When Things Get Hot in Texas

5150RY-wYyL._SY346_In just two week, my latest novella, Junkyard Cowboy, will be out as part of an anthology called When Things Get Hot in Texas. And let me tell you, it’s almost June and the temps are definitely climbing in SE Texas. So this is the perfect summer read. Not only that, but it also contains novellas by New York Times best-selling author, Lori Wilde, Katie Lane, Cynthia D’Alba and Laura Drake. All wonderful story tellers.

I promise lots of laughs with this one. Yup, Jennifer Peterson’s got it all figured out. She knows what type of guy she needs to guarantee a successful relationship. But where’s she gonna find a short, hairy mortician with “small feet”? But you know that saying, “Man plans, God laughs”? Well He plays one hell of a joke on Jennifer. Clay Connors is as far from where she’s looking as can be, but he might just be what she needs. But she’s not going to surrender without a fight—and learning a few lessons along the way like:

  • Hemorrhoid cream isn’t just for hemorrhoids. It can also finalize a breakup.
  • Once news hit the Internet, it’s always there—just a keystroke away. The good, the bad and the ugly.
  • What’s the worst thing a guy can say to a woman after kissing her? “It won’t happen again.”  Because they both know it’s a lie.
  • Nothing beats a man who’ll eat your cooking, even if it’s burnt.
  • Meaner than a junkyard dog is woman giving birth.

the junkyard cowboy high resYou can pre-order When Things Get Hot in Texas today for only 99 cents from Amazon, and Barnes & Noble. What a bargain!

Junkyard Cowboy

the junkyard cowboy high resI’ve got a new book coming out on June 5, 2017 called Junkyard Cowboy. I love, love, loved writing it and often found myself laughing out loud. (Fortunately, hubby learned a long time ago not to question me when this happens.He accepted the fact that I’m crazy and talk to my characters a long time ago.)  But this book is special to me and I not only fell in love with my main characters, but found a soft spot in my heart for a secondary character. I’ve included an excerpt at the bottom of this post. And buckle up, because to paraphrase a famous movie line, it’s going to be a bumpy ride. Because in Junkyard Cowboy, Jennifer Peterson and Clay Connors’ lives collide, and they both learn a few lessons like:

  • Sometimes the only thing better than a cowboy is a naked cowboy saving your life.
  • You may think you know what you want, but what you actually get might be what you really need.
  • If you live in a small town and get naked, don’t be surprised if the whole town knows about it.
  • Being a bodyguard isn’t a bad job if the body you’re guarding is blessed with curves and big blue eyes.
  • Good deeds don’t go unpunished. But doing the right thing lets you sleep at night.

Junkyard Cowboy Excerpt:

Jennifer Peterson sat alone fighting the desire to bite her nails. She needed three things and she needed them now—a stiff drink, the support of her two best friends, and a man. Not just any man. A podiatrist or a funeral director. Oh, an optometrist would work as well.

The bell over the door dinged.

Jennifer looked up toward the front of the restaurant, expecting it to be Bethany or Savanna. It wasn’t. A big guy walked in, stopped, and stretched his neck, searching the tables for someone. A spider-web tattoo peeked out of his collar as his head moved left to right.

He didn’t look like a podiatrist or optometrist. She didn’t hold out hope he was a funeral director, either. Not that it mattered. He was too tall. And bald. Her guy had to have hair.

Jennifer checked her phone for thehundredth time. It was almost three.

She only had two hours to whine and receive Savanna’s and Bethany’s blessings on her new plan. And yes, she needed their blessing. They’d long ago pledged to not only be friends, but to be each other’s support systems.

Which worked just fine for Jennifer since she’d already spent thousands of dollars attempting to fix herself.

The bell over the door rang again. It wasn’t them. By eight, she needed to be in Dolly, Texas for a much-needed job interview with David Brockman. The new B&B owner wanted to completely redecorate his property.

After practically being blacklisted in Pipersville by the almighty rich piece- of- shit Larson Mitchell, her career had gone into a slump. Who knew reporting a child abuser to Child Protective Services (CPS) was bad for the interior-design business?

Well, she’d known. Or feared it might. But she didn’t have a choice. It was . . . a child.

The financial slump wouldn’t be so bad if not for her recent relationship-status change. Now she had to make ends meet by herself. She hated those damn ends! No, what she really hated was the by-herself part.

She drummed her fingers on the table, eyeing the door. They’d be here any second. Well, everyone except Macy, the newcomer to the group, who was out of town and due back later tonight.

