Tuesday, September 30, 2014

September 30th Challenge

Hi it’s Christina –

Good Morning! Perhaps it’s the change of seasons, I’m not sure, but I am definitely a little off lately. I feel like I’m trying to run on low batteries or something. My intentions are good, but my follow-thru is lacking. I have entirely too much to do, to be functioning at less than optimal capacity.

Only one of you weighed in on my request for advice yesterday – thanks Cindy. I am going to heed her advice and just let the judges’ ruling on Taking Chances stand and not enter it in a new category this year. So, this morning, I filled out and submitted all the paperwork to enter Corporate Blues in the 2015 Indie Next Generation Book Awards.

I’ll admit, I have very low expectations for the results. Corporate Blues is a fun, light, book. It’s a quick read. It was very easy for me to write – minus the anxiety of having to contact the FBI to get some of my facts straight. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good story, but it required nowhere near as much work as my Bradford Series novels do. Perhaps because portions of Corporate Blues were actual events, which happened to me, it came very easy. The story just flowed on to the pages.

Research consisted of verifying some facts with our local police, having to check out the subway route to Fenway Park and the baseball pre-season schedule, and asking a few helicopter flight related questions. That’s it. Plus the fact that Corporate Blues is what I call “sex-lite”, the love scenes were not painful to write. There was no blood, no sweat, and no tears wrung out of me to produce the story, and because of that, it makes me wonder if I should have even entered it into the competition.

I realize I’m trying to compare apples to oranges. Historical Romance and Contemporary Romance are distant cousins, several times removed, at best. The amount of work and research required to produce a Historical is astronomical, where as a Contemporary, set in a location you are familiar with, in a profession you are familiar with… not so much.

I don’t think I will have the same issue with entering Faerie Tale Queen, because, since it is set in Ireland, I have had to do my fair share of research. (Flight times, commute time to a fictitious island which is based on a real island, eggs not being refrigerated like they are here in the states, different words for things depending on if the American character is saying them or the Irish character is saying them, a show that would be playing on tv on a certain night at a certain time, etc.)

Now, if Corporate Blues happens to do well (ie: better than Taking Chances), I will be truly confused. I used to get this same feeling when I was in school and aced a test I had not studied for, or bombed one I had studied hard for. Yeah, I know, I’m a nut.

Double Rainbow -The weird thing is,
it didn't rain, so I have no idea how
we had a rainbow.
As a completely random interjection, last night I ran out to the car to get an iced tea – I went grocery shopping yesterday and the case of iced tea had not made it into the house yet – and I was gifted by a lovely, and completely unexpected surprise. I just wanted to share the photo with you.

One last random piece before I skedaddle, this morning I read some advice to woman writers, and I wanted to share the link to the article with you. I think I will be printing out the article and sticking it on my fridge, so I can use it as a reminder from time to time – and who knows, perhaps others in my house will also take a look. (I’m not holding my breath on that one.)

Okay, I hope you have a great day, and happy writing!

Your Next Challenge:

You tried your best…

You have ten minutes (be honest). There is no right or wrong, just write. Spelling and punctuation don’t count, and NO ONE is allowed to criticize what someone else has written. Go.

Monday, September 29, 2014

September 29th Challenge

Hi it’s Christina –

Good Morning! Yup, as suspected, yesterday was completely unproductive, and as you can probably gather by the lateness of this post, I’m not faring much better today either. I think my frantic pace over the past several weeks has caught up to me.

Today, amongst laundry, dishes, and hopefully some vacuuming, will be spent reading FTQ. I need to get back into the story, bring it to culmination, and put the final touches on it. I need to make sure there are no holes, and, if needed, insert clues so the pinnacle leaves you with an “Oh!” not an “Oh?”.

One saving grace is this is the fifth week in the month, which translates to, I only have one meeting this week. I can spend the entire week decompressing (except for work on T, W & Th). Come Saturday, when I have my next book signing, I should be right as rain again.

