One Thing Writing Young Adult Taught Me & a Giveaway!

“You just don’t understand!”

How many times have you heard that line from an unhappy teen?  As the mother of two grown kids, I’ve heard it plenty of times.  And for what’s it worth, many of those times, I heard it, but didn’t really hear it.

What I mean is, our teenagers have a point. We sometimes don’t understand.  Oh, we understood at one time, but as we grew into adults, as we became parents, protective beings out to assure our children avoid the pitfalls of life.  I think we forgot.

We forget what it was like to be a teenager.  And I don’t just mean the surging hormones or peer pressure.  But yes, that is certainly a part of it.  What I mean is we forget that they are adults in the making.  They have their own personalities.  Their own goals.  Their own likes and dislikes.  That they have their own lessons to learn.

And yes, that last one is the hardest for us as parents.  We want to protect them from facing anything close to dire consequences.  And yet so many of the lessons we learned in our early years are the ones that helped shape us as human beings.

We often forget how hard it is be under the control of someone else.   We decide where they’ll live, if they move from state to state, and where they’ll go to school.  We decide if they’ll live with both parents or with only one.

Yes, so much of this is out of our control.  And yet we forget how those decisions can affect their lives.

We try to oversee who they are friends with.  What career path they’ll move into.  We try to dictate who they’ll love.  What clothes they’ll wear.  How they’ll wear their hair.

And yes, as parents this is our job.  We are meant to lead. To guide.  And yet so often our guidance is directed by our own beacons and sometimes even our own prejudices.  We neglect to remember how our own paths led us away from that of our parents.  That an essential part of growing up is discovering who we are and how we differ from those around us.

Sometimes I think we forget a valuable tool we have as parents is the one to step back and not to crowd, to listen and not command, to advise and not rule.  Yet sometimes even though stepping back is exactly what we need to do, we overlook that option.  And yes, knowing the when it’s right and when it’s wrong sometimes feels impossible.

I think as parents we often forget that our children are not immune to our mistakes, our missteps, the consequences of our bad choices, and even the bad luck we encounter.  Even when we have no fault, when life hits us hard, it hits them, too.

In my young adult books I plagiarize from real life and often from my own teen years.  In my novel that releases March 26th, In Another Life, a young adult thriller, I write about how Chloe’s life is turned upside down by her parent’s bitter divorce and her father’s adultery.  Add her mom’s cancer and depression and you have a girl who is more emotionally stable than her own parents.

In Two Feet Under, the second book in my Mortician’s Daughter series that releases in December, Riley lost her mother when she was young and is being raised by her father who an alcoholic.  A man who drinks to hide the pain of his past.  A past that Riley senses holds secrets about her own life and now she’s determined to unearth them.

When I was asked to write young adult, I questioned my ability to do it.  Could I crawl into the skin of teenager and relate?  I believe I accomplished this by taking a long stroll down memory lane.  Amazingly, I discovered that teens today deal with most of the same issues I dealt with as a teen.  Yes, they have social media and it makes it’s harder, but the underlining issues are the same:  parents, peer pressure, drugs, alcohol and sex.

I wish I’d have gotten into writing young adult books sooner, when my children were younger. I think it would have made me a better parent to them as teenagers.

And just as writing these books opened my eyes as to how I could have been a better parent, I believe reading them can offer the same benefit to others.

Do you look back at your own coming-of-age time?  Do you remember one thing in which you wish your parents had given you a little more leeway?  Do you recall something that your parents did that felt so unfair and yet, now you see they were right?  If you are a teen, is there something that you feel your parents just don’t understand?

One person who leaves a comment will win a $15 Amazon card.

Happy Reading!

At the Movies

I love going to the movies. I don’t go as often as I  like because, well, I’m a writer, so I spend a lot of my time writing. So, often I end up watching a movie on Netflix or Amazon. But I still enjoy seeing them. I have some old favorites, ones that I’m always ready to watch, and I have a few newer movies I love. I thought I’d share my favorites with you.

Here are a few older movies I love:

While You Were Sleeping

A hopeless romantic Chicago Transit Authority token collector is mistaken for the fiancé of a coma patient.

This is such a great movie. Some of you younger readers probably haven’t seen it, but if you’re a romantic, you MUST watch this movie. Sandra Bullock is adorable! Get your tissues ready.

Bird on a Wire

An old flame discovers her ex-boyfriend from the past is a relocated FBI informant out to stop the bad guys.

This is another romantic movie, but with a lot of action. I love Goldie Hawn (for you youngster, that’s Kate Hudson’s  mom). She and Mel Gibson are great on screen together.

