A Cowboy for Christmas

WINNERS UPDATE!!  The winners of last week’s giveaway of Nicole Flockton’s book, Masquerade, are: Laura Smith and Brandy Bosquez.  Unfortunately, Brandy cannot collect her prize and has graciously stepped aside so someone else may receive it.  So, our next lucky winner is . . . Nadine!  Congratulations!

Please email me at: christie (at) christie-craig (dot) com with your preferred email addy.

Boy, howdy!  I’m so excited!  My good friend Lori Wilde is here to tell us all about herself and her book, A Cowboy for Christmas.  I love her and I love cowboys, so we can’t go wrong today!

CONTEST!  CONTEST!  Leave a comment (below the excerpt) and fifteen people will receive a free book.  Here’s how it goes.  If you have Lori’s book, let us know in your comments and if you are one of the lucky fifteen chosen, I will send you a copy of Blame it on Texas, (or one of my backlist titles if you’ve already bought both books.)  If you have Blame it on Texas, leave that in your comments, and if you’re one of the lucky fifteen, I’ll send you a copy of A Cowboy for Christmas.  Make sure you check back next week to see if your name was picked out of the cowboy hat.  If you’re chosen, I’ll have you email your preference for e-book or print and your info for your prize.  Hey . . . it’s almost Christmas.  Consider it a gift for the holidays.

Q: So, Lori, let’s start with a fun one . . . if your book were an ice cream flavor, what flavor would it be?
A:  Coffee.  Because coffee ice cream tastes the way coffee smells.  Coffee always smells better than it tastes, except when it’s in ice cream.
Q:  What wine would you pair with your book?
A:  Chassagne Montrachet from the Burgundy region of France is perfect for a Christmas book.  Pick the pinot noir if you’re a red fan, chardonnay if you love white.
Q:  Name three things or qualities you’re envious of with your heroine.
A:  How Lissette is able to go with the flow
     How quickly she forgives
     Her exemplary baking skills
Any other interesting tidbits for us?
When I was taking French in school, our teacher required us to have French names.  Since Lori is of American origin, she named me Lissette.

Okay, now onto the really good stuff.  Let’s hear about the book!

It’s Christmastime in Jubilee, Texas, but Lissette Moncrief is having a hard time celebrating . . .

Especially after she accidentally smashes her car into Rafferty Jones’s pick-up truck. Yes, he’s a whole lot of handsome—from the tips of his boots to the top of his Stetson. But he’s no Christmas present. Lissy’s not about to let herself get whisked away by his charming ways and words . . . only to watch him drive away in the end.

But what Lissy doesn’t know is Rafferty’s in town just to meet her—and to give her a share in a windfall that doesn’t rightly belong to him. At first, he just wants to do his good deed and get out. But one look at this green-eyed beauty has him deciding to turn this into a Christmas to remember . . . making promises he’s determined to keep—whether she believes in them or not.

***

When she got right down to it, Lissette Moncrief’s infatuation with cowboys was what really started all the trouble.

There was just something about those laconic alpha males that stirred her romantic soul. Their uniforms of faded Wranglers, scuffed cowboy boots, jangling spurs and proudly cocked Stetsons represented rugged strength, fierce independence and a solemn reverence for the land. Their stony determination to tame wild horses, tend broken fences and take care of their families made her stomach go fluttery. Their cool way of facing problems head on, no shirking or skirting responsibilities weakened her knees.

A cowboy was stalwart, and steady, honest and honorable, stoic and down-to-earth. At least that’s what the movies had taught her. From John Wayne to Clint Eastwood to Sam Elliott, she’d crushed on them all. She loved Wayne’s self-confident swagger, Eastwood’s steely-eyed ethics and Elliott’s toe-tingling voice.

When she was sixteen, Lissette and her best friend, Audra, had snuck off to see a fortuneteller at the Scarborough Renaissance Fair in Waxahachie. Inside the canvas tent, Lady Divine, a pancake-faced woman in a wheelchair, spread spooky looking cards across an oil-stained folding table. She wore dreadlocks tied up in a red bandana and a flowy rainbow caftan. On the end of her chin perched a fat brown mole with long black hairs sprouting from it like spider legs. The tent smelled of fried onions and the farty pit-bull mix stretched out on a braided rug.

Lady Divine studied the cards’ alignment. She tapped her lips with an index finger and glanced up to grab Lissette’s tentative gaze. She didn’t say anything for a long dramatic moment.

