Moving Teaches You Something…

texasholdem_cover (2)WINNERS! WINNERS! The lucky winners from last week’s blog with Neicey Roy are: Julie S. and Sabrina Robert! Email me at: christie (at) christie-craig.com and I will arrange to get you your prizes when Neicey’s book is available.  Congrats!

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Moving teaches you something.  The value of letting go of things—material things.  The freedom of cleaning out the clutter of your life is awesome.   And it’s so true.  Memories are much more important than things, but this most recent move has taught me something else, too . . . that there are some things worth keeping.  Things that perhaps we didn’t value at one time.  Things that if lost, we’d regret.  Things that were maybe lost and are now found.

I think I was nineteen, already married, and a mother.  Still, I wasn’t old enough to truly appreciate or understand the true significance of what was being placed in my hand.  It was a piece of history.  My history.  The ring of gold, a wedding band, felt small and cold in my palm.

“It belonged to MeeMaw, your great-grandmother,” my grandmother told me.  “It’s special.  Make sure you take care of it.”

ringShe’d given each of her granddaughters a piece of jewelry as a keepsake of her own mother.  A woman who had died when I was four.  I had only a few memories of MeeMaw.  As crazy as it seemed, one of them was of that ring on her frail, knotted finger.  I held her hand as we walked across a parking lot.  I’d been given the job of reminding Meemaw to step up when we came to a curb.  I recalled how loose the ring fit, how it slid up and down on her finger, threatening to fall off.  I think she died shortly after that.

After my own grandmother left me with this piece of jewelry and few memories, I took the ring and put it into a jewelry box for safekeeping, and did what most young people do, I forgot about it.  It would be four years later before I even saw the ring again.  My marriage on the rocks, trying to figure out how to be a single mom, and my own wedding ring removed from my hand, I was hurriedly packing a few things for my daughter and myself to get out of town, away from an abusive relationship.  I happened upon that ring and I almost didn’t take it.  Then I recalled my grandmother’s words: “Take care of it.”  So I went back, picked it up, and dropped it inside my purse.   I didn’t wrap it in tissue, or find a special place for it, the way it deserved, but I did take it.

The next few years of my life in sunny southern California were crazy.  But a good crazy this time.  I met Mr. Craig, married him, and for the first time, I appreciated what a real marriage was supposed to be.  A couple of years later, we packed our bags, and headed to Texas.  As I was cleaning out an old dresser drawer, I found the ring again.  This time, I appreciated it a little bit more.  My own grandmother was aging, and as I held it in my palm, I thought about telling my grandmother thank you for bestowing me with this ring.  I recall taking the ring to my husband and asking him to put it somewhere important.

We were probably in Houston a year.  It was 1987.  My grandparents were coming for a visit.  I wanted to show my grandmother the ring, and tell her thank you, but it occurred to me that I didn’t have a clue where it was.  I went to my husband and asked where he’d tucked it away.  He had no memory of the ring.  The whole time my grandparents were there, I was shrouded by a sense of guilt.  I’d lost MeeMaw’s ring.  Lost a part of the family’s history.

That guilt never completely went away.  Before my grandfather died, I’d gotten really close to my grandmother, and as crazy as it sounds, we became friends.  She lived in Florida, and we visited each other at least three times a year.  She never asked about that ring, and down deep, I felt she knew I’d lost it.  When she died, I remember standing at her casket and silently apologizing and feeling as if I’d let her down.

Fast forward to 2014.  Hubby and I had just undergone a monumental feat.  We’d moved from a home we’d lived in for 20 years.  Amazing the things you find.  A framed piece of cross-stitch that I made when I was pregnant with my son.  A doll that had belonged to my daughter when we hurriedly packed our things and moved to California. Old snapshots of my grandmother in her bathing suit on one of my many trips to see her in Florida.  

Then, last week, my hubby walked into the room to show me his mother’s high school ring that’d he’d found.  When he went to put it away, I felt my heart tug about another ring.  I wondered if grandma was looking down on me, upset that I’d lost it.  Oddly enough, she stayed on my mind for the next few days.

Then, this morning, he walked into my study to show me another old picture he’d found of his grandmother.  I sighed and told him that part of me was still mad at him for losing my great-grandmother’s ring. 

“What ring?” he asked.  Leave it to a man to forget.

 “A ring,” I told him.  “A wedding band.”

