Birthday Blog Chain and a CONTEST!

It's Blog Chain time again, and this time the topic comes from Sarah Bromley, who asked the following:

Do you work with critique partners? How did you find your crit pals, and what influence have they had on your work?

OOhh....I LOVE this question. Having just finished TRANSCEND and whatnot, the timing for it is perfect.

My very first CP was Elana Johnson. She and I met on the QT forum, where I had posted my first query letter for my gosh awful novel. Elana reached out to me to not only help with that letter, but just offer help in general. In a moment of audacious bravery, I asked if she would like to read my first novel and give me her opinion. She did something better - she asked if I wanted to join her in a crit group. Um...DUH! Of course I want to join her. That was more than two years ago and we have read for each other ever since.

Elana has been my best teacher in the art of writing. She has guided me to look at my writing in different ways. She is a tough and sometimes brutally honest CP - perfect for teaching me about both writing and criting. Having the opportunity to crit her work has taught me a lot as well, and influenced some of the story decisions I make when crafting my stories. On an interesting note, she and I approach writing in polar opposite ways - I am definitely a plotter and she is a pantser through and through.

My next CP was also found through QT and the crit group Elana formed - and that is Michelle McLean. Michelle and I became instant friends as we started working together. She has a keen eye for all things grammar - something that I feel is a weak strength of mine. She is also a romantic and can always point out where my romance fails or is swoon worthy!

Michelle and I used to be agent mates, both of us working on NF projects as well as our fiction endeavors. She is the sole person to crit my NF proposals and manuscripts. She has a great understanding of what I am trying to accomplish in nonfiction and does a great job of keeping me on message.

Danyelle Leafty and Ali Cross are my newest CPs. I met both through Elana and the interwebz. Both of these individuals have acted as my cheerleaders, fabulous CPs that are brutally honest and give both positive and negative feedback. With them, I get a sounding board for my often out-of-the-box structure ideas, my bizarre storyline things and my complex (sometimes too complex) ideas. I really can't image crafting a story without them.

Like those who answered this question before me, I have had many other readers (beta readers) of my various works, giving me guidance along the way. And this post would not be complete without a quick shout out to the following people who gave me encouragement, guidance, and some fabulous feedback on TRANSCEND. I wouldn't have the book I have without the above CPs and these guys:

  • Gretchen McNeil - you got the story before anyone else. THANKS for being someone I could brainstorm with and guiding me on this project
  • Sarah Bromley - your insight on the genre was helpful in a way I will never be able to thank you for!
  • Amanda Bonilla - your early encouragement really kept me from quiting.
  • Heather McCorkle - you have been an ideal cheerleader - something I am certain I am taking advantage of ;)
  • LK Gardner-Griffie - What a great eye you have for my incessant repetitions, not to mention places where I needed a bit "more". Thanks!
Well, there you go - my CPs and some extras! I just <3 these guys and all they've helped me accomplish over the years. No matter what happens with this round of querying, I know I have a good novel because of the gifts these peeps have given me!

And now - as the title for this suggests, I am celebrating my birthday today. And as is my tradition, I like to give to others on this day. At work, that means I am throwing a party for my group of children I work with. For my writing life, that means a contest.


And since we are talking about CPs, I thought I'd give a 10 page crit to a random commenter. Nice??? Hope so - hope you all aren't thinking "Um, whatever! No thank you!"

Just follow the blog and leave a comment. I will randomly draw a name tomorrow.


Who are your CPs? For more fab CP posts, checkout Jon's post before me and  Abby's post tomorrow.


  1. AHHHHHH! You're naming all my favorite people.

    But man, now I'm thinking I may need to get more CPs.

  2. Happy Birthday! It's just a few days after mine ^_^ Let's both have a great birthday weekend!

    And I <3 my critters too. They deserve all the credit.

  3. *raises hand* I'd love a 10 page crit. :)

    I have one tentative crit partner. So far it's really fun!

  4. 1. Happy birthday!!!

    2. I love your crit partners! Elana and Ali have been instrumental in my own writing, even though they may not know it.

    3. A 10 page critique! That would be awesome. I am just beginning the process of finding new crit partners because I need objectivity.

  5. Great post, Christine! You're pretty awesome yourself! I think encouragement is so important in this business. Everyone needs a cheerleader and I'm glad you're one of mine. :)

  6. Aww, I don't know what I'd do without you :) I hope you have an amazingly wonderful birthday!!!

  7. Happy birthday! I hope it's a great one! :)

  8. Happy birthday, Christine! I only have one CP, Valerie Geary. We hooked up a couple of years ago--through blogging, of course. She is brilliant and I would be lost without her. I would love to find a few others at some point. Have a great birthday and a wonderful weekend. :-)

  9. Sounds like a winning team! :)

    Anyway, just wanted to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

  10. Happy birthday!!! I hope you get exactly what you need for your birthday and are blessed to have it also be what you want :) And hon, you never take advantage of me, you're so sweet.

  11. Happy Happy Birthday! Hope you have a wonderful day.

  12. So let me get this straight...we get to tell you Feliz Cumpleanos, Happy Birthday, Wazzup with ya B-day and do so with a smile because well, we enjoy your blog and find that you're a pretty cool person...but one of the commenters will get a gift? Awww, now I feel bad that i didn't bring anything.
    Since I didn't bring anything except my smile, then I hope you get all you wish and desire :-)

  13. How nice that you told us all about your critique partners. I should write a post that highlights and thanks mine. Without these people, our drafts wouldn't sparkle the same.

  14. How great to have so many wonderful people critting for you!

  15. I ♥ my critters too! Couldn't do it without them.

    Fun contest! Sorry I missed it. :)

  16. I hope you had a happy birthday! What a nice shout-out to your crit partners.

  17. QT is an awesome place, and I hope people read this and go visit not only to find a crit partner, but to also just soak in all the good writerly vibes from there. Happy Birthday!

  18. This is a terrific post, and the contest idea is fabulous!! Happy birthday!

  19. Wow, you have some stellar crit partners. No wonder your stuff comes out so awesome :)

  20. Christine, I'm so glad you have such a good group of writers around you, and I'm glad to be one of them. :)


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