RWA National Conference – #RWA14

I just got back from the RWA (Romance Writers of America) National Conference. There was such an abundance of incredible information, it took me a whole day (yesterday) to comb through my notes and make action lists of things to do. Workshop after workshop after workshop opened my eyes to new marketing tools and updated industry news. There were several good ones on craft, too. The one I especially liked was on “motivation” – I walked away with some concrete ideas to deepen my characters’ motivation throughout the story. Now, I have to go in and tweak a few chapters!

A strool along the River Walk

The conference was in San Antonio, TX at the Marriott Rivercenter, so my free time (what little of it there was) was spent walking the River Walk, checking out the local shops, and enjoying dinner with friends and fellow writers. I touched base with old friends, made new ones, and networked with several industry professionals. It was an exhausting yet exhilarating five days!

Now, I must finish Passion’s Spirit and … I have to update my website, revamp my newsletter, learn how to use Hootsuite for more effective communication. I need to visit my local libraries and book stores to plan for the launch of Passion’s Spirit. On top of all that, I must find time to exercise to stay fit and preserve my sanity.

Please feel free to share your thoughts on what should appear in my NEW Newsletter. What should be deleted? Would you like to see what books are available from my author friends? Would you like to read an excerpt from Passion’s Spirit? What other information is important to you? Comment on this post or send me your thoughts at mazurkchristine@gmail.com.

With a lengthy TO DO list before me, I must sign off now. Until next time, hugs – Christine

Happy Cinco de Mayo

Who stole the first four months of 2014? I can’t believe it is May 5th – Cinco de Mayo – a day many will celebrate! I’m celebrating too. Just returned home from a wonderful, informative weekend at OWFI – Oklahoma Writer’s Federation, Inc – writers conference. Met many talented writers and authors, sold signed copies of all three books, attended some awesome workshops, met Eloisa James, and caught up with a dear friend over a couple of glasses of wine.

Andrew E. Kaufman did an evening talk on Thursday which I enjoyed tremendously. I bought one of his three books, which I started while waiting in the airport to fly home. By the time I landed in St. Louis, I was well over half-way through. Man, is he good!! Don’t believe me? Pick up a copy of The Lion, The Lamb, The Hunted and judge for yourself.

The first page sucked me in and I kept turning the pages to find out what was coming next. If I wasn’t ‘catching up’ after being gone for four days, I’d be turning those pages to find out how it ends. Trust me, I’ll get back to it soon!

Eloisa James did the Keynote Speech and as usual she was funny and charming as she took us on her journey to becoming a NY Times Bestselling author (21 times … wow). She also did a boxed lunch workshop and showed us how she manages her writing and the business side of her writer’s life. Social media, engaging with her readers, running contests, and giving away swag. She’s dynamic, friendly, and extremely knowledgeable. An inspiration to many.

Most of the workshops I attended were great, but I have to shout out to Heather Davis for the two fabulous ones I sat through: The Best Little Blog in the Blogoshere and Being Everywhere — getting your name out there. And to Nathan Brown for renewing my passion with poetry!! Awesome, awesome, awesome!

I came home tired yet energized with new knowledge to hone my craft and edit until my current ms is shining like a newly polished diamond. Having said that … I better post this and get back to work!

Thanks OWFI for hosting another outstanding conference. See you next year.

Emerging from my Cave

I just realized how long it’s been since my last post … The Sisters Of Spirit book signing in MA. Wow, I guess like the bears, I hibernated all winter. Actually, I was snuggled in finishing the second book in the Passion’s Series. Passion’s Spirit is in the editing stage!! Yeah.

Snow blankets the ground, the fire is on, Sting’s voice fills the office, and I happily work on revisions to make Mike Dawson’s story the best it can be. Several wonderful surprises morphed as I wrote the first draft, and now, I want to make sure all the threads are woven into a tight and emotionally satisfying end.

Though I’ll be sad when this story is put to bed, I’ve got Anya Quinlan dancing for attention in my head. I’d like to get to her story by mid-February!!

I’m out of my cave for the moment, but as soon as edits are done, I’ll zone out again to immerse myself in a new story!

I hope 2014 is treating you well.

Until next time, Hugs – Christine

Book Signing Fun

In late September, Some Enchanted Evening, a small New Age store in Spencer, MA hosted a book signing for Sisters Of Spirit. The four authors gathered to talk about how we collaborated on the theme and why we chose to have the characters overlap into each others stories. We even shared on the drive over that we plotted out a second Anthology!! We read excerpts from the book, then answered questions from the audience, before signing books for everyone. It was a wonderful event, filled with laughter and inspirational moments. Our hostess, Diane Haynes, had a cake made using the cover from the book. It looked wonderful and tasted even better. Thank you, Diane and all who came!! Cheers – Christine

Mystical connections

Woohoo! Mystical Connections is now available in paperback. My brother Eric is supporting me by buying all three books, which of course I’ll sign for him! Passion’s Race, Sisters Of Spirit, and Mystical Connections will be in his hands soon. Thanks Eric for your loyal support!

