THIS HEART OF MINE New Excerpt

this heart of mineThe days are flying by, and This Heart of Mine will be released on February 27th. That’s less than a month away! This book was probably the hardest book for me to write. A lot of it came from my life.  You see this is a story about a seventeen-year-old girl who needs a heart transplant.  It’s about facing death, learning to accept life again, and learning to live with someone else’s heart.  My husband recently went through a transplant and his pain, my pain, his fear, my fear, and the learning to live again all came from personal experience.  Even the paranormal thread of feeling you have a little of the donor inside you all came from this real life experience.

So as you read This Heart of Mine you’ll learn that:

  • Everyone dies eventually. But when you always expected to die sooner rather than later, it’s hard to wrap your head around the fact that you might just live to a ripe old age.
  • Sometimes it’s harder and takes more energy to have faith in a positive outcome, than it is to accept the worst.  But nothing is sweeter than when life proves you wrong.
  • Growing up, discovering who you are is hard to do when you’re dying.
  • You can be dying and still feel the butterflies from a hot guy and the perfect kiss.

This Heart of Mine is up for preorder at AmazonBarnes & NobleBooks-A-MillionPowell’s, Indiebound and iBooks. 

New Excerpt from This Heart of Mine

“Let’s walk Lady. Then it’s my turn to buy lunch. And it doesn’t have to be Indian food.”

Her smile pulls one out of him. “Sounds good.”

They stand up, and Lady bolts, tearing the leash from Matt’s hands. Leah runs and grabs it.

“Good catch,” he says, a few feet  behind her.

“Wait.” She swings around, running right into his arms. He catches her by the shoulders. “I . . .  I forgot my phone,” she says weakly.

Just like that, he’s back. Back in her house. Back to the second before he got the best kiss of his life.

And like before, she’s against him. Her chest moves to take in air. She’s close.

He likes close. He can smell her hair, her skin, her breath. He can feel her breasts against his chest. Dare he take a chance?

Eric would call him a coward if he didn’t.

“Oh,” he says. “I . . .  I thought you were  going to kiss me.”

***

For a second I think I’m imagining the words.  Because the same ones are fluttering like big butterflies through my mind. But I don’t waste time.

I tilt my chin up. “Do you want me to kiss you?”

He’s wearing that crooked smile. “If  you’re Leah, I’ve been wanting you to kiss me since sixth grade.”

I lift one brow. “I said seventh.”

His hands melt around my waist. “I know,” he says matter- of- factly. “I’ve wanted to kiss you longer than you have me.”

I laugh then fall right back into the part,  because this  isn’t finished. And that’s the best part.

“Is your heart strong enough?” I ask. He tilts his head down. “Are you that good of a kisser?” His eyes are so beautiful, his mouth so close, and my dreams are a breath away from coming true.

The fact that he remembers verbatim what was said on that day eight months ago makes me feel light, airy. I’m happy to be me. And I haven’t been happy to be me in a hell of a long time.

I’m a romance heroine in my own book.

I’m New Leah.

I’m not dying.

I’m so damn alive and I feel it.

I feel everything— his hands against my waist, his muscled chest against my breasts.

It’s still not enough. I need what comes next. He hesitates, as if waiting on me.

Not a problem. I’m going for what I want.

I lift up on my tiptoes and press my lips to his.

His tongue slips between my lips.

He tastes like strawberry jam, and a hint of mint. He feels strong. He feels . . .  I feel . . .

His hold on my waist tightens ever so slightly. The kiss is even better than the one before.  We’re not in my hallway where Mom is going to see.  We’re not in earshot of my dad announcing he’s home.

I feel myself easing closer. And we kiss and kiss until even this closeness doesn’t seem like enough.

Which is the point when I know we need to stop. I pull back.

I’m breathing hard. So is he.

His lips widen in the softest, sweetest, sexiest smile I’ve ever witnessed. And I’m mush. I have to lean against him to keep my knees from buckling.

“Hello,” he says.

“Hello,” I answer.

Lady chimes in with a bark.

His chin dips as if to kiss me again, but my phone rings from the bench. His smile fades. “Should you answer that?”


So Leah and Matt share their second kiss. Everyone always remembers their first kiss, but do you remember your second kiss? Tell me about it.

A New Book, A New Excerpt

I’m getting more and more excited over the release of This Heart of Mine on Feb. 27th. . I can’t wait to share this book with you. So read on, because I have a new excerpt from This Heart of Mine for you.

In This Heart of Mine, Leah and you will learn:

  • Best friends are always there for you—no matter what.
  • Sometimes you have to follow your heart, even if it wasn’t always yours.
  • Don’t be afraid to take a chance. Win or lose.  That’s what life is, a bunch of chances.
  • Figure out who you are and what you want. Then go do it. Do it large.
  • You need to be whoever you are and not worry about what others might think.

this heart of mineA new heart saved her life—but will it help her find out what really happened to its donor?

