Monday, August 15, 2016

Should You Register? Let Me Count The Reasons...

Happy Monday All,

I know I haven't been good about keeping up with the blog. Currently I have a full plate. I'm working on a project my publisher has requested, plus something I did on my own, and a couple of stories I'm hoping to finish writing. On top of that, I've got the mommy/wife gigs going on, and the audiobook.

However, I do want to make all writers aware that the time has come to get your registration for the Northwest Houston chapter of Romance Writers of America Lone Star Writer's Conference in! The deadline to register is September 15, and we're about halfway through August already.

Me with editor, Debby Gilbert
at the 2014 Lone Star Writer's Conference
I have been attending this conference since 2009. Every year is different, but consistently it's been fun, informative, and worth every penny. I'm excited that this year Kerrelyn Sparks is speaking.

Me, author Kerrelyn Sparks, and author
Christie Craig
Kerrelyn is a fellow author and someone I've had the pleasure of meeting in person. She's talented, sweet, and I imagine has some great information for writers. She has a fabulous sense of humor and is very personable.

Jennifer Fusco of Market Or Die! is also coming. I haven't heard her speak, and I don't know her, but it sounds interesting, and I can always use marketing ideas for my work.
Taken at one of the Lone Star
Conferences I attended (I can't remember
which one)

There will be pitching opportunities, and also raffle baskets available.

I look forward to this conference every year and I'm already registered. We have had writers of all different genres come, so even if you don't write romance, don't hesitate!

See you there!

Have A Marvelously Magnificent Monday!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Time For August...

Happy Wednesday All,

Well, I'm back on antibiotics with ear infection issues, again. Fun times in the Averie household, but oh well.

It's August, and a part of me can't believe we're already facing Fall again, and another part of me says it can't get here fast enough. I'm not a fan of snow and ice, but I do like cooler temperatures and the heat is oppressive. I mean granted, it's been hotter here than it has been, but it's still plenty hot.

My WIP (Work In Progress) is with my proofreader and I'm looking forward to sending it to my publisher. In some ways I can't believe I'm already here again, in others it feels like it's taken me forever. But it's nice to have another novel written and going through the process. Of course, I'm working on the next story and that's going okay so far. We'll see what happens.

Registration is still going on for the NWHRWA's Lone Star Writer's Conference. It looks like it's going to be a great conference (and fun, of course). I'm all registered. If you're a writer, I recommend it. You can click here to find out more.

So what's going on in your life?

Have A Wondrously Witty Wednesday!

Monday, July 25, 2016

Sell Yourself, AKA Promotion...

Happy Monday All,

It's another week, you ready? Apparently whether we're ready or not, the week begins.

I don't mind my writing work, and generally the mommy-gig isn't too bad, but it's been a bit rough this week with Youngest, so it's a little tougher than usual--especially when migraines hit. So I'm sipping my coffee, wishing I got a little more sleep, and doing my best to get myself together for the day.

One of the topics that will be covered at the NWHRWA 2016 Lone Star Writer's Conference (for more information, click here) is PR--aka Promotion.

A lot of writers (including myself) are either shy or introverted (sometimes both). I have met some writers who weren't shy, and some extroverted writers, but I haven't met many. The one thing that is often on any writer's mind when they think of promotion and putting themselves out there is how? What can you do?

The short answer is--a lot. Almost everywhere you go there are opportunities for networking/promoting. In fact, I do it on a regular basis in spite of any shyness/introversion on my part.

Here's an example:  Last year, during the Christmas season (Christmas Eve to be precise), we decided to get a pizza. So I went into the pizza place and gave the checker my order. While waiting,
I sat down next to a lady and we got to chatting. We chatted about some things--Christmas, Church, and such. Finally, I asked if she liked to read. She talked about what she liked to read, and I said I was a Romance author, and pulled out my bookmarks (I keep them in my purse, so I have them whenever I get into a situation like this) and described my books and gave them to her (I often will even sign the Divine Love bookmarks for people).