His eyes lit up. “I was wondering who it belonged to.”  I followed him into our now guest bedroom where he’d stored some keepsakes.  In an old wooden box was a simple gold band.  I picked it up and recalled holding my great-grandmother’s frail hand, recalled holding my own grandmother’s hand when it turned just as frail.  My eyes grew misty as almost thirty years of guilt eased off my shoulders. 

guiltYup, it’s good to clear out the clutter of our lives, but sometimes when the clutter is gone, you suddenly find something worth keeping.  Something that someday, I will place in my granddaughter’s hand and say, “It’s special.  Make sure you take care of it.”

 

 

               

             

Done with Love

texasholdem_cover (2)WINNERS!  WINNERS!  The lucky winners from last week’s blog with Ava Miles are: Katrina and Barbara Hopkins! Please email me at: christie (at) christie-craig.com with your choice of print or e-book and your delivery information and I’ll get you your prizes.  Congratulations!

Today, I have a fun debut from a new author named Neicey Roy who’s here to tell us about her book, Done with Love, a Romantic Comedy from her What’s Love??? series.  I’m excited to meet her and get to know her a bit more!

OK, Neicey, tell me your hero/heroine’s biggest, most embarrassing secret.

Oh, wow. It seems like Lexie, the heroine from Done With Love, no longer has secrets, not after the big wedding scandal. But, I think Lexie would die of embarrassment if her bestie, Roxanna, were to find out what went on in the guest room between Lexie and a certain hunk hero… (who happens to be Roxanna’s cousin) *grin*

What was your favorite scene to write?
Oh my gosh, I can’t exactly describe it, because I don’t want to give anything away. But while I was brainstorming this scene, I was FB messaging one of my good friends and critique partners, Casse NaRome, an author who shares my kind of humor, and we were laughing so hard, we were both tearing up. Pretty much writing the scene through FB messaging as the images came to me. I swear, it was so much fun. I’ve never had so much fun brainstorming a scene before. This scene may or may not involve taser guns and a very poor job of coercion.

If you could cast your book into a movie, who would play the leading parts?

Yay for the #dreamcast!

Alexis (Lexie) Gorecki – Lexie is cream and roses, and for as long as she, or anyone else, can remember, she’s been in love with the fairytale of happily-ever-afters. She’s been planning her dream wedding since the age of seven. Hayden Panettiere has the ability to capture youth and innocence, with that girl next door vibe, and I think she’s perfect for Lexie’s character.

Leonardo (Leo) Moss – Um, yeah… Leo must definitely be played by Channing Tatum. I don’t even think there needs to be much explanation, besides the fact that he has green eyes, brown hair, gorgeous lips, and an out of control body. Plus, I love Channing’s ability of putting humor into his characters, as well as playing a serious. He’s perfect as Leo, and perfect for Lexie, the heroine of the Done With Love.

Imogen (Gen) Gorecki – Since Gen is Lexie’s twin sister, but with shorter hair, she’d have to be played by Hayden Panettiere, and of course she’d make the perfect Gen. She’s a great actress, so I don’t think she’d have any trouble playing the twins. Gen’s character is fun and colorful, she loves rock where Lexie loves country music. They’re complete opposites when it comes to style, but Hayden’s talented enough she could pull it off. She’s got this. No bigz.

Roxanna (Roxi) Moss – Lexie’s and Gen’s  BFF since grade school when Roxanna almost ran them over with her pink scooter. Roxanna is half Italian, half Filipino and 100% drama and fun. Vanessa Hudgens would be perfect for to play Roxi in this series.

Richard (bad date that never ends) – I’ve loved Richard’s character ever since writing him into Another Shot At Love. If you haven’t read Another Shot At Love, you should. Definitely. I recommend it so that you can fall in love with Richard’s character, too.He’s super geeky, but good looking, and his idea of a hobby is delivery pizza, a couch and hours playing video games, while sometimes wearing a replica Master Chief helmet to get pumped up for Xbox live… But, mostly, he’s inexperienced with women, has some equally inexperienced friends who give him really bad chick advice. Bless his hot, geeky heart. If you’ve ever seen Justin Timberlake in Bad Teacher, read him in the What’s Love??? series and picture him in the role of Richard, and let me know what you think 🙂

Catherine (Cat) Gorecki – We met Catherine in Another Shot At Love, a very pregnant and hormonal older sister to the twins. In Done With Love, she’s a new mother of her own set of twins. I think Katherine Heigl would play the perfect stressed out, sleep deprived new mother, and Katherine rocks in romantic comedies 🙂

Matthew (Matt) Sesnick – Seriously, Ian Somerhalder is out of control and needs to behave…but only after he plays Matt, Gen’s boyfriend, in the What’s Love??? series. He’s perfect, and exactly who I was fantasizing…I mean, exactly who I was professionally imagining would play Matt in the movie. He doesn’t have hazel eyes, but I’m sure readers would forgive that oversight if it’s Ian who plays the role 😉

What is in your TBR pile?