I would like your advice. I have dithered to the last possible second, and now the early bird deadline for the Indie Next Generation Book Awards is tomorrow. This past year, Taking Chances was a finalist in the “2nd Book” category. It is still eligible for entry in the 2015 competition. My question is, should I resubmit Taking Chances, or should I just be happy with the 2014 results and submit Corporate Blues instead?

If I decide to go with Taking Chances, I will be entering it again in the “Romance” category, but this time I will also be entering it in the “Historical Fiction” category. If I enter Corporate Blues, it will go into the “Romance” & “Chick Lit” categories. I’m truly torn, and I seek your counsel. Please weigh in on this. I only have until tomorrow evening to decide. In all honesty, Corporate Blues is a fun, light piece, but I feel Taking Chances holds more literary merit. UGH! HELP! (I don’t want to pay $150 to enter both of them.)

Okay, I have procrastinated long enough today. I really should get something, anything, accomplished. Lord I loathe housework!

I hope you have a marvelous day, and happy writing!

Your Next Challenge:

An Ode to Your Eyes…

You have ten minutes (be honest). There is no right or wrong, just write. Spelling and punctuation don’t count, and NO ONE is allowed to criticize what someone else has written. Go.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

September 28th Challenge

Hi it’s Christina –

My Booth
Good Morning! It’s going to be one of those days. I’ve been up for three hours and I have done absolutely nothing, and have no clue where the three hours went. Working on my second cup of coffee now, but it’s not helping much.It is amazing to me how exhausting book signings are, all I’m doing is talking to people for hours, but when I’m done, I’m spent.

Barbara and Her Mom
If it wasn’t for the company I had, yesterday would have been a total bust. When we got to Milford Alive, and hauled all our stuff over to where we were to set up, I got a nice surprise. We were right next to another author, Barbara Steingas, who I met at an event I did last year at Canterbury Tales. I really wish my Paulie would read, because if he did, I’d give him one of Barbara’s books, “Germans AreFunny, Too!”. I think he would get a kick out of it.
Kathi & Me

Kathi Kurz is such a doll. I have known her for roughly a hundred years. She was friends with my sister-in-law when they were growing up, and my mother-in-law and her mother were best friends, so we were together quite often. (I really should be saying “are” not “were”, because all parties are still alive, and well, and friends.)

Kathi's Book
Does a Robot Have a Nose?
Kathi’s book, “Does a Robot Have a Nose?”, is an adorable and very imaginative children’s book inspired by her oldest son. It is the first book in a series (next installment due out in December). The story is about Robbie the Robot, but at the end of the book it shows you how to build Robbie with items you find around the house – a shoebox, a tissue box, water bottles and their caps, yogurt tops, etc. As Kathi says, “All of the items are recycled, except the glue.” Each of the books in the series will have arts and crafts projects parents can do with their kids when they finish reading them the books.

I couldn't get the link to
load for Maggie's to post
it here for you. So here's
her number instead.
(717) 254-7581
Across the street from where we set up, there was a tent where Face Paints by Maggie was doing free face painting. I told Kathi she should go over and see if they would do a robot on her cheek, and I said that if she did, I would go and get a heart on mine. (Barbara was supposed to get a beer stein on hers, but she never made it over there.) Hey, it was free right?

Kathi’s robot came out great, but I was a tiny bit disappointed with my heart. I told the girl she could do whatever she felt inspired to do. I thought, since she knew I was a romance writer, she would do something red and pink with white frillies of some sort, but she just made a plain red heart with a black outline. It came out fine, but oh well, what do you want for nothing? The ladies doing the painting were really sweet, and the work they did on the kids was true art. It’s no big deal that they didn’t do anything elaborate on this old lady.

As I’m finding out, events such as Milford Alive, favor children’s authors. Neither Barbara nor I sold a single book, but Kathi did quite well. As a matter of fact, she sold her 200th book while we were there, and we all did the happy dance.

We were set up between Church Street and the bridge going into PA, in front of the Milford Station Bakery. On our corner the Grace Fellowship Church had a stand and their praise band was playing on the mobile “River Stage” (an Updyke Lumber flatbed truck) across the street. Later in the day there were two other bands playing, Bad Hands & Bliss, so we had music all day long. It made it a little difficult to talk over the music, but it was still nice having them there.

