Right This Way…Follow Me to My New Blog Locale

So… if you are a WordPress follower, you’ve probably noticed I haven’t been around the neighborhood much lately. There’s a reason for that.

I’ve moved.

And you may not have seen my little notices at my Twitter feed. So I couldn’t waste any time and am reaching out directly to you. I’d love to continue our dialogue together but in order to follow my relocated blog you need the new address.

KuhnStories is no more. So I need you to come with me…come on now. Come and join me. Please.

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You can find all of my past blogs as well as subscribe to new ones at my new author website… just visit www.chriskuhnauthor.com, scroll to the bottom of the page and fill in your email address to subscribe.

You will receive an email at your inbox and you’ll just need to confirm that yes, indeed, you’d really like to read my musings, and that’s it. Easy peasy.

You’ll be able to keep up with the latest on my forthcoming book The Muse Unlocked… being set up right now, so on the home stretch! Summer’s nearly here and so is my book. Woohoo! (Okay, that wasn’t all that professional, was it? *sheepish grin* Sorry.)

And don’t forget to check out some recent guest blogs by E.M. Wynter and Geoff Talbot and one where I went all poetic on you and whipped up some random rain-inspired prose. Sometimes I just get that bug in me, you know.

So I really do hope that you’ll pop by my new digs, take a look around and tell me what you think, because I’ve been having a blast chatting with you on my blog.  And I assure you that’s my final move. Plan on keeping my feet planted firmly there for a while. Should you want to reach out and offer your thoughts about the site, a recent blog or damn near anything for that matter, you can email me at chris@chriskuhnauthor.com. I’d love to hear from you.

Can’t wait to see you again, so please come visit me at the new website as soon as you can get your little feet over there.

I miss you!

Happy reading!
ck

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A Bit of Book News and My Incredible Best Friend, Why?

It’s been a little while since I’ve blogged. I’m sure you’ve had those kinds of weeks, too. Where everything took a little longer than planned. And when you needed things to be finished, they kept creeping back into the picture as unresolved. I owe a handful of some tremendous people my heartfelt thanks and the greatest virtual backrubs imaginable for their help in keeping me afloat. Muddled through it, all because of you.

Some have asked me what the latest is with my book, so I thought I’d share here. At least what I’m able to at this time.

My book The Muse Unlocked is still on target for a June release. I should have a date to share in a few weeks but it’s appearing to be closer to mid-June or late-June.  And of course, a little cover reveal might be headed your way in a few weeks, as well. So stay tuned for that. I have been quite the badger to my poor publicist about it. She knows if I had my way I would blanket the skies with one now. But I am quickly learning through this process that patience is indeed a virtue.

About time I got a little of that. Heh.

I’m excited that I’ll be able to share with you so many new places that we will be able to hang out together beyond here and Twitter that are all currently in development. But I promise, I will have links for you very soon. In just a matter of weeks.

Holy cow, it really is just a matter of weeks.

<Crickets.>

I might need to go lie down for a bit. Felt a little woosy suddenly.

However, before I do,  just a reminder that tomorrow is Guest Blogger Friday and I’m so excited about this week’s guest who will bring a fresh perspective on a subject that I think will especially be of interest to other writers but hard-core readers, as well. So I look forward to sharing that charming person with you then.

I’d like to leave you with a little thought. This past month, I’ve had many wonderful opportunities to interact with other readers and writers, and in particular, I’ve been able to grow closer to some fellow scribes who I could “talk shop” with and in some rare instances, perhaps be helpful in some small way…from extending a hand to help someone pull themselves out of a creative well, encouraging others to step into a new path or simply cheering them on to grab the laptop by the USB cords and take control of their dream to write before it scurries off or runs around haphazardly and pokes someone’s eye out.

Whether you’re an aspiring writer, a published one stumbling a bit or perhaps a reader who appreciates words and has some other dream that you just — can’t — seem — to — catch! Whew — tiring stuff, that aspiration…ironic word since it does leave most of us breathless, huh? Anyway, regardless of your pursuit, the one piece of advice I have for you is

QMark

NEVER

FORGET

WHY.

Why you want to write….

