Christie

Joy of Reading

I have to be honest. I wasn’t always a book lover, in fact when I was young I had a reading disability and books and anything that had to do with them frightened me.

But my mother persisted and did everything in her power to get me to read and enjoy books. It wasn’t an overnight type of thing either, it wasn’t even something that happened in a couple of years. My reading and problems with books and everything that came with them lasted into my teenage years. But that was when I found Fantasy and Sci-Fi books. And everything changed. I couldn’t read fast enough, nor could I get my hands on enough books to feel the emptiness that I had built inside of me from lack of reading for the majority of my life.

Finding those first books that sparked my imagination changed the course of my life, books like Bridge to Terabithia, Where the Wild Things Are, books written by: Mercedes Lackey and so many others that I can’t name here sparked a brand new life for me.

Are you an avid reader? What books changed your life, share in the comments the books.

The Best Part of Being a Writer

I have to admit, being a writer is pretty darn cool. I get to make things up for a living. If you upset me I put you in one of my books and kill you off. If I think that your cool you may very well end up in one of my books. Any dream I have is fodder for my muse, I people watch like its my job. And did I mention I get to make stuff up for a living?

Now don’t get me wrong, I never said being a writer was easy because it can be extremely difficult. But through all the difficulties: working with an editor, getting bad reviews 🙁 , trying to finish a book on time, writers block. I still love actually being a writer, I get a thrill everytime I sell a book, even if I’ve sold my fair share of books, however, I am grateful and feel blessed each and every time some buys one of my books because with out the readers out there I would be nowhere. So just know when you buy one of my books I an so vey thankful.

But through all of that being a writer is so cool. Here are my top 3 reasons for being a writer.

  1. I get to work in my pajamas. Some people might wonder why this is my number one reason but seriously, I get to work in my pajamas.
  2. Did I mention I get to make stuff up for a living? lol Cause that is just AWESOME.
  3. I can drink. Don’t get me wrong I’m not taking shots between each well crafted sentence, but I nice glass of wine while I compose the well crafted sentence doesn’t hurt.

Seriously, if you aren’t a writer, have I made you want to become one?

What are your favorite parts of your job? I would love to know.

 

NanoWriMo — The struggle is real people.

So I signed up for NanoWrimo….

What was I thinking?

If you don’t know what NanoWrimo is its National Novel Writing Month. So for the month of Nov. you write 50,000 words. That’s roughly 1600 words a day.

I have signed up for NanoWrimo several times and have never ever finished.

I’m starting a new series and honestly believed that signing up would push me to write book 1.

It’s Nov. 8th, and I’ve written 750 words. 🙁

I don’t know what it is about Nano that first makes me think I can write 1600 words in a single month, but that I can continue that type of writing for 30 full days.

The strangest thing is if I hadn’t signed up for Nano I may have written more words. But the deadline aspect of Nano, makes me worry more about writing and not actually getting any writing done.

Tell me I’m not alone…

 

Treating your Writing like a Career

So this last summer I had the amazing opportunity to attend RWA (Romance Writers of America) Annual Conference. And I learned so much, and met a host of other authors who were in the same boat as I was. Trying to make our writing stand out from the pack and make a living with our writing.

One session I attended said the following: ‘If you don’t treat your writing like a serious business, how do you expect anyone else to take is seriously.’

This struck a deep cord within me, and I realized I had been treating my writing like a hobby. Even with 4 books published I still haven’t been treating my writing as the business it should be.

So after I heard that I took a couple of months (I’m not kidding but I wish I were), to understand what that meant to me and my writing. I really believe this means something different to everyone. But for me I know without a shadow of a doubt that I have been treating my writing as a hobby because when I didn’t feel like doing any writing I just wouldn’t. If I felt boxed in with anything that had to do with writing I just walked away. Maybe that’s why I haven’t written anything in over a year….

