Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Giveaway and How I Found the Write Path

Are you ready for a boatload of awesomeness?


Today I'm participating in a hop/endeavor I hope will benefit writers, or really anyone in their journey. I've given permission for this piece to be published in a book to help up and coming authors, but I think you'll find the advice applies to anyone with a life-long goal. 

Sprinting Vs. Jogging

Dear Past Self,

I know you're excited about this publishing thing, I mean, you did it! You finally finished writing a novel. That is by far the hardest step. BUT, before you jump off a proverbial bridge make sure you've got a bungee cord attached, because you're going to do a TON of springing back and forth. I hope you're ready for the emotional roller coaster that comes with the rest of the journey, although I know there's no way you can be.

If I told you you've got another 11 years before your first book is published, and this won't be it, would you be discouraged? If I told you you're going to write six more books before you get published, would you give up? If I told you you're going to completely rewrite THE book 7 times and go through over 100 minor drafts, learning a new principle with each one, would you grow too agitated about the road ahead? 

What if I told you about the amazing critique partners you will meet? About the way your heart will break with each well-meaning suggestion as you learn how to take criticism? About the the wonderful bloghops and online support groups you will come to know? About the beta readers who will cheer you? About the literary agent who will encourage you to keep going? About the contests you will enter and lose? About the queries for short stories that will end in rejection? About other literary agents who will kindly refuse, not so kindly refuse, or not answer at all? 

And after all that, life will get in the way. You'll look for fulfillment in other ways, but you'll always come back to your writing. 

Regardless, here's what I really want to tell you: enjoy this path. Once you cross the finish line, you'll find there's another line over the next hill, and another, and another. The race never ends once you're officially entered, and all this jogging beforehand will give you the stamina, skills and fortitude to press through the downpours and steep inclines ahead. They will get steeper. The demands will feel nearly unbearable. You'll watch friends pass you by on all sides. You'll question why you can't be more like them, what you lack, and how you can possible do better. 

Persist, and you will find that golden moment of triumph. 

You have a difficult and long road ahead, but it's a journey worth taking. I hope you know that, and I think you do. Don't rush. Savor each step. Be patient with yourself and your circumstance. You'll never be in this place again. Face the trials bravely, and when all else fails, eat cheese and be happy. 

Sincerely,

Author of the Maiden of Time Series

Find all the participants HERE


Are you ready to meet a new author and enter to win an out of this world book? 

Last week, the genuinely nice Kurt Springs shared PRICE OF VENGEANCE with us, along with two truths and one lie. Those who guessed the lie correctly were entered into a random drawing for the chance to win a $5 Amazon giftcard.

Kurt's game:


1. Kurt originally wrote a fantasy novel entitled the Queen of Thieves. 
2. He doesn't like beer, but not for a lack of trying
3. He loves tequila. 

And the lie is: 

#3. Kurt thinks that tequila is vile stuff. 

Way to guess those of you who got it right! And the winner is:

...DRUM ROLL...

Le&ndra Wallace!

Congrats Leandra! 

And now to today's feature:

When Callie Rycroft wakes to purple flames on the ceiling, she discovers that not only does the Faery realm exist, but she is the human who must save it. Chosen as Champion by the Faery Queen, Callie is tasked with finding the Cordial, a magical elixir needed to prevent a dangerous curse from bringing war to the Human and Faery realms.

The upside? Reece Michaels, the boy she's been crushing on for years, is assigned as her Guardian. Callie hopes by spending time together, he'll start to see her as more than just his best friend's sister.

The downside? She's in a race not only against time, but another Champion and Guardian-a Guardian who stands to threaten her developing relationship with Reece.

Magic, mistaken identities, and hidden agendas are the least of Callie's worries when she learns the Cordial requires a sacrifice. Will Callie be willing to risk all, even Reece, to complete her task as Champion, or will she let the curse free?

Faery Marked releases this summer! Add it on Goodreads HERE.

