Posted in Blog, The Road to Hope, Writing

Hear about ‘The Road to Hope’ and upcoming series at Copperfield’s Books April 25

This week, the Argus Courier, my town’s local newspaper, featured me as their Petaluma Profile. This was a complete honor because A) it’s really hard for smalltime authors to get any kind of significant coverage in their local newspaper, B) it’s near impossible to get any kind of coverage if you actually work for the newspaper (I work at their sister paper, The Press Democrat), and C) I got to talk about my upcoming book series and my appearance at the Montgomery Village Copperfield’s Books next Tuesday.

If you’d like to read it, click here.

I should let you know that while book talks are absolutely vital to an author’s career, I’m always a bundle of nerves before these events. It doesn’t help that I’m struggling with an unrelated essay I’m writing for my college English class, even though I know I need to prepare for this upcoming author event. Or maybe it’s better this way — it means I don’t have time to stress (fat chance on that).

What I am excited about is knowing that there will be so many familiar faces in the audience next Tuesday, along with people I know have read the book. These are the people who likely have the inside scoop on why this book I wrote means so much to me.

For those of you not in the know, The Road to Hope was the first book I ever wrote (though the 5th I published). Because this is what a lot of new authors do, I ended up writing many true things within the fictional stories of Jill and Maddie. However, I embrace this fact, and have used this series as a way to cope with some of the things I’ve grappled with in real life, unapologetically telling the truth with fiction. It’s probably the closest I’ll ever come to writing a memoir (no promises), and has been a true therapeutic release.

That said, the events in these stories are completely made up. It’s the feelings behind them that are real. For instance, when Jill loses her son in the second chapter (this is not a spoiler, it’s one of the main themes of The Road to Hope), it’s based on how I felt when I lost my infant son to stillbirth. When Maddie is kicked out of her parents’ home after she reveals she’s pregnant, it’s based on how I felt to become pregnant at a young age, experience poverty and figure out my place in the world (for the record, my parents are awesome and never kicked me out!).

I wrote the upcoming books, Hope at the Crossroads and Hope for the Broken Girl, with the same theme, as I follow Maddie’s story. The second book in the series has Maddie grappling with self-worth and a new romance. The third book has themes of domestic violence and poverty.

If you’re in the Santa Rosa area this coming Tuesday, I’d love to see you at the Montgomery Village Copperfield’s (even though I’ll likely be nervous!). Come and say hi. The event is 6-7 p.m. See all of the event details here.

Posted in Blog, Inspiration, Reclaim Your Creative Soul, The Road to Hope, Writing

Two novels, four months. Here’s how.

Back in November, I battened down the hatches and cleared my schedule to take part in yet another NaNoWriMo. As you may remember, I really grappled with whether I would actually write a novel this year. I’d just started school, and it was taking up a good portion of my time. I eventually made a last minute decision that I’d at least attempt a NaNoWriMo effort, and would give myself grace if I didn’t finish.

Well, I’m one persistent writer. I managed to stick to writing every day, even with a busy school and work schedule, and ended up with a rough draft novel by the end of November. I had chosen to continue the story I began in my novel, The Road to Hope, and it was incredible to revisit these characters I had grown to love when I first wrote the original story.

Thing is, the story wasn’t done when I finished that novel. Towards the end of the month, a whole new situation arose with these characters, and I realized I had another book in me. So when I finished that first book, I began the next. This time, I took my time in writing it. First, school dictated my pace. I entered a new semester with harder classes and more demanding homework. There were some weeks I could only write on the weekends.

img_8144This past weekend, I planted myself in a chair and spent three days completing the story. On Monday,  thanks to President’s Day and a work holiday, I completed the final hours of that manuscript and was finally able to type The End.

In my book, Reclaim Your Creative Soul, I encouraged all you artists on ways to work your schedule around your craft, and to place priority on being creative. And then I started school. I seriously thought my creative life was going to have to be placed on hold for the next few years, and this killed me! Not only was I sure I’d be miserable, I was also afraid of being a hypocrite. It was easy for me to tell people to make time for their craft. It’s not so easy to make that happen in real life.

