Monday, August 25, 2014

Military Monday: Meet C. R. Asay!

Heart of Annihilation Blog Tour and Interview

Today I'm fortunate to feature a new writing friend as she launches her debut novel: HEART OF ANNIHILATION. Congrats! Ms. Asay is a former Utah National Guard who has turned her focus toward motherhood and writing. A little about her:
C.R. Asay

Bio: C. R. Asay joined the Utah National Guard at the age of seventeen. After spending time in the 625th Military Police Corp she transferred to the 19th Special Forces group as a counterintelligence agent. She retired from the military after marrying her best friend and graduating from college so that she could embark on the most exciting adventure of all; being a mom.

The short story version of her first novel, Heart of Annihilation, earned an honorable mention from the L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future contest. C. R. Asay currently resides in West Jordan, Utah, with her husband, four children, and a dog. There is always a dog.

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B: Welcome Christauna! Tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from?

C: Heber City, Utah. Nothin’ quite like growin’ up in a small town.

B: Tell us about your connection to the military...

C: I joined the Utah National Guard when I was 17. I did my basic training between my junior and senior year of high school and then completed my training after graduation. I remember one guy from my graduating class checking the back of my truck for an M-16 when he heard I’d joined… Still makes me snicker.

I was an in a Military Police EPW (enemy prisoners of war) unit for a while until we were disbanded. After that I joined the 19th Special Forces group as a counterintelligence agent. I was with this unit until I got out a few years later right after my first child was born.

B: Sounds busy. How has your military background influenced the writing of Heart of Annihilation?

C: My military background is the breath of life behind this work. Heart of Annihilation is a work of fiction, but with a very realistic and accurate military setting.

B: When did you start writing? What led you to writing a full length novel?

C: Writing has always been a part of my life, but it wasn’t until my husband decided to write a novel that I fell in love with the whole process of an actual full-length novel. There is just such detail and scope that goes into a novel that it creates an entire world for readers to explore. I was hooked the 
second I imagined the world that became Heart of Annihilation.

B: I can certainly understand that feeling! Can you describe the process from first words to finished product?

C: I have no process. Someday I hope to have a process, but for now every time I sit down to write I do it differently. I’m usually a pantser, as in I write by the seat of my pants. Whatever comes into my head makes it onto paper and then I revise heavily in the aftermath. Sometimes I’ll write for weeks at a frantic pace, desperate to get the words out. Other times I’ll go for weeks without writing a single new word. I work well under a deadline, so even if the muses aren’t with me, I can usually pound out anything I need to if a deadline is looming over my head.

B: On a scale of zero (nearly impossible) to ten (a dream come true) how would you rate your publishing experiences so far?

C: That’s a tough one. A 7. I love everything about my book. Its very existence seems miraculous to me. I love my publisher and how much work they have put into this book to make it the work of art that it is. I only rate my experience lower because the road here was so incredibly rocky. There were many times, from conception of the book to holding it in my hands, that I wanted to throw in the towel on the whole industry. Heart of Annihilation was shelved several times, and sometimes thrown violently across the room, but the story and the characters were so compelling to me that I would inevitably pull it out, dust it off, revise, revise, revise and try to find it a new home.

B: Any tips on balancing family life with a writing career?

C: Family first, always. My family is so supportive of my publishing efforts. They are truly my biggest fans from my husband, teenager on down to my 1st grader. And I believe they are this way because I have always put them first. That being said they are happy to give me a wide berth if I’m having one of those crazy writer moments because they know I’ll always come back, happier than before. This year will be a mile stone for me because my youngest will be in 1st grade, giving me ample time during the day to make writing and publishing a career and giving them my full attention when school is out, rather than cramming in writing here and there, wherever I could fit it in.

B: Do you have any other writing projects on the go at present?

C: I’m working on the sequel to Heart of Annihilation with a tentative release in Summer 2015. I also have an anthology piece coming out on Veterans Day of this year. It is to support the TADSAW (Train a Dog, Save a Warrior) foundation. It’s a collection of fictional stories about working dogs and their connection to their human partners. It’s a fantastic collection. Grab a tissue before you read it.

B: Will do. What is your advice for new authors?

C: The publishing industry is a hard one to navigate. Do the work to learn the craft. Don’t settle for anything less than your best effort and then up your game. Never stop learning and growing. As true with life as it is with writing.

B: Awesome. Cats or Dogs?

C: Dogs. Cats make me sneeze and I love dogs. Always dogs.

B: And the question we’ve all been waiting for…Coffee or Tea?

C: Haha. I’m a Mormon-y type, so hot chocolate. Dr. Pepper if my day is really going wrong.

B: Chocolate is always a good choice! Thanks so much Christauna! And best of luck with your new book!

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More about Heart of Annihilation...