Seventeen-year-old Leah MacKenzie is heartless. An artificial heart in a backpack is keeping her alive. However, this route only offers her a few years. And with her rare blood type, a transplant isn’t likely. Living like you are dying isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. But when a heart becomes available, she’s given a second chance at life. Except Leah discovers who the donor was — a boy from her school — and they’re saying he killed himself. Plagued with dreams since the transplant, she realizes she may hold the clues to what really happened.

Matt refuses to believe his twin killed himself. When Leah seeks him out, he learns they are both having similar dreams and he’s certain it means something. While unraveling the secrets of his brother’s final moments, Leah and Matt find each other, and a love they are terrified to lose. But life and even new hearts don’t come with guarantees. Who knew living, took more courage than dying?

This Heart of Mine is up for preorder at Amazon, Barnes & NobleBooks-A-Million, Powell’s, Indiebound and iBooks.

Excerpt from This Heart of Mine

From the second Matt touches me, my fear becomes manageable. It’s as if something inside me says, Don’t worry, this is Matt.

I swallow. I can still feel his finger against my lip. Like when he kissed me, I long to memorize the feeling.

I look at him knowing I just need to get this out. But how?

Then I look into his eyes again and just say it. “When I woke up from the transplant, I started having dreams. The doctors say it’s a side effect from my medication, but . . . I think they might have something to do with Eric.”

His eyes widen. His jaw drops. I hear him inhale . . . then exhale.

He releases my hand and scrubs his palm over his face.

My fear comes tumbling back so fast I want to get out of the car. Run away. Be alone.

“I know how it sounds, but I swear, it’s the only thing that makes sense.”

“Leah, I—”

“I’m not lying.”

“I know.” He touches my hand again. “Eric’s running in the woods, isn’t he? He has a gun?”

Now it’s my turn to be shocked. “How do you know?”

“Because I’m getting the same dreams. I woke up that Sunday night he was shot with the dream. My right temple was throbbing. I know how it looks. Everyone thinks he committed suicide and that I’m in denial, but I’m not. Eric didn’t kill himself. Someone did this to him.”

I absorb what he says, but my mental sponge is so dry it takes a minute.

“I believe you. In the dream, I hear a voice. A man’s voice. He seems angry.”

Matt’s eyes widen. “What does he say? Who is it?”

“I don’t know. It’s distant, and I can’t make it out.”

“Will you tell this to Detective Henderson? Maybe he’d believe me.” His eyes light up with hope, and until then I didn’t realize how sad his eyes were.

Then the consequences of doing what he asks flash through my mind. What will my parents say? I haven’t told them. I haven’t even told my best friend.

“I . . . Won’t he just think I’m crazy? Have you told him about your dreams?”

The hope in his eyes fades. I remember I’m alive because Eric’s dead. “I’ll do it.” I blurt out.

“No. You’re right. I haven’t told him about my dreams because . . . He’s not going to believe it.”

He looks out the window as if collecting his thoughts. Then he focuses back on me. “Is it freaking you out?”

It is. “No.” I really pass my lie quota for the day. “What about you? You’re seeing it too.”

“Yeah, but we’re twins. We have a special . . . Had . . . Damn it!” He hits the steering wheel. “Someone murdered my brother. Everyone thinks he killed himself. And I don’t know how to prove he didn’t.”

He keeps mixing up his tenses, some are present as if Eric is alive, some aren’t.

I did that with my grandma.

Matt hasn’t accepted his brother’s death. I want to console him, hug him? Is it even my place?

“Maybe the dreams give us something more.” I’ve been praying the dreams would go away. Not now.

“More?” he asks.

I swallow. “Yeah. Like I didn’t see the gun at first. That came later. Maybe we’ll see other stuff.”

Matt passes a hand over his face as if trying to wipe away the hurt and grief.

“All I see is he’s running and carrying a gun—he’s in different parts of woods.” His voice catches. “He’s so scared. I think he knows he’s going to die.” The pain in Matt’s eyes is so raw that it bleeds onto me. I feel it. The stickiness on my skin. The stain of it on my soul. “I’m sorry.”

Winner!

The winner of last week’s giveaway of an ARC of This Heart of Mine is Therese Chaumont. Congratulations! Please email me at christie@christie-craig.com with your postal address.

It’s Almost Here!

this heart of mineIn about six weeks, This Heart of Mine will release.  Part of me is dancing on my tip toes I’m so excited.  But on the flip side of that, I’m so nervous I have butterflies playing bumper cars in my stomach.

