Sunday, October 2, 2016

Suck it up...

*blows the cobwebs off of her blog*

Hello, Fan Club!

Yes, I're wondering who I am. It's me, BETHANY!! I know it's been a long time since I've posted (3 months...that's TERRIBLE!) but I'm busy, guys, working on something VURRRY IMPORTANT.  I'm having great fun with it, and I sure, sure, SURE hope you all get to read it before too long, but until then, I thought I'd recycle this post I did last year for Write All Year. Even though I wrote it, (so technically I should know this stuff already) I found huge encouragement when I read it after it was re-posted back in August.

It's super easy to get down about this whole writing thing. This post reminded me (#ironic) of just why we have to keep doing it. I hope you can relate to it as much as I did...both as the writer of it and a believer in it.


Feeling blue about this whole ‘writer’ thing, eh?
Well, if you were hoping for a delicate, stroke-your-hair kind of pep-talk over a bottle of chardonnay and some scented candles, than I’ve got some bad news for you.  I’m not here to soothe your writerly woes*. In fact, the only reason I’m here is to tell you the truth about being a writer…and exactly why you can’t quit.
Here’s the skinny: Being a writer sucks.
It sucks to fall face first into a plot hole you can’t seem to climb out of.
It sucks when agents (finally!) respond to your toiled-over query with a generic, “It’s not right for me,” email.
It sucks when yesterday your manuscript was a brilliant, future best-seller and today it’s little more than a 12 point, double-spaced pile of horse sh*t.
It sucks when everyone you know is getting a new agent/deal/sale/option.
It sucks that no one in your real life understands why you’re so stressed/anxious/depressed all the time.
It sucks that SUBJECTIVE has become a four letter word.
See…it sucks.
Except for when it doesn’t.
Like that day when your characters finally kiss. The giggles that escape your blushing cheeks the very moment your fingers pause on the keyboard and their lips press against the other’s for the first time doesn’t suck at all. In fact, it’s pretty amazing.
And that feeling you get when someone not related/married/in-debt to you reads your book and tells you they loved it…that doesn’t suck either. Not at all.
And of course there’s that indescribable sense of accomplishment that comes when you type those glorious words, THE END, and it finally dawns on you that you’ve done something huge; something that is completely unique and born solely from your own imagination. Something that no one else in the world can claim as their own. That most definitely does not suck.
Of course there will be days when you think the struggle isn’t worth it anymore. You will scream to the heavens that it’s not fair, or that life would be so much easier if you didn’t want this so bad. Thing is…you do want it, bad, and no matter how hard you try, you’ll never be able to shake that desire because being a storyteller is in your DNA. It’s literally part of the fabric that makes you who you are; it’s sandwiched right there between the color of your eyes and your disdain for Lionel Richie. And even if you abandon your notebook forever, you would still be crafting stories in your head and in your heart. So the way I see it, you might as well get them on paper because at least then there’s a chance you’ll get paid for them. (Seven-figure deals…obviously).
So, my fellow writers, do yourself a solid and suck it up. I promise it’s worth it.

*(And for the record, despite my above bluntness, I am not that friend who will tell you that your butt looks big in your jeans. Although…come on, we both know that just because you can get into the jeans doesn’t mean they actually fit.)

Monday, July 18, 2016

...that time my heart got big

Book praise always makes my innards happy, but every now and then I get some feedback that makes my heart do that Grinchy thing. You know, growing bigger than its original size. Take a look at this email:

The Grinch photo: Grinch Heart Grow grinch_growing_heart.gif 

"Dear Mrs. Crandell, 

I met you recently at a Barnes and Noble B fest event and you signed me a copy of Summer on the Short Bus for me, which I greatly appreciate. I told you about how I have attended a camp for special needs children with chronic diseases, most of us at the camp having juvenile arthritis. Cricket's attitude towards the campers at Camp I Can are very similar to what I experienced from campers who were not a part of the **Withholding camp name for privacy** Her attitude is also similar to what I have experienced in other public spaces, such as school and theme parks like Sea World. For my first two years of high school I was forced to walk with a cane, which for obvious reasons earned me some harsh comments about either being an exaggerator, a wimp, or that I am contagious and should be avoided at all costs. During one of my classes freshman year, one student took my cane and shortened it without me knowing so that when I tried to stand up to walk I fell. 