Lethal Weapon

Two newly paired cops who are complete opposites must put aside their differences in order to catch a gang of drug smugglers.

Another Mel Gibson movie with loads of action, but a lot of laughs, too.

Die Hard

John McClane, officer of the NYPD, tries to save his wife Holly Gennaro and several others that were taken hostage by German terrorist Hans Gruber during a Christmas party at the Nakatomi Plaza in Los Angeles.

This is more of an action movie than a love story, but I enjoy how McClane will stop at nothing to save his estranged wife. An added bonus is seeing the talented Alan Rickman play a bad guy. He’s amazing!

 

 

And yes, I do like some newer movies, too. Here are a few:

Collateral Beauty

Retreating from life after a tragedy, a man questions the universe by writing to Love, Time and Death. Receiving unexpected answers, he begins to see how these things interlock and how even loss can reveal moments of meaning and beauty.

This is a movie with a message. Wil Smith shows another side to his acting in this movie as he struggles with a loss.

I Feel Pretty

A woman struggling with insecurity wakes from a fall believing she is the most beautiful and capable woman on the planet. Her new confidence empowers her to live fearlessly, but what happens when she realizes her appearance never changed?

Another movie with a message, especially for women. I feel really great every time I watch this movie. All women really should take the time to see this one!

Okay, so most of my favorite movies have a romantic theme. What did you expect? I write romance into all my books. My Christie Craig books are all romantic suspense, and my YA novels have a romance and some danger, too.

So, what are some of your favorite movies? And why?

Halloween, Ghosts and Dreams

On Halloween we dress up in costumes of monsters, celebrities and ghosts. But for me, ghosts aren’t just something I think of on Halloween. I tend to think a lot about ghosts all year long, because I often write about them in my books.

In my C.C. Hunter Mortician’s Daughter series, Riley’s life is overrun by the dead. They usually need her help with something. In the first book in the series, One Foot in the Grave, Riley manages to help a young woman get justice and put the man responsible for her death away.  In the second book, Two Feet Under (releasing in 12/18), Riley is faced with an even scarier ghost, one who is a murderer.

In Murder, Mayhem and Mama, I had a meddlesome mom who just happened to be dead. Before Mama can chain-smoke her way to heaven, she’s gotta make sure Cali’s ex deadbeat boyfriend doesn’t get her daughter killed.

So, why my fascination with ghosts? It may date back to a dream I had as a child.

I was thirteen and I woke up that morning with sunshine spilling through my window.  But the memory of a dream I’d just had made breathing difficult. There had been no sunshine in the dream.

It was spooky, but even more strange and sad.  Like an old movie, I could still see it playing in my mind.  But unlike a movie, my memory came with all five senses.  The smell of wet earth and the scent of a storm brewing somewhere close by.  I could feel the wind hit my face, blowing my blonde hair across my eyes.   Tombstones, aged and cracked, littered the ground around me.  All was silent—deadly silent.

A small group of people stood quietly by a gravesite.  All wearing black.  Even the sky held a dismal shade of sadness.  There seemed to be no color in the image—no joy, all drab and gray. I stared at the faces of those grieving people. Did I know them?  Yes, but . . . vaguely.   And from where?

Immediately, my gaze shifted to the casket. The tiny polished box carried the only color in the scene.  A bright pink ribbon rested on top. My gaze shot back to the people again. They weren’t crying.  For some reason that seemed odd.  They needed to cry.  Cry for the child who obviously lay tucked inside that casket.  The child who would never run and play and who would never know life.

I studied the faces of the people again, trying to remember where I’d seen them. How could I know them when they looked so out of place?  Like people from old pictures.  People from another time, another life.

And then came the realization.  The woman dressed in a thick black wool coat, hugging herself against the cold and staring at the casket with empty emotion, was my grandmother, but younger.  A lot younger.  The woman was now in her sixties. But yes, I remembered seeing her younger face in family photo albums.

Then, I recognized the other people.  My mom and dad when they were young.   My grandfather and one of my uncles.  My gaze shifted from one person to the next.  This was one weird dream.

Then my gaze returned to the casket.

Who had died?   Part of the answer came with the next cold whisk of wind:  A baby.  A baby girl.

I wanted to tell someone how sorry I was.  Emotion built in my chest.  A crazy thought hit.  Someone needed to cry for the child.  I stood back from the crowd, not really present, but somehow still there.  I felt the odd sadness.  But why weren’t they crying?

Then my grandmother, my mom, dad and uncle were gone.  As if they’d vanished into the air.  I saw the casket being lowered into the gaping chasm.  Abruptly the dream changed and I saw the gravestone.  It simply read, Our baby girl: Christie.

