Friday, February 1, 2013

One for the Road: The Making of The Closer You Get

As an author, one of the questions I'm most often asked is:  Where do you get your ideas?  And my answer?  Anywhere and everywhere.  The idea for THE CLOSER YOU GET actually came about during the return trip from Pennsylvania after moving my mom there from Texas. While navigating my thirty-three foot RV through the narrow streets of one small town at midnight, sixty miles from home after driving too many miles to count, my co-pilot and good friend, Judy, mentioned that if I decided to give up writing, I could always hire on as a bus driver for a country music star.  Hmmm....  Female bus driver, hunky country music star, oh, yeah... and you see where that led me, straight into author mode.

I guess the most remarkable thing about that little story actually has little to do with the story itself.  It's the time frame in which that scenario took place--back in 1994.  Yep, almost twenty years ago.  I did go on to finish the book, entered it in a couple of writing contests, and even earned a finalist spot in the 1996 Golden Heart, Romance Writers of America's competition for unpublished authors.  After that, I received two rejections, frankly because I only submitted the manuscript two places and gave up--not because I became discouraged, but because I kept hearing industry voices saying entertainers don't sell, particularly country music singers.

Fast-forward eighteen years.  I've sold thirty-five books, but I never have given up on that story everyone said wouldn't sell.  Country music is now huge, so I decided to bring the book out, dust it off, and submit it again, this time to my publisher, Harlequin.  And darned if the wonderful Superromance senior editor didn't buy it.  I admit, I have learned quite a bit in the past twenty years, so I did have to heavily revise the last two-thirds of the book, but the story is essentially still the same--feisty female accepts a temporary job as a bus driver for a gorgeous, tortured country music superstar.  Romance on the road.  Close quarters. Combustible chemistry.  Two people who want two different things, but want each other more.  Oh, heck yeah...

I suppose the moral of this story--especially for any aspiring authors out there--do not throw anything away.  This is not to say you'll sell everything you write; I certainly haven't... yet.  But times change, trends change, and sometimes a story is simply written before it's time.  I firmly believe if your heart is in a book, it's worth the effort to try again.  THE CLOSER YOU GET is just that, a book straight from my cotton pickin', country music lovin' heart.  
The Closer You Get--Harlequin Superromance,  Available February 1, 2013
For more information go to Facebook-The Closer You Get or Kristi Gold's Website 

Friday, May 18, 2012

Delta Secrets Giveaway Winners List!

Congratulations to the winners of my Delta Secrets giveaway!  

Winners of an advance copy of THE ONLY MAN FOR HER and a 10.00 e-gift certificate are:
Barbara V.

Winners of a complete set of Delta Secrets books are:

Please click on this link and fill out the contact form to confirm and to receive further instructions on how to claim your prize.:)

Many, many thanks to all the participants!  

*** The above link (click on 'this link') did not initially connect to the contact form directly.  If you've attempted to claim your prize and did not successfully complete the form, please try again.  Just type Prize Claim in the text box and I'll get back to you with the information I need.  My apologies for the glitch!--Kristi

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Contest is now closed.

The Delta Secrets contest is now closed.  Stay tuned for a list of the winners, good luck and thanks for participating.:)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Stories We Never Forget

We've all read or heard them… those special stories that somehow leave an indelible mark on our souls.  We've read them in newspapers, magazines, online and yes, in books.  Some have been verbally passed down through generations, shared by those who've come before us.  Sometimes we're fortunate to have heard or read more than one.

As an author, I've luckily been on the receiving end of some phenomenal stories shared by readers, like the grandmother who sent me a letter and a photo of her hearing-impaired grandson after reading my first book, Cowboy For Keeps, that featured a single mother with a profoundly deaf daughter.  And I'll never forget the young woman who sent me poetry she'd written about how she survived domestic violence after reading His Sheltering Arms, a book centered around a women's shelter.  I still have those letters and a few others, and I'm still moved by each and every one.  

