The book that almost never was

TigerLily tease2

I’m about to tell you about the book that almost never was. Every year I write a book for National Novel Writing Month in November. This last year, however, I was stumped. I had just written Reclaim Your Creative Soul, and that book took a lot of energy out of me. I figured I would just skip it this year. But at the eleventh hour before the eleventh month, an idea came to me—why not just have fun with it this year? I know, a novel idea for a novel.

And so, I did. Having always been a fan of Peter Pan and Neverland, I began exploring the idea of writing about a character that only got a bit role in the original story: Tiger Lily. I began to develop who she was, where she came from, the values of her people, and her likes and dislikes. Just like Peter Pan is a coming of age story, Tiger Lily’s story was much the same. She became a princess held captive by rules she didn’t appreciate, and with hopes and desires that didn’t fit the mold of her people.

Throw in some pirates, a few Never beasts, the Lost Boys, and Peter Pan, and I suddenly had a story.

To up the ante, I not only wrote the story, I LIVE wrote it. Many of you followed along as I posted each chapter to Wattpad, allowing you to see the inside process of what it’s like for a novel to be written beginning to ending. While it was just a rough draft, I was pleased with how things worked out as I wrote. Many of you expressed interest as well, anxiously waiting for me to post the next chapter.

The story was never supposed to be published. It was just something to amuse myself and a few fans, and nothing more. However, the more I wrote, the more I realized that the story was taking on a life of its own. It was more than just an amusing tale, it was a story that needed to be told.

This story became Loving the Wind: The Story of Tiger Lily & Peter Pan, and it just published this morning!

For the next few days, I am keeping the Kindle version of this book at 99 cents so that there are no barriers for you to buy this book. This is my gift to you for sticking alongside me, cheering me on, and anticipating this very moment. Please don’t delay in buying this book now, as the price goes back up after the weekend.

Furthermore, I have a few contests on my Facebook page if you’d like a chance to win the print version of this book. Just look up #LTWgiveaways and you’ll find a bunch of contests that are going until Sunday.

Thank you for all your support, and happy reading!

Love,
Crissi

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The cutest cupcake chapter headers ever!

Today I’m working on the last bit of cleanup for Come Here, Cupcake before I send it off to my editor. And while all formatting work will have to wait until it’s done being edited, I couldn’t help but start working on the chapter headers. You guys, these are so adorable, I just want to eat them off the page! 😀 Here it is, with a tiny, tiny teaser of Chapter 1:

chapter teaser
I mean, seriously, how cute are those cupcake headers?

By the way, I’ve recently started a new business that’s so new, I’m still trying to figure out its permanent name. I’m offering my services for super cheap on things like book formatting, editing, website creation, social media setup, and more. You could be one of my first clients and take advantage of super low pricing! For more information, CLICK HERE.

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.

5 reasons I love indie books

I admit it. Before I became an author, I had never read an indie-published book. I can list a few different reasons for this:
– There’s less risk with a traditionally published book…a publisher thought it was good, so it must be good (uh, right).
– Traditionally published books are more recognizable, thanks to deep marketing pockets.
– I know what to expect in a traditionally published book.

The truth is, most traditionally published books ARE good. Most of my favorite books are traditionally published1. However, I’ve become increasingly aware of how good some indie-published books can be, mostly for the things traditionally published books CAN’T be. Here are a few of the reasons why:

1. Indie books are cheap. This is good news for someone who reads a lot, like me. I am able to feed my habit and not go broke. For less than a cup of coffee, I can grab a new book for my Kindle and devour it in days. And then I can go back for more. This is because an indie-published author has cut out the middle man to get their book out there, thus cutting out all the people who share a cut of their pay. Traditionally published authors have to charge $7 or more by contract, and their cut is a sad, tiny portion of that.

2. Indie books possess wild, carefree plots. I mean, seriously. The craziest things can happen in an indie book because there isn’t some bigwig telling the author “no one would be interested in reading that.” The truth is, much of what traditional publishers turn away is exactly what readers would want to read. And indie authors know this. Why? Because they are in tune with what their readers want to read because they hear what their readers want to read FROM THEIR READERS. Which brings me to #3….

3. It’s easier to interact with indie authors. Can you email J.K. Rowling and receive a thoughtful reply in return? Of course not. But can you email, say, Colleen Hoover (who is kinda huge in the indie author world, but personable nonetheless?). Likely, yes.

4. Indie authors aren’t so invisible anymore. They are the underdogs of the publishing world, and all of a sudden, they’re winning! It’s becoming commonplace for indie authors to find their way onto the New York Times bestsellers lists. On Amazon, the top 100 books holds many indie titles. And according to this article on Smashwords, indie books may make up 50% of all published books by 2020.  What once seemed like such an elite profession now feels much more attainable. There are indie authors out there who have quit their day jobs and are actually making a living off of what they write. No longer does publishing book need to be on a bucket list of things you may never do.

5. Indie authors give us hope. It’s a big feat to write a book. But know what’s even more difficult than that? Getting a traditional publisher to agree to publish it. It’s hard enough to even get them to read the dang thing. However, indie publishers are sidestepping these gatekeepers, opening the door to their dreams on their own and saying YES, I can accomplish my lifelong goal, and YOU CAN’T TELL ME NO. Seriously, that’s inspiring regardless of what your dream is.

Here are some of my most recent indie reads that I highly recommend. If you have a favorite indie book you’ve read and loved, please enlighten us all and leave it in the comments.

