Thursday, November 6, 2014

Reflecting back on the past year...

I'll admit, unlike a lot of you, writing has never been my passion. Oh, I wrote poetry as a kid, and I'd often toyed over the years with the idea of writing a book, but it wasn't anything that I was ever serious about. Until a year ago.

You see, I never knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. I had a job that I liked but it wasn't a career. In fact, I've had several jobs over the years but none of them called to me past the weekly paycheck. I do, however, love to read. I always have. Most of my earliest memories involve books - my mom reading to me before bedtime; my sister reading the 'Little House' books to me on our front porch; my first airplane ride reading a My Little Golden book (yes, I remember which one). I still own some of my favorite books from my childhood, and when I'm feeling nostalgic, I'll choose one off of the shelf and re-visit Nancy Drew, Laura Ingalls, or The Pokey Little Puppy.

So when a friend of mine published her first book, my interest was peaked. When she was getting ready to publish her second one, I decided to try it. Write a story and publish it. I was scared, I had no earthly idea what I was doing, I wasn't even sure how to start. And for those of you who think that it's easy to put words down on paper, let me tell you, it's not. Facing that blank white screen was terrifying. Not to mention, I knew nothing at all about the actual publishing side of things...but I'm getting ahead of myself.

I love old westerns. I always have. I grew up watching re-runs of The Big Valley and High Chaparral on Saturday afternoons. When I became an adult, I moved to Flagstaff, AZ, and finally got to see 'The West'. It was as incredible as I'd always dreamed it would be. I visited Indian ruins and old 'ghost' towns, saw wild burros and arroyos. I especially love the Sedona/Verde Valley area. That's where the setting for Here to Stay, and the subsequent Hidden Springs books, comes from. It felt natural for me to write about the time period that I love so much. It's lots of fun (and a lot of hard work) researching when different things were invented, when towns became incorporated, the year territories became states, etc. Although I have made a slip-up (I'm not telling what it is) I try to be as exact as I can be in my descriptions. And while I want to be historically accurate of the Old West, I also attempt to give the stories a contemporary feel when it comes to the interactions between people. Because I think that no matter when love takes place, people act and react the same way.

Back to my original subject...becoming an author. I had no clue what I was doing but I jumped in and wrote a great story. And while I was writing, I formed the ideas for seven more great stories. And before I knew it, I was planning ideas for even more stories that had nothing to do with Hidden Springs. And that's when I realized...I finally knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. An author!! I have never worked at anything in my life as hard as I do at this. I breathe, eat, sleep, and live all things Kristine Raymond. I still have A LOT to learn, no doubts there! But I look forward to the challenges.

In some ways, when I look back over the past twelve months, not much has changed in my life. And in other ways, everything has changed. I've become a more confident person, which shows not only when I am with fellow authors but in my everyday life as well. I take chances that I never would have imagined taking. I walk up to strangers and ask them to model on my book covers. I travel to cities that I never had any interest in visiting and I have a blast! And I keep looking for to the next project, even when I am having doubts about the current one.

There's no predicting the future, so I have no idea of where I'll be a year from now, but I can tell you this. I'm looking forward to the trip!!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Anyone who knows me personally knows two things about me...

1) It's important to me to be correct. This is not the same thing as being right, and will be the subject of a later post.

2) I like to be prepared for anything. And while I know that this is an impossibility, I still do my best to be ready for whatever comes my way.

Being prepared is the subject of this post. More to the point, being prepared for an author signing.

Now signings can vary in length. Some might last two hours while others can last five or six. And although no one is chaining you to your table, it benefits you, the author, to stay in your seat as much as possible since readers come out to meet YOU, and hopefully spend some of their hard-earned moolah on your books.

Aside from doing some socializing when, heaven forbid, things slow down, I rarely leave my table. So I make sure to bring everything that I could possibly need with me. Indispensable table items include, but are not limited to:

1) a box of tissues

2) hand sanitizer

3) several sharpies, including metallic colors (these seem to work best when signing bags or t-shirts and, trust me, you'll be signing lots of things besides books!

4) extra pens, in case the one you are using runs dry, or in case your table mate isn't as prepared as you and asks to borrow one.

5) a small pad of paper to jot down names and other notes. A lot of people will be introducing themselves to you and unless you have an incredibly good memory, you'll most likely have forgotten their name by the time you pack up your stuff at the end of the day. Or after a few margaritas at the after-party.

6) a small trash bag. Take out what you bring in. That's my PSA for the day.

7) a bottle of water or other beverage. Sometimes drinks are provided and sometimes not. And again, if you're lucky enough to have a line of people waiting for your signature, you don't want to ask them to wait in order to re-hydrate.

8) snacks, preferably something that won't get stuck in your teeth. It might be hours before lunchtime and you won't want your tummy rumbling as you are trying to impress your fans.

9) safety pins. These come in incredibly handy if you bring your own table linens. Trust me on this one.

