Newsletters & Fierce!

this heart of mineHave you signed up for my Christie Craig newsletter? How about my C.C. Hunter newsletter? Two lucky people just won copies of This Heart of Mine, my YA release coming out Feb. 27, 2018, from my last C.C. Hunter newsletter. I also have giveaways on my Christie Craig newsletters. Don’t you want to win free books and swag?

So be sure to sign up today. For my Christie Craig newsletter, click HERE and sign up. For C.C. Hunter, just click HERE, and look for my newsletter sign up on the right hand side of the page. Maybe you’ll be my next winner. And if you already signed up at CC. Hunter in the last two weeks, due to a computer glitch, you should probably sign up again.

Have you pre-ordered This Heart of Mine? You won’t want to miss this one, and just in case you don’t win my next giveaway, you might want to pre-order it at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million and Powell’s. 

Head over to my C.C. Hunter Website’s This Heart of Mine located under my Books page and you can read an excerpt by selecting the PDF download at the bottom of the page. Enjoy!

Fierce

I’ve been asked a lot by my C.C. Hunter fans when they could buy Fierce by itself. Well, now you can! Fredericka Lakota’s story is now available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble for only $1.99.

Werewolf Fredericka Lakota prefers to be alone. Even years after being abandoned by her rogue werewolf father, she’s still never found a place for herself in Shadow Falls.

Fredericka’s only comfort comes from the jewelry she creates…and now from Brandon Hart, the owner of a new art gallery who wants to showcase Fredericka’s work.

But Fredericka’s life has gotten more complicated: she’s learned her father has died, the death angels from the falls are calling to her, an ex won’t let her go, and she may be seeing the ghost of a missing woman who needs her help. On top of all that, her attraction to the mysterious Brandon only grows stronger; but if other supernaturals won’t accept a rogue werewolf, how could a human?

Originally released as part of the anthology Almost MidnightFierce is a fast-paced, romantic thrill ride that will make you fall in love with Shadow Falls all over again.

The Mortician’s Daughter Series Cover Reveal

The first exciting novel in a brand-new series from New York Times bestselling author C. C. Hunter!


Her dad’s job is with the dead . . . and he’s bringing his work home with him.

The Mortician’s Daughter Excerpt:

“Help me!” The voice draws my attention at the same time the cold lifts goosebumps on my skin.

I look over and Abby is standing there, her back to me. I release a breath and see steam snake up in front of my face. She feels colder this time. It reminds me that Hayden isn’t cold.

“I want to help you,” I say. “What did you mean by the truth?”

“What?” Hayden asks, then looks around. “Is it Abby?”

I nod. “

Tell her if she can tell you where the ring is, I can go and make sure it’s still there. That way when we drive up there to get it, you’ll find it faster.”

I never told Hayden I’d do it. But right now doesn’t seem like the time to say that.

Abby turns around. I gasp and scoot my ass to the other side of the bed. Her face is… It’s bad. Bloody. There’s a deep gash on her cheek, one on her throat, and blood is pouring down her pale dress. Her arm is dangling downward, a bone is protruding out of her elbow.

I thought my eye was bad, but both of hers are bloody and swollen shut and one side of her head seems caved in, as if her whole cheek bone is crushed.

My heart hurts. My stomach lurches. I look away.

“What is it?” Hayden asks.

“She looks bad,” I say. This hasn’t ever happened. They always look nice. Nice like my dad leaves them.

Then I know this is what she looked like before Dad fixed her up. Instantly, my heart goes to my dad. How many times has he had to see death this ugly?

“You have to help me. Please,” she starts sobbing.

I try to look at her, but I can’t. It hurts to see her. I turn away again. Right then a knock sounds at my door. I hear it click open.

“Riley? You okay?” I swallow, turn to my dad peering inside my room, and try to hide the horror from my face.

“Yeah.” He stares at me and frowns. I hope it’s from my eye and not that he sees the sheer horror I’m feeling.

“How about we order Chinese tonight?”

I nod.

“You sure you’re okay?”

“Yeah.” I stand, refusing to look at Abby.

