Thank You.

texasholdem_cover (2)You know, writing can be a very solitary business.  Well, if you don’t count your characters.  But I don’t think my imaginary people count as real company.  Not that they aren’t great.  I love them.  I spend hours in my walking clothes, no makeup, sometimes braless (hey, they don’t care what I look like) in my study, just me and my characters.  However, every now and then I have to get gussied up, leave my characters at home, and attend a conference.  And some of you know from my recent posts that I attended the RWA conference.

Me and Kathleen Brooks

Me and Kathleen Brooks

And it’s at conferences like this that I’m reminded of how many great friends I have.  Some of them are local friends, friends I flew out with, or friends I see regularly.  But some of them are people I don’t see but once a year.  Yet, they are the kind of people when you bump into them, you can easily spend hours just chatting about writing and about life.  ‘How are you doing?  How many books have you sold?  Who’s your editor?  How do you like writing for this publishing house?  How are your kids?’ 

Me and Angi Morgan

Me and Angi Morgan

Me, Robin Kaye, and Deborah Villegas

Me, Robin Kaye, and Deborah Villegas

Betty Hobbs and her sister, Jan - she flew all the way in to see me!

Betty Hobbs and her sister, Jan – she flew all the way in to see me!

Then there’re the strangers who somehow don’t feel like strangers at all.  As a matter of fact, one thing that never fails to amazing me is how easy it is to make friends at RWA. Yes, I know we all have that disease called the writing bug, and it somehow bonds us, but still, at a conference you sit down at the bar, and within a few minutes you are having a fun conversation with people you never met.   You hear stories about how someone had hurdles and stopped writing and now are back into it.  You have breakfast with someone and brainstorm a writing issue.  You somehow magically connect with people who cross your path.  These people are like the relatives you didn’t know you had.  Not like the great uncle who always puts his tie in the gravy boat, or the aunt who hugs you so tight you feel you need to come up for air—these are the people who speak your language.  You share a passion.  So, for all you RWA’ers out there that I sat next to, that shared a few minutes of your time and life with me, I want to say thank you.  Thank you for helping make my conference a huge success, and thank you for reminding me that while I will never give up my imaginary friends, the real ones, even those who only pass by momentarily . . . you guys are the real thing.

Me, Lori Wilde and my assistant, Shawnna Perigo. They make me look even shorter!

Me, Lori Wilde and my assistant, Shawnna Perigo. They make me look even shorter!

 

A Shadow Falls fan who braved a storm to see me!

A Shadow Falls fan who braved a storm to see me!

The mom of a Shadow Falls fan gets a picture for her daughter!

The mom of a Shadow Falls fan gets a picture for her daughter!

 

Me and Jenn Bray-Weber

Me and Jenn Bray-Weber

 

Shana Galen, Sarah MacLean, me, and Sophie Jordan

Shana Galen, Sarah MacLean, me, and Sophie Jordan

 

Y’all Ain’t Gonna Believe This S#@t!

texasholdem_cover (2)

WINNER!  WINNER!  The winner of last week’s blog with Bethany Averie is: Kathleen O.  Please email me at: christie (at) christie-craig.com and to collect your e-book prize!  Congrats!

I once heard that the number one fear was public speaking, number two was death.  So that meant if you were giving a eulogy you were worse off than the guy in the casket. 

And this last Saturday, I realized how right they were.  You see, I emceed the 33rd Annual Romance Writers of America’s Rita and Golden Heart Awards ceremony.  Everyone who stopped to talk to me before the event asked the same question: “Are you nervous?”  I just smiled and asked how close the Mexican border was.  And since I was in Atlanta, no one seemed to worry too much about me packing my suitcase and slipping out of the hotel late Friday night. 

I know, I know, I do a lot of public speaking.  I’ve taught over 500 workshops and have presented to over a thousand people.  I’ve been on television, I’ve done some small parts in a movie, and I’ve even done a few standup comedy skits.  But this was different.  I had attended the awards ceremony for years, and I had admired the funny, amazing emcees in the past. They always looked so poised, wore high heels and fancy schmancy dresses, and could give Billy Crystal a run for his money.  What if I couldn’t measure up to them?

When Sylvia Day, the president of RWA, called and asked me to do it, I told her yes without hesitation.  I was so honored to be asked, that it wasn’t until I hung up that I realized exactly what I’d agreed to do.  This wasn’t just giving a workshop.  This wasn’t simply teaching point of view or telling the mattress story.  This was me, in front of my peers . . . lots and lots of peers . . . with bright lights blaring on me, and my face plastered on the big screen.  And let me tell you, I have pores that I don’t like people to see up close and personal.

