Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Wicked Wednesday - pleasing the perfectionist

I confess, I'm a bit of a perfectionist. When it comes to certain things, my standards are sky high. This makes me my own worst boss when it comes to writing full-time.

Last week, I was struggling with my WIP. But I pushed through and finished it. The first draft of the first book of the Totem series is done. (Yes, you might notice I even have a name for the series too! No more BS!)

It has to be the roughest rough draft I've ever written. Because I am a perfectionist, it stresses me out. Only in the past few years have I come to accept that my first drafts aren't going to be brilliant. Rewriting does make a good story better. Rewriting again makes it shine even more. Polish, polish, polish until the perfectionist in me is pleased.

My high standards do stress me out, but they also push me forward. I am tenacious. I won't give up on my dreams.

Once upon a time, that dream was to be the next Stephen King. Now I want to be the first Christine Rains. My journey is different from King's and I will savor every step of it. (But, you know, if I happen to end up the next Stephen King, I won't complain!)

Hold yourself to high standards and push yourself to be better. You deserve it.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Thundering for Realms Faire 2015 & Mayhem in the Air Tour


The Realms Faire is fast approaching. A Thunderclap was created for it, but the date was wrong in it. It's currently being fixed, but everyone who signed up for it will have to do so again. There is no way to transfer over the supporters to the new Thunderclap. We appreciate every single person who lent us their help and hope they will do so again.

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Ten thrilling tales from the super talented authors of Untethered Realms. Get exclusive excerpts on this tour and enter for a chance to win a $40 gift card!

Friday, September 25, 2015

Dancing with the Ghosts

The Paramours - ghost hunting with a kiss.

When Nina Azure’s talent as a ghost dancer doesn’t persuade a handsome phantom to talk, she entices him with sizzling sexual energy. Ben Moore’s spirit is tied to this world with guilt, but he breaks his self-imposed silence for the beautiful Nina. Lust makes him fully physical and she loses herself to desire. She must help him carry on to the afterlife, but her attraction to him is immensely powerful. She must push aside her own feelings and let him go—and perhaps find romance among the living.

Purchase links:
Ellora's Cave * Amazon * B&N * Kobo

Add it to read on Goodreads.

It's here! It's here! (I'll update the purchase links later today. They were late coming up!)

This project was a spur of the moment one for me. I wrote all three stories in less than a month. Of course, they were already planned out in my head, and ghost hunting is something I'm immensely interested in. The words just flowed.

Everything came together swiftly with my publisher too. Ellora's Cave dubs these novelettes Quickies. Each one in this trilogy is about 13,000 words. Perfect to cuddle into bed with on a cool autumn night.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Wicked Wednesday - when things get tough

You have this fantastic idea. It's shiny and beautiful. You can't wait to start writing. But it won't come out right. The words just aren't flowing. This idea, it needs to be shared. It won't leave you alone.

When things get tough...

Flopping down onto the ground and crying can help release some of the stress. So can eating a tub of ice cream. Though your stomach will hate you for it.

My current WIP is tough. I haven't nailed the protagonist's voice and I'm over halfway through. I know her two sisters very well (and they'll be the protagonists of the next novellas), and her hero is so much fun to write. I don't have a title for the book or the series yet. And yes, that is bothering me much more than it should. There are so many things I need to set up in this first story, I hope I'm doing it smoothly.

I want it to be awesome. The story deserves my best. No. Better than my best. I have to push myself further.

My anxiety is even higher because I put aside the previous novel I started earlier this year because it was tough. Though the problem with that one was different than this.

So now here I am tackling an even bigger project. It's intimidating. But that makes me want to go for it even more.

What do you do when things get tough?

(Sidenote: This photo of my son is of the first time I set him in a pile of leafs. Clearly he didn't like it. Nowadays, if there is a pile of leafs, I can't keep him out of it!)

Monday, September 21, 2015

Snow on Cinders cover reveal

How far would you go to protect your family?

A peculiar metamorphosis has taken shape since the final days. And the planet is in the throes of healing.