But now what? Just recognizing that I am treating my writing like a hobby wasn’t enough, I needed to make some important changes in order to move from hobby to living.

CHANGE 1: creating a business mindset. I don’t know about you but when I am writing the last thing on my mind is business.

CHANGE 2: Carve out time during the week to deal with the business of my writing. Marketing, list building, social media, blogging. I have failed mightily in these areas in the last several years.

CHANGE 3: My writing has been mish mash for the last year, and if I want to make it a business I have to write. So I am carving time out of every day to write. Some day’s that means I am only writing for 15 min but at least I am getting words on a page.

CHANGE 4: Setting appropriate goals. ie: when I want my next book finished, how I will grow my email list, building a tribe a like minded writers. I know this one is tough because writing is such a solitary process but having like minded authors and readers will increase my reading base and accountability

CHANGE 5: Taking classes, and learning how to make my writing better. It’s always good to increase your knowledge base.

Wow reading through these kinda makes my head swim, but if I want to make my writing my business I have to treat it like it is.

Hope this helped out, if you are struggling with making your writing a business you are not alone. Let me know in the comments.

 

 

 

 

3rd Annual Readers Luncheon

So this past weekend I was privileged to participate in RWA of Utah’s annual readers luncheon. I have been lucky enough to attend all 3 events. And this event gets better and better every year.

The point of this luncheon is to focus on the reader! Show the reader some love and gratitude. Because without readers where exactly would we be after all. Readers get a ton of swag from the authors participating, and they do a ton of baskets and giveaways. You get to sit at a table and have lunch with the author of your choosing (you have to sign up early to reserve your seat with the author you want to have lunch with).

Being an author is a very solitary type of work, so getting the chance to get out and meet and mingle with my readers just means the world to me. Plus writers, I think, are some of the biggest fans out there. And getting to rub elbows with other authors is just too much fun.

This year we were lucky enough to have ReaAnne Thayne, and Jill Shalvis speak and they both gave amazing and wonderfully inspiring presentations about being a writer, and more importantly the love of reading. They are both New York Times best selling authors.

So overall if you ever get the chance to attend a readers luncheon grab that opportunity with both hands. I know if you come to the Utah luncheon that we hold every Oct. you won’t be disappointed.

Where I have been…

So the summer was something else, and I got lost in all the things I should be doing instead of working on this I really needed to be working on. I find that life can be like that sometimes, so unexpected.

I have to be honest, I’ve also been struggling with writers block.

But I have some great news… well I think its great news. When I can break through the writers block I have been working on a new series. I am really excited about this new series and hope to have it out to all my hungry fans sometime next week. The series centers around a band of shapeshifting brothers who are also MMA fighters.

I am so excited about this project and will have more news about this to come in the near future. Do you have a favorite MMA, or shapeshifter book? If so leave a comment below with which one it is. I would love to know what everyone is reading.

 

Writing… the Torture and the Delight

When I was in my teens, and I wanted to be an author I imagined my life would be blessed and I would be able to buy a cabin in the woods to write my master pieces. I would spend my days drinking coffee, and hunched over a typewriter (yes I’m that old). I believed the words would flow from me like a gushing river in the spring. I would pop out several books a year, and my adoring fans would be breathlessly awaiting my next amazing piece of work.

The reality??? I spent years writing what was selling at the time, and I slogged through stories that were awful and poorly written.  During this time I never finished a story. Never connected with my characters and fantasy I had about being a best selling author with droves a fans died a painful and gruesome death. So in reality I stopped writing for a long time, I thought if I couldn’t write what was out in the market then I would never be a success. If I couldn’t strike it big then I should just give up. (BTW, I was trying to write historical romance, and sci-fi/fantasy novels)

But there was always this niggling feeling deep in my soul that said write…write…write. You have a story to tell. But I didn’t know what that story was. Then like when I was a teen and was first bitten by the author bug. I read a book that was the exact genre I was trying to write, a fantasy love story. Halfway to the Grave by: Jeaniene Frost I devoured this book serious like my life depended on it. When I was done reading all the current books at the time I had this idea pop in my head. I sat down at my laptop and I started to write. And within six weeks I had finished my first book. Now this first book I finished was a vampire story. And if you have read anything from me you know I don’t write vampire novels. So not sure if this book will ever see the light of day. But being able to sit down and write a book, and ENTIRE book I learned where my passion was I realized I could write a novel.

