Monday, September 26, 2011

Forever Texas Blog Tour And Giveaway

The Forever Texas Blog Tour is making a stop here today with authors Christie Craig and Jane Graves answering some questions about their writing and offering a giveaway of their books.  


Christie is the author of the 464- page paperback DON’T MESS WITH TEXAS (ISBN: 9780446582841). Here’s a brief synopsis: Nikki Hunt thought her night couldn't get worse when her no-good, cheating ex ditched her at dinner, sticking her with the bill. Then she found his body stuffed in the trunk of her car and lost her two-hundred-dollar meal all over his three-thousand-dollar suit. Now not only is Nikki nearly broke, she's a murder suspect.

Jane is the author of the 448-page paperback HEARTSTRINGS AND DIAMOND RINGS (ISBN: 9780446568487). Here’s a brief synopsis: HE'S THE MAN OF HER DREAMS . . . In a world full of frogs, Alison Carter is determined to find her prince. Maybe her dating past is more Titanic than Love Boat, but she's seen enough happy marriages to know that true love is possible. No matter what, she won't give up on happily-ever-after. If she can't find Mr. Right, she'll simply hire someone who can. ...   

Thanks to Brianne and the good folks at Grand Central Publishing, I can offer 3 sets (1 copy of each book) for giveaway to residents of the US and Canada as part of this tour. Please see the end of the post for the giveaway details.

Now for interviews with Christie and Jane.
MASON - What is a normal writing day like for you?

CHRISTIE - Blood, sweat, and tears—and a lot of laughter. I get up around 6 a.m. and snag my first cup of coffee on the way to my office,9780446582841_1681X2544 which is attached to the house. I give my office kitty about three minutes of TLC and then check emails. He gets ticked when I stop petting him, and will tap with his paw, claws out, and that’s where the blood comes in. Depending on deadlines, I work around six to seven days a week, approximately 10 hours a day. I love to cook, but under tight deadlines, hubby takes over kitchen duty. I’m in my office putting out pages while I wait for the call, “Dinner’s ready.” It’s a lot of hours at the computer, but I love doing it, so I don’t whine too much. I walk an hour about four to six times a week, and try to plot while I speed through the neighborhood. This is where the sweat comes in. I can be persuaded by friends to do lunch about once every two weeks. The times I have to tell them no is where the tears come in. The laughter happens spontaneously when one of my characters sasses off some wisecracking comment. When I laugh at my own work, I know my readers will laugh, too. So, blood, sweat, tears, and a lot of laughter, that pretty much defines my day.

JANE - I wake up in the morning. Shove the cat out of the way so I can get out of bed. Stagger to the kitchen and make a cup of coffee. Make that commute down the hall to my office, where I plan to leap right into my story where I left off the day before. But first…
First I have to check email for, oh, an hour or so. I must respond to friends and readers, right? And look! Travelzoo has all these cool travel deals. What if I miss a cheap trip to Costa Rica? That leads me to do an astonishing amount of Google-hopping. Then I get something for breakfast. Watch a little HGTV. Play with the cat. Head out into the neighborhood to walk a mile or two. Go back home. Take a shower. Return to my office, firm in my intention to get some writing done. But of course I have to check email again. Pretty soon it's time for lunch. And more HGTV. And more feline interaction time. The mail comes. Must check out ad circulars, magazines, and make a frowny face at bills. Back to my office--
Maybe you can see where this is going. 

But later, about 7:00 p.m. or so, I return to my office, where, miraculously, I actually start to focus on my story. I block out distractions and get words onto the page. And a couple of hours later, the book has progressed. I pat myself on the back, finally hopeful that I might actually make my deadline. Then the next morning, I hop right back on that hamster wheel and start all over again. 

No matter how much I try to be a morning or afternoon writer, it isn't until evening, when I'd rather be doing a hundred other things, that I can actually get words onto the page. It's a curse! 

MASON - If you could change places with one of your characters, which would it be and why?

CHRISTIE - Let’s see. Hmmm, I’m certain I wouldn’t want to be Nikki Hunt in DON’T MESS WITH TEXAS. And it’s not because136b51c88da0cf3ddd97d110.L._V192220299_ she finds her ex-husband dead in the trunk of her car. It’s not because she’s accused of killing him, or that she now has a killer after her. I wouldn’t want to be Nikki because she got food poisoning and upchucks in public, and all over the hero. I mean, seriously, how embarrassing would that be?  

People who learn that I’m a romance writer often tell me that they would love to be one of my characters. I just laugh because I know they’ve never read one of my books. Frankly, being a Christie Craig character is not an easy task. Basically, it’s hell. Nothing goes right for them in the beginning. They are either attacked, accused, get sent dead rats, or witness a murder. Sure, they always get their man in the end, but there’s going to be hurdles for them to jump, conflicts for them to overcome, and a black moment for them to survive. So, I think I’ll stick with being a writer, I’m way too evil to my characters to want to be one of them. LOL.

JANE - Any of my heroes. That would be cool. Just once, I'd love to live life from the point of view of a man. Scientific studies say their brains are way different from ours. I'd love to take one for a test drive and see that's  it's true. But I have a funny feeling that in no time at all, I'd be asking for my own brain back. 

MASON - What has been the worst advice you've received as a writer?

