To Gift Card or Not to Gift Card

This is the question that I think so many of us are debating this holiday season.  Just the other day, I was walking behind two women and they were talking.  And yeah, you know me, I eavesdrop.  One of them said, “This year we are doing the $25 Christmas gift card exchange.” The idea of just trading cards didn’t thrill me.  It’s like pulling $25 out of your purse and exchanging bills. Maybe the fact that it’s from a certain store might be the surprise, but . . . uh, no.  It didn’t feel festive.

Don’t get me wrong, I see the pros and cons of a gift card.  And I’ll admit, I’m about to go shopping for cards myself.  But have you ever given someone a surprise gift that was just so darn perfect?  I mean, something that they really wanted, but either didn’t know they wanted it, or had forgotten they wanted it?  Or didn’t think anyone would get it for them.  Something that is so perfect that their expression is worth ten times more than you paid for the gift.  I love giving those kinds of gifts.  It just warms my heart and makes the hours I spent fighting the scrooges at the mall so worth it.

Ahh, but have you ever had to buy a gift for someone, and you didn’t have a clue what to get?  I mean, they are very selective—yes, that’s a nice way to say picky, but that’s not really a bad thing. But you know where they love to shop. So you get them a gift card from there. Is that so wrong?  No?  Maybe? I mean, isn’t it better than getting someone something that they won’t use or don’t like.  Or even worse, will use as a white elephant gift next year.  I’ve gotten a few of those.

And how many gift cards have you gotten that you didn’t use?  Sadly, I have a few.

But if you ask someone what they want and they say… “Oh, I love shopping at Marshalls. Or I need t-shirts and I usually get them at Target.”  And yes, there are people who love shopping.  Shopping is part of the gift.  My daughter always plans a day after the holidays where she will head out with all the gift cards she received and shops till she drops.  And my granddaughter has decided she likes that, too.  It’s a ritual. Their thing.  So is it so wrong to get them what they want?  I don’t think so. And frankly, if I had something in mind that I want from a certain store, I’d like getting a gift card from that store.

But here’s the little issue.  I don’t want to just give them cards.  No, I need something to go along with the card.  In the Craig house, we give lots of little gifts, some are gag gifts, some aren’t.  But now these gifts can’t be pricey, or it takes away from the value of the gift card.  So, the whole gift-card giving makes the holiday season easy, doesn’t pan out.  No, it makes it a bit harder, because now the gifts have price limits, making it more challenging.

So I give gift cards, but I don’t just do gift cards. What about you?  Do you do them?  Do you like giving them?  Like getting them?  Do you feel it’s taken some of the gift-giving joy out of the season?  Do you think Scrooge invented them?

Giveaway at C.C. Hunter!

I’m giving away a C.C. Hunter t-shirt on my C.C. Hunter blog this week. Pop over and enter: http://cchunterbooks.com/blog/.

 

Happy December!

Let the frantic holiday season begin! Yes, it’s time to search for the perfect gift for Aunt Beth, unless you are planning on giving her another fruit cake—that she might turn around and give back you next Christmas.  Then you need research for the “hottest toy” this Christmas for your child, or niece or nephew. Don’t forget to bake Christmas cookies and pastries. It’s also time to put up all those Christmas decorations.

Now, we put up decorations, but we don’t go crazy like some of the displays you see on TV and YouTube.  A couple of years ago, I bought one of those light display things that had lights dancing on my house. I also pull out my sixteen-foot tall Christmas tree, and it takes a ladder and several people to decorate.  Then I have some holiday knickknacks that I put out through the house.

So you know it’s Christmas at my house, but I’m not the one where the neighbors complain because of all the traffic the Christmas spectacular brings. But I do appreciate the effort that goes into one of these displays. So I wanted to share some of the best ones I found, but be sure your speakers are on. Then be sure to tell me which one is your favorite?

Trista Lights

Musical Instruments

Amazing Grace

Pirates of the Caribbean

I hope you all are having a good time getting ready for the holidays.  If nothing else, grab a book with a holiday theme (like The Cop Who Stole Christmas), a cup of hot chocolate, and enjoy the season.

