December 20, 2011

Official Cover - Book 2!

Sorry if I'm a big dork on the video post. Tee Hee... I hope you all like the new cover for book 2 in The Water Keepers. Yay!! MERRY CHRISTMAS!














December 8, 2011

Memories

Many of you who own my book Deep Blue Secret, may have come across my dedication at the front of the book to my brother and sister who have passed on. I was just thinking about my family today after looking through a bunch of old photos and decided to post one of my favorite pictures of the two of them together, along with a few Christmas memories. Miss you guys!!! I hope your Christmas is glorious in Heaven this year!



"Nightmare Before Christmas"
at the Haunted Mansion
A Christmas sandwich with Grandpa


December 5, 2011

Living. Breathing. Characters.


People often ask if an author based his or her characters on real life people or on true events. For me, and I’m guessing many other writers, the answer is definitely yes…and of course, no.


Me & my sweetheart at
Disney's California Adventure last summer.
I don’t think I would ever take the characteristics of one single person and mimic them one hundred percent, probably not even eighty percent. No one enjoys a crazy ex-boyfriend running around the media, or even your hometown, shouting, “She’s purposely slandering my name out of bitter, woman vengeance!” And even worse, you could run the risk of offending someone you actually like and care about. Plus, it’s much more fun to create a new and exciting personality than it is to copy someone.


My brother and niece keepin' life fun on Halloween




It may be difficult to completely avoid your friends and family wondering in the back of their minds, “Was that person or part of the story based on me? There was that one time when I slipped while holding a goldfish and accidentally swallowed it…” I think it’s okay to let them wonder a little bit though. Writing can be tough work. We need to dig up the bits of humor and fun wherever we can find them. 


However, making up a completely new person out of thin air would be impossible, at least for me. When I write, I feel it. I feel emotions and excitement and frustration. Every single character has a piece of me inside them, whether it’s obvious or not. I love to live inside their heads and really get a sense of what is driving them forward.




Me & my BFF in High School.
She was a major social butterfly!
In Deep Blue Secret, the first book of my Water Keepers series, Sadie James is basically the lovable girl next door. I’d like to think of myself as somewhat lovable too; at least I hope we have that in common. We both love music, tacos, and the ocean. But she’s a social butterfly with an outgoing, charming personality that everyone adores. I’ve tried to embrace that hidden side of me over the years, but this definitely was not my strong point at her age, and it’s probably still not. I was incredibly shy as a teenager. 




Me & my big sisters back in the day.
Aren't they beautiful?!
The outgoing part of Sadie comes from my two older sisters, my best friend, and all of the other beautiful, smart, talented girls I grew up with in California that I always wished I could be more like. I put some of this jealous, insecure side of me in Heather, Sadie’s best friend. Although, she’s not even a little bit shy.


Me & my dad at college graduation.
My hero!






Even the “villain” in my story, Voss, holds pieces of my own      life inside him. I may not be so cold and convoluted that I would threaten to shoot another human being like he would, but I’ve experienced pain, betrayal and anger during the rough patches in my life, just as he has.





Me pretending to smooch
my cute brother.



There is pain in life. Without it, I wouldn’t be who I am today. I wouldn’t have felt the aching drive to create stories and fill them with characters I can look up to, that give me hope; like Rayne, Sadie’s protector, who would choose his own suffering rather than let the slightest harm come upon her, or Sadie’s mother, Leena, who always wears a smile to cheer up those around her and make them feel welcomed. 


I drew a portrait of my Grandma for Mother's Day one year.
When you bring tears to your mom's eyes,
you know you did good!
Special occasion, my mom's 40th birthday.
I have such great memories with my family!!!

Every one of my characters has some of the good, and of course the bad (because nobody’s perfect), from all of the joy and learning and amazing people that I’ve met in my life. This is what makes my characters real. This is what gives me the drive to live with them inside my head each day. And when they all come together to experience it all in one big, intriguing, fictional world…well that’s when you know you have a story worth sharing.