In today's society it is way too common to ignore ignorance about differently-abled people, which creates people who are either cold towards disabilities, or way too sympathetic and fake. In literature and movies, conditions like at Camp I Can or **camp name** are touched upon lightly to prevent anyone from being offended. Summer on the Short Bus was so incredibly refreshing because it showed that in real life people are quick to judge, and often stick to those judgments when they are exposed to a situation that they do not understand. So thank you very much for creating such a real character, because even though we don't always like to admit it I think we all have some Cricket in us, but I think we can balance it with our inner Efrons. 

Thank you again for taking the time to read this."

As someone who is rarely at a loss for words, this one left me a little dumbstruck. All I can think to say is, WOW, and THANK YOU! 

If you've been affected by an author's work, do them a solid and tell them. There's nothing quite as fulfilling as hearing how your story impacted someone's life.

Thursday, May 26, 2016


My super talented pal and crit partner, AG Howard, has a new book coming out called ROSEBLOOD. This book...Ohmygod! And the leading man...HANDS OFF! (seriously, I'll cut you if you even reach for him) Everything about this book is delicious, including the cover.

Anita revealed the official cover a while ago, but now she's offering you a peek at the breathtaking 'almost-cover' and the story of how it came to be, or...not be, as is the case. Besides that she's sharing an excerpt from the book and is also running a giveaway so...yeah, you better get over there.

Here's a link to AG's blog so you can enter the contest, and because I shower her with chocolates and inappropriate texts, she's agreed to let me post the gorgeous 'almost-cover' image here so my blog can look beautiful for a while.


Wednesday, April 13, 2016

It's about damn time!


hamster running photo: running hamster 20070515.gif

For those who don't know, Melvin is the hamster who lives inside my brain. He's been on vacation for the last couple of months; doing little more than sleeping, slugging back beers and trying to determine which of the Clintons Underwoods would make a better president. (If you don't know the reference, you're a disappointment to me and Netflix and must leave my blog right this second)  But, it seems that my fat, furry friend has decided it's time to get back on the wheel and create again, because there's a new story idea running rampant through my head.

The seed of inspiration was planted well over a year ago, when I came up with a title I knew I had to use someday (weirdly, that's how all my stories start out: title first), but it's remained dormant until just this weekend. Now, the roots are sprouting and the idea is beginning to take shape. Their voices aren't distinct yet, but I can hear the characters calling to me. They sound frustrated and amused, confused and...broken. They're eager to introduce themselves to me, and I am desperate to meet them, too.

If I squint hard enough, I'm able to see a plot line or two out in the distance. They're a knotted-up, tangly mess right now, hardly even forming a path, but soon they'll unwind into a dusty road, then a cobble stoned street, and before long a freeway that leads straight back to those characters and the stories they're so desperate to share. 

That's how it works, you see. A single idea becomes a web of events that tell one (hopefully) amazing story...and it all started when that fat, lazy hamster finally climbed back on his wheel. It's about damn time!

Thursday, February 25, 2016


(in case you didn't the first time, go back and read that in your best James Earl Jones, Darth Vader-y voice)

Yes, friends, I am oh-so-happy to report that my new book is done! 

exhausted photo:  funny-gifs-another-day-is-over.gif

No book is easy to write, but this one was particularly challenging. Not only did it leave me for dead miles outside of my comfort zone, but it also made me cry, scream, punch the pillows, and swear like nothing I've ever written. A writer pal told me that passion like that means you're up to something good. I sure hope he was right, because I am TIRED and my kids need to eat something other than cereal for dinner.

At some point I'll give you more insight on the book, but for now all you need to know is that I love it. And at the end of the day, that's all any writer can ask for.

HUGE thanks to my brilliant critique partners AG Howard and Angela V. Cook for their insight, wisdom, and talk-downs as we worked our way through this story. You guys are the BEST and I owe you all the cocktails.