And don’t forget to snag a copy of my latest romantic suspense, Don’t Breathe a Word, today! Get it at Goodreads, IndieBound, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books and Amazon.

 

Special Guest: April Hunt

First of all, Happy Thanksgiving! I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving surrounded by family (the ones you want to see).

Now I have a special treat for you. Fabulous author April Hunt is my guest today. She and I not only share a love of writing, but we also share a love for chocolate. April was lucky enough to grow up near Hershey, PA. (you know,  where the chocolate is made), but she now lives in Virginia.  She loves writing about sexy Alpha men—and women. Her novella Hot Target is included in my romantic suspense Don’t Breathe a Word (11/4/19).

Happy release day, April. Yes, her romantic suspense Lethal Redemption (Steel Ops, book 2) releases today with a special bonus novel: Extreme Honor by Piper J. Drake! That’s right, not only do you get Lethal Redemption, an edge of you seat thrilling read, you also get Piper’s novel about honor, loyalty, love and a dog in need of healing.

 

April Hunt “will keep you on the edge of your seat” (Lori Foster, New York Times bestselling author) in this heart-pounding new romantic suspense.
Top FBI profiler Grace Steele was just a girl when she escaped the Order of the New Dawn, and she’s spent the last seventeen years trying to forget her time there. But when private security firm Steele Ops needs her help extracting a young woman from the secretive cult’s clutches, she’s all in. Even though the mission requires posing as the fiancée of the only man who’s ever broken her heart.

It’s been nine years since Cade Wright turned his back on his childhood sweetheart, and he’s never stopped regretting it. Now that they’re forced to work together, he knows this is his opportunity to show Grace how much he’s changed. But the deeper they get pulled into New Dawn, the clearer it becomes that the demons still haunting Grace are very real, and Cade will have to risk everything to keep her safe . . . including his own life.

Includes the bonus novel Extreme Honor by Piper J. Drake!

 

April agreed to answer a few of my questions:

  1. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

I started out by reading—anything and everything I could get my hands on. Some kids used their allowance money for candy, or the latest cool shoes. I, on the other hand, horded it until I could finally convince my mother to take me to Walden Books. And even as a young girl / pre teen, I migrated toward books with romance. But I was picky. I knew what I liked, and if I couldn’t find it on the shelf, I started writing my own. Like chocolate, writing happily ever afters is very addictive, and I’m still doing it many, many years later…except now I get to see my own stories on the shelf.

  1. What’s your writing ritual like? Do you listen to music? Work at home or at a coffee shop or the library, etc?

I have an office, but I usually only use it if I’m under a SUPER tight deadline, and usually park myself on the left side of the couch. (The hubby owns the right side, lol).Most of my work happens when everyone is either out of the house, or in bed. I’m a late night writer. No 5 AM wake ups for this girl, lol.

  1. Do you plot out your stories or do you just sit and write and see where it takes you?

I’m a half-reformed pantser if that makes sense. I usually make sure I have the basic foundation for my characters and their motivations, and of course, a plot, and then I bring up a blank doc and see what happens. Sometimes it works, sometimes my delete key gets one heck of a work out. But whether I really plot ahead of time, or pants-it, the characters always let me know that they have minds of their own.

  1. You write a lot about ex military in your books. Do you have a connection to the military?

My father was in the US Navy, and I spent most of my life living a pebble’s throw away from a military base. And let me tell you, those base MP’s are NO JOKE. They actually gave me my very first speeding ticket.

  1. You’ve written several books where the main protagonist is a kick-ass woman. Someone who does a job traditionally belonging to a man. I love it! Which is easier to write alpha males or alpha females?

I love alpha heroes, all the brooding and protectiveness, but I HAVE to pair them with women who they don’t need to protect. All my heroines can hold their own—in life and with the men who want to win them over. I don’t know that one is easier to write than the other, but I have to say that my current secret project has even more kick-ass women and it’s the most fun I’ve had writing in ages.

  1. Hot Target is a bonus novella in Don’t Breathe a Word, my romantic suspense out Nov. 5th. What do you like best about this book?

