Reading Suggestions?

 

This week, I’ve had to take it easy. Hubby gave me the crud. You know where you feel horrible, you nose runs and you can’t stop coughing. So, I’ve been reading. I’m currently reading Blood Money  (NYPD Blue & Gold book 2) by Tee O’Fallon, and I’m really enjoying it.

 

 

 

 

 

At least I finished writing my final Christie Craig Texas Justice book, Don’t Look Back.  FBI agents, Texas Detectives, and murder.  A cat named Psycho. A hero that is drool worthy.  And a plot with more twist than a pretzel. Don’t forget the second book in the series, Don’t Breathe a Word comes out Nov. 5th, but you can preorder it now at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Kobo.

So when I have the crud, it takes a while for me to get over it, so expect to be catching up on my reading. Any books you’d like to recommend? What are you reading right now?

 

 

 

Haunted Edinburgh

I’m going to share a few more images from Edinburgh, before I take you to some of the other places we visited.  I know I mentioned that I walked around some graveyards and even did a ghost tour.  And if you’ve read my books and my blogs, you know I love a good, spooky tale.

 

And while visiting, there were plenty of stories that sent a chill running up my spine. Edinburgh, where just a stroll long the cobblestone streets, takes you back in time, has a long ghoulish history. Psychics and ghost hunters have long said that the Scottish capital is one of the most haunted places in the world.

 

 

A walk through the cemetery, that is so old that most of the script on the tombstones is no longer legible, can raise the hairs on the back of your neck.  It made me stop and wonder about the bones of the people buried six feet under.  Were they happy?  Did they love someone?  How did the die?

As a pet owner, one story stood out.  The tale of a phantom Skye terrier, Bobby. The dog was said to have spent fourteen years guarding his master’s grave.  In 1872, the faithful pooch passed away. He is now buried in the Greyfriars Kirkland, near his owner.  It is said that people can still hear his bark near the grave. Dare I say, that is one spirit, I wouldn’t mind running across.

 

 

Ahh, but even deeper down, deeper than the bones of the now unnamed-dead, are a collection of underground passageways.  With very little ventilation, these dark, dank tunnels were called home to the very poorest of people: vagrants, thieves, gamblers and an array of undesirables.  The ghost tour I attended took me under Edinburgh’s Old City. With only candle light to guide us, I learned of the sad and often gruesome history of this place.  A history of religious persecution, of executions of witches, and even the great plague.  No doubt, the beauty of this timeless city that draws so many to visit, is stained with blood.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edinburgh!

Well, Hubby and I took off to Scotland.  Can I say wow?  I took loads of pictures and for the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing some of those on my blog.  I’ll start with where we landed in this great country, Edinburgh.

I don’t think I’ve ever been to a place where everywhere you look, every glance over your shoulder, turn of your head, there’s another photograph to take.  The city is so old you feel it when you amble through the streets.

When we got there, the Fringe was happening.  The Fringe is the largest arts festival in the world. Street entertainers at every corner.  Music, bands, and tons of shopping. Our favorite thing to do was to find a pub on the Royal Mile, sit outside sipping wine and people watching.

We lucked out and the Royal Edinburgh Military tattoo was happening while we were there too, and we got tickets.  This is an annual series of Military tattoos performed at the Esplanade of Edinburgh Castle by British Armed Forces, Commonwealth and International military bands and display teams.  It was colorful and awe-inspiring.

You know me well enough to know that I wanted to visit a few graveyards.  Yes, I love walking around and seeing graves that dated back to the 1700’s.  We even did a ghost tour.  Scotland had its share of spooky stories.

The trip was mind boggling and got my creative juices flowing.  I even got an idea for a book.

If you ever get a chance to go, do it.

Okay, until next week.

Happy Reading!

Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot!

This week I wanted to talk to you about genres. You know, paranormal, contemporary, fantasy, sci-fi, etc. The publishing industry is funny. They study the current trends, what’s selling, what’s not, and they try to predict what genres will be hot in the future. Sometimes I think they need a crystal ball.

When St. Martin’s contacted me and asked me to write a young adult paranormal series, they felt that genre was the hot ticket and would continue to be popular for a while. Now, however, paranormal is supposed to be waning and contemporary is the thing, especially if someone is ill in it.  Fantasy was huge a while ago, especially with the popular Lord of the Rings movies, but now it seems less in demand. It’s always shifting and changing.