The text Jennifer had sent to her Got-Your-Back-Club: 911 Juan’s Place ASAP was a cry for help and a guarantee they’d show. Friends like hers—more supportive than a new pair of Spanks—helped each other. They’d been doing it for twenty years. Armed with love, wisdom, and alcohol, they’d gotten each other through divorces,the loss of parents and jobs, and even a murdered ex-husband by a Santa serial killer.

Leonardo, their much-lovedhalf-Hispanic, half-Italian waiter, spotted her and startedsashaying across the room.

On a tray, held dramatically on the very tips of his five fingers of his right hand, balanced an extra-large, problem-solving lime-infused frozen margarita. Was it too much to hope that it had her name on it?  Probably, since she hadn’t ordered one. Yet.

Much to her pleasure, Leonardo marched on and placed the drink in front of her.

“Whatever’s got your aura that murky brown color, this is going to solve it. And it’s on the house.”

She pulled the straw to her lips. “I love you.” She sucked, hard and fast.

Leonardo smiled. “That just tickles my fancy, and I’d like to take credit, but the drink was Juan’s idea. And while I don’t have eyes in the back of my head, I’m betting my silk boxers he’s still standing at the bar gazing into your blue eyes, dreaming of you two naked and doing the mattress mambo.”

Jennifer inhaled deeply and closed her eyes.

“You dreaming it, too?” Leonardo asked with a tease.

She opened her eyes. “No, brain freeze.” Still in defrost mode, she glanced back at the bar. Yup, Juan was there. Brown bedroom eyes aimed right at her. She waved and mouthed the words, Thank you.

When the group first started coming here, Juanhad the hots for Savanna. Now that Savanna was married and extra pregnant, he’d turned his attention to Jennifer.

She hadn’t even considered Juan an option because until last night she’d been on the fast track to marital-two-kids-white-picket-fence bliss with Charles. She reached for the margarita again.

And sucked.

That train had derailed.

No, it hadn’t just derailed. It’d had a head-on—or a genital-on—collision with another, younger, no-spanks-needed train.

Leonardo shifted closer. “I know you’re engaged. However, I accidently walked in on Juan changing clothes in his office. I told him right then and there that if he’d swap sides, I’d leave Pablo and marry him.”

“Don’t even say that! You wouldn’t leave Pablo. And if you did, I’d kick your ass. I like Pablo.” Brain now completely unfrosted, she asked, “What does Pablo do for a living?”

“Works for an optometrist.”

“Definitely a keeper!” It validated everything she’d learned last night.

Leonardo inched closer. “I know Pablo’s special, but what Juan’s hiding in his jeans is special, too.”

And that seals the deal. Juan was completely out of the running. Not that he had ever really been in the running. His mixed-drink talent hinted he’d done a stint as a bartender. Which was worse than a roofer. And he was too tall, too rich.

“Why couldn’t he have been a middle-class, short, and . . .”

“Say what?” Leonardo asked.

“Nothing,” Jennifer moaned as Leonardo was summoned to another table.

The bell over the door rang, and Bethany stormed in. No one stormed quite like Bethany. A skill she’d acquired after years of facing jurors a dozen at a time.

Bethany hadn’t gotten to the table when the bell dinged again. Savannah hot-footed it in, moving as fast as a nine-months-pregnant woman could hot-foot it. Her wonky movements reminded Jennifer of the catch phrase of an old toy commercial—Weebles wobble but they don’t fall down.

Jennifer hated admitting it. She was envious of that wobble. She wanted that. Savanna was living Jennifer’s dream life. Albeit, Mark, Savanna’s homicide-detective husband, didn’t quite meet up to Jennifer’s new qualifications. But he had damn well better prove the statistics wrong.

Savanna sent her a quick wave and headed to the bathroom.

Bethany, her red hair swinging around her shoulders, stopped abruptly at the table. “What did he do this time? I swear to everything holy and my Christian Louboutin Bianca platform pumps, that I’m going to get that bastard.”

What? How did…?  “How do you know?”

Bethany stared at her as if Jennifer’s right ear had suddenly sprouted a penis. “If you threw away evidence this time, I’m going to–”

“Oh. No,” Jennifer said, “this isn’t about Mitchell, the child abuser.”

Right then Jennifer saw Savanna swing back around and hurry to the table. Jennifer peered up at Bethany and pressed her fingers to her lips.

Savanna wobbled to a stop. “What bastard? What evidence? And did you mean the red shoes? Answer fast because I’ve got a nine-pound baby drop-kicking my bladder.”

Savanna might not be able to walk or go five minutes without a bathroom, but obviously pregnancy hadn’t affected her hearing. She plopped down into a chair, rubbing her extended belly. “Spill it.”

“No bastard,” Jennifer said.