The Milford Historical Society’s stand was around the corner from us. Two of their members were decked out in full regalia. They looked amazing, but it was a bit warm yesterday, so they must have been dying. They told me they were going to be doing a historical walking tour, which I believe will be on Saturday, October 4th to commemorate the 137th anniversary of the wreck of the Oswego Express. Unfortunately I do not know any of the details, and there is nothing currently up on their webpage, but if you are interested, you can contact the Milford Historical Society at, and I’m sure they will be able to help you out.

If you have never been to Milford Alive, I would suggest you attend. It was quite an event. The streets were closed to traffic, and packed with vendors and patrons – both two and four legged kind. I wish I had the time to go and check out the fair, because folks walking by my stand were eating some yummy looking treats. You know me, I’m all about the food. At the other end of the fair, they had the “Main Stage” with bands playing, but they were out of earshot, so I cannot comment on them.

At 2:00 pm, the main event occurred. The event which Milford is famous for… the bed race. It started off with a parade. First came the boy scouts, troop 187 if I recall correctly, and they lead the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance. A teenage girl sang the National Anthem. I wish her name was listed in the program, because I would love to be able to tell you who she was. She did a great job and deserves to get some credit.

After the boys were done, the parade of antique cars and trucks rolled by. I loved the old fire truck, and this car was really cool. I think it’s an old Aston Martin, but I’m not sure. Do any of you recognize it?

When the cars finished their second drive by, a flock of bi-planes flew overhead. All totaled, I think eight or nine planes flew the length of Bridge Street, signaling the start of the race.

Now this wasn’t a typical race. Not only were the “vehicles” unusual, converted bed frames, but the racers went one at a time, not head to head. Each vehicle consisted of one driver and either three or four runners, and all the vehicles are themed. There was one which was quite clever. They used a bunk bed frame, and atop sat Cleopatra and her Roman guards – in togas of course – were her runners. I wish I had gotten a photo of that one for you.

Even though the photo of this one isn’t great, it was hysterical. It was the O Farma entry. All the runners were in plaid flannel shirts and caps, and the “driver” was a hugely pregnant cowgirl, supposedly in labor, huffing and puffing, as her runners were trying to get the bed to the hospital in time. I was about five seconds late on snapping this photo. She was already climbing down from her perch, but you get the idea.

Okay, I have yammered on long enough. I hope you have a wonderful day, and happy writing!

Your Next Challenge:

It has now become the time for action…

You have ten minutes (be honest). There is no right or wrong, just write. Spelling and punctuation don’t count, and NO ONE is allowed to criticize what someone else has written. Go.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

September 27th Challenge

Hi it’s Christina –

Good Morning! Today’s blog is going to be REALLY short, because I still have some things to get together for today’s signing at Milford Alive.

I have a bunch of Halloween decorations I pulled out of the Scarecrow Festival I was at last week, and I decided to expand upon the theme. This time instead of my Christina Paul Books paint can for the chocolate, I have a black cauldron. I had Dani write Christina Paul Books on it with silver Sharpie. (Her handwriting is so much nicer than mine.)

I got the car all cleaned out and organized. There’s so much stuff, and I still have to get Kathi’s table and books in there. I did take up more than half the available space, but in my defense, I have the items we’ll be sharing – the tent, the chairs, and the cooler.

The tent is so heavy, and I’m a little concerned about getting it set up. I know I’m going to look like a complete spaz. I had asked Paulie if we could do a trial run one night this week when he came home from work, but we never managed to find the time. I have set up tents before, but each one is a little different, has its own quirks, so I would have been a whole lot more confident if I had been able to practice.

Okay, I just realized I told the girls we were leaving at nine, but I had told Kathi we would be at her house at nine. So I had better get my butt in the shower, so when I wake the girls up early, they’ll be able to have the bathroom.

I hope you have an awesome day, and happy writing!

Your Next Challenge:

Bubbles rising from the middle of the lake…

You have ten minutes (be honest). There is no right or wrong, just write. Spelling and punctuation don’t count, and NO ONE is allowed to criticize what someone else has written. Go.