I write romantic comedy, because I love watching them on TV. I see my novels as scenes being played out on the screen. But, when I read, I prefer paranormal, futuristic sci-fi, fantasy, and I love, love, love mysteries and forensic mysteries. I have a couple of Patricia Cornwell books on my TBR pile that will need to be read before any other titles. I can’t wait for some down time to get to her books. And, when it comes to reading for pleasure, I prefer paperback or hardback covers over my Kindle or iPad eBooks. Call me old school 🙂

Sounds like a great TBR list!  Now tells us a little more about your book.

done-with-love-niecey-roy-eBook-med

Once upon a time…

Bridal boutique owner, Alexis Gorecki, used to believe in happily-ever-afters—until prince charming turned into a toad.

Months after being blindsided by her own horrific wedding scandal, Lexie is desperately trying to keep her boutique afloat in the wake of all the bad publicity. Waging war against her evil almost-in-laws—the people who will stop at nothing to ruin her reputation—sounded much better in her head. Lexie’s strawberries and cream personality really isn’t cut out for taser guns and blackmail.

To complicate matters, Lexie’s first love is back in town with his sexy green eyes and out-of-control abs. He already broke her heart once before, the beast. Leo Moss has always been her weakness and he’s made it perfectly clear what he wants. Can he convince Lexie she’s not done with love just yet?

COMING APRIL 2014!

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Awesome!  Thanks so much for being here, Neicey!  It was great to have you.  Now two lucky commenters get their chance to win a copy of your book.  And be sure to check back next week to see if you won!  Good luck!

 

 

 

Real Women Ride the Bull

texasholdem_cover (2)WINNERS! WINNERS! The lucky winners of last week’s blog with Robin Kaye are: Jackie and Alison P!  Email me at: christie (at) christie-craig.com with your choice of print or e-book and your delivery information and I’ll get you your prizes.  Congratulations!

I have another lovely guest for you today as she debuts her latest release . . . Ava Miles is here to tell us about her new book, Country Heaven, and share with us a little bit about bull riding!  Just read on!  And stick around because two lucky commenters will win a copy for themselves!

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So, hi there! I’m Ava Miles, the new contemporary romance writer who burst onto the scene with her book NORA ROBERTS LAND, which kicked off my acclaimed Dare Valley series. Now, I’m delighted to announce the first book in a connected series called Dare River, set in the deep South, titled COUNTRY HEAVEN, a story about a down-on-her luck cook who uses food’s magical properties to tame a beastly country singer after he hires her under false pretenses to restore his image.

Since Christie loves cowboys as much as I do, I selected an excerpt about a woman being the cowgirl for once. My feisty heroine, Tory Simmons, is the private chef of the super-star country singer, Rye Crenshaw. He’s living up to his reputation in a honky tonk in Dallas with one of his usual contests. He and his manager are timing the women brave enough to ride the bull. The prize? Well, you’ll just have to keep reading. Here’s the excerpt.

Her feet sank into the gym mats. The bull suddenly seemed larger than life, from the tip of its fake snout to the well-worn saddle on its fake hairy back. God, she hoped it was fake. She put her foot in the stirrup, grabbed the pommel, and swung her leg over, finding the other stirrup. Then she eased her hand around the pommel and wedged it under the saddle. Curving forward, she gripped the bull’s body with her thighs, keeping her head low. Seconds later, the contraption tipped forward and started to rock.

The bucking increased. She squeezed her thighs as tight as she could, digging her heels under the beast’s belly. She heard shouts and cat calls, but could barely make them out over the ringing in her ears. The bull jackknifed and then turned in a circle. Tory’s thighs screamed, but she kept chanting a few more seconds, a few more seconds. Finally her grip slackened, and she went flying. The breath whooshed out of her lungs when she hit the mat. She lay there for a second, stunned.

She’d done it, and while it felt like she’d only stayed on for a blink of an eye, she knew it had been several seconds. The noise in the bar was deafening as she used her hand to lever herself up. Determined not to weave like everyone had, she took it slow and walked to the gate.

Rye was gaping at her.

Clayton held out the stopwatch. “Seven seconds! Jesus, Tory. You won!”

She’d won? She couldn’t remember ever winning anything! She was looking around for Lola to give the woman a smirk when she realized what winning meant.

Oh no.

A kiss from Rye Crenshaw. Her boss.

Oh, and what a kiss it is. Check out COUNTRY HEAVEN. It’s chock full of Tory’s recipes and Rye’s country music songs. Yes, I wrote them all.

So, here’s my question for you: have you ever ridden the bull?

