Halloween, Ghosts and Dreams

On Halloween we dress up in costumes of monsters, celebrities and ghosts. But for me, ghosts aren’t just something I think of on Halloween. I tend to think a lot about ghosts all year long, because I often write about them in my books.

In my C.C. Hunter Mortician’s Daughter series, Riley’s life is overrun by the dead. They usually need her help with something. In the first book in the series, One Foot in the Grave, Riley manages to help a young woman get justice and put the man responsible for her death away.  In the second book, Two Feet Under (releasing in 12/18), Riley is faced with an even scarier ghost, one who is a murderer.

In Murder, Mayhem and Mama, I had a meddlesome mom who just happened to be dead. Before Mama can chain-smoke her way to heaven, she’s gotta make sure Cali’s ex deadbeat boyfriend doesn’t get her daughter killed.

So, why my fascination with ghosts? It may date back to a dream I had as a child.

I was thirteen and I woke up that morning with sunshine spilling through my window.  But the memory of a dream I’d just had made breathing difficult. There had been no sunshine in the dream.

It was spooky, but even more strange and sad.  Like an old movie, I could still see it playing in my mind.  But unlike a movie, my memory came with all five senses.  The smell of wet earth and the scent of a storm brewing somewhere close by.  I could feel the wind hit my face, blowing my blonde hair across my eyes.   Tombstones, aged and cracked, littered the ground around me.  All was silent—deadly silent.

A small group of people stood quietly by a gravesite.  All wearing black.  Even the sky held a dismal shade of sadness.  There seemed to be no color in the image—no joy, all drab and gray. I stared at the faces of those grieving people. Did I know them?  Yes, but . . . vaguely.   And from where?

Immediately, my gaze shifted to the casket. The tiny polished box carried the only color in the scene.  A bright pink ribbon rested on top. My gaze shot back to the people again. They weren’t crying.  For some reason that seemed odd.  They needed to cry.  Cry for the child who obviously lay tucked inside that casket.  The child who would never run and play and who would never know life.

I studied the faces of the people again, trying to remember where I’d seen them. How could I know them when they looked so out of place?  Like people from old pictures.  People from another time, another life.

And then came the realization.  The woman dressed in a thick black wool coat, hugging herself against the cold and staring at the casket with empty emotion, was my grandmother, but younger.  A lot younger.  The woman was now in her sixties. But yes, I remembered seeing her younger face in family photo albums.

Then, I recognized the other people.  My mom and dad when they were young.   My grandfather and one of my uncles.  My gaze shifted from one person to the next.  This was one weird dream.

Then my gaze returned to the casket.

Who had died?   Part of the answer came with the next cold whisk of wind:  A baby.  A baby girl.

I wanted to tell someone how sorry I was.  Emotion built in my chest.  A crazy thought hit.  Someone needed to cry for the child.  I stood back from the crowd, not really present, but somehow still there.  I felt the odd sadness.  But why weren’t they crying?

Then my grandmother, my mom, dad and uncle were gone.  As if they’d vanished into the air.  I saw the casket being lowered into the gaping chasm.  Abruptly the dream changed and I saw the gravestone.  It simply read, Our baby girl: Christie.

Christie?  CHRISTIE?  That was my name.  How could the baby have my name?  That’s when I’d woken up.  My heart still thumped against my breastbone at the memory, and I had tears in my eyes.  Not wanting to be alone, I went and found my mom cooking breakfast.

I told her about the dream, about the casket with the pink ribbon and seeing my name on the gravestone.

Shock hit my mom’s face.  “What is it?” I asked, but was almost scared to hear her answer.

“It’s just weird, you’d dream about that.”

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“Your grandmother got pregnant a few months after your dad and I were married.  It was a girl.  She only lived a few weeks.  You were named after her.”

The spookiness tiptoed up my spine as chills skittered up my neck.  I looked at my mom. “Why didn’t anyone cry?” Suddenly, I wanted to cry.

