Friday, January 23, 2015

Christi Caldwell - Writer, Wife, Mother, Friend - My Writing Hero

 Excerpt from : More Than a Duke

Lord Stanhope reached down between them and through the ivory fabric of her satin skirts, wrapped his hard hand about the upper portion of her leg, effectively stilling her moments.
Anne’s breath froze and she looked at him.

Be still, he mouthed.

Her throat convulsed. Odd, they were just fingers on just a hand, so very uninteresting, something possessed by everyone. And yet, her skin thrummed with awareness of his touch. She swallowed again. There was nothing uninteresting about his fingers upon her person.

“Stop tapping your foot,” he whispered against her temple. His words had the same affect of a bucket of water being tossed over her foolish head.

“She’s not going to hear my foot,” she shot back. “It is more likely she’ll hear your constant haranguing.”

He closed his eyes and his lips moved as if he were uttering a silent prayer. Which was peculiar, because she’d not ever taken him as the religious sort.

“Lord Stanhope?” the woman called again, impatience coating her words.

Anne sighed. She’d had this all planned out. She’d speak to the earl. Enlist his help and be gone before his trysting partner had arrived. That had been the plan. Then again, a lifetime of scrapes that had gone awry should have prepared her for how this evening would likely turn out. “Oh, for goodness sake, will she not go already?” she muttered. “Whyever is she so insistent on seeing y—”
The earl cursed under his breath. “For the love of all that is holy.” And then, he kissed her. Hard.

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 My heroes have always been writers. Actually, my very first hero was my Dad and then John Wayne, but from the time I read Pride and Prejudice I've always seen writers as heroes. The written word is a living, breathing thing with amazing power, mystical forms and endless twists and turns. Wrestling it into submission, let alone into a book people want to read, is like riding a bull on PCP in five o' clock traffic in Atlanta.  Anyone who can conquer that is a hero to me.

Over seven years ago, when I took up my pen again, so to speak, and decided I wanted to be a writer; I found out exactly how daunting this journey can be. It was scary then and it has grown increasingly scary every year. Agents can help or hurt you. Publishers want to sign you, but only if you can make them lots of money. Editors can crush you with a single e-mail. Indie publishing means you do everything AND deal with all the aforementioned craziness as well. Your career can become road kill before you ever even realize you've the left the side of the road. It's like being a character in Game of Thrones. Tick off George R.R. Martin and you are either axe fodder or dragon meat. Well. Done. Dragon meat. So anyone who hangs in there and keeps at it through all of that is definitely hero material.

I whine about working at Walmart and trying to pursue a career as a writer. I hate my job. I have filmed various episodes of SNAPPED in my head featuring me, our store manager, a walk in freezer and large knives. He does NOT fare well. (Insert maniacal laughter here.) It would be easy for me to simply lay down and quit. But I can't. You see, I have some pretty damned heroic writers in my life. They make my day job look like a cake walk. They've overcome incredible odds in pursuit of their writing dreams. And they've dragged me along with them, because I'm too damned ashamed to quit when I look at the example they've set.

I'd like to introduce you to one of my heroes. Meet Christi Caldwell. This is her official bio.

  Christi Caldwell is the USA Today Bestselling author of historical romance novels set in the Regency era. Christi blames Judith McNaught’s “Whitney, My Love,” for luring her into the world of historical romance. While sitting in her graduate school apartment at the University of Connecticut, Christi decided to set aside her notes and try her hand at writing romance. She believes the most perfect heroes and heroines have imperfections and rather enjoys tormenting them before crafting a well-deserved happily ever after!
When she isn’t writing the stories of flawed heroes and heroines, she can be found in her Southern Connecticut home chasing around her feisty six-year-old son, and caring for twin princesses-in-training!
Sounds pretty standard, right? She's a mom. She writes Regency romance- funny, sexy books with characters that make you root for them even when they make you laugh at loud. She's done pretty well - a USA Today Bestselling Author, right? Let me tell you what this bio doesn't tell you. 
Christi is one of the bravest, most determined people I know. After writing and submitting a number of manuscripts and trying the traditional publishing route, Christi decided to indie publish her books. Eight books and three novellas. In the last four or so years. Wonderful books that have done really well. Prolific, yes, but heroic? There's more to the story.
More, because during those four or so years, Christi and her husband have fought one of the toughest and bravest fights it has ever been my privilege to witness. All to give their son, Rory, a very special young man, a sibling. Those of you who have struggled with infertility know exactly how hard and how heartbreaking that fight can be. Our critique group has lived that fight with Christi, and her strength and refusal to give up has been an inspiration to all of us. And through it all, she wrote. 
Through failure after failure and loss after loss, she wrote. She wrote about love and trust and faith and two people finding 'happily ever after.' She wrote. When all of her dreams came down to one last try, she wrote. When that dream took root with twins, no less, she wrote. When the experts told her she would never bring the pregnancy to term, she wrote. When they sent her to bed in what they all thought was a futile effort to save those babies she wrote. And when they told her time after time not to expect a miracle, she wrote. She was in bed for the entire pregnancy, hanging onto those babies with all her might and she wrote. Christi had two dreams - a sibling for Rory, because she knew he would be an amazing big brother, and a career as a Regency romance writer for herself because she understood exactly what the romance genre is all about - love and hope.
In the past couple of weeks Christi has celebrated two milestones - the publication of her eighth Regency romance novel MORE THAN A DUKE  and the first birthday of her twin daughters - Regan and Riley. Doctors don't know everything. Don't you love it when that happens?