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AvaMiles_CountryHeaven_HRA down-on-her luck cook uses food’s magical properties to tame a beastly country singer after he hires her under false pretenses to restore his image.

When famous—and infamous—country singer Rye Crenshaw saunters into the diner where she cooks, Tory Simmons is certain she’s got him pegged. He’s a bad boy who indulges himself in all things, women included. But while she couldn’t care less about country music or arrogant men, Rye makes her an offer she can’t refuse when he asks her to be his private chef on his multi-city concert tour. The job is the answer to all her prayers: it will clear out her debt and finance the fresh start she desperately needs.

Rye is certain his sassy new cook is the last woman who’d ever tempt him, but spending time with the wholesome girl next door will do wonders for his damaged public image, whether she likes being forced into the spotlight or not. Her food also happens to be the best he’s ever eaten, both comforting and seductive. But spending time with Tory on the road shows him a new side to her—one that’s as impossible to resist as her food. And when an emergency in his family whisks him home, he does the one thing he’s never risked: he lets a woman into his heart…

Soon the emotions Rye faked for the tabloids become all too real, but will the country heaven he’s found in Tory’s arms survive in the real world?

Available at:

Amazon

http://www.amazon.com/Country-Heaven-Dare-River-Miles-ebook/dp/B00IC867FY/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1392052342&sr=8-3-fkmr0&keywords=ava+miles+country+heaven

B&N
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/country-heaven-ava-miles/1118598707?ean=2940148135562

iTunes
https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/country-heaven-dare-river-1/id813616801?mt=11

Kobo
http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/country-heaven

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Sounds fantastic!  I’m so excited to read this one.  Thank you so much for being here, Ava!  Well, you heard her, have you ever ridden the bull?  Leave us a comment and two lucky people will win a copy of Ava’s book.  Check back next week to see if you’ve won.

It Had to be You, Robin!

texasholdem_cover (2)

WINNERS!  WINNERS!  The lucky winners from last week’s blog with Laura Drake and I are: Annie and Raeline Peterson of the fabulous Grand Central prize packs and Christine L. of the western purse filled with books and goodies!  Please email me at: christie (at) christie-craig.com with your delivery info and we’ll get you your prizes.  Congratulations!

I have invited my friend, Robin Kaye back to visit and to tell us about her latest book, Had to be You, releasing TODAY!  So, sit back, have a little fun, and be sure and comment because I’ll be giving away two copies to some lucky folks next week!

OK, Robin, let’s start with telling us three things about yourself that your readers would be surprised about.

I used to be a 120-pound bouncer in a dance club and bar. The owners thought that having a girl at the door would lead to less fights—it didn’t. As you can imagine, my mother was so proud.

I can’t sit still for long, so I write using an exercise ball as a chair so at least I can bounce. I also have a treadmill desk so I can walk and write at the same time. I love it.

I can’t really think of anything else except that I knit and spin yarn, and weave—although not as often as I’d like.  🙂

What is it that your heroine loves most about the hero, and what is it about him that drives her crazy?

Rocki loves and hates that Slater doesn’t fall for Rocki’s shtick—he sees past all the smoke and mirrors she hides behind and has since the first time he laid eyes on her. And she loves that deep down inside Slater is a good man and always does what’s right even to his own detriment.

If you weren’t a writer, what would you be?

A food critique or a cook. I’m a total foodie and love to cook, but if you’ve ever read any of my books, you probably know that.

I always like to end with a fun one…name three things that are on your desk right now.

Chocolate from Germany, coffee, and a bobble head cat on top of my computer—his head bobs while I walk.

Love it!  Now can you tell us a little bit about Had to be You?

had to be you

The last place he expected to find lasting love was back in his hometown….

Slater knew tragedy from a young age, but with the support of his foster family, he turned his life around. Now, back from a stint in the Navy, he’s packed up his motorcycle and returned to Red Hook to help run the family restaurant–a job that comes with a tantalizing upside. Her name is Rocki.

Flirty, sweet, and outgoing, Rocki brings in crowds as the lead singer of the house band. And although she’s unable to resist the charms of this intense bad boy, she refuses to open her heart to him. Until a family crisis shatters Rocki’s easygoing demeanor, exposing something from her past she’d always hoped would stay hidden.

But Slater knows a thing or two about family secrets–and he sets out to prove to Rocki that their relationship could finally give them both a future worth believing in.

Available at Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/nduak2a

Barnes & Noble: http://tinyurl.com/p9doqnk

Sounds great and I love that cover!  Thanks for being here, Robin!  Now two lucky commenters will win a copy so be sure and check back next week!  Good luck!