All I Want for Christmas is…

The Cop Who Stole ChristmasWINNERS!  WINNERS!  The lucky winners from last week’s blog with Ruthie Knox are: Karen Kline, Kathleen O., Becka Lynn, Sarah S., and brandi_75904!  Email me at: christie (@) christie-craig.com with your preference of Amazon or B&N for your e-books.  Congrats!

Ho, Ho, Ho!

You know you gotta be careful what you wish for, because you just might get it.  Such is the case for Savanna Edwards in my latest book, The Cop Who Stole Christmas.  What did she want?  Her ex dead, with a ribbon tied around his pecker.”  Yes, I know that sounds kind of harsh, but in all honesty, she didn’t really want that.  She was just slightly perturbed—okay she was downright fracking furious—when she made that statement in a crowded restaurant in front of a bunch of people.

santaShe had a good reason to be pissed.  That morning, Santa had stolen her car.  Well, he didn’t actually steal it . . . The red-suited, unsaintly character connected it up to his wrecker and merrily drove off with it in the cold December morning.  But she can’t really be miffed at the jolly ol’ soul, he was just doing his job.  You see, Savanna’s ex-husband, the cheating louse of a man, used the car’s title to get a loan with Title Mama.  Then he didn’t pay back that loan, nor did he tell Savanna he’d used her car as collateral, and it didn’t even matter to him that she got the car in the divorce.  And there’s not a dang thing she can do about it but stand there and watch him take it.  Making matters worse, she’s wearing a smurf-blue facial mask, her hair piled high on her head congealed with a glop of moisturizing mayonnaise, and nothing but her pink fuzzy house robe to keep her warm.

So, yes, she’s in a pissy mood later that day, and she mouths off about wanting her ex whacked and ribboned.  She honestly doesn’t expect anyone to do it.  She certainly doesn’t entertain the thought of doing it herself.  Heck, getting anywhere close to her ex’s pecker is the last thing she wants—especially after she caught him cheating.  And by caught, I don’t mean she found some lipstick on his collar.  I mean she found him and the other woman making whoopee . . . in Savanna’s bed.  Oh, it also happened to be the same day her mother died from cancer.  So yeah, losing your mother and your marriage in the span of only a couple of hours makes for a bad, bad day.  And even though it’s been over a year, she still holds a grudge against the man.  Just not enough of a grudge to actually kill him.  But when she trips over him in the middle of her kitchen floor—dead, naked, and ribboned—the question is:  Who did it?  It had to be someone who heard her Christmas wish, but . . .  who?  Most of the people around the restaurant are her friends.  And holy hell, why would one of them whack him in her kitchen?

The local cops want to know.  Savanna wants to know.  And so does Mark Donaldson—Savanna’s neighbor—who just happens to be a hot homicide detective from another precinct.  After all, it was Mark who Savanna ran to after finding the body.  He’s had her on his radar since he moved in months ago, but he has this rule about neighbors: Look.  Don’t touch.

Problem is, he gets pulled in.  Pulled into the mystery, into her eyes, into her smiles.  As for touching her, well, what good are rules, if you don’t break them?  Besides, it’s Christmas, and in spite of a problematic murder to solve, there’s just something magical about the season.  But is it enough magic for two people, both burned by love, to learn to trust again? 

I have to tell you, I’m a firm believer in the magic of the season.  And a believer in giving love another chance.  I’m one of those second chancers who found love again after it left me on curb the first time.  Mr. Craig, with all his quirky flaws, convinced me to give love another shot.

forgivenessSo . . . since it’s already the season, I’ll ask you the question—and answer with caution of course—what would you like for Christmas?  I’m pushing for a couple of rocking chairs for my front porch.  However, since we all know it’s more fun to give than receive, also tell me what gift are you the most excited about giving?  For me, I’m thinking of getting my granddaughter a Kindle Fire.  And this week, one person will win a $50 Visa gift card to help buy someone a special gift.  And . . . one person will win an e-copy of The Cop Who Stole Christmas, and . . . (yes, there is more) one person will also win an ARC of Texas Hold ‘Em.  That’s right, I’ve finally got ARCs of Austin’s story, which is set to release January 28th, so make sure you leave a comment.   

texasholdem_cover (2)And . . . hey guys, make sure you have a Merry Christmas.  Thank you for stopping by.