“No evidence?” Bethany added. “And yes, the red shoes.”

Savanna’s suspicious gaze shifted between Bethany and Jennifer.

A low, gruff growl seeped out of Savanna’s lips, and her blue eyes brightened to a dangerous pregnant hue.

There is no fooling Savanna. “Bethany is overreacting,” Jennifer said.

“I’m not overreacting.” Bethany dropped into a chair.

Savanna crossed her arms and rested them on top of her watermelon-sized baby bump. “What are you not overreacting about? Talk, or I’m gonna pee my pants right here, right now. And I swear, I’ll make it look like one of you did it.”

“It’s the Mitchell case,” Bethany said. “Now go pee.”

Savanna let go of a little gasp. The kind that came from her heart and was so emotion-loaded it hurt to hear it. “I almost forgot. That’s next week.”

Jennifer put her hand on Savanna’s shoulder. This was exactly why they kept the whole case hush-hush. A nine-months pregnant woman should never have to hear anything about child abuse. Well, no one should. But especially a pregnant woman who cried for a week after seeing a Hallmark commercial.

Savanna, brow creased with worry, looked at Bethany. “I thought you said the case was a slam dunk?”

“It is. But he’s got some dumb-ass, depraved four-hundred-dollar-an-hour lawyer from Dallas who needs a new car and decided to try to fight it.”

“How could anyone defend him?” Tears filled Savanna’s eyes, and she caressed her belly as if to protect the child from the evils of the world. “What about the x-rays that proved past abuse and what Jennifer witnessed?”

Bethany leaned in. “I don’t think he’s going to get away with it. But kids break bones. And . . . Jennifer didn’t actually witness it. She heard it.”

Jennifer’s spine tightened. Isn’t that bad enough? That little girl’s scream still haunted her. “He’s not going to win.” And God help her, but she prayed she was right.

Savanna looked at her. “I’m so sorry you have to do this, but you are that girl’s hero.”

Jennifer swallowed. She hadn’t intended to be a hero. Mitchell’s live-in girlfriend, Susie Burton, had let Jennifer into the house to measure for the window treatments.  Then Susie slipped out to pick up the swatches of material she’d left at a neighbor’s. A nanny was supposed to be caring for the little girl upstairs.

Jennifer heard when Mr. Mitchell had arrived home. She’d never met the man, so she’d stayed in the couple’s library, waiting for Susie to return and introduce them. Apparently, the man went straight into the office and had found Susie’s three-year-old little girl there.

As terrible as the scream was, Jennifer tried telling herself nothing bad had happened. But the next day when she saw the little girl wearing a cast, and a haunted look in her eyes, Jennifer knew that to ignore it made her just as bad as the monster who’d done it.

Savanna put her hand on her swollen belly. “When I hear stuff like this I worry about the kind of world I’m bringing my baby into.”

“Your baby isn’t ever going to be anywhere close to scum like Mitchell,” Bethany said. “She’ll be smothered in love by me, you, Mark and Aunt Jennifer and Macy and Jake.”

“She’s right,” Jennifer said.

Savanna gave her belly another pat.  “Wait.  What did you mean by evidence?”  That worry crease reappeared.

“That’s where overreacting comes in,” Jennifer said. “Two weeks ago, I went to the mall and when I came out someone’s receipt was stuck behind my wipers.  Someone had written on it: Do and Die.  I’m positive it was some kid playing pranks.  It didn’t have my name or say anything about testifying.  And I was in Atalla.  I think I’d have known if someone had followed all the way across town.

Savanna’s frown deepened.  “Did you turn it over to the police? They can check the handwriting. Mark just had something analyzed for another case.”

“Yeah they could.” Bethany cut Jennifer a told-you-so look. “She threw it away.”

“Why?” Savanna’s mouth dropped open in disappointment.

“It didn’t dawn on me until the next day that it could have been about the case. And considering I haven’t gotten another threat or anything, it seems even less likely.”

Savanna leaned back. “Unlikely, but still scary as hell. If that guy can hurt a three-year-old, he wouldn’t have any qualms–”

“I’m fine. Mark even said it sounded more like a coincidence. He has a black-and-white drive by my place two or three times a night. Nothing has happened.”

“Mark?” Savanna’s brows puckered. “My husband Mark?”

Now she’d really stuck her foot in it. “I made him promise not to tell you.”

“Doesn’t matter. He should’ve told me. You two both should’ve told me. We don’t keep secrets.”

“We do when you’re nine months pregnant.” Bethany used her jury-calming voice. “Don’t take this personally, but pregnancy has made you an emotional wreck.”

