Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Do You Love Your Mother? & IWSG

You have a mom. I have a mom. Everyone has a mom.


Not all mothers are created equal, but generally speaking, no matter who she is, she wants what's best for you. Before I was a mom, I was a driven, multi-talented individual who was going to take the world by storm. For 10 years after I became a mother, I clung to those aspirations.

Hollow aspirations?
But things happen--moving to NYC and having no option but to home school (I was NEVER going to home school), chronic sicknesses (being down and out for 3+ years really takes a toll), being far from extended family and forced to rely on my individual family alone...

I found the joy in nurturing and raising children. I was pouring all my creativity into home schooling and mothering.

My books were part of my young girls aspirations, and finally getting a few of them out there felt amazing...for a moment. Being published blew my mind. Literally. It contributed to the stress that kept me down during my chronic illness. I was already juggling so much to keep a household and 3 separate grade curriculums going, and to those who haven't experienced it, publication has the potential to take over your entire life. Forever. Because it never ends.

Ah, the lessons we can't learn except in doing...

For the time being, I'm on a publishing hiatus. I admit, occasionally there is a twinge of jealousy when I read about other people's successes, but these are the best years of my life, and I plan to enjoy them to the fullest.


After all, when I get to the end of this life, my greatest successes won't be my abundance of novels. It will be my children.

Even the bad moments.
This mother's day, be sure to say thank you to your mother. You never know what she gave up on your behalf. If she's not around, pass on stories of her goodness to the next generation. And if you're like me, stuck in the middle,


Keep at it.

On a related note, how about the IWSG question for the month:  It’s spring! Does this season inspire you to write more than others, or not?

So when you have wicked allergies, spring is not the most productive season. (But it's awesome for sinus infections.) =P

Huge thanks for hosting
Alex Cavanaugh
E.M.A. Timar, J. Q. Rose,
C.Lee McKenzie, and Raimey Gallant!

Last month, Michelle R. Reid shared ALICE GAMES along with two truths and one lie. Anyone who guessed was entered to win a print copy or eBook.

The game:

1. I'm a certified falconer.
2. I was seriously studying to be a Manga artist when I was 18 years old.
3. The first time I saw Jurassic Park, I was eight, in a dark basement, alone, at Crystal's house! 

The lie: #1. She specialized in raptures in zoology for a time while at college, but never did actually become a falcon pro.

And the winner is:

...DRUM ROLL...

Congrats, Tyrean!

Moms, and all of you who read YA, I've discovered a fabulous author whose works are mom approved (aka clean), and fun to boot. Check it out:

A dark Chemistry lab. A fake British accent. It's all fun and games until somebody falls in love.

When sixteen-year-old, Ashlyn Brooks, runs into a sweet British guy in the dark Chemistry lab, she has no idea she's actually sitting in the pitch black room with her longtime rival, Luke Davenport. She also doesn't know that she's stepped into another one of the football captain's pranks. It isn't long before she's sharing things she's never told anyone, and starting to fall for the mysterious guy with a sexy accent who seems to understand her in a way no one ever has before.

When Luke's mom dies the summer before his senior year, he turns to pranking Ashlyn to keep his mind off his loss. But the more he gets to know her, the more he regrets using his fake British accent in the first place. Soon Luke is walking the thin line of keeping his lies a secret and wishing he could tell her that the boy she's falling for is really him.

Meet Me There is a standalone novel in The Ridgewater High series, a collection of simmering YA contemporary romances. If you like sweet romance with ballad-worthy chemistry, swoony kisses and endearing characters then you'll love Judy Corry's latest book.

Buy your copy on Amazon.

Ready to meet the author?


Judy Corry has been addicted to love stories for as long as she can remember. She reads and writes YA & Clean Contemporary Romance because she can't get enough of the feeling of falling in love. She graduated from Southern Utah University in an area that has nothing to do with writing. Some of her favorite things are chick flicks, singing, and playing the piano. She believes in swoon-worthy kisses and happily ever afters.

Judy met her soul mate while in high school, and married him a few years later. She and her husband are raising four beautiful and crazy children in Southern Utah.

You might run across her snacking on cream cheese and Triscuits, or laughing cow swiss cheeses--especially while she's writing! 

Judy gave me two truths and one lie to test your "lie detector" skills. If you guess the lie, right or wrong, you will be entered to win a signed PRINT copy of MEET ME THERE. (US only.) DON'T HAVE A BLOGGER ACCOUNT WITH AN EMAIL ON THE PROFILE? No problem. LEAVE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS IN THE COMMENTS OR EMAIL crystal@crystal-collier.com to enter.

You have until Tuesday, June 5th at 2 p.m. EDT to guess. Be sure to come back for the answer on June 6th, 8 a.m. EDT.
TRUTH OR LIE

1. I broke my toe doing a cartwheel into my friend's back.
2. I lived in 4 different houses on the same street.
3. I speak fluent Italian.

So sleuths, which is the lie? Have you thanked your mother recently? What's one life dream you've given up for a different one? Do you like contemporary stories?

