Kylie’s Dance

Did you know I speak at schools and universities? That’s right, I’ve gone to middle schools, high schools and colleges around the country giving talks about everything from writing to inspirational never give up talks. I love meeting the students and teachers, but recently, I had a unique experience when I spoke at North Central Texas College on April 13th. You see they loved my Shadow Falls series so much, they decided to create a dance in honor of Kylie. And while I was there, they performed the dance for me, and it was awesome. I was really blown away. So, I’m sharing it here with you now. Enjoy!

Now if you attend school or teach at a school and want me to speak, please have your school principal or librarian contact me at cc@cchunterbooks.com. I’d love to come to your school and meet you and your students.

Winner!

The winner of last week’s giveaway, an ecopy of This Heart of Mine, is Melissa Howell. Congratulations! Please email me at christie@christie-craig.com and tell me if you prefer the Kindle or Nook version.

This Heart of Mine Giveaway!

this heart of mineSeventeen-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?

So in This Heart of Mine, Leah has a lot on her plate. She’s also dealing with all the usual stuff teens have to deal with. But she’s a fighter and a quick learner.  And these are just a few of the things she learns in This Heart of Mine.

  • Silly slippers on your feet can put a smile in your heart.
  • Even an artificial heart can break.
  • Dying sucks, but seeing the early signs of grief in the eyes of those who love you, sucks more.
  • Living a day at a time isn’t everything it’s cracked up to be. You need to embrace the future and learn from the past.
  • Getting a second chance at life is a miracle, but knowing someone had to die to give you that life, is hard to swallow.
  • When the identical twin of the brother who is your heart donor starts falling for you, how does one know if they love you for you, or because you have their brother’s heart?
  • First kisses are awesome, but second ones can be even better.
  • Losing a sibling is hard, losing an identical twin is losing a part of yourself.
  • Everyone has secrets, but when a secret may be responsible for a loved one’s death, discovering the truth is essential.
  • Reading is a surefire way to learn to deal with the crap life throws at you.
  • Book snobs should never be allowed to run a book club.

If you haven’t read This Heart of Mine, you can order your copy today at AmazonBarnes &NoblePowell’s, Indiebound, Books-A-Million, and iBooks. 

Winner!

The winner of last week’s giveaway is Pearl/Anne. Congratulations, you’ve won a $25 Amazon gift card. Please email me at christie@christie-craig.com and tell me where to email your gift card.

Giveaway!

Read my Shadow Falls series, but haven’t read This Heart of Mine? I’ll give away an e-copy of This Heart of Mine to one person who leaves a comment on this post or leaves a comment on my CC Hunter blog (http://cchunterbooks.com/blog/). Increase your chances to win by leaving a comment at both blogs.

 

Book Trailer Giveaway!

I’ve had several book trailers made for my books. I’ve gotten great feedback on them. But I was wondering how effective they really are. Do you watch book trailers? Do they influence you to purchase a book? What kinds of trailers do prefer?

Here are the book trailers for Midnight Hour, The Mortician’s Daughter: One Foot in the Grave and This Heart of Mine. Tell me which one you like best and why. I’ll give a $25 Amazon gift card to one lucky person who leaves a comment.

Midnight Hour

The Mortician’s Daughter: One Foot in the Grave

This Heart of Mine

You know from my books that I love animals, and I usually add a dog or cat to my books. In fact, This Heart of Mine has a dog named Lady, after my current fur baby. Now I love Lady, but I had one dog, Jake, that really stands out. Jake will always hold a special place in my heart. You know, that one animal that decided you were the end all and be all. But I just wasn’t that keen on him at the start. Boy did that change! You can read my entire Jake story over at Furbaby Fridays. You can also read a new excerpt from This Heart of Mine, one that has hottie Matt with his dog Lady. So, be sure to pop over and read it.

I Borrow From My Life

Feb. 20, 2018 I was delighted to be the guest blogger on YA Books Central. They spotlighted THIS HEART OF MINE and asked me to talk about how the story came about and how I used part of my real life story with my husband as part of the plot. So I hope you enjoy this very personal story.


A part of my heart and soul goes into the characters and plot of every book I write.  I’m dyslexic, so in one book, my heroine was dyslexic and struggled with the issues that come with that.  My parents divorced when I was young and I’ve had my characters deal with the same life-shattering issue. I was shy and insecure, as are many of my characters.  But never has so much of my personal heartache and fear flowed into a book as it did in This Heart of Mine.

