Speed Dating and Love at First Sight

Many of you already read Cheri Allan’s books. But for those of you who haven’t. what are you waiting for? If you like my Christie Craig books, I know you’ll like Cheri’s books, too. And I’ve asked her here today as my guest.

Thanks, Christie, for letting me stop by! So, show of hands: how many of you out there believe in love at first sight? Did it happen for you that way, or were you more of a slow burn?

Romance writer that I am, I did not fall madly in love with my husband the moment I clapped eyes on him. It was more of a shrug of my shoulders, ‘he’s okay’ sort of deal. In my own defense, his hair was too long, he wore a ratty old concert t-shirt, and he was a microbiology major.I mean, he worked with petri dishes, people. What could we possibly have in common? But then we started talking. There was a spark. He wore his lab coat… Two decades, two kids and a houseful of animals later, I’m glad I didn’t let my first impression stop me from getting to know him better.

I actually love when characters fall for each other awkwardly and unevenly over time. It’s all well and good to be attracted to one another, but I prefer stories where the characters don’t mesh too perfectly, where they have to smooth each other’s rough edges a bit before they fit. Grace and Jeff from my latest novel, Deal Me In, are like that. It takes time to find the balance between her free-spirited nature and his straight-forward pragmatism. As teens, they fell for each other hard and fast–and just as quickly crashed and burned. Would that still hold true if they hadn’t met so young? Let’s pretend, for a little bit, that their history together doesn’t exist. What if Grace and Jeff meet as adults… speed dating? What would that be like, and would they still fall for each other? Let’s find out…

Grace: Hi, I’m Grace.

Jeff: Jeff.

Grace: So, Jeff, what do you do for a living?

Jeff: I’m a police officer at Sugar Falls PD. You?

Grace: I own Currents,the gift shop downtown. I like to say I bring balance and inspiration to the ‘thinkers, dreamers and peace travelers of the world.’

Jeff: Huh. I’ve seen it. You should have the landlord install a motion-sensitive spotlight. That back alley isn’t well lit.

Grace: I’ll mention it to him. So… what’s your favorite color?

Jeff: That’s your next question?

Grace: Yes.

Jeff: Orange.

Grace: Orange?

Jeff: What’s wrong with orange? I never go hiking in the backwoods without it. I’m guessing you like pink.

Grace: Red.

Jeff: Red, huh? That’s not a very peaceful color.

Grace: Red is vibrant and full of life. Plus, I look good in red. Next question: what did you die of in your last life?

Jeff: What?

Grace: In your last life, how did you die?

Jeff: Murdered in my sleep by a crazy chick who believed in past lives?

Grace: Aw, you have a sense of humor! I like that. Me, I died of a broken heart.

Jeff: Of course you did. All right. Seeing as we’re asking theoff-beat question now, how do you like your steak? Rare, medium or well done?

Grace: I’m a vegetarian. But speaking of food, I could really go for some chili rellenos from that Mexican place out by Route 6 right about now. I missed lunch.

Jeff: Mmm. Can’t beat their beef enchiladas. Okay, if you were an animal what would you be?

Grace: I was going to ask that!

Jeff: Just answer the question.

Grace: A butterfly.

Jeff <frowning >: Butterfly? It has a life span of a gnat and can’t fly in the rain. Why would you want to be a butterfly?

Grace: They’re beautiful, and imagine how it would feel to be a butterfly. Like being a kite, only better. What would you be?

Jeff:An eagle.Like my tattoo.

Grace <leaning forward>: You have a tattoo? Can I see it?

Jeff: Now?

Grace: Why not?

Jeff: Our time is almost up.

Grace: No, it’s not.

Jeff: Yeah, it is. Look at the clock.

Grace<waving a hand dismissively>: No. Our time is only beginning. My arms are tingly. It’s a sign.

Jeff:A sign? You’re a fruitcake, you know that?

Grace: We are so seeing each other again.

Jeff: That’s called stalking. There are laws against that.

Grace: It’s not stalking if we both want it.