Other news: Some Enchanted Evening – a new age shop in Spencer, MA will be hosting a book signing for Sisters Of Spirit on Sept. 22 from 1pm to 3pm. All four authors will be there to sign books and to share how we collaborated to blend the stories and to bring all the characters to life. Please join us if you are in the area.

I’m off to finish working on my current WIP. Until next time, Hugs – Christine  

Newly Released; Mystical Connections – 7/2/13

I’m SO EXCITED to share the news that Mystical Connections – book 1 of the Mystical Series – was released on 7/2/13. It is now available on Amazon.com, B&N, iTunes, Kobo, and other favorite book retailers. What’s the story about?

Jenna Nichols, a young successful author, uses her psychic abilities to channel Universal messages through her writing. Having blown an interview with Aidan Scott, an all-about-the-facts journalist, she invites him to join her as she researches a building from a dream, believing it to be her next story.

Physical attraction, philosophical differences, and something more mystical, draws the two together and pulls them apart as they work to unearth what may become their common destiny.

She begins uncovering history that could change Aidan’s life as he knows it and shade his black and white world with gray, while threatening to tear her own family apart.

Will she continue on this path knowing what she might destroy along the way? Pick up a copy and find out for yourself. The e-book is only $3.99!!! The paperback is coming soon – I’m waiting to hear from LunaDance Publishing on the price and release date. I’ll post as soon as I know. So check back soon.

It’s been an awesome seven months since Passion’s Race was released, and I’m looking forward to the busy schedule I have before me. My goal is to have Mike Dawson’s story finished by August, then I’ll start Anya Quinlan’s story – book 2 in the Mystical Series. Kate Brooks’ story, which will be # 3 in the Passion’s Series,  is quietly waiting in the background, but I’m eager to get that one written, too. And so on … 

I ordered new bookmarks to feature Passion’s Race and Mystical Connections – I’m heading to the RWA National Conference next week – a great place to meet other writers and promote our work. Once I’m finished writing this blog, I’m going to work on my website updates. Check back soon to see those. And be sure to check out www.thepopculturedivas.com for my next blog (Friday 7/12) to find out which story was my absolute favorite to write!!

2013 started with a marathon – the Disney World 20th Anniversary – but I haven’t stopped running as a writer. My fingers have been flying, my brain on warp speed, my imagination conjuring new stories by the day!! And all I can say is “I love it, I love what I’m doing, because I’m doing what I love!”

Until next time – Hugs!! Christine

Heavy Heart

I was writing the acknowledgments for Mystical Connections this morning. Among others, I thanked my two favorite English teachers, both of whom encouraged me to write. Nancy Brooks, my sixth grade teacher was the one to spark my interest in writing novels. And John Ruppel, my high school English teacher, made my need to write even stronger. They were both incredible teachers!

Ms. Brooks left teaching to go into retail – HR for Burdines, Dadeland, and ended up being the one who hired me for my first position at Burdines, where I climbed the corporate ladder for over 15 years of my retail career! We worked together for years, and I’d love to re-connect with her. So, I decided to Google both of them and see if I could find them. I found a connection to Ms. Brooks through LinkedIn.

Then I Googled John Ruppel, and my heart plunged. The year after he retired from teaching, he passed away. He had left South Miami High to teach at MAST Academy, and retired in 2008. He and his wife moved to St. Augustine – to think he lived only miles from our Ponte Vedra home. He fell ill in June 2009, and was diagnosed with a rare, fast-moving adrenal cancer. Two weeks later he was gone. He was only 61.

I’m sure I’m not the only student who remembers him with fondness. He was a tough, but caring educator, and his students respected him. He had a great sense of humor and made us laugh often, even as he assigned more difficult studies. I’m sad to learn he’s no longer with us, sad that he won’t see his name in my novel’s acknowledgments. He was one of the few who truly touched lives. RIP Mr. Ruppel and know you were one of the best!! Hugs – Christine

Sisters of Spirit, Anthology, now available!

January 10, 2013, another magical day. Sisters of Spirit, written with NYT Best-selling author Annette Blair, me, and introducing Lynn Jenssen and Jeanine Duval Spikes is now availalbe on Amazon.com, Bookstrands.com, and of course, our publishers website, lachesispublishing.com!

Four friends – Universally connected – A hidden cove – their path to Destiny!

Writing this with three of my good friends was a blast. We sat at the table together, the creative energy swirling. Each story is unique, but they all tie together through the sisters. We bounced thoughts off each other, laughed and cried through several shared scenes, and then the silence would descend and we would work quietly for hours.

If you’re looking for four great reads under one cover, Sisters of Spirit is a must read!

Until next time. Enjoy!