Monday, September 18, 2017

#13Treats - Paranormal Romance & Urban Fantasy Twitter Giveaway Signups

Attention paranormal romance and urban fantasy authors!

Fantasy Book Giveaways is trying out something new for our big October event. We're going to have people trick or tweet for a chance to win books! #13Treats is a Twitter giveaway which is fast, easy, and fun. It is a free event with the possibility of reaching thousands more eyes than newsletters alone.

The event starts on Friday the 13th. If you know me, I can assure you it's a lucky number!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Word Witch Wednesday - a bunch of tips for making writing life easier

It's been a while since I've done a writing update. I've been busy working on the first draft of Of Gods and Sorrow, the sequel to Of Blood and Sorrow. It feels fantastic to get back into the world and to be writing a novel again. When I write novellas, I keep everything tight and concise. I don't allow myself to wander. With novels, I feel less constrained.

Writing tip #1: When working on your first draft, don't be afraid to ramble on. Don't let your inner editor chain you down. Anything you don't want can be cut later. You might find you like some of those longer descriptions and extended scenes.

My writing has slowed recently. I've found I can't stare at the screen as long or I'll get headaches. When my critique partners and betas send me their manuscripts, I wondered why they always have their documents zoomed in at like 120% or 150%. I stubbornly put them back to 100% every time. My stubborn self was wrong. Now as I'm writing, I zoom in to 120%, and I get less eye strain and no more headaches.

Writing tip #2: Zooming in with documents does help ease eye strain. It's also important to take regular breaks from the computer and rest your eyes doing something else. Keeping well hydrated will help as well. And those bathroom breaks resulting from that can count as resting your eyes!

Putting your butt in the chair and your hands on the keyboard does get you writing. Yet it doesn't help you get up when you need to later. My body get stiff if I'm lost in my worlds for too long. I'm not as young as I once was.

Writing tip #3: Stretch. I'm not going to tell you to go out and exercise, but stretching your muscles will not only take away your stiffness, it will help the blood get flowing to your beautifully creative mind. I take about 30 to 40 minutes every day just before lunch to stretch and use my little hand weights. It wakes up my body and my afternoon writing session benefits from it.

Writing tip #4: That time as I'm stretching is the only time during my writing work day that I allow myself to turn on the TV or a podcast. Eliminating distractions like that while I'm writing allows me to better concentrate. Plus, it makes for a good motivator to do the stretching if I have a show recorded I want to watch. (Con Man aired on SyFy Channel this past Saturday night. I'm watching that this week as I stretch! Mmm, Alan Tudyk and Nathan Fillion.)

My writing life changes with each story and every new year. I'm excited to see where it will take me next.

Do you have any writing life tips to share? I'd love to hear them.

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An IWSG reminder:

Be sure when you leave a comment, your profile leads back to your blog. If it links to Google+, make sure you have your blog listed in your ‘About’ section. We encountered a lot of comments that we could not return because that person’s gravatar was not linked to a blog. And since some people comment with a name but it’s their blog name on the IWSG list, that makes it extra challenging. If you’d like your link title modified or changed on the IWSG list, we have set up a IWSG Google Document where you can request that change.

Plus the Show Your Writer Insecurity Contest is October 4, so get those photos ready!

Don't forget we're always excited to celebrate good news with our IWSG members. Email me at christinerains [dot] writer @ gmail [dot] com with your news, and I'll include in the next newsletter.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

#IWSG for September 2017

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's awesome co-hosts are: Tyrean Martinson, Tara Tyler, Raimey Gallant, and Beverly Stowe McClure!

Today I'm so excited to share the theme of this year's IWSG anthology. It's an incredible opportunity for writers.

The Annual IWSG Anthology Contest

Word count: 3500-6000

Genre: Mystery/Crime/Thriller

Theme: Tick Tock. The story revolves around a clock, is time sensitive, or has something about a specific time. This theme has plenty of scope and we’re open to pretty much anything along these lines. No erotica, R-rated language, or graphic violence.

Story deadline: November 1st, 2017.

How to enter: Send your polished, formatted, previously unpublished story to admin @ before the deadline passes. Please include your contact details, your social links, and if you are part of the Blogging or Facebook IWSG group.

Judging: The IWSG admins will create a shortlist of the best stories. The shortlist will then be sent to our official judges.This year, we are honored to have seven incredible judges: Elizabeth S. CraigAnne Hawkins, Candace Havens, Lynn Tincher, Ion Newcombe, Patricia (Pat) Stoltey, and Mason Canyon.

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.

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!

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This month's IWSG question: Have you ever surprised yourself with your writing? For example, by trying a new genre you didn't think you'd be comfortable in?

I surprise myself all the time! It's one of the things I love about being a writer. First off, I'm a pantser. I let my stories flow organically, and it amazes what tales I weave. I just mentioned in a recent post that I didn't know how my Totem series was going to end, but when I got there and it happened, I was astounded. It was my best ending ever.

I also write short stories and flash fiction. This gives me a chance to try different styles and genres. I surprised myself once writing a western story, and it got picked up by a publisher. I'm uncomfortable writing non-fiction articles, but I stretch out and dare myself to share what I've learned. A few times, I read it later on and went: "This is good. I wrote that?!"