“You have to help me,” she pleads and her words cause a spasm of pain in my chest.

“I’ll order for us,” Dad says and moves out into the hall.

“Okay,” I manage. And I hear Dad’s footsteps tapping down the stairs.


You can order it The Mortician’s Daughter: One Foot in the Grave at Kobo, Indie Bound, Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

Cover Reveal!!

Did you know The Mortician’s Daughter: One Foot in the Grave is only the first book in a series of three? I love the cover, but I also love the covers for books 2 (Two Feet Under) & 3 (Three Heartbeats Away). So, I’m revealing them here.

Christina Mandelski

I have a special guest on my blog this week. Christina Mandelski just released her second book, The First Kiss Hypothesis, and she’s here to tell us about it.

But first, let me tell you a bit about my friend, Christina. Like me, she lives near Houston with her husband, two young adult daughters and a mustachioed cat named Leonardo DiCatprio. She spends her day doing what she loves—writing stories for kids and teens. When she isn’t writing, she loves to spend time at the beach, with friends, traveling, reading and eating, especially cake. Always cake.

The First Kiss Hypothesis

Thank so much for having me on the blog today – I’m such a huge fan of Christie as an author and person, I’m honored! My first young adult romance, The First Kiss Hypothesis, is out now from Entangled Crush.

My main character Nora Reid believes scientific laws control everything, even love. With her grandparents’ epic first kiss story cemented in her brain, Nora develops a hypothesis she’s determined to prove: for each person in the world, there is exactly one other person, and at first kiss, they’ll experience an immediate and intense reaction.

But after four years of zero-reaction kisses, she comes up with a new theory: maybe that pesky crush on her stunningly hot best friend Eli Costas is skewing her results.

She needs to get rid of him, and fast.

Eli Costas is an injury-prone lacrosse star with a problem—the one chance he had at winning over the girl next door resulted in the most epically sucktastic first kiss ever. And now she’s…trying to get rid of him? Hell no. It’s time to disprove her theory and show her exactly what she’s missing.

Game. On.

You can order The First Kiss Hypothesis at Amazon, IndieBound, iBooks and Barnes & Noble. 

Here’s an excerpt The First Kiss Hypothesis:

Speaking of the wrong person, I look up and lock eyes with Eli Costas, strolling toward me with a slight limp.

Immediately, my brain short-circuits and I forget what I’m doing.

Eli. Neighbor, best friend, part-time chauffeur. That hair, dark and wavy, sticking out in ways that invite you to run your fingers through it. The olive skin like a real-life Greek god, and eyes that look just like the blue oval in the watercolor sets Mom used to buy me when I was little. He’s tall, and a lacrosse maniac with an upper body to prove it. Your basic unrealistically attractive high school student usually only found in books or movies. The difference is, he’s real, and everyone wants him. Including me. It’s a battle I fight daily.

He flashes me a grin. One side of his mouth quirks up higher than the other, and a dimple cuts deep into his cheek. Holy cow.

As he moves into my airspace, I force myself to focus on counting the tortoise money. Five. Ten. Fifteen. Twenty. Twenty-five. Forty. It always takes me a minute or two to get my bearings when it comes to Eli. To remind myself that nothing can happen between us.


And now for a few questions…

How is Nora most like you?

My heroine, Nora, is different than me in many ways—especially given that she’s really, really good at math and science. I couldn’t be worse at these things—I can refer you to my high school report cards as evidence. Where we are alike, though, is that she believes that true love exists – and that it’s worth the wait. I believed this in high school, and had no intention of settling for less than the real thing. It took a while, and sometimes I thought it would never happen, but I eventually found my Eli, just like Nora does in the book. She learns that falling in love always requires some risk. It’s not an exact science, but it’s still worth going for. Another thing Nora and I have in common? God, I love pie!

What scene did you love the most?

There’s a scene that takes place in the garage of a house party – inside an old car (in my mind it’s a 70s model red Chevy Chevette – which was my dream car when I was eight years old!) This is the scene when they almost kiss, and there’s a huge shift that upsets the entire balance of their lives and friendship. I think I love this scene so much because it reminded me of a scene from a John Hughes movie – I was the target audience for those movies in the 80s – Sixteen Candles, Pretty In Pink, etc. and they really did play a role in making me the romantic sap that I still am!

