Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Hanging on. Hanging in there.













Amazon Gift Card Winner!

I had so many wonderful comments on this blog. It was difficult to pick a winner for the Amazon gift card. You all deserve to win, but, unfortunately, I can only pick one. So the winner of the Amazon gift card is Refhater. Please email your snail mail address to christie(at)christie-craig(dot)com. You've had a rough year, and I hope this marks the beginning of your luck turning around.

Well, hubby did it again. Don’t worry, I’m not talking about setting anything on fire, or tearing the house down in his plumbing misadventures. Nope, I’m talking about his rushing into my office and announcing in a direct tone, “Grab your camera and follow me.”

Now, for those of you who are new to the blog, or perhaps just want to chuckle at the memory, let me start by enumerating some of the great snapshots I’ve gotten at his encouragement.

There was the awesome sunset outside the plane’s window.





There was my cat imitating me after a book release.





There was the peeping frog in our pond.






And the lizards doing it on the side of our house.







Yeah, that’s hubby. He has eclectic taste. So as you can imagine, I never know what to expect when he tells me to grab the camera. Ahh, but this one was pretty good.

It was a praying mantas.

I got excited. As a kid, these bugs were my favorite insect. They were just so odd. They have that weird head and huge honking eyes that look right at you and follow you as you move. And they kept their front legs together as if they were praying.

When I was young, I wondered what it was they prayed so hard for. Ahh, but when I got a little older, I figured it out.


The female Praying mantas has an after-sex ritual. (And human males think that snuggling is bad, but they got off easy). You see, this female insect turns around, right after, or sometimes even during the deed, and bites the head off their mate and has him for an after-sex snack. (Hey, it does increase our appetites.) So I figured the females are praying for forgiveness, or asking for a lover good enough to keep, and the males are pleading for the willpower to avoid the hot looking female mantas.

However, as interesting as all this is, that’s not what this blog is really about. You see, hubby had spotted the praying mantas on top of our car at the post office, and not having anything with which to move the creature, he left him alone. And he was somewhat shocked to discover that the little fellow had hung on all the way to our house.

And that, my friends, gets us to the real subject of this blog: Hanging on. Hanging in there. It’s what I tell my friends whenever they find themselves in a tough spot. It’s what I tell myself when I find myself facing a hurdle. And don’t we all face hurdles? We’ve all been in that tough place where our patience was tried, or our spirit tested.

In my life and in my career, I’ve faced quite a few hurdles. I wanted to be a writer, but being dyslexic, the thought of having to get my ideas on paper, having to spell, and not leave out words, seemed too much. Also, I didn’t have the educational background that so many writers have when they set out with publishing dreams.

I tried anyway.

In spite of receiving over 5000 rejections on my work, both for my freelance articles and novels (yes, I was told "no" that many times) I hung in there. In spite of reading judges’ comments from writing contests like, “You should stop trying to be funny, because I think you might be able to write a good scene,” I didn’t let it ding my sense of humor.

In spite of being told by the professionals that what I wrote was too outside the box and my work was unmarketable, I continued to nourish that tiny seed of hope.

In spite, of it taking ten long years to publish my first book and another thirteen years before I sold book two, I didn’t let go.

I hung on to the hood of my dreams. I found ways to continue to believe in myself. I found ways to continue to improve. I cherished the love ones who found the ability to believe in me. And when the ones who gave up on me said, “Maybe it’s time to stop banging your head on the same damn door,” well, I’m just thankful, as they are, that I’m not a praying mantas and I didn’t turn around and bite off their heads for trying to “screw” with my dreams. But I’ll admit that I wanted to.

In this past couple of years, I’ve taken some major steps up the ladder in my career, and believe me, I have a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. I’ve seen my books auctioned by publishers both in the US and in other countries. I’ve gotten fan mail in over seven languages. Some may think I’m an overnight success, but honestly, there’s been 9,855 nights, give or take a few for leap year, in the twenty-seven years that I hung on.

While I’m doing well, just in the last year, I’ve faced lawsuits, publishers unable to pay royalties, and health issues of loved ones, all of which can take a bite out of our optimism. But I just kept telling myself and them…"let’s hang on.” When our choices are to give up or just to keep going, why not just keep going? And tomorrow, if my genre falls out of favor, if my publishers close house, if life gets in the way of my well laid-out plans, I pray I’ll tighten my grip on life, remember to keep my sense of humor intact, and continue to hang on.

