Romance is in the Air

This is Valentine’s week, and Valentine’s Day is thought of as the most romantic day of the year. Now romance means different things to different people. Some find roses and chocolates romantic. Others enjoy a romantic getaway to a B & B. If you have young children, you may prefer an evening away from the kids. But based on books and movies, I think we can agree on a few generalities.

I write about romance. In my Christie Craig romantic suspense books, I put in a lot of romance. In my C.C. Hunter YA books, I tone it down a bit, but it’s definitely always there.

This is one of my favorite romantic moments from Three Heartbeats Away, the third book in my Mortician’s Daughter series.

I worry he did too much today. “Hand me your keys and I’ll unlock your door.”

He hands them to me, and I move with him up the walkway.

We get to the porch, and I unlock the door and hand him his key.

Our hands touch, and the brief contact is almost painful. “Riley, I’m sorry you’re having to go through this.”

“I know.”

Before I realize his intention, he pushes his walker aside and hugs me.

I close my eyes and let my head rest on his chest. I know this spot. I can smell his skin, feel his chest rise and fall. Alive. The boy I was so afraid of losing is alive and walking. And he cares. About me. Emotion stings my eyes.

His cheek comes down to the side of my temple. I savor the closeness, relish the feel of his arms around me. I memorize his whispered breath against my cheek. Counting the seconds, I pray for twenty. Or more than twenty. I get to thirty before Hayden says, “I’ll be thinking about you.”

His arms fall from around me. I step back. Our eyes meet, hold, and I feel it, the connection I’ve never felt with anyone else.

“Call me,” he says. “If only to say you survived. I’ll worry if you don’t.”

Nodding, I walk back to my car. I get inside. The warmth of his embrace lingers. I look out the window. He’s still there watching me. Part of me wants to run back and hug him again.

Every time I read that scene I sigh and get a lump in my throat. It takes me right back to being a teen and falling in love for the first time.

So this Valentine’s Day, don’t worry if you don’t have plans. Just find yourself a good, romantic book—and fall in love.

What’s your idea of a romantic evening?

Happy Chinese New Year!

Yes, according to the Chinese Zodiac, 2020 is a year of the Rat, starting from January 25th 2020 and ending on February 11th 2021. What does that mean? The Year of the Rat is the first zodiac sign in the Chinese zodiac cycle.

According to the Chinese zodiac story, in the competition held by the Jade Emperor to decide the zodiac animals, the quick-witted rat asked the diligent ox to take him on a ride to cross the river and jumped down before the ox crossed the finish line, so the rat won the race and became the first of the zodiac animals.

The 12 zodiac animals are, in order: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig. A Rat year occurs every 12 years. And like the astrological zodiac signs (Libra, Cancer, Leo, etc.), there are attributes associated with each animal, traits you would supposedly have if you were born that year.

Rats are quick-witted, resourceful, and smart, but lack courage. With rich imaginations and sharp observations, they can take advantage of various opportunities well. In Chinese culture, rats represent working diligently and thriftiness, so people born in a Rat year are thought to be wealthy and prosperous.

And guess what? I’m a rat. Yup, but I like to think of myself as courageous. And I will say, I am observant and use those observations in my writing. I don’t really believe in all that, but it’s fun.

What are you in the Chinese Zodiac? You can find out HERE.

What is Lady?

Last week I asked you to guess what Lady’s DNA results were. Thank to everyone that guessed. You came close. Lady is actually:

19.8% American Pit Bull Terrier

18.6% Beagle

17.6% Chow Chow

10.5% Australian Cattle Dog

7.6% Border Collie

5.7% Rottweiler

5.0% American Eskimo

15.2% Supermutt

Winner!!

The winner of my giveaway is HorseGirl15. Congratulations! You have won a C.C. Hunter t-shirt and a dog toy. Please email me at cc@cchunterbooks.com and give me your mailing address and your t-shirt size.

What is Jenny?

Last week, I posted a photo of my daughter’s dog, Jenny, and asked you to guess what kind of dog she was.  We had her DNA tested and this is the result.

Jenny is:

25% Beagle

25% Boston Terrier

12.5% American Staffordshire Terrier (Which is pit bull)

37.5% Breed Group of Sporting and Hound dog

I was a little shocked, but I will tell you that I was really shocked when I got my dog Lady’s DNA back.  Here’s a picture of Lady. 