Now let me introduce you to the sweet and very cool author: 

Mary Waibel lives with her husband, son and two cats. When she isn't twisting fairytales, she enjoys reading, playing games, watching hockey, and camping. Her Princess of Valendria series (Quest of the Hart, Charmed Memories, Different Kind of Knight) are available from MuseItUp Publishing and other major retailers. Her Faery Marked (book 1 in the Faery Series) will be available from BookFishBooks this summer.

She loves all kinds of cheese (except Swiss which she only likes in fondue) and will eat it anywhere she can, but enjoys it most when sharing with the good company of family and friends. 

Mary gave me two truths and one lie to test your "lie detector" skills. Those who figure out the lie will go into my magic hat to win one of these books*: 


(All rated 4 star and up by me.)
(*US participants only. If the winner lives elsewhere, I have two alternate ebooks the winner may choose from.)

You have until Tuesday, May 27, at 1 p.m. EDT to guess--and be sure to come back for the answer on May 28.

TRUTH OR LIE

1. When Mary was little she got her head stuck in the fence around the White House, and although they were able to get her out without issue, it makes for a great story.
2. She has a ton of useless facts stored in her mind that make for interesting conversations at the dinner table. (Like the reason weddings are in June is that was when everyone took their yearly bath.) 
3. She wanted to be a nurse until she learned you had to work in the ER and decided she couldn't handle seeing someone she knew come through the doors.


Sign ups are still open for the
(This is just a logo.)

cover reveal. (Book 2 in the Maiden of Time Trilogy.) 
Sign up HERE for any day the week of July 14-19.

(Revealers will have first dibs on ARC's as soon as they're available, and one lucky participant will win their choice of $10 to Amazon or a signed copy of MOONLESS.) 


Which is the lie? Are you running the race and feeling discourage/encouraged? What major goal are you trying to reach? Are you going to help with my cover reveal? Are you as excited as me about Faery Marked? 

147 comments:

  1. There's always some new challenge to tackle. I'm loving reading all of these! It's going to make a great book.

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    1. I think so too. Carrie Butler is a genius.

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  2. What a great letter, Crystal- with lots of wonderful reminders to all of us. Thanks for sharing!

    And thanks for hosting me and FAERY MARKED today! Can't wait to see your wonderful lie detectors at work!

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    1. Yay! Thanks for being here, Mary. You're one of my favoritest faery writers. =)

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  3. I love the part in your letter about looking for fulfillment in other places but how you always return to your writing. Great post!

    Madeline @ The Shellshank Redemption

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    1. Thanks, Madeline. You've been through that too, haven't you? I know you have.

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  4. I really like this letter to your past self Crystal. You're right, the race never ends. Everything is an ongoing journey so we must enjoy the path we are on and savor each and every moment and each and every person we meet along the way :)

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    1. Agreed--every person especially. Even the salty ones. ;)

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  5. Love these letters to past selves I'm finding on this blog hop. Writing is definitely a long journey.

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    1. For sure! But so is life. I think if we looked at both this way, we'd have a much healthier perspective, eh?

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  6. I really love this letter! It really is a never-ending road, but so rewarding. :) Eventually!

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  7. I love the tone of this letter. You pack so many truths into such a short space. And, yes, there's always cheese!

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  8. This is such a great letter. So well framed, so well written, so full of a perfect blend of tough reality, honesty, and encouragement. I wish I had a letter like this when I was starting out! And yes, I think the theme for the day is "slow the heck down" :)

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    1. YES! Of course, if I read something like this when I first started, I probably would have laughed and muttered, "Yeah right. Well that's how it was for you. I'm going to totally do better."

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  9. Crystal, good letter. Yes, the heart does break with each well thought out criticism given to improve. If you listen you do improve and crits like that continue with each story or proposal. Enjoy your path!

    Sia McKye Over Coffee

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    1. It's so essential to get to the point where you can interpret them in a "strictly business" way, eh?

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  10. If I knew how long and hard this journey would be, I would've given up. The sheer # of words I've written and rewritten... sigh.

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    1. Hey, every one is worth it, and you should be proud.

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  11. You are so right about the jogging thing. Definitely not easy, so pace yourself and keep training!

