Had I Known Then


Had I known the title of my blog had more truth than fiction, I would have changed it to something like She Who Writes A LOT!  Instead, I have C.C. Wiley’s Life Between Words. Believe you me, there was a lot of life shoved between the words. Last year brought everything from floods, pestilence, publication, and marketing.

January 2010 brought rain that fell in epic proportion. It was like God decided to end Global Warming with a biblical firehose from the sky. And with that torrential downpour came brown water seeping into our home. We saved the home office by building a sandbag wall around the backyard. The ground was so saturated we sank to our ankles in mud. I get it. No big deal you say. But anyone who has ever tried to dig a hole of any proportion in California during the hot summer months will recognize that this is major rainfall. The baked earth that can defy the force of a two hundred pound person wielding a pickax was now sticky sloppy goo.  

As we all know, the sun will eventually break through the clouds. The winds will eventually drive the storm away. Who’s to say what changes it will bring? When it was all said and done, the winter storms of 2010 brought new floors in two bedrooms, a redesigned drainage system, repaired fencing, and a pond in the backyard complete with ducks that were willing to find any port in the storm. Too bad the dogs stamped their passports and sent them on their way.

The home office was safe. The writings. The books. The computers. All safe. And then the water heater broke.

With the rain came the joy. Our daughter returned home from college. A graduate of the University of Nebraska, she was making plans for the future. These plans included moving back home, getting to work in the real world and planning for her wedding in June. And two more dogs were added to our household.

I like to think of myself as being that calm boat that skims through life and stays balanced even during some rough seas. So having so many dogs in one household is not that big a deal when life is easy and your bedrooms are not occupying the living room and dining room while the drywall in the bedrooms dries out. We have great dogs. All six of them! However, when the rainfall totals start hitting 20 inches in about a month the mathematics of mud begins to increase: 6 dogs X 4 muddy paws = a whole lot of paw prints.

But I digress.

One spring morning the rain finally stopped, the sun came out, and we discovered our car didn’t run properly. It backed up five feet and then all the lights and bells the Lexus manufactures put in the car went off like a night at the local casino. It was just another day of not going to work. Another day of Life Between Words. However this time I could at least say that it was my first time to ever ride in a big rig to a car dealership. We were certain it was faulty manufacturing. Right? Wrong. A varmint of the toe-nailed-long-tailed-furred-critter-type had decided to sharpen its too pointy teeth on the wire harness things that hold the fricken’ engine in place. Hello! We have fruit and nut trees in the garden! Go eat those things! Instead it ate a meal that cost us over $500 for the repair and another $100 for my peace of mind. We now have the electronic pulsating things that plug into the wall sockets on every wall in the garage. 

Just more life between words. Right? Time to plant my butt in the chair and write. Instead, I’m busy in reader-loops, blogs, and email. I set up Facebook and Twitter accounts, placing an ad in RT magazine, tweak my website. Marketing.  It’s a necessary element to the published writer space, but who know that it would take so much time? It’s simple. I should have.

I look at the calendar. There is more good stuff happening. Our daughter’s fiancé graduated from college in May. In one week, he graduates from college, his parents throw them an amazing engagement party, the kids move out of their apartment and they head for California.  The plan is they will stay with us until they find a place of their own. Our spectacular daughter is a June bride! She’s made it easy on her parents. The all-inclusive resort is amazing!  All we have to do is show up for the wedding in the Riviera Maya. So far it’s been an easy job for me, the mother of the bride. Our daughter is the picture of the most efficient bride. We’re moving along. I’m not writing very much because, hey, I need to exercise and lose weight. There’s a lot riding on this. I have to find a mother of the bride dress and I have to look good in a bathing suit. How hard can it be? I’ve been working on losing weight but we had a so many reasons to celebrate. (Yes, that means with amazing food and wine).

The first week of June we attend a lovely book signing and then head for the wedding dress fitting. It was a fabulous day. My friend’s book signing inspired me to start writing again. It was time for me to shake off the change at the publishing house and write something new.

And then, more life came between words.

I broke my foot two weeks from the wedding. It is nine whole days before I’m ready to admit that ‘Houston, we have a problem.’ It is another couple of days to get to a specialist and the clock is ticking. Someone has gummed up the works and everything I have planned to do before our trip is now in a mess.  Soon I was no longer frantic and in pain. Now my productive life in between words had slowed down to a trickle. I was in a purple haze of pain reducing medications.

The resort offered me a wheelchair, but really, who wants to look that pathetic? Besides, the World Cup was on. Everyone would forget me in the corner of the bar. Crap. Even though my foot is swollen and I look like I can barely make it back to our room I decided to stop taking the meds. I refused to lose this time in a blur. Our daughter’s wedding is a memory that I will always cherish. And the broken foot will forever be a part of the photos from that glorious trip. Or at least until I can figure out how to use Photoshop. Maybe while I’m at it I’ll remove some inches from my waistline and ass.