Hot Target almost didn’t happen, but my publisher saw that people were begging for Logan’s story. He’d been a key character from my very first book baby, Heated Pursuit, and the flirty, somewhat dorky, cowboy who never really took life seriously. I loved showing people that despite Logan’s laid back, and somewhat sexually suggestive T shirts, there was a deeper, slightly darker side. Sometimes people wear masks to hide pain, and that Logan had gotten really good at it. He just needed the right woman to show him that it was okay to remove that mask.

  1. What’s next for you?

Lethal Redemption (book 2 in my Steele Ops series) comes out November 26th with Fatal Deception (book 3) out spring 2020. I’m currently working on a super secret project that I can’t yet discuss, but just know that there will more kick-ass heroines coming your way soon. 😉

Get your copy of Lethal Redemption and Extreme Honor now at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads, Kobo, Apple Books, Google Play, Ebooks.com and Forever Books.

 

And get don’t for get to snag a copy of my latest romantic suspense Don’t Close Your Eyes and get April’s novella Hot Target for free. Order now at Amazon, IndieBound, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads Kobo, Apple Books. Ebooks.com and Forever Books.

Oh, The Seasons…

I love this time of year when the leaves change and there is a crisp chill in the air. It’s a time of transition, when we shift from the hot Texas summers where we go tubing down a river, or just watching my dog try to catch the water as it squirts out of the hose, to the cold darker winters when we grab a blanket and sip from cup of hot chocolate.  But between summer and winter is fall, when everything is alive with color: reds, golds and oranges. Only followed by the cold darker days of winter.  But that too passes and we move into spring when everything feels brand new and the blue bonnets and Indian paintbrushes speckle ours roadsides.

Like our world, life has seasons.  We move from being a child, to being a teen, to being an adult.  From being single to being in a relationship.  From being footloose and fancy free to being a parent with responsibilities.  From being newlyweds to celebrating thirty-five years of marriage.  We move from having full nests to being empty nesters.  We move from being someone’s child, to being that person’s caretaker.

Oh, the seasons of our lives.  They each bring with it some beauty, each offering different perspectives and changes.  Some inspire us, some humble us.  Some require us to hang on to things so tightly, others require us to let go.  And while some of the changes are welcomed, soul freeing and make us want to dance with joy, other’s can break our hearts.

When I encounter some of the heartbreak, I try to look back on other seasons where I struggled. Like the full nest season to being an empty nester.  Oh, that hurt.  Then one of my darling children moved back home for a while and…  Oh, that hurt!

I look back on some of the seasons that were hard, and I find hope in that I survived. So I guess even during the seasons that bring heartbreak, we need to be there, to be present, to be counted, to be countable. I’m trying to remember this as I deal with my father’s declining health.  I try to remember to enjoy even some of the difficult times, because the next season may be one in which he is not here.  I try to remember to hold tight for now, because soon I’ll be letting go.

I try to remember after this, there will be another season.

DON’T BREATHE A WORD SALE ENDING SOON!

Hurry! Download your copy of Don’t Breathe a Word for only $2.99! “Romantic suspense fans will mark this as a series to watch.” –Publishers Weekly

Goodreads: http://bit.ly/DontBreatheaWordGR
IndieBound: http://bit.ly/dontbreatheawordIB
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/dontbreatheawordBN
Apple Books: http://bit.ly/dontbreatheawordAB
Amazon: http://bit.ly/DontBreatheAWordAMZ

Forever book link: http://bit.ly/DontBreatheaWordForever

What Are You Watching?

There is an abundance of new shows out this month and I, for one, am paying attention.  You know I’m working on a book and I work around ten hours a day, but when I move out of my office, I usually either whip up some dinner or order in and watch a few shows.

Here are the show I’m watching:

Emergence

It’s what I would call a speculative fiction.  A young girl survives a plane crash unharmed.  But overtime we see she has powers.  A detective ends up taking her in and trying to protect her from the unknown.  But the question becomes do they need protecting from the child?

Evil

Now can I say I watch this one with one eye closed?  It’s spooky.  A young mother, with three girls, who does not believe in demons and such, is hired to work with a group of religious investigators.  Basically, she tries to disprove that demons, ghosts and other creepy things don’t exist.  But let me tell you, there’s a lot to disprove.  It’s scary, it’s really creepy.  But I kind of like it.

