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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…

 

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.

 

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.

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

Finding my Fans and Social Media

Depositphotos_34892029_originalSo what is the magic bullet… the magic thing… that magic key, the recipe that brings the masses forth from the unknown depths to buy your books? I’ve been pondering that questions as I get ready to publish my next book, my fourth that is.  You would think I would have some idea about the secret sauce by now. But the questions and the recipe for the secret sauce is more convoluted now then it was years ago when I first jumped into this mired pool.

I’ve contemplated PR teams, Facebook ads, Facebook apps, twitter ads, twitter apps, Instagram, blogging, emailing, spamming, Pintrest, Goodreads, YouTube, book signings, virtual book signings, Google, Google Play, LinkedIn, Vine, Tumbler, Instagram, Flickr,.. I’ve Social Media myself to death and what have I got out of it??? Mediocre sales and a headache…

Now I’m definitely not saying the readers are not out there, but I wonder as I beat my head against my desk on yet another morning, as I read another article about how to reach those readers if what I have been doing and what I plan on doing is just a waste of time, or a waste of my energy.?!

Is my marketing money wasted in email marketing/blogging/Facebook/twitter…

Here is the conundrum… several years ago or not so many years ago. Something amazing happened. Indie publishing hit it big. And with it these little people who knew nothing of the publishing world became publishers. (Introduce me! I’m taking a bow here, thank you very much.) At the sasocialmediame time, Social Media went bat shit crazy, and we were a match made in heaven.

All us knew authors who knew nothing about marketing, nothing about advertising, had to do was create a Facebook page and we were golden. Readers were meeting authors and vis versa.

It was a symbiotic relationship that was cataclysmic. It all blew up, now I’m not just talking about brick and mortar vs ebooks that blew up, I’m talking about the entire enchilada it splattered all over the wall. Editors, book cover artists, web developers, even developers of writing software. Writing became big business. And we all started co-existing like happy little ameba in a petri dish, when before it was a behind the closed door type of relationship that wasn’t talked about unless you had a signed contract. And even then you didn’t talk about it with other authors, god forbid.

Now days, you share your wonderful editor with your other author friends, you tell your authors about the great graphic artist you used for the cover of your books. You don’t hide these amazing people behind a closed door only used by one publisher. These people are valued and to be passed around because they need to feed their families too. But that’s another blog post.

Back to what I was going on about… when it all took off years back I remember sitting back and thinking how exciting it all was, how wonderful it was to be able to reach out and touch my fans. Or how fantastic it would be to publish a book without needing the backing of the big publishers from NYC backing me. How wonderful it would be to publish as many books as I wanted to a year, instead of just one book a year. (I will be publishing 3 this year!)

But the dust has settled… and I think the readers and even authors are standing back and looking around a little shell shocked wondering exactly the same thing I am… what did we learn from it all? And where have all the fans gone?

The worst part…. There’s a social media expert out there for everything give us all conflicting information when we desperately ask for help.

  • Twitter… the fans are out there you just need to post to twitter everyday between 2 and 4 – my book sales are dependent on twitter followers out there who only have an attention span of  140 characters for 2 hours a day? Is that EST time? MST? CST? Wait, maybe its Greenwich Time? SHIT… but I still Twitter…
  • Facebook… now I like Facebook, but the ads confuse me and you have to boost everything or good luck getting it out to your fans. Facebook is nickel and diming me out of all my sales. And don’t forget to LIKE, SHARE, and SMILE, and HAHA, and POST everything or a baby elephant is lose his citizenship to the US and have to grant rides to overgrown millionaires children.
  • Email List – Demand everyone you know give you their email along with everyone they know and all their relatives so that you can email spam then even though you have promised that you won’t email spam them. But you just can’t help it. But what you email spam them is not really spam because—well its YOU!!! And you would never spam anyone.
  • Blog – You must blog everyday for as long as you can, forget everything else that is on your to do list and blog, blog, blog, blog. Your readers want to hear from you ALL THE TIME. BLOG. BLOG BLOG. Did I mention you should blog? Because you should. Blog that is. Then when you post your blog, you should email that shit out. And twitter about it, and Facebook it and make sure you boost that Facebook post because well the elephant don’t forget about the ELEPHANT!

And in the end, do I have any more fans than I did at the beginning? Maybe, a couple? Probably… and the receipt to the secret sauce… it’s still a secret.