I was asking this of one good writer friend last night. And it’s quite possible he was ready to block me for my persistance and inability to hold my tongue. But this “why” is the simplest for us to forget, because we let it. We allow ourselves to make excuses and let things and people become distractions that impede our forward motion. You can get busy. You can get fearful. You can even temporarily find yourself in a creative abyss, finding nothing imaginative even remotely near your grasp. But your reasons for writing, your reasons for pursuing your dream, they never go away. They might get buried, blocked, smothered but they never go away. So we must cherish them, keep them safe — keep them pure. Let them be about your love of language, your drive to speak out, your desire to inspire, amuse, entertain, educate, scintillate… CAPTIVATE. And whatever you do, never feed them after midnight. Oh wait, that’s Gremlins. But you get the point.

NEVER

FORGET

WHY.

Why you feel this need to do it…

When you stay from words for awhile because you’re too busy fulfilling your “day job” or tending to other personal needs, do you feel that loss? Are you experiencing a little guilt? Let that be less about flogging yourself for what you haven’t written and more about pushing yourself forward to write more. Excite don’t incite.  Pull don’t drag. Tickle don’t taunt. Remind yourself of all of those many reasons you chose this conduit for letting it flow in the first place.

NEVER

FORGET

WHY.

Why you interact with other writers…

Though I’m confident it’s our magical, sparkling personalities, I’m sure, there is more to it than that. We are your soundboard. We are your cheerleaders. We are your lifeline. Never forget to reach out. I’m the biggest culprit of this one myself, old Ms. Self-Sufficient over here. But sometimes, you need that other voice, you need that long, poking finger on the shoulder reminding you that you are not alone. Not really. Even when it may feel that way sometimes. When you hit a snag, don’t look in the mirror and find all of those reasons you failed, look to your informal townfolk who make up the Village of Championing You and call a town hall meeting. We’ll get to the bottom of this thing. We will. Together.

There is no better quote to leave you with than this beauty. And if you’re not a writer, don’t think you can’t apply it to the significance of your own direct pull on the Earth’s axis and all that you must do, that you were meant to do.

“The pages are still blank, but there is a miraculous feeling of the words being there, written in invisible ink and clamoring to become visible.” ~Vladimir Nabakov

Happy reading,
ck

Latest News about THE MUSE UNLOCKED and Book Teasers Roundup

Is it really Thursday already?

Oh my.

This week has been a blur in every sense of the word.

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I won’t keep you long. Your day is almost over. For some of my friends on the other side of a big pool of Atlantic water, the evening’s already winding down.

I get that. I too am ready to call it a day. Except for that big pile of work sitting on my desk. Maybe if I just go in the other room and sit elsewhere I can casually forget about it.

Yeah. I know. That doesn’t really work. Not for long, at any rate.

I have some updates on the book front to share with you, as I continue to gear up for a JUNE 2013 release of my first book, a contemporary romance novel THE MUSE UNLOCKED.

I have a final cover… oooooooh! Now it’s just a matter of time and manner to unveil. I’m whipping up a little plan and hope to have that to share with you soon. Covers take time – finding just the right image, the right feel to convey what this book is all about, and this one didn’t veer off that usual path but now that it is done, I can tell you: I am quite excited about it and can’t wait to show you the final design!!

Ooh, and I’m hearing some lovely exclamations coming from my editor’s office, so this could be encouraging. She’s already indicated that she had a hard time focusing on proofing during one of the scenes because she – ahem – got distracted in the moment. That sounds promising to me! 😉 And all a writer can ever ask for! I should be able to do any clean up for the book over the next week or two, and make it available to you as an e-book by late May or June 1 as planned. Fingers crossed!!

And I’m very excited that I get to meet tomorrow with a wonderful person who is going to help me figure out the best way to share Cate and Oliver with the world, and there will be many cool things to tell you about happening over the next few months so stay tuned for all of that news as it becomes available.

I’ve had a few people ask me about book teasers. Some missed my earlier blogs during which I shared four different snippets from the book over the course of last month and this month.

So to make it more convenient,  I thought I’d share those links here again so you can go right to the blogs easily and scroll down to check out the teasers if you haven’t already. May is nearly here and something tells me that I may wish to share a little something else with my friends…more on that to come!

 

BOOK TEASERS FOR THE MUSE UNLOCKED

Teaser #1 – Introducing…Oliver and Cate

Teaser #2 – …Another Book Teaser for You

Teaser #3 – Big Cheers, Small Victories and Book Teasers

Teaser #4 – Overjoyed…Spilling Over (Teeny-Tiny Itsy-Bitsy Excerpt)

Tomorrow, I’m excited to invite another talented guest blogger to take the keys and drive this spaceship for the day as my special guest as part of CHRIS’S CORNER. This week, we’re celebrating…”them.” You know ’em. The wild ones, the rebels, the ones who feel it necessary to go it alone with an independent streak running down their back.