This is a quick way to make yourself known (especially if you're not a big name). And even if THEY don't like the genre you write, they might know someone who does, and they can pass on your bookmarks to those people.

Now, I'm not saying it's easy to talk to people I don't know. But, you can assess the situation and decide whether or not it's an opportunity. And if the opportunity presents itself, then you've got one more person who knows about your work.

Promotion is a big topic, and most people have an opinion or ideas of what to do. Writers have to take this information and assess what's best for them.

Like I said, this topic will be covered at the Conference, and that's on Saturday, October 1, 2016. It's open to all writers, so get that registration in!

Have A Magnificently Marvelous Monday!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

It's That Time Again...

Happy Wednesday Everybody!

I'm one tired chica. For the last 4 nights either dizziness (due to allergies) or Youngest Offspring has made sure I don't get a full-night's sleep. In fact, I don't think I've slept from 11 p.m. to 8 or 9 a.m. in over a year. I imagine it's part and parcel of the whole Mommy-gig. But since I know things could be much worse, I suppose I should thank the Lord this is all I'm up against in terms of being a mom at the moment.

The NWHRWA has opened up registration for the annual Fall Conference--the Lone Star Writer's Conference, which is happening Saturday, October 1st. This conference is open to ALL writers, NOT just Romance novelist. So you Thriller, Suspense, Horror, and such, you can come, too. YA and NA writers, you come, too. It's open to ALL writers.

The fabulous NY Times Best Seller, Kerrelyn Sparks, will be
Me, KERRELYN SPARKS, and author Christie Craig
talking about world building and all of that fun stuff. We have another speaker for the afternoon--someone I've never heard before, but she sounds great, too. Her name is Jennifer Fusco, and she'll be speaking on promotion.

More details can be found on the website, which if you click right here, it'll take you straight to the information on the conference.

Trust me, you do NOT want to miss. We have a lot of fun. There are raffle baskets (great stuff are in those, believe me--I plan on bringing at least one for the raffle, so don't you want to come and see what I'm giving away?) I have to double-check, but I believe lunch is included, and we usually have something out for breakfast. This is southern hospitality, folks, and we don't skimp on the welcoming.

As of the writing of this blog post, they're waiting on the reservation code for hotel rooms, but I'm told that will be available soon. We especially encourage any Lone Star Writer's Contest finalists to come because we do a whole announcement for that.

I've already turned in my registration...have you?

Have A Wonderfully Whimsical Wednesday!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Elegance & Grace...

Happy Tuesday All,

Lately I've been watching YouTube series on ballet. Ballet fascinates me on several levels--as someone who used to take ballet classes (no, I never danced en pointe, or on my toes--I also took tap and jazz, but that's another story) some of the steps and terms are familiar to me. As an art form, I think it's one of the most beautiful. I love the grace and elegance of classical ballet. I also have a tremendous respect for the dancers. They work their bodies hard, and their futures are often uncertain.

In some ways, writing and dancing aren't that different. Both are art forms in their own right. Both take dedication to their craft. They take time to develop. Both have to learn new ways of doing and thinking depending on what they're working on. And both often take up much of a person's time.

Growing up, my parents took me to several ballets. I've seen The Nutcracker so many times I have no desire to go again (even though it's a lovely ballet). I've seen Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Swan Lake, Giselle, and Romeo & Juliet,  just to name a few. I love Swan Lake. I hear Cinderella is coming to my local ballet (I think next year), it's a different version than what I saw and a part of me is curious. Cinderella is one of my favorite fairy-tales (second only to Beauty & The Beast--incidentally, has there ever been a ballet of Beauty & The Beast? I would so go see that one!)

