Awesome by Association

Kraig Awesome by Association

My empathetic husband, Kraig, is one of the few people in my world that sees daily the joys and struggles I have as a writer. To support me and all the other writers out there, he wrote the following blog post:

When I talk to friends, relatives, and co-workers, quite often the discussion turns to my wife and her novels. Many say, “I’ve always wanted to write a book.” I reply, “It’s a lot of work and takes up a lot of your time.” However, I’m not sure it completely describes what I see every day.

Creating stories and characters is an amazing process. In 2005, I suffered a job loss with a company I was with for 22 years. I was depressed. Christina encouraged me to look for new opportunities, one of which was writing. I, too, thought I could do it. Cheering me on, she wrote down her ideas, while I jotted down mine. She embraced the challenge. I, on the other hand, wasn’t as into it as much as she was. With desire and determination, she continued writing. I realized how passionate she was when I suggested killing off one of her characters as a story twist. Dumb idea … I made her cry.

After making improvements with her story line and her writing skills, she finally sent queries to agents and publishers. Then, one night she woke me from a deep sleep. She received an offer from Juanita Samborski, the publisher at 48fourteen. What an exciting time! Her hard work was paying off. Her next step was learning about book promotion. Putting herself out there by writing, tweeting, facebooking, blogging, and book signing takes a courage I don’t possess. She pushes herself every day, so she can be the best she can be while I prefer my safe, quiet, and comfortable haven.

I, now, have a new reply for all those who want to write a novel. “Passion and courage are the #1 and #2 Must-Haves when writing.”

I’ve also learned that sometimes you don’t realize how hard conveying a sentiment is until you try to write it …

Written by Kraig Thompson, husband of an author, which makes me Awesome by Association

You can find me on Twitter

 

 

The Gratitude Box

Gratitude box

As a writer, I work hard to focus on the positive aspects and less on the frustrations. It can be daunting. To be more aware of the great things going on in my life, I have a gratitude box on my desk. I started it two years ago. At least once a day, I write on a post-it note something I’m grateful for and then I stick it in the box.

For example, I’m thankful to my husband for surprising me with takeout after I’ve written past my cutoff time, to readers for buying my books that day, to my adult children for sending me a random text out of the blue. Some days are harder than others, and I become grateful there was enough toilet paper on the roll or there weren’t any bills in that day’s mail. These acknowledgements lift my spirit and keep me writing.

What are you grateful for today?

 

THE GARDEN COLLECTION Flash Sale: ONLY $0.99

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For The Garden Collection, I took a single defining moment from my childhood to create a story with an important message about the energy of words and how they affect us. Love doesn’t require perfection. Its healing power is incredibly profound. ~ Christina Thompson

Grab your copy of my sweet romance, The Garden Collection, on sale now for $0.99

REVIEWS

“The heartwarming story of struggle, determination, heartache, and true love kept me reading …”

“Tender and hopeful, painful and sad … all make a sweetly intriguing story…”

“I do believe that positive and encouraging words can change a life.”

BLURB

A few words of encouragement can stay with you for a lifetime. Robert and Brianna’s childhood friendship grew into respect for each other and their ideas. Robert gave her the confidence to stand up for herself. Brianna helped him see his artistic potential and encouraged him to travel for his inspiration. He found it in the letters she wrote.

After her mother abandoned her at sixteen and her stepfather beat her at eighteen, Brianna Carlson now struggles to care for her six-year-old half-sister, Chloe. The day before her twenty-first birthday, Brianna receives news that her stepfather will be released from prison. Half blind from a head injury and still limping from a once broken leg, she’s terrified he’ll come back to hurt Chloe this time. She decides to leave town.

Waiting for their five-year age gap to diminish, Robert Donovan purposely stayed away. While traveling for his family’s jewelry business, he designed The Garden Collection, his newest line of necklaces, bracelets, and earrings. Returning home, he discovers Brianna had lied in every letter she sent. She never received any of his. Before he can demand answers, she disappears without Chloe.