Hubby met Lady at a junkyard when she came up and rolled over at his feet. The junkyard owner asked hubby if he wanted a dog and said something along the lines of, “If not, I’ve got to do something with her.”  He said she was a stray and it sounded like he might hurt her.  So hubby came home with a dog and an old Ranchero. 

She’s very smart.  She is meek and sweet to friends we have over to the house.  But if a stranger, like a contractor comes in, she’s not so sweet. She can be very protective. If a stranger comes in and gets too close to me, she will get behind them and nip at their ankles or calves. She’s not too keen on other dogs.  She has lots of dog friends, but strange dogs, may get nipped at if they come and try to smell her backside.  I don’t blame her. If someone tried to smell mine…

So…what is she?  They also included pictures of other dogs with similar DNA for us to see—dogs that looked so much like Lady that we were stunned.

So what type of dog do you think Lady and these other similar dogs are?

Giveaway!!

Leave a comment and I will send one person a C.C. Hunter T-shirt and a dog toy.  (Sorry, this giveaway is for U.S. residents only. If you’re reading this on Goodreads, you must post on my blog page to enter.)

Winner!!

Thanks to everyone who ventured a guess at what Jenny is. This winner of my giveaway is Taylor Thompson. Congratulations! You have won a signed copy of One Foot in the Grave and a dog toy. Please email your postal address to cc@cchunterbooks.com, and I will send you your prize.

What Am I?

Well many of you know that I had my DNA checked a couple of years back and what a trip it was discovering what I am.  Most of us have this curiosity, a need to know, a need to understand what makes us who we are and where we came from. 

Can I say that the same goes for our pets?  I get stopped and asked what kind of dog Lady is all the time.  And when I learned that they have a DNA test for dogs, well, I was all over that. I hinted at possibly getting this for a Christmas gift. My daughter, who also wanted one for her dog, put it on her wish list as well.  So, my son and his girlfriend got me one for Christmas.  I haven’t gotten the results yet, but I can’t wait! My daughter’s husband and her daughter also bought one for my daughter, and she already got hers back.  So today, I want to introduce you to Jenny.

A shelter rescue, they got her when she was eight weeks old.  I’ve always thought Jenny, was part whippet, mainly because of her body shape and spindly legs. The shelter claimed she was part Beagle and part Boxer.  I never saw any beagle in the animal.  Boxer, maybe.

She’s almost two years old now.  She stands about twenty inches at the shoulders and weighs forty pounds.  Now personality wise—because I believe certain breads do have personality tendencies—that dog is a bit neurotic.  Okay, I’m lying, she’s really neurotic.  Like don’t ever leave me alone neurotic.  Like if you do leave me, something is gonna get chewed up neurotic.  Like if you are sitting, she’s in your lap neurotic. It doesn’t matter if she’s too big because she’ll find a way to fit—and granted she can curl up into a tiny ball. Not that she really fits, but that’s beside the point.  She sees herself as a small lap dog, and don’t you try to tell her otherwise. In fact, she’s the kind of dog that can’t get too close.  Have you ever met a dog who tries to crawl into your armpit? Well, that’s Jenny. And can you tell she’s a boney little canine.  That girl has sharp bones.  Try sleeping with her, ouch!  Yes, she comes and stays at my house once or twice a year.

But did I tell you she’s also sweet?  Yup, she’s a lover.  She has a tongue like a lizard and loves to French kiss.

So my daughter got Jenny’s DNA back.  What do you think she is?

Try to guess what she is and one person who leaves a post will get a doggie toy and a signed print copy of One Foot in the Grave(This giveaway is limited to U.S. residents only.)

Next week, I hope to have Lady’s DNA back and I’ll blog about her.  What can I say, I love those puppies!

Giving Back

I know how fortunate I am.  I have a loving family, a nice house, and I job I adore.  Yea, we’ve had some health challenges with hubby’s kidney transplant, but I think it’s when something like that happens, it makes you grateful for what you do have, what’s going well.

So, why not give back? There are a few charities that I like to support, charities that help children and animals. I always give to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. Founded by actor Danny Thomas, St. Jude’s  mission “is to advance cures, and means of prevention, for pediatric catastrophic diseases through research and treatment.” And no child is turned away, even if they can’t pay. So, that’s a charity that’s close to my heart.

As I’ve talked about over the years, I love animals and have had numerous dogs and cats in my household. This is my wonderful dog Lady, who hubby rescued from a junkyard. She’s one of the lucky ones, but so many animals are abused and neglected.  So animal charities are another passion of mine and another place where I choose to put my money.