So after I finished my Shadow Falls series, St Martin’s request a contemporary book. So, I wrote This Heart of Mine and In Another Life.  But I also still loved paranormal and I knew I still had a lot of Shadow Falls fans out there. So, I decided to write my Mortician’s Daughter series with them in mind. So, if you’re still rereading my Shadow Falls series, but haven’t tried my Mortician’s Daughter series, I’m encouraging you to give it a chance. I think you’ll enjoy it.

 

Genres in romance come and go, too. Ten years ago, historical was king, then contemporary. Now romantic suspense, like my Texas Justice series is really hot.

So do you pay attention to the trends in publishing?  Do you read the hot new genre or do you still read books that aren’t in the trend? Where do you see the genres heading? What do you think will become the next hot genre?

 

Back to School

I know it seems like we just celebrated the Fourth of July, but it’s already August. And in much of the country, that means school is about to start. It actually starts this week in my area of Texas. When I was young, I loved and hated the start of school. I hated waking up early after being able to sleep in and wake up naturally. In Alabama, where I grew up, we didn’t start back to school until a week or so into September.

 

And I loved how it was always a little chilly in the mornings.  I actually loved shopping and buying a new wardrobe, too.  I didn’t get a lot of new clothes, but I always got some.  And wearing new clothes tended made me feel better about myself.  I hated always feeling as if I was invisible, unless it was when I ran into the school bullies. Then, I prayed for invisibility.

But I’ll admit, part of me looked forward to going back and seeing the boys that I had crushes on.  I always had the dream that this would be the year when one of my crushes would notice me.  (Yeah, I was a romantic even back then.)  Oh and I loved getting all my school supplies. There’s a certain smell to school supplies that I can still remember.  I also recall organizing everything.  And actually being happy about learning and getting back into a routine.  School was not my favorite thing.  But I remember the new school year feeling every September, and it was sort of like a part of life, almost like a season that when it comes every year, you are pulled into the familiarity of it.  Those first days of school every year were just part of life.

How do you feel about school? Or how did you feel about it?

Winner!!

The winner of last week’s t-shirt giveaway is Gabrielle Saunders. Congratulations! Please email me at christie@christie-craig.com with your t-shirt size and your postal address.

The Mother Daughter Influence

Recently, I purchased some travel-sized hair spray to take with me on my trip to New York.  There was one line on the back that read:  Do not use this product while smoking.

My first thought was who would do that? Then bam! I was suddenly yanked back into the past watching my mom fix her hair, holding a cigarette between her fingers, while spraying her hair. Thankfully, I never picked up the smoking habit, but as young girl, I loved watching my mom get dressed up. I remember she had a mole, or as they called it back then, a beauty mark, on her left cheek. She would use an eyebrow pencil to color it a little darker.  And in my mind, I can still see her push out her left cheek as she colored the beauty mark. I remember wishing I had one like hers. I recall getting into my mom’s makeup once and attempting to give myself a beauty mark.

I think most little girls grow up idolizing their mom at that young age.  I know I did.  I watched her, studied her.  Wanted to emulate her.  I wanted to walk like her, look like her.  I wanted boobs like her.  I can honestly say that growing up, my identity as a female was in many ways driven by my mom.

Now as I grew older, I found my own style. Today, my mom still loves big bold prints, and I go more for solids or small prints.  Mom colored her hair red for years, the most I do is add a few highlights. But still, who I am today is in part because of my mom.  In fact, the reason I never smoked was because I saw my mom attempt to quit smoking.  She would cry and tell me how badly she wanted to quit, but how desperately she wanted another cigarette.  Also, she was deathly afraid of spiders, and I share that same phobia.  So I guess you could say I acquired some of her fears and learned a few things from her struggles.

And because my fiction is so reflective of my own life, you see this mother/daughter connection in my books.  In Three Heartbeats Away, Riley realizes how much she’s been influenced by the memories of her mom.  She wears her hair long because her mother did.  Her favorite color stems from the color her mom often wore.  Her style, her outlook, her love of art, is all connected to the women she loved and lost when she was only four.  Even the car she drives is due to seeing an image of her mom with the same car.

 

 

 

 

Do you see how your mom may have influenced who you are?  In what ways are you like your mom?

Giveaway!!!

Today I’ll give away a C.C. Hunter T-shirt to one person who tells me how their mom influenced them. (Sorry, but this giveaway is for U.S. residents only. And if you are reading this on Goodreads, you must go to my blog to post your comment to enter.)

 

 

Winner!

The winner of last week’s giveaway is Anne. Congratulations! Please email me at christie@christie-craig.com and give me your postal address.

 

 

New York City!!

I love to travel. I love to experience different cultures, different foods, different people.  I’ve traveled to France, London, China, South America, New Zealand, Denmark, and soon I’m going to Scotland and Ireland.  But amazingly, when I go to New York City, the differences are almost as great as going to a different country.