Christie?  CHRISTIE?  That was my name.  How could the baby have my name?  That’s when I’d woken up.  My heart still thumped against my breastbone at the memory, and I had tears in my eyes.  Not wanting to be alone, I went and found my mom cooking breakfast.

I told her about the dream, about the casket with the pink ribbon and seeing my name on the gravestone.

Shock hit my mom’s face.  “What is it?” I asked, but was almost scared to hear her answer.

“It’s just weird, you’d dream about that.”

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“Your grandmother got pregnant a few months after your dad and I were married.  It was a girl.  She only lived a few weeks.  You were named after her.”

The spookiness tiptoed up my spine as chills skittered up my neck.  I looked at my mom. “Why didn’t anyone cry?” Suddenly, I wanted to cry.

Mom answered, “Your grandma told everyone no tears.  She said she couldn’t handle the tears.  We weren’t allowed to cry.”

I dropped down into a kitchen chair and asked the question burning inside me.  “How could I have dreamed this?”

“I’m sure you heard the story,” Mom said.

“When?  When could I have heard the story?   I swear I never knew about my aunt before now.”

“I don’t know, but you had to have heard it.  How else would you have known this?”

How else?

To this day I think about that dream.  I think about the little girl, my namesake.  Did I really hear someone tell that story and my mind simply played it back to me as a dream?  Or did the spirit of Christie somehow visit me?  Did she need me to know about her?  Did she need someone to cry for her?

Now do you understand why I often write about ghosts? There’s a part of me that believes in them.  What about you?  Do you believe in ghosts?

 

 

Pets for Vets & Book Sweeps Giveaway!

Pets for Vets was created to improve the lives of both Veterans and animals by bringing them together in a thoughtful, caring way. Our goal is to give back to the brave servicemen and women who have given everything to our country, while finding homes for deserving shelter pets. By matching the right pet with the right Veteran, everyone wins! Shelter animals receive a second chance at life and Veterans receive a second chance at health and happiness.”—Pets for Vets

As most of you know, I love animals. I have had dogs and cats, and my house doesn’t seem like home without a few animals running around. When I heard about Pets for Vets, I thought it was a wonderful idea. They interview vets, find out their needs and lifestyles. Then, they find the right rescue pet for them. For Veterans, the knowledge that their animal companion is always there for them can help reduce hypervigilance, depression, anxiety and nightmares. Not only do Pets for Vets animal companions improve mental well-being, they can actually boost overall health.

My friend and fellow author, Pamela Fagan Hutchins, wanted to spotlight this cause by talking about her rescue dog, Georgia. And I wanted to share the story of my rescued junkyard dog, Lady.

Pamela Fagan Hutchins‘ Georgia

The Pets for Vets cause is near and dear to my heart. My dogs are rescues and my brother’s a Marine. My “personal” dog, Georgia—who I got for protection—is a Belgian Malinois who’s a washout from police/military service 😉 She’s emotionally sensitive, has a soft mouth, and she’s scared of guns. LOL. Well, she has a big heart, and she doesn’t let anyone near me, so I think she’s fabulous. Her heart is happiest in the mountains. Here she is hugging me on Dome Mountain in the Bighorns of Wyoming.

To help support Pets For Vets, Pamela, along with 20 other best-selling authors all got together and wrote Love Under Fire, where every sale helps this cause. Love Under Fire releases on November 13th and it’s only 99 cents!

WHEN LOVE SPARKS DANGER, GET READY FOR AN EXPLOSION

EVERY SALE HELPS A VETERAN GET A PET!!!

Twenty-one Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and other bestselling authors bring you a heart-pounding collection of 21 BRAND NEW, NEVER-BEFORE PUBLISHED stories all in one amazing romantic suspense limited time boxed set.

From Around The Edges of Every Day Existence Lurks Mystery, Betrayal, Greed, and Death

With every turn of the page, feel the heat of adrenaline as fear lights up the night. Fight alongside the tenacious heroes and heroines as they battle for survival. They’ll put everything on the line to thwart the evil coming after them.

They want to trust in the power of love. But is it enough?

EVERY SALE HELPS A VETERAN GET A PET!!!

iTunes: https://apple.co/2NkgkcD

Nook Link: http://bit.ly/2IMhydl

Amazon: http://bookShow.me/B07GCTP7CJ

https://books2read.com/LoveUnderFire

Lady, My Junkyard Dog

A few years ago, my hubby and son went to a junkyard in search of a Falcon Ranchero. Hubby’s health was poor, he needed a transplant and we were waiting for the miracle.  He called me on his way home to tell me he bought the truck. I wasn’t thrilled, but I said I was happy for him (you know how that goes).  He also said he was bringing home a dog—from the junkyard. He said the owner of the junkyard had made a statement, “I’m gonna have to get rid of that pest.” I get why hubby wanted to bring her home, but . . .   he thought it was it was a good idea to bring home an actual junkyard dog.

