My Own Sesame Street (Sorta)

I could start singing the theme for you, if you’d like. 

Sunny day. Sweepin’ the clouds away…

Snuffi

We all know it. Or at least those of us born in 1969 or later really know it, particularly here in the U.S. (I’m so glad that at least I can honestly say I’m not in THE oldest class of kids who watched. Okay, I’m part of the second oldest kids that watched. In 1970. Oy.)

This isn’t a blog about TV, by the way. You probably don’t believe me. I wouldn’t blame you.

I had planned another topic today, one more related to the book itself that I’m working on. Okay, here is where I think I’m supposed to pipe in with that mandatory early plug – I suppose I’d better get used to this… *coughs*

THE MUSE UNLOCKED coming this June!

And now, this is where you’re supposed to add a flag to your June calendar to remind you to check on its availability then. So go ahead. I can wait here. Go on.

I wonder if I could hire George Clooney to step in and say that little book  promo every time for me as my spokesperson. And I could just sit back and watch him…say it. Uh-huh. Or Stephen Amell of ARROW. Yeah, that would work, too. Or my Man of Steel, Henry Cavill. Mmm.

<Crickets.>

<Crickets.>

Sorry, lost myself for a moment.

No, this isn’t a blog about TV, my book or singing really great TV show themes poorly.

But I think it should be known that anything I’d sing for you this morning would sound much, much sexier than my usual nasal Midwestern twang thanks to my LOWER, raspier Kathleen Turner pipes that I’m developing courtesy of one miserable head cold and nagging cough  (So I’ve got that going for me…) These two guests are determined to ruin my birthday weekend, but I’m not going to let it. No way, no chance, nuh-uh.

So… what is this blog about? Good question. I think my cold medicine’s kicked in and I don’t really know anymore.

Oh wait, I do know.  Focus, Chris, focus.

Community. That’s what it’s about. Now, I remember.

You see, when I entered the Twitter community back in 2008, I was an editor for a magazine, so my interaction and updates were pretty specific and mostly locally-driven. In 2009, when my job changed from full-time editor to holy-shit-I’m-unemployed-now, I had to broaden my mind and my message, and go for it. After all, I could write for anybody, anywhere, anytime – and hey, that included me. So I started talking to people of all backgrounds, professions and home turf as I grew my work as a freelance writer and editor. Twitter basically opened the door to the world for me and invited me to take a step outside.

So I did.

Fast-forward four years.

Now, I’m out here exchanging wise quotes and lyrical sound bites with a former journalist based in Singapore, chatting romance and book boyfriends with an aspiring Canadian author I’ve since met in person and completely adore, and volleyed delicious double-entendres and what-not back and forth among a charming collective of erotica authors across the U.K. and the Land Down Under. And here in the States, I’ve truly enjoyed clinking virtual toasts with the newly published and engaging in conversations about everything from the writing process to Walking Dead with newbies like me and already published, successful authors. 

I’ve been dazzled by how giving folks are in the writing community, and it doesn’t even matter the genre. I am regularly interacting with fantastic writers beyond the realm of the contemporary romance scene — erotica, suspense, vampire thrillers — and it doesn’t seem to matter to them if I’m bound for one genre and them, another. All that truly matters is that connection, a genuine appreciation for each other’s work and the opportunity to learn from each other. That last one’s immeasurable.

I am discovering  a surprisingly symbiotic network out here in a field that I may have falsely presumed was solely about self-promotion but whose outstretched, open arms have embraced unexpectedly and  invited me graciously to be a part of the network, despite not being published yet.  The words of encouragement and support are beyond anything I could have imagined.

Now, for years, I haven’t been above gushing about people who I admire, for their work or the way they carry themselves, and I don’t think anything of doing this and spreading the love. It’s so refreshing to see writers out there doing the same for each other in the published world, and I so look forward to gaining my full-access membership card to this club. Soon… soon…soon. Must. Keep. Plugging.Along. Am trying to finish those all-important final steps.

So a special thank you to the members of my little informal, eclectic Sesame Street. People like…

Karen M. Hanks

Cameron Lincoln

Paige Thomas

Rebecca Gibson

Lisa Fulham

Robert India

John Geddes

Khaled Talib

Carrie Bailey

P.J. Bayliss

Mark Grago

Tiffany Reisz

M. Leighton

Sylvain Reynard

Gail McHugh

…just to acknowledge a few. Thank you for making me feel a part of something much bigger than a silly little book written by a lowly copywriter thrilled to be invited to her first prom.  Yep, I guess I am on my way and the air is definitely sweeter with you in it. 