And I’d just like to say to any other writers out there who are facing rejection or non-believers trying to screw with their dreams, take a page from my playbook, and hang in there. To non-writers I offer the same advice. It really doesn’t matter what your dreams are: to run a marathon, to lose a hundred pounds (or even ten), to beat cancer, or to make enough to pay for a dream vacation. Whatever your dream is, hang on like the praying mantas clung to the roof of my husband’s car. Don’t give up. Ever.

The advice I offered to the praying mantas who hitched a ride home with hubby: Take the vow of celibacy, dude. Seriously, take it. Oh, and to all men, be glad snuggling is all we ask for.

Today, I’d like to offer a little Thanksgiving contest, a $25 gift certificate to Amazon to someone who is hanging on. So make sure you post a comment and you might just win. I’ll post the winner on top of this blog tomorrow morning. So make sure you stop by.

Winner Alert!

The winner of Gina Robinson's hilarious and romantic book The Spy Who Left Me is Sarah. So please email your snail mail address to christie(at)christie-craig(dot)com. Congratulations!

Happy Thanksgiving, guys!!!










59 comments:

Virginia said...

Hi Christie, love your books they are fabulous. I also love your possitive additude about every thing and chasing your dreams. Great post to start the day with. Thanks so much for sharing.

krisgils33 said...

I'm thankful for you hanging on and hanging in there!! Love your books and I hope it gets easier for you as it goes! Have a great holiday!

jbrayweber said...

Truly inspirational. Not you, Christie, the mantis. LOL! Just kidding!

Your words of wisdom touch a cord. I shudder to think that sometimes I do feel like throwing in the towel. But I hang on. And I'm so glad that I did. It certainly helps to have friends like you, too. For that I am thankful.

Jenn!

jbrayweber said...

Truly inspirational. Not you, Christie, the mantis. LOL! Just kidding!

Your words of wisdom touch a cord. I shudder to think that sometimes I do feel like throwing in the towel. But I hang on. And I'm so glad that I did. It certainly helps to have friends like you, too. For that I am thankful.

Jenn!

Sandy said...

Christie,

This is a very inspiring blog, and I must say I needed it at this time.

Christie Craig said...

Hi Virginia,

Thanks so much. I love writing with a passion. And consider myself very lucky to be where I am.

CC

Christie Craig said...

Krisgils33,

Thank you so much. Even when it was hard, it was what I loved, so I didn't feel any pain. And I feel so thankful to be here right now.

CC

Christie Craig said...

Jenn,

You are so right. That mantas is inspirational. It must have been a wild ride.

CC

Christie Craig said...

Hi Sandy,

Thanks. I do believe we all need a dose of inspiration every now and then.

CC

Donna Marie Rogers said...

Hi Christie! Funny & wonderfully inspiring all at once. You've worked hard for your success, lady, and you deserve every bit of it. I hope you and your family are doing well, and I wish you a Happy Thanksgiving. :-)

Rebekah E. said...

Thanks for the great post. Hope you have a great Thanksgiving.

Christie Craig said...

Donna,

Thanks girl. I love writing with a passion and I know you get that because just from reading your books, I can tell you love it too.

Thanks for stopping by.

CC

Christie Craig said...

Rebekah,

Thanks so much. And I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving as well!

Turkey and Dressings here I come.

CC

TerriOsburn said...

I, for one, am happy you held on. Not only are you an amazing writer, but you're one fabulous lady. All this success is much deserved. And here's to more ups than downs in your future!

Thanks for this blog. It's like you're talking directly to me. And I needed the pep talk. :)

Sarah said...

Hi Christie,

Thanks for the great post. Lately I've found myself wanting to give up from time to time, but then I stop feeling sorry for myself and remember the important things. Like family (regular and furry). :). Have a great holiday!

Christie Craig said...

Hi Terri,

Thanks girl. And anytime you need a pep talk contact me. I really think all us writers need to support each other. We've all been in a tough spot. Sometimes those tough spots seem to last way to long.

Have a good day girl.

CC

Christie Craig said...

Hi Sarah,

We all feel that way sometimes. Ahh, and those furry family members are great to cheer us up.

CC

petite said...

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Your uplifting post was beautiful and strong. Wishing you the best of health, happiness and continued success.

Christie Craig said...

Thanks Petite!

Happy Thanksgiving to you, too.

CC

traveler said...

Christie,
You are determined, brave and realize the importance of attaining your goals and achieving your dreams. I applaud your strength of character and your grit. Enjoy this special time with family. You know the secret. thanks for this special post.