Stumptown

I love this one guys!  It’s a lot like my humorous romantic suspense novels.  A sassy, kick butt army veteran becomes a private investigator who stands up for the underdog.  She’s flawed, so very flawed, but you have to love her as she always sets out to protect someone who deserves protecting.  And she finds herself up to her eyebrows in trouble fighting bad guys.

All Rise

This one is a legal show about a new judge who is determined to make her court fair to those who are not getting justice.  She’s creative, she’s got guts.  She’s the kind of judge we would all love to think wears a robe and determines what’s right and wrong in courts.

Bluff City Law

Jimmy Smit and his daughter are lawyers with a tumultuous relationship who take on the injustice of the world one client at a time.  It’s largely a family drama with characters who fight for the underdogs.

As I’m writing the descriptions of what I’m watching, I realize how close my interest in shows is to the plots I choose to write.  Paranormal elements, ghosts, sassy characters, underdogs that need championing, and a touch of danger and suspense.

In Don’t Breathe a Word, there are for sure several underdogs.  There is injustice that people are trying to rectify.  There are threads of past family drama and how it effects characters years after the fact.  The sass level is pretty high.

In my C.C. Hunter Mortician’s Daughter series you totally get the paranormal element.  Poor Riley is faced with spirits left and right.  However, you still have the underdogs, and you get the sass.  If not from Riley, then from Kelsey.  That girl calls it like she sees it.

So what are you watching?  Are you watching any of the shows I mentioned? Do the shows you watch on television fall in line with the types of books you read?

DON’T BREATHE A WORD

Hurry! Download your copy of Don’t Breathe a Word for only $2.99! “Romantic suspense fans will mark this as a series to watch.” –Publishers Weekly

Goodreads: http://bit.ly/DontBreatheaWordGR
IndieBound: http://bit.ly/dontbreatheawordIB
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/dontbreatheawordBN
Apple Books: http://bit.ly/dontbreatheawordAB
Amazon: http://bit.ly/DontBreatheAWordAMZ

Forever book link: http://bit.ly/DontBreatheaWordForever

 

ONE FOOT IN THE GRAVE

The first book in my C.C. Hunter YA Mortician’s Daughter series, One Foot in the Grave, is on sale for only .99 cents! But Hurry, this sale won’t last long! “This series is the perfect blend of eerie paranormal action, drama and plenty of will-they-won’t-they scenarios with to-die-for crushes.” —RT Book Reviews

Amazon: https://cutt.ly/HekmFYM

Goodreads: https://cutt.ly/NeUPAcx

Kobo: https://cutt.ly/seUPZQy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t Breathe a Word is Here!!!!

I’m doing my happy dance today. Why? It’s release day for Don’t Breathe a Word, book 2 in my Texas Justice series. And I can’t wait for you to read all about Juan and Vicki. I know you’re gonna love them as much as I do.

And there’s a lot you’ll learn in Don’t Breathe a Word:

  • Frozen hearts can thaw.
  • Pink toenails can make a guy get all hot and bothered.
  • Scars on the inside take a lot longer to heal than scars on the outside
  • A secure guy isn’t afraid to own cute, little poodle named Sweetie.
  • If you want something to remain secret, don’t tell a child.
  • Don’t try to keep a lie from a detective. They uncover lies for a living.
  • Not everyone is looking for the same thing.
  • You have to trust and confide in someone, otherwise you’re truly alone.
  • How a man takes care of you when you’re sick tells you a lot about his character.
  • The love of a child can melt parts of your heart you didn’t know were frozen.

 

New York Times bestselling author Christie Craig returns with her next heart-stopping romantic suspense about a woman on the run and the man trying to uncover her secrets.
Police detective Juan Acosta doesn’t only carry scars on the outside. He’s filled with guilt and anger ever since his undercover job led to the murder of those he loved the most. Now he’s living for one thing: revenge. That is, until Juan meets his beautiful new neighbor.
Vicki Holloway prides herself on being capable and independent, but her life is turned upside down when her sister Sara is killed by an abusive ex. Fearing for the safety of her niece, Vicki and the little girl go into hiding…resurfacing in Texas with new identities.
Juan finds his once-frozen heart thawing around Vicki, but he knows she’s hiding something. Juan needs answers, but Vicki isn’t talking. She has to keep her secrets if she wants to keep Bell safe, which means resisting her growing feelings for the sexy, scarred man next door. But when Juan’s quest for justice brings danger to her door, divulging the truth might be the only thing that keeps her alive.
Includes the bonus novella “Hot Target” by April Hunt!