Friday, September 26, 2014

September 26th Challenge

Hi it’s Christina –

Good Morning! I’ve been in a bit of a funk for the past few days – kinda – sorta – sick, but not quite. Everything was a little off, and that is why I did not do a blog post. I was concentrating on the “absolutely have to”, and letting the rest slide.

I did go to my Tuesday writing group. We had a HUGH crowd. I think it was the biggest yet. Afterwards, a small group of us went for ice cream. Terrance, a regular in the group, Rebecca, a new addition who found our group completely by accident (she was supposed to be studying, then thought we were a volunteer group, so she decided to sit in – boy was she surprised; but then she had so much fun, she decided to stay, and will more than likely be returning), and Annabelle, a radio producer for the BBC, who was visiting from England, via Tanzania.

Can you believe that? She was in Princeton for just one day, had nothing better to do, so she decided to visit our writing group at the library. She claims she has never written before, but Oh MY, what a talent she has. If she ever gets bored with doing her radio shtick, she could have a lucrative career as a writer. Yeah, she was that amazing.

Blessedly, Wednesday evening I had not meetings, so I was able to relax a little. Dani went out with some friends, and I commandeered the television. Monday night I got to watch the season premiere of Sleepy Hollow, but as luck would have it, it aired at the exact same time as a new show I wanted to see, Scorpion. Thanks to the magic of OnDemand, I was able to watch Monday’s show on Wednesday.

Now, even though because of all the hype, and all the previews, you pretty much saw the entire show before it aired, I still think it is going to be a good show. Next week will be the real test for me. If they can keep the momentum going, I’ll continue to watch. (On OnDemand of course – Sleepy Hollow takes presidents.)

Even though I claim I do not watch much TV, this season appears to have sucked me back in. I am, and I have been, a fan of NCIS since its inception, and have watched fairly faithfully. A few years back they did a spin-off NCIS:LA, and I began to watch that one too, but not faithfully. Now this year there is another spin-off NCIS: New Orleans – and considering I have always been a fan of Scott Bakula, there was no way I was going to miss this new series. So there’s three shows.

You already know what a Sleepy Hollow nut I am, plus now I may be adding Scorpion. My husband got me hooked on Person of Interest, but I’m not a faithful watcher. Dani and I watch Teen Wolf together (it’s our thing). Another obsession of mine is Grimm, which like NCIS and Hawaii Five-O, I have been watching from their first episodes; and as luck would have it, Grimm and Hawaii Five-O are on at the same time. All told, that’s nine shows – nine hours of my week spent unproductively, doing nothing but sitting on my bum, relaxing. Not my usual style.

Oh wait, I forgot one. Elementary. I’m a big fan of Sherlock Holmes, so when a modern day version came out, I was all over it. I love pitting my wit against the character to see if I can pick up on the same clues he does.

I will admit, the new show Forever has caught my interest as well, but I think I will let that one slide by for now. For someone who doesn’t not really like to waste time watching TV, my plate is quite full at the moment. This one I will relegate to OnDemand while the others are in reruns.

That’s the same way I get my Castle fix. I watched an episode this summer when there was nothing on, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. So between TNT, OnDemand, Netflix, and my computer, I have been getting caught up on the last several seasons.

So what about you? What shows have gained your loyalty and commandeered your precious time? What is it about the show that drew you in, that keeps you coming back week after week?

Just a reminder, the $0.99 Kindle Sale is still going on. You have until 11:59 p.m. on Saturday to get your copies of A Second Chance, Taking Chances, and/or Corporate Blues. At midnight, the prices go back up, and I don’t think they will be on sale again this year. We’ll see.

Okay, I should get going. I need to run to the bank to get change for Saturday – I’m actually selling my books, they are not being filtered through a bookstore this time. I have to run to ShopRite to replenish my candy again – both days last weekend, I got wiped out. Then, when I get home, I need to clean out my car, because not only does all my junk need to get pack in there, Kathi Kurz is driving up to MilfordAlive with me, so I’m going to have all her junk too. Two tables, two chairs, all our decorations, cases of both of our books, our food and drink cooler, and God only knows what else. At least we are sharing the tent, so we’ll only have one of those. 

