by Christine | Life, Observations, Publishing, Writing
I usually do this post on New Year’s Eve, but life sort of got away from me, as it does now and then. However, here’s a look back at 2014.
Well, I did finish the Guitar Book, and came up with a series idea based on the talent agency…had a great time pitching that at Desert Dreams, finaled in their contest with that book, and…let’s see…oh YEAH. Boroughs Publishing Group wanted the series, and I signed a contract with them in August for a short story and the three novels. Woo! (StarTide series!) Isn’t the StarTide logo cool???
I pitched the Ballet Book, finally finished it, and sent it off to Lovely Agent who wants to see it after I make some revisions because she really liked it but it didn’t quite have enough oomph in the non-ballet sections. So there’s that.
Went to San Antonio for RWA’s National Conference, where I was a lucky girl and got to spend time with the Boroughs peeps. Went to their open house, and was invited to their author dinner even though I wasn’t technically one of theirs yet. Spent some lovely time talking to Chris Keeslar, which is where I got the idea for the Christmas short story. I also drunk-pitched said Ballet Book to a Lovely Editor at St. Martin’s, who said she loved the idea and (being friends with Lovely Agent), when the book is complete she’d like to see it.
Once home, I commenced writing like a fiend. Wrote, finished, and turned in the short story. Christmas Star (only .99!) published in October, 2014! Yay…after almost two years of not publishing, it was nice getting back into the water. In December, I finished book 2 of the StarTide series, and turned that one in. Began Book 3.
Also in December, rewrote another short story I had, after being asked to submit one for a paranormal/sci fi box set for Irksome Rebel Press. As soon as my readers get that back to me, I’ll be turning it in.
So the count for 2014: finished 3 novels; wrote 2 short stories; had one short story published, went to two conferences. Oh, and I wrapped up my second year as President of Los Angeles Romance Authors, chapter of RWA. Whew!
(2015 can be your year, too! There’s room for everyone!)
Here’s what my 2015 is going to look like, that I am aware of currently:
Writing wise: Finish Book 3, Rising Star. Write Caine Brothers Book 3, Demon’s Rage (Justin and Maggie). Rewrite the Ballet Book; send to Lovely Agent (and hopefully Lovely Editor). Brainstorm 2 – 3 novels/novellas for the StarTide series; discuss with Boroughs and write at least the first one.
Guarded Star, to publish in February. Star-Crossed, to publish in April. And Rising Star, publishing in June.
Hopefully my short story will be accepted, and in the Lucky Stars Box Set that will come out on March 17th.
End of March, I will be speaking at the California Dreamin’ Writer’s Conference, where I’ll get to see lots of old friends and make new ones.
End of May, I’ll be at the Pay It Forward Writer’s Retreat, put on by the incomparable duo of Kendall Grey and Danielle Allen.
End of July, I’ll be in New York City for the RWA National Conference!!!
Demon Soul, Demon Hunt and Demon’s Rage will hopefully all be out in August or maybe September, with nifty new covers and finally an end to the story!
A StarTide holiday novella out in October/November, hopefully.
So, that’s my year. Of course, life happens and things change. My fondest hope is that whatever changes happen are for the better, and that more gets out than less…
Whatever your dreams are, go for them. Be bold, in whatever manner fits you. And don’t let anyone tell you your dreams are too big. They are YOUR dreams, and so they are the perfect size.
Sending love and hugs out to you, and may 2015 be the continuation of All the Good Things!
All pictures (except Christmas Star and the StarTide logo) borrowed from Leonie Dawson.
by Christine | Observations
As many other (much more famous) people have said, this is a wonderful time to be an author. There are so many options open to us. We can self publish, we can publish with a digital-first publisher (of which there are many), or we can aim for a big New York publishing house (of which there are few).
There is no right way to publish.
Each person’s journey is just that; THEIR journey. Nora Roberts’ publishing journey is vastly different than mine (sigh), which is vastly different than, let’s say, my friend Kendall Grey’s journey. The thing is, no one way is “better” than another way.
If you want that contract with New York City, go for it. GO FOR IT. If in your heart of hearts you don’t want to be your own publisher, for God’s sake, don’t be. Write the best damned book you possibly can, and find someone else who will love your work enough to publish it. Then write another book.
If that is your dream, don’t let anyone tell you you’re wrong, or that the contract you’re so proud of signing sucks. In fact, be very careful who you share your contract with; make sure they are knowledgable about author contracts, can help you make a decision, and more than anything, make sure YOU know what you want out of a contract.