So, don’t forget to snag a copy of Don’t Breathe a Word today!

Goodreads: http://bit.ly/DontBreatheaWordGR

IndieBound:http://bit.ly/dontbreatheawordIB

Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/dontbreatheawordBN

Apple Books: http://bit.ly/dontbreatheawordAB

Amazon: http://bit.ly/DontBreatheAWordAMZ

Winner!!!

A big thank you to everyone that preordered Don’t Breathe a Word and entered my preorder contest. The winner is Melanie Higgins! Congratulations, Melanie! Email your postal address to christie@christie-craig.com. I hope you enjoy your cool Christie Craig wine glasses, chocolates & Amazon gift card.

 

Wanna Try Young Adult?

Hey, have you read any of my C.C. Hunter young adult books? Did you know One Foot in the Grave, the first book in my popular Mortician’s Daughter series, is the winner of Romantic Times Reader’s Choice Award, Fantasy, Futuristic & Paranormal Romance Writers PRISM Award, Write Touch Readers’ Award, I Heart Indie Contest & the JABRIC Award? And right now, One Foot in the Grave is on sale for ONLY .99 cents! So give it a try. What have you got to lose? But hurry, this sale is for a limited time. Snag your copy now at Amazon and Kobo.

 

Reviewers Are Awesome!

I love book reviewers! They can really make a difference when it comes to book sales. I have a list of book review websites that receive advanced copies of my books. Then, they are asked to read it and post an honest review. I have been fortunate and received some wonderful reviews. Some reviewers also request interviews. I try to post links on my social media to as many of those reviews as I can.

I know a good review can sell books and a bad review can hurt sales. So obviously many people read reviews of a book before they purchase it. I have been known to read the reviews on Amazon, B&N, etc., check out how many stars a book got when deciding to purchase it.

But you don’t have to have a blog or website to post a review of a book. I ask my readers to please post reviews of my books on their purchase sites. It can really make a difference. And I do read those reviews. And to those that have left reviews of my books on social media—THANK YOU! You are awesome and I really appreciate it.

These are just a few kind things reviewers have said about Don’t Breathe a Word, releasing Nov. 5th:

  • “Didn’t want to put it down.  Don’t Breathe a Word is a roller coaster ride with riveting suspense, relentless emotion, and characters that will steal your heart.”—New York Times Bestselling author, Darynda Jones
  • “Romantic suspense fans will mark this as a series to watch.”—Publishers Weekly
  • “Craig delivers a top-notch, breakneck romantic thriller.”—New York Times Bestselling author Lori Wilde

Do you read book reviews before purchasing a book? If you’re in a book store and see a book, do you look up reviews on your phone? If you read 10 good reviews and 1 bad one, would you purchase the book anyway? How much do reviews influence your book purchases?

Preorder Contest For Only $2.99!!!!

Don’t forget my preorder contest for Don’t Breathe a Word. Time is running out! This contest closes on Nov. 5th with the release of Don’t Breathe a Word. So preorder it now for only $2.99, then send a copy of your receipt to christie@christie-craig.com. It’s that easy! (Sorry, but this contest is for U.S. residents only.)

 

 

Goodreads: http://bit.ly/DontBreatheaWordGR
IndieBound: http://bit.ly/dontbreatheawordIB
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/dontbreatheawordBN
Apple Books: http://bit.ly/dontbreatheawordAB
Amazon: http://bit.ly/DontBreatheAWordAMZ

 

Don’t Breathe a Word

Time is running out to get Don’t Breathe a Word for only $2.99 in my preorder sale and enter my preorder contest. Once Don’t Breathe a Word is released on Nov. 5th, the contest ends. So if you want a chance to win these two cool wine glasses (which can be used for any beverage), a $25 Amazon gift card and box of Ferrero Rocher chocolates! (Sorry, but this giveaway is for U.S. residents only.)