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Don't forget, next month is...

Show Us Your Writer Insecurity!

On Wednesday, October 4 (IWSG Day), post a photo of yourself (or your alter ego) with any of the IWSG swag or with the IWSG logo. Then leave a comment that day at either the IWSG website’s post or the IWSG Facebook post directing us to your photo. (All blog, Facebook, Goodreads, and newsletter members welcome, but photo must be posted on a blog or Facebook to qualify.) There are prizes!

IWSG Newsletter reminder: Please send me your news. We want to help shout-out and celebrate with you. Email me ( christinerains [dot] writer @ gmail [dot] com ) with a line or two and a link. Make sure to put "IWSG newsletter news" in the subject header so it doesn't get lost on me.  

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

True Shifter (Totem #9) plus 3 #free books and a big #giveaway!

Three sisters, seven totems, one chance to save the world.

Saskia Dorn can't bear to lose anyone else. But when the only man she's ever loved turns his back on her, she runs off to sacrifice herself to the totem quest.

With a disgusting kiss, a dying house spirit grants her the power to shift into any creature. Yet she has neither the time to train nor the imagination to utilize the gift to its fullest. How will she manage to defeat a villain who has mastered the ability and made her the person she is? Saskia only has a few freakin' hours to figure it out. After all, the fate of every shifter in the world depends on her victory.

Totem Tidbit: It's common knowledge that I'm a pantser. When I was writing this final book in the series, I didn't know how the heroes would manage to fight the villain in the final battle. I couldn't come up with any way for them to manage a victory. It wasn't until I arrived at the scene that I knew what was going to happen, and it was spectacular. While it does cause me stress at times, I do love being a pantser because of surprises like these.

I'm celebrating with free books and a big giveaway!

 For five days only, the first three books in the Totem series are free! Get hooked on the totem quest. Just click on the links below.

Enter the giveaway for a chance to win the entire Totem series and some really cool swag. I have these awesome little polar bear key chains that need homes! The giveaway is open internationally.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Check out this awesome interview!

Today at 2:30 pm EST, Chrys Fey will be participating in a LIVE YouTube interview with Evan Carmichael, an entrepreneur who she'll be interviewing about his book Your One Word and getting some great advice for IWSG members. You'll be able to watch the interview live HERE. You can set a reminder if you click on the link, or you can watch it later. The video will be uploaded in the August 30th IWSG newsletter issue.

Remember, too, if you have any news you'd like to share with your fellow IWSG members in the newsletter, please email me with a few lines and a link!

Thursday, August 17, 2017

August is a month of #FREE ebooks!

I'm celebrating the release of the final book of my Totem series this month. It's only 12 days away! I've been eating way too many cookies, and I've set up a lot of a free promos for my books. I might be a little whacked out on sugar when I did that.

But you, my wonderful friends, get to benefit from my cookie binges!

Starting today, Loose Corset (Dice & Debauchery #1) is free for five days! This freebie lines up with GenCon celebrating its 50th year. Wish I could be there.

Have you had any adventures in the woods this summer? Maybe you caught a glimpse of Bigfoot or a couple in a romantic moment. Heh. Big Yearning (Sasquatch Susies #1) is free for two more days.

I'm ending the month with a big one. When True Shifter releases on August 29th, the first three books in the Totem series will be free for five days. Yes, three books. Mark your calendars and load up on cookies!

Monday, August 14, 2017

Having fun with author photos

You might have noticed that I changed my author photo recently. The old one was stale. I needed something fresh, with more color and a little more personality. Perhaps I should have included my cat, but I figured he's not the one writing my books.

General advice says to update your author photo about every four to five years. It's like getting a new driver's license. It's a little terrifying and a lot more frustrating, especially for those of us who don't like being on that side of the camera. No picture is ever good enough. But you have to pick one.

As a writer with a current budget of zero dollars to hire a professional photographer, I enlisted my husband's help first. The day was a bit too sunny, though.

Even standing in the shade, there was no spot that didn't have reflections on my glasses.

Then there were sunspots. Pink sunspots in that one. Maybe I could get away photoshopping those out, but there's still the reflection on my glasses.

Really, honey? Get down from that tree!

Unsatisfied with that round, I was sitting around with another mom the next day while our sons played. She's an art and Spanish teacher, and she has a good eye. When I suggested it, she was eager to help out.

Lovely bush in bloom in the background with an evergreen. Just enough cloud cover to eliminate the reflection on my glasses and still provide enough light. But...

It can't help the fact that I'm uncomfortable in front of a camera. It looks like I'm standing at attention, ready for duty!


An author photo I'm satisfied with. Good lighting, no shadows or reflections, and my hair isn't totally flipping out. The art teacher did a great job!
Author photo tips:
- unless you can really pull off moody or quirky, don't do it.
- don't overly make yourself up. Look like how you would if someone saw you in public... without your kids or the white cat hair on your black shirt.
- be professional. No offensive t-shirts or political messages, unless that's what you write.
- look friendly. You want readers to like you, and an author photo is part of your brand.
- hire a professional, if you can. If not, art teachers are awesome!