Wednesday, February 04, 2009

IMHO welcomes Christie Craig!



Photojournalist, author and popular speaker Christie Craig is an award-winning, multi-published writer whose non-fiction and photography have appeared in almost three thousand national magazines. A Golden Heart finalist, and a finalist in more than fifty Romance Writers of America-sponsored contests, she has gained a well-deserved reputation for writing romance fiction that has both witty humor and a suspenseful, sexy tone.

Published by Silhouette in the 90s, she recently broke back into fiction in a big way, making four book sales in one day. Christie will put her first single title romance novel, Divorced, Desperate & Delicious, in the Romance Roundup Gift Basket (AKA the "BIG BASKET of LOOOOVE"). Her latest book in the Divorced series, Divorced, Desperate & Dating, is in bookstores now. Her newest non-fiction title, The Everything Guide to Writing a Romance Novel, co-authored with her nonfiction writing partner Faye Hughes, is also available now. Her marriage partner, Steve, figures prominently in her own hilarious blog posts over at Killer Fiction, where she often chronicles the sometimes unbelievable (but always true) adventures of the Craig clan.

IMHO: Welcome to the party, Christie! I know you have some deeply serious thoughts on what romance means to you. Well, okay, some deeply funny thoughts, then. Share!

CC: Thanks, TJ! You bet I do. I even have a title: “What a Woman Really Wants in Romance.”

I remember being in first grade and coming home and asking my mom if she’d put my hair up in pigtails the next day for school. She rolled her eyes at me in disbelief because that very morning I’d thrown a hissy fit because I hadn’t wanted to wear my hair up in pigtails. But I had good reasons for my change of heart. And you can bet it involved matters of the heart, too. You see, I’d watched a neighborhood boy named Calvin, whom I liked, pull on the pigtails of another little girl named Mary. Surely, if I wore my hair like hers, he would pull my pigtails instead of Mary’s.

At age six, I didn’t care if that boy had a six pack or a sexy gait. His toothless smile and freckles made my stomach flutter. I didn’t care that his mode of transportation, an old paint-chipped bike that had belonged to his brother, wasn’t the hottest on the block. Frankly, I didn’t really care, or even want, to get my hair pulled, either. What I wanted was . . . his attention.

As I grew older, like most girls, what I looked for in a man changed a bit. Don’t judge me, but I’ll confess, I got to that place where I preferred my men with teeth. And when I got to high school, freckles weren’t a plus either. And yes, in time I started noticing six packs and sexy bad-boy smiles, and I’ll admit it, I wouldn’t have been happy with a man whose mode of transportation was a paint-chipped bike.

My point isn’t that love, or our search for it, is superficial. I think the whole attraction thing is somewhat physiological. We are instinctively looking for a mate with good genes, and how he fits into his jeans is sure to catch our eyes. We are looking for a mate who can help us feed and clothe ourselves and our children and that paint-chipped bike may lead us to believe he won’t be a good provider.

But you know, when I look deep into romance, at what a woman really wants and what my romance heroines want, I can tell you that some things are the same as they were on that playground years ago. Women want to know that of all the girls pumping their legs on the swing set, going up and down on the seesaw, that you are the one he wants. It’s your pigtails he wants to pull. Women want a man’s full attention; they want to be the thing he’ll do anything to attain--even if it means spending his whole recess chasing you around the school’s backyard.

As I write my novels, I try to remember this about romance. Sure, I add plenty of hard abs and bedroom smiles. Hey, sex is part of a good romance. And you can bet your bottom dollar that my heroes have all their teeth. Nevertheless, these two people get together because there just isn’t anyone else whom they would choose to share their lives with. Like most romances, my characters may not know this in the beginning, but while playing on life’s playground, (which for my heroine in my book, Divorced, Desperate & Dating, means avoiding a killer, resisting a bad-boy’s charm, and using a tampon to defend herself) they suddenly realize that this other person is the one.

Today, after twenty-four years of marriage, when I look over at my husband, I’m kind of glad I didn’t hook up with Calvin. I won’t lie, my hubby no longer has a six pack—not that it’s all gone to pot, mind you. His bedroom smile still makes my stomach flutter, and of course he still has all his teeth. But more importantly, he still somehow makes me feel like the prettiest girl on the playground.

And isn’t that what a woman really wants? To be made to feel beautiful and desirable—to know you are his one and only. Here’s wishing you all a Happy Valentine’s Day, and may you spend it with someone who makes you feel special.