But long before I ever considered writing a book, one particular story from my childhood stays with me still, even after the passage of time.  A moving story of acceptance delivered by a soft-spoken pastor on a long-ago Sunday morning.  I believe I must have been at least ten years old when I heard it, otherwise I would have been in the children's playroom drinking Kool-Aid and coloring, not sitting in the sanctuary for the grown-up service.  I can't recall the exact date or even the time of year, but I do recall the reverend's message in detail.  

He spoke of a couple who wanted a child more than anything, and after many, many years of waiting, they were finally blessed. When it came time for the birth, the mother, who was put into "Twilight Sleep" during delivery, initially remained unaware that her precious baby girl had been born with a defective arm—"withered" the reverend called it.  The father, deeply concerned over his wife's reaction to their daughter's imperfections, summoned my pastor to the hospital for support.  

As soon as the wife came fully awake, she immediately asked for her baby, so the nurses brought the completely swaddled infant into the room and laid the little girl in her mother's awaiting arms.  And as most mother's will do, the woman immediately began to unwrap her daughter's blanket while the fearful father and sympathetic clergyman looked on, worried and wondering.  As it turned out, they had no reason to worry. After studying her baby from head to toe, the new mother smiled up at her husband and simply said, "God made her to need us as much as we need her."

If you have a story that's personally moved you, please feel free to share it here.  You never know when that story could change someone else's life. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

You Know You're An Author When...

  • You mention the word 'deadline,' and your family runs.
  • Your accountant suggests you take a portion of your royalties and invest in Starbucks.
  • You're so far out of the loop you think Harry Potter is a popular kid in your son's class.  
  • You overhear someone say, "That's a novel idea!" during a cocktail party and you pull your iPad from your purse to take notes.
  • Your oven's on the fritz and you're mildly annoyed.  Your coffeemaker goes out and you're extremely homicidal.
  • You plan to buy catheters and IV fluids before your next deadline.
  • Your cousin calls to say you should plan a family reunion, so you immediately start plotting your next five-book series.
  • You watch your favorite TV crime drama and spend most of the show identifying the turning points.
  • Frozen dinners are your best friends, second only to your spell-checker. 
  • You claim NoDoz as a legitimate business expense on your taxes. 
  • You haven't worn your hair this long since high school.
  • You used to keep paper and pen on the nightstand in case you remembered an item you left off the grocery list.  You now keep it on the nightstand in case your characters speak to you in the middle of the night.
  • You're down to your last roll of toilet paper so you limit usage to two squares until you have time to leave the house.  You're down to your last ream of printer paper and you immediately hop in the car and speed to Staples.
  • You put on a bra and makeup and your husband mistakes you for the Avon representative. 
  • You take that long-awaited beach vacation and spend hours photographing shirtless men to provide inspiration for your next hero.
  • You can name all your characters, but not your kids.  
  • You consider yourself fashion-forward when you place an order online for sweats in all the latest spring colors. 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

We Are Women

International Women`s Day 2012 

In honor of International Women's Day....

We are women—sisters and mothers, daughters and grandmothers, family and friends. We are a vast array of skin tones, religions, cultures, ages, shapes—from lips to hips—patently unique yet joined by our gender. That is our beauty. We may not have the power to move mountains, but we do have the power to bring about change through our voices and our votes. And together we fight on…

We are corporate CEOs, heads of households, single moms. We are skilled doctors, legislators, keepers of the home fires, soldiers protecting the front lines. We work thankless jobs, sometimes two or three, to provide for our families, to prove our worth. Many times we work without equal pay or respect. We’re told to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps, only to fall back on our derrieres, but we get up and try again. We do it every day, because we are determined to fight on.

We are mothers and sometimes childless by choice or circumstance, making us no more or less a woman. We are the palm on the fevered forehead, the healers of scrapes, the soothers of nightmares, the teachers of morals.  We are the “Hi, Moms” on national television, the driving force behind many a successful man, at times with no thought of our own success. We might not know exactly where we came from, but we know where we’re going—straight to the top of the respect ladder—as long as we fight on.