I wish I could say that was the end, after that first book was finished I sat down and wrote Shadow Play, my first published book. And once I finished that book I started to shop it out to publishers. And I got a couple that were interested, but what I go the most of was a hole lot of rejection. I was devastated, I had finally found my voice but nobody wanted to publish my book.

So I self published, I would like to say it was the best decision of my life. But self publishing is hard, not saying it is harder than traditional, but I have no way to judge that. Anyway, I self published my book and just about put in my two notice at my day job. Because I had published a book, all the accolades and fans were going to fall at my feet. I was going to be the next J.K. Rowling and Stephanie Meyers, I was going to be the next Jeaniene Frost. I knew people were unknowing lining up just to read my book. The reality is so much worse, not only did people not line up in droves but I didn’t ever sell enough books to justify the amount I spent to publish it.

But I loved my story, and I continued to write. I continued to slog through the pages and pages in order to put out something someone would enjoy. That’s what writers do, they write, and write, and write in the hopes of touching someone with there story.

So have the accolades poured in? No. Am I making millions? No. Have I hit the best seller lists? No. And I am currently writing my 5th book, so why do I continue to write? Because I can’t stop, because the there are still stories in my head and imagination that I need to complete. And in the process I have figured out a few things: writing isn’t easy but it’s totally worth it, success is measured in different ways (I don’t have to be a best seller), marketing sucks but its a necessary evil, staying true to myself and my stories mean more than anything, reviews of my books can be harsh but letting those reviews stop only makes me a failure, the torture is worth the delight in seeing my books published.

I don’t know what the future holds for me in my writing career, but I do know writing is in my blood and if no one every reads another of my books I will know I am following my dream.

So my advice to authors/writers wanna be published authors… never give up. If writing is what you love then never let the world and the torture of it all stop you from being an author. You can do it!

Learning to Love the Chaos

I have lived an unexpected and full life. I am by no means old sitting here writing this in my forties, some days I feel ever day of every year I have lived and other days I don’t quite know where the years have gone.
With all that having been said I have learned one thing… you really need to learn to love the chaos of life. And if you can’t love the chaos you really should learn to tolerate it. Because life is a series of moments of chaos and its how you react to those moments that scripts your present and inks your history.

And I have to admit something, the last year has been a test in loving chaos. So I have learned to  love the chaos or be swept away by it. My writing life has been put on hold by actions and influences outside of my of control. And being a creative individual these setbacks and moments of chaos laid me low, they took me down for the count and made me question everything I was doing as an author and a creative individual. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to publish my next book or any other books for that matter.

That’s what true chaos can do, make you look around and rethink it all. Make you hide under your bed while the tornado of you world tears apart everything around you.

However, at some point you need to climb out from beneath your bed. You can learn from the chaos that threatens to destroy you or wallow in the circumstances of the chaos. That’s the hardest part isn’t it? Learning from the chaos. Now don’t get me wrong sometimes I search for meaning and learning and honestly can’t see it. But eventually the storm will pass and then you need to sit down and take inventory and learn from the chaos.

I desperately hope that all my fans and subscribers can find peace and love in the chaos of life.

marketingishardPromoting sucks, ask anyone it’s the bain of an authors existence. I don’t care if you’re a traditional or indie published author, marketing and promoting books just sucks the big one. And there are several reasons why, so let me break it down fo.