To celebrate this momentous occasion, I will be drinking all the craft beer San Diego offers... and giving away a signed copy of SUMMER ON THE SHORT BUS.  

This is a US only giveaway that runs through April 1, 2016. 
(The SHORT BUS' 2 year book birthday!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, January 10, 2016

I made a resolution??

Apparently I resolved not to blog in 2016, because here it is January 10 and I still have my recycled Christmas post up. *shrugs* Not sure what to say  except that I'm working my a** off on this new WiP and every moment I could be blogging, I'd rather be writing so...that's what I'm doing. I'm writing.

Hope you all are having a fantastic 2016, and I promise to be back soon with more ridiculous and stupid enlightening posts soon!!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

A Christmas Tradition

It was about this time last year, when Stacee (@book_junkee), over at Adventures of a Book Junkie, invited me over to share one of my favorite holiday traditions with her readers...You guys, it was great fun! So much fun that I thought I'd share the post here with you all this year. (And no, I'm not just sharing because I'm busy writing and have shoved blogging to the back burner. Nope. Not at all. *shakes head defiantly.*)

Hope you enjoy....

A Christmas tale of tradition, by Bethany Crandell

June 22, 1985.

The Slip ‘n Slide was in place; staked at the corners with the hose secured to the plastic ring up top, and a little dishwashing soap added for extra speed. Eight prize bags were lined up on the basement ping pong table, each one bursting with Smarties, cinnamon gummy bears and more worthless trinkets than a garage sale. After much pleading, Mom agreed to order Domino’s (delivery pizza, such an exciting new concept!) and buy soda that, for once, didn’t say SHASTA on the side of the can. All the makings for a great tenth birthday party were in place…especially when you considered my movie of choice for the big event.

Though it was the first day of summer, my friends were about to be introduced to what I consider one of the greatest films of all time: A CHRISTMAS STORY. I fell in love with this quirky and relatively unknown (at the time) flick the first time I saw it. Obviously, Ralphie’s unrelenting determination to own a gun that would shoot his eye out was entertaining, but it was the off-beat performances delivered by his supporting cast members that left the biggest impression on me. Little brother who’s bundled up in so many layers that he looks like a tick about to pop? Yes! Turkey-obsessed father who drops F-bombs at the drop of a hat? DOUBLE YES!  Triple Dog Dares?! YES, YES, YES! This movie has some of the best characterization caught on film, which is why my little heart broke into a thousand pieces when I slid the tape into the VCR and my so-called friends pulled up their snoots, promptly stating they’d rather jump on the trampoline than watch this weird, fifties movie.

Despite my friends’ obvious stupidity and my very vulnerable emotional state, I continued to profess my love for this film. On occasion I would encounter someone who appreciated it the way I did, but mostly I was met with judgmental scowls and confused expressions followed by, “I’ve never heard of that.”  By the time I reached my mid-twenties, I’d determined that A CHRISTMAS STORY was destined to be my first cult-classic mistress. The secret lover I’d visit when I needed a pick-me up, or a reminder of how charming a mundane life could be. It was just me and my movie…until 1997 when TBS came along and exposed the truth.

I probably should have been grateful for the outing but I wasn’t. I was mad. And resentful. For years I’d been proclaiming this film’s awesomeness to the world, only to have my words fall on deaf ears. But after one, twenty-four hour Ted Turner endorsed marathon suddenly it was a holiday classic that everyone loved…

My secret lover had become a rent-by-the-hour street walker for all to enjoy.


It took years of grumbles, TBS protests, and gallons of eggnog, but I’ve finally come to the point in my life where I can accept 24 Hours of A CHRISTMAS STORY as a Christmas tradition I’m willing to embrace. Not because I don’t love it as passionately as I did thirty years ago, I do!, but because I can remind my children for twenty-four hours straight that for a while I was a lot cooler than the rest of the world.

Merry Christmas, Everyone!
And, please, leave the leg lamp on so I can find my way home.

A Christmas Story photo: A Christmas Story tumblr_lvcelenpGA1qb9pa3o1_500.gif