Meet 2017 Golden Heart Finalist C.R. Grissom!!

Today we’re welcoming our third Rebelle this week, 2017 Golden Heart Finalist C.R. Grissom, whose manuscript MOUTHFUL is nominated for Best Young Adult Romance.

C.R. Grissom lives in San Jose, California—in the heart of Silicon Valley. She works for a high-tech company by day, and at night she writes sports romance featuring young adults as they transition to college. She has two sons in their teens who keep her busy screaming from the bleachers year-round at sporting events. Married for 23 years, she’s found her own HEA.

Here’s a blurb for MOUTHFUL:

Faith Lacerna has a negative body image courtesy of early puberty, cruel classmates, and a teen advice slash beauty guru mother. Now Faith’s reputation is trashed after the first guy she dates—a popular football player—takes an intimate picture of her without her knowledge and posts it on social media. In the aftermath, she vows to avoid anyone sporting a jock-strap. College bound, she gathers the shredded remnants of her reputation, and continues to hide beneath oversized clothes—seeking anonymity for survival. When a football player in her calculus class shows interest—she recommits to studying anything except the hot tight end. She refuses to be fooled by another player.

Caleb St. John wants to lose himself in football, avoid his unfaithful ex-girlfriend, and—unlike his dad—live his life with integrity. Faith’s sarcasm and humor arouse more than Caleb’s competitive nature, but tackling Faith’s insurmountable trust issues force him into a no-win situation when social media runs a play destined to bench him for good.

As my high school students would say, “Sweeeet!!” That’s a fabulous story set-up, touching on social media issues that truly do play a central role in teen’s emotional lives, and I can already hear your fresh, witty voice!! I hope we’ll see this on shelves soon!

Readers, C.R. Grissom is here today to talk with us about a topic that will no doubt resonate deeply with most of us: the fact that no writer can do it alone. (Leave a comment to be entered into a random drawing for a $20 Amazon gift card from C.R.).

Take it away, C.R.!!


I’d like to thank the Rubies for providing me with the opportunity to guest post on their popular blog. It’s a lovely tradition, steeped in deep-seated values of paying it forward to celebrate each Golden Heart class ever since the Rubies slipped into their own sisterhood.

I work in Silicon Valley. It’s a rarity to find colleagues willing to share knowledge with each other unless it’s expected in their particular role. The struggle to succeed will prevent people from helping each other thrive. Competition for raises, bonuses and shares of company stock create the perfect dark place to birth spores of vindictiveness. I don’t mean to imply everyone in the Valley behaves this way because it’s not true, but those of us who don’t, tend to carry scarred tissue from those who do.

It’s refreshing to have discovered the exact opposite with the Romance industry. Knowledge is shared, not guarded like a trade secret. If you ask a Romance writer to help you with a plot point, chances are good you’ll soon be staring at a wall full of sticky notes rife with compelling conflict, a wicked black moment and a fresh idea for the grand gesture—whether you hoped for the information or not!

A writer needs a village. We strive for professionalism and work hard toward publication. Do not attempt to walk this path alone. It’s self-defeating. Trust me. Years ago, I wrote my first novel without benefit of critique partners. My less than stellar effort netted a finished manuscript—but when poorly pitched to a savvy agent—the results contributed to my debilitating self-doubt. A life’s lesson learned in two minutes or less. Instead of digging in and reinvesting in myself by learning from my mistake, I stopped believing in my ability to write, and quit altogether.

Fast forward to today—my work has evolved in dramatic ways. Ditto my ability to pitch with better success. I’m happy to report I haven’t run afoul of another savvy agent like She Who Must Not Be Named. *touches garlic to guard against the memory*

My skills continue to improve with each page I write and revise. I have my village to thank for it. I’ve met people who have made a positive impact on my storytelling abilities—amazing writers who became part of my grounds crew. They provide critiques, encouragement and share their craft. I’ve learned from each of them. After the call, the population of my writer’s town augmented to include a band of Rebelles, a smaller quorum of Lunch Ladies, and the Fab Four finalists in the Young Adult category of the Golden Heart.

My journey began years ago with Susan Elizabeth Phillips and her website Bulletin Board. She encouraged all SEPPIES to write. We borrowed her characters, wrote occasional fan fic paragraphs, and fought for the title of Mrs. Bobby Tom Denton. She was our reigning queen. She will continue to be a foundational pillar in my writer’s heart, and my favorite go-to author for all the feels.

Seana Kelly, my critique partner, is directly responsible for resuscitating my desire and drive to write. Christina, Renee and Dylann @RomanceChicks together with Diane Holiday shaped my story. A jewel can be found on my Main Street—Ruby L.A. Mitchell, an editorial goddess, who probably got carpal tunnel typing the following two words: write fresh. These amazing women along with countless others comprise the population of my town, but new people wander into my life daily. I’m blessed in friends.

The best thing about this business is its people. Romance authors understand there’s room at the table. Take a look around. Authors participate in Twitter pitch parties, become chapter mentors, and generally make themselves available to people like me. These successful authors are willing and excited to help someone else flourish. It’s an anomaly that embodies the spirit of Romance authors everywhere.

Readers are a fantastic bunch. They devour stories and their hunger is limitless. They will consume your story today—and with luck and perseverance—mine on a day in the not too distant future.

I have a loud and noisy village. If you are a party of one, how do you plan to expand your network to ensure you’re no longer alone? If you have a prolific village in place, do you have specific strategies to share with others for building their own?


Connect with C.R. Grissom on social media:

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