 What did you learn when writing this book?

I learned how to write category romance! My first book, The Sweetest Thing, came out in 2011, and it’s a stand-alone title. There is teen romance in it, but it’s not the central focus of the story. There is a lot of stuff about family, and friends and relationships. In The First Kiss Hypothesis, Eli and Nora’s building romance is the central focus, and even though the characters have family and friend issues – the story never strays too far from the attraction that is ratcheting up between them. Other things are going on, but it’s all about the increasing heat between them – until they get to the point when neither of them can deny it any more and then, BOOM! I loved it, thought it was great fun and can’t wait to do it again with the companion book coming out in spring 2018.

You can find Christina online (http://www.christinamandelski.com/), on Twitter (@fiction_chris), and Instagram (fiction_chris).

 

Reviews

Have you read The Mortician’s Daughter: One Foot in the Grave yet? If you haven’t, you can order it today at Kobo, Indie Bound, Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

ReviewsIf you have read The Mortician’s Daughter, did you write a review? Perhaps you meant to, but never got around to it. Or maybe you never write reviews. What’s so important about reviews, anyway?  Well, they’re actually very important to authors. Book reviews left by readers on Amazon.com and Goodreads can make a huge difference in the success of an author. So many people read reviews before they purchase a book. A friend of mine is in a book club and they always check out the reviews and ratings before selecting their next book. And if your book gets a lot of reviews, it can help a book’s ranking on Amazon or help get your books into indie bookstores. Also, if your book gets lots of reviews on Goodreads, it can convince a local bookseller to stock your book. On the flip side, if you read a book you love and it doesn’t get many reviews, you might have a problem finding the author’s next book. So, if you like a book, write a review on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads, Kobo, etc. The author will really appreciate it.

414fOgxyWRLAnd if you haven’t read The Mortician’s Daughter, here’s what you’ll learn:

  • It’s tough being the new kid in school, but it’s even harder when your dad is the mortician.
  • You can make friends in the most unlikely places.
  • When you lose your mom when you’re little, it’s hard. But you miss her even more when your dad has to buy you your first bra.
  • Google is a lifesaver for all questions about puberty, but also if you want to know the signs of an alcoholic or find out how someone died.
  • Even a hot ghost with deep blue eyes and a killer smile can be sexy and can make your heart go pitter patter.
  • It always hurts when your old boyfriend starts dating someone else. It hurts even more when happens the second you move away.
  • Meeting a cute guy can feel awkward. It’s even more awkward if all you’re wearing is tiny towel.

Plus, you’ll fall in love. I won’t say with who, you’ll just have to read the book!

HAVEN by Mary Lindsey

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Writing is my Haven (See what I did there?)

I’m so excited to be on CC’s blog today! It’s been a crazy week for me answering lots of interviews and doing a couple of podcasts for my next novel, Haven (releasing November 7, 2017 in hardcover and ebook).

One of the most common questions I receive is “Have you always wanted to be a writer?”

Short answer: No.

I never wanted to be a writer growing up. I successfully avoided all creative writing classes and projects all the way through college, even faking sick in grade school on poetry days. Creating something original terrified me.

Becoming a writer happened unexpectedly as the result of my losing a game of “Chicken” with my eleven-year-old daughter. Losing was one of the best things to happen to me. She was complaining about how heroes in young adult books she’d read believed themselves to be evil or cursed. Her rant morphed into how she believed heroes should be written and finally, to make her feel better, I bluffed and said, “Hey, tell you what… I’ll write that book for you.” I never expected to carry through. I mean, that’s the stuff of nightmares for me. I figured she’d be satisfied and we’d forget all about it.

Nope. She called my bluff.

She looked at me with those trusting, huge eyes and said, “Really? You would really write a book for me?”

Well, crap. Busted. I had no choice but to go through with it…sort of. Surely, after a chapter of the certain garbage I’d produce, she’d beg me to stop and I’d be off the hook. Instead, she loved the first chapter and asked for more.