“She’s not your normal junkyard dog,” he promised.  He was right.  On one hand she moved around like an old dog, but she didn’t look that old.  She was super skittish but not even a little bit aggressive.

After a bath, we took her to the vet. An hour later, we had good news and bad news. She was twenty-four pounds, dubbed part border collie part springer spaniel, was only seven to eight months old and didn’t have heart worms. Yup, that was the only thing she didn’t have.  On the other hand, she was severely anemic, severely malnourished, had all sorts of worms, had scars running up and down her body, had hot spots/blisters, mange and kennel cough.

And oh yeah, she was no lady. I don’t mean she was a boy. I mean, she’d been playing with the boys. Yup, she was pregnant. However, the vet said she was so unhealthy, she’d die if we let her carry the babies. And the puppies would have mange and numerous disabilities because of Lady’s health.  Unfortunately, they couldn’t even operate to take the puppies due to Lady’s health. We had to wait until blood count came up.  As a matter of fact, the vet said she didn’t think Lady would’ve survived another three days. So after another two weeks and several swipes of our American Express, we had ourselves a free, $2000, spayed junkyard dog, who we learned had such severe allergies due to more hot spots and can only eat the really expensive dog food.

Oh, but she ate.  She gained eleven pounds the first week.  She adapted to living in our house, and even learned to tolerate the cats. For the next nine months she hung out at her rescuer’s side, keeping him company as he tinkered on his car, and as he got sicker waiting for a transplant.  She even hung out with him as he recovered from the transplant that by some miracle he finally got.  Lady was and is his best friend.  Thought I have to admit, she loves me, too.  I also have to admit, she’s the best two thousand dollars my hubby has ever spent. She needed us; but in truth, we needed her, too. My hubby really needed those soulful dark puppy eyes looking up at him reminding him that no matter sick you get, you can get better.

Do you have a story of a pet that you rescued?

Book Sweeps Giveaway!!!

Are you a fan of romantic suspense? Have I got a contest for you! Book Sweeps is giving away 40+ romantic suspense novels by best-selling authors (including my book, Don’t Close Your Eyes). Plus, they’re giving away an Ereader and free reads to all. Be sure to enter. This contest ends Oct. 31st. Good luck!

https://booksweeps.com/book-giveaway/romantic-suspense-october-2018/

 

 

 

Girls’ Night Out!

Girls

Do you ever have a girls’ night out?  When you and other girls spend some girl-time together?  It could involve dinners out, chick flicks, margaritas or chocolate martinis.  But almost always, it involves lots of laughter. It can be sisters, girlfriends, family or a mix.  However it plays out, there is just something about surrounding yourself with other girls, talking girl stuff, doing girl stuff, and celebrating our girl power that’s so rewarding.

Well, I recently set up a very special girl’s night out.  My mother and stepfather came visit me in Texas from California.  So I planned a night out.  A whole night.  We left hubby and stepfather at home and my daughter, my granddaughter, my mom  and I took off for an excursion and adventure.

I made reservations at a nice Marriott.  We were going to get pedicures, but mom had just had one, so we skipped that and went the shopping.  We bought pajamas, panties, sweats, and a toy.  After shopping we went to the movie and dined out.  Leaving the movie we spotted one of those camera booths.  And you know we had to do it.

First question.  Could we all fit?  Answer.  No.  Not really.  But that didn’t stop us.  We piled in.  Put in our money and laughed so hard we cried.  When we were finished there were actually people standing outside who said.  “I think you girls are having too much fun.”

Then we went to our hotel and we laughed some more.   We laughed about silly girl stuff.  We ate chips in bed.  And we stayed up watching television.  The next morning we ate breakfast out and did some more shopping.

If there’s such a thing as too much fun we had it.  And our memories included four generation of girls.  If you haven’t had a girls’ night out, plan one.  They are good for soul.

Do you have girls’ night out? What do you like to do?

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Winner!!!

Thanks for everyone’s help with my Take Your T-shirt Off Test. It helped me a lot. The winner of a Born to Read t-shirt is Deborah Elkins. Deborah, please email me at christie@christie-craig.com and tell me your t-shirt size and your postal address.