Much love to my favorite posse of writers. I encourage you to check out their work which runs the gamut of genres, writing styles and formats.

Enjoy the rest of your day, everybody. And happy reading!
ck

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The Great and Powerful Question…Why?

This past week has been an enlightening one, and sometimes an amusing one, too. So much to do, so much to learn. And on more than one occasion during the week, I found myself interacting with some of my favorite book bloggers. Up until now, I’ve communicated with them as a follower and avid reader.  But what was amusing was that after all of this daily bantering back and forth, many of them weren’t aware that I was writing my own book. THE MUSE UNLOCKED is slated for a June 2013 release.

So it dawned on me.

How can we really get to know the people on the other side of the screen if we don’t truly know anything about them…outside of the person they choose to be in the social media landscape?

On Twitter, for instance, people know me as the punny goofball slinging zingers and one-liners, dropping plops of commentary here and there, inventing vocabulary words and quoting favorite films and Seinfeld episodes. But I’d bet most don’t actually know why I’d be writing a book, let alone a contemporary romance.

Hmm.

Maybe…I should…tell them.

Now, there’s a concept.

So, here you go. A little explanation goes a long way. This goes especially to those of you I’ve gotten to know through the lovely worlds of Twitter and Facebook.

I’m not some reader who simply woke up one morning and decided to write a book. You may or may not know that my day job involves flinging words around, too. I write articles for a living for local magazines and occasionally, for special sections inside one of my hometown’s metropolitan newspapers. I write professional bios for people and help businesses tell their stories through their websites, blogs and marketing materials. And sometimes, I even help people tell their own stories as a — shhhh! Don’t tell! — ghostwriter! When I’m not writing words for other people, I work on my book and in those fleeting free moments when I’m not reading gobs of books, I do what other writers probably do. I write poems. I write essays. I write song lyrics. I blog. (Duh.)

I write. I write. I write. It’s all that I know how to do.

Damn. I’m starting to depress myself.

And what did I do before that? I worked in other fields with disguised avenues for writing. They call them…marketing, advertising, promotion, communications, financial aid (okay, yeah, that last one doesn’t make sense to me either and neither did the job, but it paid the bills for a bit). Wherever I was, I found a way to do what I love to do best… throw words at the wall and see which ones stick.

Growing up, I was the kid who wrote the paper the teacher hung up on the class door, who won first place in the local student essay contest (or maybe it was 2nd), nabbed the city-wide poetry contest title, served as editor of her school newspaper and actually enjoyed writing compositions and research papers.

Yeah. I was that kid.

I was also the one who was secretly writing satirical advertisement copy, skits with no home to showcase, screenplays in secret and song parodies for no real reason other than…just because.

And now, I’m trying to write a book. Holy hell.

Sometimes, I feel like I’ve been in training for this for…about 42 years. Almost 43. (Ack. It hurts my head to think it…)

But that still doesn’t answer the question of the day…

WHY THE HELL AM I WRITING A CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE?

Three big reasons really, aside from the fact that I enjoy reading them myself and that they’ve inspired me to write creatively again.

 REASON 1.
Women readers of contemporary romance are often older than 24, so why shouldn’t the lead characters reflect that part of the audience? We want to see characters like us experience romance, too — and not like the boring, ho-hum romance novels of yesteryear when Dynasty hair and big shoulder pads were all the rage. I was determined to revolve a book around a leading woman who wasn’t a virgin fresh out of college. My lead character is 38, not 24. She still has her blushing moments, because blushing has no age limit if you’re having an insecure moment and as we all know, those never go away. Not really. Not for anyone. I wanted to show a fully matured woman in control of herself, her career, her life, and allow the reader to watch her delight again in the whimsy, unpredictability and passion of new love. And she doesn’t have to be a Freshman college student to experience that.RedHeelREASON 2.
Love and sex are funny sometimes, and humor is a part of life. Some novelists know how to use humor really well and integrate it into their dialogue like J.A. Redmerski and Colleen Hoover, but unfortunately, I find these authors to be few. I am swooning plenty but chuckling so rarely when I read contemporary romance. I want to experience the full range of emotions when I read – laugh and swoon and cry, maybe all at the same time in some instances. I don’t think I’m alone. And let me tell you: some of the most fun can be had with a little bit of sexy banter between two people who clearly want to jump all over each other. I’d love nothing more than to let the reader listen in, and laugh and swoon along with them.

and finally…

REASON 3.
Older women and younger men can make quite an intriguing and sexy pair. So I wanted to show it. I’ve read dozens and dozens of contemporary romance and erotica titles over the past year and I can only think of two off-hand (one Olivia Cunning title and another, a Tiffany Reisz) that even attempted to show what sexy fun this combination can be. In my book, a 38-year-old woman and 28-year-old man find mutual attraction can exist between two people from different age brackets. I say, it’s about time that it’s not the 32-year-old man sweeping away the virginal 22-year-old woman. Nope, stiletto’s on the other foot in my book, and I really hope my readers will enjoy this different take on romance.

