourth book and have earned honeymoon sex. (it’s been thousands of years for Edward, the poor guy).

Elijah is a stand up young man with all of the qualities mothers and fathers want for their daughters. If I’d made him out to be bad, it would have spoiled the entire experience for me. I compromised instead, and gave him the things that girls love and the things that parents do too. By the time I was done, I fell in love with him myself. My husband won’t mind my saying so since some of Elijah at eighteen is Chris then too. Except Elijah didn’t spend hours in jail when he forgot to pay an old speeding ticket. (Shh!)  The point being that a little bit of swag with the giant bonus of caring still makes Elijah hot. At least, that’s what some of my readers have told me.  A balance is good. So although my main character is the type you could bring home to Mom and Dad, you still might not want to, since he used to be dead and all that stuff.

Nice boys and bad boys win hearts, depending on whose heart it is. But in the end, each of those guys has a little of both in each other. Neither one of them will ever finish last.

Til next time,

~C

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We love the broken ones

You know who they are. They can be girls or boys, but since it’s my blog, I’m going with the boys. And this boy, who shall remain nameless, or who could be the character in my follow up to The Sharing Moon, is the reason for this overly descriptive mash of words.

They come along without warning, boys like him. They aren’t aware that someone might be watching them from afar. And girls that do watch know it probably isn’t healthy, or normal, but it can’t be helped. When he hides, it’s natural to lay in wait, hoping to see him shed his outer skin, a camouflaged, hard exterior that reveals something bolder beneath. The urge never leaves. It’s common. It’s so common, in fact, that girls know all the terms for it. Intrigued by the silence . . . wants to penetrate the walls . . . invade the heart of a lost boy so she can fix it. Damaged-boy syndrome.

Maybe it starts out slow and unexpected, the curious feeling. Or it comes in like the wind, blowing away all reason.

He might be a purely insufferable guy. But then for a second, even in one blink alone, his eyes may flash the truth. He really doesn’t want to be this way. His eyes tell a story. She thinks she’s the only one who can hear it and change the ending for him. His eyes used to be filled with something, right? But now they are empty, and she’s going to be the one to bring them back to life. He just doesn’t know it yet.

There is the scent too. Wonder follows it; wonder about how a boy can smell like that, when he probably has no idea. He smells like the woods in the winter or the rain when it first falls, or maybe it’s just the way he always smells, and there is no way to define it. But eventually, she will.

He moves his hands a certain way, and she is positive he would snatch one back if she tried to grasp it, or at the very least, look at her like she’s lost her mind. But she wants to know if his hands are soft . . . or rough like the rest of him.

His voice is quiet, because he’s certain if she can hear it, she’ll think she can analyze it. He doesn’t want to be analyzed. In fact, he doesn’t even want to talk. Guys like him usually don’t. If they do, they give too much away.

It becomes slightly disturbing, the concentration on his body language, or the way he touches things, like they might break at his feet, even if they aren’t breakable. He’ll break her heart, more than likely. But he won’t mean to.

At this point, she begins to question her motives. Perhaps it’s an obsession. It’s a strong word, obsession. It could also be delusion. Yes, being delusional is better than being obsessed. But she thinks about what he looks like up close, instead of from a distance. She wonders what music he likes . . . or if he sings in the car when he’s alone. Of course not. If he doesn’t talk, why would he sing? Even alone.

The clothes might matter. She can study them and try to figure him out. How long did it take him to choose his outfit? Is his t-shirt with the flannel shirt over it something he gave a lot of thought to? Are his hooded sweatshirts a figurative stop sign? Stay away . . . I like to hide, remember? She likes that sometimes he looks boyish in his clothes, but he’s all man.

She wishes he’d glance up and smile the way she smiles at him. She wishes he’d notice that when he isn’t looking, she is. But he doesn’t want to be looked at. She wants to walk over, offer him something, but she doesn’t know what. Maybe just a coffee. But what if he doesn’t drink coffee? What if he laughs and brushes past, leaving behind the place on her body that his just barely missed.

Then, one day, he finally sees her. The boy, who has been blinded by the certainty that the world only brings pain, actually finds her with those eyes. She’ll feel her heart pick up speed, because it has to beat for both of them. Someone took his heart and they never gave it back. But she’s positive she will be the one who does. He just doesn’t know it yet.

She’ll wonder who could do that . . . who could drain a person of all hope and make him hate his own soul. How can anyone be that cruel?

Suddenly there won’t be any more mysteries about his face or his body or his voice. But the unknown will still remain. Because with boys like him, there is always something else to look for. Things she’ll spend every waking moment trying to find. And she’ll make sure they don’t get buried again. That’s what she’s supposed to do. That’s why she loves him.

Because deep down, that’s what they all want. He just won’t be the one to guide her. But she won’t need him to. She already knows him.

He just doesn’t know it yet.

~C.

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The Sharing Moon

The Sharing Moon

My YA fantasy/romance is now available in the iBookstore via iTunes for iPad, iPod and iPhone.

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