Monday, April 18, 2011

Life Deals a Hand with Guest Blogger: Christine Ashworth

Win a copy of Demon Soul and meet author Christine Ashworth today at the Book Boost!

Here's what she had to say...

Biggest Mistake I’ve Ever Made As A Writer…

Wow. I’ve got several, and lots of really embarrassing ones too. I’m actually saving some of them up for keynote speeches at an RWA luncheon, lol! So let me go with one that’s just as embarrassing, that I deeply regret, and may help other writers.

Treat your critique partners with respect. If you are lucky enough to have people who are willing to critique your work, treat them with respect. Whether you meet face to face or only “see” each other online, double check your remarks and don’t write anything on their manuscripts that you wouldn’t want to find on your own.

This mistake just keeps on giving, humbling me in many ways. Several years ago I had a group of friends that opened their critique group to me. We bumbled along okay for almost six months, and then I was criminally stupid.

Whether it was outer pressures on me, my frustrations about my own writing, or my conviction that the gal whose work I was critting was a much better writer than she was showing, I don’t know; but in critting her work at home on paper, I got mean. Nasty. In bright red ink, no less. As we sat together at a Starbucks, I saw my comments and was ashamed. That shame made me worse, and I blew up. I don’t remember what I said (and I PRAY she doesn’t, either), but it wasn’t pretty. I did at least have the decency to not hand her the pages I’d scrawled across. (Wince. I think. I’m pretty sure.)

All of us from that long-ago crit group are now contracted or published. While we remain cordial since time wipes away many sins, we are not close, not the way I wish we were in my heart. These are gals that I started with, before any of us were published, and now we all have writing careers, and it’s too bad I screwed up and killed the possibility for any warmer, closer friendship.

So do yourself a favor – keep your personal frustrations out of the critique group, and always give your critiques while keeping the golden rule in mind.

A Note from the Book Boost: Thanks for sharing your story with us, Christine. We all make mistakes in life but I truly believe that it is the way we learn from those mistakes that makes us who we really are as people. Please tell us more about your book!


…to retrieve his soul, she’ll become fire… Gabriel Caine stands on the edge of the abyss. A vampire has stolen his soul and if he doesn’t get it back soon, his next step will be into hell.

Rose Walters has been sent back from the dead to complete one task – save Gabriel Caine. But this muscled guy in leather, black jeans and a dangerous aura didn’t look like he needed anyone’s help.

Rose has touched the whole of Gabriel, making him yearn for a love he believes he can never have. Her willingness to put her human life on the line for him forces him to bring all three parts of himself – demon, human and Fae bloodlines, and the traps and gifts of each – into harmony, and into the fight that will decide their fate.


Silence shivered through the yard. Gabriel looked to Rose, huddled against a palm tree. She'd shifted back and looked pale. He grimaced. Not exactly the way he'd wanted her training to go, but at least they'd confirmed her ability to use all the fire demon's powers. When she'd launched herself at the demon, when he'd seen that sexy body covered in a pale orange fur, he'd almost had a heart attack. He never remembered Marianne actually becoming the demon she carried.

Gabriel looked to the sky, opened that thoughtway he'd worked so hard to block earlier. Satine. Come and get your pet while he's still fresh. Dinner time.

You bastard, she hissed. How dare you!

Your stink is all over him. Pick up your trash. He closed the link, took a deep breath. His head throbbed with the brief contact. He knew death shadowed him. What made him think he could protect Rose?

A sound came out of Rose then, a half-whimper. "It hurts. Gabriel, it hurts."

"What hurts?" He turned to her, shocked to see three claw marks deep on her left shoulder, ripping her tee shirt and reaching to her elbow. Blood dripped from her arm down into the grass. "Damn it. Let's get inside, I'll fix you up.”

"What? Oh, my shoulder." She winced. "Yeah. But that's not what hurts." Rose put her right hand just above her hipbone. "There. It hurts there."

Frowning, Gabriel knelt in front of her and gently lifted her hand away. He tugged at her damp black tee shirt, bared the pale skin of her flat belly. A spiral of runes rippled and moved there, a mesmerizing magical dance. Made of colored ink, and yet not ink...a tattoo, but no human hands had a part in its creation. Gabriel narrowed his eyes. If he looked closely, he could see flickers of flame and a familiar pair of eyes sliding through the runes, not quite daring to meet his gaze.