“What is?” Lissette whispered, gripping the corner of the cheap greasy table, bracing for some horrific prestidigitation like, you have no future.

“Cowboy.”

“What?” Lissette blinked, thrilled to the word.

“I see a cowboy in your future.”

“My husband?”

“Only you can say.”

“Is he handsome? What’s he like?”

“Dark.” Lady Divine’s voice turned ominous.

“In personality or looks?”

“I can’t say. But this cowboy will deeply influence you in one way or the other.”

“A bad way?” Her anxious fingers knotted a strand of fringe dangling from the sleeve of her western jacket.

Lady Divine shrugged. “What’s good? What’s bad? You can’t avoid this cowboy. He is inevitability. Surrender.”

The fortuneteller continued on with the reading, but Lissette absorbed none of the rest of it. She was so stunned by how the woman had zeroed in on her cowboy infatuation. Later, she and Audra had dissected the woman’s uncanny prediction. They were in Texas, after all. The likelihood of running across an influential cowboy at some point in her future were far above 50/50. Not such a mystifying forecast when you thought about it. Yet, Lissette couldn’t shake the feeling that this woman knew unexplainable things about her future.

Most people would have blown off the reading, forgotten about it, dismissed it as nothing more than the silly pitch of a woman who made her money telling gullible people what they wanted to hear. But for a girl who’d been besotted with cowboy culture from age seven when her family had moved from Raleigh, North Carolina to Dallas, Texas the fortuneteller’s prophecy had not only mesmerized Lissette but set her up for heartache.

If she hadn’t been convinced that a cowboy was her future, she would never have ignored the warning signs in regard to her late husband, Jake. If she hadn’t romanticized him into a modern day version of John Wayne, she wouldn’t have married him. If he hadn’t sounded like Sam Elliot on steroids, she wouldn’t have heard to the lies he told her. If she hadn’t duped herself into thinking that he was the second coming of Clint Eastwood, she wouldn’t have had a child with him. If she hadn’t swallowed the cowboy mystique hook, line and sinker, she wouldn’t be here in Jubilee, Texas, the cutting horse capital of the world, dealing with this new life-shattering situation alone.

She glanced at her two-year-old son, Kyle, who was seated in the grocery cart. Unable to draw in a full breath, she ran a hand over Kyle’s curly brown hair as he sat in the grocery cart eating cheddar goldfish crackers from a lidless sippy cup decorated with images of gray Eeyore. Cheesy, yellow crumbs clung to his cupid bow lips and there was a grape juice stain on his light blue T-shirt. Her heart catapulted into her throat.

Genetic non-syndromic autosomal recessive progressive hearing loss.

The words were a mouthful that boiled down to one gut-wrenching truth. Kyle, was slowly going deaf. Medical science could not cure him, and it was all her fault.

Turns out both she and her late husband, Jake, unwittingly carried a recessive connexin 26 mutation and poor Kyle had lost the genetic lottery. So said the audiologist, geneticist and pediatric otolaryngologist whose Fort Worth office she’d just left with the astringent smell of cold antiseptic in her nose and a handful of damning paperwork and referrals clutched in her fist.

Deaf.

Such a frightening word. It sounded too much like dead.

Deaf.

Her poor fatherless baby.

Foggy as a sleepwalker, Lissette pushed her grocery cart down the baking products aisle of Searcy’s Grocery, past an array of orange and black cupcake sprinkles, candy molds in the shapes of ghosts and pumpkins, and haunted gingerbread house kits.

Her lips pressed into a hard line, resisting any stiff attempts she made to lift them into a smile for fellow shoppers. Misery bulged at the seams of her heart until it felt too swollen to fit in her chest. It beat, as if barely stitched together, in halting ragtag jolts and a sense of impending doom pressed in on her, hot and smothering.

It couldn’t be true that her child was losing his hearing in slow, agonizing increments, never to be reclaimed. She had to seek a second opinion. A third. And a fourth if necessary.

With what? Consultations did not come cheaply.

Blinking back tears, Lissette refocused on her goal. Shopping for baking supplies. It was the answer to her money troubles.

Searcy’s was the only locally owned and operated supermarket in Jubilee, the cowboy-infused town Jake had settled her in over four years ago before he first shipped off to the Middle East. In the beginning, she’d embraced the place, the community, the culture, the cowboys, but then, bit-by-bit, her eyes had been opened to the truth. Cowboys were like everyone else. Some good. Some bad. All fallible. It had been a mistake to romanticize a myth.