October 31, 2011

The Heebie-Jeebies


Ghosts, goblins, and ghouls have been on the mind this week (and chocolate of course), so I’ve chosen THE HEEBIE-JEEBIES as the topic for today. There are plenty of things out there that can make our skin crawl. If you watched the Halloween episode of THE OFFICE this week, you know that this can be anything from snakes, the fear of dying alone, being buried alive, mummies, or even Jim Halpert himself. So what gives you the heebie-jeebies?

Along with all things that go bump in the night, the word FEAR comes to mind. I loved Halloween growing up. What isn’t fun about dressing up as your favorite character and running around with friends gathering candy? But there is a side of this particular holiday I always turn and run from…horror movies, haunted houses, large men with scary masks or chainsaws… Call me a coward or a wuss if you must, I just don’t enjoy being scared. I typically try to avoid that feeling at all costs. And yet, if I’m not careful, that feeling can follow me around on a regular basis, not just on the night of All-Hallows-Eve.

Even just this week, I’ve seen fear take its hold on my heart a time or two. And I haven’t been anywhere near a haunted house. I’m well aware that fear can bring me down if I let it. The trick of course is not to let it. Easier said than done, right? I think most things we worry about each day come from fear. Will my husband come home safe tonight? (Fear of losing a loved-one). Will my book sales crash and burn? (Fear of failure). Will my piece-of-junk car break down on the freeway? (Fear of facing hardships). Does the person I’m talking to think I’m an idiot? (Fear of rejection). Will people be so bored with my blog post they won’t even finish reading it? (Fear of failure AND rejection).

Okay, you get the idea and I’m sure your specific concerns are different than mine, but what should we do? Should I stop writing books because my sales went down a little this month or I got a bad review? No. Should someone drop out of school because they didn’t do well on one test? No. That would be letting our fears control our choices. I say, take control. Focus on the positive. I’m not writing this because I’m an expert. I’m writing this because I need to remind myself this week to do better at it. When I look at all the good things I’ve experienced this month, they far out-weigh the bad. For one, I’ve already sold over 5600 copies of my book. Yay!! But sometimes the good stuff isn’t as obvious. Sometimes it feels like the bad stuff is taking over.

When my husband and I first moved into student housing over three years ago, our water heater broke in the dead of winter. Yikes! Not fun! I was boiling water on the stove to take sponge baths for over a week. As soon as the heater was fixed, the first thing I did, of course, was take a hot shower. And it was the best shower I’d ever had in my life. Why? Because I suddenly knew what it was like not to have one. It also helped me remember that there are people in the world who don’t have regular hot showers, or any shower at all. But I do. Ever since then, this has been one little thing I use to focus on the positive. At least I can say I’ve enjoyed a hot shower. I do feel like a lot of things happen to us in life. Things we can’t control. It doesn't always come easy. My character, Sadie, experiences this quite a bit in my book, Deep Blue Secret. But she doesn't let it ruin her life. We as humans can be very resilient…if we choose to be. All we can do is choose how we will react to them and move forward. Why live our lives in constant worry when we don’t have to? Especially when there are so many possibilities all around us. So decide right now. Choose to push out the fear. We are in control of our own happiness. Did you enjoy your “hot shower” today?

To quote another popular saying that originated with Franklin D. Roosevelt: 
The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.

Happy halloween!


October 12, 2011

Virtual Book Tour Calendar: Deep Blue Secret

Visit my new author interview at 'A Cup of Coffee and a Good Book...' Author Interview

Several wonderful book bloggers have agreed to feature my book this month! There will be a book excerpt and guest post by me, but the majority of the posts will be reviews. Hopefully they will be nice to me :p


Oct 1
Oct 5
Oct 11
Oct 11 
The Book Bag    
Oct 13
Oct 14
Oct 15 
Oct 17
Minding Spot    
Oct 19  
Oct 20 
Lisa Asunama    
Oct 21
Oct 24
Oct 26
Oct 28
The Bookish Snob (Excerpt)    
Oct 29
Oct 30


Dates TBA
Bee’s Knees Reviews (Guest blog)     

  


October 5, 2011

Thank you, readers!!!