But hey if you figure that shit out would you mind passing it along to me I would love to twitter about it or maybe Post it on Facebook? Or email out? I might even Blog about it.socialmedia2

Surviving the Holidays Healthily and Happy

happy-holidays-gif

I don’t know about you but the holidays at my house means eating, eating oh and more eating.  A common theme growing up in my house was if you feed them they will come. So we always had food, and we were known for giving out huge plates of chocolates for Christmas. This tradition is one my mother still does.

So with that in mind the first or second week of December my mother, who lives with me, heads out to stay with my sister for a week to make chocolates for the holiday season. This consists of about 100 pounds of assorted homemade peanut clusters, almond clusters, coconut clusters, peanut-butter cups, caramels, fudge, truffles, etc. Needless to say we are more than supplied for the holidays. These are meant to be used as presents for family, friends, and neighbors, generally anyone who stops by during the holidays. But honestly year after year we gorge ourselves (those coconut clusters have my name written all over them.) on these treats throughout the month. Oh don’t get me wrong, friends and family get their fair share.

Then there are the holiday parties between get-togethers, work parties, and family parties. So much food, and it’s the best of the best foods. I feel like I’m gaining weight just writing about it. If you happen to be on a diet or are trying to eat healthy that idea and promise to yourself quickly goes flying out the proverbial window. Only to be picked back up with that ‘new year’s resolution’.

But what if I told you there was a better way. It’s time to enjoy the holiday season without feeling guilty. When I say guilt free I don’t mean throw all your goals for being healthy out the window for the holiday season. I mean being mindful of what your goals are during the holiday season. I mean taking accountable of those goals living them fully throughout the month. Now who’s with me? Who’s ready to live guilt free throughout the holiday season? Who’s ready to enjoy the holidays fully?

The first thing you need to do is set your goals for the holidays. What are your goals? Do you want to connect with your loved ones this Holiday season? Is it about finding that one perfect gift? Is it to stay on your diet? Is it to reconnect with lost loved ones?

When looking back on past holiday season’s what made them wonderful for you? It is to throw the best holiday party? Only you can know what will make this the best holiday for you. Do you want to finish your novel so you can enjoy the holidays? Here are my goals for this holiday season to give you an idea of what I am talking about.

My first goal for this season is connections. I want to enjoy the season and really connect with my loved ones. Having a goal around the season regardless of whether it be about your health or not gives you purposes for the season. And once you have purpose you are able to create something. It also doesn’t allow you to procrastinate, once a goal is set you have a purpose to move forward. This goal will also give you ideas and will help narrow your mindset, you can decide what you need to do vs what you have to do. Because my purpose is to connect with my loved ones I can decide whether or not to go to certain events, if it doesn’t fall into my goal of family connection I can say no without it going against my holiday goal of family connection.

My second goal is to not over eat and drink plenty of water. Wow! That’s a pretty hefty goal for the holiday season. But I also want to enjoy and connect which means going to family oriented holiday parties. But if I have that goal going in, I always know what I can and cannot do. I also help myself by keeping a food diary. This is extreme I know but if you write down everything I eat and look at it I can see if I am over eating. When I know I am going to have a tough month I know I have to do something to keep myself on track. (Please keep in mind this is what works for me it may not work for everyone.)

My third goal: Not to over book myself. This is very important. If I overbook myself then I feel like I am going crazy and then I don’t enjoy the holiday season. So at the time I am writing this article (early Nov.). For the weekends, I am already booked through till the end of Dec.  (Holy Cow!) I’m not complaining, I have a very busy life. I have a great family and wonderful friends. But that means I have to be very choosy about what goes on my schedule from now through the end of the year. I have to take into account what my first two goals are. Does it have to do with family connection? Will it take away from my goal to stay healthy? Will it conflict with something else I have already on my schedule?

Because it’s the holiday season you should only want three goals, if three is overwhelming only have two, if two is too much then only do one goal. Trust me I’ve had years when I was only capable of one goal. This isn’t about having the most goals or about accomplishing the most. It’s about making the most out of the goals you set.

Holiday-Parties

Here are some important tips for being healthy during the holidays.