I’ve never grabbed an Uber or a taxi in Tomball, Texas.  My heart got a workout when I got into a taxi whose driver had road rage and screamed the entire drive as he delivered me to my Grand Central author party.  (All I could think of was that I’m glad not everyone had guns like they do in Texas.) I’ve never bumped into so many people on the streets of Tomball. In New York you are shoulder to shoulder.  And in Times Square, some of those people are “over-the-top” characters.  Like a women wearing nothing but a thong and paint.  Like the Mickey Mouse characters with bobbling heads. As crazy as it was, I loved experiencing it all.

Restaurants are everywhere.  The food is phenomenal. And I can’t say enough about the play Hamilton.  Wow!!  I mean, wow!

And because this was a RWA, Romance Writers of America, conference, attended by writers, it felt like most of those folks were family.  And because I’ve spoken at so many writer’s conferences, I know so many faces.

I spent time chatting with Tina Dick, who is a reporter from Germany. I love running into her every year, and it’s not just because she brings me German chocolate.  But the chocolate is amazing.  I ran into Joss Wood, who lives in South Africa and whose books sound wonderful, and was such a pleasure to chat with.  I ran into some folks from New Zealand who were at my workshop I gave there.  Then there were the fans who came to the signing.  They got C.C. Hunter T-shirts just for showing up, too. I ran into old friends, Arel Jansen, from Maine, and we had some great visits, hugs, and laughs.  I hung with Ruth Kenjura, a Houston RWA member.

I shared wine and conversation with Diane Kelly, Lori Wilde, Kerrelyn Sparks, Shala Patel, Pintip Dunn, Dyranda Jones, Miranda Liasson, and Carolyn Brown.  Laura Drake, Susan Muller, and I got turned down by two angry Uber drivers, but we finally got to the Lillie’s Victorian Establishment, where great food and laughs were had.  Susan and I roomed together again, and you know you need a roomie who agrees that what happens in the hotel room, stays in the hotel room.  Oh, the fun! (By the way, all of these are amazing authors, try them!)

 

I met with editors, my agent, bloggers, librarians, and I may have drunk a little too much wine.  But I did not dance on any tables.  So don’t believe anyone who says I did.  And remember photos can be altered.  I went to workshops, heard Alyssa Cole speak at the Librarian breakfast, which was fantastic and met authors Tee O’Fallon and M.A. Taylor, whose books sound amazing and I’m ordering them today.

New York City was amazing.  A blend of culture, good food, better friendships, and tons of laughter.

Giveaway!!!

And . . . I got some free books, double copies, and I snagged a few extra RWA tote bags. So today, I’ll give away a bag, and at least one book that I snagged at the conference.  So leave a post and tell me about one of your travel adventures or a dream vacation, and one person will win a tote and at least one new book. (Sorry, but this giveaway is for U.S. residents only. And if you’re reading this on Goodreads, you must post your comment on my blog to enter.)

Happy Reading!

What Are You Reading?

Summer time is in full swing. Time for trips to the beach, car rides across the country, sitting by the pool, and lots of time to relax and read. I love sitting on the deck of a beach house overlooking the ocean and catching up on my reading.

One of the many perks as an author is I get asked to read and blurb about new books.  So I’m often discovering new books and new authors.  Recently, I read two great page turners.  Goode Over Evil is by a brand new author Leslie Marshman.  Suspense, romance, and family drama.  This one will keeps you glued to the pages.

She left town to save a life. Now she’s back to avenge a death.

Years ago, Samantha Goode was driven away from love, her family, and her past. Now the Texas Ranger is back in Crystal Creek for her estranged grandmother’s funeral, even though it means coming face to face with everything, and everyone, she’d left behind. When a brutal murder shatters her world, Sam is determined to stay until she solves it. Soon she’s knee-deep in suspects, including the family of the man she once loved but was forced to betray.

Rancher Clayton Barnett will do anything to keep his autistic younger brother out of an institution, including sidelining his life to work for their powerful, manipulative father. When tragedy brings Sam back into his life, instead of rekindling their romance, Clay finds himself embroiled in a dangerous murder investigation.

Will old secrets pull Sam and Clay apart once more, or can they rise above their past? And with a ruthless killer on the loose, will Sam’s hard-earned Ranger skills be enough to ensure that Goode triumphs over evil?

You can find out more about Leslie Marshman and her books at https://lesliemarshman.com/books-2/.

The next one I’m recommending is Jane Anonymous by Laurie Faria Stolarz.  Now it doesn’t release until January, but if you like nail biting suspense, preorder it now.