A shudder of recognition went through him as his fear came true.

The demon scent, the fire, the runes. Mephisto.

The last time all three had been in front of him, he'd killed Marianne, the girl he'd loved, while trying to kill the demon Mephisto. Ten long years ago.

Now here he was, full circle, back home with as much bad hanging around him as the last time. Mephisto was back, loaning Rose his powers. Satine was somewhere near, coming to kick his ass. And Rose, the sexy little redhead in front of him, not only carried Mephisto, but she also held part of his soul.

Gabriel had always suspected Los Angeles would be the death of him. He just hadn't expected it to be quite so soon.

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Rebecca Zanetti said...

We all make mistakes, Christine. :) Most of us are way too hard on ourselves, too. It's not the falling that matters, it's the getting back up.

Thanks for sharing this. I hope you have a fantastic Monday and rest of the week!

Kinley Baker said...

Great post, Christine. Thank you for sharing your experience. It gets tough and emotional on this writing journey. All we can do is learn from mistakes because we all make them. I think your characters show great depth in Demon Soul. It's a fantastic read about redemption and growth. I enjoyed the sexy men, awesome heroine and the engaging plot, too :-)

Lisa Kessler said...

Critique groups are tought o get just right... I've been in a couple local ones that fizzled after a few months...

I've recently joined up with a little online crit group and so far I think we're really clicking so it's exciting!

Thanks for sharing your story and good luck with the book Christine!!! :)


Mia said...

Great post Christine and excellent advice. Thank you for sharing it. I think you should reach out to the writers again. Who knows maybe there is something still there you can grow into something more.

perisquire30 said...

It can be hard to find the right mix of personalities in critique partners or groups. Writing is such a highly personal endeavor, and creative people are highly sensitive by nature. The other person wouldn't by the evil twin theory? Or the body snatcher theory? Or the under the control of an evil secret government agency theory? Did you even try those??? LOL! Hang in there, Christine, we all have made mistakes.

~Roni Lynne
YA Adventures in the Paranormal...and Beyond!

Marguerite Hall said...

You at least learned from your mistakes. We all have moments that we wished we could take back, maybe with time you can rebuild that bridge to your past. Good luck with your writing career. I do want to thank you for reminding all of us to think before we react. :)

Anonymous said...

Well said, Christine. I will heed your advice when joining the critique group. I can see that it is very easy to become emotional about your own writing as well as that of other writers.

Shawn said...

At least you learned from your mistake, Christine. Mistakes happen, it's part of being human. Your excerpt was fantastic. I hope many sales come your way.

PamelaTurner said...

Great post, Christine. Thank you for sharing your experience. (I can't add anything profound that the other commenters haven't already said.) :-)

Your story has a great premise and I wish you many sales!

Unknown said...

This is a mistake that actual more people make than you think. I'm a blunt critique partner, so I get mistaken for being rude all the time. So, now I come with a warning. lol. "Beware, witch with red pen." lol. But, yes, you have to yank emotion out of a critique. Great lessons!---Rachel Firasek

Shelley Munro said...

A critique situation always comes with in-built tension. We all make mistakes, and you shouldn't be too hard on yourself.

Good luck with your book. It sounds great. :)

Christine Ashworth said...

Thanks everyone for your comments! It took me a long time to actually realize I'd been such an arrogant ass as a new writer. Hopefully it's been beaten out of me at this point, lol!

Arwen said...

I refuse to accept that you are a mean person, Christine! :) Nice of you to share this though. It's a good lesson for us all.

Christine Ashworth said...

Arwen, I've learned a lot, lol! Hugs honey!

Dee J. said...


I'm sure if that writer knew how deeply you regretted that night, she'd be understanding about it. We all have bad days. We all learn from our mistakes and move on... hopefully never to make them again. Live and learn, I always say. Don't beat yourself up.

Christine Ashworth said...

Dee J., thanks for that! I'm learning to let go of it. And Lord knows I have no wish to repeat that particular mistake!