Yes, it’s true that with every book I’ve sent out to the world to be read, enjoyed, and judged, there’s a bit of angst.  Because I know not everyone is going to love my book, my characters, my writing style. There are tons of books out there that everyone loves, but don’t resonate with me.  And I’m sure as readers you’ve found this to be true.  Authors and all artists, have to accept that one’s work is subjective.  And I’ve accepted it.

Mostly.  But those butterflies keep on fluttering.  What if my base, my core readers, don’t tap into that magical essence of the story I’ve spent months imaging and creating?

Every book I write is part imagination and part heart.  I find a kernel of an idea and while writing it, I tap into and borrow from my personal experiences, my emotions, my fears, my moral compass, to create the story. This is why I tell people that every character has me in them.

The difference between This Heart of Mine and dozens of my previous books is that this book didn’t grow in that creative section of my brain.  It wasn’t a seed of an idea that I planted and spent months whispering to, what’s next?  What now? I didn’t borrow bits and pieces of my life to create the plot.

No.  Chunks of this story were taken right out of my life.  Out of my husband’s life.  When I tapped into that creative place and asked, what’s next?  I didn’t have to put my thinking cap on.  I just had to open up a vein.  I followed the foot prints of emotion, of pain, of the strugglesand ultimately, the triumph of a real life experience.

I cried more writing this book than any book I’ve ever written.

Because like Leah, my husband needed a transplant. Like Leah, it was unlikely to happen.  Like Leah, he and I were forced to accept that his time here, that our time together, was about to end.  Like Leah, he was given that second chance.  Like Leah, when he woke up from that transplant, he started having dreams.  Dreams that had us wondering if they were his own or from the donor.

And while there is so much personal experience that stems from this story, there’s fiction as well. My hubby isn’t Matt, my hot hero.  (Sorry, Babe.) He’s wasn’t dealing with high school and figuring out who he was when the transplant took place.  His donor’s death hadn’t been ruled a suicide, but left others wondering if it hadn’t been murder.  Yes, plenty of creative energy went into this book.

But the emotional essence of this story.  Of learning to cherish time.  Of learning to live every day to the fullest because tomorrow is not a promise.  That came from the lessons we learned during this difficult time.  And the love that Leah and Matt find?  That’s one hundred percent real.  It’s not the teenage love, but it started as young love, and grew stronger like it can after thirty years of marriage.  You don’t know how much you love someone, until you sit at their bedside in ICU while they’re in coma.  You don’t know how precious life is, until you’re certain it’s gone.  You don’t value time until you’ve been given a second chance.

This Heart of Mine is up for preorder at Amazon, Barnes & NobleBooks-A-Million, Powell’s, Indiebound and iBooks.  So, don’t miss out, order your copy today.  If you’re one of my loyal fans who has preordered it, leave a comment, and one of you will win an ARC of This Heart of Mine. So, you’ll have one to keep and one to give away to a friend.

Winner!

Last week’s winner of a $10 Amazon gift card is Kate CeccePlease email me at christie@christie-craig.com to claim your gift card.

 

 

Year in Review and 2018’s First Giveaway!

Do you know how after New Year’s you look back on the past year and you kind of feel you wasted too much time?  I was doing that, and then I stopped and realized maybe I didn’t do everything I wanted to. Yeah, I still haven’t lost the weight, but I did accomplish a lot.  I visited both my parents, one in California, one in Alabama. I did fifteen writing related events, most of the out of state. Which means I had the pleasure of meeting many of you at conferences and book signings, and I’m looking forward to meeting more of you in 2018.

the junkyard cowboy high resIn July, I released the third book in my Tall, Hot & Texas series; The Junkyard Cowboy. I had a lot of fun writing about Jennifer Peterson, who in her search for the perfect man has found a sure-fire formula for identifying the perfect man. Statistics seem to show that if she narrows her search to men of certain careers and physical attributes, she’ll have a better shot at success. So now, she’s on the hunt for not-so-well-endowed, short and hairy podiatrists or funeral directors, who’ve been dubbed less likely to cheat than their tall, good-looking counterparts.

But when a hit man runs Jennifer off the road and chases her into an old junkyard. The sexy cowboy who runs the place may be the best man to keep her alive, but he’s also the type to most likely put her heart in jeopardy. Should she trust her head or throw all logic out the window for the one guy who may be worth the risk?

fighting-backLast August, I released my C.C. Hunter book, Fighting Back. In case you avid Kylie and Lucas fans missed it, this is the final short story about this couple. Just because they’re in love, doesn’t mean it’s smooth sailing. Oh no, Kylie and Lucas face their biggest challenge yet when Lucas struggles to balance his added responsibilities with the werewolf council with his commitment to Kylie. Things go from bad to worse when Lucas’ life is in danger. But while their future may be uncertain, Kylie will do whatever it takes to save the life of the only boy she’s ever truly loved.