Okay, sure, I can be funny.  I can be entertaining, and I love talking about writing. But I’ve never been poised, can’t walk in high heels, and there’s not much about me that’s fancy schmancy.  

So, I took some deep breaths and called my agent.  She didn’t answer, so I left a message.  I’m pretty sure I said something like . . . “Oh, heck, I just agreed to do something and I think I’m about to shiiiit my pants.”

Me and my Agent

Me and my Agent

Being my agent, and knowing me well enough to know I get myself in some pretty bad shiiiit-your-pants jambs, she called me back almost immediately.

When I told her, she replied, “You mean they want you to present an award, right?”

“No,” I answered.  “They want me to emcee.  Like the emcee!”

“Wow, I thought you had to be the lunch speaker and sort of move up to that.”

That had my stomach clenching more.  Jeepers, she was right.  I needed to move up to this.  Take baby steps.  Not dive into the deep side of the emcee pool.  I needed to pass out a few Ritas before I passed out trying to be the emcee. 

Then of course my agent screamed in excitement, “This is awesome!” Then she assured me that I would do a great job.  I wasn’t so sure.  What if I started hiccupping like I did when I was twelve and that first boy tried to kiss me?  What if I took to puking like my character Katie in Wedding Can Be Murder?  I didn’t just make up that whole nervous puker problem.  I’d lived it a few times. 

Then I called my husband and told him, and he said, “Why would you do that?  It’s too much pressure.  You’ll be a nervous wreck the whole conference.”

I told my friend Susan and ended with, “I’ll need to lose forty pounds.” 

Her answer was, “Yeah, and you need to grow a few inches, too.”  Of course she was teasing.  My husband wasn’t.  I was going to be a nervous wreck.

I seriously considered calling Sylvia back and saying something like, “Did I say yes?  I meant no.”  (I still had Sylvia’s number in my caller ID.)

But then it hit me.  The reason I wanted to back out was because of fear.  Fear can paralyze you.  It can stop you from growing as a person.  Fear keeps us in a comfort zone and that’s why most of the time we give in to it.  So I bit the bullet, pulled up my big girl panties, and reminded myself that this was an honor.  And I did it.

Emcee

I’m not sure I was as poised as those who came before me.  My heels were only two inches.  I wasn’t overly fancy schmancy . . . but I did have a lot of help from two good friends, Susan Muller and Jody Payne, who went shopping with me to give me advice so I at least sparkled a little. 

I didn’t start hiccupping; I didn’t throw up.  Oh, I didn’t lose forty pounds, I only lost thirty-one.  And I never grew an inch—but that’s okay.    

And the crowd laughed—so I must have entertained them.  And Hubby was right, I was nervous through most of the conference.  But what’s more important is that I didn’t give in to my fear.  I’ll even admit that after I got the first laugh from the crowd of my peers, most of the insecurity faded and I went on automatic and did my dog-and-pony show.  It was fun.  It was an honor. 

So now I’d like to say thank you to the  RWA board for nudging me out of my comfort zone.  And hey, if the Oscars call, I’m ready. 

P.S. More photos coming soon!

All’s Fair in Love and Lion

Gotcha!WINNER!  WINNER!  The winner of last week’s blog is: Kate! Email me at: christie (at) christie-craig.com and let me know if you’d like Gotcha! or one of my other backlist titles and either print (with snail mail addy) or e-book (Amazon or B&N.)  Congrats!

In other news, if you’re going to be in the Atlanta area tomorrow, I’ll be signing at the RWA National Convention Readers for Life Literacy autographing Wed. July 17th, 5:30-7:30pm at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis.  Look for me as C.C. Hunter!  For more info visit:  http://www.rwa.org/literacy

Today I have another special guest for you.  Another author friend, who’s debut novel, All’s Fair in Love and Lion, released last week and is a very special blend of paranormal romance and fairy tale magic.  Please welcome Bethany Averie!

Fairy tales seem to be a big part of your book.  What is your favorite fairy tale and does it play any role in your story?

There’s 2 favorites.  Beauty & The Beast and Cinderella.  They don’t really have a role in the story, however, if you look really closely you might see their influences.

Interesting.  And what is your favorite scene in the book?