Hopeless, by Colleen Hoover
Forever & Always, by Jasinda WilderA Place In The World, by Cinda Crabbe MacKinnon
Writer Dad, by Sean Platt
Kissing Midnight, by Laura Bradley Rede
Forged In Grace, by Jordan E. Rosenfeld

99 cent books, and more.

First bit of news: Forever Thirteen is 99 cents TODAY ONLY. Get it here —-> http://amzn.to/1o6hMwL

A Symphony of Cicadas is too. —-> http://amzn.to/1bM5s2u

You could totally download both of them today and be set for your weekend reading.

 

I’m also posting new chapters of A Symphony of Cicadas for free over at Wattpad. Today I posted Chapter 10. Here’s a link to the preview — > http://bit.ly/RcznHC

If you’re still not convinced, here’s a snippet of Chapter 10.

 

A Symphony of Cicadas – Chapter 10 excerpt

Sam never did come home that night. I left John alone in the apartment and found Sam huddled in the poor lighting of a pier a dozen blocks from the apartment. He sat at the edge, tossing tiny rocks one by one into the still water below. They lay gathered in a pile near his crossed legs, collected on his walk towards the bay. It was a fascination he had carried with him from his childhood, gathering rocks in moments of his life, one for each experience to hold onto the memory a little longer. There were rocks in his room that looked to be just ordinary pebbles to the unknowing eye, but held secrets that only he knew every time he looked at them. He could tell where each rock was from and what he was doing in the moment, even years after collecting the insignificant pebble.

He never felt younger than he did as he sat alone on the pier away from his depressing home. In that moment he was five years old, lost and needing some guidance in the confusing reality of being fifteen. Trying to let go of the hurts that tore at him, he watched as each pebble dropped from his hand, taking its memory into the blackness of the water and disappearing. I was surprised to see my face among the images he included in his tally of life’s unfairness. But at the front of the list was his father, John’s likeness making numerous appearances as the list grew longer and longer until everything disappeared except for him.

“I don’t even care,” Sam said out loud to no one, trying to convince himself that this was how he felt. He couldn’t fool himself, however, and swiped at the tears that kept spilling from his eyes….

….

Intrigued? Good. Now go take part in one of the deals I just handed you. Have a great weekend!

 

So I’ll reach up to the sky and pretend that I’m a Spaceman

I became aware of the possibilities that lay before me as I floated free from my earthbound body. The space that Joey once described to me was out here, and I had the ability to see it all. Earth, in the far away distance, shone at me like a star in the sky. The giant orb of Jupiter moved in a slow rotation next to me, the gasses swirling in an ever-moving sphere of colors. Beyond that were much smaller planets in their own slow-moving journey around the sun, a star that looked much smaller from this far away than it did from the comfort of Earth. And all around me were particles of rock and dust floating beside me, sparkling from the faraway sun.
But what caught my eye the most was the trail of faded stars that led further than I could see, winding toward the edges of the galaxy and beyond. My curiosity was working overtime, and I turned to move toward the Milky Way. I picked up speed as I went along, traveling faster and faster until I was plummeting through space at full throttle. If I were more than just a spirit, I was sure I’d have a tail of fire as I moved forward with increasing velocity.
I came close enough to view the stars that made up the Milky Way, still millions of miles away, and moved parallel with it. I passed planet after planet, the space around me feeling colder as I moved further away from the sun. I saw the glow ahead of me, still thousands of miles away. It was like a sheet that wrapped around space, invisible above and behind me as I traveled onward. But as I got closer, the glow got brighter. I picked up speed and flew forward with all my strength. It could only be the edge of the galaxy. Even closer, I could see space rock moving toward the glow. But with shock, I saw each rock sucked through, an invisible wind grabbing hold and propelling it into a storm that swirled around the galaxy.
I was going too fast to stop, or so I thought. Had I controlled my fears long enough to think with clarity, I would have remembered that I had no limits, that I could think myself away from this place in just a moment. But as I streamed towards the edge, all I could think of was being swept into a vortex I wouldn’t be able to get out of. “This is my hell,” I thought. “I’m going to be stuck here forever in a blender because I chose to leave Earth behind.”
– Excerpt from A Symphony of Cicadas, Chapter 12, pages 156-157

And here’s where things get weird…

Fantasy is not my usual genre of writing. In fact, this book is the first real stab at creating a story within a totally unreal type of world. All of my other fiction exists in worlds that one could logically live in. But this…this was a whole new experience for me.

When I wrote this scene, I never planned for it to happen. It just kind of did. Writers will often tell you that after a bit of story writing, the story tends to take on a life of its own. The author no longer controls it. This scene is no exception. But I’m glad it did. It ended up setting the stage for a pivotal scene later in the book.

Fun fact – did you know that space tastes like a copper penny? This is only one of the facts I uncovered when researching what it would actually be like to be in space.

When I wrote A Symphony of Cicadas, I had reservations about the space scene. Was I going too far out on a limb by sending Rachel into space? How would I describe the setting when I had never been there? Would it just be too weird? I had to let go of all these doubts and just write on. And I’m glad I did. Personally, I find this chapter of the book fascinating. For those of you who have read the book, I hope you did, too.

This is just one of several posts to come that dives into the chapters of A Symphony of Cicadas, and the inspiration behind the story. For all sneak peeks at the novel, CLICK HERE. To purchase the book, go to http://amzn.to/17ayBAP.

Stay tuned for more!

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