As Robert learns about Brianna’s life during his absence, he sets out to find her and convince her to trust him again. He hopes the innocent love of their youth is strong enough to heal her injured heart and fulfill his need for a home.

GOODREADS

AMAZON

 

 

A Glimpse Where Past Meets Future

David's Salute 1Our son, David, will be on leave next month. It’s been a year since we’ve seen him. As you can imagine, this mum misses him. It brought to mind this post I wrote a few years ago about a moment in my life I still hold close to my heart.

David had just graduated basic training in the Air Force, so we attended the four-day festivities at Lackland AFB in San Antonio, Texas. The celebration included the Airman Run, the Retreat Ceremony, the Coin Ceremony, and the Parade Ceremony. While the pomp and circumstance was all proud parents could ask for, the moment I observed was a quiet unassuming one.

During our private family visit late in the day, David sat with me, my husband, and our daughter in the empty bleachers away from the crowds. We enjoyed his animated stories about his first arrival as an anxious 0-Weeker (the group also known as Rainbow Flight since they were still in their street clothes) and then as a fearful early-Weeker (known as Baby Flight) with their endless running, kitchen duty, and lack of sleep.

All of a sudden, preamble music sounded over the P.A. system. David said, “Excuse me, mum.” He stood up, faced the center of the base toward the flag, snapped to attention, and saluted just as the Star Spangled Banner started playing.

As I watched and listened, I remembered him as a newborn. I had wondered back then what kind of man he would become. I thought about his birthdays, his high school graduation, and all the other firsts. The flood of emotions overwhelmed me, and I cried.

As a writer, I strive to project integrity, loyalty, bravery, honor, and selflessness into the heroes and heroines in my novels. That day, I saw those traits first-hand in my son. My children are my heroes. They inspire me. That moment gave me a glimpse where his past met his future.

 

 

Straight Paths or Squiggly Tracks

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Do you remember the activity books we had as kids for those long car rides? The entertaining devices before video games, cell phones, laptops, and eReaders? The variety of pages had Connect the Dots, Color by Numbers, Find the Item, and Word Searches. Well, my least favorite pages were the ones with three squiggly lines like a big ball of tangled Christmas lights. You had to track each line through the maze a swiggles to find the treasure at the other end. I wanted that straight path to the prize. I thought those tracks needed to be smoothed out, which made more sense to me.

 

I love order. Lists are a joy. They give me purpose. As a planner, my goals were set from an early age…college and career with love and a family in the far distant future…but then I met Kraig (Hizzah!). My life path was starting to look like that activity page. Suddenly my nice straight path started to curve.

Well, I married shortly before I graduated from Nazareth College in Kalamazoo. My husband, Kraig, (Hizzah!) had always been an avid reader. From an early age, he visited the local library often. Reading was a big part of his life.

I didn’t start reading until I married him. In grade school and high school, I read the required books for reports. (Blah!) In college, I concentrated on my text books. (Ugh!) I just didn’t read for the enjoyment of it.

I remember after only a week into our marriage he had picked up his book after dinner and read it on the couch next to me while I watched TV. Every time I tried to talk to him, he’d sigh, set his book on his lap, answer my question, then pick up the book again ignoring me. I thought, “What the hell? I haven’t seen you all day, and you’d rather spend time with your book than with me?” I didn’t get it.

We sat a foot away from each other, but he was in another world. Well, I joined his world by reading his favorite series, The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan, thus starting my twenty-seven-year love affair with reading. From then on, books became a mainstay … an escape from the bills, the mother-in-law (ooh), and sometimes the husband.