Oh my gosh. There’s SO MANY. But one that comes to mind is where Monroe introduces Sasha to his best friend, Bastian “Bast” J. Cantrell. Their exchange made me laugh when I wrote it. I also like one of the scenes where Monroe is in Sasha’s apartment. I think I’d have the same reaction Sasha had in the beginning. Although, instead of going for the aspirin bottle I’d probably start screaming. Sasha’s pretty brave.

Wow, they sound like intriguing characters.  So, tell me, Alpha or Beta heroes?  🙂

Depends on the novel.  In All’s Fair in Love & Lion I like Monroe for who he is, and Bast for who he is.  Monroe is strong, loyal, and romantic.  Bast is more laid back and has quite a sense of humor, but he’s also very loyal.  They look upon each other as brothers, even though they aren’t blood related.  Both of them are great guys for very different reasons.

 

I see your point on it depending on the novel.  So, what is the last great book you’ve read?

Kiss & Spell by Shanna Swendson. Number 7 in her Enchanted Inc. books. I just love how she weaves humor, fantasy, and chick-lit type writing into that series. It’s fantastic.

Thanks for sharing.  Now, can you please tell us a little more about your book?

AllsFairInLoveandLion850

High school Junior year English teacher Sasha Brighton has always dreamt of having her own Prince Charming. But she doesn’t believe it’s possible. After all, fairy-tales are just stories, not reality.

However, when Monroe Dubay steps out of her dreams and into her apartment, she’s forced to rethink the whole concept of what’s real and what’s fairy-tale. But believing means she’ll have to choose between everything she knows, or give it all up for the unknown.

Meanwhile, another female from his world doesn’t think Sasha should have Monroe; and she’s prepared to do whatever it takes to stop Sasha and Monroe from having their happily-ever-after. No matter what.

Available now at Amazon:  http://tinyurl.com/l6tp56k

Sounds like a great read!  Thanks for being here, Bethany! 

Now, tell us about your favorite fairy tales.  One lucky commenter will win an e-copy of Bethany’s book.  Good luck!

***

Bethany Averie photoBethany Averie is the second-to-the-youngest of eight children. As a kid, she loved fairy tales, especially Cinderella and Beauty & The Beast. Bethany still loves fairy tales, Greek & Roman Mythology, and romance. She resides in the Lone Star State with her real life hero, and a shadow who calls her ‘Mom’. When not writing, Bethany enjoys time with family and friends and dreaming up new worlds. You can reach Bethany at http://writebybethany.blogspot.com/ and/or on her website: http://bethanyaverie.wix.com/authorbethanyaverie She can also be found on Twitter and Facebook.

 

 

My Next Hero

Gotcha!WINNER!  WINNER!  The winner of the Victoria’s Secret gift card from last week is: Melissa Becker!  Email me at christie (at) christie-craig.com and I will get you your prize.  Congratulations!

He’s back!!!

You know, when I create a hero or heroine, they become real to me.  I can tell you their flaws, their fears, and their dreams.  I know their childhood dramas.  I know their biggest regrets.  I know their most embarrassing moments.  Unfortunately, a lot of them happen in my books, too.  My main characters become like that good friend you’ve spent enough time with and you really know what makes them tick. 

 But . . . I’ll admit, when I create a secondary character, they are like that neighbor next door that you only know some things about their lives.  What they do for a living.  Their basic personality.  Maybe a few of their flaws . . . but face it, you haven’t ever really gotten into their head.  You don’t know what they think about when they are alone.   And then, one day, some FBI agent knocks on your door and tells you that person is a serial killer and you’ll be on TV saying, “But he was such a nice, quiet neighbor.”

That’s the way Mark Donaldson was for me.  No, not a serial killer.  I simply didn’t know him well enough to make any judgment calls.  For any of you who don’t remember Mark, he was Jake Baldwin’s partner in my book, Gotcha!  I’ll admit, he was cute, and when I wrote that book I created a bit of mystery about his backstory.  He was the rich kid of a high-profile politician in Washington.  He hadn’t dated women in a while, and we all knew there was a reason, but he never spilled his guts.  Not to the readers, and to be honest, not to me either.  But no sooner had Gotcha! come out, than I started getting emails from readers wanting to know when Mark’s story was coming out.

Everyone was so curious, it made me curious.  I went back and read all of Mark’s scenes to figure out what it was that caught the attention of all those readers.  Well, the thing I concluded was that I’d given the readers just enough of him to tempt them, to make them want to get to know him better. 