The store, with its narrow aisles, sometimes felt like a womb—comforting, cozy, communal—but today, it felt like a straight jacket with the straps cinched tight. Maybe it was the candy pumpkin molds, but an old nursery rhyme popped into her head.

Peter, Peter, Pumpkin Eater had a wife and couldn’t keep her. Put her in a pumpkin shell and there he kept her very well.

“Da…” Kyle gurgled with the limited vocabulary of a child half his age. “Da.”

Guilt suffocated her. Was he calling for his lost father? Or did he even remember Jake? Maybe he was trying to say something else entirely but simply lacked the auditory tools to do so.

Shoppers crowded her. She needed over by the flour, but Jubilee’s version of two soccer moms—i.e. Little Britches rodeo moms—stood leaning against the shelves gossiping, oblivious to those around them.

Lissette cleared her throat, but the moms either ignored her or didn’t hear her. Something she’d grown accustomed to as the middle-child, book-ended by more attractive, gregarious sisters. When her mother had arranged them in stair-steps according to height before ushering them out the front door on one venture or the other, her eyes grazing from Brittney to Samantha without noticing Lissette sandwiched in between.

Brittney possessed straight glossy blond hair, inherited from their mother’s side of the family, while Samantha resembled their father with spiral curls the color of roasted chestnuts. Lissette’s own hair was a plain mix of light brown with dull blond strands and wavy in an unattractive way, necessitating countless hours with either curlers or a flat iron. Lissette’s skin was pale and unlike her sisters, she did not tan well. She spent her childhood slathered in sunscreen, her face hidden by wide-brimmed hats. While Brittney boasted a precise, straight profile and Samantha had a cute up-turned nose, a small bump ran the bridge of Lissette’s nose. Her mother told her that her lips were her best feature, not too big, not to small, full in the right places. “You’re face lights up when you smile, Lissy, so make sure to smile often.”

“Um,” Lissette ventured, surrendering a smile. “Could one of you ladies please hand me a ten pound sack of cake flour?”

“Did you hear about Denise?” the shorter of the two women asked the other as if Lissette hadn’t uttered a word. “She up and left Jiff for a man eight years younger than she is.”

“Get out! Denise? No way.”

“I tell you, losing all that weight went straight to her head. She thinks she’s God’s gift to men now that she can squeeze into a size four.”

“My cousin, Callie, is single and searching,” the taller one mused. “I wonder if Jiff’s ready to start dating.”

Feeling invisible, Lissette sighed and bent over, trying to reach around to get to the flour, but the ten-pound bags were on the bottom shelf. The woman with the single cousin had her fashionable Old Gringo cowboy boots cocked in such a way that Lissette couldn’t get at the flour.

Normally, she would have stopped at Costco for a fifty pound bag when she’d been in Fort Worth, but those big bags were so hard for her to lift and besides she’d driven the twenty-six miles back to Jubilee in a such a fog she didn’t even remember leaving the medical complex.

She straightened. It was on the tip of her tongue to ask the women to kindly step aside when a ten-year-old boy on wheeled skate-shoes darted past, almost crashing into Lissette’s elbow. She jumped back and gritted her teeth, anxiety climbing high in her throat.

Kyle was staring at her, studying her face.

Calm down.

She was on edge. Kyle was picking up on her negative energy and that was the last thing he needs. If she thought her morning had been lousy, all she had to do was imagine what it feels like to her son—poked and prodded and unable to understand why.

It hit her then, how confusing life must be when you couldn’t hear. How much communication you missed. Then again, in some regards, that might be a blessing. Did she really need to hear about Denise and Jiff’s crumbling marriage? Her own marriage had been filled with so many thorns that the occasional sweet bloom couldn’t make up for the painful sticks.

“Da.” Kyle raised his small head, his usual somber expression searching her face through impossibly long eyelashes—Jake’s eyelashes—as if seeking an answer to the silent question. Why can’t I hear you, Mommy?

***

To read the rest of this excerpt, you can visit Lori’s website at:

http://www.loriwilde.com/booklist/a-cowboy-for-christmas/

***

So, tell us, what do you want for Christmas?  And remember, leave a comment, including if you’ve read either Lori’s book OR Blame it on Texas, and we’ll be choosing up to fifteen lucky people to win either a print or e-book copy of the other gal’s book!