Savana didn’t look calm, so Bethany went in for a quick save. “I hear it’s normal. Once you pop that kid out your vajayjay, you’ll go back to being you.” Bethany put her hand on Savanna’s belly, but just as quickly pulled it away and eyeballed Jennifer. “Wait. If this isn’t about Mitchell, what’s this about?”

She hesitated then tossed it out real fast like ripping a Band-Aid off. “Charles broke up with me.”

I hope you enjoyed this excerpt. I’ll be posting buy links soon, so look for those right here next week.

Christie Makes “House” Calls

Smilebox_4104696810Recently, I made a visit to West Oso Junior High and High School in Corpus Christi, Texas. I gotta tell you, I had a blast! There was a lot of laughter and a lot of sharing with so many students. I love visits where I walk away and feel as if I made friends.

 

 

 

A month ago, I had another great visit at Caney Creek High School in Conroe, Texas.Smilebox_4104696818  And just last week, I went and spoke to at an award ceremony for Ganado High School in Ganado, Arizona.  I can tell you that there was a time I worried about our teens, but after doing school visits, I can seriously say I think our world is good hands.

 

 

 

Smilebox_4104696819I love meeting my fans of all ages, answering their questions and signing my books for them.  I love talking about Kylie, Della, and Miranda’s struggles and how I plagiarized from my own life to create so many of their issues.  It is so rewarding when students tell me they can relate to these characters and the hurdles they had to overcome.  Not that it is a complete surprise to me that reading about strong characters help others find courage and strength in themselves.  In truth, writing about them offers its own inspiration as well.

I get lots of emails from young fans asking me to come to their school. I wish I could do visits for free, but I can’t.  That said, I love visiting schools, and I try to work with their budgets.  And I always tell students they need to have their principal or librarian contact me through my email (cc@cchunterbooks.com).

8345I also love teaching writing workshops or giving talks at conferences. I’ve spoken at quite few Texas chapters of RWA and usually teach a workshop at RWA Nationals.  It gives me the opportunity to chat with my adult fans about Sheri and Danny or my new book coming out soon, JUNKYARD COWBOY. But then you’d be surprised by how many adults read my CC Hunter YA books, too.

If you’re interested in having me teach a workshop or speak at your organization’s meeting, send me an email (christie@christie-craig.com).

Summer Reads

gulfofmexicoSummer. It will be here before you know it. Soon school will be out and families will be going on vacation. Some will head to the beach, others to the mountains or perhaps faraway lands. I love the beach, and I try to take a beach vacation every summer. Someplace I can sit on a deck overlooking the ocean or Gulf of Mexico, and read. So right about now is when I start looking for good books to take with me.

 

the-gulf-of-mexico-onSo, help me out here. If I was heading for a beach vacation, can you recommend a book I shouldn’t leave without tucking into my suitcase?

 

 

 

Winners!

The winners of e-copies of Vicki Tharp’s In Her Defense are Maggi Rivers and Brandi. Congratulations! You’re gonna love this book! Please email me at christie@christie-craig.com so I can email you your copy.

 

Vicki Tharp Giveaway!

“Tharp is a talented, observant writer with a knack for taking us inside her characters’ heads, no matter how unsavory.”    –Kirkus Reviews

Born with a love for animals, Vicki Tharp pursued a career as a veterinarian, graduating from Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine in 1992. Always an avid reader of romance, mystery, and suspense, she combined her interests and medical knowledge in her book, Don’t Look Back.

She makes her home on small acreage in south Texas with her husband and an embarrassing number of pets. When she isn’t writing, trimming hooves, woodworking, or mucking out the barn, you can usually find her on the back of her horse, enjoying the delightful nasal bouquet of flowers, fly spray, and eau de horse sweat.

Vicki’s latest book, In Her Defense, kept me turning the pages and staying up way too late. 🙂 Needless to say. I loved it, and I’m sure you will too.

51Qcib8L6xLWhen her new client is murdered after handing her new evidence that could acquit him, lawyer Danielle Mckeen is determined to find out why.

A miscarriage and the collapse of his marriage to Danielle years before has left Jack Walsh reeling and slow to trust. But with a protective streak tattooed on his soul, he can’t refuse Danielle’s cry for help.

While in possession of the evidence, Jack and Danielle are nearly run off the road, their PI is stabbed and their investigation points to the man Jack reveres most. As they peal back the layers of fraud and greed and deceit, Danielle’s diabetic daughter is kidnapped, and her life bartered for the document. Lies are aplenty, and time is short.

Can Jack and Danielle dig deep in their hearts and discover the truth? That trust and honesty is the key to catching the killer, rescuing her daughter, and reviving their love?