But at the time, I was already contracted for several more books and I didn’t have a block of time to write Mark’s story.  It wasn’t until recently that I found a few weeks open in my schedule and I decided to work on a Christmas novella.  As I started plotting, I suddenly remembered poor Mark.  I’d left him back in Gotcha!, and hadn’t gotten around to fleshing him out.  (Poor guy hadn’t gotten lucky in I don’t know how long, either.)  And I was still getting emails about him.

So, needing a hero, he seemed like the perfect character to use in this novella.  So as I sat down to write, I learned all about Mark Donaldson’s past.  I understood the issues he had with his rich political parents.  I learned why he wasn’t dating, or at least dating seriously.  I learned his flaws.  I discovered his dreams.  All the pieces of the puzzle of who this guy was fell into place.  And he wasn’t a serial killer.  Though he does have a neighbor he worries may be a murderer.  The fact that it’s my heroine is only slightly inconvenient.  Of course, he stops thinking about her in that context and starts thinking about her in a lot of different ways pretty quickly. 

There was only one problem.  Once I started fleshing him out, I discovered just how great of a character he was.  And my “short” novella turned into a very long novella.   He was just too good to waste on a short. 

The Cop Who Stole ChristmasAnyway, you can expect The Cop Who Stole Christmas to release November 25th.  It will be available as an e-book, but I’m also planning on making it available at Create Space so you can order a print copy as well.  And if you missed Gotcha!, here’s your chance!  This week I’m giving away a copy to one lucky commenter.  And if you’ve already read that one and you’re my winner, you can choose any of my other backlist titles.  Happy Reading!

 

Out of the Mouths of Babes

texasholdem_cover (2)WINNERS!  WINNERS!  The winners from last week’s blog with LORI WILDE are:Julie S., Sarah S., Sabrina Robert, Kathleen O., moojuice, Becka Lynn, Suzanne Stewart, Quilt Lady, Brandi, and Ellie

Email me at: christie (at) christie-craig.com with your preference of print (with snail mail addy) or e-book (Amazon or B&N)  Congrats!

Years ago, my three-year-old son walked into the bathroom just as my mother was about to step into the shower.  My mom squealed and grabbed a towel.  My son, in complete innocent truthfulness, said: “I didn’t know you looked like that naked.”

My mom, now covered, asked: “Looked like what?”

My son’s response? “Like a big fat lady.”

Now, my mom, seriously loving her grandson, still managed to laugh about it. When she told me, I’ll admit I probably found it a little more humorous than she did.

Ahh, but you know sometimes life just has a way of turning around and biting you in the butt. 

You see, not too long ago, we were out at a restaurant with my daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughter.  And when Mawmaw is around, my daughter is off the clock.  So when granddaughter, Lily, informs me she needs to go potty, I take her to the bathroom.  She does her business, and then I say that Mawmaw needs to go, too.

Lily, ever inquisitive, watches me, and when I pull up my underwear she appears puzzled.  “Mawmaw, why do you wear pants panties?”

I didn’t quite get her question.  “What do you mean?”

She says:  “Your panties come up to your pants.  My panties and my mama’s panties come down low.” She’s even kind enough to pull up her dress to show me her bikini panties.

Now it took a second, but I realize exactly what I’ve been asked. She might have well have asked, “Mawmaw, why do you wear granny panties?”  Now, in my defense, they are high cut briefs, and they are more acceptable than granny panties, but still . . .

granny panties

I, of course, explained that different people wore different styles of panties.  But now I’m losing a bit of weight, so I may be doing some panty shopping for something that’s not ‘pants panties.’

Yup, those sweet little darlings say the funniest things.  And only a week after the panty episode, my granddaughter had another laugh-out-loud, kids-say-the-funniest-things moment.  You see, she’s four and she’s started asking a lot of questions about body parts and such.  So my daughter decided it was time to use the real names for things.  So, when my granddaughter was scratching herself and my daughter politely said, “Lily, don’t scratch your vagina.  It’s not ladylike.”

Lily got a puzzled look on her face and asked, “Mama, is ‘vagina’ Spanish for who-who?”

Ahh, out of the mouth of babes. 

So . . . do you have any funny kid stories?  Oh, and what kind of panties do you wear?  One lucky commenter today will win a $10 Victoria’s Secret Gift Card to get their own ‘non-pants’ panties.  And, I might give bikinis or maybe hipsters a try. Come to think about it, I think my mom went on a diet after my son’s little comment, too.

Have a great day!

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