We sometimes seek shelter when fists and words are used to beat us down, but we are not defeated. We are often criticized for our presumed meekness and in turn, derided for our strength, yet we remain strong. We stand for the cause of righteousness, wearing symbolic colored ribbons on our lapels and raw emotions on our sleeves. We see no shame in crying, for tears express both joy and broken hearts. Yet some of us live in places where we're punished for speaking our minds. We still risk that punishment—even death—by removing the veil and shouting to those who will listen. Sometimes we cry, sometimes we are silenced, sometimes we die, but still we fight on.

We will teach our young men to recognize a woman’s worth, to respect and love her for who she is. We will teach our young women to respect themselves, to think with cool heads, keep company with compassion. We will teach the new generation acceptance of other’s differences, not tolerance; after all, the rainbow is accepted and revered, not tolerated, for its beautiful array of colors. We understand that the world is a tapestry rich with varying textures and tones, and we continue to weave the fabric that keeps families together. We serve as the voice for those who cannot speak as we struggle against injustice, even when we wonder if we have any fight left.

We are far from perfect, yet at times we expect perfection—from ourselves. We long for honest love, but in the absence of that love, we cannot give up, because we deserve nothing less. We must learn to acknowledge not only our faults, but our gifts. Only then will others acknowledge them too. We can rise above poverty and despair, smile when we want to weep, love when we’re afraid to feel, hope when all hope seems forever lost, because we are brave. We will strive to be all that we are meant to be, all that we are destined to be, finding solace in knowing we have survived to fight another day—a battle we will most surely win. After all, we are women—sisters, mothers, daughters, grandmothers and friends. 

Strong, sexy, wonderfully flawed fighters.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Daydream Believing


The day I learned of Davy Jones' death, I picked up the phone and called good friends and writing colleagues, Kathie DeNosky and Roxann Delaney.  The sad news set off a round of reminiscing about our pasts once populated by those 'cute guys' that caused our prepubescent hearts to pitter patter, Davy being among them.  We talked about magazines like Tiger Beat that included tear-out photos suitable for framing, or displaying as wall decoration, depending on your preferences.  I chose the wall option, thanks to my big sister who introduced me to the world of pop culture and pin-up posters.  Our entire shared bedroom soon became graced with pictures of the Monkees, Paul Revere and the Raiders and of course, The Beatles.  In a very short span of time, very little of our four walls remained uncovered.  Probably not even an inch. Funny, our mother never really complained.  She simply allowed us to express our love of music—and the musicians—through glossy pictures that chronicled our adolescent crushes.  Then again, she was a Davy fan, too, and absolutely loved Daydream Believer, I suspect because her name was Jean.  

I've always found the power of music truly amazing and how certain songs prompt clear recollections from my youth.  Just Walk Away, Renee by The Left Banke immediately sends me back to one morning while I was having breakfast—cinnamon toast and hot chocolate, to be exact.  A Whiter Shade of Pale by Procal Harum brings me back to a summer night where I sat on a swing, barefoot, listening to the radio with a warm breeze blowing across my face.  Other tunes remind me of those all-important milestones—a first kiss, a first love, the birth of my first child—all tied to deeply-ingrained memories. 

Music continues to be an integral part of my life to this day, and not only as a catalyst for memory-making.  Before I sit down to write a book, I populate a playlist with songs that fit the mood of the story through the melody and/or even the lyrics.  Those playlists are an eclectic mix of genres, from country to classical, that aid in sparking my imagination, stoking the creative fires and evoking those emotions so important to writing a solid love story.  

Even though the posters have now been replaced by grown-up artwork, and my taste in music has somewhat matured, I will forever be grateful for those artists, past and present--the cute guys, country crooners and delightful divas--who've formed my personal history through their songs. 

So Davy J., heartthrob extraordinaire, thanks for all the memories.  This daydream believer will never forget you.