Be realistic, too. If yours is a first contract with a publishing company, and you have no track record at all, you’re not going to get the moon when you ask for it. I’m not saying don’t ask; just don’t be surprised if they come back with a simple “no,” and know what you’ll do when that happens.
Another thing. Just because you might have signed a contract with a publishing house that someone you know is also signed with, DOES NOT MEAN you have to share your contract details with them. (You shouldn’t ask about their contract, either.) And definitely don’t talk about your contract in specific across a lunch table with a bunch of other people listening in. Your contract is YOUR contract, and nobody else’s business. You don’t owe it to ANYONE to share details.
Contrari-wise, if a good friend is considering a contract and asks you what to be careful about, feel free to share your views. In person, and in private (which can happen in a corner of a ballroom full of people, believe it or not).
I guess this is my ranty way of saying, know what you want out of your career, and go for it. Don’t let anyone tell you that you’re doing it wrong. Whether you self publish, go with a small publisher, or hold that dream of an agent and a six figure deal with a New York publisher, that’s your decision and your journey. You may change your mind down the line, and there’s nothing wrong with that, either.
Know what you want, and go for it.
Don’t explain, and don’t apologize, for following your heart. Big, squishy hugs to you as you continue on the journey.
I’ve got an Author Page on Facebook now…it’s not very pretty to look at, but check it out and give me a “like” if you would!
by Christine | Writer Wednesday, Writing
Kendall Grey’s Hot Blooded came out on 7-14-14. I resisted the lure of it for two whole days before I succumbed.
I’ve read her Urban Fantasy series, Inhale, Exhale, and Just Breathe; and I’ve read her erotic trilogy, Strings, Beats, and Nocturnes. I thought I was prepared for anything Kendall Grey could throw at me.
Was I wrong.
Hot Blooded, to me, is a Hawaiian version of film-noir style, if film noir had been done now instead of the fifties.
Blood, and sex, drugs and family – ‘ohana is everything – drive the story. It’s a twisty dark tale that is utterly believable.
Grey shows you what some people will do when pushed to their limit. It’s gritty, it’s real, and it’s damn good fiction. Some of the best writing I’ve read in a long time.
If you’re looking for something different, something out of the ordinary, something that will change the way you look at the concept of “family” – then read Hot Blooded. If you’ve read it, let me know what you thought. I’m dying to discuss it with someone.
I’m in San Antonio this week, soaking up the Romance Writers of America atmosphere and hugging the stuffing out of my friends. May your week be a grand one – mahalo!
by Christine | Writer Wednesday
Here is the blurb and COVER REVEAL for Kendall Grey’s latest, HOT BLOODED! Read on and share…
If Robert Rodriquez (Sin City), Tony Soprano, and David Lynch (Twin Peaks) made sweet love to a Hawaiian version of The Bride (Uma Thurman’s character from Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill), the resulting spawn might look like Kendall Grey’s upcoming mystery/suspense/supernatural thriller, HOT-BLOODED.
The first installment in the Ohana series, HOT-BLOODED is set on the island of Maui and is wrapped in the light and dark watercolors of Hawaiian culture, history, and mythology. It’s about guns, drugs, surfing, and tiki monsters. HOT-BLOODED tells the tale of a ballsy, half-Hawaiian angel-turned-demon, the duplicitous assassin who falls for her, and the blessings and curses of family—all wrapped up in freaky, supernatural gift paper.
Here’s the description:
WARNING: HOT-BLOODED does NOT end with a happily ever after. It contains drug use and graphic sex, language, and violence. The story is intended to entertain, not to condone or glorify illegal or immoral activities. This book is unsuitable for sensitive readers and those under the age of 18.
*Written in 3rd person. Contains a massive cliffhanger and multiple POVs.
Ohana is everything…
When an accident claims her mother’s life, Keahilani Alana must take charge of her ohana (family) or risk losing what little they have. With an underage brother to care for and no education, she has few options. The door to a heavenly hellish opportunity opens when she stumbles upon a valuable secret her mother left behind on the slopes of an extinct volcano—a legacy that tempts the family with riches beyond their wildest dreams. But the secret is much bigger and more sinister than they realize. As reality unravels and exposes eerie truths about the ohana that should have remained deep under the mountain, Keahilani must either resist the call of her blood or risk being consumed by its darkness.