Jeff: Who says we both want it?

Grace: The fact that you keep looking at my cleavage.

Jeff <clears throat>: That’s a stunning, ah, necklace.

Grace: Thank you. So, seven o’clock?

Jeff: For what?

Grace: Our date. Pick me up at my shop. I’ll wear red.

Jeff: Why?

Grace:It’s my favorite color. Haven’t you been paying attention? Ooh! And can we eat dessert first? I love the Silver Birch Inn’s cranberry-orange cheesecake.

Jeff: How did you know I was thinking of the Inn?

Grace <shrugging>: I just know things sometimes.

Jeff: Really? What am I thinking right now?

Grace: That you can’t wait for our first kiss.

(Jeff didn’t answer, because he had been thinking about that. That and cheesecake.)

Jeff to himself as he leaves: She’s hot but she’s got crazy written all over her. This is going nowhere.

Grace to herself as she leaves: I am so going to marry that man.

 

DEAL ME IN 

Deal Me In cover kindleGrace McIntyre never planned to lose her virginity in a seedy motel to the hottie with the eagle tattoo, but she knew he was The One–until a heart-wrenching goodbye proved he wasn’t.

Despite three tours of duty and one heroic mountain-top rescue, Army veteran Jeff Dayton no longer dreams of a career in search-and-rescue. Two years ago, his politically-ambitious sister needed help spiffing up the family image to win a seat in the state senate, so Jeff returned home to Sugar Falls, New Hampshire, to walk the straight-and-narrow and take a job as a small-town cop. Now his tattoos are covered, his rock-n-roll father is under wraps, and Jeff should be bored out of his mind… but he never figured on reconnecting with his free-spirited high school sweetheart, Grace McIntyre.

 Grace and Jeff have managed to dance around their rocky past since he’s come back to Sugar Falls, but when they’re both assigned to the town’s Harvest Festival planning committee, their attraction sparks to life, igniting both old passions and burning regrets. New revelations help them see each other in a new light, but it takes a small-town festival calamity—complete with a llama petting zoo, a female empowerment “demonstration,” and Jeff’s rocker dad on the main stage—to force these two to let go of the past and find the strength to forgive. Because half the fun of the game of love is winning… and the other half is deciding to play.

DEAL ME IN BUY LINKS:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/23qIvJV
Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/deal-me-in-4
iBooks: http://apple.co/1PFhtEh
Barnes & Noble/Nook: http://bit.ly/1S0oh5L
Google Play: http://bit.ly/1maiUmv

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Cheri Allan is an Amazon Romantic Comedy best-selling author of hopeful, humorous contemporary romances. She lives in a charming fixer-upper in rural New Hampshire with her husband, two children, two dogs, five cats and an excessive amount of optimism (and pet hair.) Her ‘Betting on Romance’ novels have been nominated for both the Carolyn Readers Choice Award and the Golden Quill. Betting on romance… because every woman deserves to get lucky.

CHERI’S STALKER LINKS:

Friend her: www.facebook.com/CheriAllanAuthor/
Like her: www.facebook.com/CheriAllanBooks/
Follow her on Twitter: www.twitter.com/CheriAllan
Follow her at Amazon: http://amzn.to/1LkSsxe
Sign up for her mailing list! www.cheriallan.com

Giveaway!

I’m giving away 3 ecopies of Deal Me In to 3 people who leave a comment. You’re gonna love this book!

Winner!!!

I got some great suggestions for weapons on last week’s blog. Things like a curling wand, snowglobe, cat poo, wasp spray, etc. But the winner is Becka Lynn with a Yankee Candle because it’s heavy and I could make a pun about it being a Yankee. Thanks, Becka Lynn! Please email me at christie@christie-craig.com and tell me if you’d prefer an Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card.

D,D, Dangerous  hi rzDivorced, Desperate and Dead

iBooks is still featuring Divorced, Desperate and Dead through the month of February as part of their Love Is...feature. Divorced, Desperate and Dead is currently on sale at iBooks for  $3.99! Don’t miss this sale. February is almost over!