I love ballet so much, that years ago when I took my correspondence class from the Writer's Digest School (I don't know if it was called University back then, maybe it was, I don't remember, this was over 10 years ago), I actually wrote a short story centered around ballet. I'm not particularly fond of that story. It's filed away somewhere and I won't even let my friends see it. Partially because I know I can write better now, and partially because of some of the emotions I experienced while working on it. However, despite that, one day I might write a new story that has ballet in it. If I do, I'm thinking I would love to talk to some of the professionals. Nothing helps a writer's research and terminology than talking to those directly in that field.

Anyway, what art forms do you like?

Have A Tremendously Terrific Tuesday!

Monday, July 11, 2016

A-Conferencing We Will Go...

Happy Monday All,

I hope everyone is having a wonderful Summer. Down here in the Lone Star State we are melting, but that's not unusual. Heat + Humidity = Texas Summers. I'm surprised we're not in the triple digits (the week forecast looks like we're going to get close). It makes me very grateful for central air condition and car air conditioning.

This week is the week of RWA Nationals. RWA is Romance Writers of America. Nationals are the conference they host every year--generally in a different location each year. The Conference is open to members (and I believe non-members) alike. A huge number of industry professionals, as well as writers, attend Nationals every year. Although, I'm in the latter group--the group that doesn't attend. You have to budget for Nationals because typically it does cost more than the local ones. Given my family demands and my financial situation, it's not something I can do at this point. Maybe in the future. I would like to go once, just to gain the experience and see what it's like.

If you're interested in more information on RWA Nationals, please don't hesitate to look up their website here. RWA has a ton of information available, not just for Romance writers, but often writing in general. It does mostly cater to Romance writers, but I know some Non-Romance writers who have benefited from information RWA provided.

So, for those of us who can't attend Nationals and would like to go to a writer's conference, what are our options?

Many RWA chapters have conferences throughout the year that cost less. They're smaller, and generally only offer one or two topics, but sometimes that's what's best for a writer (every writer is different and they have to decide what works for them in terms of conference options).

My RWA chapter--NWHRWA has an annual Fall conference every year that takes place the first Saturday in October. The nice thing is, this is usually when the weather is getting cooler in Texas so you're not as likely to melt (you're welcome) and we generally have one or two topics, so it's focused, and sometimes intense--but gives you more opportunity to use your energy to learning one thing at a time and soak it up. (If that's your preference).

I'm excited for my chapter, NWHRWA, Lone Star Writer's Conference this year. We have a great line up planned:

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Talking About Learning Disabilities/Challenges Part 3...

Happy Tuesday Everybody,

Thank you for joining us on this blog series. Today is the last one. The comments and response has been wonderful--thank you for that as well!

There are young people in the world struggling with learning differences (sometimes called learning disabilities) who may or may not feel they aren’t as good as those who don’t have these disabilities/challenges.

The three of us—Bethany Averie, Ryan Jo Summers, and Christie Craig—have all faced learning disabilities/difficulties and based on our personal experiences, and what we see in the world today, were inspired to share our own stories with you.

We’ll be posting each author’s Q&A style on all our blogs. Today is the last day with author Christie Craig's interview up.

Our wish is for you teens and young adults to never be afraid to dream big. In a world where less than someone’s definition of perfect can mean the difference between acceptance and rejection, we want you to stand up and pursue those dreams no matter if you do face learning disabilities/difficulties. Don’t let those things stop you. If we can do it, so you can you.

Given the sensitive nature of this topic, we ask that those who choose to comment only post positive and encouraging comments. We’re wanting to build people up and inspire them, not bring them down.

So, here are our stories, and we wish you all the best.

Briefly tell us about yourself (your name, your YA story titles, anything else you wish to say about yourself):

My name is Christie Craig.  I’m an Alabamian who now hangs my hat in Texas.  My thirty-fifth book will be released in October.  I write under two names.  As Christie Craig, I write humorous romantic suspense.  My young adult books are written under C. C. Hunter.  In addition to writing, I do writing workshops.  And in my other life I was a freelance writer and photo journalist.  I’m a mom, a wife, and a lover of wine, walking, and traveling.  My life policy is if you want something, go make it happen. And never, ever give up.