July brought both the bitter and the sweet. I planned to celebrate the publication of KNIGHT DREAMS by attending the RWA Conference in Orlando, Florida. And that’s when my life stepped between me and the words. 

The first week back from our daughter’s wedding along the Riviera Maya, we found ourselves back in a medical facility. This time, my darling husband sat by my bedside as the surgeon wheeled me into the operating room. Mind you, I still have a lovely boot on my foot that I had started to call Black Beauty. However this little surgical procedure wasn’t for the broken bone. Nope that was just a side trip. This little procedure was to remove a two-inch benign tumor.  Normally I would try to ignore the thing, but it was in my ribcage and burrowing into the chest cavity. It was beginning to look like I had a side boob. Thank God it was benign. Thank God the three-inch scar is hidden. However wearing a bra became a challenge. I usually don’t mind going braless at home. Who doesn’t, right? How about the mother of the newlyweds. Let’s face it. The new son-in-law doesn’t want to see his mother in-law’s ta-tas. Mind you, it is now summer time. The temperatures in the valley occasionally reach 100 degrees. A heavy sweatshirt is not my friend. A loose swimsuit? Oh yeah! However, I still had to go to the writers’ conference in Florida. Have you noticed most airlines frown on bathing suit clad travelers? I made it there. No, not in the bathing suit. Nor did I wear Black Beauty. Thank God! I groused and whined the whole way there. My wonderfully patient travel friend can attest to that. I should put her name on an application for sainthood. Or at the very least erect a statue somewhere notable. A lovely, peaceful park maybe. I think I might even bury Black Beauty there.

In comes August! My novel, Knight Dreams, comes out in Print! Fanfare! Throws confetti! Blows the horn! Yay! Surely my new editor will love the changes to the second book. Sadly, she doesn’t. Perhaps the next one will.

I visit my parents. They’ve had their own adventure in 2010. It actually started on Christmas Eve, 2009. This adventure has kept them fighting to save my father’s feet and his life from the devastation of Diabetes. The battles have worn them down, exhausting the most stoic and stalwart of heart. We quit counting and kept praying after the number of medical procedures my dad had endured hit at least fifteen in the past year. They continue the fight. My mom and dad never give up. Not even when the rehabilitation facility makes his health worse. 

And reality of more life steps in.

I’m back to my preschool job and am dancing around twenty 3 years-olds on any given day. I’ve now been a published author a little over a year. The digital eBook publication released on October 2, 2009. The Print version released on August 2, 2010. And I’m struggling to remember to celebrate the accomplishment. On October 22, I have my very first book signing. It is amazing. To feel the love. To feel my family and friends’ admiration. To feel the good wishes of complete strangers. I am reminded that people whom I never met have purchased my novel, read the words, and care for the characters in the story.  And we celebrate. Finally. Days later. I really, really, celebrate and then I wonder what’s next. I can’t give up. It is time to write. To edit! To move forward. Don’t look in that rear-view mirror.

And life just happens to step in between those words again.

This time I saw it coming. I braced. And that, I’m learning, is not a good thing when your car is rear ended. Whiplash. Until that one afternoon, it’s a word that never really meant too much to me. And then the words slowed down because I couldn’t hold my head upright without feeling like a bobble head doll. The preschoolers seemed to speed up because I couldn’t turn my head fast enough to keep up with their busy minds and bodies. I hung in there. I’m like my parents. I don’t give up.

The holidays have come and gone. With the end of the old year comes a bright and shiny new year. Hopes remain high. Our daughter and son in-law are now in living in their own home and they celebrated their first Christmas as a married couple.  My dad’s health continues to improve and prepares for skin grafts. And I’m reminded that writing about hope and love is a blessing. God’s greatest gift to me is His love. It’s up to me to share that message of hope, love and joy. I’m grateful for the opportunity. And in this beginning of the New Year, I begin again. Because there really is life between each word that I write.   

What is your dream? Which path are you choosing to take next?

Each Breath, Each Moment

I’ve been thinking about the phrase ‘being in the moment.’ Recently, I spent a few days in Orlando, Florida and believe it or not, I didn’t chase after Mickey and Minnie. Seriously. Two mice, love and the power of the imagination.In Orlando. Sounds intriguing. But that wasn’t my focus.

Oh yes, I admit, I did go to Downtown Disney and play a bit at the House of Blues, but that wasn’t the reason for my trek across the United States. No, my adventure was for the love of romance.  Hmm. Now that I think about it, how many couples have a great relationship like Mickey and Minnie.