Masquerade

Ye-haw!  Last week’s winners of Melissa Cutler’s hot book bundles are: Jolene A. and Khriste Close.  Please email me at christie (at) christie-craig (dot) com with your snail mail addresses to claim your prizes.  Congratulations!

Now, this week, I’d like to introduce you to another author.  She’s just debuted her first novel, Masquerade, with Crimson Romance and if you could hear her speak, you’d just love her Aussie accent!  So, please help me welcome Nicole Flockton!

 

So, Nicole, what is the craziest job you’ve had outside of being an author?

I have to be honest here and say I’ve not had a crazy job, more like a crazy situation at one job I had.  I was working for a Trustee Company, in the Deceased Estates section. I would get people ringing up to see if we held a Will for a person that has recently passed away. The craziest answer I ever got when I asked the question “What is the Date of Death?” Someone replied “10 minutes ago”. I never had an answer like that again. It was so bizarre.

If you were going to a deserted island and could only take five things, what would they be?

Vegemite (can’t go anywhere without that) LOL.

A box of books – can I have that if it’s only one item, you know it’s just one box LOL

Note book – to write on

Pen – to write with

Chocolate

What is your biggest pet peeve?

People who don’t use their indicators. It’s so frustrating when I’m at an intersection or behind a car and they decide to turn all of a sudden. Or they just decide to drift across 5 lanes of traffic to get to the exit on the interstate! Seriously it’s not that hard to put your indicator on. Might stop a few accidents too LOL!

***For anyone who needs an Aussie translator, an indicator is a turn signal!  LOL

Great answers, Nicole.  I especially like your deserted island must-haves.  Now, can you share a little about your book?

After being humiliated by her fiancée, Sophie Franklyn has decided that getting involved with work colleagues and men in general isn’t for her. Now her focus is going to be on her career and her recent promotion. That is until at a New Year’s Eve masquerade ball, she meets a man that tempts her to question her choices.

Alex Scavoni is extremely dedicated to his job, so dedicated that his first marriage crumbled under the pressure of his dedication. Now he’s happily single, with a new job he’s excited to start. When he meets a masked Sophie at the ball, she fires desires in him he thought long dead. He spends a wonderful night with her, but wakes up alone.

The next time the two meet, it’s in the high pressure world of Emergency Room medicine where they must work side by side. While they deal with the stresses of the Emergency ward, they endeavor to keep their feelings for each other on a professional nature. When the desire that pushed them together that one night flares to life again, can they ignore them or will their one night together have consequences neither of them planned on?

And, where can we find you and the book?

My website is – http://www.nicoleflockton.com/books/

The book is available at:

Crimson Romance – http://www.crimsonromance.com/upcoming-releases-romance-ebook/masquerade/

Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/Masquerade-ebook/dp/B009LQH7UA/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1349457368&sr=8-1&keywords=masquerade+nicole+flockton

I-Tunes – https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/masquerade/id568165052?mt=11

Sounds perfect!  Thanks for stopping by!

Thanks for having me here Christie!

***

So, what about the rest of you?  What are some of your pet peeves?  Is it those darn indicators?  Or something else?  Leave a comment and I’ll choose two lucky people next week to win Nicole’s book.  Be sure and stop back by to see if you’ve won!

***

On her very first school report her teacher said ‘Nicole likes to tell her own stories’.

It wasn’t until after the birth of her daughter and after having fun on the community board of eharlequin.com that she finally decided to take the plunge and write a book.

Nicole joined the fabulous Romance Writers of Australia and eventually linked up with a great group of girls and formed “WINKGirls”

The stories she writes are contemporary romances with either a medical setting or in the boardrooms of high powered business. Nicole enjoys taking two characters and creating unique situations for them.

Apart from writing Nicole is busy looking after her very own hero – her wonderfully supportive husband, and her two fabulous kids. She also enjoys watching sports and, of course, reading.

The Trouble With Cowboys

Hey, all!  I’m so excited to introduce you to one of my friends, the wonderfully talented Melissa Cutler!  Today is the release of her latest novel, The Trouble with Cowboys, and if you enjoyed Blame it on Texas, I think you’re gonna love her!  So please give give her a warm cyber-welcome. . .

So, Melissa, what is your biggest fear?

