I am but a small grain of sand
lying in a deep cave
under a vast ocean
rising and falling
by the power of the moon
which shines brightly through the night
in a cloudless sky
covering the earth
in a mighty galaxy
of an endless universe
residing in the very left corner
of your lovely heart.

* From Everything I Am Not Saying (Free with newsletter subscription)

via Daily Prompt: Tiny


A review on my poetry book that left me stunned

I recently sent my poetry book, Everything I Am Not Saying, to a Kindle Book Reviewer to review my book. He warned me that as a poet himself, he was a very tough reviewer. I admit, I balked a little. But I told him to please go ahead and read it, and then give an honest review. Well, he wrote me back today to let me know about his review. His p.s. prepared me for what he wrote: “you wrote poetry to ‘try out’ for prose? Really? I consider myself an A-plus poet, and I salute your talent.”


See the rest of it here —-> http://amzn.to/1arzTVx 

Did you see? I know, right? 😀

In other news, I just started a new giveaway today, which I’m really excited about – an advance copy of Forever Thirteen! Along with that is a copy of my first book, A Symphony of Cicadas. And on top of that, a $20 gift card to Starbucks so you can get your caffeine on while immersing yourself in the story. 😉

You can put yourself in the drawing here —-> http://tinyurl.com/mtx35ur

Third, starting next week I will be giving peeks into A Symphony of Cicadas – like whole chapter peeks – followed by sneak peeks into Forever Thirteen (again, full chapters!). Want in on it? Then sign up for my newsletter to get the link. (Hint: if you take part in my giveaway, you’ll already be signed up for the newsletter).

Now go check out that review! Seriously! And then come back and gush with me. ❤

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December book news

I just sent out my 2nd newsletter today. Didn’t get it? That means you’re not on my mailing list!  Click on the “Subscribe to Newsletter” link above to get on my mailing list and not miss anything.

Here’s what was sent out today:


Happy December! I hope everything is going smooth as you gear up for the holidays. Here’s what’s happening in my world…

At the beginning of last month, I was just starting on an idea I had for a novel, and gearing up for a month of writing for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). Fast forward 30 days, and I had a 71,500 word rough draft of a novel staring back at me. I did it! I won NaNoWriMo for the 4th year in a row!

If you’re not sure what NaNoWriMo is, it’s basically a whole month dedicated to writing at least 50,000 words (because that’s how many words a small novel would have) to create a novel. It’s a great way for aspiring novelists to write their very first novel, and maybe even get it published. And it’s always held in November because, well, it’s a cozy month for writing just before the crazy holiday madness of December.

Some of you might remember when I took part in NaNoWriMo last year. I was just coming off the heels of my wedding, and ready to add 50,000 words to a work I had started in the summertime (and had to put down because weddings have a funny way of ruling your life). At the end of last year’s NaNoWriMo, I had a full-length novel that held a lot of promise, and that I was really proud of. I spent the next few months editing it, designing a cover, and working with an editor to clean it up. And in March of 2013, I published my very first novel, titled A Symphony of Cicadas.

That is why I love NaNoWriMo so much – it creates possibilities for those of us who have always dreamed of writing a novel, and even coming up with something worth sharing with others.

This latest book I just finished for NaNoWriMo will sit on the backburner for a while since I have a few projects I am working on now – namely, the follow-up novel to A Symphony of Cicadas, titled Forever Thirteen. I’ve begun the second round of edits, and it should be ready for my editor’s hands come January. It’s an understatement to say I’m super excited about this book!

A few other things worth sharing:

– I have added a discussion guide and the first chapter of Forever Thirteen to A Symphony of Cicadas. If you have a book club, A Symphony of Cicadas is a great book to discuss in your group.

– I have lowered the price of my poetry book, Everything I Am Not Saying, (print) to $15.95 for the month of December (eBook is $3.99). It kills me to have to charge even that much for it, but necessary because of the printing costs for a full-color book. And to keep it this low, I had to take it off sale everywhere but Amazon (oh, how they rule the world!). But it’s worth it, if it allows you to purchase the print version for gifts, or even for yourself. Amazon has even reduced it a tiny bit more, so make sure you take advantage of the price before it goes back up!

– Enter to win a free autographed copy of Everything I Am Not Saying at Goodreads by CLICKING HERE. Contest ends December 8.

My birthday is on Saturday, Dec. 7th. That’s tomorrow! Come on over to my Facebook Fan Page and send me a birthday greeting. And if you really want to shower me with some love, (prepare for shameless plug…) buy one of my books or share news of my books with your friends. You can find them on Amazon at amazon.com/author/crissilangwell, or on my website at crissilangwell.com.

