It’s That Time Again

I’ve been sneezing, coughing and my nose is running. No, I don’t have COVID 19. I’ve got seasonal allergies. As most of you know, I live outside of Houston, and this time of year, all of SE Texas has a layer of fine yellow pollen EVERYWHERE! The pollen is so thick that when it rains, there are rivulets of yellow running along the ground. So, March is peak allergy season here.

Did you know that according to the National Institutes of Health, more than half of all Americans have one or more allergies? Fortunately, I don’t have any food allergies (that I know of, thank goodness). Allergies to shellfish, nuts, fish, milk, eggs, and other foods cause an estimated 150 to 200 fatalities a year in the United States. And of course there are the allergies to animals, the most common being to dogs and cats. Again, I’m thanking my lucky stars I don’t suffer from animal allergies. I’ve always had dogs and cats.

I’ve never actually been tested for allergies, but I know there is something every spring that sets me off. And the bad news? As the world gets warmer, allergy seasons lengthen. Researchers report that ragweed pollen season in North America has lengthened since 1965—by 16 days in Minneapolis, for instance.


At least I know that by mid-April, most of what bugs me is gone—until next year.

Do you have any allergies?

Saying Goodbye

Losing a parent is something we all face.  It’s a painful, a personal type of grief, that we must all find a way to internalize and get past the emotionally crippling feeling, and then to live with the emptiness that fills our chest and lives. There is something so hard and lonely about knowing that the person who loved you more than anyone, the person you knew would do anything to protect you, is no longer in this world.  And I don’t think there’s one way, or a right way to deal with that feeling.  Everyone deals with this kind of grief differently.

I recently lost my father, and I’m coping by doing a lot of remembering.  Taking a stroll down memory lane, reliving the good times.  Letting a memory of laughter soothe the ache.  And there was a lot of laughter where my father was concerned.  Like the time we visited a casino when he sat beside me while I played poker slots, and when the option for double or nothing would appear, he’d hit it before I could decline.  I’d say, “Why did you do that?”


He’d laugh and say, “Look, I just won you twenty dollars, and when I didn’t win he’d blame it on me for not holding my mouth right, or because I didn’t curl my toes.  Before long, we had attracted a huge crowd all laughing with us, waiting to hear what crazy thing Dad would say next.  It was an example of how people love to be around happy people and laughter.


I will never forget the time he had open heart surgery, and I stayed to take care of him for two weeks.  He had a heart a shaped pillow and he would have me come close, he’d put the pillow on his chest and I would press against him so he could cough.  This one time he sat on the edge of the sofa, I stood right in front of him.  He had it bad and for several minutes, coughing and dealing with the pain that came with it.  I had tears in my eyes, knowing he was hurting.  I would lean my head down and say over and over again, “I’m sorry, Dad.  I’m sorry.”

He managed to say, “Christie, I need to tell you something.”


“It’s . . . hard to say.”

My chest filled with emotion so tight that it hurt, I waited for him to tell me how much he appreciated that I was there.  How much he loved me.  Then in a raspy voice, he finally got the words out.  “You need a breath mint.”

I burst out laughing.  He started laughing, and that hurt him even more, so he told me to leave the room.  “Now.  Get out.  Leave.”  When I walked back in, he’d take one look at me and start laughing again.  I spent the next few hours going in and out of the room.

When he was in the hospital once, he told me in his deep tone, “You have to be a real man to deal with this kind of pain.”  Then he cut his twinkling blue eyes up at me and said, “I’m not a real man.”

We laughed our way through heart surgeries, knee surgeries, lung surgeries, and the time he almost took his leg off with a saw.  The time he fell off a ladder.  There was the time he got shot in the stomach with a nail gun.  Someone once accused him of doing things just to get to me to come to Alabama to visit.

I loved that man. And even more importantly I knew I was loved.

But in between smiling at those memories, I will have those brief moments, sometimes only seconds when I forget he’s gone and I think of him as still here, still alive.  I want to tell him something, call to check and see if how he’s feeling, but when I remember he’s gone, I tear up and feel that wave of emotion that I thought I’d moved past.