My biggest fear as a writer and entertainer is being boring. You might not agree with all the choices my characters make or the way they view the world, but I can guarantee that you won’t ever call them boring. My number one job is to sweep readers away from their daily lives and introduce them to places and people who are funny, quirky, and full of vivacity. As a reader, that’s what I look for in a book, so as a writer that’s what I consider my greatest responsibility.

What three words best describe The Trouble with Cowboys?

  1. Hungry: because not only is there is a lot of tasty food being prepared throughout the book—from filet mignon and pumpkin ravioli to biscuits and gravy—but Amy and Kellan are hungry for family and a sense of belonging…as well as hungry for each other (*ahem*).
  2. Rules: Poor Chef Amy! She’s always felt like she had one foot dangling over a sea of crazy and might fall in at any moment. To keep herself in line, she tries to live her life by a set of five rules, number one being to steer clear of cowboys. Lucky for us, she does a terrible job sticking to her rules, and before she knows what’s hit her, she’s steered herself straight into more cowboy trouble.
  3. Cowboys: Boy howdy, do you get your fill of cowboys in this book. As soon as cattle rancher Kellan Reed discovers that the new chef in town has a soft spot for everything cowboy, he goes all out—rustling up a starch western shirt, dusting off the belt buckle he got for Christmas the year before, and even wearing his work hat indoors. Oh, what a man will do to get a pretty lady’s attention!

What’s your favorite scene in the book?

My favorite scene in The Trouble with Cowboys is a bit on the spicy side, and I’m not just talking about the lusty chemistry between Kellan and Amy when they get together to cook a meal in his kitchen. I’m talking about actual spices when Kellan introduces Amy to his collection of artisan salts and decides to sample them on her skin.

Here’s a taste of my favorite scene…

Kellan sifted through the box on the floor, checking labels. He unscrewed the lid of a square glass jar. “Have you ever tasted smoked salt?”

“No.” Intrigued, Amy leaned closer. Kellan’s breath fanned over her cheek. He shifted his leg to accommodate her nearness.

“Guava wood smoked salt fromKauai. Sweet, smoky, yet mild.” The timbre of his voice was low and seductive, thick with implication. She turned her face up to his. The shaft of light from the pantry gilded his hair, casting his eyes in shadow.

Wetting the tip of his index finger with his tongue, he pressed it into the jar. “Taste it,” he said as his salt-covered fingertip grazed her lower lip.

She ran her tongue over her lip. Kellan watched with rapt attention. The crystals dissolved over her taste buds and she hummed her appreciation as her salivary glands activated. “Braised brisket. That’s what I’d use this salt on.”

His lips twitched into a grin. “Good call. That’s exactly what I use it for.” He reached for a second jar. “Let’s try another.”

As he did with the smoked salt, he dipped his finger in. “This one is harvested off the coast ofMolokaiand blended with bamboo extract.” He moved his finger toward her lips once more. “Tell me what you think.”

This time, Amy drew his finger into her mouth, suckling the salt from his rough, work-worn skin until he removed it with a ragged intake of breath.

“Exotic, slightly pungent. Delicious.” She swiped her tongue across her lower lip. The residual salt essence made the underside of her tongue tingle.

Kellan lidded the jar, watching her lips with a heated gaze. “I can’t quite remember the flavor of that one.” His hand on her jaw coaxed her face up. “Refresh my memory.”

Sounds awesome!  Can you give us the lowdown on the book or the blurb?

From the back cover…

Cowboys have never been good for Amy Sorentino. First her hard-riding father bankrupted the family farm. Then her all-hat-no-cattle boyfriend sold her out on national television, ending her promising career as a chef. Now she and her squabbling sisters have partnered up in a final attempt to save their land by starting an inn and local restaurant. So it figures that with everything on the line, Amy’s key supplier is just the kind of Stetson-tipping heartbreaking bad boy she’s sworn to avoid. But Kellan Reed has a few secrets of his own–and cowboy or not, Amy can’t resist this kind of wild ride.

The Trouble with Cowboys is in stores now:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Melissa-Cutler/e/B007KL8SZG

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-trouble-with-cowboys-melissa-cutler/1110855259?ean=9781420130041

My thanks to Christie Craig for hosting me today. I love hearing from readers and am really easy to find at www.melissacutler.net, on Facebook (www.facebook.com/MelissaCutlerBooks ), and Twitter (@m_cutler). And you can always email me at cutlermail@yahoo.com or sign up for my newsletter (http://www.melissacutler.net/?page_id=255 ) to find out about my latest books and upcoming events.