Years later, the kids didn’t need my constant attention. I realized I had a little more time on my hands to read, but I also had an idea for a book. I wondered if I could write a story. I had only written research papers in college. Could I really write an interesting novel? As excited as I was to start, I had my inner critic. “You’re not good enough; you’re not smart enough. You didn’t go to school to be a writer, what makes you think you can do this?” Nudging me to try, Kraig (Hizzah!) helped me squelch that noise in my head.

I loved the process of researching, outlining, and writing. I was a demi-god who could make these characters do anything. (Waahaha) I learned quickly that like my children they didn’t listen. These fictional people were following their own squiggly path.

In my story, Taylor Valentine, who had her life planned out since kindergarten, meets the love of her life (Hizzah!) and her plan crumbles. What’s that adage? Write what you know?

As Taylor learns in Their Rigid Rules, plans are okay as a template, but sometimes you just have to embrace the journey no matter where it takes you because the lessons learned are priceless. My path lead me right here, right now with you. Thanks for stopping by.

Are you looking for a fun summer read? Check out Their Rigid Rules, the 3rd book and prequel in The Chemical Attraction Series. It can be read first or last in the series.

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B & N

 

 

The Aha Moment

couple

Even before I started writing, relationships have fascinated me, especially the married ones. I love hearing the How We Met stories. Couples enjoy sharing their unique history. Some say, I knew right away. Others laugh and say, I hated him at first. A husband once told me that he chased after his wife for a year before convincing her he was the one. The stories may seem similar, but none are the same.

Whether you’ve just met or you’ve known each other for years, there’s that single defining moment ─ the Aha Moment ─ when you realize you’re in love with this person. Your perspective suddenly changes, and you think, Why didn’t I see that before? Women have mentioned a small gesture from their one that fills them with pure joy. Warmth washes over you, goose bumps appear from a light touch, or your heart flutters with knowing.

My mom said she knew fifty years ago when my dad placed his hand at her back as they walked along a busy sidewalk. At a dinner party, Kraig held my hand under the table as we ate … an intimate gesture in a crowded room while reassuring me with his smile and dreamy blue eyes. ((sigh)) Oh, um, uh, what was I saying? Oh, yeah.

I think it’s one of the reasons romance novels are extremely popular. Who doesn’t want to feel that newness and excitement of meeting the one? It gives us hope that the unlimited possibilities are out there just waiting to happen to us.

In Their Rigid Rules, Stuart and Taylor share an initial attraction in a lecture hall. As Stuart struggles with his PTSD, he’s drawn to Taylor’s empathetic nature.

In Chemical Attraction and Chemical Reaction, Joe and Madeline felt an immediate connection at her Aunt Sylvia’s B & B. After a rocky start, they learn that their scars make them who they are and what they love about each other. The healing power of Love is incredibly profound.

Even after ten years of marriage, Matt and Eva Connor, another couple from Chemical Attraction and Chemical Reaction, are still crazy about each other. Soon, I’ll share their unique history of love, sacrifice, and devotion from their beginning in The Kindred Code.

In The Garden Collection, Brianna and Robert have known each other since childhood. However, they fell in love with the other at different times during their friendship. When Robert saved Brianna from her fifth grade bully, Brianna knew she loved him, but Robert didn’t realize he loved her until she was sixteen.

I truly believe there is nothing ordinary about any relationship. Do you remember that Aha Moment when you knew you found your one? Care to share? Or are you saving it for your own romance novel?

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Goodreads Author Page

Review of Eclipse Lake by @MaeClair1

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Eclipse Lake

By Mae Clair

Published: June 21, 2014

 

Blurb

Small towns hold the darkest secrets.

Dane Carlisle returns to his hometown fifteen years after leaving his criminal past behind, hoping to make amends with his estranged brother.

He didn’t count on falling in love with free-spirited nature photographer Ellie Sullivan, or for the discovery of skeletal remains to put him dead center in an unsolved missing person’s case.