After that, I was hooked. Completely and totally obsessed with writing—the very thing I’d avoided my entire life. Thirty days later, I handed her the last chapter of the seven-hundred-page manuscript, which, needless to say was not my finest work. But, it was my first work and led to where I am right now, celebrating my tenth published book.

Writing, once my personal hell, became my safe haven. << Look at that blatantly obvious segue into telling you about my book. J

About Haven:

“We all hold a beast inside. The only difference is what form it takes when freed.”

Rain Ryland has never belonged anywhere. He’s used to people judging him for his rough background, his intimidating size, and now, his orphan status. He’s always been on the outside, looking in, and he’s fine with that. Until he moves to New Wurzburg and meets Friederike Burkhart. 

Freddie isn’t like normal teen girls, though. And someone wants her dead for it. Freddie warns he’d better stay far away if he wants to stay alive, but Rain’s never been good at running from trouble. For the first time, Rain has something worth fighting for, worth living for. Worth dying for.

You can order Haven at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Kobo, Google Play, Indie Bound and Entangled.

About Mary:

Mary Lindsey is a multi award-winning, RITA® nominated author of romance for adults and teens. Her books Shattered Souls and Fragile Spirits have been selected for the 2017 Spirit of Texas Reading Program.

Mary lives on an island in the middle of a river. Seriously, she does. When not writing, she wrangles her rowdy pack of three teens, two Cairn Terriers, and one husband. Inexplicably, her favorite animal is the giant anteater and at one point, she had over 200 “pet” Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches. The roaches are a long story involving three science-crazed kids and a soft spot for rescue animals. The good news is, the “pet” roaches found a home… somewhere else.

You can find Mary on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Instagram, Pinterest and on her website: https://www.marylindsey.com/.

Don’t Forget The Mortician’s Daughter is Now Available!

“The dynamic characters are interesting and the suspense grows in intensity and I was on the edge of my seat as the story ended! I want the sequel now!!! ”  —The Thought Spot 

“Filled with suspense, chills and thrills, The Mortician’s Daughter is as creepy as it is romantic!”  — Margie’s Must Reads

Readers will be screaming over C.C. Hunter’s latest series, The Mortician’s Daughter.  No really, yo will let out a gut-curdling shriek when you finish because you’ll be craving more! —RT Book Reviews

You can order The Mortician’s Daughter: One Foot in the Grave at Kobo, Indie Bound, Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

Release Day!!!

414fOgxyWRLIt’s finally here! The Mortician’s Daughter: One Foot in the Grave is released today, and I’m doing my happy dance. When I was writing this book, I kept thinking that anyone who loved Kylie from my Shadow Falls series is going to love Riley. They have a lot in common. They’re both struggling with their special abilities, they both see ghosts, they’re willing to put themselves in harm’s way for their friends, and they have two cute guys hanging around them. The problem with Riley’s two guys is that one of them is dead. But he’s different from the other ghosts she‘s helped. Not only is he cute, sexy and sweet, but he’s also warmer—and Riley’s cat doesn’t skedaddle as soon as he appears. So what’s up with that?

Oh, and Happy Halloween! What better time to sit down and read The Mortician’s Daughter? Did I mention the ghosts? How about the creepy guy Riley is pretty sure is pure evil? And then there’s her dad—the mortician. Yup, talk about a perfect Halloween read.

I’m also thrilled to tell you that Romantic Times Book Reviews gave The Mortician’s Daughter a rave review. You can read it HERE.

So have you-order The Mortician’s Daughter? It’s not too late. You can order it today at Kobo, Indie Bound, Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

Want to Meet Me?

I’ll be making several appearances in the Houston, TX area this month. If you live in the area, I would love it if you’d come to one of my signings. We always have a blast!

Thursday November 9th, 7 PM

Join Mary Lindsey and me at B&N in Pasadena, Texas. Mary will be signing her new release Haven, and I’ll be signing The Mortician’s Daughter: One Foot in the Grave. The first ten copies sold will receive a C.C. Hunter tote and SWAG.