    Good to hear the genuinely nice Kurt doesn't like tequila. I don't either, so that gives us something in common :)

    Best of luck to Mary. I'm going to go with the ER one as a lie. Just because I wanna.

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    1. Rather than sprinting like you have been around your son's graduation? You survived!!!

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  12. Wise words, well-spoken (or should I say, written?). ;)

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  13. I always love stories with mistaken identities. That's one reason Shakespeare's comedies enchant me. As to Mary's lie, I'm going with the head in White House fence.

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    1. Totally agreed.

      That would be quite the spectacle, eh? The kids with their head stuck in the fence?

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  14. Sound advice, Crystal. I'm not sure I could take the onslaught but like you rightly say, there's always another hurdle or line to cross. I guess if you really want it you will persevere.

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    1. There are so many people who think they do want it, only to get into the bullpen and decide it's too brutal a sport.

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  15. Great letter. I like how you went over both the good and the bad things that happen. Too often, we focus on the bad and forget there is a lot of good on the road to publication.

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    1. It's definitely a balanced journey, but it's true, we tend to focus on the bad right? Get 50 good reviews and one bad, and you'll focus on the one. =)

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  16. I enjoyed your letter! The road sure it bumpy, but it's so satisfying to see your work in print!

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    1. Agreed! That's definitely an epic moment.

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  17. Such an amazing letter from an amazing lady! Thanks for sharing your road down the write path. I think if we could see ahead into the future in our early years, we might think twice about a career as a writer;-)
    The lie: #1

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    1. I would hope so! My goodness... Of course some of us would be too foolhardy to think it applied to us, eh?

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  18. Well said! That first book is not the end. It's the beginning.

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  19. Great advice to your earlier self, Crystal! Ha yes, "eat cheese and be happy." Fairy Marked sounds good, too!

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    1. You know I had to sneak the cheese in there somehow, right? =)

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  20. This is truly an inspiring and eye-opening post, Crystal. Thanks.
    Deb@ http://debioneille.blogspot.com

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    1. It's rare you get a glimpse into the long journey, eh?

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  21. Great letter! The journey is never ending--but that can be a good thing :) And I REALLY can't wait for Fairy Marked. As for the lie, I'm going with #3!

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    1. I know. It's going to be awesome. It's definitely on my TBR list.

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  22. Wow, Crystal, loved your letter to yourself. So inspiring and so touching. Thank you for sharing such a personal journey. It gives me hope.

    Yes! So excited to be a part of your cover reveal.

    I think the lie is #3.

    Also, sorry I haven't been around the blogosphere lately! I've missed "seeing" you!

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    1. Aw! I've missed seeing you too, Kristen, and I'm so excited to have you along for the reveal. Yippee!

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  23. What a wonderful letter, Crystal. I feel like that could've been written to me and every other writer in the world. :) Thank you for sharing your story.

    I'm going to guess the lie to be...#1.

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  24. It took my seven drafts to get my first (well, second actual) novel finished and ready for pub (and then I found more mistakes afterwards - cringe). I'm jogging along with you. I like to pretend to sprint for a while, and then I slow to a shuffle, and then I jog. If I could just keep the same pace, I think it might help. :)
    But yes, let's savor every step! Eat cheese! Enjoy!

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    1. Yeah, it was 7 COMPLETE rewrites for me, including a shift from 1st to 3rd person, and I literally have a draft labeled "KL145."

      Here's to eating cheese and loving every step!

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  25. Hi folks,

    I think the letter was a good "word to the wise." The process of becoming an author that sells enough to make a living is a marathon, not a sprint.

    Just to expand on the truth and lie.

    3. My brother loves tequila. I try a little but "blagh."

    2. Right up to the time I lived in Ireland, I tried to like beer. It just had a bitter taste I could never get past. I tried SeaDog's Ole GollyWoblier (came the closest. Not sure if I spelled it write) and in Ireland I tried Guinness. No dice. Someone in Ireland introduced me to hard cider. Finally, something I could drink a pint of while my friends had Guinness (amongst other things). My favorite Irish cider is Linden Village, but only a few pubs have it so I settle for Bulmers (Magners everywhere outside the Republic). In the states, I drink Angry Orchard, but like Original Sin the best, when I can find it.