It’s been so sad to watch the news of the wildfires in Australia. They said over a billion animals have died. There are charities helping out with the care of injured animals in Australia, like the World Wildlife Fund. They all need our help.

So as we go forward into 2020, please keep those (people and animals) less fortunate in mind.

Do you have a favorite charity or organization you like to give to? Do you volunteer anywhere?

Exciting News!

Well, 2020 is shaping up to be a very busy year for me, and I’ve got some great news for you. You can expect the release of a brand new, exciting C.C. Hunter book in the next 5-6 months. Till then, I’ll be hold up, writing away in my study, except for book signings.

Speaking of book signings… On Jan. 11th Lark Brennan, Leslie Marshman and I will be at Murder By the Book in Houston, TX at 1:00 PM. I’ll be signing Don’t Breathe a Word and my C.C. Hunter YA Three Heartbeats Away, Lark will be signing Shadows of the Past, and Leslie will be signing Good Over Evil. Come join the fun!  For more details check their Events page.

Then, I’ll be at Teen Bookfest by the Bay 2020 at the American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, TX on Jan. 25th, 9:00 AM – 4:30 PM. Join me for book signings, writers’ workshops, Manga Mania and more! Admission is FREE! Check out the amazing line up of authors at Bookfest By the Bay.

I realize not everyone can make it to my signings and events. But if you always wanted a signed copy of one of my books, that’s not a problem. You can order signed copies through Apolly Con until Jan. 10th.  So you better hurry! ApollyCon is annual, multi-day reader event featuring Young Adult, New Adult, and Adult authors, panel programming, and social events, owned by NYT bestselling author, Jennifer L. Armentrout. But you don’t have to attend their conference to order your signed copies from ApollyCon.

Wishing you health and happiness in 2020!

Winner!

The winner of the $25 Amazon gift card is Deborah Elkins. Congratulations, Deborah! Please email me at cc@cchunterbooks.com to claim your prize. And in case you were wondering…I have done number 15 fifty-two times. Yup, I have written fifty-two books!

Bucket List

Because it’s New Years, I started thinking about resolutions and goals, and just about those things I want to do. You know, bucket list items.  So I decided to Google the top bucket list items to see how far off my own list is from that of other people. Below is the list.

Here’s how I added up. I’ve done seven of these twenty items.   One, I’ve done twice.  Another, I’ve done three times.  And one, I’ve done fifty-two times.   I’ll bet you can guess the one I’ve done that many times.

There are eight of these I’d never do—nope, not me.  One on my “never-will-do” list wasn’t always on that list. I tried to do it three times, and it got canceled all three times.  So now I figure that God was telling me to get a grip and grow a brain.

There are four I would like to do.  And one, just doesn’t interest me. 

What about you?  How many of these have you done?  How many would you never do?  How many would you want to do?  And do any not interest you at all? 

Can you guess the ones I’ve done?  Ones I would never do? Ones that I want to do? 

Giveaway!

One person who leaves a comment will win a $20 Amazon gift card. (Sorry, but this giveaway is for U.S. residents only. And If you’re reading this on Goodreads, you need to go to my actual blog to enter.)  

Google’s Bucket List

  1. See the Northern Lights
  2. Sky dive
  3. Get a tattoo
  4. Sleep under the stars
  5. Go on a cruise
  6. Swim with dolphins
  7. Get married
  8. Go scuba diving
  9. Run a marathon
  10. Go zip-Lining
  11. Buy a house
  12. Ride an elephant
  13. Learn to surf
  14. Take a trip to Italy
  15. Write a book
  16. Go hot air ballooning
  17. Go skinny dipping
  18. Learn to play the guitar
  19. Go to Paris
  20. Visit Ireland

Holiday Traditions

Traditions are an important part of who we are. They’re what families have in common. And this time of year seems to be steeped in tradition.

In my family, we have traditions that we carry out year after year. Like we all go to have our picture taken with Santa—and I mean ALL of us, not just the little ones. Our entire family and any visitors all meet up at the mall and we have our picture taken. I have pictures of my mom, my dad, even my grandmother sitting on Santa’s lap.

We also have a tradition of fun presents at the Craig house. You see, at gift opening time, we sit in a big circle and take turns opening gifts.  Every present has a clue written on it and before a person can open a gift, he or she has to read the clue and try to figure out what it is.  If stumped, everyone will join in and try to guess.  And I admit, the crazier the clue is the better the time we have.  So, in addition to the real gifts, we actually go out and buy crazy gifts so we can have some crazy, crack-you-up-laughing clues.  So there’s lots of laughter.