 

The Take Your Shirt Off Test

I’ve been a very busy girl. Like nose-to-the-grindstone and no-more-nose-left kind of busy.  The type of busy that when you finally catch up, you still feel that antsy gotta-keep-going feeling.  It’s as if you’ve forgotten what it feels like to be still, to not be under the gun.  Yeah, that’s been me.

I finished my second book in my Texas Justice series, Don’t Breathe a Word.  Of course, it was running late, and then I had to go back in and cut the word count before I could send it in. My books are always running long these days.  I blame it on being Southern.  It can take a Southerner fifteen words to say something that a Northerner can say in five. (I envy them a bit.)

51EHGxI9yeLAt the same time, I got my copy edits on my March 26th release for my young adult thriller novel, In Another Life.  For those of you who don’t understand what “copy edits” entail, it’s when someone (a copy editor) reads your book and makes corrections on both grammar stuff, typos, missing words, and they’ll mark anything that needs tweaking.  As in “You said she spoke to her dad, but she really just listened to a voice mail.”  Yeah, it was something I changed in revision and didn’t correct in the following scene.  It’s an oops, and we writers appreciate our copy editors for finding those errors.

So, an author has to go through all the changes a copy editor makes to confirm they agree with those changes.  Then they need to address anything she agrees needs to be changed, like the voice-mail thing.

That said, there was one comment this copy editor wrote that gave me pause.  And here’s where I’m going to explain the title of this blog.  In a scene where the hero and heroine go swimming, I have the hero pull off his T-shirt,  i.e.  He crossed his arms, reached down and caught the hem of his shirt and pulled it over his head.

When I saw that sentence marked, I wondered:  What’s wrong that that? Her comment explained that boys don’t take their shirts off that way. Only girls.  She wrote that girls take their shirts off that way and boys reach over their heads, grab their shirts by the back of their neck, and pull it off.

guy3

I’m like . . . uh . . .  that’s not true.  There isn’t a gender specific way of removing a shirt.   I’m mid-ponder on this when in walks in my hubby.  I look up.  He’s wearing a T-shirt. Perfect. I’m like . . .  uh, “Take off your shirt.”

Of course, he doesn’t have a clue what’s going on.  “Uh, what?”

“Just take off your shirt,” I say.

“Why?” he asks.

“It’s for the book,” I explain.

Now you know he thinks all my heroes are based after him, so he smiles and follows my order.

Much to my dismay, he reaches over his head to the neck of his shirt and pulls his T-shirt off.  I’m shocked.  “Why didn’t you grab it from the hem and pull it over your head?” I ask.

“I don’t know.  It’s just how I take my shirt off.”

First of all, I was disappointed that obviously I haven’t paid enough attention to guys removing their shirts.  LOL.  How could I have missed this?

So I do what I always do when something puzzles me.  I Googled it.  And duh, I found articles on the subject trying to explain this phenomenon.  Basically they listed five reasons.

  • Hair
  • Boobs
  • Guys copying other guys
  • Flexibility
  • How the clothes are made.

5518 (1)But you know you can’t believe everything you read.  So I wanted to test this theory more, so awkwardly, I called my son and requested he take his shirt off, then I called my daughter and asked her to get my son-in-law to take his shirts off.  (Hey, they are used to their mama doing crazy crap.)  Much to my dismay, they all used the tug-the-shirt-over-their-neck method.  Now I want to test this theory more, but I don’t know how walking up to men, other than my hubby, and asking them to take their shirt off will be received. So I’m asking you to do it. Do the test with a boy/man you are comfortable with and ask them to remove their shirt.  One person who leaves me an answer will win a Born To Read T-shirt.  Sizes are limited. (Sorry, but this giveaway is for U.S. residents only.)

And here’s one of the articles I found about this.

https://www.seventeen.com/life/friends-family/news/a41810/have-you-realized-guys-take-their-shirts-off-differently-than-girls/

Hope your October is turning out to be a good month!

Happy Reading!

CC

 

 

 

 

 

Questions, Anyone?

A few weeks ago on my CC Hunter blog, I asked fans to leave some questions that they’d like to ask me if they ever met me at a book signing. So, I thought it would be fun to answer a few of those questions for this week’s blog. I think several of them are questions I get asked by my Christie Craig fans, too. If you think of any more questions you’d like me to answer, leave them in the comment section and eventually, I’ll answer them all.

Paula Bell asked: My question would be do you ever have writers block and what do you do for it? I have never been to a book fair or festival. A friend and I are working on that. I hope sometime soon I’ll happen.

CC: Well, Paula, I don’t really believe in writer’s block.  You see writing is my career, my job. My dad was a plumber and he went to work every day. I know there were days he didn’t feel like it, but he still went. He never claimed to have plumber’s block (no pun intended). He did his job, and I do mine. I don’t always feel like writing, but I make myself write. Because even if the writing isn’t that great, I can fix that later, but I can’t fix a blank page.