Sunday, November 12, 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM

Join Mary Lindsey and me at Katy Budget Books where we’ll sign our newest YA paranormal titles, Haven and The Mortician’s Daughter. This is going to be a blast. Door prizes and drawing will be given away.

Wednesday, November 15, 6:30 PM

Join me and Michelle Hodkin at Murder by the Book.  Michelle will be signing and discussing The Becoming of Noah Shaw.  I’ll be signing and talking about The Mortician’s Daughter: One Foot in the Grave.

downloadHappy Halloween! Leave a comment telling me what you’ll be dressing up as for Halloween or maybe your favorite Halloween costume you wore as a child.

Final Countdown

Even a hot ghost with deep blue eyes and a killer smile can be sexy and can make your heart go pitter patter.

Woohoo! We’re in the final countdown to the release of The Mortician’s Daughter. I’m getting so excited and anxious for you to read it. I grew to love Riley, and I think you will too. If you haven’t pre-orderd it yet, you better hurry. It comes out in one week on Halloween, Oct. 31st. And if you pre-order, you get The Mortician’s Daughter at a special pre-order price. So why not order it now and save some money? Place your order at Kobo, Indie Bound, Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

In case you haven’t made up your mind to pre-order, here’s another excerpt. I love the way Riley and Hayden interact!

 

Excerpt of The Mortician’s Daughter

 

Hayden looks over at me.

“Hi.” He’s still bright, still hot, sporting a tight black tee and jeans, but that’s not what has me gawking.

It’s the fact that Pumpkin’s okay with him being here. Or more than okay, the cat’s practically drooling. He only drools on me. Never, not once, has he befriended a spirit. Sylvania tried everything to get him to come to him. He adored cats, and it was because of his own cat that he wouldn’t move on. I had to go collect the gray tabby and find it a new, loving home. Only then did the sweet old man pass over.

I sit up, bend my knees, and wrap my arms around them. “Pumpkin likes you.”

He grins. “That’s because I’m charming.” He continues to stare at me. “Did you know you kinda snore, kinda purr when you’re asleep.”

I frown.

“It’s cute. Not loud or anything.” There’s a mischievous twinkle in his eyes. “I had to get really close to hear it.”

Really close? I sit there imagining him really close to me in bed and I get tingles, and not the kind I normally get from spirits. I open my mouth to say something, but there are no words waiting to come out. I’m never tongue-tied with spirits. It’s as if instinctively I know it’s my job to help them.

“And I also noticed you only put polka dots on one of your toes. What’s with that?”

I hug my knees tighter. I wonder how long he’s been here checking me out. “Maybe I just wanted one polka-dotted toe.”

His smile deepens. “It’s odd, but I’ll buy it.”

“How nice of you.” I sound annoyed and I am, not so much at him, but at my response to him. I glance at the clock. Dad should be home anytime.

“Your dad texted. He’s going to be late.”

I gasp a little. Can he read my mind? None of the other ghosts could. But I’ve already concluded that he’s different. Oh, please don’t let him read my mind. “How did you know I was thinking about my dad?”

“I didn’t. I just… you looked at the time.”

“And you read my texts.”

“Not intentionally. I was lying in bed beside you, and the phone on the bedside table flashed.”

“Remember those rules I mentioned?”

“Yeah,” he says.

“Well, add this one. You don’t get in bed with me. And don’t watch me sleep. It’s creepy.”

He stands up, but his gaze stays on me. “I didn’t touch you.” His smile turns mischievous. “It was tempting, but I behaved.”

Haven

My friend Mary Lindsey has a cool pre-order campaign.  Check it out.  P.S.  I loved her book.

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Pre-order Mary Lindsey’s Haven at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Kobo, Google Play, Indie Bound and Entangled.

 

New Excerpt!

When you lose your mom when you’re little, it’s hard. But you miss her even more when your dad has to buy you your first bra.