People come into our lives for a reason. And if we pay attention and are very lucky, they teach us something. About ourselves. About life. About what we're really put here to do. And sometimes they show us how to get up each and every time life or our own insecurities makes us want to turn back because that dream just beyond our reach is simply too hard to keep pursuing. Each of my writing heroes has taught me a lesson I badly needed in order to keep at this. Christi Caldwell has taught me one of the fundamental elements of the romance genre - Hope. And we have to learn to live it, if we want to write it. Thanks, Christi. 
Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,


I invite you to check out Christi's website, Facebook page, and Twitter feed. Her posts are as much fun as her books. Life with a lively six-year-old boy and one-year-old twins is not for the faint of heart. Fortunately she has a very supportive husband! And access to chocolate, wine and coffee !

Twitter :  @ChristiCaldwell

How about you? Do you have writing heroes? Are there people in your life who have taught you things that have helped you on your writing journey? Give 'em a shout out. Even heroes appreciate a mention now and then!



Andrea K. Stein said...

Thanks, Louisa, for another post that made me cry. :-) Come to think of it, *you* are my hero. - Your roomie

Jillian said...

What a great post. I am thrilled to learn more about Christi.

Louisa Cornell said...

Back at you, Andrea Stein! You inspire me every day and keep my butt in the chair!

Christi Caldwell said...

I am beyond touched by your beautiful words. I'm blessed to have you in my life.
Tremendous hugs,

Louisa Cornell said...

Thanks, Jillian. Christi is an amazing woman and an amazing writer!

Louisa Cornell said...

Hugs to you too, Christi. I've learned so much from you and I am so glad you are in my life!

Collette Cameron said...

Two of my very most favorite ladies, Louisa and Christi.

Christi's story to motherhood and publishing is amazing, and I stand in constant awe of her.

Louisa Cornell said...

Aww, Collette, you are one of our favorite ladies too!

Ella Quinn - Romance Novelist said...

Great post from one of my favorite authors to another of my favorite authors, and wonderful friends!

Cari Hislop said...

Writing while bed bound pregnant with twins...with a young child as well...that's impressive! I would have spent nine months scoffing chocolate moaning to myself (my husband would have long turned off his hearing aids and gone in to 'yes dear' mode for his sanity).

I think every writer needs writing heroes (whether they write or not doesn't matter much) as long as they give us hope...and inspire us to keep trying!

Louisa Cornell said...

Thanks so much, Ella! You're our writing hero of productivity and stick-to-it-ness. I am in awe of your ability to write every day and to get so many words on the page each and every day!

Louisa Cornell said...

I'm with you, Cari! I'd have been a whining, chocosnorking mess!

And writing heroes are a crucial part of hanging in there in this business.

Ali Hubbard said...

I love your post, as I love all your posts. You always get me. So many feels. :-)

And what a lovely tribute to your friend, who writes brilliantly!

I have 2 writing heros: Kristan Higgins and Colleen Hoover. Wonderful books with unique voices coming from amazing places within them. I heard KH speak at RWA Atlanta and it was so inspirational. Wow. I cry-cry-cried. CoHo has a great story of her success and loves her fans as much as we love her.

Louisa Cornell said...

Aww, thank you, Ali! I love writing heroes! They keep us going when things get tough and they always get tough!

I thought Kristan Higgins gave a brilliant speech in Atlanta! Such a great lady.