In Her Defense is available at Amazon. You can see more of Vicki’s books on her website: http://www.vickitharp.com/.

Vicki agreed to answer a few questions for my blog.

1.   Characters are so often a reflection of ourselves.  Can you tell me what          flaws and attributes you share with Danielle McKean?

Let’s see…flaws and attributes I share with my heroine, Danielle. Probably the biggest flaw would be my independence. Which is normally not a bad thing, but when you are so independent that you don’t or won’t ask for help, even if it is in your best interest, that can be bad. Sometimes it’s an ego thing and I think it trips Danielle up sometimes as much as it does me.

  1. Why romantic suspense?  What drew you to this genre?

An attribute we share is the refusal to give up. Combined with a belief in yourself, it can be so powerful. Danielle is that type of woman. Everything she’s had to overcome in her life has made her realize what she is truly capable of when she is determined.

Unlike a lot of authors, romance was not a genre I read growing up. I read mostly mysteries and thrillers and suspense with some autobiographies and true life adventures thrown into the mix. Dean Koontz turned me on to romance. I know, his books are not your typical romance by most people’s accounts, but despite all the bad, scary, crazy stuff that happened in them, more often than not, the guy got the girl in the end and there was some kind of positive resolution. Some form of Happily Ever After. I found I really liked the HEA which drew me into romantic suspense. I read all sub-genres of romance now, but suspense will always be my favorite.

  1. What was it about your heroine that your hero fell in love with first?

I think Jack first fell in love with Danielle’s tenacity and heart. Even with their history together and the other tough challenges she’s faced in her life, she does it with grace and singular determination and a passion to help the underdog. Luckily for Jack, it is those attributes that forces her to seek his help and ultimately brings them back together.

  1. What’s next?

What’s next? Heroes, Harleys, and Horses. And of course, danger. Always danger. I’m really excited about this next project. A three-book series, all will be released within a year starting in October 2017, set on the fictitious Lazy S ranch in Wyoming.

Fast paced and suspenseful, COWGIRL, UNEXPECTEDLY is on preorder now and is the first in a three-book series—A Harley and a highway are all an Iraqi war veteran needs to soothe her restless spirit—until a pit stop puts her on the front lines of love.

Giveaway!

Vicki and I are giving away two e-copies of In Her Defense (Kindle version ONLY) to two people who leave comments. (Sorry, but this giveaway is limited to U.S. residents. If you’re reading this on Goodreads, you must go to my blog to leave your comment.)

Winners!

The winners from last week’s giveaway are Elizabeth and Becka Lynn. You have both won an e-book of Jami Albrights Running From a Rock Star (Brides on the Run, Book 1). Congratulations! Please email me at christie@christie-craig.com and let me know where to email your book. (Running From a Rockstar is only available in Kindle format.)

Jami Albright Giveaway!

Jami Albright writes zany, quirky, touching, and sexy romantic comedies. She says “If you don’t snort with laughter, then I haven’t done my job.” Her latest book, Running From a Rock Star (Brides on the Run, Book 1) just released, and I can’t wait to read it. It sounds like a hoot!

download (1)She’s a good-girl control freak. He’s a bad boy in need of a clean image. Will these opposites attract or self-destruct?

Scarlett Kelly is the poster child for responsible living. Growing up as the daughter of the town floozy, she’s made it her mission to be the exact opposite of her mother. So when she wakes up naked and hung over in bed with a bad-boy rock star, she bolts immediately. There’s one problem: Scarlett’s bedmate is her new husband. 

Gavin needs to repair his image, or his music career will go down the tubes. He’s also just learned he has a son he never knew existed. He needs to settle down, and bribing his new wife to stay married may just fit everything into place. 

Scarlett agrees to the ruse to help her family’s financial troubles even though she can hardly control herself around the rock star. As they search for Gavin’s son, will their unlikely matrimony give them exactly what they’ve been missing or send them packing?

Jami agreed to sit down with me and answer a few questions.

  1. Scarlett Kelly, your heroine, has an “opps-how-the-hell-did-i-get-that-tattoo?”  Do you have one?

No tattoos. Much to the dismay of my four sisters. A few years ago the four of us agreed to get a “Sisters” tattoo to support number four, who was diagnosed with cancer. They all got theirs, but I still haven’t gotten mine.They love to bring that up every time we get together, especially since it was my idea. I’m not being a total wuss, I promise. I can’t have a visible tattoo at work. But the minute I can quit the day job, I’m getting the tattoo…maybe…probably.