I’m so excited! The Mortician’s Daughter: One Foot in the Grave will be out Oct. 31st. I think you’ll love Riley Smith as much as you loved Kylie Galen.  Yup, they have a lot in common. One thing is that they both see ghosts—but both girls also have a lot of baggage to deal with. Riley lost her mom when she was young, and that’s bee difficult, especially when her dad had to be both her dad and mom.

If you pre-order The Mortician’s Daughter, you’ll get it for a special price. So head over to Amazon or Barnes & Noble and pre-order it today.

EXCERPT FROM THE MORTICIAN’S DAUGHTER

I’d always gotten a feeling Dad didn’t know how to parent a daughter. My first bra and the whole starting-my-period experience almost killed him. And not once has he said the word “sex.”

Working on that Mustang gave us something in common.

“Speaking of cars,” Dad says, smiling, “I’m about to make your day.”

“Really?”

“Yup. I got your insurance card in the mail.”

“Yes!” I do a little victory dance in my chair. When he lost his last job, he had to cut the insurance on my car, so I haven’t been able to drive it for almost two months.

“So I can drive it to school tomorrow?” I ask and squeal a little.

“Yeah.” He chuckles. “You and that car.”

Thrilled I don’t have to walk to school anymore, I dish a big bite of stew into my mouth and taste it for the first time. It’s good. “You sure you don’t want a bowl?”

“No.” He sips his water. I eat.

The almost empty echo in the house reminds me how big it is. All our houses in the past have been small, older. They seemed to fit us better.

“Have you made any friends at school?” Dad asks.

I almost lie, then decide against it. “Not really.” A sudden puff of steam rises from my bowl. A chill runs down my spine. I continue to eat and ignore it. Pumpkin hauls ass out from under the table and darts under the sofa. Dad frowns.

“You should put yourself out there more. Make some friends.”

I point my spoon at him and force my eyes to stay on him. Just him. “Says the man who never puts himself out there.”

“I’m around people all the time.”

“Dead people don’t count.” I lift a brow and take another bite.

“Not just dead people.” He turns the water bottle in his hand. “Did you get into the honors classes you wanted for next semester?”

I think so,” I say. Good grades mean a possible scholarship. I’m going to need one. My next intake of air brings with it a hint of jasmine. I remember smelling it earlier. Dad leans back in his chair.

“There’s an antique car show going on downtown this weekend. I thought we’d go. Hang out. Talk cars with people.”

“Great idea.” I finish my last bite of stew and go rinse out the bowl and put it in the dishwasher. Then I pull out containers to store the leftovers.

Halloween!

CSfH1sHVEAEaU5EHalloween is coming. It will be here soon. I have my ceramic pumpkin that I put a candle in and set out on the thirty-first, but I unfortunately, we don’t’ get a lot of trick or treaters. Still, my husband uses that as an excuse to bring home candy.  Right now there are packs of peanut M&Ms calling my name in a kitchen drawer.

 

 

I recently read a few surprising statistics about this beloved holiday, so I thought I’d share them with you.

  • More than 35 million pounds of candy corn are sold annually. That equates to nearly 9 million pieces, enough to circle the moon 21 times! (Didn’t think that many people liked it.)
  • Fifty per cent of American homes decorate their yards for Halloween.
  • U.S. growers produce over 1.5 billion pounds of pumpkins every year. That’s twice the weight of the Empire State Building!
  • A pumpkin grown in 2010 weighed 1,850 pounds—as much s a dairy cow or half the weight of a small car.
  • There are36 million children in the U.S. between the ages of 3 and 13—the prime ages for trick or treating.
  • Reese’s is the number one Halloween candy with $509.86 million in sales. Number 2 is M & Ms.

Well, was there ever any doubt that Reese’s reigned supreme in the world of Halloween candy? That didn’t surprise me.

So, most scholars believe Halloween came out of the Celtic holiday Samhain (pronounced Sah-win), their biggest holiday. The Celts believed that at the time of Samhain, more so than any other time of the year, the ghosts of the dead were able to mingle with the living. That’s why we see little trick or treaters in ghost costumes.