 

Choose Your Weapons

I recently wrote a post for Fresh Fiction and I thought you might enjoy reading it. Plus, I have a giveaway!

imagesTDPBHAJTIn Divorced, Desperate and Delicious it was a singing fish and a toilet plunger—I used both. In Divorced, Desperate and Dating I went with a tampon.  In Divorced, Desperate and Deceived, I used the top of a toilet tank.  I’m not picky, I’ve used frying pans, Buddha statues, and petrified dinosaur poop—I was particularly proud of that one. In one book, I was desperate and used an egg beater.  In Divorced, Desperate and Daring, my sixth book in my Divorced and Desperate series, I used a fallen arm of an angel statue.  It brought a whole new meaning to the saying: touched by an angel.

What am I talking about?  Weapons.

Have you not been there?  You hear a noise somewhere in the house.  It’s late. Pitch dark.  Either your hubby is too busy sawing logs to care—you even elbow him a couple of times and all he does is grunt—or perhaps he was simply away on business that night.  Or maybe you don’t have a hubby. Anyway, you’re alone, or you might as well be alone.

You might have stayed up late reading some murder mystery, or perhaps you got caught up in a forensic file show and saw bloody crime scenes.  And now, something is making a noise beyond your bedroom door.  Or is your mind is playing tricks on you?

Fear tickles down your spine, but you tell yourself it’s nothing.  And like your mom used to look under the bed to prove there were no monsters lurking there, you force yourself to go check.  Why?  Because you aren’t a weak little woman and besides, you know it’s nothing.  But with each step, you can’t help but think about those bloody crime scenes and wonder if you’re someone’s next victim.

HallwayBut you’re no coward, so you tiptoe out of the room. Down the hall. You can almost hear your heart beating in your ears.  Your footsteps seem a little too loud.  That’s when it happens, you hear it again.  This time it comes right behind you, or just in the next room, and real panic strikes—the kind that latches onto your lungs and you can’t breathe.  For one second you freeze, paralyzed with sheer terror.  Then adrenaline and a will to live force you to do something.  But weaponless, you grab whatever you can—whatever is at a hand’s reach.  Because somehow, someway you’re gonna teach that no-good low-life intruder or more than likely the cat, or the refrigerator that’s simply dropping ice, a lesson.

You see, my heroines, like myself, don’t walk around with a Glock tucked in their bra straps.  But because they are my heroines, and I write humorous romantic suspense, they are eventually gonna come face to face with trouble.  So when they hear noises, it’s generally not just the cat chasing a bug, or the fridge spitting out ice.  It’s real trouble and it’s not gonna be good.  But my heroines are fighters and when misfortune comes calling, they refuse to go down easy.  They do what my grandma used to call, “open up a can of whoop-ass” and they improvise.   And I’ve never lost one yet!  Not even the one where she used a tampon.

Website Series Graphic ddSo here’s my problem.  I’m about to start to start a new book.  And I’ve gotta figure out a new weapon. I’m giving away a ten dollar give card to one of you who offers a suggestion.

 

 

 

 

 

D,D, Dangerous  hi rzDivorced, Desperate and Dead

I’m so excited! iBooks is featuring Divorced, Desperate and Dead as part of their February Love Is...feature. Divorced, Desperate and Dead is currently on sale at iBooks for  $3.99!

Reviews and a Giveaway!

BookReviewThis week, I’d like to take a minute to thank all those reviewers who have reviewed my books over the years. I’d also like to thank my readers who post reviews of my books on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, etc. I know it takes time to put your thoughts into words and post them, and I really appreciate your efforts. It means an awful lot to an author if you post reviews–and a good review encourages new readers.  But those reviews do more than just that. Retailers, like Amazon and B&N may decide to promote the book themselves if they see a lot of reviews coming in.  And some ad agencies will only promote books that have a certain number of reviews.  So again, thank you!