P.S. For more Christmas cheer, I’ll be on Sue Grimshaw’s blog tomorrow, November 27th, talking about some fun stuff, including why Smurfs seem to always pop up in my stories.  I’ll be giving away a $25 gift card so you might want to stop by! www.romanceatrandom.com

P.P.S. Don’t forget to check out the Montgomery County Library Festival’s online auction!  I’ve donated baskets with wine, Shadow Falls wine glasses, a Shadow Falls T-shirt, chocolate, a pizza cutter, and six autographed copies of Christie Craig books.  Plus, an ARC of Texas Hold ‘Em.  So go put in your bid.  It’s easy, just go to: https://www.32auctions.com/login  to register and then you can bid at: www.32auctions.com/mocobookfest

And remember the money goes to Montgomery County Library to help support their book festival, so it’s for a great cause!

Roman Holiday . . . Ruthie Knox Style!

The Cop Who Stole ChristmasWINNERS! WINNERS! The winners from last week’s blog with Linda Bennett Pennell are: Jessica Jefferson and Sarah Hegger!  Email me at: christie (at) christie-craig.com to claim your Amazon e-book.  Congrats!

I am super-de-duper excited today, folks!  First, because I’m less than one week away from the release of my holiday novella, The Cop Who Stole Christmas, which is coming out next Monday, NOVEMBER 25th!  I’ve been looking forward to this one for a while, and I love, love, love these characters.  I hope you do, too!  So, be sure and keep an eye out for that this Monday, and more on that in next week’s blog, and here is the book trailer for your viewing pleasure . . .

 And, the second reason I’m so excited is because of my special guest today.  I’ve been lucky enough to snag my friend, the ultra talented, Ruthie Knox, as our guest!  She’s been a phenom in serializing her fun and sexy novels on Wattpad, and I just love her!  So, please, make her feel welcome, and be sure and leave a comment, because five lucky people will win a copy of her latest e-book, Roman Holiday!

***

Hi, Christie fans!

You know what I just spent a few hours doing? Reading Christie’s Gotcha! on Wattpad and thinking about heroines. Macy Tucker, the heroine of Gotcha!, is a lot of fun—wise-cracking, smart, driven, vulnerable. She’s divorced, putting herself through law school selling pizzas. She loves her hapless brother, her kooky grandma, and her weeping mom, and she knows what to do when life gives her lemons. (Answer: Knee it in the nuts.)

She’s different in so many ways from Ashley Bowman, the heroine of my serialized novel Roman Holiday. Oh, Ashley’s got a smart mouth, too, but she doesn’t know what she wants. Name a part-time job with no future, and she’s tried it, but she’s a little short on long-term goals. Also, long-term relationships, though she’d run out of fingers and toes if she tried to list all the men she’s found herself tangled up with in the short term. Also? The person she loves most in the world just died, and she’s impulsively decided to chain herself to a palm tree to stop the vacation rental apartments where she grew up from getting knocked down to make room for more development.

Oh, Ashley. Not so hot at making good decisions, are you?

But just like Macy, Ashley has a big heart. She likes people, she’s empathetic, she makes friends easily. She’s loyal and helpful and lovable, and although she can be a brat — particularly if you’re Roman, the novel’s hero — what I love most about Ashley is that she’s trying. She’s determined. Even when she doesn’t have a clear direction or a goal, she can’t stop moving and attempting things, can’t stop connecting with people, can’t give up.

I think we’re used to believing women are most sympathetic, most interesting, most likable when they have their act together, but for me there’s a very real, very human sort of bravery in characters like Ashley or Macy — women who are a bit out of their depth, not quite sure it’s going to all work out, but who gamely keep going, keep trying stuff, even though it would be easier to retreat and hide out from life.

And the reason I enjoy characters like this so much, I think, is that I read heroines not to aspire to be them, but to see myself and the women around me mirrored in them. These are the women I want to read about, the women I want to see falling in love. You. Me. Her. All of us.

What about you guys–what do you enjoy in a heroine? What do you love about Christie’s? Who are some of your favorites?

***

roman holidayAh, excellent post, and excellent questions, Ruthie!  Thanks for being with us!  Now, here’s a little more about her fabulous book (the first part of a fantastic series) where you can find it and her wonderful book trailer:

Meet Ashley and Roman—complete opposites who can’t hide their attraction—in Episode 1 of Ruthie Knox’s eBook original serial, Roman Holiday.
Ashley Bowman is having a bad week. Reeling from the death of her beloved grandmother, she returns to the Florida Keys only to learn that a heartless Miami developer has gotten hold of the crappy vacation rentals she calls home. Ashley has one day to clear out before Roman Díaz destroys the only place in the world that matters to her. Chaining herself to a palm tree in the bulldozers’ path seems like a good way to stop him . . . until she realizes she should’ve brought food and water. And pants. Also, it would help if the evil developer weren’t so ridiculously hot.
The last thing Roman Díaz needs is some sun-kissed blond protester getting her picture in the newspaper and messing up his plans. He bought the property fair and square, and the resort he wants to build on the site is the key to realizing his highest ambitions. But when a hurricane blows through, Roman has to hustle Ashley to safety if he wants to protect his reputation—and that means giving in to her unreasonable demands.
Roman needs to learn a little compassion, and Ashley’s decided to teach it to him . . . even if she has to drag him all over the Eastern Seaboard to do it.
Available now at Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/lr6bpfr