Review

As a fan of Mae Clair’s other novels, I was not disappointed with Eclipse Lake. I enjoyed her vivid description of the sleepy town near Eclipse Lake. Although I liked the mystery and suspense, I loved the family dynamic even more. I’m a sappy sucker for a man with a healthy relationship with his son. The funny banter and touching interactions of the Carlisle Clan (Dane, Jesse, & Jonah) made me laugh and cry. Ms. Clair has done a superb job delving deep into the many levels of the Carlisle family. 5-Stars!!

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Goodreads

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The Energy of Words and Actions

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Although this memory is dear to me, I debated whether to share it. However, the message outweighs my cringe-worthy embarrassment.

The origin of The Garden Collection has a bit of my own back history. When I was young, my family moved around a lot. Between 2nd and 5th grade, I attended five different schools usually starting in the middle of the year. As hard as it was to make friends, I started to wonder if it was worth trying, especially if we were moving again.

My clothes weren’t fashionable. My pants were a tad too short. My glasses were thick. I was shy and had an overbite … as nerdy as you can get. Surprise! I was picked on constantly.

Well, one day in 5th grade music class, our teacher told everyone to sing and sing loudly. Since I knew the song she played on the piano, I happily complied. By the chorus, not only were twenty students looking at me, the teacher stopped playing and openly mocked me with many of the students joining in. To say I was mortified is an understatement. I just gave the whole class more ammunition against me.

It was then that the popular boy spoke up. “Stop it,” he yelled. “She told us to sing loud.” All I could do was stare at him. That never happened before; the class actually stopped taunting me.

Well, it wasn’t the last time I was teased or bullied. It wasn’t even the last time that day. However, the mental snapshot has always stayed with me when I realized two things in that moment:

1) My feelings weren’t invisible like I thought; and

2) I mattered … to that one person at that particular point in time.

It changed the way I saw myself. He had given me a new confidence, and I built on that.

Well, my family stayed in that school district. He and I graduated from high school together. We didn’t really interact, but at a rural school, everyone knows everyone.

He inspired me to write a story about that moment. It’s not about him or me; it’s about the message that words of encouragement can stay with you for a lifetime. His certainly had.

I saw him with his daughter a while ago. I told him he inspired the story while his daughter listened. Surprised, he didn’t remember his kindness all those years ago. I didn’t expect him to. As awkward as that conversation was, I’m glad I shared it. His daughter left knowing her dad was my fifth grade hero.

I started to wonder if all those people who impacted my life in a positive way knew that they had. I try to share my appreciation whenever I can because the energy of words and actions affects us ─ good and bad. So, for all of the people who made a difference in your life, make sure you let them know. I guarantee you’ll feel great and it’ll make their day.

Learn more about The Garden Collection here.

 

Crazy or Passionate: You decide

Chemical Attraction Cover Art

I enjoy the process of writing. It’s not always fun, but I embrace the challenge of researching, outlining, writing, and rewriting. My favorite part is running the different scenarios by my husband, Kraig.

When I first started writing, I struggled with a transitioning area in my story line for Chemical Attraction. Kraig suggested breakfast at our local diner to talk about it. Of course, I agreed. First, it was his idea. Second, any chance not to cook was a plus. And, third, he was a good sounding board—although less so that day.

After ordering our breakfasts, I explained my dilemma. “What do you think I should do?”

He sipped his coffee. “I think you should kill off one of your main characters.”

“What? Who?” I demanded.

“Matt Connor.” His reply was so casual as if killing a person was a common occurrence. I wondered if I married a hitman.

With my mouth open, I tried to comprehend his words. “I can’t kill Matt. He has a wife and a son. They’d be devastated.”

In the middle of the crowded restaurant, our heated discussion received wide-eyed stares from the patrons closest to us. As I thought about Matt dying, I blinked away a few tears. My bastard husband laughed while I searched my coat pocket for a tissue.

(For the record, I’m not afraid to kill off characters. I’ve done it to progress my other stories. However, Matt has more to share.)

“How could you suggest such a thing?” I asked.