Releasing my debut novel Deep Blue Secret (The Water Keepers, Book 1) has been the most fun I've had in such a long time! It has already been received so much better than I ever dreamed possible! And there have been so many wonderful readers who have taken the time to tell me they loved the book by contacting me through my website and Facebook page, or writing reviews on various websites. So I thought I would take this opportunity to say thank you! It means the world to me and I certainly hope Book 2 will live up to your expectations!

I would also like to add that since I started writing Book 2 in the series, I haven't been on the blog as much as I would like. Writing the series is definitely a major priority for me right now, and with all the work that has gone into promoting Book 1, and a few new responsibilities in my personal life, I've been finding the free time to be harder and harder to come by. I will say that I do have plans to make better use of my blog for the future, I just ask that you be patient and bear with me while I try to get organized.

August 1, 2011

Stephenie Meyer and my Husband Saved my Heart

After I began writing my book, DEEP BLUE SECRET, I would often wake in the middle of the night with sudden bouts of inspiration. Usually it was an idea for a scene I was working on, but one night it was something different running through my sleepy head. It was a letter to Stephenie Meyer. At first I laughed at myself. Surely this was the product of starry-eyed dreams, hopes of becoming a world-famous author like her someday. I ignored it and went back to sleep. But after a solid week of this letter running through my mind, I decided to get the silly thing out of my head so I could finally get some rest.

I don’t know if this letter will ever reach Ms. Meyer’s eyes. As far as I know she stopped accepting fan-mail a long time ago. But I believe everything happens for a reason. Maybe this letter is just meant for me. So I can look back and remind myself why I started writing in the first place. Or maybe there’s something here for you too. I don’t expect every person who reads this post to be a fan of Twilight, but I also don’t feel you have to be a fan in order to relate to the personal experiences I’ve shared in this letter. Even if there’s only one person out there who lands on this page and can relate to my journey or feel inspired by my words, then I believe it was worth it to share. So here it is:

Dear Ms. Meyer,

I’m writing to express my gratitude for the comfort your books have been in my life during times of great hardship. I hope you don’t mind me writing something so personal, but if the tables were turned it would mean a great deal to me to know I’d made a difference in someone else’s life.

My story begins with a boy, the love of my life, my soul mate—or so I thought. When I met him, we had an instant connection, the passion I’d always hoped for. After many ups and downs together, he made the decision to join the army. It was a time of peace. It would only be one weekend a month and two weeks a year, they promised. Then tragedy struck our country just two months later on September 11th. He was shipped off to the Middle East where he decided to push me out of his life. He assured me it was for my own good. He would be gone too long and for all he knew, may never return. He said I was better off without him. He was my Edward.

The difference in this story from yours…my Edward did not return. Don’t be alarmed, he came back in body, safe and sound. It was his heart that did not return to me. When I read New Moon, Bella’s torment felt like a retelling of my own suffering. That’s when I met my Jacob. He loved me and supported me, despite myself. I told him I was incapable of love because my heart had died—he stayed with me. He stayed by my side until my heart finally found a pulse once more. He is the one I want to be with until the end of time. He is my husband.

For some it is Edward and for others Jacob, and there are those who haven’t found either yet. But each of us has something in common. Struggle. Love usually isn’t easy and neither is life. My struggle did not end when I found my sweetheart, although he is the strength that sees me through all the rest. It was only six months after our marriage that my life spiraled downward once more. It was an ill-fated super bowl Sunday when I received the call. I answered the phone with cheer, only to find my mother’s sobs in reply. It was my younger brother, only twenty-five years old; he would never see twenty-six.

I never thought something so hard could happen to me or my family. But my husband’s love saw me through. My faith brought me hope. And so I went on.

But times were still tough. I’d been laid-off from my job. I suffered a head injury and was in physical therapy twice a week. Every time I spoke to my mother she cried over the loss of her son. I worried for the well-being of my family. My anxiety grew. The stress began to manifest symptoms of physical illness; debilitating headaches that lasted for hours, day after day. I’d go to bed with the pain and wake up with it in the morning. I seriously began to suffer from “why me” syndrome.