Bookreview0I’ve read book reviews in newspapers, on reviewer’s blogs, and at book sellers’ websites, but are you familiar with book tubing? That’s where a book reviewer posts a book review on YouTube. Many book tubers have regular posts and their followers eagerly await their reviews. So, the other day, I thought I’d check out any book tubing reviews on my books. It was so much fun listening to what someone thought of my books instead of just reading a review. Kinda like the difference from reading an email and actually talking to someone. But a few of them told a few more details about the story than they might have in a written review.  For me, I enjoyed hearing their enthusiasm, but it got me thinking about reviews and how much is too much to tell?

What do you think? If you watched a review, or even read one, and they told a lot of the story (maybe not the ending), does it make the book less enjoyable for you? Do you watch book reviews on YouTube? How much are you influenced by reviews posted at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iBooks, etc?  Oh, and have you written a review about Divorced, Desperate and Daring or Almost Midnight?

I’ll give away one copy of Almost Midnight to someone who leaves a comment.(Sorry, but I have to limit this giveaway to US residents only. And if you’re reading this on Goodreads, you have to go to my website blog to leave a comment in order to be entered.)

Winners!!

And thanks to my Christie Craig Review Team members who posted reviews and tweeted about Murder, Mayhem and Mama, Divorced, Desperate and Daring and Almost Midnight. I’ll send out emails to the winners, so check your in box. Those neat prizes are being mailed out soon. Check out my Review Team and find out how you too can score free copies of my books and win whacky and fun monthly prizes.

The winner of a Born to Read t-shirt who answered my survey is Andrea Akers. Please email me with your mailing address and t-shirt size to christie@christie-craig.com.

D,D, Dangerous  hi rzDivorced, Desperate and Dead

iBooks is featuring Divorced, Desperate and Dead as part of their February Love Is...feature. Divorced, Desperate and Dead is currently on sale at iBooks for  $3.99!

ALMOST MIDNIGHT IS HERE!!

AlmostMidnight[2]The wait is over! Almost Midnight, my C.C. Hunter anthologyis out, and I can’t wait for you to read Fierce, Fredericka’s story. Fredericka is one of those characters that wouldn’t let go of me. She held on and kept popping into my head at the oddest times. I knew there was a lot more to her than what my readers had already seen. And now that I’ve gotten to know her, I’m eager that all my readers will finally have the opportunity to see a new side of Kylie’s one time arch-enemy in her very own story.  And oh, the title, it’s perfect to describe Fredericka in the story.  Because she is truly fierce.  People become who they are for a good reason. Everyone has their reasons—including Fredericka. So, I’m really happy that you finally have the opportunity to get to know her better in her novella, Fierce.

So, I’m posting the first scene of Fierce just to get you ready for Almost Midnight.

 Chapter One

Fredericka Lakota slipped the polished hammered wolf pendant on the silver chain, and hung it up.Stepping back, she. . . frowned. She was a better artist in her head than she was in the flesh. But wasn’t that appropriate? She was better at everything in her head—even a better person—than she was in life, too.

Not a good person, but better than most people considered her. But people were like jewelry, the quality depended on what you were made of. She hadn’t come from great stock.

Not that she wasn’t pure-blooded werewolf. Any supernatural could tell that by looking at her pattern. But her parents had been rogue. Or at least her father had, she’d never known her mother.

She stepped back and looked at her ten jewelry sets. At the bottom of the black velvet display case she’d made was her logo painted in silver script: Ricka Lakota Designs.

Ricka because Fredericka was too long.In time, she supposed the nickname wouldn’t bother her.

Was her work good enough to show in a gallery?

In the morning she’d take her entire collection into Fallen, where after viewing her work, Brandon Dee, the owner of the new gallery in Fallen, would either invite her to sell her wares in the new business, or she’d be told to take a hike.

He planned to pick ten individuals’ works to display in his gallery.

However, he’d warned her in an e-mail that he’d already had two other jewelry artists make appointments and only wanted one.