Before I close, I want to thank you for all the support you have given me toward my writing and my books. I began this journey with a love of writing, and a lot of hope as I entered the publishing world. It’s definitely been a time of ups and downs. But when I think about all of you who have stood behind me and cheered me on, who know the stories I’ve written and are eager to share them with your friends, my gratitude meter overflows. That’s what keeps my dream alive – your eagerness to share the news about any of my books with people you know so that they might read it too. So from the bottom of my heart, thank you.

Have a wonderful rest of your December, and a happy holiday season!

Love Crissi

Brittle Leaves, a poem

The other day I showed a co-worker my new poetry book, Everything I Am Not Saying. She noticed I dedicated it to “Connor”, and wondered who that was. I told her he was my third child who died just a few months before he was supposed to be born. She and I connected over our shared experience of child loss, sharing a few tears over a time when our innocence was replaced by the brutal parts of life – the reality that sometimes children do die. She then read my poem, “Brittle Leaves”, the poem I wrote for Connor after he died.

Here is the poem in its entirety. You can find this poem, and about 80-something others here —-> http://amzn.to/16TZB3q


Brittle Leaves

It is in the golden brown of brittle leaves
that I think of you most.
My breath,
suspended momentarily
in a cloud of warmth against the crisp air,
expanding from its small containment
and reaching to the earth and sky,
breathes for you.

You exist between each click of the second hand,
when time momentarily stops
and all that can be heard
is the deafening roar
in the silence of a stilled heart.
The mornings are darker, the days shorter,
the hours precious as time slips by….
I wonder if I had only loved you more
would you still be here today?
The dates set in stone
that I have traced my fingers over
again and again
are etched in my mind
much more complete
than the memory of your face
that has faded with time.
Yet I know you by heart.

It was in the golden brown of brittle leaves
where you said your goodbyes
in a moment only we shared,
when the world around us
disappeared for a time,
leaving us floating in suspended reality
where all I felt was you
fluttering faintly from my grasp.
Yet with each setting of the summer moon
and rising of the autumn sun,
when the leaves turn from green
to red
to a golden brown,
I smile at your spirit
that exists in the laughter of a child
and floats in the wind
with the remnants of trees.
Peace has melted together
the broken figments
of my injured heart,
revealing the beauty in leaves of golden brown,
gently holding them before letting them drift away,
watching them stay strong in the wind
while knowing they could shatter in an instant,
setting you free with a delicate prayer
of love for an autumn’s child.

New poetry book released!


Everything I Am Not Saying, my book of poetry, is now available for sale at Amazon and Barnes & Noble! With this book, I completely recommend getting the print version because, in my personal opinion, it’s a work of art. 🙂 But the eBook is a nice, less expensive way to read it, as well. From now until November 16th, I am keeping the price of the eBook at $2.99 (on Amazon). After that, it is moving to $4.99 on all platforms.

You can buy it at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Other book platforms to come soon (like Kobo, iBooks, etc).

Keep up on all news of this book at the book’s page HERE, as well as by subscribing to my mailing list to be informed of any deals, book readings, and more.

And if you buy this book (and I hope you do!), please leave a review at the site where you bought it, as well as at Goodreads. Your review helps other potential readers decide whether this book is worth buying.

Thank you all for your support! I couldn’t keep doing this without you!

To stick to one genre….or not.

There is countless advice about sticking to one genre when you are an author – especially when you’re a new author. I can see the point in this. When you’re presenting stories to the world, you’re trying to rope in readers who like your writing. When you stick to one genre, your reader can be comfortable knowing what to expect every time you publish something new. They’re drawn to you because of something you gave them initially. If you fray from that, you run the risk of confusing your readers, and even turning them away.

I am a fiction writer. The genre I plan on sticking to is contemporary literature, occasionally dappling in magical realism.  I like writing about real life. And I love books that are based on real life but include a hint of surrealism in them. So that is the genre I plan to stay in.

Except, I didn’t start out writing fiction.

My first passion has always been personal stories. I began writing for the public over 10 years ago when I began chronicling my life as a mom. Back then it was blogging. But eventually, it turned into true articles for the newspaper. I have hundreds of these stories, and it seemed a shame to just let them be forgotten. So I began gathering them up to create books out of them.

The first one can be found as an eBook HERE, and it’s free today for Kindle.

Today I am also finishing up the final touches on a poetry book.

Wait, what? Poetry?