Fulvio McTullan leads his family and a band of misfits to form a new settlement, far from Tallas and it’s nefarious Elites. Their journey takes them into uncharted territories where strange creatures are lurking. It’s a battle of survival, not only from the creatures, but the mutated earth as well. 

Meanwhile, Pomfrey Addler, an oppressive Elite squashes the insurrection in Tallas. Suddenly, citizens begin to vanish in the middle of the night and his daughter, Paniess is hell bent on revenge.

Fraught with mishaps, Fulvio finally locates the perfect place to settle. They begin to rebuild until they receive a call. A call which will lure them back into the clutches of Tallas.

Snow on Cinders by Cathrina Constantine
Publisher: CHBB
Cover Design: Melissa Stevens of The Illustrated Author
Release Date: October 24, 2015
Genre: Dystopian/Family Saga/Paranormal Thriller

Friday, September 18, 2015

Friday Five for September 18, 2015

1. Did you hear my BIG NEWS this week? I'm still in a bit of shock. The first book of The Paramours, Ghost Dancer, will be released in one week. I don't have any links or info yet, so it'll be a rush to prepare for it. But it's so exciting. I had hoped one book would be out by Halloween, and if my publisher keeps being so speedy, maybe I'll have two! I'll wait until all three books are out before touring. I need a lot of time to prepare for that. A week isn't enough time.

2. In the short story realm, I got word from a venue that they were interested in one of my stories if I made a few changes. So I made the changes and resubmitted. Hopefully they'll like what I did.

3. I didn't get much new writing done this week. I'm over halfway done with the first novella in my nine part series. I don't have a name for the series or the novella yet. That's driving me a little batty. I shorten my titles when I work with them. Like Dice & Debauchery is D&D and Of Blood and Sorrow is OBaS. This new project has been shortened to BS. I can't continue on with something I'm referring to as BS! Okay, I can continue writing, but I really need to think of a proper title.

4. I designed and ordered some new postcards and bookmarks this week. They're so pretty! Please tell me I'm not the only person who gets insanely excited about these sorts of things.

5. Big weekend ahead. It's our local fall fair. Good food, games, and a parade. My son has a buddy's birthday party to go to, and I have my critique group meeting. Lots of fun! And speaking of fun, the Untethered Realms authors talked about what we'd do if we were transported back to medieval times. Stop on by and let us know what you would do.

Have a terrific weekend!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Wicked Wednesday - teasing you with The Paramours covers & a release date

Yesterday I received the release date for Ghost Dancer from my publisher. It's September 25th. Wait... that's next week! It's wonderful and exciting and totally moving much faster than I expected. I don't have anything planned right now, but at least let's celebrate with cookies and ice cream!

Oh, and some cover love.
Let me know what you think of The Paramours covers.

(The Paramours #1)

Nina Azure is a Lakota Ghost Dancer.
He's a ghost. Doesn't it make you want to be haunted by him?

(The Paramours #2)

Claire McKinney has a theory that poltergeists aren't spirits or demons.
And if they look like him, I'd be talking to the TV screen like that little girl!

(The Paramours #3)

Vivian Ray is serious about the ghost hunting business.
The spirits that possess her and a handsome medium have seriously steamy business too.

Monday, September 14, 2015

The Lazy Housewife guest post with Tara Tyler & Kyra Lennon's cover reveal for Everybody Knows

Who likes grocery shopping? Hmm, I don't see many hands. Well, I'm not so crazy about it myself. It's a chore. And if you have little ones with you, it can be downright painful.

Today, I'm offering some Lazy Housewife tips, not just on pain-free grocery shopping, but a couple of other trending mom helpers you might like to try...

1) Online Shopping - I was skeptical at first because I really don't like other people touching my groceries. But now that I'm working all the time, I have no time to grocery shop. My hub did it for a while, but he didn't want to take the time for it either, so this new service popped up at just the right time. A Kroger in my area lets you send them a grocery list and all you have to do is drive-thru to get it. They bag everything and put it all right into your car. It's fabulous! Drawbacks - sometimes things are out of stock (or don't try hard enough to find them...) and you can't pick things you wouldn't have thought of, but that could be a good thing, too.