 

Shauna Tramutolo asked: Is there any chance of there being another book for the Shadow Falls gang? I would really love to know where they all went and what human college was like for them as supernaturals.

CC: Sorry, Shauna, but I have no plans to write another Shadow Falls book at this time. That’s not to say it will never happen. Heck, I’m old enough to have learned to never say never. However, right now I’m busy writing my Mortician’s Daughter series. I started this series with my Shadow Falls fans in mind. While Riley has different problems in her life, she still reminds me a lot of Kylie. I also release my first stand alone book This Heart of mine, which is my most personal book yet. I drew on the experience I had when my husband had a kidney transplant and all the ways it impacted our lives. I also tossed in a young romance, some mystery and a touch of woowoo.

 

 

BN100 asked: Would ask you how you prepare for festivals and book signings.

CC: Mostly, I just want to make sure I get the word out about the event, so people turn up. I also want to be certain I’ll have enough books to sign. Then I get ready to have fun.

Shania N. Soler asked: If I were to ever get the chance to meet you in person I’d probably ask a million and one questions about Shadow Falls and all its characters and the dynamic world in which you’ve set it in, though the first question I think I’d ask would be: What first inspired you to start writing?

CC: First of all, I’m dyslexic, so reading and writing were difficult for me when I was growing up. So the thought of becoming a writer never occurred to me. But I did enjoy making up stories. I’d head off to my favorite place in the woods and weave all sorts of stories in my head—some went on for days.

Then, in my early 20’s, I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. My hubby asked me what I wanted to do, and I said that I wanted to be a writer. Being the great man he is, he told me I should “go for it.” So I took every writing class I could, studied my favorite authors and wrote every day. It wasn’t easy and took my many years and lots of hard work to get where I am today.

Kira Moericke asked: I’d probably ask how you come up with such clever sass (that everyone loves) in your characters, especially the sass in Della.

CC: Oh gosh, Della has always been sassy. When she first popped into my head, she already had an attitude. But really I just think she comes from the sassy part of me that I tend to keep under wraps. With Della, however, I had to open that up and let my sass run free. Once I did, it was a bit like Pandora’s Box, it’s hard to box it back up. But that’s okay., I kinda like it. Now, my hubby may have a few reservations…

As I said, leave any questions for me below and I’ll answer them in a future post.

 

Winner!!!

The winner from last week’s giveaway is Loretta Wheeler. Congratulations, Loretta, you’ve won a copy of This Heart of Mine and a cool Shadow Falls bracelet. Please email me at Christie@Christie-Craig.com with your postal address and I’ll send you your prize.

Angels Walk Amongst US

shawna and meHas anyone ever walked into your life and left good footprints on your soul?  I don’t mean spirits, I mean a real person, someone whose smile, whose encouragement makes a difference?  Someone, who when you see this person, makes that moment so much better?  I smile when I remember Shawna, I want to cry knowing I will never see her again. Last week, I lost one of my angels.

 

Shawna Springer, whose beautiful spirit imprinted on my life, died way too young.

I met Shawna when she reached out to me, asking me to do a book signing at a book club meeting.  Shawna always wore such a big love-you smile.  And all you book lovers out there would have loved her, too.  She was . . . the biggest book geek I’ve ever known.

She worked at Barnes and Noble in Pasadena, Texas.  She loved to read.  She knew my characters almost as well as I did.  She was one of those booksellers who seriously had a passion for the written word.  She’d order cases of my books for book signings and would have me sign them all before I left.  I asked her once if she wasn’t going to send them back.

“Heck no,” she’d say.  “They’re going on my recommend shelf.  I’ll sell them.”

And she did.  She’d hand sell books in the store all the time.  Not just my books either.  When she loved an author she was a fan like no other.  She had a way of making authors feel special.  Her bubbly glee over my books energized me as an author.  And I know I wasn’t alone. She did that for so many authors.

IMG_3037She also loved doing crafts.  She made me a Shadow Falls dream catcher that hangs in my office.  She made This Heart of Mine charms that I put on bracelets.  When I’d pay her for her crafts, I would also pay her more than she charged.  I told her, “You don’t charge enough.”

She’d reply, “Yeah, but it’s about books and you know how I feel about your books.”

I wish I could pick up the phone and tell her one more time how much I appreciated her.  Oh, I told her many times, but maybe not enough.

I wish she was still here.  But she’s not.  So I encourage you that if you have someone who makes a difference in your life, pick up the phone or better yet go to them, hug them, and tell them what they mean to you.