    1.Queen of Thieves. I wrote that in the early 1990s with a agent who was teaching me about plotting. The first novel I ever submitted to a publisher. You will note that it never made it to the shelves. It was written using first WordStar 7.0 then Lotus AmiPro. The disks it was on are long gone, and I probably couldn't read them if they were. However, I do have a hard copy in a file. I may repurpose the story some day.

    Thanks for featuring me Crystal. It was a fun Writerly Wednesday.

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    1. Thanks for letting me feature you, Kurt. And oh my goodness...talk about old writing programs. Pretty much everything I typed into a computer before 2001 is gone. There are a few WordPerfect documents printed up in my story file, but wow! Writing was difficult back then, right?

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  26. Wonderful letter! I need to stop daydreaming and just start writing or I won't even make it to the start line.

    I'm going to go with #3 as the lie, mostly because I have never wanted to be a nurse.

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    1. So true. Every journey begins with the first step.

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  27. Great post! Loved it!

    I'm signed up... I think. If not, add me! :)

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    1. Yay! I'm stoked to have you along, Melissa. (Did you know every time I type your name my fingers want to use "zz" for the s's? You've just got that much pizzazz.) ;)

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  28. Great letter to yourself. So agree with it, especially the ups and downs of it after finally finishing a book.

    I signed up to help by posting in Follower News.

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  29. You are one busy woman! And I love your letter! This has to be one of my favorite hops. I love reading what everyone has posted.

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    1. It's definitely been enlightening, eh? And comforting. We're not alone!

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  30. Oh Crystal I adore you... I am only on the first step of my journey, writing the book, which is pretty well written but not organized and boy does it need to be proof read and grammar...on and on... I am in it for the long haul and all the rejection until I cross that first line of many.... You inspire me girl :)

    I agree with you about people seeing things differently about the past... this one is a tiny bit different. I have words in writing and there is no way to think anything other that what was written.. then I was told I was making it up/having a fantasy.. NOT... that is was bothers me but I am getting past it:)

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    1. Here's to the road ahead, Launna. It's onward and upward from here, eh?

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  31. I wouldn't have given up if I knew I'd have to write 7 books before anything significant happened, but I'd definitely do a double-take!

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    1. I know! I'm rather glad I was ignorant.

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  32. What a lovely letter, Crystal, and a fantastic blog you have here=)
    You mentioned we can always come back to our writing and I think as authors and writers, this is one of the greatest gifts we can stumble upon. It makes us unique and like no other. Even when we have our bad days, we can always count on our gift to get us through the most trying of times. And I think all of our experiences, even within this industry, allows our writing to grow overtime.
    Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Agreed. I think that's the biggest thing we don't realize when we start, that we have to GROW into this new role. It doesn't happen automatically.

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  33. It's amazing what we go through in our writing journeys. And early on, we think we're the only ones.

    Great to meet Mary. Her book sounds fun. I think the lie is #1.

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    1. So true. It's nice to occasionally realize we're not, eh?

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  34. It's not the destination, it's the journey! Okay, maybe the destination is loads of fun too, but it's more like a pit stop, right? Wonderful and touching letter. :)

    I think the lie is #3.

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    1. LOL! It's true. Each line is like a pit stop. Here's to persevering!

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  35. Marvelous letter!

    Faery Marked sounds like my kind of book!

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  36. Patience is a difficult skill to learn. I hope to develop it someday.

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    1. LOL. One of my characters made me chuckle when he said, "I hated waiting, and although Kiren said patience was an acquired skill, I didn’t have the patience to acquire it."

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  37. Love your letter, Crystal. I need to eat more cheese!

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  38. So much to muse on...

    I'll say the lie is #1.

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    1. Definitely food for thought, eh? Especially cheese. =)

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  39. I've read several letters today, but yours is the one that hit me hardest. It's never easy to think about how your younger self would deal with knowing there was still such a climb ahead. I don't think I'd want to tell myself. O_o

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    1. I know! Of course my younger self would laugh me off and say, "Yeah right. I'll do it better than you."