Mom answered, “Your grandma told everyone no tears.  She said she couldn’t handle the tears.  We weren’t allowed to cry.”

I dropped down into a kitchen chair and asked the question burning inside me.  “How could I have dreamed this?”

“I’m sure you heard the story,” Mom said.

“When?  When could I have heard the story?   I swear I never knew about my aunt before now.”

“I don’t know, but you had to have heard it.  How else would you have known this?”

How else?

To this day I think about that dream.  I think about the little girl, my namesake.  Did I really hear someone tell that story and my mind simply played it back to me as a dream?  Or did the spirit of Christie somehow visit me?  Did she need me to know about her?  Did she need someone to cry for her?

Now do you understand why I often write about ghosts? There’s a part of me that believes in them.  What about you?  Do you believe in ghosts?

 

 

Pets for Vets & Book Sweeps Giveaway!

Pets for Vets was created to improve the lives of both Veterans and animals by bringing them together in a thoughtful, caring way. Our goal is to give back to the brave servicemen and women who have given everything to our country, while finding homes for deserving shelter pets. By matching the right pet with the right Veteran, everyone wins! Shelter animals receive a second chance at life and Veterans receive a second chance at health and happiness.”—Pets for Vets

As most of you know, I love animals. I have had dogs and cats, and my house doesn’t seem like home without a few animals running around. When I heard about Pets for Vets, I thought it was a wonderful idea. They interview vets, find out their needs and lifestyles. Then, they find the right rescue pet for them. For Veterans, the knowledge that their animal companion is always there for them can help reduce hypervigilance, depression, anxiety and nightmares. Not only do Pets for Vets animal companions improve mental well-being, they can actually boost overall health.

My friend and fellow author, Pamela Fagan Hutchins, wanted to spotlight this cause by talking about her rescue dog, Georgia. And I wanted to share the story of my rescued junkyard dog, Lady.

Pamela Fagan Hutchins‘ Georgia

The Pets for Vets cause is near and dear to my heart. My dogs are rescues and my brother’s a Marine. My “personal” dog, Georgia—who I got for protection—is a Belgian Malinois who’s a washout from police/military service 😉 She’s emotionally sensitive, has a soft mouth, and she’s scared of guns. LOL. Well, she has a big heart, and she doesn’t let anyone near me, so I think she’s fabulous. Her heart is happiest in the mountains. Here she is hugging me on Dome Mountain in the Bighorns of Wyoming.

To help support Pets For Vets, Pamela, along with 20 other best-selling authors all got together and wrote Love Under Fire, where every sale helps this cause. Love Under Fire releases on November 13th and it’s only 99 cents!

WHEN LOVE SPARKS DANGER, GET READY FOR AN EXPLOSION

EVERY SALE HELPS A VETERAN GET A PET!!!

Twenty-one Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and other bestselling authors bring you a heart-pounding collection of 21 BRAND NEW, NEVER-BEFORE PUBLISHED stories all in one amazing romantic suspense limited time boxed set.

From Around The Edges of Every Day Existence Lurks Mystery, Betrayal, Greed, and Death

With every turn of the page, feel the heat of adrenaline as fear lights up the night. Fight alongside the tenacious heroes and heroines as they battle for survival. They’ll put everything on the line to thwart the evil coming after them.

They want to trust in the power of love. But is it enough?

EVERY SALE HELPS A VETERAN GET A PET!!!

iTunes: https://apple.co/2NkgkcD

Nook Link: http://bit.ly/2IMhydl

Amazon: http://bookShow.me/B07GCTP7CJ

https://books2read.com/LoveUnderFire

Lady, My Junkyard Dog

A few years ago, my hubby and son went to a junkyard in search of a Falcon Ranchero. Hubby’s health was poor, he needed a transplant and we were waiting for the miracle.  He called me on his way home to tell me he bought the truck. I wasn’t thrilled, but I said I was happy for him (you know how that goes).  He also said he was bringing home a dog—from the junkyard. He said the owner of the junkyard had made a statement, “I’m gonna have to get rid of that pest.” I get why hubby wanted to bring her home, but . . .   he thought it was it was a good idea to bring home an actual junkyard dog.