Giveaway: I’m giving away two book bundles containing both my fall releases—The Trouble with Cowboys and Seduction Under Fire to two commenters. Amy, the heroine of the book, is opening a restaurant in the town she grew up in, so tell me, what was the last great meal you ate at a restaurant in your town?  And be sure to come back next week to Christie’s blog to see if you’ve won!

***

Melissa Cutler is a flip-flop wearing Southern California native living with her husband, two rambunctious kids, and two suspicious cats in beautiful San Diego. Three things you should probably know about her are: she believes Judith from Julie Garwood’s The Secret is the most perfect heroine in all of literature (sorry, Elizabeth Bennett), she’s traveled to more countries in the world than states in the U.S., and she’s certain that there are actually only two types of food in existence—those that taste better with hot sauce and those that taste better with whipped cream. She divides her time between her dual passions for writing sexy, small town contemporaries for Kensington Books and edge-of-your-seat romantic suspense for Harlequin.

Wine, Wine, Wine

Winner!!!  Winner!!!  The winner from last week’s blog was Cheryl S.  Congrats!  Please email me at christie (at) christie-craig (dot) com and let me know if you’d prefer a $25 Amazon or B&N card and the best email address to use for your prize!

So…due to deadlines I’m republishing my wine blog I wrote last year.  But I love hearing from you guys, so do let me know what your favorite wine is.  In a couple of weeks, I’ll share with you some of my other favorite wines.

Wine, Wine, Wine.

I admit it.  I’m a wine lover.  No, I’m not one of those true wine lovers who keep a second refrigerator just for my wine.  And I haven’t even considered putting in a wine cellar, or renting one yet.  But nothing finishes off a day like a glass of aged grape juice.  I mean, I write about murder, mayhem and sex, so I’m worn out by the end of the day.   I need something to help me wind down.    And what better way to do it than by sipping a glass of wine?

This isn’t new for me.   I’ve been enjoying my glass of something red in the evenings for several years.  True, I’m mostly a red fan.  Now, I can appreciate a good Chardonnay.   But I’ll go for a red before a white most every time.  And it’s not about what I’m eating.  It’s that warm finish I get from a really layered and complex glass of Cabernet Sauvignon.  However, this last couple of years, I’ve experimented and stretched my wine pallet.

We joined WineStyles, a wine club here in Spring, Texas, where we go and taste some of the finest wines from all over the world.  For a monthly fee, (a very reasonable fee—remember, I’m married to a very frugal Scottish guy with short arms and deep pockets) we get two bottles of nice wine, at a reduction of the original cost.  So I’ve spent a lot of time sipping, savoring, and sampling some pricey bottles.  Much to my husband’s concern, because some of them I’ve really liked.

“How much is this?” I’ll ask my WineStyles attendant pouring the tastings.  I never ask unless I like it.  And if it’s over twenty, my husband’s brow wrinkles.  If it’s over thirty, it brings out a full-fledged frown.  If it’s over fifty, he reaches for his chest.  For those bottles over a hundred, I just wake him up from his dead faint when it’s time to leave.

Ahh, but the truth is that some of those pricey bottles of wine have left me wishing I had a spit bucket like in the Sideways movie.  Basically, wine is a lot like art.  What appeals to one person may not appeal to someone else.  And price isn’t always the best way to judge the quality of a good wine.  Or shall I say, price isn’t always the best way to judge the wine that appeals to me.  Unfortunately, my hubby will tell you that “inexpensive” isn’t the best way to judge my pallet either.   Poor fellow, it’s hard being married to a wine lover when your tastes runs more toward Strawberry Boones Farm.

However, being a writer and a lover of words, I’m big on the wine names.   If the name of a wine draws my attention, I’ll pull it from the shelf and read the label.  Not that reading the label does a whole heck of a lot for me.

For some reason wine makers like to add things like…It brings to the pallet the flavor of grass.  Or things like…a finish with tobacco, earth, and sweet oak.  Maybe it’s just me, but some of those descriptions turn me off.  It’s been a while since I’ve gnawed on a blade of grass, chewed tobacco, or ate dirt.  And I wouldn’t know the different flavor of a sweet oak to a sour one.  I just know what I like.  But needless to say, I’m still drawn to wines with usual names.   And if they aren’t in the bad expression to the fainting price range, I’ll give them a try.

Here are three that I brought home: Bitch, Ass Kisser, and Working Girl White Can you tell what kind of mood I was in?