Christie Craig said...

Thanks Traveler,

I hope you have a great Thanksgiving. I'm looking forward to my cornbread dressing.

Yum.

CC

ClaudiaGC said...

Thank you for not giving up and hanging on! I love your books and I wouldn't want to miss them. Happy Thanksgiving!

Christie Craig said...

Claudia,

Thanks so much.

I love sharing my stories. Love making people laugh and sigh a little.

CC

Robin Kaye said...

Christie~ You're such an inspiration and the most wonderful, giving writer I know. I wish you the happiest of Thanksgivings and all the success and happiness you deserve--you're not nearly there yet, my friend.

Angie Fox said...

Oh what a cool post. You deserve every bit of your success and more, Christie. I'm smiling ear-to-ear for you and for the (as of now) uneaten mantus.

Loretta said...

Christie,
What an inspirational blog:) When I looked at the total of years involved for you to reach the ultimate high, it made me take a deep breath and opt for several more laps around the block:)
Now, if I was doing this year tally in age when lapping blocks, I might think I had a long way to go, and a short time to get there:) But, since most of the marathon is spent in the chair, tapping keys...the long haul may be doable...we can only hope!
Thanks for the morning laugh, gal:) Lo

Christie Craig said...

Robin,

Girl, you inspire me, too. Thanks for the love. And I think most of us have learned that when we give, we usually get back tenfold.

Thanks again.

CC

Susan M said...

Christie,
I considered writing to offer you a can of bug spray, but I was afraid some of your readers might not think it was funny.

Hang in there, you have lots of support.

Christie Craig said...

Angie,

I hope that Praying Mantas listened to me. And thanks for popping in. Hope you and your family have a great Thanksgiving.

CC

Christie Craig said...

Loretta,

Howdy girl. Thanks so much for stopping in. We've all done those laps. And if we love what we do, those laps aren't that bad.

Have a great Thanksgiving and we'll see you around the tracks of life.

CC

Rashda Khan said...

Hi Christie,

I'm saving this page from your playbook because this is an important thing to remember. Thanks for writing great stories & being an inspiration!

Christie Craig said...

Hi Susan,

How's my walking buddy, who has faked a broken foot to get out of walking. LOL.

I loved your Santa story. Can't wait until your book come out. Which is soon, right?

CC

Christie Craig said...

Hi Rhashda,

Thanks so much for stopping in. I had a blast guestblogging at your blog. I hope you and your family have a great Thanksgiving. And here's hoping you have some quality writing time between preparing the feast.

CC

Ruth said...

Great blog, as usual. But it really made me smile as I visualized your Hubby dashing in to grab you and the little praying mantas hanging on for his or her life on the car. How do you tell if they are male or female? if was a male, he might of figured he could escape the lady friend before she bit his head off. Hope you have a wonderful holiday- I'm off to join my boys and the rest of the family for the weekend.
Ruth

Christie Craig said...

Ruth,

Yup, hubby is filled with great ideas. Well, most of them. LOL.

Thanks for stopping in.

As for the sex of the mantas? I don't know. However, I guess I always go for the underdog and prefer to think of this one as the one fearful of being eaten than the mean bug who eats her lover.

Brandie said...

That was an awesome post Christie! Hang in there...I am :-)

Brandie

Christie Craig said...

Brandie,

We'll hang in there together!

Thanks for stopping in.

CC

Jane said...

What a beautiful post, Christie. Keep on hanging in there. Have a Happy Thanksgiving.

catslady said...

Perserverance - is the most important thing of all. Glad you hung in there. I've been married 42years and that's taken a lot of perserverance lol. (maybe those praying mantances know something we don't lol).

Leslie Langtry said...

I love praying mantids, Christie! You made my day!

Pamela said...

Your hubby has a good eye. So many beautiful and funny opportunities ( your cat is so cute :D ) caught in a moment in time.

Thank you for the inspiration about hanging on - its one of those cases of why would you stop before you get to what you want? I love your books - keep doing what you do. :)

Christie Craig said...

Jane, thanks so much. I need go check and see if my turkey is defrosted yet.

Catslady, 42 years is awesome. It does take a certain amount of stick-to-itness to stay married that long. LOL. Thanks for stopping in.

Christie Craig said...

Leslie,

There's actually some Mantas video on the internet that can be called porn with a horror ending. I'm not sure if for mantas the saying..."Better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all" is actually true. LOL.