“She’s not your normal junkyard dog,” he promised.  He was right.  On one hand she moved around like an old dog, but she didn’t look that old.  She was super skittish but not even a little bit aggressive.

After a bath, we took her to the vet. An hour later, we had good news and bad news. She was twenty-four pounds, dubbed part border collie part springer spaniel, was only seven to eight months old and didn’t have heart worms. Yup, that was the only thing she didn’t have.  On the other hand, she was severely anemic, severely malnourished, had all sorts of worms, had scars running up and down her body, had hot spots/blisters, mange and kennel cough.

And oh yeah, she was no lady. I don’t mean she was a boy. I mean, she’d been playing with the boys. Yup, she was pregnant. However, the vet said she was so unhealthy, she’d die if we let her carry the babies. And the puppies would have mange and numerous disabilities because of Lady’s health.  Unfortunately, they couldn’t even operate to take the puppies due to Lady’s health. We had to wait until blood count came up.  As a matter of fact, the vet said she didn’t think Lady would’ve survived another three days. So after another two weeks and several swipes of our American Express, we had ourselves a free, $2000, spayed junkyard dog, who we learned had such severe allergies due to more hot spots and can only eat the really expensive dog food.

Oh, but she ate.  She gained eleven pounds the first week.  She adapted to living in our house, and even learned to tolerate the cats. For the next nine months she hung out at her rescuer’s side, keeping him company as he tinkered on his car, and as he got sicker waiting for a transplant.  She even hung out with him as he recovered from the transplant that by some miracle he finally got.  Lady was and is his best friend.  Thought I have to admit, she loves me, too.  I also have to admit, she’s the best two thousand dollars my hubby has ever spent. She needed us; but in truth, we needed her, too. My hubby really needed those soulful dark puppy eyes looking up at him reminding him that no matter sick you get, you can get better.

Do you have a story of a pet that you rescued?

Book Sweeps Giveaway!!!

Are you a fan of romantic suspense? Have I got a contest for you! Book Sweeps is giving away 40+ romantic suspense novels by best-selling authors (including my book, Don’t Close Your Eyes). Plus, they’re giving away an Ereader and free reads to all. Be sure to enter. This contest ends Oct. 31st. Good luck!

https://booksweeps.com/book-giveaway/romantic-suspense-october-2018/

 

 

 

Girls’ Night Out!

Girls

Do you ever have a girls’ night out?  When you and other girls spend some girl-time together?  It could involve dinners out, chick flicks, margaritas or chocolate martinis.  But almost always, it involves lots of laughter. It can be sisters, girlfriends, family or a mix.  However it plays out, there is just something about surrounding yourself with other girls, talking girl stuff, doing girl stuff, and celebrating our girl power that’s so rewarding.

Well, I recently set up a very special girl’s night out.  My mother and stepfather came visit me in Texas from California.  So I planned a night out.  A whole night.  We left hubby and stepfather at home and my daughter, my granddaughter, my mom  and I took off for an excursion and adventure.

I made reservations at a nice Marriott.  We were going to get pedicures, but mom had just had one, so we skipped that and went the shopping.  We bought pajamas, panties, sweats, and a toy.  After shopping we went to the movie and dined out.  Leaving the movie we spotted one of those camera booths.  And you know we had to do it.

First question.  Could we all fit?  Answer.  No.  Not really.  But that didn’t stop us.  We piled in.  Put in our money and laughed so hard we cried.  When we were finished there were actually people standing outside who said.  “I think you girls are having too much fun.”

Then we went to our hotel and we laughed some more.   We laughed about silly girl stuff.  We ate chips in bed.  And we stayed up watching television.  The next morning we ate breakfast out and did some more shopping.

If there’s such a thing as too much fun we had it.  And our memories included four generation of girls.  If you haven’t had a girls’ night out, plan one.  They are good for soul.