Not so easy, but not impossible.

reclaim tableI stand by everything I wrote in Reclaim Your Creative Soul, especially now. We have 24 hours in each day, and there is always space to include the things we love to do. I’ve sacrificed sleep, lunch hours, mindless television, and playing on my phone in favor of writing or just being creative. Sometimes, the sacrifice is painful. But it’s always worth it because a life without creativity is worse.

Do you have anything standing in the way of your creative endeavors? You are the reason I wrote Reclaim Your Creative Soul. If you wish you could be more creative, but aren’t sure how you could possibly fit creativity into your busy schedule, then I hope you’ll pick up a copy of this book. It could totally change your life.

Posted in Blog, News & Events, The Road to Hope

Meet me and other Sonoma County authors with the Redwood Writers Fiction program

In the New Year, resolve to read more! Redwood Writers and Copperfield’s Books is making it easy to get the inside scoop on the books of Sonoma County authors through their Redwood Writers Fiction program. Each month, read a new novel by a Sonoma County author, and then attend a Q&A program with the author at Copperfield’s Books in Montgomery Village. This is your chance to learn why each author wrote certain things, what inspired them, learn about their writing process, and anything else you ever wanted to know. How fun would it be to read a novel, and then chat with the person who wrote it?

I will be the featured author on April 25th, 2017 with my novel, The Road to Hope. Learn more about where you can purchase The Road to Hope by clicking HERE.

To learn more about this program, visit redwoodwriters.org.

I hope to see you on April 25th at Copperfield’s Books, and at each of the other books events, as well. Happy reading!

rw-fiction-book-club

Posted in Blog, The Road to Hope

Big book news!

secret

If you’re on my mailing list, you’ve already been alerted that I have some big book news to divulge today (and if you’re not on my mailing list, why not?!? Sign up here, you get a free book!). Are you ready?

….

..

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There’s going to be a sequel to The Road to Hope! In fact, there isn’t just going to be a sequel, there’s going to be a series. And I can’t wait for you to read what’s going to happen for Maddie and Jill, and everyone else in their lives.

Now here’s the thing—you’re going to have to be patient. After 3 years of churning out books in a hurry, I’m slowing down my pace. Now that I’m back in school, and the rest of my life hasn’t slowed down much, my writing process is evolving a bit. My goal is to write the next book during NaNoWriMo in November. But because I don’t know how time consuming college and finals will be that month, I’ll be satisfied if November is just a jumping off point in starting to write for the series, and then finishing it during winter break.

So that’s my big news!

Have you read The Road to Hope? If so, what are you hoping will happen next in the story? If not, here’s where you can grab a copy.

Posted in Blog, Marketing, The Road to Hope

The Road to Hope ~ 99 cents!

I’m trying out the Kindle Countdown deal, and so far, so good. It’s reached #27 in its category, and I’ve had more downloads in one day than I’ve had all month! Of course, a little bit of advertising doesn’t hurt… 😉

If you’d like to download The Road to Hope for yourself, here’s the link: bit.ly/road2hopebook

Today a reader left a review stating that she never cries at books but this one had her in tears, so don’t forget to grab a tissue!

Sale ends on Dec. 2.

The Road to Hope

Posted in Blog, News & Events, The Road to Hope, Writing

Winning NaNoWriMo, and a few other exciting tidbits

Winner-2014-Twitter-ProfileYup. I won NaNoWriMo! Yesterday I crammed in 5500 words to cross the 50K finish line. Today, I wrote another 4000 words. And this weekend I plan to wrap up the novel altogether with the last two chapters of Love Truffle No. 9, thus completing the (very) rough draft of my second book in the upcoming “Dessert for Dinner” series. This is my 5th NaNoWriMo I’ve officially “won.” To say I feel accomplished is an understatement.

Of course, writing 50K+ words in 20 days doesn’t come without a price. The editing process is going to be a long and windy road as I clean up all the muck and grime. However, underneath the messy parts, I am really pleased with how this novel turned out. I can’t wait until I can start releasing this series. I promise you, it will be well worth the wait!