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

IWSG: The Worst Advice You'll Ever Hear About Writing


Life is a tug o war.

Writing is a tug o war.

And I'm not talking about wrestling time out of the day to actually do it. How torn are you?

Recently, I found myself reading a book that got me pondering: what is it that keeps you hooked? (And feel free to apply this to life as well.) You want a great plot. You want awesome characters you  can root for. You want drama, surprises, and an ending that leaves you satisfied. What don't you want?

Confusion.

I'm not talking about plot confusion, although that's pretty bad. I'm talking about emotional confusion. My daughter recently went through the terrible twos. My husband was confused about the sudden onset of tantrums. Why was our perfect angel a wreck? According to my research, two is the age at which kids start to process multiple emotions at once, and it's overwhelming. They can't handle it.

Adults aren't much different.

Writing/life really boils down to two things: Action VS Tension.

Action is pretty obvious. Things happen. We/characters react. Based on those reactions, we are improved or lessened, pushed toward our goals or further away. Action comes from outward forces, and then our response.

Tension is quieter. It's the subtle shifting of a mood, the emotional reaction to action. It's a building sense of peace or frustration, and I hate to tell you this, but you have ALL control over this aspect in life.

When it comes to writing/life, I think we really have to ask WHAT DO I WANT TO FEEL? WHAT DO I WANT MY READERS TO FEEL? When we analyze life/writing from this perspective, we are empowered to get to the heart of the matter. When we face life on this level, we can change the helplessness of "feeling, just because." Root out the confusion. Take a solid direction.

Some of the worst writing advice out there (and life advice) is to focus on the plot: How are we getting from point A to Z. The amazing parts are in the feels along the way, the shift from joy to sorrow, sorrow to joy. The experience is what makes the ending worth it.


On a related note, how about the IWSG question for the month: When your writing life is a bit cloudy or filled with rain, what do you do to dig down and keep on writing?

I switch stories and find one that loves me for the moment. It's easy to do when you have 20+ WIP's just waiting for their day in the sun. Eventually I find the clarity to come back.

Huge thanks for hosting
Alex Cavanaugh
Olga Godim, Chemist Ken,
Renee Scattergood, and Tamara Narayan!

I have a SPECIAL privilege this month. Growing up, I knew one writer: the woman down the street with 5 kids (whom I occasionally babysat for). Today I get to introduce you to her FABULOUS daughter, Michelle R. Reid, whose debut novel has just launched! Does that rock or what?

Alice didn’t fall down a rabbit hole. She was pushed down a staircase by a white Playboy bunny. She wakes up in Oz as the newest participant of the 27th Alice Games. If Alice can survive the journey to the Emerald Castle and select Red Queen as ruler, Oz has momentary peace and Alice can go home. If Alice dies along the way, then Oz will turn into a hellish, eternal winter.

Alice suspects there’s more than that. If other Alices from Earth have already played, why is Oz still broken and frozen in time, repeating the Alice Games over and over? It’s time to unveil all the secrets and make this the last Alice Games ever played.

Then she meets the knight Ace, a charming distraction and possibly a threat. Ace’s past is as dark as Oz’s, yet Alice’s heart tells her that he’s the key to ending the Alice Games forever. Falling in love is irrational because she’s going home at the end, dead or alive. But oh, that smile. For once in her life, she doesn’t know if she should listen to reason, or trust an emotion she’s never put much credit in. With her life on the line, she can’t afford to be wrong.

Buy your copy on Amazon.

Ready to meet the author? From Michelle:

Stories have always been important in my life. From skits I made up for my friends while jumping on the trampoline (Moon Prism Power!), to my first full length novel I wrote in 8th grade choir against my teacher's wishes.

I am married to a wonder man and we have three very active kids that keep me on my toes. In college I studied Zoology, Biology, Art, and English. I drove my counselor nuts. I finally settled on wanting to be an author like my mom. (Alysia S. Knight--check her out!)

'Curiosity killed the cat' is a good saying for me. I love to figure out how all the pieces of the puzzles fit--whether it be in a book, movie, or real life situation. I like to take what I've learned and weave it into my books.

Michelle. gave me two truths and one lie to test your "lie detector" skills. If you guess the lie, right or wrong, you will be entered to win a PRINT or eBOOK of ALICE GAMES. (Open internationally for eBook, US only for print.) DON'T HAVE A BLOGGER ACCOUNT WITH AN EMAIL ON THE PROFILE? No problem. LEAVE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS IN THE COMMENTS OR EMAIL IT TO crystal@crystal-collier.com WITH YOUR SCREEN ALIAS.

You have until Tuesday, May 1st at 2 p.m. EDT to guess. Be sure to come back for the answer on May 2nd, 8 a.m. EDT.
TRUTH OR LIE

1. I'm a certified falconer.
2. I was seriously studying to be a Manga artist when I was 18 years old.
3. The first time I saw Jurassic Park, I was eight, in a dark basement, alone, at Crystal's house! 

So sleuths, which is the lie? What's the worst advice you've ever received? What's your current life tug o war? Do you like fairy tale mashups?