Do you have girls’ night out? What do you like to do?

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Winner!!!

Thanks for everyone’s help with my Take Your T-shirt Off Test. It helped me a lot. The winner of a Born to Read t-shirt is Deborah Elkins. Deborah, please email me at christie@christie-craig.com and tell me your t-shirt size and your postal address.

 

The Take Your Shirt Off Test

I’ve been a very busy girl. Like nose-to-the-grindstone and no-more-nose-left kind of busy.  The type of busy that when you finally catch up, you still feel that antsy gotta-keep-going feeling.  It’s as if you’ve forgotten what it feels like to be still, to not be under the gun.  Yeah, that’s been me.

I finished my second book in my Texas Justice series, Don’t Breathe a Word.  Of course, it was running late, and then I had to go back in and cut the word count before I could send it in. My books are always running long these days.  I blame it on being Southern.  It can take a Southerner fifteen words to say something that a Northerner can say in five. (I envy them a bit.)

51EHGxI9yeLAt the same time, I got my copy edits on my March 26th release for my young adult thriller novel, In Another Life.  For those of you who don’t understand what “copy edits” entail, it’s when someone (a copy editor) reads your book and makes corrections on both grammar stuff, typos, missing words, and they’ll mark anything that needs tweaking.  As in “You said she spoke to her dad, but she really just listened to a voice mail.”  Yeah, it was something I changed in revision and didn’t correct in the following scene.  It’s an oops, and we writers appreciate our copy editors for finding those errors.

So, an author has to go through all the changes a copy editor makes to confirm they agree with those changes.  Then they need to address anything she agrees needs to be changed, like the voice-mail thing.

That said, there was one comment this copy editor wrote that gave me pause.  And here’s where I’m going to explain the title of this blog.  In a scene where the hero and heroine go swimming, I have the hero pull off his T-shirt,  i.e.  He crossed his arms, reached down and caught the hem of his shirt and pulled it over his head.

When I saw that sentence marked, I wondered:  What’s wrong that that? Her comment explained that boys don’t take their shirts off that way. Only girls.  She wrote that girls take their shirts off that way and boys reach over their heads, grab their shirts by the back of their neck, and pull it off.

guy3

I’m like . . . uh . . .  that’s not true.  There isn’t a gender specific way of removing a shirt.   I’m mid-ponder on this when in walks in my hubby.  I look up.  He’s wearing a T-shirt. Perfect. I’m like . . .  uh, “Take off your shirt.”

Of course, he doesn’t have a clue what’s going on.  “Uh, what?”

“Just take off your shirt,” I say.

“Why?” he asks.

“It’s for the book,” I explain.

Now you know he thinks all my heroes are based after him, so he smiles and follows my order.

Much to my dismay, he reaches over his head to the neck of his shirt and pulls his T-shirt off.  I’m shocked.  “Why didn’t you grab it from the hem and pull it over your head?” I ask.

“I don’t know.  It’s just how I take my shirt off.”

First of all, I was disappointed that obviously I haven’t paid enough attention to guys removing their shirts.  LOL.  How could I have missed this?

So I do what I always do when something puzzles me.  I Googled it.  And duh, I found articles on the subject trying to explain this phenomenon.  Basically they listed five reasons.

  • Hair
  • Boobs
  • Guys copying other guys
  • Flexibility
  • How the clothes are made.

5518 (1)But you know you can’t believe everything you read.  So I wanted to test this theory more, so awkwardly, I called my son and requested he take his shirt off, then I called my daughter and asked her to get my son-in-law to take his shirts off.  (Hey, they are used to their mama doing crazy crap.)  Much to my dismay, they all used the tug-the-shirt-over-their-neck method.  Now I want to test this theory more, but I don’t know how walking up to men, other than my hubby, and asking them to take their shirt off will be received. So I’m asking you to do it. Do the test with a boy/man you are comfortable with and ask them to remove their shirt.  One person who leaves me an answer will win a Born To Read T-shirt.  Sizes are limited. (Sorry, but this giveaway is for U.S. residents only.)