CHRISTIE - Two come to mind. 
1)  Murder isn’t funny.
2)  Never attempt to put two romances in the same story.  

Thank goodness I didn’t listen to them, because these two things are what make my books stand out.

JANE - "Romance? Really? When are you going to write a real book?"
A real book? Hmm. So what's this thing with all these pages between two covers that a publishing house paid me to write and other people review and yet other people spot in a bookstore, pick up, pay for, and take home to read? 

A word of warning to romance readers: Some very odd people out there think I'm not writing real books, and you're not reading them. Just so you know. 

MASON - Is research a chore for your work or is it something you enjoy?

CHRISTIE - Let me see, root canal or research? I’ll take a root canal, thank you very much. I’m not kidding. I love writing with a passion, but I really don’t like to spend endless time trying to find out if there is a bridge over a lake in Spring, Texas, and if the hero needs to turn left or right off of I-10 East when heading to the police station. This is why I write about fictional towns; no one can send me a nasty letter and tell me I got something wrong. Now I have what I call my cop-in-my-pocket who is a lieutenant at HPD. I call him with research questions, important stuff, like… “What size gun has a barrel about the same size as a medium, extra absorbent tampon?” “Or what would happen if you got to a crime scene and the possible suspect is puking her guts out and even pukes on some of the officers?”  

As you can imagine, he just loves it when he hears my voice on the phone. Oh, by the way…his answer for question #2 was: “If she puked on me, I’d shoot her. Well . . . maybe not if she’s really good looking. Nah, I’d still shoot her.” And this is why I still go to him for answers. He makes research fun.

Thank you so much for having me today. I hope your readers will enjoy DON’T MESS WITH TEXAS as much as I enjoyed writing it.

JANE - I really like research. Actually, a little too much. I'm one of those excessively curious people who finds almost any subject potentially interesting, so I could start out researching matchmakers in Dallas, as I did for HEARTSTRINGS AND DIAMOND RINGS, and end up Google-hopping to an article about goat herding in Tibet. As you can well imagine, that's quite a large time-suck. Unless, of course, I eventually write a story about goat herding in Tibet.
Ladies, thank you both for stopping by and answering my questions. I enjoy learning what a ‘typical’ day is like for authors.

Author Christie Craig, an Alabama native, is an award-winning, multi-published writer, multi-published photo journalist, motivational speaker, and writing teacher. Her non-fiction articles and photography have appeared in almost three thousand national magazines. A Golden Heart finalist, and a finalist in more than fifty RWA-sponsored contests, she has gained a well-deserved reputation for writing romance fiction that has both witty humor and a suspenseful, sexy tone. For more on Christie, check out her website at

Author Jane Graves is the author of 17 contemporary romance novels. She is a seven-time finalist for Romance Writers of America's Rita Award, the industry's highest honor, and is the recipient of two National Readers' Choice Awards, the Booksellers' Best Award, and the Golden Quill, among others. Jane lives in the Dallas area with her husband of 28 years and a very sweet kitty who kindly keeps her lap warm while she writes. For more on Jane, visit her website at, or write to her at She'd love to hear from you! 

Now for the giveaway details. To enter this giveaway, send me an e-mail ( Your subject line should read, “Win Forever Texas Set.” Your message should include your name and mailing address. The contest is open to residents of the U.S. and Canada only and no post office box addresses can be accepted. Grand Central Publishing advises winners that they will be subject to the one copy per household rule, which means that if they win the same title in two or more contests, they will receive only one copy (set in this case) of the title in the mail. (Winners here have always be great about letting me know if they have already won the book somewhere else so another winner can be selected. However, this announcement is something that has to be passed along.) And, just so you know, I don’t share the mailing information or use it for any other purpose. The deadline to enter this giveaway for a chance at 1 of the 3 sets from the FOREVER TEXAS TOUR is 8 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 11.

Thanks so much for stopping by today and visiting with these delightful authors.


  1. Christie and Jane, thank you both so much for stopping by today. Wishing y'all much success with your writing.

  2. Thanks for hosting Jane and Christie, Mason. I love that they have such different writing processes...shows there are lots of ways to finish a book!

  3. Mason - Thanks for hosting Jane and Christie.

    Christie and Jane - Thanks for sharing the way you go about the writing process. It's so interesting to get insights into your approaches. I wish you both success!

  4. Mason, you're an awesome host.

    Christie and Jane, It's very helpful to hear how others go about the process of writing.

  5. A mystery and a romance. Haven't read many of those set in Texas!

    harvee44 at

  6. Hey, y'all! Just wanted to stop by and say hi. Yeah, we all follow different writing processes--those little voices in our heads make us do weird things.

    Best of luck with the giveaway!

  7. Hi, everyone. I'm stopping in to say hello. I find it amazing how so many writers go about writing differently. As my grandfather used to say..."There's more than one way to skin a rabbit."

    I think the best method is the one that works for you.

    Thanks so much for having us here today.


  8. These books sound like such fun. Thanks for visiting today.

  9. Good post. Those writing distractions just keep on coming.

  10. Two very different, fascinating ladies. Two fabulous sounding books! Great interview. I read lots of romance and I'm in the process of writing one now - love them :)


I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's post. Thanks for dropping by.