2) Meal Parties - I'm not sold on this idea. I've been invited to a couple, but haven't gone yet. From what I understand, you have to bring a lot of the food already prepped, then you put everything together and bring it home. I was surprised that I had to make several items for my Tastefully Simple party, nevermind chopping stuff up then bringing it to someone else's kitchen to mix up, then bring it back home to cook it. Sure, cooking with friends sounds fun, but without the cooking part... I'll come and just hang out and watch.

3) College Student Nannies - I guess this isn't really that new, but I seem to know more moms or students who do it lately. It's a great idea for all involved, the moms, the kids, and the students. As long as it's a good fit and they have good references. I've heard stories from both sides...

I don't want to take up too much space, so I'll stop there. For more helpful tips, visit me and my really real housewife friends at The Really Real Housewives of America blog!

Thanks for hosting me, Christine! You're one of those super moms with a super kid to prove it!

by Tara Tyler
Release Date: Sept 14, 2015

In 2082, androids are an essential part of daily life. Some are helpful, some would make better toasters, and some are so human-like they're creepy. Back in Atlanta, Detective Cooper's latest client has him searching for her boyfriend who she thinks was replaced by a simulation, an illegal clone android. The guy also happens to be a popular new congressman.

As if the case wasn't frustrating enough, Cooper keeps crossing paths with his ex, FBI Agent Geri Harper who's looking for the same guy. As Cooper closes in, Geri is kidnapped. But when she resurfaces in Washington and goes on a killing spree, he knows it isn't her. Now under suspicion himself, Cooper must find the real Geri to prove her innocence, not to mention hunt down the powerful villain behind it all. Never a dull moment.

SIMULATION delivers more technology, more intense action, more humor, and more, distinct new characters. Come along for the ride.

Available Now!
Amazon ~~ Barnes & Noble

Tara Tyler writes sci fi and fantasy action-adventures from her little corner of the world in Ohio as she tries to keep up with her three boys and coach husband. Always making time to write, she sometimes puts off chores and lets laundry pile up... hence, she's also the Lazy Housewife, offering advice and tips to other gals out there trying to do it all without going crazy. She and her housewife friends blog at The Really Real Housewives of America.

And don't forget the Rafflecopter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000039_00014]
Cover Reveal
Title: Everybody Knows
Author: Kyra Lennon
Genre: NA Romance
Type: Second in series (Razes Hell Book 2)
Cover Design: Najila Qamber Designs
Photographer: Lindee Robinson Photography
Release Date: November 2nd, 2015

Lucy Hayes has been offered the opportunity of a lifetime – a chance to go on tour with the UK’s fastest rising rock band, Razes Hell.

Lucy Hayes has been in love with Razes Hell’s frontman, Jason Brooks, for as long as she can remember. While most women see him only as a rock god, Lucy sees the real Jason. But will that be enough to make him see her as the adult she is, or is she destined to remain the baby sister of his best friend forever?

When Lucy bags an invite to join Razes Hell on their Europe and U.S tour, she is under no illusions about where she fits in Jason’s life. She’s the girl next door, too young to ever catch his attention. However, when Lucy is the first to notice Jason’s struggle to keep his cocaine addiction in check while out on the road, the pair grow closer, and Lucy thinks she might be about to make her dreams come true.

But how can it ever work out? With an age gap against them, not to mention concerned family and friends stating their opinions, and the media turning something beautiful into something sinister, they are fighting an impossible battle.

Everybody Knows there’s something between Lucy and Jason, but will their feelings be enough to keep them afloat, or will their feelings tear apart everything they hold dear?

Kyra is a self-confessed book-a-holic, and has been since she first learned to read. When she's not reading, you'll usually find her hanging out in coffee shops with her trusty laptop and/or her friends, or girling it up at the nearest shopping mall.
Kyra grew up on the South Coast of England and refuses to move away from the seaside which provides massive inspiration for her novels. Her debut novel, Game On (New Adult Contemporary Romance), was released in July 2012, and she scored her first Amazon Top 20 listing with her New Adult novella, If I Let You Go in November.