In other news, I am gearing up for a massive discount on my latest novel, The Road to Hope. From November 28th (Black Friday!) to Dec. 2, the eBook will be on sale for only 99 cents. Of course, if you have Amazon Prime you can get it now for free. I do hope you’ll take advantage of this sale. Here’s the link —-> bit.ly/road2hopebook

book lovers smallAnd third, I am hosting a Facebook event titled “Book Lovers Holiday Bonanza.” I am still sorting out the details, but I can share a few of them with you now. The event is on Dec. 12 and will feature 5 authors who will be giving away their books throughout the day. There will be multiple chances to win, and I promise there will be some really cool prizes. Stay tuned for more details to come. For now, you are more than welcome to RSVP for the event here —-> facebook.com/events/1529396500651035

By the way, I’m still looking for authors to feature. To learn more on how you can get involved, click here.

That’s all for now!

Posted in Forever Thirteen, Life as I know it, The Road to Hope, Writing

10 Cozy Things

1. National Novel Writing Month (otherwise known as NaNoWriMo) officially begins today. This month I will be busy writing the second book in a series I am releasing next month. I have literally been counting down the days until Nov. 1st! Join me at nanowrimo.org/participants/crissi

The Road to Hope2. The Road to Hope is published! I’ve received some positive feedback from everyone who reads it, and it makes me so happy to learn about new people reading it!

3. I was interviewed at Strand’s Simply Tips as their featured author. I encourage you to go check it out. Joyce Strand has such a great blog, and interviews some of the most interesting writers. I’m honored that she asked me to be one of them! She asked me some really insightful questions. But I think my favorite was when she asked me about how relevant heroes and villains were to my stories. Check it out to find out my answer.

4. It’s the day after Halloween and I am totally nursing a candy hangover. I swear, I am giving up all bad things until Thanksgiving….or at least until my hangover has passed. All right, that’s not really cozy, lol.

Forever Thirteen5. Remember my second book, Forever Thirteen? It’s 99 cents for Kindle right now. If you’ve been waiting to read it, now is the perfect time to do so. Even if you don’t have a Kindle, you can read it on the Kindle app from your phone or computer. But hurry, this price isn’t staying this way forever.

6. We “fall back” tomorrow. That means one extra hour to do whatever you want. You could sleep in, or you could use that time to do something else. Me? I’ll obviously be writing. What will YOU be doing?

7. I have the cutest dog in the world. True story.

8. I recently discovered a new book called Peter: The Untold True Story. It’s a historical account of a child known as the “Wild Boy,” who could have been a partial inspiration behind Peter Pan. It’s fascinating. And every time I read it, I just want to curl up in the pages. I love anything Peter Pan. And I love cozy books like these.

9. First day of November means fires in fireplaces, hot cocoa in mugs, down comforters at night, cuddling on the couch…. I love autumn!

10. Only 37 more days until my birthday, and 55 days until Christmas!

Happy November everyone!

Posted in The Road to Hope, Writing

Thank you.

happy endingOn November 1, 2011, I embarked on a writing adventure called NaNoWriMo, also known as National Novel Writing Month. The goal was to reach 50,000 words by November 30th, and I was bound and determined to meet that goal.

The Road to HopeDuring those thirty days, I poured my heart out in a reckless rough draft that mingled real life with fiction, unleashing a few hurts and hardships I’d suffered in life—the death of a child, poverty, young pregnancy, heartbreak—and allowed my characters to suffer on my behalf while I healed. In doing so, I fell in love with my characters, Maddie and Jill, two women who suffered terrible loss and found strength in the rebuilding of their lives.

This book is The Road to Hope, and tomorrow I will finally be able to share it with all of you. In many ways, it’s a love letter to the darker times of my past. And it’s a letter of hope to those of you who may be in the thick of it.

Thank you for sharing this journey with me.

Love, Crissi

Where to buy:

Kindle or Kindle app
Amazon Print

Note: This book is not available publicly for other e-readers. However, contact me if you read on a non-Kindle device and we can work something out.