I always wanted to write fiction books. But when I hadn’t written much fiction, at least shareable fiction, my prose skills were a bit lacking. So to help me paint a picture with my words, I dabbled in poetry. I thought what I wrote would end up being totally ridiculous. But it actually turned out quite good. And now, I am making it into a book – even if this book ends up only appreciated by me.

(I’m not sure when I’m releasing this, by the way. I kind of want to get “Forever Thirteen” published next before I share anything else. Then again, this poetry book would make a great Christmas present…. So we’ll see.)

I get that the smartest thing I could do is write under one genre. But the thing is, I’m a writer. I love all things written. I see beauty in words. And I’m tired of keeping my own words under a rock. I hid them for too long. So while I am focusing on one genre, I am not being exclusive to it. This fiction writer has much more up her sleeve than a good, made-up story.

Resting, reading, puppy teething, and poetry

I’m nearing the end of my week away from writing and editing. Though I wish I had learned how to sleep in a little better (old habits die hard), it was nice getting up in the 6 o’clock hour instead of the 5 o’clock hour.

Jasper the wonder dog, making tooth art with my deck chair.
Jasper the wonder dog, making tooth art with my deck chair.

This week I finished a book from start to end. I spent time in the sunshine. I celebrated the birthday of my mother-in-law and stepson. I played with the dog. And I spent a lot more time being a part of the family.

My poor husband always gets the short end of the stick when I’m writing a novel. I have not yet learned how to put the characters and their dilemmas away when I close the computer. Instead, I find they consume my every thought, or at least stick close enough that they mingle with all that I’m doing in my day to day. Towards the end of the novel, I was getting anxious at resolving every bad scenario that had just been conjured up. All of life was standing in my way – my job, my kids, the puppy, my husband…

Once the story was done, I immediately went back through it to edit it. It is said to let it sit for a little while before diving into editing. But there were a couple glaring mistakes that I needed fixed before I could set it down. If I didn’t, I’d be dwelling on them. So I read through it, changing a bit and deleting a few things until I was satisfied that I had a working rough draft.

And then I set it down.

The nice thing about walking away from it for a short while is that I was able to realize a few things that need to be fixed in it – things I didn’t see when I was too close to the manuscript. I’m sure I’ll see more when I read through it again. But marinating on it, I can recall a few scenes that need a little more oomph on paper to match the scenes that were in my head as I wrote. This was especially true when I read other people’s writing – inspired by emotion drawing scenes or picture painting description. (This is why you absolutely cannot be a writer if you are not a reader)

To make it a full week, I shouldn’t touch the manuscript until Wednesday morning. But I think I’ll still dive into it tomorrow, just because I miss it and want to start putting all my ideas for the improved parts of the story to action.

In other news, I also used my time to give this website a small redesign. It’s not much, and I am still working on it. But I’ve changed it so that the landing page tells a bit about me and the books I’ve published. For the blog, you have to click the “blog” link above in the menu, or just go to https://crissilangwell.com/category/blog/. I wish there were a different way to do that and still have a landing page. To have to keep it under a category looks clunky. But I’m no web designer, and can’t really afford one. So unless one of you has a better idea, that’s how it is for now.

You’ll notice under the books area that there is another book mentioned – “Everything I am not saying’. Back in 2008 I wrote a ton of poetry to get my creative juices flowing. I’ve dabbled with poetry all my life, but never took it seriously. But the poetry I came up with that year was kind of amazing. I don’t say that to toot my own horn, but it helped me to break through a ton of writer’s block and hone in on my descriptive writing, as well as work out a few matters of the heart. The poetry is all pieces of my soul, and I am dying to get it all captured in one publication.

I’m unsure of a publication date as of yet. I want to add photo art with the poems, and that might take a while. But I’m both excited and nervous to share this personal collection of writing with you.

I’ll end this post with a sneak peek:

The sky is a rosy pink
lit ablaze by strange fires
flush with a romantic glow.
I sit here with my pen
looking out at the hazy sky
wrapped up in a bathrobe
having washed your scent from my skin
and feverish from the heat
not to mention the shock
from the longing that won’t rub clean.
I didn’t see it coming
and I am suddenly silent
unsure of the words
that will wrap around
whatever it is they need to cover.
The sky is on fire and surely it is my fault.
The tangling of my breath and my soul
that was carried out on the sleeve of your jacket
left me vulnerable in a way I’m not quite comfortable with.
But I watched as you walked away
keeping silent as you turned the corner
overcome with regret
either for not speaking up
or for being so careless in the first place.
And now all I can do
is watch the sky turn from pink to purple
and then fade to black as our scene ends in your mind
and hits replay in mine.