:::::Connect With Links:::::

Friday, September 11, 2015

Friday Five for September 11, 2015

1. I didn't get as much time to write this week, but I passed the 10k mark with my newest project. I finished the first round of edits for the first book in The Paramours series. Not much needed to be changed at all. My editor might send it back to me once more for an okay, and then it can be sent on for formatting. That's when I get my release dates!

2. My holiday horror short story, "All I Want For Christmas" was accepted by 9 Tales for their upcoming release, 9 Tales Told In The Dark. Yay! It will be released late this year. Another one of my stories was short-listed by a pro venue. I've been sending stories to this venue for the last few years, and this is my fourth time being short-listed with them. Maybe the fourth time is the charm!

3. Have you heard of the movie Tusk? It's a Kevin Smith film. A ridiculous shock horror about an insane man who kidnaps people and makes them into a walrus. I expected utter silliness when I sat down with my husband to watch it. What I found instead was brilliance. Not the story itself, but in the performances from Michael Parks and Johnny Depp. I haven't been this blown away by a pair of actors in a long time.

4. It's getting to that time of year where there are a lot of scary movies and shows on TV. When I do my exercises during the weekdays, I don't watch talk shows or soaps. I watch ghost and monster hunters. I've been seeing a lot of commercials for what's coming in October. Here's one show you might not have heard about: Exorcism Live! Yes, they'll be doing a live exorcism. Don't let the ads fool you (like they did me!). They're not exorcising a person. It's a house. I always wonder about these live shows. What do they do if absolutely nothing happens?

5. It's almost the weekend! What are your plans? We have a BBQ & Blues Fest and a hot air balloon festival going on nearby. It'll be the perfect cool autumn weather for it too.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Wicked Wednesday - choose wisely thy notebook

It's that exciting moment when you have a shiny new idea. It's growing so huge that it's starting to get too large for your mind. So you reach into your drawer and pull out a notebook.

I don't know about other writers, but I do have a drawer filled with paper, pens and pencils, rubbers, and notebooks. It's a weird collection of different styles. Mainly leaning to the people that gifted me these items and not to my tastes. But that's okay. Paper is paper and I am happy to write on anything.

My newest project is a big one. Nine paranormal romance novellas. A big cast of characters. A wide range of settings and a thickly entangled plot. It gets bigger every time I think about it. And it's dark. I'm basing it on Inuit lore. Most of those myths are not happily ever after tales.

So what do I pull out of my drawer? A notebook with pretty butterflies and pink pages.


Yeah, I know. What was I thinking? The design does not fit the story. Come on, butterflies?! And it's not a very big notebook. Clearly I hadn't been thinking about what I was writing in when I pulled it out.

But it amuses me to write the notes for this story in that notebook. I smile to see it on my desk. I feel the little butterflies of excitement in me.

Maybe it is the right notebook for this story.

Sidenote: The black composition book on my desk holds five of my completed story ideas. I use it to reference things when promoting or answering questions. My Kindle does have an ad for Susan Kaye Quinn's book there. (How do you get your ad to show up on people's Kindles like that?) And yes, that is an old Gameboy Color. I'm currently replaying Dragon Warrior Monsters. It's a bit like Pokemon but cooler.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Coming to a haunted house near you - The Paramours

Remember that little trilogy of novelettes I submitted to my publisher? The very next day, they replied with an enthusiastic YES!

The series is erotic paranormal romance and will be listed under Ellora's Cave's Quickies. The contracts have been signed. I have an editor and covers already. Things are moving quick! Once I have a release date for the first book, I'll definitely let you know.

And just who are The Paramours? They're a paranormal investigative team consisting of three lovely women: Nina Azure, Claire McKinney, and Vivian Ray. Instead of trying to invoke a reaction from ghosts using devices or making the spirits angry, they entice them with sexual energy.

Three paranormal investigators.
One lonely ghost haunted by his own guilt.
One poltergeist trapped in a dimensional vortex.
Two lovelorn spirits and an unspeakable evil.