  1. Scarlett is a real character. In what ways are you like her?

I was raised in a small town, which is a lot like living in a fishbowl. My mother’s mantra was, “What will people think?” Once, when I was a senior in high school, my sister and I were “riding around” (driving the mile from one end of town to the other, repeatedly) and smoking candy cigarettes. We were pretty edgy back in the day. LOL. We thought we were hilarious. We tore through the whole pack that night. The next morning someone called my mother to tell her they’d seen us smoking. And even though my mom knew they were candy cigarettes, she was furious, because… “What will people think?”

So, yeah, I grew up very mindful that someone was always watching and evaluating my every move. That kind of thinking can make you a little paranoid. I have since come to realize that’s not true. For instance, when the football team huddles in the middle of the field, they’re not talking about me…usually.

  1. Tell us something about Jami Albright that no one else knows.

 There’s not a lot about me that nobody knows—I’m a bit of an oversharer. LOL. But there is one thing that most people don’t know about me. I have a serious thing for bald, fit men…like seriously. Jason Statham, Dwayne Johnson, Patrick Stewart, I don’t know what it is, but…MmmmMmmm, might fine.

My husband—not bald. So, mums the word.

What’s next for you?

 I’m finishing up a Brides on the Run novella, that will be out in the next month, and I’ve already written the next full-length book in the Brides on the Run series, Running With A Sweet Talker, which will be out in July. Just lots of writing and hanging out with readers on my Facebook Author Page.

Giveaway!

Jami and I are giving away two ebooks (Kindle version ONLY) of Running From a Rock Star (Brides on the Run, Book 1) to two people who leave a comment. (Sorry, this giveaway is limited to U.S. residents. If you are reading this on Goodreads, you must leave your comment on my blog in order to be entered into my giveaway.)

Not lucky enough to win a free copy? You can purchase Running From a Rock Star (Brides on the Run, Book 1) at Amazon. For more information you can find Jami on her website (www.jamialbright.com), Facebook, Twitter (@JamiAlbright) and Instagram (jamialbright1).

Winners!

The winners of last week’s giveaway are Loretta Wheeler (Susan C. Muller’s Autumn Secrets), Lucinda Wiens (Lori Wilde’s Million Dollar Cowboy) and Marsha McDaniel (Diane Kelly’s Love Unleashed). Ladies, email me at Christie@christie-craig.com and tell me if you prefer a NOOK or Kindle version.

What Are You Reading Giveaway!

What are you reading? I love to ask people what they’re reading. I’ve discovered some very talented authors through recommendations. Some have become my favorites. I also meet a lot of other authors at conferences, book signings, workshops, etc. And very often, I buy one of their books to read. So, I’ve got a pretty tall To Be Read pile. And it just got higher because three of my favorite authors just released new books. I’m already tearing through them, and enjoying every word. So, if you’re looking for an entertaining book, one that will keep you turning the pages late into the night, I thought I’d share what I’m reading with you.

Susan C. Muller’s  Autumn Secrets

This is the fourth book in Susan’s Season Pass series. It starts with Winter Song, Spring Shadow and Summer Storm, and now Autumn Secrets. Why the four seasons? Because murder is always in season.

51zcqYBDRALThe harvest moon has arrived and homicide detective Noah Daugherty is drawn into one final, harrowing case when the search for clues leads him to the middle of a killing field. Desperate, he enlists the help of a woman from his past. Together they discover a serial killer, hell bent on reaping his own depraved version of social sanitation. As Noah continues his urgent search for justice, the demented madman seems to stay one step ahead, taunting him and threatening everyone he holds dear. Can Noah put a stop to the killing, or will he be buried along with autumn’s secrets?

 

Lori Wilde’s Million Dollar Cowboy

New York Times Bestselling Author Lori Wilde returns to Cupid, Texas with a heartwarming story of a cowboy who comes home to the family ranch for a wedding filled with surprises…

51VTFrVTqvL._SX308_BO1,204,203,200_The illegitimate son of a Texas ranching dynasty, Ridge Lockhart left home ten years ago with one goal: to become more successful than the father who never accepted him.

Mission accomplished, but now he’s back at the Silver Feather Ranch for a wedding—three days of best man duty until he can hightail it out. Then he spies Kaia Alzate, and suddenly leaving isn’t quite so appealing.

Kaia Alzate grew up the daughter of the ranch foreman, servants to the mighty Lockharts in the mansion. Back then, she followed Ridge around like a puppy. Now, she’s fighting the attraction she feels for this sexy CEO. She’s determined not to make a big mistake—but when Ridge takes her in his arms she’s stunned…could he be the man she’s waited for all along?

 Diane Kelly’s Love Unleashed

Now this one doesn’t release until June 6th, but I’ve already preordered it, and I’ll be clearing my schedule when it comes out. I plan on sitting on my big front porch in my swing, sipping lemonade and reading Love Unleashed. (The lemonade is to keep me cool while reading about her hot fireman.)