414fOgxyWRL (1)Then last October, I released the first in my three book YA series called The Mortician’s Daughter: One Foot in the Grave. It’s about Riley Smith, whose dad is a mortician, and his clients keep following him home. Only Riley can see these ghosts, and they usually want some kind of help from her. And it’s never easy.  For those of you waiting for the second book, it will release in July.

 

 

FierceFinally in December, I released my YA novella, Fierce, werewolf Fredericka Lakota’s story, previously only available in my anthology, Almost Midnight. Even years after being abandoned by her rogue werewolf father, Fredericka’s still never found a place for herself in Shadow Falls. And now,  Fredericka’s life has gotten more complicated: she’s learned her father has died, the death angels from the falls are calling to her, an ex won’t let her go, and she may be seeing the ghost of a missing woman who needs her help.

And while these two books haven’t released yet, I wrote This Heart of Mine and Don’t Close Your Eyes.

this heart of mineReviews for This Heart of Mine are rolling in and I’m honored that reviewers are connecting to with this book.  This is the book about a heart transplant that was inspired from my husband’s transplant. It releases February 27th.

 

 

 

51WVbFHb5yLI also wrote, Don’t Close your Eyes, which releases August 28th.  Now for my readers, I’ll warn you that this isn’t as humorous as my other Christie Craig books.  It’s a story about a young woman with a repressed memory that leads the Anniston, Texas Cold Case cops not to just one body, but two.  It was originally written for a screen writing contest back in 1997.  I won, but then didn’t pursue it.  Seven years later, I pulled it out and started it as a book.  I entered it into a contest, and it took first place again. But then, I sold my humorous romantic suspense novels and put it on the back burner.  In 2017, I decided to return to it. There was something about that story that wouldn’t let me forget it even after twenty years.  I enjoyed writing the slightly darker story, so my agent sold it as a series titled, Texas Justice.  There are three Cold Case Cops and each one will get their story.

You can find all of these books at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. If you missed one of the new releases, go grab a copy. And you can also preorder the This Heart of Mine and Don’t Close Your Eyes.

So you see, while I do believe I spent a little too much time of 2017 playing Spider Solitaire. I did do a lot.  What were you busy doing in 2017?  One person who leaves a comment and tells me they have read one of my books, will receive a $10 Amazon gift card.

 

 

Resolutions

abOkay, it’s a brand-new year. Time to dust off those resolutions, and try to keep them this time. Did you know most people give up on their New Year’s resolutions by February?

Yup, I’m one of the 45 percent of people who statistics say set resolutions.

Most of us have similar goals, too.  To eat healthier.  Exercise more.  Yeah, I want to drop some weight.  But I also want to try more recipes. I want to learn to make a great white wine sauce.  Being southern, I’ve mastered gravy, but haven’t really mastered sauces.  Yes, I know this goal is kind of counterproductive to the losing weight goal, but I’m trying to look at my diet as a life change and I know I can’t stop eating everything that tastes good.  So if I only splurge in moderation, learn some healthier recipes as well, and exercise more, maybe these two goals can go hand in hand.

New Year's Resolutions, list of items

New Year’s Resolutions, list of items

I also want to be more productive with my time.  Yeah, I’m guilty of playing SpiderSolitaire .  But I also know it’s not always a procrastination  technique.  It’s like my down time. Time to let my mind rest and restart my creative energy.  So I’m not going to stop, but I need to find the balance.  I’m going to start using my day planner again.  Manage my time better.  Do any of you use a day planner?

But I still have a few more goals.  Last year, after the hurricane, hubby and I were out eating and my hubby said, “Have you noticed, how nice everyone is to each other?  They are patient, they say hello to strangers.  No one seems to lose their patience.  You know, I think a good New Year’s resolution would be to treat people everyday like we just had a hurricane.”  So yeah, I’m going to borrow my hubby’s idea and just try to be kinder to strangers.

I did some checking and according to Huffington Post, only 8 percent of people actually keep their New Year’s resolutions. Why do we fail? Well, according to the articles, there are many reasons people can’t stick to their resolutions, from setting too many of them to getting derailed by small failures. Even setting overly ambitious and restrictive goals.

abcWhen we think about all the times we didn’t meet those resolutions, it’s easy to understand why some people don’t follow this tradition anymore.  But call me an eternal optimist, every year I make them.  And frankly, some of them have stuck.  Two years ago, my goal was to take more “me” time, to find ways to deal with stress.  Since then I’ve been hitting the hot tub three times as much, and I now go for regular massages.

Are you part of the 45% that make resolutions? What are yours?

Wishing you a happy, healthy and productive 2018.