IMHO: Thank you for sharing, Christie. I’ll bet your hubby is kind of glad you didn’t hook up with Calvin, too. LOL! And folks, I’ll also bet Christie would love to know what you think a woman really wants in romance.

Remember to leave a comment for Christie and at least one other author during our contest to be eligible to win all ten autographed books in the BIG BASKET OF LOOOOVE as we close in on Valentine’s Day. And be sure to come back on Saturday, February 7, 2009, when we welcome my dear friend Lynne Marshall, Romantic Medical Fiction author. Lynne is the only person I know who can make a stay in the hospital seem romantic. See you then!

TJB

55 comments:

Margay said...

What a great first love story! I can just picture it.
Margay

CrystalGB said...

Hi Christie. Great post. I loved your first love story. :) My first love was a nerdy little boy with glasses in my kindergarten class. :)

Christie Craig said...

Margay,

Thanks so much. It's fun to remember back.

CC

Christie Craig said...

Hi Crystal,

What we like in our heroes does change, doesn't it? Of course, who knows, that nerdy boy could be a rich hunk. I wonder what happened to Calvin?

Kathryn Albright said...

Hi Cristie,
I've never read your books before, but after reading your post, I will definitely have to pick one up! I think your take on romance makes a lot of sense.

Christie Craig said...

Kathryn,

What makes sense? The gotta have their teeth? LOL.

Thanks for stopping in.

CC

Edie said...

Christie, great blog! I remember my first love. I started young. I was five. He deserted me when a new kid moved onto the block. A guy. Luckily, that experience didn't scar me for life or follow me into the dating years.

I really have to buy Divorced, Desperate & Dating. A heroine who defends herself with a tampon is not to be missed.

Lynne Marshall said...

Hey Christie!
Great insight, as always. Funny how so much of life is defined by the schoolyard playground. Unfortunately, I'm not sure they still let boys chase girls around at recess! But nothing can stop physical attraction from drawing people together. After that, it's the soul that counts, you know?

Christie Craig said...

Hi Edie!

Thanks so much for stopping in. By the way guys...Edie is in the running for the American Title. YEAH!!!!!!!

For my critique partners the book became known by two names: The Tampon Book and The Dead Rat Story.
I think that says a lot about my writing voice.

CC

Christie Craig said...

Hi Lynne!

It's so good bump into you here. Are you going to be at Nationals?

And yup, that playground is defines a lot in our life.

Thanks so much for posting.

CC

Faye Hughes said...

Hey, TJ and Christie, great blog post. When I was a kid, I always gota ponytail - loved it. Of course, my hair was blonde then. Now, if I want to be blonde, I have to pay a lot extra. LOL.

Faye

Christie Craig said...

Faye...

I'm sorry, I can't see you with blond hair.

CC

donnas said...

Thanks for the post. That was a great first love story. Your book sounds great.

flip said...

I love the titles of your books.

tetewa said...

Enjoyed the post today, what a great first love story!

Christie Craig said...

Donnas,

Thanks for stopping in Donnas!

TJ has a great blog here.

CC

Christie Craig said...

Flip,

I like the titles, too. So far I've got to keep my own titles. The book coming out in June, Gotcha! was a combination of my idea and my editors.

We'll see how the next few go.

Thanks for stopping in.

CC

Christie Craig said...

Tetewa,

Thanks. Love is always in the air around Valentine's day.

Hope you have a holiday.

Thanks for stopping in.

CC

Tessa McDermid said...

Great stories, Christie! I like the thought of our heroines still being considered the most interesting girl on the playground.

And as a former kindergarten teacher, I can attest that the chasing still goes on but sometimes the girl is the one doing the running. Just remembered I used that in my newest book. You really do learn everything you need to know in life in kindergarten (kudos to Robert Fulghum).

Christie Craig said...

Tessa,

I can imagine that now the girls are doing the chasing. We've come a long way!

And yes, Kindergarten was very educational is more ways that just learning our ABCs.

Thanks for stopping in.

Sandy said...

Christie,

Great post. I do agree that women just want the attention of our man.

It sounds like the assassin is holding up well. Grin.

Sandy

Christie Craig said...

Sandy,

Nothing makes my heart melt quicker when I've got 100% of my man's attention.

Thanks so much for popping in.

TJ Bennett said...