Posted in Blog, The Road to Hope

Cover reveal of The Road to Hope

If you are part of my newsletter email list, you have already seen the cover of my upcoming book, The Road to Hope. If you’re not, shame on you. 😉 You can remedy that by clicking here.

My book designer and close friend, Liz Carrasco, has worked her magic to create yet another gorgeous cover for one of my books. Some of you may remember the beautiful cover she created for Forever Thirteen. So when she offered her talents to The Road to Hope, I didn’t hesitate. And I’m so glad, because look what she created:

Click on image to pre-orderDon’t you just love it???

I especially love the vineyard on the front cover of the book. It was taken in Sonoma County (where I live) by local author and photographer, Kent Sorensen. You can check out his photography at kentwsorensen.com.

And now for surprise #2. The Road to Hope is available for pre-order for Kindle readers RIGHT NOW! I am keeping the price at $2.99 through the book’s first week so that all of you can get it at a lower price. After that, the price goes back up. So be sure to order it soon to secure the lower price.

CLICK HERE to pre-order.

And now for a little bit of news for those of you who read on eBooks that are not Kindles. I have decided to sell the eBook version of The Road to Hope on Amazon only, at least for the next three months. If you read books on a Nook, Kobo, etc., contact me and we can work out a way for you to still be able to read it.

For print readers, never fear. The Road to Hope will be available across the web in book form, beginning October 15th, and eventually at Copperfield’s in Sonoma County.

Thanks for reading!

Posted in Blog, The Road to Hope, Writing

The Road to Hope publishes Oct. 15! How about a teaser?