I know it’s going to take time.  It’s a process.  It’s a part of life.  A universal feeling that most all of us must face.

I looked up quotes and inspirational saying about grief, and I keep them close by to read.  Below are a few that have touched me the most.

Those we love never truly leave us.  There are things that death cannot touch.  — Jack Thorne, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – Parts One and Two

“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”    Dr. Seuss

“Remember that people are only guests in your story—the same way you are only a guests in theirs—so make sure the chapters are worth reading.”  ― Lauren Klarfeld





Binge Watching, Binge Reading

Recently, hubby and I have been binge watching some series on Netflix and Prime.  For some reason, we’ve been doing a lot of British shows. We’ve finished D.C. I. Banks, then we went to Happy Valley and we are now watching Last Tango in Halifax.   I’m afraid I might slip up soon and use the word bloody, when I’m upset at something.

It occurred to me that binge watching is sort of like reading in that you don’t have to wait a week or longer to read another chapter.  I think we just follow stories better when we don’t have a week between episodes.

But that isn’t true when we refer to book series.  And yes, I got plenty of pissy emails saying I left a reader hanging and now they have to wait until the next book.

I won’t deny that as a reader, I want to be able to grab the next book right away—especially if there’s a hook at the end.  And when I have to wait, I’m biting my nails.  And yes, as a writer, I use hooks at the end of my books in series.  It’s part of good storytelling, leaving a reader, or viewer, hanging on, feeling just a little desperate for the rest of the story.

To be honest, if there isn’t a hook, I might very well finish the book and grab a different series.  A friend of mine was just talking about a series she’s binge watching and she said, “I may watch the first season and then move to something else.”  And having watched that series, I can tell you there isn’t a hook at the end.  So it might be easy for her to do that. As an author, that isn’t what I want.  I want the reader to be chomping at the bit for the next book.  And the way to do that is to leave them with some questions.  But I also know waiting is hard.

I know a lot of readers who wait until a series is finished before starting it.  And recently, I’m hearing about a lot of Indie writers who are actually finishing a series before putting it up.  Then releasing each book in the series a week or two apart.  As a reader, is that what you would prefer? Or don’t you mind if one book from a series is released every year?

Do you binge watch shows?  What shows are you watching now?

Happy Reading!


I’m not talking about the dark.  Or spiders.  I’m talking about the Coronavirus.  I don’t consider myself a person who panics.  I haven’t ordered any masks.  I’m not staying at home yet.  But I have bought a few extra canned food items.  And sadly, I have had to cancel my trip to ApollyCon, because my hubby, a transplant patient, has such a low immune system. His doctors are advising that he avoid events with large crowds, and traveling, for a while.  Because I live with him, they recommend the same for me.

When I stop and think about the worst-case scenario, and yes, as a writer my mind goes there, it’s scary.  But as my mind creates this scenario, the writer in me starts plotting a book.  Sort of a dystopian world where groups of people barricade themselves off from the rest of world.  Who knows the idea may actually draw a book out of me.

However, because I’m generally a positive person, I haven’t let the fear consume me in my day to day life yet.  Does it worry me? Yes.  And I do watch the news and my heart hurts for the countries where it’s much more serious.  My mom lives in California and I worry that there may be a larger outbreak there.

A friend of mine reported that two people in the grocery store were wearing masks.  I know someone who has ordered masks and someone else who made a huge grocery store purchase just in case.  I’m not saying these people are overreacting. I’m just in wait and see mode—cautious, but not completely alarmed yet.  That said, I know everyone reacts differently to the news.  For some people, buying the masks and stocking up on food is a way to deal with the stress.  And I wouldn’t judge them for doing it.

How are you reacting to the news?  Are you nervous?  How are you coping?  I have started a new book, I think reading and slipping into a different world is a great way of coping with the added stress.