  • Stay organized. The worst part of the holidays is getting disorganized that leads to mindlessness. And mindless behavior means throwing your goals down the toilet. Your goals should never ever end up in the toilet.
  • Be the hostess with the mostess. If you feel like you want the control so you can maintain your healthy eating habits host the party yourself.
  • When eating, drinking and being merry. Throw in some extra activity. Now isn’t the time to start a new cardio program. But if you’re eating more throw in some extra activity.
  • Tis the season to give. Sometimes it’s more about the giving then the receiving, how about visiting your local homeless shelter and donating your time or make a Donation.
  • Broken record time. Drink lots of water. You may think this is a summer thing only but as you run around to all your holiday errands and holiday parties you easily become dehydrated. So make sure you drink plenty of water.
  • Exchange your regular recipes with healthy recipes. The internet is chock full of exchange receipt. I’ve exchanged lots of high-calorie receipts for lower calorie healthier recipes. Example: mashed potatoes with cauliflower mashed.
  • Make time for yourself. The holiday season is so hectic and you are spending it thinking about everyone else but you. Make sure to take some time for you, you deserve it. This might mean taking an afternoon to get a mani-pedi. Trust me your inner self will thank you.
  • Have a day with more than one holiday party? Afraid you’ll over eat? Use the small plate instead of the regular size dinner plate. You’ll naturally eat less.
  • Most important, don’t forget the holiday traditions. Don’t have any? It’s never too early to start one.

 

Blog_hot-chocolateI don’t know about you, but I think the holiday season is a magical time of year. People are more generous, and kindness seems to pour out of people. I love to sit and listen to Christmas carols on the radio and sip hot chocolate. I used to make myself crazy, by letting the hectic craziness of the holiday season sweep me away. But by employing some of these techniques I have allowed myself to mindfully take over the holiday season and I can now enjoy the beauty if it all with my family. And the best part is I a teaching my children to enjoy it for the same reasons.

 

 

 

**I just want to send out a Happy Holidays to all my fans. May you all have a wonderful and blessed holiday season. From my heart to your home and hearth. Stay warm and safe this season.

-Christie**

 

First Ever Reader/Author Luncheon Experience

Utah's Readers Luncheon

This last Saturday I was lucky enough to be involved in the first every Romance Reader/Author Luncheon, held in Salt Lake City at the Sandy Expo Center. Let me tell you this was a phenomenal event, I didn’t host a table, but volunteered and worked the registration table so I was so blessed to be able to interact will nearly every one of the guests who came into the event.

New York Best Selling author RaeAnne Thayne

New York Best Selling author RaeAnne Thayne

We had a wide variety of readers and authors. The majority of the guests had no idea what to expect at the event and as they checked it were surprised to get a large bag of swag donated by both authors attending the event and authors who were unable to attend but wanted to be presented. This was the first of many gifts that the attendees were given. Once the doors opened they were then given bags of swag at the tables by the authors. The swag ranged from books to cowboy hats, to champagne glasses full of chocolate. I have to admit the guests were drowning in swag, and give-a-ways.
But that wasn’t all, the speakers. OH my the speakers. RaeAnne Thayne and Robyn Carr both New York Times Best Sellers spoke. And can I tell you they were AWESOME. Rayne Ann spoke about getting in touch with your heroine. Her talk made me want to run out and write a kick ass, in touch heroines that every female in the room would be able to relate to. Then she introduced Robyn Carr and from the first words that fell from Mrs. Carr’s lips I was enthralled that woman knows how to get a crowd on the edge of their seats. Mrs. Carr spoke about the importance of reaching your tribe, or reaching out to those people that will become your ultimate fans. Those fans that will scream about

Best selling author Robyn Carr.

Best-selling author Robyn Carr.

your books from the ruff tops. I was a fan of Mrs. Carr’s before but now I just in love with the woman. She spoke about the how important it was to reach out of each and ever fan. Not that I don’t try to do that but Mrs. Carr really gave me some insite on how important it was and great ways to do it.

If you ever get the chance to hear either of these phenomenal women speak then you should run not walk to those events. They were just wonderful and I highly recommend you take the opportunity to hear them.
After the main event I manned the door at the book signing and spoke with readers as they left the book signing and the readers I was lucky enough to speak with said they had a wonderful time and that they would definitely be back next year. YEAH!! (Fist pump in the air.) Next year I won’t just be volunteering but I’ll have my own table and I certainly hope all my spectacular fans will be there supporting me.

This was such an amazing event and I can’t begin to thank everyone who put in tireless hours to make it happen. I was such a small part of it, but it was so wonderful and I can’t wait to see what next year brings. I know some of the headliners next year is going to bring and I’m jumping out of my skin with excitment for you all. You are not going to want to miss it.

Me and Robyn Carr

Me and Robyn Carr

Manning the registration desk.

Manning the registration desk.

 

Some of the amazing guest. Yes they came in costume.

Some of the amazing guest. Yes they came in costume.