Christie, you so funny!:-)

Great comments, folks! Keep 'em coming and remember to comment on at least one other blogger's post to get a chance at that basket. Speaking of which, there's a rumor that there might be yummy edibles in it...Grace from Read it Again is plotting and planning! LOL!

TJB

Christie Craig said...

Thanks so much TJ.

Hmm? Yummy edibles...huh? Sounds great.

CC

Stacey Joy Netzel said...

Yes, gotta have their teeth! :) How can anyone not buy a book with nicknames like The Tampon Book or the Dead Rat Story. LOL Great post and better comments. :)

Christie Craig said...

Thanks Stacey!

As I'm sure you know, there is nothing like writing a book for yourself. So far all the books that have been published were written in blind faith that some day an editor would buy them.

I love your book cover and title by the way.

Thanks for stopping by.

CC

aromagik said...

I think you hit it right on the head when you said, "To be made to feel beautiful and desirable—to know you are his one and only." For me, that's romance. :>]

~Lindy

Christie Craig said...

Thanks Lindy!!

You know men say we're so complicated, but in truth, I think they just don't understand how easy we are. Easy in a good way. (Smile)

Thanks for posting.

CC

Lynnette Baughman said...

Christie -- your books sound like a great read. I'll have to go to your website -- I hope you tell more about selling FOUR books in one day!
Lynnette Baughman

Paula said...

I think your point about wanting attention makes sense. We all want to feel that our existence counts, especially in the eyes of the one we love.

Donna Marie Rogers said...

Ah, Christire, such a great story. :-) And thank God for Amazon One-Click, you just sold me two books...LOL

My 'Calvin' was named Dale Knipper. We were about 6-7 years old, and one day he rode his Big Wheel all the way to my house by himself, and he lived several blocks away...sigh. By high school he was one of the biggest geeks in school, and I was dating the motorcycle-riding, leather jacket-wearing bad boy. But I'll always remember Dale as my first love. ;-)

Linda Warren said...

Christie,
Great post, as always. Gotta have the teeth.

In first grade Johnny, who sat behind me, used to poke me in the back with his pencil. It made me so mad. Then he stopped. I was crushed. He didn't like me anymore (wail). It's all about the attention.
Linda Warren

Christie Craig said...

Lynette,

Funny that you asked that. Just this morning I'm answering interview questions for local newspaper/on-line blog. Here's one of her questions and my answer. Excuse the typos:


Question: After years of trying and getting so close, you finally sold 4 books in a single day. Tell us about that.

Answer: Well, I actually sold a novel in ’94 and was unable to sell the second. But I had found I also had a knack of writing creative essays. So I started working for the magazines. When my precious daughter started college and the university had the nerve to think they needed to be paid for teaching such a fabulous child, I had to start bringing in a lot more money. I knew I couldn’t continue to pursue novel writing and freelance at the same time and make the income I needed. So I pushed fiction on the back burner and worked solely for the magazine market. She graduated six years later with two degrees and I graduated with over 3000 national magazine credits. And the university didn’t feel bad about taking every dime of the profits, either.

She walked across the stage to get her diploma in May of 2002. In June, I had an idea for a novel. I cut back on working freelance and started back on fiction. I wrote book after book. I submitted and got rejection after rejection, but I didn’t give up. Late 2006, I had eight completed novels and six proposals written. I had managed to snag an agent, and was entering fiction contests. After winning another contest with several of my books, my agent called. In her New York accent she asked, “Are you sitting down?”
My southern-drawn answer came quick. “No, but I’ve worked my dad-blasted tail off and I can take this news standing up. I sold a book, haven’t I?”
Her answer rebounded. “No.” My heart dropped. Then she said, “You haven’t sold a book. You sold four.”
Of course, then I had to sit down!
***
Thanks so much for posting.

CC

Christie Craig said...

Paula,

Isn't that the truth. We need to know they consider themselves lucky guys to have won our hearts.

My hubby still tells me that he knows how lucky he is. I personally think we're both lucky.

Love is hard and when you find someone who makes it easier, well that's a fine thing.

Thanks for posting.

CC

Christie Craig said...

Donna,

I love that name! Dale Knipper. Can I have it? Can I?

I'm thrilled you picked up my books. I hope you enjoy them.

Oh, do you know what happened to Dale and the motorcycle-riding, leather jacket-wearing bad boy? Who knows, Dale might have grown up to be runway model and the bad boy might be a preacher. Hey...one of my past bad boys is a preacher. Oh, the things I could tell on him! (big smile)

CC

Christie Craig said...