I think there comes a time in life when we believe it couldn’t possibly get any worse. I thought this was it for me. But then it came; the second dreadful call. It was my sister. She was gone too. We laid her body to rest right next to my brother’s. How could we survive this nightmare twice in one lifetime? How could I watch my family suffer such loss and survive? But we stuck together and found the will. We found help through the service of others and love by holding each other tighter. We found the strength to keep going.

That doesn’t mean it was easy. Despite my husband’s unfailing support, I went home feeling somewhat alone. I knew deep down my siblings were somewhere better, but I missed them. It was during this time of recovery that a friend mentioned your books. I’d already seen the first two movies in the Twilight series and was a big fan, but I didn’t do much reading, due to the headaches. My remaining sister mentioned she also loved Twilight and did a lot of her reading by listening to audio books, so I thought I’d give it a try.

When I listened to Twilight it took me away to another place. There was mystery, romance, and suspense. I listened when I had a headache. I listened when I felt lonely or in despair. I listened when I couldn’t fall asleep and it rocked me gently like a mother’s lullaby until my eyelids drooped. It took my mind off my troubles and into a story that brought comfort and relief.

Thank you for creating this comfort. I became interested in the person behind the pages and set out to learn more of your journey. I read of your dream that started it all, how you were a mother and a woman of faith. When I read your personal story, I felt a connection. You wrote while tending to children and at the expense of lost sleep. I felt if you could achieve something so great, perhaps someday I could as well.

It’s amazing how time and love can heal us. I finally came to the point where my losses only made the good in life shine brighter. There were so many blessings lighting my way. I didn’t want to live a life of self-pity any longer. I wanted to find a way to do something worthwhile; something that would make my siblings proud and smile down on me from above. I wanted to express the love in my tender heart.

Your example inspired me to write. My book, DEEP BLUE SECRET, is the result of this journey which you have inspired. Writing has become my joy. It allows me to immerse myself in a completely new world. My characters, Sadie and Rayne, experience romance and intrigue as they figure out their purpose, and I get to share it with them all along the way. I hope the story I’ve created will brighten the lives of others and bring happiness to their hearts as yours did to mine. But even if my family members are the only ones to read it, I will still feel a sense of worth for having accomplished this goal. I will forever be a stronger person who has experienced the healing power of hope and love.

Sincerely,

Christie Anderson


June 15, 2011

You have to start somewhere

I've decided to try my hand at the world of blogging. This is my first post and since I have no followers, I'm not expecting anyone to read it. That might be a good thing because I have no idea what to write about. When I'm working on a book it's easier; I have specific goals. Here I feel I'm just rambling to myself.

I started this blog with the intent of focusing on my experience with writing books and trying to understand the world of publishing. Hopefully one day this will be a frequented site for all those wanting updates on the release of my next book!

For now it may be more of a journal, or perhaps even a venting ground. 

I began work on my book DEEP BLUE SECRET almost exactly a year ago. This is a working title only. After polling friends and family, this one received the most votes. I like it. I think it has a certain mysterious ring to it. But my original title SOLACE (no matter how horrid and cliché) will always hold a place in my heart. I admit, it has a bit of a self-help feel to it, but for me, writing is a form of solace in itself. I think that's why I chose it.

It all started the week before Mother's Day 2010. I dabbled in writing here and there, journals, writing classes, my own wacky made-up greeting cards for family members, but I never thought of myself as a writer. When my mom said she didn't want gifts this year but would prefer something written from the heart instead, it sounded like a burdensome chore. I put it off for days. I finally buckled down and decided to write about childhood memories. To my surprise, once I focused, my fingers wouldn't stop moving across the keyboard. I was actually enjoying it. In fact, I would even call it therapeutic.

After my mom read the memories, she made one little comment. Something like, You know, you write really well, almost like a real writer would. Maybe you should do it more often. And the light bulb turned on in my head. She had no idea that her little bit of encouragement would change my life forever.

Well look at that! I guess I had something to write about after all.