What are your learning disabilities/difficulties and do you remember how/when you were diagnosed?

I’m dyslexic.  I was diagnosed in third grade as being learning disabled.  I had a very hard time reading, spelling, and am extremely directionally impaired.  Left and right is still a mystery to me. North, South, East and West is like talking Chinese.  I wasn’t actually diagnosed as dyslexic until I was 30.  And this came after my son was officially diagnosed.  I now read, and while I’m not as fast as most people, I love reading.  I’m terrible at leaving out words like: an, and, the, and to.  I confuse words like:  two and to, and too, and mail and male.  I know the difference, but when I write, my mind doesn’t recognize the differences.  I will leave out letters in words.  I’m told that I learned to cope with a lot of my issues by relying on my auditory strengths.  So I hear my words in my head, and when I use that skill, it turns off the part of my brain that allows me to recognize my mistakes.  The only way I can catch my own mistakes is not to read it for about a month, so my auditory
side of my brain doesn’t kick in.  I cannot take notes and listen at the same time.  If I attempt to write something down, my brain will not retain anything else that is being said. 
Since finding out, what are your emotions towards your learning disabilities/difficulties? Why?

First let me say, I don’t think I’ve accomplished what I have in spite of dyslexia, but in part due to it.  Most Dyslexic people are intuitive.  We read people.  We read emotions.  Because of this, dyslexics are often natural born storytellers.  I spent my entire childhood making up stories in my head.  Not even realizing that this was a talent.  This intuitive ability allows me to tap into the emotions of my characters and create stories that pull at the heartstrings of readers.  Being a writer takes the tenacity of a Tasmanian Devil.  Being dyslexic taught me I had to work hard, and even harder that others for anything I wanted.  I have over 10,000 rejection letters.  But because of the lessons of never giving up, I just kept going, learning, and I made it where a lot of people who didn’t have the same issues, gave up.
What would you say to someone who has them who thinks they’re not as good as other people because they have learning disabilities/difficulties?
To this day I remember the first person who looked at me and said, “Wow, you are intelligent.”  I was twenty-three years old.  Because I didn’t do well in school, I quit school in tenth grade, I didn’t realize that I was smart.  It was only as an adult that I realized my disability didn’t reflect my intelligence.  Yes, it’s hard to find self-confidence when you have to struggle for something that comes easily for others.  Find your gifts, and focus on how those gifts can help you succeed in what you want in life. For many, my choice career of writing may seem a difficult path, and yes, it’s harder for me than others, but because I tapped into my gifts of being able to write emotionally, the storytelling aspect comes easier to me than others. 

How have your learning disabilities/difficulties shaped you/what you do?

As I said earlier, I’m not a quitter. I simply refuse to give up.  I sold
my first book ten years after I started writing.  I didn’t sell my second book until thirteen years later.  I deal with dyslexia in my writing career by having people proof my books even before they go out to an editor.  Yes, my publishers have line editors and copy editors who also go over it, but I want to hand them as clean a copy as I can.  Even this interview will be read by a proofer before it goes to Bethany.  I used to whine about never being able to write a clean copy.  I spend at least 50 hours of every week writing, you would think I would have overcome my issues.  But I haven’t.  Yes, I’m so much better than I was before, but generally, I still will have as many as five mistakes a page.  And that’s with me going over it three or four times.  But I’ve learned to accept that I will always have goofs in my work. I’ve learned to compensate. 

Briefly tell us about your Young Adult (YA) books, etc.:

I write the Shadow Falls series.  These are stories about a camp/turned school that caters to paranormal teens who learn to harness their powers and also to learn to get along with each other.  The books are centered around three girls who are roommates: Kylie, Della and Miranda.  The books have suspense, romance, paranormal elements, and a lot of laughter.  This October, Midnight Hour, the final and tenth book in that series will be released.  Miranda, my heroine in Midnight Hour, is a dyslexic witch.  In her journey, Miranda is finally learning to believe in herself in spite of her disability.