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  40. The analogy that there's always another finish line over the next hill is perfect. That's something no beginning writer can understand. Even well-established authors worry about reviews and sales of their most recent book. I don't think it ever gets easier.

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    1. Definitely not. It's binding rocks to your shoulders, and as soon as you're used to the weight, strapping on more.

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  41. Great letter to your past self, and I love the advice you give. I wish I knew to enjoy the journey as much as I am now. It has a lot to do with all the great people in our writing community too. :)

    The lie is, umm, #1.

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    1. I think so too. The people along the way are definitely what make the journey doable.

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  42. Ah yes, those "finish lines" are never ending ;)
    Wonderful letter to yourself.

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  43. Getting to read these letters are very encouraging. And wahoo, I won! Thanks! =)

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    1. I know! I wish the person awarding you your prize wasn't so slow about telling you. *shifty eyes*

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  44. Great letter to your past self... I could relate to so much of this... it is so real...:) Just wonderful.

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    1. Yup. You got totally unfiltered, real Crystal here. Scary, right?

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  45. Oh my gosh, your letter is incredible! So many times I think I would have wanted to know, but you're right, we don't want to know. We don't want to know how hard it will be to get where we're going. If we know we might not try as hard, or at all. We definitely wouldn't be as strong as we are today. ^_^

    Hmm...Lie #3? :)

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    1. Definitely. The road ahead is invisible for a reason.

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  46. my gosh! that is so true that life gets in the way. loved the letter and everything you have going on is amazing!!

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  47. We have so many of the same views, Crystal... Beautiful letter to yourself....

    YAY, MARY! CONGRATS! So excited for you! ALL the best!

    I'm going with #3 for the lie....

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    1. Crazy, huh? I knew there was a reason we got along. ;)

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  48. Wow, I'm amazed with your perseverance! It's incredible you wrote seven books before publication and still kept going - clearly your hard work has paid off which is awesome. It's also really inspiring for a beginner writer like myself, proof that with enough time and hard work, success does happen :) Well done!

    By the way, I saw your comment over at the Life is Good blog, about the Princess Bride eels, so I had to hop on over and say hi - always nice to meet a fellow PB fan ;-) I'll be following you through the wordpress reader, I know you can't see that on your blogger follower list but thought I'd let you know as it's always nice to hear of new followers!!

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    1. Yay for a new follower! Thanks for the heads up. AND yes, PB is of the most epic stuff in existence. You know you're in good company when you find another lover.

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  49. Ah, persistence. Easy to say, hard to accomplish. great letter. Loving reading these.

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    1. Definitely harder to practice than talk about. Thanks!

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  50. "The race never ends once you enter." Great advice and very true! It takes so long and you keep running. Great letter!

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    1. Yuppers. Of course, I may have camped out on the side of the road once or twice along the way... ;)

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  51. There seems to be a lot of "be patient" in these letters I'm reading. Sound advice. Can we do it? That's a tough one.

    Great letter. And, also, with the cheese. Brilliant.

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    1. I know! Apparently it's the greatest lesson we learn from writing, eh?

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  52. Great letter! Even though it was written to you, I actually found it very comforting. :)

    Tequila is extremely vile and I don't understand why anyone willing drinks it.

    Happy Thursday!

    Sam
    Writing Through College

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    1. Oh, I'm so glad it was a comfort, Sam. That was the intent.

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  53. So true. Writing really isn't a sprint and shouldn't be approached as one. Instead, it's really more of a life-long walk. :-P

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    1. Wait, you're walking? Does that mean I can slow down to a walk?

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  54. What an inspiring message! Have a terrific day.

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  55. A comforting and inspiring letter. All the best!

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  56. Fantastic letter. Lots learned. It definitely has been a roller coaster ride!

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    1. I KNOW! Some days I wonder if I can get off without killing myself. ;)

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  57. I'll guess the lie is #3.