10) tape, preferably heavy-duty like duct tape. It can be indispensable at an outdoor signing for holding a tablecloth on a table, or for securing a banner to the wall if your stand breaks. (I've seen it happen).

11) an order book, on the chance that you completely sell out everything that you brought with you and people want more.

12) a money bag or money box, unless you want to stuff bills in your pocket.

And while we're on the subject of money...

13) CHANGE!!! You don't want to lose a customer because you can't break a $50.

And most importantly...

14) your books, swag, and other goodies, as well as something to display them in.

I know, I know...I can hear some of you clamoring that there is no way you can haul all of this stuff to a signing without taking out a second mortgage on your house to pay the baggage fees at the airlines. I completely understand. I'm lucky enough, depending on your definition of lucky, to drive to all of my signings, so the extra space and weight aren't much of a concern for the 'family truckster'. This list isn't for everyone.

But if you're like me and want to be prepared for any contingency, it might help. Feel free to personalize it with whatever you can't do without for five hours or so. And if you do find yourself in need of something, just look for my table.

Chances are, I'll have it with me!

Monday, September 29, 2014

There is a fine line between realism and negativity...

I tend to be a realist. I see situations for what they are. I don't believe that I'm a pessimist, but I have a hard time always seeing the 'bright' side. I've always had a difficult time recognizing my worth. I tend to shrug off compliments or disregard them completely. Even worse, I sabotage myself with my thoughts and actions. Because I lean toward the darker side of the realism that I see.

Since publishing my first book, I find that I'm quick to point out all of the things that aren't working. Each day, my list of 'N'T's' gets longer.

I DON'T have a large following
I DON'T sell a lot of books
I DON'T have many reviews
I DON'T ...

Trust me, it's a pretty long list. One that I'd rather not have. And today I realized that I DON'T have to have it. I'm the one who made the list; I'm the one who can throw it away. Or burn it. Or shred it. Or send it to the skies, taped to a balloon.

I refuse to let the dark side of realism have a hold on me any longer. From this day forward, I'm going to see the bright side.

Oh, I'm still a realist. Things are what they are. But for every negative, there's a positive. Isn't that one of Newton's Laws of Success? (I'm not quoting verbatim here). My point is, there is a positive statement that refutes every negative statement that I list.

I DO have readers who enjoy my books
I DO have sales each month
I DO have positive reviews of my books
I DO have people who support me and my writing

I AM an author!

Friday, June 6, 2014

Cover Reveal...

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A Chance on Love by Kristine Raymond


Synopsis

Dr. Ben Kincaid is content to spend his days and nights treating the people of Hidden Springs. Not even his closest friends know the heartbreak that haunts him. Ten years earlier his wife left him, taking their only child with her. Ben vowed to never again trust anyone with his heart.

Shiloh Bishop came to Hidden Springs looking for a fresh start. Having been forced into an arranged marriage with an older man, she’s lived a life of misery. When she finds herself suddenly widowed and expecting her first child, she looks forward to starting a new life.

Ben is captivated by Shiloh the first moment he sees her but he is unwilling to let go of the chains of mistrust that are wrapped around his heart. Shiloh is determined to rebuild her life and has no intention of ever becoming another man’s wife.
When a deadly illness strikes the town, they have no choice but to rely on each other. Admiration and respect soon turn to passion, but will it be enough for them to take a chance on love?

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Meet Kristine Raymond

Kristine Raymond loves to read and that naturally transformed into a love of writing. She has always been a fan of the Old West and lived in Arizona for several years, where she was able to appreciate the beauty and history of the region.

She has released three books in the Hidden Springs series and is currently working on a contemporary story. When she is not writing, she enjoys spending time with her husband and furry family, and she occasionally watches a TV western or two.

website

twitter username: @k_raymondauthor

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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Welcome to my entry in the blog hop, a kind of relay race for authors!  First of all, a huge thank you to  Nerika Parke who tagged me to do this.  Nerika is an amazing author of two books; Defenceless, and Paving Paradise.   Check out her blog, Nerika Parke or visit her Facebook page.

Now for the answers to the questions that I know are keeping you up at night!


1)   What am I working on?

Well, right now I'm working on the fourth book of the Hidden Springs series.  It's called A Chance on Love.  Do you remember Ben, the town's doctor?  This is his story.  I have also started a contemporary novel called Tempted, which I will complete after I'm finished with Ben.

2)     How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Although I write historical romances, they have a contemporary feel to them.   The setting is the late 1800s but the emotions are just as real as if the stories were taking place today.  Just with a lot of uncomfortable clothing on the women.  And no running water. 

      3)  Why do I write what I do?

      I've always been a fan of the Old West.  There's something about the ruggedness and lawlessness that appeals to me.  You fought for what was yours, you provided for yourself and your family, and you depended on the people around you.

           4)  How does my writing process work?