I hope Shawna is in the hereafter, and I sure as heck hope they have a library, because I know wherever she is, she’ll be happier if surrounded by books.

Braclet-225x300Today in honor of Shawna I’m giving away a hard cover of This Heart of Mine and one of the bracelets with the charms she made.  To enter just leave a post telling me about someone who makes your world better. (Sorry, but this giveaway is for U.S. residents only If you’re reading this on Goodreads, you must go to my Website to enter.)

Winner!!

The winner of last week’s giveaway, an ecopy of Carrie Pulkinen’s Werewolves Only is Gigi Hicks. Congratulations, Gigi! Please email me at Christie@christie-craig.com and tell me if you prefer the Nook or Kindle version.

 

 

 

Carrie Pulkinen, Magic & a Giveaway!

Carrie (1)Carrie Pulkinen writes sexy, haunting, paranormal romance. And when I say “sexy,” I mean her heroes will definitely make your heart beat faster! Growing up living next door to a cemetery,  it’s easy to see where her penchant for paranormal comes from. She’s also a woman after my own heart since her favorite things are chocolate and red wine. Not only that, but she’s agreed to be my very special guest today. Enjoy!

 

 

 


 

One of my favorite things about writing paranormal romance is the magic. All of my stories contain magic of some sort, whether it’s psychic powers, spell casting, shapeshifting, or some other ability, and I’m frequently asked the same question: where do I find all the information for the magical worlds I create?

People have asked me if there is some giant encyclopedia of magic that all paranormal and fantasy authors refer to when writing their stories. If such a thing exists, I don’t know about it.

519L6nLTfrL._SY346_I do a lot of research when planning the magic for my stories. Most of my books contain some sort of soul or spirit elements—ghosts, reincarnation, demons, or other nonphysical entities. When I first started writing, I took psychic development classes from a local psychic medium, and a lot of what I learned in that course helps me with the magic in my books.

In my newest release, Beneath a Blue Moon, the heroine is a witch named Rain. She’s been cursed, and her powers are bound, so her sister does most of the spell-casting in the majority of the book. I scoured websites to learn about the kinds of herbs and other ingredients used in potions, and I visited a store in New Orleans that specializes in witchery to gather knowledge to write the sister pair.

While research is extremely important to make the magic as believable as possible, quite a bit of the “rules” for my worlds come straight from my head.

The Crescent City Wolf Pack series is about a pack of werewolves in New Orleans who battles demons and whatever other monsters threaten the safety of humanity in the city. And while there are tons of werewolf books out there, each author will treat the magic behind the characters differently.

I’ve read some where the act of shifting from human to wolf is a very physical thing. Muscles slosh and make icky noises as bones break and rearrange themselves to take on the form of the beast. As they shift, their clothes tear or fall off, and when they turn back to human again, they are naked.

That type of magic didn’t work for the Crescent City Wolf Pack world. Chase and Luke and the other werewolves have to be able to shift on command, many times in the shadows of the city, to fight the demons that are threatening the humans. They shift frequently, and if they busted out of their clothes every time, they’d all be broke with the wardrobes they’d have to keep replacing! Not to mention there’d be a lot of naked people running around the French Quarter…a lot more than usual, anyway!

Instead, I wrote the shift as a more magical experience. Their bodies vibrate as the actual make-up of their cells and everything they are wearing transforms into the wolf. Their clothing is essentially absorbed by the magic, and when they return to human form, everything is in its place.

This makes for much faster transformations and gives them the ability to shift as often as needed to save the city from the supernatural threats.This is why I love writing about magic. I can make up the rules and weave it into the world, making it believable for each specific series.

Beneath a Blue Moon combines the magic of werewolves and witches, while also sprinkling in psychic abilities amongst the characters. It’s book 2 of the Crescent City Wolf Pack series, and while it can be read as a stand-alone, it does contain spoilers for book 1. Here’s what it’s about:

BeneathaBlueMoon_LargeFate has a sick sense of humor.

Chase Beauchamp has had a grudge against witches for as long as he can remember. When he’s tasked with investigating a magicless witch who might be to blame for a string of murders in the French Quarter, the wolf in him wants to claim her as his mate. To his dismay, the man might agree. But when her secrets are revealed, Chase discovers loving this witch will put his pack and his family in danger.

Rain Connolly will do anything to break the hex that binds her powers and makes her an outcast in the supernatural world. But when fate drops the answer to her prayers into her lap, she can’t help but fall for the sexy werewolf who can end her curse. The problem is what she needs him to do could cost him his life.

