Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Author Guest Post & Giveaway: Help a Starving Writer! by CJ Lyons

Help a Starving Writer!
By CJ Lyons

Hi, I'm CJ Lyons and I'm a writer and a readaholic.

When Bridget asked me to do a guest post here, she suggested that I talk about any new challenges in my life now that I'm a New York Times Bestseller.

I laughed because the biggest challenge is that I no longer have time to read! And it's driving me nuts.

So I need your help. The kind of help only fellow readaholics can give.

First, let me introduce myself. I’m CJ Lyons and I’m a pediatric ER doc turned thriller writer. Nurses used to laugh because I was the doc who always had a paperback stashed in the pocket of her white coat. I've been a storyteller all my life and finally, after 17 years of practicing medicine, I took a leap of faith to write fulltime.

The leap paid off. I'm now an award-winning, New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of books I call Thrillers with Heart.

I love my new career as a writer—not only can I go to work in my PJs, I also get the chance to meet lots of interesting people and ask questions that no one else would dare.

I mean, how many 9-to-5er’s get to visit the FBI academy at Quantico or talk to crime scene experts about the “best” way to kill someone and get away with it?

But there is one thing about being a writer that I’m not too happy about. It’s ruined me as a reader!

All my life I’ve been a voracious reader, following my favorite authors blissfully into the worlds they created for me. But now that I’m a writer and know the “tricks of the trade” I no longer travel blindly into these fictional realms.

Instead, I proceed with eyes wide open, taking note of what works and what doesn’t. I dissect technique, scavenge evocative word choices, flag areas where the pace lags or the characters feel contrived.

I no longer can accept that a character does something “too stupid to live”—like going down into the basement when the lights are out and there’s a serial killer on the loose—unless they have a darn good reason to do so—something more than simply the author needing another action scene. Romances where the only reason the hero and heroine remain apart is because they don’t stop sniping long enough to actually talk about their problems smack of melodrama. And thrillers where the main goal is simply racking up a body count rather than changing or saving the hero’s world seem lackluster.

Yikes!!! Now instead of reading 3-5 books a week, I find myself starting 8-10, quickly casting most aside within a few pages, setting the rest down and never feeling compelled to pick them up again.

I long for the days when I would pick up any book in any genre and devour it like candy. Now I’m left with an often fruitless search for literary sustenance.

But once in a while I’ll find a jewel—a precious gem of a story that draws me in, introduces me to characters I not only understand but care about, makes me feel that saving their world is as important as anything going on in my own.

You know what books I’m talking about—those keep-me-up-all-night books.

Suddenly they seem harder to find than ever, but once I find one I savor the experience, reading much slower than my usual headlong rush, trying to prolong my enjoyment as much as possible.

So help a poor starving reader/writer out here! What books have you read lately that gave you more than entertainment, that were fresh and different, able to transport you to another world that you were reluctant to leave? Which characters have you fallen in love with and why?

I’d love to hear about the books that moved you—and what made them stand out from all the other ones out there.

GIVEAWAY: Everyone who leaves a comment will be gifted a free Amazon or Barnes & Noble e-copy of NERVES OF STEEL, the first of the Hart and Drake medical/romantic suspense series and a book Sandra Brown called "a perfect blend of romance and suspense."

(Remember, you don't need a Kindle to read books from Amazon, they have free reading apps for almost any device)

Thanks for helping this hungry readaholic!

About CJ:
As a pediatric ER doctor, New York Times Bestseller CJ Lyons has lived the life she writes about in her cutting edge Thrillers with Heart.

CJ has been called a "master within the genre" (Pittsburgh Magazine) and her work has been praised as "breathtakingly fast-paced" and "riveting" (Publishers Weekly) with "characters with beating hearts and three dimensions" (Newsday).

Learn more about CJ's Thrillers with Heart at www.cjlyons.net

I want to thank CJ for taking the time to write up this guest post which really made me think about whether or not I want to take the next step and become an author.

She is a wonderful author and I know you will all enjoy her masterpieces!

Be sure to leave your email address and format preference (Amazon or B&N) in your comment by 12/17/11 to receive your free copy!

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