Museum Madness

March 26-29 I’ll be in Washington D.C. for ApollyCon. ApollyCon is annual, multi-day reader event featuring Young Adult, New Adult, and Adult authors, panel programming, and social events, owned by #1 New York Times & Internationally Best-selling author, Jennifer L. Armentrout. This will be my first time, and I’m really excited. I’m particularly looking forward to the HUGE 3 hour long book signing with so many great authors(check out the lineup HERE). As I’ve said before, I love meeting my fans and I’ll have ample opportunity to hang out with my readers at this conference.

Another reason I’m excited about my trip? Washington D.C. has the Smithsonian Institute with over 11 museums. I particularly love the Natural History Museum and the Air and Space Museum. I’d love to visit the new National Museum of African American History and Culture, too. I’ve heard really wonderful things about it. Hopefully, I’ll have time to also see the International Spy Museum. I bet that’s interesting. I like museums that are a little weird or quirky. Don’t you? Did you know there are two Museums of Death? One in Hollywood and one in New Orleans. I’ve always wanted to visit the Mutter Museum in Philadelphia. It’s a museum of medical history is filled with creepy body parts, anatomical specimens, and skulls. Yup, there are a lot of weird museums out there. There’s even a Museum of Bad Art in Massachusetts, Toilet Seat Museum in San Antonio and Museum of Funeral History right here in Houston (and it’s actually really interesting).

Have you been to any weird museums? What is your favorite museum (weird or otherwise)?

Winter Isn’t Coming, It’s Here!

It’s February, so most of the U.S. is pretty chilly. Even S.E. Texas, where I live is nippy in the morning and evenings. I’ve turned on my little heater under my desk that keeps my feet warm while I write. I bundle up when I walk in the mornings. So, I was thinking about ways to stay warm and beat the cold. So, I did a little research online. If you live in a cold climate, you’ve probably already tried a lot of these already, but I thought I’d share them anyway

  • Bundle up, layers are best. It’s easier to regulate body heat than turning up the thermostat.
  • Turn on your ceiling fan. Warm air rises to the ceiling. Run your fan on its lowest setting in a clockwise direction to push the warm air back down to where you can feel it.
  • Switch between hot and cold in the shower. Hot showers immediately warm you up, but cold showers improve blood circulation between your skin and organs.
  • Replace thin curtains with heavier wool or fleece drapes in the winter. But be sure to open them on sunny days for free heat.
  • Bake! Using your oven heats up the whole house. You’ll feel even cozier if you invite friends—and all their body heat—over to eat four dozen cookies.
  • Use a humidifier. Make your home feel warmer in the winter by using a humidifier to add moisture back into the air. It also helps keep winter skin soft and moisturized all season long.
  • Curl up with a good book (like Don’t Breathe a Word), a fuzzy throw and a hot cup of tea or coffee.
  • Or you can disregard all of the above if you cuddle with a smokin’ hot guy.

How are you staying warm this winter?


Romance is in the Air

This is Valentine’s week, and Valentine’s Day is thought of as the most romantic day of the year. Now romance means different things to different people. Some find roses and chocolates romantic. Others enjoy a romantic getaway to a B & B. If you have young children, you may prefer an evening away from the kids. But based on books and movies, I think we can agree on a few generalities.

I write about romance. In my Christie Craig romantic suspense books, I put in a lot of romance. In my C.C. Hunter YA books, I tone it down a bit, but it’s definitely always there.

This is one of my favorite romantic moments from Don’t Breathe a Word, the second book in my Texas Justice series.

Juan returned with Sweetie in his backyard and Vicki called the dog.  The dog barked and mere seconds later she ducked under some fencing and raced at her.  Almost immediately, she heard her gate open and glanced back. Juan walking toward her, wore a navy T-shirt just snug enough to showcase his hard chest, flat stomach, and tight muscles.

Holding two cups of coffee, he smiled and kept coming.  His gait was slow. Sexy. Steam lifted from the cups, but she wasn’t sure which was hotter, the coffee, or the man. He looked a little morning mussed, still slightly sleepy as if he just rolled out of bed.

She missed waking up with someone. Missed sleeping with someone. Not just the sex, but the company. That first early morning look at someone when nothing is between you and him but a smile, the sheets, and a promise of new day.