Enjoying my grief, he smiled. “Have someone shoot him. Better yet, have a farm animal maul him to death…”

I blocked out his other malicious ideas. With a sympathetic look, the waitress silently refilled my mug and slid a few extra napkins toward my silverware. I blew my nose with one while she glowered at my horrible husband.

He leaned forward. “Honey, he’s just a character.”

But Matt wasn’t. He had a family. He had feelings. In my head, I knew he was a made-up person. My heart thought differently. Embarrassed by my emotional outburst, I quietly ate my breakfast. Kraig chuckled.

“Am I crazy?” I finally asked.

“Just passionate.” He tried to put a pleasant spin on it, but his wife was a nut job.

Later, I rationally considered his ideas and quickly dismissed them. Matt was safe in that story. We’ll see what happens in the rest of the series though. Wahaha!

I hope I’m not the only “passionate” writer out there with a crazy story like this. Care to share yours?

6 Things To Know About Christina Thompson

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1)  I’m a planner. To say I’m goal oriented would be an understatement. Having battled depression my whole life, I consider working toward my goals my coping mechanism. It gets me up in the morning, helps me focus on the task at hand, and makes me learn something new to accomplish it. Because of my goals, I became a massage therapist, an acupuncturist, and now a published author of five novels with another due out soon.

2)  Every weekend from 1999 to 2001, I commuted from Michigan to Racine, Wisconsin to get my diploma in Acupuncture. The four-hour drive during winter through Chicago traffic scarred me. Now, I don’t like to drive unless I absolutely have to. My husband, Kraig, is my chauffeur. I prefer the navigator role. As much as I push myself out of my comfort zone, I still like to hide. Luckily, I can work from home. We all have quirks, and this is one of mine.

3)  My ideas for stories have come from a variety of places. In Their Rigid Rules, I made the hero Stuart Morgan a history professor as an ode to Kraig, who’s a history buff. Kraig even helped me with the history references. For Chemical Attraction, I became fascinated in nanotechnology after reading an article by Carol Ekarius in Alternative Medicine called, “Welcome to Nano World.” The plot for The Trucker’s Cat was hatched in our local truck stop diner. The Garden Collection came about from my childhood experience with a bully.

4)  My favorite website is IMDb.com. The Internet Movie Database (IMDb) is “the definitive collection of movie and television information and content.” Watching TV, I’m constantly asking Kraig if we’ve seen a particular actress in a different show. I’d look her up on the site. Somehow, I get lost in the site when I check the actress which takes me to her leading man in a different movie to what he’s working on now. After playing my own version of “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” with the actress, I’ve missed half of the TV show. However, I consider this therapy to keeping my memory sharp. It beats playing Sudoku.

5)  I have a silly side. To amuse myself, I like to hide the used dryer sheets. After I fold our clothes, I take the leftover dryer sheets and hide them in places for Kraig to find later. He’s found them in his jean’s pocket, his wallet, his lunch cooler, and his book next to his bookmark. I once put one in his travel mug. He didn’t find it until after he poured his coffee. Oops. I recently put one in his DVD case of The Avengers. He’ll find that one when he watches all the Marvel movies in order … again.

6)  In December, I’ll turn fifty. One of the things I’d like to do is travel … as the navigator of course. We want to see Mount Rushmore and the Grand Canyon. I want to learn another language. Our bucket list has changed over the years. We’ve crossed some things off while adding a few others. I’d also like to see one of my novels on the big screen. I’m sure I’m not the only writer that dreams about their story concocted from their brains made into a movie. I mean, that’s how we see it when we write, right? The movie in our head plays and we write it down. I’m writing the script for Chemical Attraction to make that goal happen. Challenge accepted! I believe in myself and in miracles.

Care to share your quirk or silly side? Do you get lost in the maze of IMDb? Where do you get your story ideas? Do you see your books as movies in your head as you write?