She didn’t know shit about Brandon Dee—she guessed he was human. Was he even qualified to judge her work? What if he didn’t like it? Or didn’t like her? She wasn’t what anyone would call likable. Raised a rogue, always a rogue. So many supernaturals believed it. And she’d given up trying to prove people wrong.

All of a sudden she heard footsteps. The workshop located behind Holiday’s cabin was off the beaten path. Fredericka didn’t get a lot of company, which was exactly why she liked it. The only one who’d seen her work was Holiday. Which was another reason the interview frightened Fredericka.

Moving to the opened the window, she pulled air through her nose to see who trotted through the woods toward her. Instead of picking up a scent first, she heard the rush of waterfalls. What the heck? She’d woken up in the middle of the night hearing it, too.

Then catching the scent, Fredericka hurried over to the chair where her long-sleeved shirt lay and slipped it on over her tank top.

She’d barely gotten the shirt on when Kylie, a chameleon, the rarest species of supernatural, knocked. “Fredericka?”

The door swished open. Fredericka shot in front of the display. Her shirt slipped off her shoulder, but she snagged it back before Kylie’s gaze went there. “What?”

“Holiday sent me,” Kylie said. “Someone’s at the office to see you.”

“You must have misunderstood.” Fredericka stepped forward, hoping the girl would step out. No such luck.

“I don’t think so.” Kylie made an apologetic face.

Oh, please, no one had come to see Fredericka. Case in point, she’d been here six months and hadn’t had one visitor. On Parents’ Day she always found a place to hide out. The last thing she wanted was for her peers to start feeling sorry for her. That was worse than them judging her.

Kylie remained in the doorway. “Holiday said she tried to call you, but you didn’t answer. She texted me and asked me to see if you were here.”

Fredericka pulled her cell phone from her back pocket. It was out of battery again.

“Then let’s go,” Fredericka said, certain Kylie had misunderstood the reason Fredericka was being summoned, but eager to get the girl out of her private haven.

Fredericka gave another wave toward the door. Kylie leaned to the right.

“Wow! Did you make those?” The girl moved around Fredericka. She touched a necklace. Fredericka almost told her to keep her paws to herself.

“Ricka Lakota Designs,” Kylie read then looked back.“Ricka. I like that. Is that your nickname?”

“No.” Fredericka emotionally flinched. And after hearing the name from someone’s lips, she knew her next order of business was to change her logo.

“Can we go?” She motioned to the door for the second time.

“Sorry.” Kylie backed out.

Fredericka locked the door. Kylie waited to walk with her. Any other person would have skedaddled, especially after Fredericka had been so curt. But Kylie wasn’t just anyone.

Not only was she the rarest of supernaturals, who could go invisible—and yeah, Fredericka had actually seen her do it—but unlike so many of those here, she was the type who tried to see good in everyone. The poor thing had to look long and hard before she spotted any in Fredericka. Especially considering they’d had a rocky start. Like boulder-size rocky.

Kylie had taken the one guy Fredericka had thought she loved. Key word, thought.Not that Fredericka held it against Kylie now. Lucas had been the one pursuing the relationship. Fredericka had come to see that.

They started down the path. The cool breeze, scented with wet earth, whispered through the trees and brought with it the sound of rushing water again.

Fredericka stopped and glanced back in the woods. “Do you hear that?”

Kylie stopped and glanced over her shoulder. “Hear what?”

“The water.”

Kylie’s eyes widened as if Fredericka had asked something weird. “You hear the falls?”

“Yeah. Why? Is that bad or something?”

“No, it’s just . . .”

“Just what?” Fredericka asked.

“Usually, when you hear the falls, it’s calling you.”
“Why would it call me?” Fredericka asked.

“Normally, it’s when the death angels are trying to communicate with you.”

“Oh, I have nothing to say to them.”

“I don’t think they call you to the falls to punish you,” she said, reading Fredericka’s fear.

Fredericka’s shoulders tightened. She didn’t like being read. And she sure as hell didn’t want to be called. “Well, if they want me, they’ll have to text me.” And she hoped like hell they didn’t. The death angels were spirits who held supernaturals responsible for their actions. Fredericka had more than her share of negative checkmarks on her conduct card.