Thankfully, none of these wines puckered my husband’s brow with their price tags.   And they all turned out to be enjoyable wines.   However, for what it’s worth, I did rate them.

Because I like a bold red, with lots of fruit flavors, and a nice finish, my number one, the favorite of these was . . . pucker up for this one:  the Ass Kisser.  It’s South Australian–this wine is 59% Shiraz and 41% Grenache.  Anyway, Ass Kisser has lots of fruit flavors, it’s bold, and to me, it has a hint of chocolate.  Now you see, I know what all that tastes like.

My second place winner of the three was Bitch.  And the name sounds better if you say it from deep in your throat and with meaning.  This one is a product of Spain, Grenache Aragon.  It’s sweet, light, and has notes of strawberry and raspberry.

The third place winner, and it may not be fair because I am a red wine lover, was Working Girl White.  It’s 60% Chardonnay and 40% Riesling, which makes it very smooth, sweet, and refreshing.

So, there you have it, a little wine education from a not overly educated wine drinker.  So . . . do tell. Do I have some wine drinking readers out there?  What’s your favorite wine?  Are you a real connoisseur or just know what you like?  Is Boones Farms your choice of grape juice?  Come on, share—especially if you have a great wine with a funny or unique name.

CC

Whispers of Synchronicity

Winner!!! Winner of last week’s contest is Sabrina.  Contact me at christie(at)christie-craig(dot)com for your prize.

 C.C. Hunter AKA: Christie Craig, author of a New York Times Bestselling Series:

 How Did I Get Here?

Do you believe in synchronicity?  Do you believe that if you work hard enough, that if you stay on the right path, that you will get your just rewards?  Do you believe that perseverance pays off?

I do.

In 2005, my agent and I had just about lost hope of selling my humorous romantic suspense novels.  We kept getting letters saying… “Love the voice, but humorous romantic suspense isn’t selling well in today’s market.” And then one tagged on the question: “Can Christie Craig not write a paranormal?”  All those close, but no cigar letters were beginning to really sting.  I did what all writers do, I whined and whimpered to my agent. Well, not all writers do that, some agents don’t tolerate it, I just got lucky.  (Though, I’m not so sure she feels the same way.) And after listening to me, my agent said, “Then write a paranormal.”

She made it sound so dang easy.  Begrudgingly, but feeling desperate, I searched my heart to see if this really felt right for me.  Was this the path I should follow?  Would it help me reach my goals as a writer—to climb that publishing ladder?  It was amazing the feeling I got when I seriously contemplated it.  It was as if a little voice in my head said,“Go for it.”

Believing with all my heart that this was divine intervention, I sat down and started researching, plotting, and working on a story about four witches. I told my agent about it and she loved it.   Then, about five weeks later, when I was a couple of pages away from finishing the proposal, my agent called.  “I spoke to the editor who loved your voice and wanted you to write a paranormal,” she said.

“Yes?” I asked, thinking this was really good news.

“Well, she needs you to change the witches to fairies.  Witches aren’t selling very well in today’s market.”

I friggin’ couldn’t believe it.  I was getting almost the same rejection on something that hadn’t even been sent out yet. I said some words that weren’t very lady like and would have gotten my mouth washed out with soap if I was still living at home.  And it might have still gotten washed out if my agent was in close proximity to me with some soap on hand.  But come on, I knew zilch about fairies.  Zilch! I was a little miffed.  Okay, I was a lot miffed.

Yet, damn it, I still got that message from my gut that this was my path.  So I put myself back in the chair, laced my butt with super glue, and started researching, plotting and working on a story about four fairies. But I’ll admit that all that bottled up resentment went right into that manuscript.  Well, hell, they wanted friggin’fairies, I’d give ‘em friggin’ fairies.

I wrote that proposal with all my barrels locked and loaded.  One of my critique partners read it and said, “Oh my God, I can tell you were pissed when you wrote this, but damn it’s good.”

I sent my friggin’ fairy proposal to my agent and she sent my friggin’ fairy proposal out to editors. And . . . and I got a lot of friggin’ letters saying, “Love the voice, but humorous paranormals aren’t selling all that well in today’s market.”  It even went to the ‘buy’ committee at two major New York publishing houses.

I was about friggin’ ready to pull out my friggin’ hair and had mentally buried my figgin’ agent in the compost pile.  I didn’t kill her or anything and I didn’t plan on leaving her there very long.  What really disappointed me was that I’d honestly thought my gut said it was the right thing to do.  I’d done all the work . . .  for nothing.  Zilch!