Pam,

You are so welcome. Thank you so much for stopping in. Writing is a passion and nothing in life beats doing what you love and getting paid for it.

CC

carlakempert said...

Awesome post, Christie! And I'm sorry Hope and I missed you when we were at NWH earlier in the month!

Bless your heart for hanging on. Isn't it all any of us can do?

I'm still clinging to my career like the life preserver it is, because I can't imagine doing anything else. Sure, I have a PDJ (pesky day job) that has nothing to do with writing, but if nothing else, it inspires me to want something more in my life than just the next weekend or the next vacation. I can't help it; I want MORE. For that, I hang in there.

<<>> and Happy Thanksgiving!

Na said...

I agree, don't ever give up and keep chasing your dreams. I believe in trying because if you don't...how will you ever know? I'm thankful for all the authors who haven't given up and in turn giving me so many wonderful stories.

Berliner said...

Boy, did I need to hear this today! It's been a difficult year and consequently, very hard to hang onto the dream. But you've reminded me that it's not easy and that's kind of the point - if this were easy, everyone would do it and be successful. Thanks so much for reminding me of that! ~Marlo

Sheree said...

Oh, definitely, in the face of an economic downturn and such, hanging in there is really important! Thank you for your inspiring post!

I think of the male mantis as "giving it all for his children" because more protein (i.e., his head) means the female will lay more eggs.

ironss [at] gmail [dot] com

Barbara E. said...

That was such a great post, I really enjoyed it. I'm living a fairly trouble free life at this point. Last year at this time I had been out of work for 6 months, had taken a part-time job in a grocery store because that was the only offer I'd had, and still I kept trying until I landed a dream job that I really enjoy.

Christie Craig said...

Hi Carlakempert,

I'm so sorry I missed you guys, too. I was so excited that you were coming and then I realized it was the time I was out of town.

And I know how difficult that pesty day job can be. I did that for years, too. So hold on tight. Dreams do come true.

CC

Christie Craig said...

Na,

It's amazing how many authors struggled to get where they are. Thanks so much for stopping in.

Berliner/Marlo,

Thanks for stopping in. I think it's so easy to be in a bad place and think you are the only person who has been in that hard spot. But you haven't. Others have been there, done that, and survived. Thanks again for dropping in.

CC

Christie Craig said...

Barbara,

Man, I know so many people who are out of work. It's good to hear you've found your dream job. And I give you credit for working the job you had to just to get by. We've all done that. I worked at Pizza Hut and my hubby sold shoes for while. It just made us appreciate the work we have today.

CC

Christie Craig said...

Sheree,

Yup, those females need the extra protein. Thanks so much for stopping in. And you're right, times are tough for a lot of people right now.

CC

Cheryl said...

I'm sure glad you hung in there - I love your sense of humor in your stories. In fact, I just loaned my copy of "Gotcha" to a reader friend at work who was looking for a new author to read. She's now hunting down your backlist.

Phyllis said...

Oh wow! I really needed that today, too :) I'm trying to convince myself to send out a new round of queries after the last ones all came back 'no'. Thanks :)

Alison said...

I love your blog! I hope you have a great Thanksgiving!!

Kristi said...

Hi Christie. I'm glad you hung in there. I love your humor and your characters. Even if your genre went out of fashion I'd still want to read you.

I also think that you've got a good enough following that it wouldn't matter because people like me would still buy anything you wrote.

Kristi W.

RedPeril said...

Thanks, Christie. ^_^

I think this kind of pep-talk is especially needed with the impending doom...er...holidays. >.>

It was delightful getting to sit next to you at the Southern Magic annual luncheon, by the way! I'm looking forward to reading your YAs. I draw much strength from out-of-the-box writers who refuse to give in to discouragement. ^_^

~Angela Blount

Refhater said...

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family Christie!

Thanks for the encouraging words. It's been a rough year with everything from my mom and uncle rolling their cars (both walked away with minor injuries) to the loss of both family,grandma from dementia and old age and 4 friends in a plane crash. I'm trying really hard to hold on to my sense of humor right now. Finding joy in the little things. And a new year and a chance for a new start begin in a little over a month.

Love the pictures. Now everytime I see a Mantis, I'll think of you. And I bet that Mantis had the ride of it's life while "holding on."

Bethany said...

Christie,

Everytime I'm around you I feel like you say exactly what I need to hear. You truly are an inspiration and I'm going to keep working on hanging on.

Thanks for the post! You rock :-)