Bestselling author Laurie FariaStolarz’s thrilling novel Jane Anonymous is a revelatory confessional of a seventeen-year-old girl’s fight to escape a kidnapper—and her struggles to connect with loved ones and a life that no longer exists. 

Seven months.

That’s how long I was kept captive. 

Locked in a room with a bed, refrigerator, and adjoining bathroom, I was instructed to eat, bathe, and behave. I received meals, laundered clothes, and toiletries through a cat door, never knowing if it was day or night. The last time I saw the face of my abductor was when he dragged me fighting from the trunk of his car. And when I finally escaped, I prayed I’d never see him again.

Now that I’m home, my parents and friends want everything to be like it was before I left. But they don’t understand that dining out and shopping trips can’t heal what’s broken inside me. I barely leave my bedroom. Therapists are clueless and condescending. So I start my own form of therapy—but writing about my experience awakens uncomfortable memories, ones that should’ve stayed buried. How far will I have to go to uncover the truth of what happened—and will it break me forever?

Find out more about Laurie Faria Stolarz and her books at https://lauriestolarz.com/stand-alones/.

Winner!!

The winner of last week’s t-shirt giveaway is Gabrielle Saunders. Congratulations! Please email your postal address and your t-shirt size to Christie@christie-craig.com.

Scoop Out the Litter Box

Riley has a lot on her plate in Three Heartbeats Away. She’s dealing with a Bridezilla ghost, a jealous girlfriend, an alcoholic dad, and a hot guy that doesn’t remember her. But at least she has her best friend.  Kelsey and Riley have each other’s backs.  They talk, share secrets, and offer each other advice.  Do you have a friend like this?  Someone who listens, commiserates with you?  Here’s an excerpt showing Kelsey and Riley’s friendship.  Riley has just confided in Kelsey that she feels something is off with Hayden and her.

 

 

 

 

Excerpt

Kelsey sits up, crosses her legs, and stares at me. “Maybe you’re not as attracted to the real Hayden as you were the spirit Hayden. The whole ghost thing could have been what turned you on to him! Like bad boy versus good boy. Dead versus alive.”

“Are you crazy?” I pop up. “No. I look at him and I melt. At night, when I’m alone, he’s all I can think about. And he’s ten times more attractive now than he was!”

She holds up a hand. “Chill. I was just putting the worst-case scenario out there first. I have a few other possibilities.”

I exhale and drop back on my headboard. “Okay. What are they?”

“Maybe you’re scared.” She bites down on her bottom lip. “Like I am.” Her words come out sincere. “I know you were hurt when Carl started dating only a few weeks after you left. Maybe that scared you more than you know and now you’re afraid to love someone. Afraid they’ll walk out on you or yank your heart out and feed it to a Rottweiler.”

I let that reasoning crawl around my head and heart a second. “That’s not it, either,” I say. “Yeah, Carl hurt me, but even then I knew it wasn’t true love. I was more upset about Shala, my ex-best friend, than I was with him.”

Kelsey holds up three fingers. “Okay, third and last possibility. You need to close a few doors before you open up another one.”

“Huh?” I ask.

“Metaphorically. You’ve got a lot of open issues. Your mom issues. Hunting down a murderer. Things with your dad. That’s a lot of crap in your litter box. Maybe you need to scoop some out.” She sighs. “Which is another metaphor. A bad one, I know. What I mean is you need to solve something before you begin something.”

While her analogy feels a little off, it’s like I just heard the hammer hit the nail. I know she’s right. And her number-two reason isn’t that wrong, either. Though it’s not about Carl or Shala. This is about being abandoned and done wrong by the people I should have been able to trust. It even kind of explains why I went bonkers with the whole Brandy issue. Hayden’s needing time made me feel as if he was about to abandon me. Then when I thought he’d been seeing Brandy the same time as me, I felt like another person I loved hadn’t been honest with me.

I let out a deep breath of angst. I need to find my nerve. I need to scoop the poop out of my litter box.

I look at Kelsey. “You make a damn good shrink.” I hug her. “Now about you and Dex.”

“I’m okay,” she lies.

“No, you’re not.” I grab her hand. “Promise me that you won’t shut Dex out again. If he tries to kiss you, kiss him back. Take a chance. You know, if I’ve learned anything dealing with spirits, it’s that life is short. And I think we end up regretting more of the things we don’t do than the things we do. Give Dex a chance. He may not end up being the one. But he really likes you.”

Right then, the temperature in the room goes cold. Kelsey gets her wide-eyed there’s-a-ghost-here look. And she’s right.

Giveaway!!