Kylie shrugged and they continued on. Before they even got past Holiday’s cabin, the girl spoke again.“Why don’t you want anyone to see your work? It’s amazing. I’d give anything to have talent like that.”

Call it stupid, but the compliment fell like soft rain on Fredericka. “How about I swap you my jewelry-making talent for the ability to go invisible?”

Kylie laughed. “It’s not nearly as cool as it seems.”

“You aren’t gonna convince me,” Fredericka said.

“Seriously,” Kylie said. “That necklace was gorgeous.”

“Thanks. I guess I’ll know for sure tomorrow.”

“What’s happening tomorrow?” Kylie sounded genuinely interested.

Fredericka didn’t have a clue why she did it, but she told her about the interview.

“Oh, you are so gonna get it!”

“I hope so,” Fredericka said, and got a buzz of excitement talking about it. Right then, she realized the reason she might not have told anyone about her work was because she didn’t have friends. Or at least, she didn’t have girlfriends. She hung out with the guys. And face it, those guys weren’t interested in her jewelry making.

Not that she needed anyone to be interested. She simply got along better with boys. Girls could be bitches.

For a while, a rumor spread around the school that she was gay. But nope. She was totally into the opposite sex. In particular, Edward.

Almost if Kylie read her mind, she asked, “So how are things with you and Mr. Kearns?
“Good,” Fredericka said, but they’d be so much better when school was out. Edward Kearns, a full were, taught history at the Academy. Only two years older than she, the guy took her breath away the first time she’d laid eyes on him. Smart and sexy. She’d never been a history fan until now.

He’d acknowledged his attraction to her, but insisted they only be friends until she graduated. The wait was killing her. Meanwhile, they met every day after school, and she’d listen to him talk about all his trips to see historic places—Paris, Rome, Egypt. If it had history, Edward had been there or wanted to go there. Someday she hoped to go with him, too.

“How good?” Kylie smiled in that way girls did when they wanted you to tell them a secret.

“We’re just friends,” Fredericka said.

“Well, think how good it will be when you move it to that next stage. You two will know everything about each other.”

“Yeah.” It hit her that while she’d gotten to know a lot about Edward, he didn’t know much about her. Not his fault. She wasn’t exactly forthcoming.

She’d almost told him yesterday about her jewelry, but had chickened out. He wasn’t like the male were students. But face it, the man got excited about pyramids, about Notre Dame. Her biggest fear was that he’d think her passion for jewelry was silly. And that was the last way she wanted him to see her.

“This is where I drop off,” Kylie said when they got to the main path, obviously going back to her cabin. Her smile came off so real and it made Fredericka wish that she could be like other girls and have close friends. The way Kylie was with her witch and vampire roommates.

“I want to hear how things go tomorrow. Good luck.”

Fredericka nodded, then instantly realized the downside of having shared her secret. If her work didn’t get accepted, everyone would know she’d failed. Why hadn’t she just kept her mouth shut?

Fredericka took off, her pace faster than it had been in the morning. With a full moon coming soon, her strength grew greater daily.

“Hey.” Kylie’s call had Fredericka glancing over her shoulder. “You may want to mention to Holiday about hearing the falls.”

“Yeah,” Fredericka said, but she wouldn’t. She wanted to forget about that.

As she got closer to the office, she wondered exactly what it was that Holiday wanted, because no one could be here to see her. But when she stepped on the front porch, she caught the trace of another were. A familiar trace.

She curled her hands into fists.

What the hell did Marissa Canzoni want? Her gaze shot back to the trail. She didn’t have to face this. Her feet were poised to swing around, when she remembered she’d stopped running from her problems a long time ago.

Bracing herself for whatever shit Marissa had dug up and the emotional backlash that seeing her would bring, she walked into Holiday’s office.

AlmostMidnight[2]Almost Midnight is on sale in your local bookstore or can be ordered from Amazon, Barnes & NobleiBooks and Kobo.