There you go. Something more about the  Twitter or Facebook friend you follow but perhaps don’t actually know, and my three big reasons why I am writing this book, this genre and from this particular approach. I can’t wait to share more about the book in the weeks to come leading up to its release.

I’ll have another snippet from THE MUSE UNLOCKED coming your way very soon. Stay tuned! And if you have any thoughts to share about contemporary romance novels today or about my reasons shared, I would love to hear from you. Bloggers, fellow authors and fans — you are absolutely welcome to chime in with your own feelings on the subject.

Happy reading!
ck

Morning Book Morsels for 02.02.13

I have been missing in action, haven’t I? I’m sorry…

From the blog, yes, I have been,  but from books – mine or others – hell, no, I’ve been as obsessed as ever. In fact, I thought this might be a good time to pass along some updates.

  • BOOK UPDATE FROM ME – So if you’ve been following along here or on my previous blog, you know that I’ve been working on my first novel, a contemporary romance.  I’m happy to say that I am now officially two-thirds of the way through the story (about 70,000 words)! I am also thrilled to report that I seem to have located my book editor and can’t wait to work with her. She and I met together for the first time this past week, and I truly believe we’ll make a great team. Most exciting of all, it was the first time that anyone else has laid eyes on Cate Mullen and Oliver Sand —their first four chapters, at least! — and I was thrilled to introduce her to them and their story just as I cannot wait to introduce them to you!http://www.dreamstime.com/-image23685146There are a lot of tasks (many thrilling and many daunting) still at hand but as long as the content itself flows steadily and I’m able to tackle these other very relevant elements and decisions as I go, I say I’m still on schedule for a summer release. The “exactly when” may still be a bit of a mystery (even if the book isn’t that genre), but ever the optimist when it comes to this, I’m going to stick with June 2013 for now and continue aiming for that! I will keep you posted. If you’d like to stay in the loop on its release, become a subscriber to this blog today to get the latest news of when it will be available and for those in the Tampa Bay area about any special launch events held locally or online.
  • E-BOOK RELEASES FROM OTHERS – Can you believe it? We’re finally just days away from two hotly anticipated releases?  On February 5, readers can check out e-books from rock erotica writer Olivia Cunning with her fourth Sinners on Tour installment Hot Ticket (can’t wait!) and Sylvia Day‘s A Lush Kiss of Surrender, a novella in the Renegades Trilogy (which I will admit I have not read yet). Having just read the three other Cunning novels merely weeks ago, I am on pins and needles awaiting the latest rock romance even though I understand paperbacks are already out there and available in some places. But I have become a Kindle convert and so I shall wait it out…gasp…another three days. Oh the horror…
  • TEASERS, TEASERS, AND MORE TEASERS – Many authors have been dazzling us these past couple of weeks with teasers. If you’ve missed the links, maybe I can catch you up right here. For teasers to the still untitled book 3 of the Gabriel trilogy from Sylvain Reynard, check out the author’s most recent blog here where he includes links to the specific book bloggers hosting his two previous teasers. And let me tell you, they are so very worth the effort to locate. Trust me. Mmm……S.C. Stephens, who has all of her fans (this one included!) panting as they wait eagerly for the return of sexy rocker Kellan Kyle and his band, has been kind enough to hold up her end of the bargain following a successful Facebook campaign and share the release of not only chapter 1 but most recently unveiled chapter 2 of the third and final installment of her series Reckless. Dig in, fans, if you dare. I, myself, am afraid it will be like a really fine chocolate or moscato and just leave me wanting more and have opted to hold off until the whole book is available, March 5. Sigh. Yes, perhaps I am a bit of a Joan of Arc. So shoot me. (Or perhaps hoist me up and set me on fire would have been more accurate here…) Oh, and if you’re truly a Kellan fan (who isn’t and if not, are they a zombie then?), you may also want to check out an extra-special Kellan-POV version of Chapter 6 of the original book in the trilogy Thoughtless, which Stephens also recently shared as a special thank you to readers……And one final teaser, if you happened to miss it. It’s short and sweet but we’ll take what we can get when me miss our favorite book characters, won’t we? Jamie McGuire released a third teaser prior to the early April release of Walking Disaster at her blog, so be sure to check it out if you’ve waited far too long for the return of one Mr. Travis Maddox.
  • Finally, while I perhaps have been a bit lazy as a blogger, my reading habits have stayed loyal and true, I assure you, and so has my commitment to review everything I read starting this year. You can check out all of my recent book reviews at GoodReads.com by clicking here. In particular, some recent reads like Jodi Ellen Malpas’ This Man and its follow-up Beneath This Man, as well as Shelly Crane‘s Significance series, Jay Crownover‘s Rule, M. Leighton‘s Up to Me and Tiffany Reisz‘s The Prince left very distinct impressions…and not always matching the consensus of other readers. And hey, if you too are an avid reader, particularly in the romance or erotica genres, reach out to become my friend on the site or subscribe to follow my reviews. I have a little over 20 already written (yes, it HAS been a busy reading year!) and I may be able to offer some insight before you make the purchase. And I promise that I’ll never spoil it for you as a reader but may point out some aspects to the style of the book that you either love or hate, so I could you save you some moula or frustration. Just stop by my page on GoodReads and let’s crack open a merlot, shall we?