The Indie Author. Mmm-mmm-mmm. My new genus species that I myself have recently adopted!

You won’t want to miss it. Have a good night, folks. Settle in, put your feet up, catch up on some blogs, check out those teasers for some titillating moments and we’ll talk again…tomorrow.

Happy reading!
ck

And That’s the Name of That Tune

Take away a chatty girl’s ability to talk, and it’s fun to watch her climb the walls.

Well…not if you’re that chatty girl.

If you follow me on Twitter, you know that I’m contending with this right now. Doctor’s orders. No talking for 72 hours. Sure, I work alone at home during the day, but no phone calls, no calling out to the dog, no yammering to myself and no belting out along with Amy Winehouse blaring out of my speakers at this moment. And if you don’t know how tempted I am to do this, then you don’t know me that well.

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Music and writing…we go together. Like peanut butter and chocolate. I can’t remember a time I didn’t compose verse to music. And when I write, the mood must be set just perfectly. Certain artists are better for writing than others. As of late, I find David Gray, Avett Brothers and Crowded House great for some work. Fiona Apple, Iron & Wine and Enigma for others. Black Keys and Amy Winehouse when I need a certain spirit and …MMMPH.

And I find it amusing because back in high school and college, it was the Beatles. All of the time. I could type to Rubber Soul like you wouldn’t believe – U.S. edition. Sorry, I can’t even listen to the original U.K. edition. The difference in song order and inclusion throws me off completely.

So now as I await my editor’s feedback on my book The Muse Unlocked, I’m working on web content for the book/author website to come. And that has to mean playlists for me. I know as a reader I really appreciate hearing the soundtrack that the author imagined as they wrote and threaded the story. And I’m looking forward to also soliciting for readers’ own songs that they imagined as they read certain scenes. I think the first author I remember doing this really well and interacting with readers was Stephanie Meyer with the Twilight series. It’s how I discovered Muse. (So it wasn’t a complete loss, was it now? No, it wasn’t.)

I started putting my playlists together while I was writing the book, so I really did listen to the songs as I moved the story forward.  And there are, in fact, a few scenes that are specifically occurring as a song or whole album is playing in the background, so music is and will always be an integral part in anything I do. For me, including this within the process made the scenes very real. I am curious to hear from other writers about what kind of role music played in the development of their own stories, if any.

Since I was a kid, I see everything like one big movie and everyone knows that a good movie has a stellar soundtrack and score. I can’t see something without imagining music behind it. Not to mention the fact that if Name That Tune were still on the air and didn’t include music after 2000, I would kick everyone’s ass. I can name a song at the drop of a single note or two. It’s a freaky talent I haven’t been able to monetize into any useful skill set or payoff value. (Know of anything???)

I suppose I should return to my mission at hand. I think we’ll leave Amy for a bit and move to my favorite angry young man who I suppose now would be called a little bit less angry old man, Elvis Costello.

Soon, the music will be playing. Patience, grasshoppers. Patience.

Happy reading!
ck

Making the Pulse Race vs. Setting Expectations

Pictures. I love looking at them…the backgrounds, people’s facial expressions and body language. And right now, I’m looking at a ton of them.

You see, this past week I began working with a designer on coming up with the cover imagery for my new book, The Muse Unlocked.

We have a little bit of time since it’s not planned for release until late May/early June but still, it’s definitely a much more daunting task than I anticipated.

For one thing, I have this visual in my head of what my characters look like and I’m so hellbent on whatever imagery I present not conflicting with that. Crazy, I know.  Poor designer who gets to work with me, right? Yeah, I pity her, too, but so far, she’s been tremendously patient.

On top of that, I am so determined not to take away that wonderful opportunity for the reader to envision their own Cate and Oliver, that part of me doesn’t want to show too much. I know as a reader I am so appreciative when the canvas has been left blank for me to populate with my own pixels.

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Yet I also know the expectations of the reader and book bloggers. There is the matter of providing readers of a more titillating genre something they will find enticing yet without setting up false expectations…

Okay, why don’t I just go and say what we’re all thinking? SEXY COVERS.

Sure, I want one, too, but what I don’t want to do is set certain expectations about the explicitness of my novel and then have the reader be disappointed if it’s not explicit enough, because I am after all, unfolding a story. A love story. It’s contemporary romance, folks. Not wall-to-wall sex fest.  Sorry if that disappoints. But I promise if you give the story a chance, you just might like the places I take you.