She and Dan had stayed at each other’s place at least three times a week. Knowing that someone had taken her place stung. But not as much as it should have. Maybe it’d have changed into something deeper. As crazy as it felt, she mourned not so much what they had, but what she’d hoped it would’ve become. Her relationship with Dan had been comfortable, because they’d known each other so well.

But Juan was different. She barely knew this guy. And yet somehow she did. She knew he’d lost a wife he loved. She’d seen the remnants of grief in his eyes. She knew his heart was big enough, soft enough to love a fluffy and frilly dog. And she knew he bolted over her fence that first night to protect her for no reason other than it was the right thing to do.

 “Hope it has enough cream.” His hand brushed hers as she pulled away.

“I’m sure it’s fine,” she said, again feeling the tingle of his touch. “So you saw where she got through?”

“Yeah. She’s turning into a regular little escape artist.”  He walked over to the fence with Sweetie at his heels, prancing as if proud of her accomplishment.

“You were a bad dog,” he told her, but the scolding came with a scratch behind her ears.

“Seriously, she wasn’t doing this until you guys moved in. I’ll fill it.”  He felt around on the ground. “I might have to come over here and fill it on this side as well.” 

He stood up, and she was aware of how she felt small beside him. Most of the time, she disliked that feeling. But Juan’s size didn’t intimidate her. He made her feel feminine. Aware of all the differences in a man and a woman.

“Sure. Just let me know.”

“Oh, I will.”  He smiled as if teasing her about their first meeting. “I’m a quick learner.” 

She remembered the novel she’d been reading. The shared smiles, whispered secrets, soft kisses, and. . . Stop.

She’d thought reading about romance would have satisfied her craving for intimacy, but instead it just made her hungrier. Maybe she should go back to boring biographies.

She sipped the coffee and moaned. “This is good.”

“I’m not much of a wine connoisseur, but I know good coffee.”

“You used real cream, didn’t you?”

“Of course. That’s the way I drink it. But don’t kid yourself. It’s the coffee that’s special.” His gaze fell on her.

When he lifted his cup to his lips, she noticed the bandage on his hand. “What happened?”

He looked down. “Just work.”

“Tell me you didn’t get shot?”

He grinned. “No.”


“Not nearly as exciting. There was a scuffle is all.” 

“Stiches?” She made a face as if she felt his pain.

“A few.”

“What kind of police are you?” A little voice inside her said asking questions could lead to questions, but with the butterflies in her stomach fluttering, talking calmed her nerves.

“Detective. I work in the cold case unit.”

She lifted a brow. “You’re one of the three musketeers?”

His forehead wrinkled. “You’ve heard of us?”

“When I first moved here there was some news coverage on the case you guys had just solved.”

“Yeah.” He sounded sheepish.

“You say that like it’s a bad thing.”

He brought his mug up for another sip, before speaking. “We’re trying to do our job. The press gets in the way most of the time.”

“Did you catch the man last night? Did you solve the case?” She was worried she sounded overly inquisitive, but she was genuinely interested in hearing more about his work. And maybe if she kept asking him questions, he wouldn’t have time to ask her any.

“We caught the guy, but no. The case is still open. We just picked up a piece of the puzzle and are still trying to figure out if it fits.”

“So being a cop is about putting puzzles together?”

“Yeah. In some ways.”

 Did he see her as a puzzle?  She sure as hell hoped not. She sipped the coffee again. The dark roast flavor lingered on her tongue. It was better than the fancy coffee that she used to buy when money wasn’t an issue. One of the luxuries she’d given up when she walked away from her life. “So what kind of coffee is this?”

He smiled. “I order it online. Grind the beans myself.”

“You have good taste.”

“I know what I like.”  Innuendo flavored his tone.

He was flirting. She tried hard not to enjoy it, not to let the perceived compliment slide like a warm touch over soft places. But it did feel that way.

She held the cup closer, trying to rein in the conversation and her emotions. “There was just a story on the news about specialty coffees. One about a coffee bean that is processed after being digested by some Asian cat-like creature.”