But for some people ghosts aren’t only around on Halloween. Riley Smith in The Mortician’s Daughter: One Foot in the Grave has more of a year round ghost problem. Guess her ghosts haven’t listened to the scholars, so they keep showing up in her life—and not always when she’s fully dressed! That can lead to some embarrassing moments, especially when the ghost is a hot, young guy named Hayden. But Riley’s job is to help these troubled souls move on, and she knows she’ll have to help Hayden move on, too. But what if she can’t let him go?

Pre-order The Mortician’s Daughter: One Foot in the Grave today at its special pre-order price and save!

You can buy The Mortician’s Daughter at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

The One and Only Time I Made Money Taking Off My Clothes

(Warning This Title May be Misleading.)

The one and only time I made money taking off my clothes was in a fifth-grade school bathroom.   A certain girl, a bully, kept accusing me of stuffing my bra.  Yeah, by eleven, I was a B cup.  After weeks of torment from this girl, one day she pulled out a five-dollar bill and announced with snark and sass—in front of about fifteen girls—that she would give me that money if I would go in the bathroom and prove I didn’t have tissue in my bra.

People were watching, and for the first time, I wasn’t just embarrassed, I was furious.  So I dropped my books on my desk, and said “Come on!”

The two of us went into a stall.  I yanked my top up, lifted up my bra, then I grabbed the $5 bill and left that bathroom holding that bill out like a trophy for everyone to see.

That was one of the two times that I felt I’d bested a bully.  The other was in seventh grade and actually resulted in a fight.  I was the quiet girl, being dyslexic, I felt as if I wasn’t as smart or as cute as my peers. I know I wore my insecurity on my sleeves.  Which made me a target.  And this particular girl had tormented me for over two years.  I didn’t make money that time—I kept my clothes on—and I can’t even tell you if I won that fight.  Oh, but I remember being summoned to the principal’s office.

Of course this girl said I’d started it and made me out to be the bully.  When he informed me that because he didn’t know who was telling the truth, both this girl and I were suspended, I was so outraged that I found some courage.  I pointed out that I was certain this girl had been in his office numerous times for this very offense, because duh, she was a school bully.

With fire in my belly and leaking out in my voice, I asked him to find my records and tell me all the times I’d been in his office.  “What’s wrong?” I asked him, when he didn’t turn to the file cabinet.  “Maybe it’s because I’ve never been in your office?  And you still don’t know who you can trust?”

He listened to me.  Then he rescinded my punishment, but not for the school bully.

I like to remember those two times when I somehow found my voice and the courage to stand up for myself.  Recently I had a conversation with someone about my writing young adult novels. I told her one reason I felt I could write relatable teen characters was because I hated being a teen.  She laughed and told me that she, too, hated high school.

Today, I’ve tapped into my self-confidence.  I’m no longer quiet, and I’m comfortable with who I am.  I think writing did that for me.  But when I look back at my younger years, I get angry at my younger self for all the times I didn’t defend myself. Sadly, this isn’t just something that happened back then.  It’s something that’s happening today. So many teens lack self-esteem and confidence.

I also know that the bullies are probably dealing with the same kind of low self-esteem.  They bully to feel better about themselves.  Not that it’s okay.

I often ponder why so many teen girls deal with this.  Is it society’s view that all females should be pretty and beautiful? That we know the perfect standard and know we don’t measure up? Can bad body images cause this?  Or is it more?  Was my own self-doubt caused from being dyslexic and feeling less intelligent than my peers? Was it because I matured early and that caused bullies to attack me? Or is it all of the above?  Whatever it is, I wish I could fix it for all the girls today.

While it isn’t a cure, I hope by writing characters with their own insecurities, by showing my fictional heroines finding the strength to stand up for themselves, I’m offering girls a chance to tap into their own self-confidence.

414fOgxyWRLBoth Riley Smith in The Mortician’s Daughter and Leah McKenzie in This Heart of Mine are confronted by bullies.  Both find a kernel of courage to confront those bullies, to hold their chins high, and to use their voices to defend themselves against people who treat them as if they don’t matter.

As a teen, did you suffer from self-esteem?  Have you ever had to stand up to a bully?  Do you have any advice for others who face these issues?