When U.S. Army Specialist Kris Rose catches members of her unit stealing ammunition to kill aliens, she is forced to defend herself with a freakish electrical charge shooting from her fingertips.
Shaken by her newly found power and hunted by vigilantes from her unit, Rose is forced away from her structured, military world and into a fight for her life.
With the aid of her battle buddy, Corporal Thurmond, Rose sets out to learn more about the aliens under attack. In the process, she discovers her bizarre connection to a devastating threat to Earth--an alternate dimensional weapon called the Heart of Annihilation, lost somewhere on Earth.
From a chuteless free-fall from 20,000 feet, to deadly bullet wounds and the unforgiving Sonoron Desert, Kris Rose enters a world where aliens are real. And she might be one of them.
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You can find more about Christauna here:

Don't forget to find her on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Goodreads!


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Military Monday: Posting Phase Eight: The Insanity.

Not one, not two, but FIVE trucks
just outside of our house...
So I was all happily writing away at my lovely posting phases and making everything sound all organized and perfect when...BOOM. It happened. The INSANITY. Pre-pack day, pack day, load day, clean day, drive away day and suddenly I'm on the other side of the country, launching my book, shaking my head and wondering what the heck happened.

Rory the horse. Not happy with his can on wheels.
This is what it is to have a military move. Insanity. No amount of planning can prepare you for the weeks of chaos and restaurant meals and unexpected car repairs. No one can give you a list that gets you ready to put everything you own on someone else's truck (or in our case, three trucks...) and watch it drive away. And no magic number of previous moves can prepare you for that next move...because just when you think you've seen it all, something else gets thrown in to shake things up a bit.  Like having your books arrive but no shelving units. Or the lovely metal-scraping sound that appeared as we hauled our horse trailer (with horse) over some of the steepest roads in the country.

Drive thru ice-cream place in rural Ontario,
Rory was a hit.
This was our first time moving with a horse, and it added a whole new meaning to drive-thru restaurants and Bed and Breakfast lodging. 'Is hay included in the price?'--and-- 'Indoor or outdoor paddocks?' were not questions we previously had encountered when booking a move. And you think your toddler doesn't want to get in the car? Try loading a thousand pound horse that's got a bruise on his behind and is leaving his new-found best friends. Can you blame him for not wanting to walk into a non-air-conditioned can on wheels?

Bed, Bale and Breakfast in Kenaston,
Add 5000km of driving, several hair-raising turns with unthinkable cliffs on the other side, a state-of-emergency due to flooding, tornado warnings, seriously bad mosquitos (Manitoba really does have the worlds biggest mosquitos), all with three tall teens in the back seat of a pick up truck. And don't forget a hike up a mountain creek, a gondola ride to the top of a Mountain, some wonderful meals, some okay meals, some truly scary pit-stops and then end with a ferry ride...that brings us to the other side of a truly massive continent...where our house was not quite ready for us.

Hoodoos in Drumheller
A few more hotel nights, unload day (x3), unpack day (x1), a clothes dryer fire, a sewage back up in the basement (which was full of boxes), more hotel days, DEPENDENT's book launch, several formal military events (including my husband's Change of Command ceremony) and many other crazy moments that I won't mention here, and you get a brief taste of the past month.


And would I have it any other way?

Not a chance!

Am I crazy? Quite possibly.

But in amongst those mad moments were some truly wonderful family adventures. We stood at the top of a mountain. We went as far west as the kids have EVER been. We saw dinosaur bones, a live moose, the Terry Fox Memorial, and real hoo doos. We mets some amazing people with open arms and kind hearts. We giggled. And laughed, and joked and explored. We learned that generosity lives not in big bank accounts but in small gestures of friendship. And we did it together.

Sulfur Mountain in Banff
Move in day...
We're here! Dipping my feet in the Pacific. 

 What's insane is how well it all went. It's insane that we are here, that we drove that far with five people in a pickup truck towing a horse, and we're still talking to one another. It's insane that our travel costs were covered by the military--not all of them, but most. And it's so insane that we live this beautiful town on this beautiful island. Yes, we've still got boxes artfully hidden under tablecloths and crammed in corners, and yes I'm sick of disorganization, mess and chaos...but we made it.


And that is what it's all about.


More posting phases: Seven (look for more at the bottom of the link!)

Friday, August 1, 2014

Launch Party!

Dependent has released to amazing reviews and I want to celebrate! I'll be at Chapters in Victoria, BC tomorrow to do so! There will be books for purchase and I'll have my pen at the ready.

Come out and say hello! Would love to meet you!


Book Launch and Signing

1212 Douglas St.
Victoria, BC

from 12-2pm

To see the official invitation: GO HERE.

Can't make it?  You can still purchase DEPENDENT at fine bookstores around the globe. Check out the links to the left to purchase online!