51Fi4LqXRELBetween wrangling her rambunctious kindergarten class and trying to catch an elusive Dalmatian pup who’s been hanging around the playground, teacher Jessica Bellingham can hardly seem to catch her breath. And when hot, hunky fireman Louie DeLuca arrives to teach the children about fire safety, she just might need mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Who’d have thought a yellow slicker could be so sexy?

Things heat up quickly, igniting a passion the two would gladly allow to consume them. But will their romance become a four-alarm blaze, or will a dark secret from Jesse’s past threaten to cool things off for good? And what will become of the playful puppy who seems to stay just out of reach?

So as summer approaches, be sure you have lots of great summer reads. You can’t go wrong with Susan C. Muller’s Autumn Secrets, Lori Wilde’s Million Dollar Cowboy and Diane Kelly’s Love Unleashed.

GIVEAWAY!! 

I’ll give away e-books of Autumn Secrets, Million Dollar Cowboy and Love Unleashed to three people who leave a comment. (Sorry, but this giveaway is limited to U.S. residents only. If you’re reading this on Goodreads, you must go to my blog to leave your comment

                                                                                                                        

 

 

Talk To Me

Could Kylie communicate with Socks, her cat?  Do you communicate with your pets?

2031You know Derek could talk to animals, but for some reason, I never went there with Kylie.  I think she communicated with Socks the way I communicate with my animals.  They stare me down trying to tell me something, and I know they want something, so I keep offering them things, toys, food, a good petting, and they keep looking at me as if I’m stupid until I finally get it right.

 

That isn’t to say that they don’t communicate better between themselves.  I honestly believe animals are a lot smarter than we think they are.  And I seriously believe that they can talk to each other.  I saw it with my cats.

CraigcatSkitter was a feral cat.  He didn’t like people that much.  Well, he loved me and tolerated my husband.  But not so much anyone else.  When he was around eight months old, I brought home Bob, another cat.  But he was big teddy bear.  Someone dropped him off at a pet store when he was three weeks old.  He had been bottle fed. At six weeks I brought this little creature home.

 

I was afraid Skitter would kill him, so I decided to keep them separated for a while.  But the next day my son left a door open and when I went upstairs Skitter had Bob on the bed. I thought he was dead, but nope.  Skitter was cleaning him.  Skitter, while a male, became a surrogate mother to Bob.  Bob, a scaredy cat, depended on Skitter for everything.  Bob was always looking to Skitter to see if f it was safe to swat at a mosquito, or if he should run from a shadow.

Well, one morning hubby, Skitter and I were still in bed.  We heard Bob come pouncing up the stairs.  He stopped in my doorway. His hair was all puffed out with fear. He looked at Skitter and said, “Meow, me…ow, meo, meo.”

It was so odd, as if the cat was talking, but then what happened next was even more amazing.  Skitter stood up on the end of mattress.  And I swear it sounded like he was asking a question.  “Meow…meo, Meo?”

Then Bob answered.  “Meo, meo!”

Skitter then leapt off the bed and they both went storming down the stairs.  Hubby and I were both dumbfounded.

We got up and went downstairs. There, in our entryway, was a snake.  I swear on my life, Bob ran up those stairs to tell Skitter.   “Hey, there’s one of those squirmy creatures down there.  A snake, yeah it’s called a snake.”

Skitter asked, “Are you sure it’s not a worm.”

Bob answered.  “Oh heck no.  It’s big, I’m scaaaaared!!

So Skitter being the feral, kick-ass cat that he was, jumped up and ran down stairs to take care of it.

15037So while I don’t actually talk to my animals, I’m convinced they talk to each other.  And I love animals.  I think they make us better humans.  In almost every story I write, there’s either a cat or a dog.  In the book that releases in February 2018, there’s a puppy that works his emotionally healing magic on my hero and heroine.  And believe me, in that story there’s a lot of emotional healing to be done.

 

In the story I’m working on now, there’s a cat, Pumpkin.  And let’s just say my heroine, Riley, is a little like Kylie in that she keeps getting visits from dead people.  Poor Pumpkin ends up being a ghost detector.  It’s not a job he signed up for and he’s a little like Bob, always hiding under the bed.

15039In an adult romance, I added a huge junkyard dog that was about as sweet as honey.  Yup, I love using animals to help tell my stories.  So do tell, how does your pet communicate with you or other animals?  One person who leaves a post will win a e-copy of any one of my books. (Sorry but this giveaway is limited to U.S. residents.)