Like Leah in the book, my husband needed a transplant. At first, all he needed was a kidney.  While on the transplant list, dialysis kept him alive.  But it was also killing his heart.  He lost sixty pounds and there was no doubt he was going to die soon without a transplant.  His blood type was one of the harder ones to match.  His only sibling was ruled out due to high blood pressure.  I couldn’t become part of the kidney swap team, because I was pre-diabetic.  My son, like his father, has polycystic kidney disease.  My daughter was trying to get pregnant and while she offered to do it anyway, my husband refused.  He preferred to die rather than rob her of the life she deserved.

Unless you’ve been there, you’ll never know how hard it is to love someone and watch them die.  A miracle happened when a kidney became available. With hopes the kidney would improve his heart, he got the transplant. I can’t even explain how grateful we were to the family who had given their loved one’s organs. Or to the donor who signed up.

Only a day out of surgery, he started having a recurring dream.  Before the transplant, he never remembered his dreams, so this was odd for him.  The dream was of him waking up and having an older man staring him right in the face. The doctor said the steroids could cause strange dreams.  But when I learned that the donor was a sixty-five-year-old man, it gave me chills.

After two weeks at home, I drove him to the doctor for a checkup.  We were ten minutes away from the hospital when he started having trouble breathing.  Driving as fast as I could, while listening to the man I love gasp for air, was a nightmare.  But sitting at his bedside while he was in a coma for a week was torture.

Then another miracle happened.  He came out of it without any issues.  His coming so close to dying, and me so close to losing him, made us realize how precious time is.  We stopped taking time for granted and started living life to the fullest, embracing the past, making plans for the future.  The recurring dream was gone, but I was curious. I did some Internet searches and learned that at least ten percent of transplant patients have similar things happen.  Do I believe the dreams were more than steroid dreams?  I guess I do.

Fast forward two years, I met with my editor to talk about future book ideas.  She mentioned that stories about characters facing health issues were popular. But I couldn’t write that. I wrote stories with mystery, maybe a murder, elements of the supernatural and humor. But less than a day later, the plot of This Heart of Mine plopped itself down in my mind and demanded to be written.

So much of Leah’s story mirrored my husband’s. Knowing she was dying, seeing the hurt that caused in those who loved her.  Like Leah, my husband had survivor’s guilt knowing the reason he lived was because someone else died.  The eeriness of the dreams weren’t all fiction. Neither was Leah’s ride to the hospital, struggling to breathe, her mom driving, dying inside with each half gasp from her daughter. I lived a lot of those scenes.  Even the light brushstrokes of humor during the dark times were part of our story.

But mixed in with our own experiences, I’ve created a mystery…

In This Heart of Mine Leah’s donor is accused of killing himself, but Leah’s dreams suggest something different.  Then she learns the identical twin of the donor, Matt,  is having the same dreams she is.  Desperate, she and Matt come together to discover what really happened in the last minutes of his brother’s life. While uncovering dangerous secrets, they discover love.  Leah helps Matt overcome the grief for his brother.  Matt helps Leah learn to live again.  As much as they care about each other, Leah worries that Matt may love her only because she has his brother’s heart.  And if her body ends up rejecting his brother’s heart, will he lose her and his brother all over again?

This was the hardest book I’ve ever written, not because it didn’t flow, but because so much of it flowed with tears.  And when I finished it, I spent that whole day crying.  Yet those tears were somehow different.  They were cathartic. It reinforced the fact that we were survivors, that miracles happen.  And even more, it offered me a chance to let the world know how important it is to sign those donor cards.

Every day people die waiting for an organ.  By signing that card, you could save a parent from the grief and unbearable pain of losing a child.  Or save a spouse from losing the person they have loved for years.  With your death, you can offer someone else life.

I hope you’ll enjoy Leah’s and Matt’s journey, one of overcoming death and grief, uncovering secrets, and finding a love so pure it offers courage to face life’s hardships. It may bring a tear to your eye, but it should offer smiles and lessons of cherishing the time you have with the people you love.  You’ll be swept away by a story of survivors.

So, I hope you’ll pick up a copy of This Heart of Mine. You can order your copy today at AmazonBarnes &NoblePowell’s, Indiebound, Books-A-Million, and iBooks. 

If you have already read THIS HEART OF MINE, who is you favorite character and why?