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Holiday Giveaway time for paranormal YA lovers!

Holiday Giveaway time for paranormal YA lovers!.

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My love for Sylvia Plath

Poems are so emotional and we all know this. But some poems walk inside of and leave a footprint on your brain that never disappears. And that poet of those amazing abilities to do so is Sylvia Plath.

I have to say, one of the biggest reasons I cling to the meaning behind Plath’s poems is that they are so incredibly heartbreaking that you can understand why some folks sadly relate. Sylvia died so tragically but the way she died seems to override her work and the moods that drove her to that state of mind. Was she born with it? Did she wither away from her own tragic mind later on, her mind a curse she’d inherited because life just couldn’t pull her out from the terror of control snatched away from her. Marriage, children, a fight to understand her own mind and be driven to the point of helplessness that only could be brought to life in her writing? Let us discuss the latter. I might add that only artists, writers, poets and musicians probably relate the closest. No disrespect to those with a fully intact ability to be handed the perfect, stable mind. But to have a gift like Plath’s, you aren’t born handed the material the pain comes from. You earn it. If you have a history of depression, like me, you don’t need the training course of near crippling surges of creativity that bat around your head every.minute.of.the.day. And I truly mean that.

I’m quite fascinated by Plath’s genius form. I have been especially interested in her lately, since I dredged up some of her early poetry and find myself quoting it around social media. Yes, yes, I’ve shamefully watched the movie based on her life and although Gwyneth Paltrow is not even close as Plath, it was still terribly sad. I felt her children’s pain. As for Ted, he was kind of an a-hole who of course felt his superior ways justified any affairs. However, please understand this is just my opinion of the film. Ted Hughes just might have been husband of the year in real  life. I do want to confirm though, with my very, very accurate eyesight that he did NOT in any way shape or form look like Daniel Craig. At least Gwyneth looked a teensy bit like Sylvia depending on the hairstyle. Daniel was…no. Just no. But he was incredibly handsome nonetheless.

So how does this relate to my latest book, the sequel to the first? I read a verse lately that stirred feelings about the male lead character who is pretty messed up himself. The female lead is a dreamy, poet-artsy type who’s messed up too. One big happy story! But really, there is plenty of drama yet humor as well. Plus of course the required romance doses that won’t even get your book read without them for the YA crowd. (Was I that romanticized as a teen? Hmm).

Anyway, I loved including poems in my second book and they fit perfectly at the spots I placed them in. Just little verses, not the whole bucket of dreary or newly blossomed love, etc, etc, etc. Death, etc, etc, etc. This fictional boy in question meets all the requirements for a dark poet lover’s cocktail: Cute-check! Self-absorbed at times-check! Confused-check! Cute-check! Has the ability to heal but doesn’t know it-check! Doesn’t want to be saved but has the equally confused girl who thinks she can-check! Cute-check! Paranormal dude-check! Strong-willed-check! I could go on but hey, you don’t really care, probably. On a serious note, it really is an emotionally deep story and does NOT fall into the plethora of paranormal subjects or dyst/uto/pian trends right now. So please don’t even glance at it if that’s what you’re looking for. It’s as far from fluffy as you can get. Because surely there are hundreds of people who are buying it right this second. (Insert cries of disappointment and frustration here).

I found that when my character includes poems and their meanings into her lifestyle or pain, in some cases, it shows how passionate and emotional I have made them. I used to be the same way. I wrote poetry too, decent poetry, horrible poetry. What teen girl didn’t? What I enjoyed about using my favorite prose is that others just might look them up too. I can guarantee if you read a Plath book on either poetry or her life, you will go around jotting her verses on social media too. She is just…well…there was no one like her when it came to the tormented mind and heart.

My absolute favorite quote that I must repeat everywhere I have online accounts is this from Ariel:

“If the moon smiled, she would resemble you. You leave the same impression. Of something beautiful, but annihilating.”

Perfectly sums up my boy, Damian, in A Halo Sun. How many guys in your life, have or still do FIT THAT PURELY AND UNDENIABLY? If not, you’ve never suffered a ‘Sylvia Plath broken heart.’

Be kind and be thankful this holiday weekend.

~Christy

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I Miss Writing and the Mania too

It’s been so long since I’ve blogged that I forgot until last week that I hadn’t. I have more important things on my hands, such as working and dreaming and fantasizing and considering a third book.

I can’t believe I just wrote that.

Here’s the thing–just because you don’t get an agent doesn’t mean you can’t sell. It also doesn’t mean your book isn’t good. I am terrified to do a book signing at my local Barnes & Noble. They provide the signs, the books, etc, etc, the manager, Lisa, told me so. But they don’t provide the confidence and the shoulder to cry on if no one stops at your table. On the positive side, my book would be in the local store, at least until it may potentially bomb. BUT that doesn’t mean you should give up. Writing is like a drug. Just because someone doesn’t like my story doesn’t mean I’ll stop selling it. Especially when people you know think that because you don’t have an agent, you obviously suck. “Published writers don’t live around here. They don’t happen to people we know.”  Ah. Whatever. Couldn’t be farther from the truth. Then you have a bookstore chain who shall remain nameless, in the Pacific Northwest, that at first wouldn’t sell your book. Then they saw it in the Ingram catalog, which is the bible of booksellers, and suddenly it was worthy.

The writing is in my veins, pulsing. I don’t know if I want to write YA again. I sort of want to write a book for regular adults. But adults read YA, so I just don’t know. I do know, however, that my ideas could go both ways. It’s quite simple–I don’t write fluffy romance, or dystopia or horror. I just write real. Kinda dark. Kinda complicated. I don’t know why I’m drawn to those kinds of folks. So the genre really doesn’t matter. But the future characters are already haunting me, those pesky people. I am starting to see them everywhere.

It took me about eight months to write, a couple of months to approve editing, cover, agreements, yada yada. So overall, a year-long process, plus I was working full-time. One DOES NOT write a book overnight. I repeat, one DOES NOT write a book overnight. And if you do, no one will take you seriously. Think six months minimum. Many of my Twitter and Goodreads author friends are on their second year of the same manuscript. That’s real writing. Then the self-advertising, outside advertising, pimping the book everywhere, keeping up on stats and reviews and sales and remembering your blogging which no one really reads. I’m not sure if  I want to go there again. I could just do it for fun, see what happens. Maybe the third, fourth or seventh or tenth book might get signed. (Curse you, weird, racing, creative mind).

I miss the boys and girls of my stories. I think about them a lot. Like, certain music or places or dialogue will remind me. I can still feel what it was like to write in the basement at three a.m. with a silent house while everyone slept. I still feel that pull to do it again, even just as a hobby. But I also feel the pull to stuff my face with two boxes of mini Charleston Chews and alas, I’ll refrain. God, I love those things. Bless you Mr. or Mrs. Charleston, or South Carolina or wherever they came from. Now can you just make the mini strawberry and chocolate ones too?

I’ll just wait it out, see if the desire fades. I’ll keep my day job in the meantime.

~C

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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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