Mickey and Minnie

Mickey and Minnie

They worked through their issues and love each other no matter the distractions. So that brings me  back to why I’m learning about romance in Orlando. Why Orlando? Because Romance Writers of America had their 30th Anniversary Conference at Walt Disney’s beautiful Swan & Dolphin in Orlando.

And there, we talked about romance and finding the right words to portray each character’s story. How perfect. The conference was held at a place that celebrates one of the greatest partnerships known to modern man. Mickey & Minnie. It was the perfect unity of hope, love, passion, and adventure. Perfect.

And then those devilish, demanding thoughts arrived. They perched on my shoulder. What are you doing? Why did you do this? Why haven’t you done that? Who do you think you are?  Did you check your Blackberry? How about those emails. Do it. Do it while the speaker is talking. Do it. Do it, whether you are exhausted or not. Do it so that you look savvy, smart, with it, connected. Tweet it. Facebook it. Be the first to announce. Be the first to know…

Know what? I stopped my hand from stroking the Blackberry keys. I didn’t connect to Facebook or Twitter. I sat in the meetings and absorbed all that I could. I felt rejuvenated. Relief. My thinking cleared.  In all that extraneous chatter I just might have missed the beauty of the sunsets. I might have missed the honest words of the speakers. We are here to help each other. We share. We grow. We are. And there is balance. When we scatter our thoughts, our focus is dispersed, our light does not shine as brightly and we do not appreciate every glorious nuance that has been gifted to us in that moment.

I realized the panic of not doing was hampering the doing. I was not living in the moment. I was only surviving. I turned off my  Blackberry. I shut down the laptop in my room. Emails and networking were put on the back-burner. Afterall, isn’t the broth better after a day of stewing?

“The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.”
— Buddha

I can’t help but wonder if I’m the only one fighting to maintain balance. What do you do? Do you fight it? Do you follow Buddha’s advice?

Knight Dreams, Now available in PRINT

FINALLY! KNIGHT DREAMS is now available in PRINT! Check out an excerpt for the link below. Buy it now from all your favorite retailers. 


For king and country…or the love of one woman?

Knights of the Swan, Book 1

Wales, 1415

Terrwyn, the daughter of a dispossessed Welsh lord, is blessed with unusual talents. Her skill with a bow and cursed ability to dream the future, however, didn’t save her younger brother from conscription into the English army.

To honor a deathbed promise, she sets out to bring him home—and discovers that one of the king’s knights holds the key to locating her brother. Now she must stay close to her sworn enemy…and try to ignore the growing heat between them. A difficult task, when they wind up manacled together.

Sir James Frost, confidante to King Henry V, can trust no one, particularly the young Welsh maiden impersonating an archer within the ranks. With treason brewing, the last thing he needs is the secretive beauty chained to his side. The connection between them, though, becomes stronger than any links of metal.

When an assassination plot places their lives in jeopardy, James is torn between duty and the woman he loves. He must choose where his fealty lies…and Terrwyn must decide if changing Fate is worth the price.

Warning: This story includes steamy sex scenes with a hot knight who holds magic in his hands and a spunky Welsh archer who knows exactly where to place her arrows.

Coffee Time Romance & More gives 4 CUPS to Knight Dreams

This review comes at a great time in my life. It comes when I really need it. Thank you Cherokee! And thank you Coffee Time Romance & More!

“Knight Dreams is a tale that pulls you immediately into the plot, intrigue, and action-packed adventure. There were many times I thought I was right in the middle of the scenes. The dynamite characters are awesome. I could almost visualize Terrwyn as she shot her arrows when duty called. This story keeps the reader eagerly anticipating what the outcome will be, especially with James and Terrwyn. I found their love, sweet, and enjoyed the way their relationship developed. C.C. Wiley wrote a well researched, convincing story with great secondary characters that added just the right amount of gusto to the tale.” Cherokee ~  Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance & More       http://coffeetimeromance.com/BookReviews/knightdreamsccwiley.html

Knight Dreams receives 4 STARS ~ HOT from RT Book Reviews

I recently received my May, 2010 edition of RT Book Reviews and in it was an amazing review for my novel, KNIGHT DREAMS! FOUR Stars! HOT! And I have to tell you, what the reviewer said about my book actually brought tears of joy. Yes, I admit it, I wept. 

I won’t give away all the information. Yet. I’ll have to  check out what the timeline is for the whole review. It’s there in the magazine, but not on their website. 