Linda,

Isn't it the truth. We hate 'em but love 'em.

My hubby sometimes drives me crazy with his constant teasing, but then he'll say, "You know you love it."

I hate it when he's right.

Thanks for posting.

CC

Donna Caubarreaux said...

Love the story on your 'second' sale. I've been watching you on the contest circuit, and am thrilled that you sold four in one day. How cool is that!

I'm off to order your book.

May you have a fantastic writing career!

ddurance said...

What's not to love about a man with all of this teeth? LOL

Deidre

Pat said...

You are so right! I sometimes wonder exactly what my sweetheart sees when he looks at me. 30+ years later,and he still thinks I'm beautiful (Despite what the mirror says, I won't be arguing with him any time soon! LOL)

And, yes, he's still my hero.

Christie Craig said...

Hi Donna,

I'm still on the Contestalert loop. To this day, I see it pop up on my screen and I get this warm feeling. It may not be my finals listed, but I know there are writers out there seeing their dream of publication getting closer with the news of finalists and a new list of contest to enter.

Thanks for starting that loop. And those four books that sold were all listed on your site. You helped motivate me.

I hope you enjoy my books and here's to your own writing success.

CC

Christie Craig said...

Deidre

Yup, they gotta have those teeth!

Thanks for stopping in.

CC

Christie Craig said...

Pat,

Oh Pat, that such great advice. Never, ever argue with a man when he says you're beautiful.

Thanks for posting.

CC

Donna Marie Rogers said...

So sorry, Christie, but Dale Knipper (pronounced Ka-Nipper *G*), is all mine! LOL

I have no idea whatever happened to Dale, but my motorcycle riding HS sweetheart (who used to wink at himself in the mirror and say, "You are SO wonderful" To this day people call him Mr. Wonderful...LOL) got another girl pregnant after HS, so I moved on. He became an OTR truck driver like his dad, and unfortunately an alcoholic, married and divorced a few times. But I hear he's been clean and sober for a few years now, so good for him. :-)

Christie Craig said...

Donna,

Okay...sighs. LOL.

And you know some of those bad boys grow up to be good boys and some of 'em never grow up.

Thanks.

CC

Billie Jo said...

Great Post!!

I remember my first "true" love. He broke my heart...LOL But we are really great friends even
many, many years later.

I love the book cover and have it on my tbb list.

Good Luck!

Billie Jo

Christie Craig said...

Billie Jo,

Thanks so much. I've had some great covers. We've been hashing on the cover of the last DD&D today. I think . . . I'm getting man in a towel. Wahoo!

CC

Estella said...

Great first love story, Christie!

Christie Craig said...

Thanks Estella!

It's good to see you here.

CC

Pam P said...

Great post, Christie! Romance is loving you for who you are inside, not just what you look like on the outside, yes, still thinks you're the prettiest in the playground.

Christie Craig said...

Thanks Pam!

And you are so right. Our men gotta love us inside and out.

Thanks for posting.

Tai Shan said...

Loved your post, Christie, and I've just got to buy your first book. Love the title! Let's see... my first love wooed me at the movie theater in the third grade, putting his arm around me and giving me my first kiss. He was also the first to break my heart a week later when, at that same movie theater, he sat a row behind me, kissing another girl! Who knew a third grader could be such a player? :)

Tracey H. Kitts said...

I really enjoyed reading this. It's so very true. I even got a little misty eyed remembering when I used to wear my hair in pigtails for similiar reasons.

Ah, love:) Although I too have progressed from bicycles and freckles, I still like to have my pigtails pulled. LOL

kaisquared said...

Love your books and your Calvin story. My "Calvin" was a third grader named Todd with a crew cut and he did know how to concentrate on a girl and what she wanted, even at that young age. Sadly, he had to move, and I thought it a great tragedy. However, I found my hubby an even better listener and have enjoyed his company for almost 25 years, as he actually knows how to ask what I would like and do the unexpectedly romantic things like caring for me without complaint when I am sick and surprising me with small gifts that he had noticed me admiring and thought I would like to have. And to go along with the title The Tampon Book, my hubby will, without complaint and clutching the last empty package to confirm the correct product, go on emergency sanitary supply runs when needed. If that isn't romantic, I don't know what is.

Maureen said...

I agree with you. I think we all want to feel special and that's what romance does, makes you the special one.

Deborah said...

Hi Christie! Great post! Romance is being thought of as that "special one" through the good years and the bad years.