Happy reading!

ck

Your Handy Guide to Future Book Releases

For those of you as swept up in the adventures of some of our favorite mutual authors, I thought I would provide a public service in the form of a convenient, at-a-glance guide to upcoming follow-up book releases. I’m always struggling to remember what is supposed to come out and when as I chat with other fans of these books.

This by no means covers the entire contemporary romance/erotica genre – just a dozen or so authors that I read consistently, and from my interaction with some of you on this blog, Twitter and GoodReads, several of you do, as well.

Keep this list handy as you await opportunities to pre-order and download. And keep in mind that the dates may not reflect when all formats of the book will be available (that is, Kindle vs. Nook vs. paperback, etc.) But if it’s available in some form or another, that’s certainly a wonderful start!

From time to time, I plan to update this list and post for fellow fans. We wouldn’t want to miss out on a new book that’s available for pick-up or download, would we? I should think not.

Most of this information has been pulled from the authors’ websites or current listings on Amazon.com. Otherwise, I didn’t speculate. I won’t do that. It’s far too tempting, because if I could, I’d make all of them have a release date of…um…let’s see Friday, January 19, 2013 maybe? Works for me!

For those authors whose books do not have an official release date or title yet announced, please feel free to share that information if this is no longer the case. I will happily update that info right here. I might even skip or do a jig for you. Seriously. 🙂

h

Oh, and once I have a release date for my own first book, tentatively JUNE 2013 (fingers crossed!), I will be posting that here, as well. Of course. I’m not a completely silly and senseless woman.

Happy reading!

ck

BOOK FOLLOW-UPS ~ RELEASE DATES
– as of 1/17/2013 –

Olivia Cunning HOT TICKET Fourth release of the Sinners on Tour Series (previously Backstage Pass/Rock Hard/ Double Time)  February 5, 2013
Sylvia Day A LUSH KISS OF SURRENDER Novella in Renegade Angels Trilogy  February 5, 2013
S.C. Stephens RECKLESS Follow-up to Thoughtless/Effortless  March 5, 2013
Jamie McGuire WALKING DISASTER Follow-up to Beautiful Disaster from Travis’s POV April 16, 2013****expected to be moved to 2wks earlier after FB campaign 
Sylvia Day ENTWINED WITH YOU Follow-up to Bared to You/Reflected in You  May 7, 2013
Samantha Young DOWN LONDON ROAD Follow-up to On Dublin Street  May 7, 2013
Rebecca Donovan OUT OF BREATH Follow-up to Reason to Breathe/Barely Breathing June 2013
Tiffany Reisz THE MISTRESS Fourth release of the Original Sinners Series (previously The Siren/The Angel/The Prince)
July 30, 2013 
Olivia Cunning SNARED Fifth release of the Sinners on Tour Series Fall 2013
J.B. McGee FORGIVEN  Follow-up to Broken/Mended

2013 – date not yet announced

M. Leighton WITH CASH Follow-up to Down to You/Up to Me Not Yet Announced
Sylvia Day A TASTE OF SEDUCTION Final installment in Renegade Angels Trilogy  Not Yet Rescheduled
Sylvia Day STRIPPED DOWN Follow-up to All Revved Up Not Yet Announced 
Sylvain Reynard title not announced
(aka GABRIEL BOOK 3)
Follow-up to Gabriel’s Inferno/Gabriel’s Rapture Not Yet Announced