How did I get this juicy, uplifting information already? I subscribe to their magazine. If you love reading romance fiction and don’t subscribe to RT Book Reviews you really need to take a look at their website and their magazine. http://www.romantictimes.com/

I’ve been a fan of their magazine for several years. I have to tell you, subscribing to RT Book Reviews is the way to go. There have been too many times that the bookstore ran out before I could get there. Having the magazine delivered early gives me extra time to look at all the yummy books to buy and read. 

Now, every time I see the title of my first book, KNIGHT DREAMS, listed by all those other amazing pieces of work, I’m thrilled and inspired. I’m going to keep reaching for my wildest dreams.

While I find out it I can post a snippet of the review, why don’t you head over to my publisher, Samhain Publishing, and read more reviews for Knight Dreams.  Let me know what you think. ~ C.C. Wiley

I’ve Been Thinking…

Where was I when I got THE E-MAIL for the sale of KNIGHT DREAMS? Hmmm…

Actually, I have two points of celebration. In the fall of 2008, a little over a year ago, I was in Indiana visiting my parents when I received the first e-mail from Samhain Publishing editor, Deborah Nemeth. That message was a blessing and brought joy into a rough, rollercoaster year. 

Reports of tumors, cancer, surgeries, and damaged relationships had arrived back to back in 2008. In fact, cancer was what brought me from California and to my mom’s side. The preliminary report said the surgeons had removed all of the cancer from my mom. This allowed us to break from the deep valleys, catch our breath, and wonder if chemotherapy and radiation was needed. While we waited, we remembered to add laughter to our tears and faith to our prayers.

It was during this valley that Deborah’s e-mail came. She loved my story! I squealed as I read those few words and did a happy dance. Breathless, I ran down the stairs to share the news with my parents. They knew how long I’d been writing. This was the third manuscript I had completed. They wanted their little girl to succeed and live her dream.

Then I read the rest of Deborah’s email. There was a BUT… ‘Would you be willing to make some changes?’ My stomach twisted. This story holds a special place in my heart. I wrote it while I was in the midst of my own personal heartache. It carried me away from my grief and brought me hope. It helped me dig my heels in and not give up.

Would I make some changes? I looked at Deborah’s edit notes and gulped. The first few pages were a sea of red! Are you kidding me? With some trepidation, I said, “Of course!” The next e-mails came with rapid fire and the task was set. I turned to my parents. Hope and pride burned in their gaze. It was time to celebrate!

This joy was just the beginning of my stay in Indiana. Word soon came that my mom did not need to have chemotherapy or radiation. And that celebration continues.

The second celebration came in the spring of 2009. After a few rewrite requests, I finally received the contract offer! This time, I was home…alone…when I saw THE E-MAIL in my Inbox. SQUEE! I dropped to my knees. I read the e-mail again and again and again! I laughed and cried and danced around the house. I called my husband, tearing him away from a meeting, and sobbed my news into the phone. I called my parents. Once again, their pride and love filled my heart. I called my writing friend and left an indiscernible message on her answering machine. (She soon returned my call, worried I had had an emergency and needed help.) I sent out e-mails to my children and friends. It was my writing group night and as I drove to the meeting, I cried and laughed. The joyful energy brought shivers through my body. I swear, if had been stopped by the police they would have thought I was high. And I was. I was high on persevering.

In October, 2009, KNIGHT DREAMS was released as an eBook by Samhain Publishing. Before I know it, August 2010 will arrive and KNIGHT DREAMS will be printed as a trade paperback. The view is beautiful from here. It’s also inspiring and intimidating at the same time. There is so much to do and learn. Although setbacks might come, it’s an exhilarating ride and I’m grateful I didn’t give up.

Look out 2010! I’m just getting started.

The Pen and Muse awards Knight Dreams 5 STARS!

Oh Happy, Happy Day! I’m doing the dance of joy!

This reviewer brightened my week, my month, my year, my life. Each sweet word brought tears to my eyes and fire to my soul!  

A bit of what Denisse Alicea, from The Pen and Muse, had to say:

What I liked: What didn’t I like about Knight Dreams? C.C. Wiley surely knows how to write historical romance. I found myself not wanting to leave Terrwyn’s world. The dialogue, scenery, and the plot are just amazing. I really loved how her character was written, she’s skilled yet she is cursed with a gift to see the future. Terrwyn’s such an honorable character and I loved the way she was just so hell-bent on getting her brother home no matter what the cost… This is a must read for those who love historical romances.” 5 STARS~ AMAZING!

Then to make it all that much sweeter, Denisse Alicea has an interview with Samhain’s Director of Public Relations, Lucia Carr. Be sure to click on the following link to read the book review for KNIGHT DREAMS and the whole interview. http://www.thepenmuse.com/2009/11/pen-interview-review-samhain-publishing.html

Please excuse me while I go into my happy dance.

God Bless!