He lifted a brow and stared at her over the rim of his cup. “You mean, Kopi Luwak coffee?  The beans are fed to an Asian palm civet. And yes, it does kind of look like a cat.”

“This isn’t. . .?” 

His brow stayed raised.

“Seriously?”  She handed him his cup back.

He laughed. The sound, pure tease, came out deep, masculine, hypnotic, and rusty. Why did she think it had been a while since he laughed?  His dark eyes brightened with humor. “No. It’s Four Barrel. But I saw the same show. I would never drink anything that came out of the rear end of a cat-like creature.” His smile tightened his eyes. “I’m definitely more of a dog person.”

She laughed and realized she hadn’t laughed like this in a long time either. It felt good.

Right then a light hiss filled the air. Before she realized what it was, the sprinkler system sprayed her from behind. The cold spritz hit her legs. Releasing a squeal, she jumped out of the way. Right as she danced to the right she saw him catch the spray directly in his face.

He darted to the side. They collided. The coffee in her cup splashed out and just like the wine from a couple of nights ago, it found its way to his shirt.

She bit down on her lip and tried not to laugh. But as she lifted her eyes, the sound escaped.

Water dripped from a dark strip of hair hanging down his brow.

“First wine and now coffee. Sorry.”

It wasn’t until she breathed and she felt her breasts against his chest did she realize how close they stood. It wasn’t until she saw his lips that she realized how badly she wanted to be kissed. It wasn’t until he dipped his head that she realized it was actually going to happen.

She knew this could only lead to trouble, but found herself leaning into him anyway. His lips tasted like the coffee, and his tongue, warm from the brew, swept across her bottom lip. For one second, two, maybe even three she kissed him right back. She wanted it.

Every time I read that scene I get butterflies in my stomach, and I remember that falling in love feeling. That feeling when you’re unsure, but you know there’s a major attraction going on. I like to think I help my readers relive those moments in my books.

So this Valentine’s Day, don’t worry if you don’t have plans. Just find yourself a good, romantic book—and fall in love.

What’s your idea of a romantic evening?


Happy Chinese New Year!

Yes, according to the Chinese Zodiac, 2020 is a year of the Rat, starting from January 25th 2020 and ending on February 11th 2021. What does that mean? The Year of the Rat is the first zodiac sign in the Chinese zodiac cycle. According to the Chinese zodiac story, in the competition held by the Jade Emperor to decide the zodiac animals, the quick-witted rat asked the diligent ox to take him on a ride to cross the river and jumped down before the ox crossed the finish line, so the rat won the race and became the first of the zodiac animals.

The 12 zodiac animals are, in order: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig. A Rat year occurs every 12 years. And like the astrological zodiac signs (Libra, Cancer, Leo, etc.), there are attributes associated with each animal, traits you would supposedly have if you were born that year.

Rats are quick-witted, resourceful, and smart, but lack courage. With rich imaginations and sharp observations, they can take advantage of various opportunities well. In Chinese culture, rats represent working diligently and thriftiness, so people born in a Rat year are thought to be wealthy and prosperous.

And guess what? I’m a rat. Yup, but I like to think of myself as courageous. And I will say, I am observant and use those observations in my writing. I don’t really believe in all that, but it’s fun.

What are you in the Chinese Zodiac? You can find out HERE.

What is Lady?

Last week I asked you to guess at the DNA results for my dog, Lady. There wer some great guesses, but the is actually:

19.8% American Pit Bull Terrier
18.6% Beagle
17.6% Chow Chow
10.5% Australian Cattle Dog
7.6% Border Collie
5.7% Rottweiler
5.0% American Eskimo
15.2% Supermutt


The winner of my giveaway is Jordan Stewart. Congratulations! You have won a C.C. Hunter t-shirt and a dog toy. Please email me at and give me your mailing address and your t-shirt size.


What is Jenny?

Last week I posted a photo of my daughter’s dog, Jenny,  and asked you to guess what kind of dog she was.  We had her DNA tested and this is the result.