Can a witch and a werewolf overcome their haunted pasts to find love? Or did fate bind their hearts only to rip them apart?

Beneath a Blue Moon is available in both ebook and paperback, and you can find it at these stores:

Amazon: http://getbook.at/BeneathaBlueMoon

iBooks: http://bit.ly/BeneathABlueMoon-iBooks

Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/BeneathABlueMoon-Nook

Kobo: http://bit.ly/BeneathABlueMoon-Kobo

Google Play: http://bit.ly/BeneathABlueMoon-Google

Fashion model brunette with professional makeup and long hair

Thanks so much for letting me guest post today, Christie! It was fun!

Giveaway!

I’ll give away an ebook of Carrie’s first book in her Crescent City Wolves series, Werewolves Only, to one person who leaves a comment.You’re gonna love this book! (Sorry, but this giveaway is for US residents only.)

Winner!

The winner of the $25 Starbucks gift card is Caroline Luce. Congratulations! Please email me with your postal address at christie@christie-craig.com.

Mark’s Good Deed Contest

IMG_5844In Don’t Close Your Eyes, Mark is always buying people coffee.  He calls it his, “Good Deed for the Day.”  I want to pay it forward and have a contest where I’ll send someone a $25 Starbucks card to buy yourself and maybe even someone else a cup of coffee.  To enter, post a picture of you reading my book or a photo of my book someplace cool (like the photos below), and post it with the hashtag #MarksGoodDeed. If you don’t have a Twitter or Instagram account, you can send me a link (christie@christie-craig.com) of your post.  Below is the good deed for the day scene from Don’t Close Your Eyes.

 

 

Don’t Close Your Eyes Excerpt

Annie, sitting at her usual table, refocused on the stack of ungraded papers. The dark circles under her eyes were hidden behind darker sunglasses. Blond and fair skinned, she lacked sleep, which brought out raccoon eyes. Too bad she couldn’t wear the shades while teaching.

“Happy hump day.” Fred waved his cup of espresso with extra milk as he moved to his booth. For reasons unbeknownst to Annie, the elderly widower was always happier on Wednesdays. Sometimes, when the place was full, he’d even sit with her to chat.

Annie smiled. “Did you have a good night last night?”

“Sure did.” A sparkle brightened his light blue eyes. He sat down and pulled out his newspaper. Was he seeing some lady on Tuesdays? Not that it mattered, Annie liked seeing happy people.

Christie Craig - Weekend 4Glancing out the window, she took in the early-morning walkers trying to get their steps in. The quaint coffee shop nestled between high-rises in downtown Anniston, Texas, was conveniently located a block from the junior college where she’d taught for last five months. Coming here had become part of her morning ritual. Being an only child, she liked feeling as if she was part of a community. She knew the regulars. They knew her. At least most of them did.

The door swished open. Pretty sure who it was, she glanced up, without lifting her head. He always arrived between seven and seven thirty. The coffee shop was conveniently located a block from the police precinct, too.

Detective Sutton liked the dark roast and drank it black. Sometimes, he added a skinny hazelnut latte to his order. Probably for some long-legged, lucky secretary at his office.

While Annie was certain he’d never noticed her—he was one who didn’t speak or even nod—she’d noticed him.

Even before she’d seen him on television.

Christie Craig - Weekend 3It wasn’t just his big-gulp size, or his big-gulp good looks. Oh, she noticed those, too—hard not to—but it was the fact that, like her, he hid behind sunglasses. Considering most of his cases involved murder and some involved children—she wondered if he wasn’t suffering from some bad nightmares, too.He shot to the counter with his usual determined pace. Not so much rude as running late.

Today, he wore his navy Dockers and his light blue buttoned-down oxford. The shirt, creases down the sleeves, no doubt dry-cleaned, hugged his broad chest. His dark hair appeared freshly showered damp.

The customer ahead of him, an elderly grandmother—not a regular—looked antique and frail. “I know I’ve got some coins…” Her arm, lost in her big purse, fumbled for loose change.

Annie waited to see if he’d do it again. She’d seen it happen six times.

“I got her coffee,” he spoke over the woman’s gray hair to Mary, the barista.

The older woman looked back, and up. And up. “Why that’s sweet, but I’ve got…”

My good deed for the day, Annie said in her head, right before he did.

A smile curled up in her gut and gave her good-guy butterflies. She’d even borrowed his act of kindness herself.

IMG_2905Shamelessly, she’d considered attempting to be his good deed for the day for an introduction-and maybe more. But she’d failed at her last attempts of “more.” And considering the return of her nightmares, she needed to get her life fixed before she asked for company.