I am setting the publish date! The book is edited and ready to go. The cover is in the final stages of being designed (so I can’t reveal it yet). And I am chomping at the bit to share The Road to Hope with you! For now, how about another teaser?

~~~
~ Chapter Four ~
Not Our Little Girl

Maddie ducked her head down under the pressure of the officer’s hand, giving up all efforts of the fight she’d had in her just moments before. What was the point? They had her. At least she’d have a warm place to sleep tonight.

She could have killed Jordan, even as she understood why he took off and let her bear the full brunt of his scheme. It had all seemed so simple when he had relayed the plan. Who would suspect a pregnant girl to do anything against the law? Despite her growing belly and disheveled hair, she still possessed the look of a girl who came from a good home. With her wide brown eyes and effortless smile, she had the face of innocence.

But inside, she held the rage of a girl who had been turned out by her parents once the pregnancy test came back positive…

***

One month earlier in Gallup, New Mexico.

“But where am I supposed to go?” Maddie cried.

“Why don’t you go find that low-life boyfriend of yours and tell him you’re his problem now,” her father said. He stood firm, his military background shining through as he looked at his daughter without any hint of sympathy. Even though it had been years since he’d retired from the Army, he still sported the close cropped hair and muscular build. And Maddie, she was expected to be his little soldier, standing in line and only doing as told.

“Bill, please,” her mother said, placing her hand on her husband’s arm. As large and intimidating as Maddie’s father was, her mother was the exact opposite. Petite in every sense of the word, her mother took to sweaters and pearls, her light brown hair always combed and pulled back. She aimed for perfection, volunteered for the PTA, and attended bible studies in the middle of the week. Maddie’s mom was firm in her beliefs, and consistent in her appearance. But she always stood down when it came to Maddie’s dad. So when her mom tried to stop him with the touch of her hand, Maddie wasn’t surprised to see him shake her off and turn his glare toward her.

“Not now, Carol. Maddie needs to learn she can’t just go around life doing whatever she damn well pleases with no repercussions whatsoever,” he said.

“But she’s pregnant. We can’t just throw her out,” her mother pleaded.

“She should have thought about that before sleeping around. We’ve raised our children.”

“But this will be our grandchild!” her mom argued.

Maddie’s dad was silent for a moment as he regarded his wife. For a moment, Maddie thought he might reconsider. But when her father returned his cold gaze to her, Maddie’s heart fell.

“No it won’t,” her father said. “Because I don’t have a daughter.”

The words struck Maddie, taking her breath away. She could feel the tears hovering in her eyes, but she willed them to stay back. She closed her mouth, setting it into a firm line as she worked to mirror the icy stare of her father.

“Fine,” she said. She turned on her heel and went to walk toward her bedroom.

“Where do you think you’re going, young lady?” her father called behind her.

“I’m going to get my things,” she muttered through clenched teeth.

“What?”

“I’m going to get my things!” she yelled, turning to face him with her hands on her hips. Her father only glared at her.

“You don’t have any things,” he told her.

“Yes I do!” she yelled. She could feel her chest burning as her fury erupted in the hallway. Her father remained calm.

“No, you don’t,” he said. “I bought all those things. They’re mine.”

“You didn’t buy everything!” Maddie yelled. “What about all of my Christmas presents? And what the hell are you going to do with all my clothing, my stuffed animals, and the pictures of all my friends?” she demanded.

“Whatever the hell I want,” he replied with narrowed eyes.

Maddie took several deep breaths as she faced her father, every muscle in her body clenched. She waited for him to back down, to tell her he’d give her another chance, to let her know he was only teaching her a lesson, and the lesson was now over. But he never did. Instead, he moved to the side and pointed toward the door as if she were a mere dog being ordered outside.

She thought of all the things in her room she was leaving behind. Her pillow, the one she’d both laughed and cried into. Her favorite sweatshirt, the light pink one with the hood. The teddy bear she’d had since the day she was born. The dozens of photos that lined her mirror, reminding her of friends she had once been close to before she met Jordan. Her journal that detailed every single one of her thoughts, including thoughts she never wanted her parents to know.

“You don’t own my journal,” she said. “I’m getting my journal.”

Her father regarded her for a moment, then nodded his head toward her bedroom.

“Fine,” he said. “But you have two minutes, or I’ll come in there and throw you out myself.”

Maddie didn’t hesitate. She turned on her heel and rushed into her room. She opened the drawer next to her bed and pulled out the journal and a pen. She also grabbed the small stash of money she’d been putting aside for a rainy day, stuffing the dollars in her pocket. She looked around the room, searching for anything else she could grab. After a moment’s thought, she took her pink sweatshirt out of her drawer and slipped it on. Then she grabbed her backpack and began stuffing whatever clothes she could find that would accommodate her soon-to-be-growing body.

“No!” her father yelled, standing in the doorway. “Drop the bag and get out.” He strode forward, and Maddie clutched the bag to her chest, ready to fight him if she had to.

“No, Bill,” her mother said, determination in her voice. She held on to his arm tight, and didn’t let go when he tried to shake her off. “It’s bad enough that she has to leave. The least we can do is to let her go with a few things.”

“The least we could do was everything we already did—raise her with proper ideals, a roof over her head, and with all that we worked hard for so that she could live a good life,” he hissed. But he didn’t fight his wife, allowing Maddie the time to pull her backpack on and grab her journal off the bed. Eyeing her dad, she also grabbed the teddy bear off of her pillow. Without a word, she dared him to stop her. He didn’t.

Maddie looked at her mom. Tears were now streaming from her mother’s eyes down her cheeks. She rushed forward and grabbed Maddie into a bear hug.

“I’m so sorry, honey,” she said. She pushed something into Maddie’s hand away from the hovering eyes of her husband. Maddie recognized the familiar texture of dollar bills, and she quickly stuffed them into her pocket with the rest of her money. She knew this wasn’t her mother’s decision for her to go. Still, she kept her emotions from spilling over. Her mom could stop all of this from happening. She could put her foot down. But she didn’t this time, just like she never stood up to Maddie’s dad every other time he laid down the law. She was just letting her daughter go without any fight at all.

It was Maddie who pulled away from the embrace first, and her mom put her hand over her mouth with a sob. Without saying a word, Maddie strode past her parents and out of the room, down the hall and through the front door for the very last time. It wasn’t until she’d hit the sidewalk when the sound of her mother’s sobbing stopped following her. And still, she knew that sound would haunt her for a very long time.

****

The countdown is on! The Road to Hope will be available for purchase on October 15, 2014.