OK, you’re up, Ruthie’s asked you about heroines.  Give us your thoughts and we’ll pick five lucky winners to receive Roman Holiday.  Check back next week to see if you’ve won.  Good luck! 
***
P.S. Interested in winning a Christie Craig or C.C. Hunter gift basket with wine, wine glasses, books, T-shirts, and chocolate?  Check out the Montgomery County Book Festival Online Auction, where I’ve donated those goods, and there are also lots of other great things to bid on as well!
First, create an account with login and password at: https://www.32auctions.com/login

Al Capone at the Blanche Hotel

The Cop Who Stole ChristmasWINNERS!  WINNERS!  The winners from last week’s blog with Sophie Jordan are: Julie S. and Kristen Schuster! Email me at: christie (at) christie-craig.com with your choice of print or e-book and delivery particulars.  Congratulations!

Today, I have a special treat for you.  Linda Bennett Pennell is here to tell us about her book, Al Capone at the Blanche Hotel, which is a unique blend of intrigue and gangsters, told through two time periods.  It’s worth checking out, and if you stick around and comment, you may be lucky enough to win one of two Amazon e-book copies I’m giving away.  Welcome, Linda! 

What is fact and what is fiction in Al Capone at the Blanche Hotel?  

The Blanche Hotel has stood on Marion Street in downtown Lake City, FL since 1902.  It is home to the state’s first elevator.  Since Lake City, Florida’s Gateway City, is at the junctions of major north/south and east/west highways, people traveling to points farther south have made Lake City their overnight stop since Florida became a travel destination at the turn of the last century.  Al Capone stayed overnight at the Blanche at least once in transit from Chicago to his Miami property.  While all other events and characters in the novel are fictional, they are evocative of the era in which the historical part of the novel is set and of the darker side of north Florida’s history.

In chapter 1, a body goes down a sinkhole. Does the sinkhole really exist?  

Yes, as a matter the Santa Fe River really does disappear underground at O’Leno State Park.  It resurfaces several miles farther southwest and joins another river on its way to the Gulf.  Several years ago, a diver tried to follow the river’s underground path, but he disappeared and his body never resurfaced.  This was the germ that sparked chapter 1.  Here is a link to pictures of the park and river:  http://seenorthflorida.com/destinations/oleno.php

Wow, interesting! What inspired you to write Al Capone at the Blanche Hotel?

When my parents and I moved to Lake City, FL during my high school years, we stayed at the Blanche for several nights. I have always been interested in its history and decided it was the perfect setting for exploring topics of interest to me. Writing the novel allowed me to explore issues of racism, love vs economics during the Great Depression, friendship, and personal vs professional balance for modern women. The 1930’s main character is very loosely based on my mother and mother-in-law who were young women during the Depression. The modern day main character is like so many young career women of my acquaintance. Perhaps having it all is more difficult than we were led to believe.

OK, last question, what is something that people would be surprised to know about you?  

Well, most people are surprised to know that I have had close personal relationships with real live gangsters.  Sadly, they are youth who have become involved with street gangs, primarily Latin Kings and Crips.  Being a public school administrator isn’t just about teaching the three R’s and meting out discipline.  It is also about trying to save kids from foolish, dangerous choices and from people who want to use them for evil.

Wow, I never would’ve guessed!  And, your book sounds so interesting, too!  Can you tell us more about it and how to find it?

AlCaponeAtTheBlancheHotel_105Lake City, Florida, June, 1930: Al Capone checks in for an unusually
long stay at the Blanche Hotel, a nice enough joint for an insignificant
little whistle stop. The following night, young Jack Blevins witnesses a
body being dumped heralding the summer of violence to come. One-by-one,
people controlling county vice activities swing from KKK ropes. No
moonshine distributor, gaming operator, or brothel madam, black or
white, is safe from the Klan’s self-righteous vigilantism. Jack’s older
sister Meg, a waitress at the Blanche, and her fiancé, a sheriff’s
deputy, discover reasons to believe the lynchings are cover for a much
larger ambition than simply ridding the county of vice. Someone,
possibly backed by Capone, has secret plans for filling the voids
created by the killings. But as the body count grows and crosses burn,
they come to realize this knowledge may get all of them killed.