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35 Free Speculative Fiction Books.
Yes, you read that correctly.
This is Graeme Ing's treat to you. He's collected a list of nearly three dozen awesome reads that you can get for free! I filled another page on my Kindle with them.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Friday Five for September 4, 2015

1. Work is going at a steady pace for my new project. There is a lot of talking going on. I keep reminding myself that it is the base for a nine part series, so I have to make it solid. It's going to be one of those cases if the characters keep yammering at each other, I'm going to send the bad guys to them!

2. I had a fantastic time co-hosting the IWSG. I visited over 120 blogs. What a surprise they gave us! It's a wonderful opportunity. I'm going to try to think of a story idea for the contest. Who else is entering?

3. No short story news this week. This is the first week in a while I haven't received a rejection. I still have six stories in submission. I need to send out a few more, but I haven't found the right venues for them yet.

4. It's the long Labor Day weekend. Yay! We don't have any plans except a playdate tonight and maybe going to the apple orchard at some point. It's going to be super hot, though. Might have to refill the backyard kiddie pool.

5. Join me on Monday for my big news! My newsletter subscribers have already heard. If you want to be the first to hear all the exciting stuff, please subscribe by typing your email address in that widget on my sidebar. You'll get a free ebook!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

IWSG for September 2015 - co-hosting, the surprise, and nerves!

The Insecure Writer's Support Group (IWSG) is the brilliant idea of Alex J. Cavanaugh. The purpose of the group is to share doubts and insecurities and to encourage one another. Please visit the other participants and share your support. A kind word goes a long way.

This month is my first time co-hosting. I'm a little nervous, but I have awesome co-hosts: Julie Flanders, Murees Dupé, Dolorah at Book Lover, and Heather Gardner!

Plus, IWSG has a surprise for us. It's completely awesome. Read on down through this post to find out what it is!

This month I'm nervous about several things. Not just about co-hosting! I finished a project and I've submitted it to my publisher. Will they like it? It's different than the trilogy I already have with them. What will I do if they don't want it? That means querying other venues. Yikes!

I've also started a new project. One that's ambitious even for me. A serial with nine parts. I tell myself that I will outline for this story, but my muse just wants to write. She has consistently snubbed any outline I've tried to write in the past no matter how general I make them. So I end up pantsing. Which works most of the time for me, but with a nine part serial? That needs planning. Big time planning makes me anxious.

Are you nervous about anything this month?

Now the reveal.... 

The IWSG Short Story Contest 2015

After the success of last year’s IWSG Guide to Publishing and Beyond, we decided to create another book. This time it’s a short story competition with the top ten stories getting published in the anthology.

Eligibility: Any member of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group is encouraged to enter – blogging or Facebook member. The story must be previously unpublished. Entry is free.

Word count: 5000-6000

Theme: Alternate History/Parallel Universe. That’s right, we’ve decided to go the speculative route. This theme has plenty of scope and we’re open to pretty much anything along these lines, except erotica or graphic violence.

Story deadline: November 1st, 2015.

How to enter: Send your polished, formatted, previously unpublished story to TheIWSG at gmail dot com before the deadline passes. Make sure to include your contact details.

Judging: The IWSG admins will create a shortlist of the best stories. The shortlist will then be sent to our official judges:
·         Laura Maisano - Senior editor at Anaiah Press for their YA/NA Christian fiction
·         Russell Connor – Author and owner of Dark Filament Publishing Startup
·         Candace Havens  - Author and Editorial Director for the Covet, Edge and Select lines at Entangled Publishing
·         Dawn Frederick – Literary agent and the founder of Red Sofa Literary
·         Alice Speilburg – Founder of the Speilburg Literary Agency
·         Michelle Johnson – Founder of Inklings Literary Agency and Writers' Center and Bookstore owner
·         Kendare Blake - Author
·         Lydia Moëd - Associate agent at The Rights Factory

Prizes: The winning stories will be edited and published by Freedom Fox Press next year in the IWSG anthology. Authors will receive royalties on books sold, both print and eBook. The top story will have the honor of giving the anthology its title. The winners will also receive an exclusive badge to display on their blog.

We’re excited to see the creativity and enthusiasm that’s such a part of this group put into action. So don your creative caps and start writing. And spread the word!