(1) Authors are by nature introverts, you may see us at promotional events where we are being out going and all smiles but inside we are introverts and wondering what we need to do to be put in11132496_f260
a time out.

images(2) The promtional and marketing world is ever changing. And frankly it’s just hard to keep up with it. What works Tuesday doesn’t work on Thursday. Why? Why doesn’t it work on Thursday, and who can explain it to me? Which brings me to #3.

(3) There is a guru for everything. A guru for Facebook promotion, a guru for Twitter promotion, a guru for Instagram promotion, a guru for YouTube promotion, a guru for Amazon, a guru for blogging, a guru for selling your paperbacks, or ebooks or selling them to aliens for goodness sake, a guru for being a guru, and of course they say they are free until you click on their webinar and listen to their “free” 45 min. speach then you have to pay to actually get the information that will help you promote anything. Guru? No more Guru’s for me, is what I say.

Virtual-Book-Tour(4) The dreaded online book tour, now for some these tours work. But I’ve done my fair share and to be honest for the amount of time and work they take my ROI (return on investment) doesn’t break even. They just aren’t worth it. They cost anywhere from $60 to $200 dollars and that’s just to do the tour, I’m not counting the time you have to put in or the giveaways you have to do. It’s just way to much work for the actual amount of sales I get. Now again please remember this is just me, I’ve known indie author who swear by virtual book tours so please if they work for you go with it. 

(5) Keeping up on social media… everytime I turn around there seems to be a different social media platform that is the new and shiny thing I should be doing my promotion anddownload marketing on. And frankly I just can’t keep up. And don’t forget the guru’s are telling me which platform I should be consentrating on. And each book tour has a special button I should set up and interview with and give a special book giveaway to for the new platform that I didn’t know about last week. And now I’m running in fifteen different directions trying to sell my book and giveaway the bank and trying to find my readers and because I’m chasing them they don’t know where to look for me and I don’t know where I am from day to day they can’t find me. And it’s just a vicious circle. Who knows where who is, and where who is going where, and when does any of the writing acutally get done?

Do you see where I am going with all of this?

I hope so because the point of all of it is this. Marketing and promotion is a pain in the arse. and makes even the most seasoned author have a panic attack. So yes I am the queen of non-promotion. I have a total of three books out, my fourth is due out next month. I do a couple of different promotions, nothing that breaks the bank. And only things that I can afford. I’m on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads, and Instagram and on Instragram very little. I blog but only a couple times a week (if that) and its not all about writing and my books. It’s mindless rambelings sometimes (like this rambaling post). As to my book promotions, I really want my books and my writing to stand for it’s self. Hopefully my books are excepted by the masses for what they are: well written and fun to read. And because of that I have built a great fan base. And that is my marketing and promotion. The majority of books are advertised via work of mouth regardless of whatever you do for marketing and promotion anway. and that just sucks. So stop chasing yourself and work on the promotion you can dedicate time to, not everything out there.

Good luck and if I’ve forgotten anything please leave a comment and let me know. Christie

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What are your plans this weekend?

downloadSo it’s a long weekend, a holiday weekend. And while most people are planning BBQ’s and holiday parties, and fireworks. Authors, and readers, and introverts like me are wondering how much reading, writing, and other indoor type activities we can get away with. Please tell me I’m not alone and tell me I am not the only one wondering how I can get away with getting away with not participating in all the outdoorsy type of activities being planned for this weekend? All I want to do is stay inside and write and read? Well, I really should be editing, and writing. But I’m going to throw some knitting in there to.

I’m an introvert and author for the love that is all holy. I’m not meant to go out in the heat and the sun.  I don’t mind the fried food and ice cream, but can I just have that delivered, please?

Oh the life of the unappreciated write, it’s so tough sometimes.

But that being said. May I wish all my fans, and their respective families a very happy, healthy 4th of July weekend. Be safe my friends. And you don’t live in the US, have a happy and safe weekend any.

Much love and happiness to all. Christie