 

New York Times bestselling author Christie Craig returns with her next heart-stopping romantic suspense about a woman on the run and the man trying to uncover her secrets.
Police detective Juan Acosta doesn’t only carry scars on the outside. He’s filled with guilt and anger ever since his undercover job led to the murder of those he loved the most. Now he’s living for one thing: revenge. That is, until Juan meets his beautiful new neighbor.

Vicki Holloway prides herself on being capable and independent, but her life is turned upside down when her sister Sara is killed by an abusive ex. Fearing for the safety of her niece, Vicki and the little girl go into hiding…resurfacing in Texas with new identities.
Juan finds his once-frozen heart thawing around Vicki, but he knows she’s hiding something. Juan needs answers, but Vicki isn’t talking. She has to keep her secrets if she wants to keep Bell safe, which means resisting her growing feelings for the sexy, scarred man next door. But when Juan’s quest for justice brings danger to her door, divulging the truth might be the only thing that keeps her alive.
Includes the bonus novella “Hot Target” by April Hunt!

CONTEST

To enter my preorder contest, just preorder Don’t Breathe a Word, then send a copy of the receipt to me at christie@christie-craig.com. That’s it. You’ll be entered to win. Contest ends Nov. 5th with the release of Don’t Breathe a Word.

Preorder now at:

Goodreads: http://bit.ly/DontBreatheaWordGR

IndieBound: http://bit.ly/dontbreatheawordIB

Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/dontbreatheawordBN

Apple Books: http://bit.ly/dontbreatheawordAB

Amazon: http://bit.ly/DontBreatheAWordAMZ

Preorder Contest!!

 

Fall has come to most of y’all, but it’s still pretty hot in Texas. And Texas isn’t the only thing that’s hot. In Don’t Breathe a Word, the second book in my Texas Justice series, Detective Juan Acosta is hotter than Texas blacktop in August. In fact, Vicki Trever, his beautiful, independent neighbor is having trouble keeping her distance. And it’s important she keep him at arm’s length since she’s running for her life. She can’t trust anyone—not even Juan.

 

 

 

And if you preorder Don’t Breathe a Word, you can win these lovely wine glasses, some chocolate (and who doesn’t love chocolate?) and a $25.00 Amazon gift card. Wow, right? All you have to do it preorder Don’t Breathe a Word and email a copy of the receipt to me at christie@christie-craig.com, and you’ll be entered. It’s really that easy!

 

 

Goodreads: http://bit.ly/DontBreatheaWordGR

IndieBound: http://bit.ly/dontbreatheawordIB

Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/dontbreatheawordBN

Apple Books: http://bit.ly/dontbreatheawordAB

Amazon: http://bit.ly/DontBreatheAWordAMZ

And you’re gonna love Juan and Vicki. Because in Don’t Breathe a Word, you’ll learn:

  • While scars on the outside are easy to see, it’s a lot harder to see the scars on the inside.
  • Kids are less judgmental than adults They love you no matter what.
  • Sometimes keeping secrets can lead others to jump to the wrong conclusion.
  • Angels can kick ass—even the cute ass of a cop.

Halloween and Preorder News!

Halloween is just around the corner. I love Halloween, especially when my kids were little. They’d dress up in costumes and I’d take them trick or treating around our neighborhood. We don’t get a lot of kids trick or treating where we live now. I still buy too much candy—not a good idea to have left over candy! I still decorate, but not as much as I used to. Still, that doesn’t keep me from looking on Pinterest at cool ideas for Halloween decorations. Some people are so creative. I thought I’d share some ideas I found (and may try) with you. Some are cute and some are scary, so something for everyone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How do you feel about Halloween? Do you go all out and dress up? Maybe scare the neighborhood children with your decorations?

Don’t Forget!

Don’t Breathe a Word, the second book in my Texas Justice series is up for preorder.

Preorder now at:

Goodreads: http://bit.ly/DontBreatheaWordGR  

IndieBound:http://bit.ly/dontbreatheawordIB 

Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/dontbreatheawordBN 

Apple Books: http://bit.ly/dontbreatheawordAB 

Amazon: http://bit.ly/DontBreatheAWordAMZ