You can order all three books in my Mortician’s Daughter series now from AmazonBarnes & Noble and Kobo.  Leave a comment to be entered to win a C.C. Hunter T-shirt.  (Sorry, but this giveaway is limited to U.S. residents only. And if you are on Goodreads, you need to go my blog at http://cchunterbooks.com/blog/ to leave a comment to be entered.)

 

When You Hug Someone

Did you know that hugging increases levels of the “love hormone” oxytocin, which is beneficial for stress levels, heart health and so much more? Did you know a ten second hug a day may fight infections, boost your immune system, ease depression and fatigue?

 

In Three Heartbeats Away, the third book in my C.C. Hunter YA series The Mortician’s Daughter, Riley learns about some of the science of hugs and discovers a twenty second hug (or longer) holds the greatest health benefits, especially for stress relief. And boy, could Riley use less stress.  I mean, she’s only trying to stop a killer. So, she starts counting the seconds when she hugs people and when they hug her. Here’s an excerpt of one of her best hugs from Hayden, the guy she loves that’s dating someone else.

Excerpt

We leave the hospital, and I barely get seated behind the wheel before Hayden says, “Tell me about your dead-bride search.”

I consider telling him it’s not his deal, but Hayden helped with my last two spirits. I start driving and give him the lowdown on the bride and about going to Delicious Donuts earlier.

A wrinkle appears in the middle of his forehead.“You went by yourself.”

“It was daytime. People were around.”

He shakes his head. “You’re trying to find a murderer. You shouldn’t go there alone.”

“I’m not trying to find him. I’m trying to find evidence to take to the police.”

“Same thing.” Frustration sounds in his tone.“Do you realize how crazy it is that you are even doing this?”

“What am I supposed to do? Not help them?”

“Maybe,” he says.

I halt at a stop sign and look at him. “I can’t not help them. I didn’t ask for this, but they come to me and it is what it is.”

For the next mile, we don’t speak. Then he says, “Sorry, I just… It still blows my mind. I’ll do some checking on the Internet, too.”

“Don’t you have enough on your plate?” I pull up in front of his house.

“I’m by myself all day.”

I cut the car off and pull out the keys to get his walker out of the trunk. When I set it down, I say, “I should go.”

He frowns. “You said you didn’t have to be home until five-thirty. You’ve got—”

“I know, but…my big showdown with my dad about Mom is supposed to happen this afternoon, and I need to wrap my head around what I’m going to say.” My voice almost trembles.

“You going to be okay?”

One look at his blue eyes and the truth slips out.“I don’t know.”

Hayden stands there. “Call me when it’s over. I’m sure you’ll need to talk.” He picks up the walker and sets it on the curb and uses it to step up.

I worry he did too much today.“Hand me your keys and I’ll unlock your door.”

He hands them to me, and I move with him up the walkway.

We get to the porch, and I unlock the door and hand him his keys.

Our hands touch, and the brief contact is almost painful. “Riley, I’m sorry you’re having to go through this.”

“I know.”

Before I realize his intention, he pushes his walker aside and hugs me.

I close my eyes and let my head rest on his chest. I know this spot. I can smell his skin, feel his chest rise and fall. Alive. The boy I was so afraid of losing is alive and walking. And he cares. About me. Emotion stings my eyes.

His cheek comes down to the side of my temple. I savor the closeness, relish the feel of his arms around me. I memorize his whispered breath against my cheek. Counting the seconds, I pray for twenty. Or more than twenty. I get to thirty before Hayden says, “I’ll be thinking about you.”

His arms fall from around me. I step back. Our eyes meet, hold, and I feel it, the connection I’ve never felt with anyone else.

“Call me,” he says. “If only to say you survived. I’ll worry if you don’t.”

Nodding, I walk back to my car. I get inside. The warmth of his embrace lingers. I look out the window. He’s still there watching me. Part of me wants to run back and hug him again. But I remember my appointment with Dad.

I start my car.When I pull out, I see a candy-apple-red Honda parked across the street. And I recognize who’s in the driver’s seat—recognize who’s staring at me. Brandy.

She had to have seen us hug. This can’t be good.

I keep driving. The moment I come to a side street, I turn, put my car in park, and text Hayden: Brandy’s parked across from your house.

Three dots appear, then disappear. And so does the sweetness of Hayden’s hug. I remember his figuring-out comment.

Why does everything in my life have to be so screwed up?


Want to read more about Riley and Hayden and their adventures? You can order all three books in my Mortician’s Daughter series now from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Kobo.

Are you a hugger? Do you easily hug your family and friends? Or is it something you are uncomfortable with?