Blake Murphy is an assassin working to infiltrate a new Hawaiian cartel. His investigation reveals that Keahilani, the sexy surfing instructor he pegged as an informant, is much closer to the drug ring than he thought. Passion ignites between them in the bedroom, but their ironclad ties to opposing interests pit them against each other everywhere else.
When tensions reach the breaking point and her ohana is threatened, the only cure for Keahilani’s hot-blooded fury is a loaded clip with a body bag chaser.
They don’t call her Pele for nothing.
Kendall Grey’s newest book, coming soon!
This looks totally awesome! And I’m willing to bet more than a few men out there will really enjoy this series…
What do you think? Does the blurb make you want to read it? She’s definitely got ME curious!
by Christine | Observations, Writing
Scott and Christine, San Diego 1982 Photo by Chet Cunningham – all “real” writers.
It’s come up more than a few times lately, with more than a few of my friends. What is a “real” writer? When do I get to that point? When does it all just flow? Well, in the 13-plus years I’ve been writing, this is what I’ve come to know about being a “real” writer.
So Much Noise.
A real writer writes. They hide in their cave/laundry room/nearest coffee shop and write.
A real writer only writes on Wednesdays.
A real writer writes five thousand words a day when it goes well. Other times it’s like pulling teeth to get five hundred words done.
A real writer only writes when the muse strikes.
A real writer complains. They talk to like-minded writer friends about their hopes, dreams, and fears for the current manuscript, and no matter what, they go back to that manuscript until that sucker is done.
A real writer feels like a fraud, and when they do write a book that sells, they’re secretly afraid they’ll never be able to repeat it.
A real writer dives into each novel without planning, never knowing what’s going to come out.
A real writer gets to go on author tours and talk to kids about their middle grade books,
and opens minds and changes hearts while on said tour.
A real writer has Hollywood knocking on their door constantly.
A real writer does it all – writes, edits, designs covers, reviews books, formats books, and puts books out all by themselves. All the time.
A real writer never gets screwed by her agent/editor/publishing house.
A real writer has discussions with his agent/editor/critique partner about what’s just not working about the current book, and how to make it better.
A real writer doesn’t make good money.
A real writer plots meticulously before starting a new book.
A real writer gets reviews wherever reviews can be posted. Some are glowing. Some are not. Sometimes it looks like the person reviewing never read the book. Sometimes there aren’t many reviews, and the writer’s heart bleeds for that book.
A real writer has written books that will never see the light of day. Conversely, a real writer publishes everything they’ve ever written.
A real writer makes serious money.
A real writer only writes and pushes his wares to real publishers. Big five or nothing, baby.
Market market market. Twitter and FB and Instagram and Goodreads until you die. It’s the only way to make an impression.
A real writer can only write one good book a year.
A real writer refills the well when life hits hard, and puts the writing aside until the storm has passed (because it always passes).
A real writer can write a good book every month.
A real writer only writes for the intelligentsia.
A real writer writes no matter what’s going on in his life – death, birth, hurricanes or earthquakes, they’re writing.
A real writer gets agents and editors excited about their work.
A real writer writes every fucking day because there is no muse and the bills need to get paid.
A real writer eventually learns that there is no correct way to be a real writer, and that what works for one person just won’t work for another. There are as many different roads to Publishing Nirvana as there are people trying to get there.
What is very interesting, is there are a LOT of people out there who want you to buy THEIR way to get to Publishing Nirvana, because THEIR way is the ONLY way. To which I call bullshit – be very wary of ANYONE who says their way is the only way to do anything, especially anything to do with writing. One size does not fit all, and these folks are preying on artists (because writers aren’t the only ones who get scammed in this manner).
So, to all you real writers out there, wherever you are on the writer’s journey, know you aren’t alone. What makes the journey worth while, for me at least, are the other writers/agents/editors we surround ourselves with, and the readers we reach with our words. You CAN do this. You CAN make this into your dream career.
Every writing career is a roller coaster. Sometimes it seems like we’re in free fall; other times it feels like getting to the top is taking forever. What is irritating and fascinating is that no two writers are on the same roller coaster.
Writers, musicians, artists of all kinds, actors, singers, dancers – the arts help to put the world around us into perspective for those who aren’t artists. It’s a gift, an obligation, for us to work on our art.
What is a “real” writer? One who doesn’t quit.
Go out into the world, dear hearts, be brave, and write. Paint. Sing. Film. Dance. And do it with your whole heart. Sending love and hugs to you.
Oh, and check out the writers depicted above. If you know a real writer, please give them a shout out by putting a link to their Amazon page in the comments.