And here’s one of the articles I found about this.

https://www.seventeen.com/life/friends-family/news/a41810/have-you-realized-guys-take-their-shirts-off-differently-than-girls/

Hope your October is turning out to be a good month!

Happy Reading!

CC

 

 

 

 

 

Questions, Anyone?

A few weeks ago on my CC Hunter blog, I asked fans to leave some questions that they’d like to ask me if they ever met me at a book signing. So, I thought it would be fun to answer a few of those questions for this week’s blog. I think several of them are questions I get asked by my Christie Craig fans, too. If you think of any more questions you’d like me to answer, leave them in the comment section and eventually, I’ll answer them all.

Paula Bell asked: My question would be do you ever have writers block and what do you do for it? I have never been to a book fair or festival. A friend and I are working on that. I hope sometime soon I’ll happen.

CC: Well, Paula, I don’t really believe in writer’s block.  You see writing is my career, my job. My dad was a plumber and he went to work every day. I know there were days he didn’t feel like it, but he still went. He never claimed to have plumber’s block (no pun intended). He did his job, and I do mine. I don’t always feel like writing, but I make myself write. Because even if the writing isn’t that great, I can fix that later, but I can’t fix a blank page.

 

Shauna Tramutolo asked: Is there any chance of there being another book for the Shadow Falls gang? I would really love to know where they all went and what human college was like for them as supernaturals.

CC: Sorry, Shauna, but I have no plans to write another Shadow Falls book at this time. That’s not to say it will never happen. Heck, I’m old enough to have learned to never say never. However, right now I’m busy writing my Mortician’s Daughter series. I started this series with my Shadow Falls fans in mind. While Riley has different problems in her life, she still reminds me a lot of Kylie. I also release my first stand alone book This Heart of mine, which is my most personal book yet. I drew on the experience I had when my husband had a kidney transplant and all the ways it impacted our lives. I also tossed in a young romance, some mystery and a touch of woowoo.

 

 

BN100 asked: Would ask you how you prepare for festivals and book signings.

CC: Mostly, I just want to make sure I get the word out about the event, so people turn up. I also want to be certain I’ll have enough books to sign. Then I get ready to have fun.

Shania N. Soler asked: If I were to ever get the chance to meet you in person I’d probably ask a million and one questions about Shadow Falls and all its characters and the dynamic world in which you’ve set it in, though the first question I think I’d ask would be: What first inspired you to start writing?

CC: First of all, I’m dyslexic, so reading and writing were difficult for me when I was growing up. So the thought of becoming a writer never occurred to me. But I did enjoy making up stories. I’d head off to my favorite place in the woods and weave all sorts of stories in my head—some went on for days.

Then, in my early 20’s, I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. My hubby asked me what I wanted to do, and I said that I wanted to be a writer. Being the great man he is, he told me I should “go for it.” So I took every writing class I could, studied my favorite authors and wrote every day. It wasn’t easy and took my many years and lots of hard work to get where I am today.

Kira Moericke asked: I’d probably ask how you come up with such clever sass (that everyone loves) in your characters, especially the sass in Della.

CC: Oh gosh, Della has always been sassy. When she first popped into my head, she already had an attitude. But really I just think she comes from the sassy part of me that I tend to keep under wraps. With Della, however, I had to open that up and let my sass run free. Once I did, it was a bit like Pandora’s Box, it’s hard to box it back up. But that’s okay., I kinda like it. Now, my hubby may have a few reservations…

As I said, leave any questions for me below and I’ll answer them in a future post.

 

Winner!!!

The winner from last week’s giveaway is Loretta Wheeler. Congratulations, Loretta, you’ve won a copy of This Heart of Mine and a cool Shadow Falls bracelet. Please email me at Christie@Christie-Craig.com with your postal address and I’ll send you your prize.