    I marvel at how naïve I once was to truly believe I'd be published by age 15, and rich and famous by age 18. Even if I had a writing gift and talent from a young age, I hadn't matured into a good enough writer to be published. My earliest manuscripts need a lot more work than the ones from more recently.

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    1. Seconded! I look back at earlier books and find it hard to swallow how much red I want to add. Well, we have to learn somehow, eh?

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  58. I feel inspired by your letter to yourself, Crystal. Thank you. One piece that particularly resonates for me is the aspect of heart-crushing constructive criticism. I haven't yet learned to take it in easier, so much as I've learned to consider the source of the critique and go from there. Yeah, I still have lots of work to do. I suppose we all do, which is your point. The journey continues.

    Congratulations and much success to Mary. I'm guessing #3.

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    1. You'll totally get there, Robyn. It took a few years and a "publishing" focus rather than "writing form myself" to really get there for me.

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  59. Great post. Sometimes I have the feeling that I'm the only one with doubts. This post is a good reminder that it's a normal part of the process ;-)

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    1. Everyone else seems so confident, right? Total bluff. =)

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  60. That's so true about not rushing and having patience. I wish I'd known that when I was younger!

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  61. Such a great letter. Loved the bungee cord. Yes! This blog hop really gave my brain a work out and such great advice everywhere...

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    1. Seconded! My bungee cord may actually be worn out after all this bouncing. ;)

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  62. Great letter! It makes me think about how sometimes it's best not to know what's ahead. Part of our growth as human beings revolves around us not knowing what's around the corner. This gives us hope and also something to always shoot for...at least that's how I look at it:)

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    1. Hope, yes. It's totally true. Knowing the road ahead might crush us otherwise.

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  63. I like your letter to yourself :)

    Also, I think the lie is #3

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  64. The time frame doesn't seem to bad when you've at the publishing end of things. But tell me that before I started writing, and I might have had second thoughts. Oh, who am I kidding? No I wouldn't.

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    1. LOL! I'm right there with you. I'd have just been that much more determined to get through all the early stuff.

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  65. Love the letter to your past self. I have also met amazing critique partners. Writing is so hard but so worth it.

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  66. Hi, Crystal,

    Encouragement is extremely important and it's good that you know it's important, but from within and from those around us.

    I believe the lie on Mary's part is at number 3.

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    1. I think we probably neglect one of those two regularly, the inward or outward encouragement.

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  67. I think the lie is #1. Great letter to self. Enjoy my visits with you, Crystal. Maria, Delight Directed Living

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  68. Love this letter. Your enthusiasm and creativity shines through. Lie is #1?

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  69. I love this analogy! If we're sprinting, then we're more likely to trip over our laces, and we'll miss all that great scenery (writing laces). This is a great letter. About the lie, I think it is number #3. Why wouldn't you want to see someone you know? If it was someone who had been mean to you, you could set their broken leg and then they could never be mean to you again!

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    1. LOL! I love that--tripping over your literary laces. Great image.

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  70. The hill thing is so true. I have yet to cross my first hill, but I see how they keep coming for others. At least I'll be prepared, at least a little, when I get there.

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    1. (So she thinks.) ;) You'll be great and as prepared as we ever can be.

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  71. I am guessing #3 is the lie- though they all seem believable to me. ;) Thanks for the giveaway.

    Love the letter to your past self! Such great advice to persevere.What a long journey we are all on- and your advice would help any new author. :) Thanks for sharing!
    ~Jess

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    1. Any journey worth taking is worth taking, eh? So glad to have you along for the giveaway.

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  72. Congrats to Leandra.

    I think 3 is the lie.

    I don't know how I would've taken it if someone told me that i would write for almost 15 years before getting my first contract. We persist, though.

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    1. Too true. As long as we can say we didn't quit along the way, we're total winners. =)

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  73. "The race never ends once you're officially entered, and all this jogging beforehand will give you the stamina, skills and fortitude to press through the downpours and steep inclines ahead."

    Yessssssssss! Well said, Crystal. :D And thank you so much for participating!

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Hit me with your cheese!