 

Supernaturals, Witches and ESP

I sometimes get asked crazy questions.  And I’m going to post a series of blogs answering them.  Frankly, some of the answers are as crazy as the questions.  So here we go!

Are you a supernatural?

Well, as far as I know, I’m one hundred percent human.  I do not believe in vampires and such.  But witches . . . well, that’s another story.  If you look back at my family history, you might say I have a little witch in me.

When my great-grandmother was young, back in the 1930’s, she was actually called to the hospital to “talk the burn” out of patients who had been burned.

When I was little, my grandmother would sometimes babysit me, I would go to her house and Granny (my great-grandmother), then in her late seventies, lived with her.  People would show up and I was told to stay in living room, but sometimes I would sneak out and see what they were doing that was so secret.  Granny would be reading people’s fortunes.  Using ashes and a coffee cup.  It was sort of scary, and I was totally intrigued.

While I don’t read people’s fortunes.  I do have this crazy kind of ESP.  For example, there was this one time that hubby and I were coming back from a weekend trip.  We were on some backwoods road.  I looked up and saw two planes.  There was something inside of me that said one of those planes was in trouble.  I glanced at my husband and asked, “Is there an airport anywhere around here?”

“No.  Why?” he asked.

“I don’t know,” I told him.  I didn’t want to put words to what I was thinking. Sometimes those crazy feelings scared me.

Well, about twenty minutes later, we came to dead stop.  Traffic was backed up.  Hubby said it had to be a bad accident to have caused such a traffic jam out there in the country.

At the word accident, my heart dropped, and I muttered.  “I hope it’s not a plane crash.”

He looked at me kind of crazy.  “What?”

“Nothing,” I said and looked out the window.

“No, it’s not nothing,” he insisted. “Why would you think that?  You asked if there was an airport.  Why would you ask that?”

“I just . . . I had a feeling.”  I told him about seeing the two planes and thinking one of them was in trouble.

He knows about my crazy feelings.  While he isn’t a real believer, he’s also seen me be right enough times that he doesn’t completely doubt me either.  But that day, I think he thought I was a french fry short of a Happy Meal.

About ten minutes later we came upon the accident. There, on the side of the road, was a small downed plane covered by a big tarp.  There were no survivors.

I will never forget how he looked at me and said, “You scare me.”  I didn’t blame him.  I’d scared myself that day.

Now I don’t go around trying to predict the future. I’ve never read anyone’s fortune or “talked the burn” out of anyone.  I may go months without this crazy thing happening.  And most of the time, it’s not about big things like a plane crash, but about knowing the phone is going to ring.  Or that I should take a certain road because there’s going to be too much traffic.  I can’t explain it.  And to be honest, it still kind of scares me sometimes.

So, I don’t consider myself a supernatural, and I don’t believe in witches and such one hundred percent. But I do believe that some of us have this crazy thing called ESP or what I call “woo-woo.” I’m dyslexic, and I heard once that people with dyslexia have some uncanny intuitiveness.  And yes, that was sort of where the idea of Miranda’s book, Midnight Hour, came from.

And in my next book that I’ll be announcing soon, very soon, there’s a little of this kind of woo-woo.   Look for me to announce the book in the next month or so.

So what about you?  Have you ever experienced a little ESP or woo-woo?  Do you believe?

 

Come back every Tuesday, I’ll be answering more crazy questions.

 

On The Road Again

“Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” – Ibn Battuta

I’m planning some trips. I love traveling. I love seeing new things, new people, learning new customs.  Now, you may think just going to another state can’t translate to new customs, but it does.  Think of cities that have personalities?  New Orleans, San Francisco, Los Angeles.  While the ambiance might be stronger in some cities, all those places have their own feel and are very different.

14955I was just in Washington, D.C. to teach a writing workshop to the Washington, D.C. RWA. I had a great time in our capital city. The cherry blossoms were all in bloom and I met some wonderful people. I even saw some of their famous monuments. And I had a great dinner out with friends.

 

 

 

In May, I’m heading north for the Wisconsin RWA Write Touch Conference, May 19-21st. I’ll be teaching another writer’s workshop: It’s Not Just Adding A Naked Tattooed Guy: Using Humor In Your Writing. So, if you live in the Green Bay area, I hope you’ll attend.

Rotorua-isite-visitor-info-centreBut talking about different cultures and customs, come August I’ll be going a bit further from home—all the way to New Zealand! Yes, I’ll be at the RWNZ Conference, August 18-20th at the Novotel Lakeside Hotel in Rotorua, New Zealand.  I can’t wait to explore the north island of this beautiful country.

Where have you been?  Where are planning to go?  Where would you love to go?