      I just write.  I have all of these ideas in my head, and I  sit down and start putting the words to paper, or the computer screen, whichever one is closest.  I know the major plot but I let the characters take me where they want to go.  There are times when I come up with plots that I hadn't even thought about beforehand.  Somehow, by the time that I'm finished, the jumble of ideas that were in my mind have become a story that hopefully, you'll want to read.
  
      You can find out more about me at www.kristineraymond.com or visit me on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest, Instagram, Amazon, or contact me at  kristineraymond.author@gmail.com.  I'd love to hear from you!  And don't forget to check out my books - Here to Stay , Hearts on Fire, and Abby's Heart.

Next up are three talented authors, (and friends), who will be sharing their own writing processes.

MaryAnn Jordan


           I have always been an avid reader. I joke that I "cut my romance teeth" on the old bodice ripper romance books. Last year I started a blog to showcase wonderful writers. In 2014, I finally gave in to the characters in my head pleading for their story to be told. Thus, Emma's Home was created. I work as a counselor in a high school and have been involved in education for the past 30 years. I have been married to a wonderfully patient man for 32 years and have 2 adult, very supportive daughters. When writing, my dog or one of my cats will usually be found in my lap! I love to hear from readers, so please email me!  authormaryannjordan@gmail.com

           You can find MaryAnn on Facebook and Amazon.  She is the author of two books, Emma's Home, and Laurie's Time.

  Andrea Michelle
     

  Once upon a time in the boot of Louisiana, a young girl made a mess of things and began writing dark poetry to cope. She often found herself day dreaming, creating stories in a far away land that didn't exist and was always out of her reach. Her mission was to move on, find love and a reason to believe in the beautiful things in life. She didn't expect to be counting her blessings daily for all that she has found since then. Her once dark poetry became colorful and bright—it became music. She found purpose and her make believe stories slowly vanished away. Her poetry also sat in the backseat as more important things took priority. However, life can catapult you in the blink of an eye. A long forgotten coping mechanism of writing would once again become her escape. This time, though, she realized that this escape where she created stories was not a curse, but a gift. Embracing her vice, she breathes life into her characters and poetically weaves together stories for readers to enjoy. She is no longer the young girl who feared the unknown, but is stronger and has faith that beautiful things will always be in reach. She is married to her best friend, and is a mom to three beautiful daughters who are her favorite cheerleaders. She is excited to have the opportunity to share her love of writing with readers. The stories are fictional, but they are real to her. She has always felt things passionately and this new journey as an author is no different. She is no longer looking back, but looking ahead to this amazing adventure with all of you. She invites you to connect with her if you desire to do so.

  You can find Andrea on Facebook , Goodreads, and Amazon.  She is the author of two books, Escape the Doubt and Embrace the Moment

  Katija O


           Not to stray from the common Author cliché, I loved to read as a child – I actually excelled in reading from a young age. This was definitely to my advantage. In saying that I only enjoyed reading “happily ever after stories.” As I grew older my pleasures turned to “teen romance stories” with the obvious transition being heavy love stories and of course Jackie Collins’ novels. Then due to relationship and work commitments my reading all but ceased until my children were at an age where I could steal and hour or two (which then became and hour or four). A few years ago I discovered the Twilight Saga, this kept my thoroughly entertained for years as I read and re-read numerous times… Enter 50 Shades. Whilst I was a little fearful to read this erotic tale, something tugged at my inner thoughts and I succumbed, like everyone around me falling for the likes of one Christian Grey. I continued from that moment reading many many stories and getting involved with Indie Authors from around the globe – something then happened to me. I awoke one Saturday morning with a whole story fixed in my mind. This had happened to me a lot over the years but this story was so clear and concise and I acted on in with the inspiration of the Indie Authors. That’s when my first novel Majestic Pearls was born – it has grown from there and is a beautifully work in progress. In the interim, I wrote my current story, a novella entitled Que Sera Sera. When I'm not at my desk, I'm reading – beta reading, or just plain reading. As a full time mother and wife my life is very full. My other passion, other than writing and family is Music … music from yesteryear is my genre.

You can find Katija on Facebook and Twitter.  She is the author of two books, Que Sera Sera, and Majestic Pearls.
 






 


Saturday, May 17, 2014

Wow...I'm really slacking!

I haven't written a post in two months.  Sorry about that.  This book promoting stuff keeps me way busier than I ever imagined.  I'm trying to set reasonable goals for myself, and one of them is to write a blog post at least once a week.

Yeah, right, we'll see how that goes.  Best intentions and all of that!

Fingers crossed...

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

I hate it when I'm not motivated...

I have so many tasks that need to be accomplished and most days I pray for enough time to complete everything that needs to be done.  But every once in a while, regardless of how long my to-do list is, I have to force myself to perform the most menial tasks.  It is so frustrating because then I feel guilty that I have fallen that much further behind in my work.

So my question is...does this make me more productive or less productive?  I wonder.  I work so much better under pressure.  So maybe I should start seeing my unmotivated days as blessings rather than curses because the more I have to do, the more I get accomplished.

Works for me...