Gainesville, Florida, August, 2011: Liz Reams, an up and coming young
academic specializing in the history of American crime, impulsively
moves across the continent to follow a man who convinces her of his
devotion yet refuses to say the three simple words “I love you”. Despite
the entreaties of friends and family, she is attracted to edginess and a
certain type of glamour in her men, both living and historical. Her
personal life is an emotional roller coaster, but her career options
suddenly blossom beyond all expectation, creating a very different type
of stress. To deal with it all, Liz loses herself in her professional
passion, original research into the life and times of her favorite bad
boy, Al Capone. What she discovers about 1930’s summer of violence,
and herself in the process, leaves her reeling at first and then changed
forever.

Available now at Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/lkbsjan

Perfect!  Thanks for being here, Linda!  Now, anyone else have any surprising tidbits about themselves?  How about any gangster stories?  Two lucky commenters will win a copy of Linda’s book, check back next week to see if you’ve won.  Good luck!

 


 

Foreplay

The Cop Who Stole ChristmasWINNERS!  WINNERS!  The lucky winners from last week’s blog with Lori Wilde are…everyone who commented!  That’s right, all ten of you!  (Brandy Bosquez, Kathleen O., Cassie Whitman, Sarah S., Becka Lynn, Ellie, bn100, Susan M., Charity Drake, and Emily B.)  Please email me your mailing addresses at: christie (at) christie-craig.com and I will get you your gifts.  Congratulations!

It’s raining wonderful authors here at Laugh, Love, Read!  Today I have the lovely Sophie Jordan to celebrate the debut of her sizzling new book, Foreplay, which hits bookstores TODAY!  So, stick around, say hi, check out Sophie’s phenomenal trailer for Foreplay, and be sure and leave a comment for your chance to win!

You’ve titled the book, “Foreplay.”  An obvious sexual innuendo.  How important is . . . foreplay?  🙂

Really, it has to do with Pepper’s story. My heroine decides she needs an education on “foreplay” as she has so little experience and she wants to win over a certain guy. It’s not a brand-new premise, but I promise there are surprise twists and you’ve never read a story — in the new adult genre or romance — quite like Pepper’s!

I write in two genres, as do you.  Do you find this challenging or rewarding?  What is your favorite part?

Um, both! 😉 It is a LOT of work … really, you’re doubling the work load. But I feel so lucky that I get to write in multiple genres because I love them both so much. I love to read so many different things… I’m fortunate that I can write in more than one area, too.

What is your favorite scene in the book?

The first scene where Reece takes Pepper up on her request to be “schooled” in foreplay. Yeah, it’s sexy, but hell, it’s just also such a revelation about both Pepper and Reece — who they are, what they want … what lines they will and won’t cross. The part where Reece takes her cell phone and texts on it … well, you have to read that part. It’s my favorite. 🙂

Name three things you have in common with your hero/heroine.

I think I really was that girl that didn’t come out of her shell until college. Pepper is very familiar to me in that way.

I was also that girl with an idealized image of her love and her future, like Pepper. Sometimes what we think we’re after … well, the reality of what you get can be even better.

 And lastly, I love Disney World — just like Pepper!

Do you have a favorite author or book you’re fan-girling over right now?

I LUUUUVED Frigid by J. Lynn. Pure escapism. Romance and New Adult at its best.

And lastly, my most serious question, what is your guilty pleasure?

 Lattes. Mexican food … er, wait, why am I leaping to food? LOL. I also love to indulge in pedicures.

All great answers!  And the book sounds fantastic!  Can’t wait to get lost in it!  Can you give us just a little more about it, where to find it, and that trailer we’ve been hearing all about?

foreplay coverBefore she goes after the life she’s always wanted,
she’s about to find the one she needs…

Pepper has been hopelessly in love with her best friend’s brother, Hunter, for like ever. He’s the key to everything she’s always craved: security, stability, family. But she needs Hunter to notice her as more than just a friend. Even though she’s kissed exactly one guy, she has just the plan to go from novice to rock star in the bedroom—take a few pointers from someone who knows what he’s doing.

Her college roommates have the perfect teacher in mind. But bartender Reece is nothing like the player Pepper expects. Yes, he’s beyond gorgeous, but he’s also dangerous, deep—with a troubled past. Soon what started as lessons in attraction are turning both their worlds around, and showing just what can happen when you go past foreplay and get to what’s real…

Available at:

Indie Bound: http://www.indiebound.org/book/9780062279873

Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/loncreb

B&N: http://tinyurl.com/khxa65a

 

AWESOME!  Loved that, Sophie!  And thank you so much for being here!  Now, who are you fan-girling over right now?  Give us the goods on who you love, and two lucky commenters will win a copy of Foreplay.  Good luck!