I hope you have an amazing day, and happy writing!

Your Next Challenge:

Cinderella gets fed up with being “mister nice guy” and plots her revenge on her step sisters…

You have ten minutes (be honest). There is no right or wrong, just write. Spelling and punctuation don’t count, and NO ONE is allowed to criticize what someone else has written. Go.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

September 23rd Challenge

Hi it’s Christina –

Good Morning! I tried, but I just didn’t have it in me yesterday to make a blog post. I was wrecked after the two day book signing. Sunday, I had intended to walk the festival after the signing and get pictures of all the displays so you could see, but I was spent. I was literally fighting to stay awake during the drive home. I will be back at Peddler’s Village next weekend (not this weekend), and I will get the photos for you then.

I did well on Sunday, not as good as on Saturday, but it was a good day nonetheless. It wasn’t quite the same without the two Karens there. Karen Scheuer was not feeling well, so she was unable to return on Sunday, and Karen Hluchan had a prior commitment. I did however get to spend some quality time with Joanne Holliday, and I have decided I thoroughly enjoy the woman. Her and her sister Lucy were a riot! I look forward to seeing both of them at future signings.

I did have a nice surprise on Sunday. Do you remember me telling you about meeting Jessica at a previous signing? She was the aspiring writer and jewelry maker (I told you about an upcoming craft fair she will be attending). Anyway, she stopped by to say “Hi”, and it really made my day. She brought along her husband and her mom, who barely looks old enough to be her big sister, let alone her mother, so I got to meet her family. It’s moments like these that warm my heart.

Yesterday the only writing I did were email correspondences and I did jot down some notes on a story idea which popped into my head. It may or may not turn into anything, we’ll see. If it does, you’ll be the first to know.

I also spent part of the day hammering out details for this weekend’s event – Milford Alive. I’ll be honest, I have no clue where Milford even is, but I am happy to report, it is only about half an hour away. I really should do a little more research before I agree to do these things. My friend, Kathi Kurz, an author of children’s books, will be joining me this weekend. I am picking her up early, we are packing up my car, and heading up there. We will be sharing a tent, so if you happen to be in the Milford, New Jersey area on the 27th, please come by and say “Hi”.

So my big sale started on Sunday, and things are going a little slow which is surprising. I’ve only sold about twenty books so far, and they have all been on Not a single one has sold on, and I’m not sure why. All three books are either at $0.99 or £1 – that’s a 67% discount. I created an event on Facebook and invited over 800 people. If they’d each share it with two friends, I’d be able to get the word out.

The last time I ran a sale, I did almost no advertising for it, and the amount of sales surprised me. So this time I figured, if I put forth a little more effort, they would be even better. Logical, right? This is just one of the many mysteries of book marketing for me – truly not my forte, but a necessary evil all us authors must endure.

I have received several direct messages requesting the link to my radio interview. Really? WOW. Thanks! At the risk of no one seeing this post on Facebook, I have decided to chance it, and post the link here. (If you are reading this directly from my blog, this comment won’t make much sense to you. You see, if I include any pictures or any links within my posts, Facebook severely hobbles the number of followers the post reaches. It is very frustrating.)

Okay, I should go. I hope you have a great day, and happy writing!

Your Next Challenge:

I’ll set the stage: A crowded room, lots of people are chatting, you notice one person standing alone…

You have ten minutes (be honest). There is no right or wrong, just write. Spelling and punctuation don’t count, and NO ONE is allowed to criticize what someone else has written. Go.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

September 21st Challenge

Hi it’s Christina –

Good Morning! My Facebook readers are not going to be happy with me this morning because I told them, "Sorry, today's blog is all pictures, so it wouldn't make sense to even post it here, because you would have no idea what I was talking about. So jump on over to my blog, so you can see everything." Hopefully they'll forgive me.

Karen Scheuer, Karen Hluchan,
Samuel Knight, Wayne (the owner of
 Canterbury Tales Forever Bookstore),
Me and Joanne Holliday.
So yesterday's book signing went really well for all five of us - that's right FIVE. It was a packed house at Canterbury Tales Forever.