A fine line, a fine line indeed.

But it sure is fun looking at all of these pictures of bare abs and other body parts.

Wait a sec, did I think that or did I type that?

*coughs*

It’s a long, arduous process but I’m up for the challenge. *arches eyebrow*

Happy reading!
ck

Creating the Complete Reader Experience

So my book draft is with the editor and the cover designer is doing her preliminary research, leaving me to…

1. Twiddle my thumbs, scratch my chin and think about all of those other things I could have included within the book but didn’t.

2. Catch a bug/head cold/virus/who-the-hell-knows-what-this-is-but-I-know-that-it-sucks!

3. Work on related web content.

Okay, this last one is definitely the most fun of the three. It’s fascinating to me how much the reading experience has changed since five or ten years ago, not solely with the rise in popularity of e-readers and nature of the most popular reads but also its “value-added” content.

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In the genre I’m exploring, contemporary romance, I can expect at most author websites now a plethora of bonus material for readers to sink their teeth into after they’ve become attached to the characters…items like author-suggested audio playlists tailored to specific plot points; additional scenes or re-engineered scenes featuring a different POV; Pinterest photo galleries to highlight locations featured and fantasy casting possibilities for the characters; and mock interviews with characters or in the most exquisitely clever way of Olivia Cunning (appropriate surname!), a whole mock website devoted to a book’s celebrity figures as she’s done with her Sinners on Tour series. Her ability to coordinate the branding and everything related to the characters from one book to the next is masterful. Hats off to her.

I’m actually looking forward to this part of the process, because in the real world – aka my day job – I have written the content for many websites over the years, but this one will be the most meaningful to me personally—and fun.

I would be very curious to hear from any fellow voracious readers of romance especially, including some of my favorite book bloggers…What kind of additional content do you look forward to most when you’ve finished a book and are looking for more opportunities to connect with the book, the author or other readers? I’d welcome your suggestions.

Now if I could just keep my hazy mind focused while the cold meds are in the bloodstream, I could get quite a bit done in this area. Instead much of my time this weekend was spent half-sleeping, half-reading my Kindle, half-chatting on Twitter and half-staring at the wall, eyes glazed over. 

<Sad exhale> Can’t wait to be operating on 100% capacity again. For now, I’ll continue to dream up ideas, jot them down when I have a moment of clarity and stay within a few feet of the guest bed in case the urge to pass out arrives.

Toodles for now…and happy reading!
ck

Overjoyed and Spilling Over

I’m going to quote one of my favorite contemporary romance authors M. Leighton and an exclamation found frequently sprawled across her Twitter and Facebook pages.

YAAAAHOOOOOO!

Yep. That about covers it.

The damage has been done.
The road has been traveled.
The email has zoomed outta there, from drafts to sent folder.
No turning back now.

The plump lady has sung, and in this case read, re-read, tweaked, paced, read, re-read some more, slept on it (literally) and quite possibly, done everything else she can other than roast, steam, rotisserrie or fondue the original draft of her first novel. It is now officially in the editor’s hands to wield whatever powerful magic spoon she has to whip up something tasty and decadent.

For the next several weeks, I must put that part of the job out of my mind and focus on all of the other fun pieces that go along with it…like website elements, book covers, playlists (yes, you can definitely count on that from this music-loving maniac), marketing and more.

In the meantime, I’m feeling generous. Here’s an ever-so-brief little passage from a phone conversation between Cate and Oliver. A short but sweet book teaser…just for you.

Happy reading!
ck

A TEENY-TINY, ITSY-BITSY EXCERPT FROM
THE MUSE UNLOCKED
COMING JUNE 2013

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Both became silent. She adjusted her position in the tub, and water slipped over the rim.

 “Are you taking a bath?”

 “Um. Yes.”

 Oliver let out a long exhale. “You realize I’m not going to be able to let you hang up now.”

 “Why?”

 “Because if I were there, I would be kissing your lips…licking your neck…sucking on your breast…stroking your thighs…and many other incredible things in that general vicinity.”

 Cate sat up in the tub, a smile curling up the ends of her lips. “Mr. Sand, are you trying to seduce me?”

 “Would you like me to seduce you?” he whispered hoarsely.

Cate chuckled. “I love The Graduate. Wait a second. Are you Mrs. Robinson in this scene? Good for you playing against type.”

“I do what I can.  So what can I do for you, beautiful?”