Or had I?

Well, it appeared that way, especially when shortly after that I finally sold my humorous romantic suspense stories and not the paranormal stories.  I actually sold four of my romantic suspenses in one day.  And I did pretty good.

But let’s flash forward to 2010.  I’d sold some more romantic suspense novels, but I wasn’t climbing that ladder as fast as I would have liked.  Then an editor picked up the phone and called my agent.  (Thank God, she was out of the compost pile by then) “Would Christie be willing to write a young adult paranormal series for us?”  You see, even after four years, that editor still couldn’t get that friggin’ fairy story out of her head.

Yup, today is release day for the fourth novel in my New York Times Bestselling Shadow Falls series. I’ve climbed the ladder, I’ve accomplish my dreams and so much more.  I got here because of synchronicity.  I got here because even when the rejections tried to rip out my passion for writing, I didn’t give up—instead, I doubled up on the super glue and wrote another book. I got here because I followed my gut on what I felt was right for me.  I got here because of a friggin’ fairy story.

I hope any of you working toward your dreams—and it doesn’t matter what kind of dreams—will take heart.  Sometimes following the right path doesn’t offer you the benefits right away. Sometimes you have to hang in there and use super glue.  You have to keep going even when the going gets tough. Good luck to everyone on meeting their own dreams.

To read an excerpt of Whispers at Moonrise go to: http://www.cchunterbooks.com/books.html

And the first book in the series, Born at Midnight, is now on sale for $2.99 everywhere ebooks are sold.

Amazon:  http://tiny.cc/e5wglw

B&N:        http://tiny.cc/98wglw

 

Now here’s the back cover blurb for Whispers at Moonrise:

 

“It’s    not often that I love a series as much as Shadow Falls. I find    myself thinking of nothing else!  This has been one of my favorite series    of all time.” –Open Book Society

Shadow Falls Camp is back in session with the most explosive installment yet.  A shocking new threat will rock Shadow Falls—changing it forever and altering Kylie’s journey in ways she never imagined.

Even at a camp for supernatural teens, Kylie Galen has never been normal. Not only can she see ghosts, but she doesn’t seem to belong to any one species—she exhibits traits from them all. As Kylie struggles to unlock the secrets of her identity, she begins to worry that Lucas will never be able to accept her for what she is, and what she isn’t…a werewolf.  With his pack standing in their way, Kylie finds herself turning more and more to Derek, the only person in her life who’s willing to accept the impossible.

As if life isn’t hard enough, she starts getting visits from the ghost of Holiday, her closest confidante.  Trouble is, Holiday isn’t dead…not yet anyway.  Now Kylie must race to save one of her own from an unseen danger before it’s too late—all while trying to stop her relationship with Lucas from slipping away forever.   In a world of constant confusion, there’s only one thing Kylie knows for sure.  Change is inevitable and all things must come to an end…maybe even her time at Shadow Falls.

 

Ten Things You’ll Learn from Whispers at Moonrise

1.      Kicking your boyfriend’s father’s butt might not be good for the relationship.

2.      Sometimes following your heart means breaking some rules.

3.      Getting trapped in a grave with three dead girls is not a walk in the park. 

4.      Your parents breaking up sucks. Your mom having a boyfriend, and kissing him in front of you, sucks BIG TIME.

5.      When your boyfriend says one thing, but does another, what do you believe? His actions or his words?

6.      You can’t always protect the ones you love. Sometimes the only way to protect them is to tell them the truth—even if it hurts.

7.      When you are in love, you usually want to talk a lot more about your boyfriend than your girlfriends care to hear.

8.      You shouldn’t mess with magic if you don’t know what you’re doing. Especially when someone could end up sterile.

9.      Sometimes it is the little choices we make, and not the big ones, that define who we are.

10.   Be careful what you wish for or you might end up turning a bright shade of red in the boys’ bathroom.

And today I’m giving away a $25 Amazon or B&N gift card to one lucky person who leaves a comment.  This blog is also being  published at Killer Fiction, so if you would like to be entered twice leave comments at both places.  For Killer Fiction come back tomorrow to see if you are the winner. Winners will be posted on top of the blog.  For Laugh, Love, Read, come back next week to see if you are the lucky winner.  Here’s the link and I hope to see you there…. http://killerfictionwriters.blogspot.com/