We had such a picture perfect day, not too hot, the breeze was perfect, although one gust did wreak a tiny bit of havoc, the crowd was fairly constant, and we all sold books. Who could ask for a better day?

I got to meet and work with two new authors, and I will tell you about them and their books.

Karen Scheuer
Karen Scheuer, is a second grade teacher and she wrote A Bug and A Wish. It is a wonderful book about bullying. The illustrations are amazing, and the message is powerful. She did an amazing job on the book.

I also found out she will be attending the Collingswood Book Festival. She is in booth 154, so if you are planning on attending Collingswood, please stop by and say "Hi!" to her as well.

Karen will be back at Canterbury Tales again today, but she won't be arriving until noon.
Joanne Holliday
Joanne Holliday (I couldn't find her Facebook page. I'll give you the link when I find it) is the author of Sammy, the Unhappy Clam. It is another children's book, but this one is about you being able to be who you want to be and not just what other's think you should be. The illustrations are adorable, and the children who Joanne read the story to, really seemed to enjoy the book.

I didn't get as much time as I would have liked to spend with Joanne because we were at opposite ends of Author's Row. Hopefully we'll get a little more time to chat today.

Samuel Knight
What would a book signing be without my main man Sam? I thoroughly enjoy spending time with Samuel Knight, author of Monty, A Christmas Story. He is such a fun guy to be around. I just wish his book was available on Amazon so all of you could get a copy. I've told you about him and his book a million times already, so I won't do it again today.

He too will be returning to Canterbury Tales today, so since this is the ONLY place you would be able to pick up Monty, A Christmas Story, you should swing by if you can.
Karen Hluchan &
Terri Schwomeyer
Author, Medium and my friend, Karen Hluchan was there as well. Not only did she have her fabulous book, How Have You Loved?, she was also doing free readings up on the lawn. Although she needed to be on the lawn for the readings, I wish she would have been down by us for the signings. I missed being able to chat with her during the day.

The crowd kept growing and growing.
She had three different readings, at twelve, two and four, and she drew a nice crowd at each, the second reading had between fifty and sixty people. She did such a great job. I am going to give Terri a little shout-out here as well, because I know Karen would not have been able to pull things off so smoothly without Terri's help. Terri, you were a Godsend, and as always, a sweetie-pie. I too feel blessed to have the privilege of knowing you.

I'm a little bummed that Karen won't be back again today, but we will be together again on October 4th and 5th, and I'm sure Terri will be coming with her as well. Yeah!

So, as you know, I am not a fan of having my picture take, and certainly not of posting pictures of myself. A Selfie Queen I will never be. However, I will be posting two photos today. I have to show off my new banner and t-shirt right? Unfortunately with five authors there yesterday, I got stuck with one of the shorter tables, so the banner didn't hang exactly right, but you get the idea. I am very happy with the way it turned out.

Noemi & Ivy
I know I've said it before, but I am going to say it again. The best part of these book signings is the people I meet. I had one return customer, Bill, stop by to say "Hi". This time he came and picked up a copy of Corporate Blues. I'll admit, I did not remember his name, but I did remember him. I also got to meet these two lovely sisters. They were so much fun. We chatted and laughed for quite a while. It's folks like this that make all the long exhausting hours all worth it.

"Oh my, shoe fly pie"
I have to do one final shout-out. Tina, bless her heart, was just walking by when I accosted her. I wanted to get a photo of her shirt for today's blog. I'm telling you folks, the Scarecrow Festival is loads of fun. You should come out to Peddlers' Village if you can. There's live music, tons of food (a zillion different renditions of fried dough - Lord I'm trying to be good), games and entertainment for the kids, creative scarecrows, and let's not forget all the fabulous shoppes.

YIKES, it's time to go and I'm not ready yet. I hope you have a fantastic day, and happy writing!

Your Next Challenge:

Sometimes you meet the nicest people…

You have ten minutes (be honest). There is no right or wrong, just write. Spelling and punctuation don’t count, and NO ONE is allowed to criticize what someone else has written. Go.