We can’t talk the holidays or tradition without talking about food.  Gathering around a table and eating the food that has been part of the holiday season before some of the family members were born.  For our house, the main course is always the turkey and dressing.  That’s dressing, not stuffing.  And that’s cornbread dressing. (My mouth is watering just thinking about it.)

I’ll dropkick, go ballistic or have a conniption fit if any oyster or fancy sausage even thinks of trying to sneak into my dressing. We’ve got southern standards, steeped in Alabama law (yes that’s where I’m from) of what does and doesn’t belong in dressing.

There’s fresh green beans, and because my granddaughter loves peas, but isn’t a green bean fan, peas have found their way onto our holiday table.  That said, my son-in-law and hubby despise peas, so the joke is always to keep passing them their way.  “Hey, you didn’t get any peas.”

Mashed taters, whipped with real butter, is a regular. White rolls and gravy is a must.  And yes we are soppers, meaning we use those rolls to sop up the gravy.  I know in some fancy restaurants where you get confused what fork and knife to use, it might be bad-mannered to sop.  But you get one fork with your holiday dinner at the Craig house and sopping is allowed. What are your favorite family traditions? Do you always serve the same food? Are you soppers? Do you put oysters or sausage in your dressing? Do you go Caroling? Maybe go to church? What are your holiday traditions?

Winner!!!

The winner of last week’s giveaway is Kristin Whitehouse. Congratulations! You’ve won a CC Hunter t-shirt. Please email me at cc@cchunterbooks.com with your mailing address and you t-shirt size.

To Gift Card or Not to Gift Card

This is the question that I think so many of us are debating this holiday season.  Just the other day, I was walking behind two women and they were talking.  And yeah, you know me, I eavesdrop.  One of them said, “This year we are doing the $25 Christmas gift card exchange.” The idea of just trading cards didn’t thrill me.  It’s like pulling $25 out of your purse and exchanging bills. Maybe the fact that it’s from a certain store might be the surprise, but . . . uh, no.  It didn’t feel festive.

Don’t get me wrong, I see the pros and cons of a gift card.  And I’ll admit, I’m about to go shopping for cards myself.  But have you ever given someone a surprise gift that was just so darn perfect?  I mean, something that they really wanted, but either didn’t know they wanted it, or had forgotten they wanted it?  Or didn’t think anyone would get it for them.  Something that is so perfect that their expression is worth ten times more than you paid for the gift.  I love giving those kinds of gifts.  It just warms my heart and makes the hours I spent fighting the scrooges at the mall so worth it.

Ahh, but have you ever had to buy a gift for someone, and you didn’t have a clue what to get?  I mean, they are very selective—yes, that’s a nice way to say picky, but that’s not really a bad thing. But you know where they love to shop. So you get them a gift card from there. Is that so wrong?  No?  Maybe? I mean, isn’t it better than getting someone something that they won’t use or don’t like.  Or even worse, will use as a white elephant gift next year.  I’ve gotten a few of those.

But how many gift cards have you gotten that you didn’t use?  Sadly, I have a few.

But if you ask someone what they want and they say… “Oh, I love shopping at Marshalls. Or I need t-shirts and I usually get them at Target.”  And yes, there are people who love shopping.  Shopping is part of the gift.  My daughter always plans a day after the holidays where she will head out with all the gift cards she received and shops till she drops.  And my granddaughter has decided she likes that, too.  It’s a ritual. Their thing.  So is it so wrong to get them what they want?  I don’t think so. And frankly, if I had something in mind that I want from a certain store, I’d like getting a gift card from that store.

But here’s the little issue.  I don’t want to just give them cards.  No, I need something to go along with the card.  In the Craig house, we give lots of little gifts, some are gag gifts, some aren’t.  But now these gifts can’t be pricey, or it takes away from the value of the gift card.  So, the whole gift-card giving makes the holiday season easy, doesn’t pan out.  No, it makes it a bit harder, because now the gifts have price limits, making it more challenging.

So I give gift cards, but I don’t just do gift cards. What about you?  Do you do them?  Do you like giving them?  Like getting them?  Do you feel it’s taken some of the gift-giving joy out of the season?  Do you think Scrooge invented them?

Giveaway!!

I’ll give away a C.C. Hunter T-shirt, to give away as a gift or to give yourself, to one person who tells me how they feel about gift-card giving. I’ll announce the winner next Tuesday. (Sorry, but this giveaway is limited to U.S. residents only. If you’re reading this on Goodreads, you must got to my blog to enter.)