Jenny is:

25% Beagle

25% Boston Terrier

12.5% American Staffordshire Terrier (Which is pit bull)

37.5% Breed Group of Sporting and Hound dog


I was a little shocked, but I will tell you that I was really shocked when I got Lady’s DNA back.  Here’s a picture of lady.  (Post Lady picture)

Hubby met Lady at a junkyard when she came up and rolled over at his feet. The junkyard owner asked hubby if he wanted a dog and said something along the lines of, “If not, I’ve got to do something with her.”  He said she was a stray and it sounded like he might hurt her.  So hubby came home with a dog and an old Ranchero.

The vet said she would have died in a week.  She was a very sick girl.  We are talking over two thousand dollars in vet bills the first few months.  But she was worth every penny.

She’s very smart.  She is meek and sweet to friends we have over to the house.  But if a stranger, like a contractor comes in, she’s not so sweet. She can be very protective. If a stranger comes in and gets too close to me, she will get behind them and nip at their ankles or calves. She’s not too keen on other dogs.  She has lots of dog friends, but strange dogs, may get nipped at if they come and try to smell her backside.  I don’t blame her. If someone tried to smell mine…

So…what is she?  They also included pictures of other dogs with similar DNA for us to see—dogs that looked so much like Lady that we were stunned.



So what type of dog do you think Lady and these other similar dogs are?








Leave a comment and I will send one person a C.C. Hunter T-shirt and a dog toy.  (Sorry, this giveaway is for U.S. residents only. If you’re reading this on Goodreads, you must post on my blog page to enter.)


So last week, I asked you to guess what Jenny was. This winner of my giveaway is Amanda H. Congratulations! You’ve won a signed copy of Don’t Breathe a Word and a dog toy. Please email your postal address to, and I’ll send you your prize.

What Am I?

Well many of you know that I had my DNA checked a couple of years back and what a trip it was discovering what I am.  Most of us have this curiosity, a need to know, a need to understand what makes us who we are and where we came from.

Can I say that the same goes for our pets?  I get stopped and asked what kind of dog Lady is all the time.  And when I learned that they have a DNA test for dogs, well, I was all over that. I hinted at possibly getting this for a Christmas gift. My daughter, who also wanted one for her dog, put it on her wish list as well.  So, my son and his girlfriend got me one for Christmas.  I haven’t gotten the results yet, but I can’t wait! My daughter’s husband and her daughter also bought one for my daughter, and she already got hers back.  So today, I want to introduce you to Jenny.

A shelter rescue, they got her when she was eight weeks old.  I’ve always thought Jenny, was part whippet, mainly because of her body shape and spindly legs. The shelter claimed she was part Beagle and part Boxer.  I never saw any beagle in the animal.  Boxer, maybe.

She’s almost two years old now.  She stands about twenty inches at the shoulders and weighs forty pounds.  Now personality wise—because I believe certain breads do have personality tendencies—that dog is a bit neurotic.  Okay, I’m lying, she’s really neurotic.  Like don’t ever leave me alone neurotic.  Like if you do leave me, something is gonna get chewed up neurotic.  Like if you are sitting, she’s in your lap neurotic. It doesn’t matter if she’s too big because she’ll find a way to fit—and granted she can curl up into a tiny ball. Not that she really fits, but that’s beside the point.  She sees herself as a small lap dog, and don’t you try to tell her otherwise. In fact, she’s the kind of dog that can’t get too close.  Have you ever met a dog who tries to crawl into your armpit? Well, that’s Jenny. And can you tell she’s a boney little canine.  That girl has sharp bones.  Try sleeping with her, ouch!  Yes, she comes and stays at my house once or twice a year.

But did I tell you she’s also sweet?  Yup, she’s a lover.  She has a tongue like a lizard and loves to French kiss.

So my daughter got Jenny’s DNA back.  What do you think she is?

Try to guess what she is and one person who leaves a post will get a doggie toy and a signed print copy of Don’t Breathe a Word. (This giveaway is limited to U.S. residents only.)

Next week, I hope to have Lady’s DNA back and I’ll blog about her.  What can I say, I love those puppies!