Back to School

image4brownsvilleYou guys know I love to visit schools.  What makes them extra special? It’s when the school has lots of students who have read my books.  And at Lopez High School in Brownsville, Texas, there were many students who had read my Shadow Falls books and were excited to talk with me about them.   Most of you have heard me say that Kylie, Lucas, Derek, Miranda, Perry, Burnett and Holiday are like my friends, but nothing is better than when I meet people who feel the same way.  So, I’ve got to say, I really had a blast meeting all the students and chatting about our mutual friends.

image3So, if you’d like me to visit your school, ask your principal or librarian to contact me at cc@cchunterbooks.com. Check my Events page on my website to see if I’ll be in a city near your school soon. Or I can make a special trip to your school.  I’d love to meet you and your friends.

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Before I went to Brownsville, I was in Las Vegas, Nevada–yup that exciting city in the desert. I went for the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention. The Rio Hotel, where RT held its convention, was beautiful. I only wish I’d had a little time to sit by their pool, but I was too busy having fun catching up with old friends and making new ones. The Teen Day was so awesome and the giant book signing was mobbed! But I did leave the Rio and spend one night at the Paris Hotel. It was awesome! So, here are a few of my favorite pics from my trip.

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Where is YA Going?

MidnightHour_Final CVR_revisedThere has been a lot of talk in the publishing industry and among writers about the future of YA books. Where are we headed in 2016? Which genres are hot and which are fading? Some publishers are saying the popularity of paranormals like Shadow Falls are fading. But my fans always ask me to write more. And look at the success of writers like Colleen Gleason and Cassandra Clare. Vampires, Shadow Hunters and werewoles abound!

I just read an article in the Huffington Post that said time travel story lines are an up and coming trend. And of course the twist on the old classic has been selling well for a while. Think of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies 51xDeJ-9R2L._SX325_BO1,204,203,200_(there’s even a movie!) or books like Cynthia Hand’s My Lady Grey, a twist on British history’s Lady Jane Grey as a teen. Actually, I’ve heard anything with strong, royal female leads is popular. Meg Cabot’s The Princess Diaries helped bolster that trend–and it has kept getting stronger.  Royalty in any time period seems to go over well, especially with a strong female lead that changes things or goes against authority.

Best friend themes have been around for a while, and I don’t see them going anyplace anytime soon. Doesn’t everyone love a good story about besties that will go to great lengths for one another? But much of the YA fiction is issue driven with relatable stories filled with problems everyday teenagers face. And with the success of The Fault in Our Stars by John Greene, contemporary stories with heavier topics and “illness books” are also on the rise.

So, I’d like you to tell me your favorite YA genre and the themes that you like to read.

Catch Up With Me

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I mentioned my friend and fellow author Colleen Gleason, and if you live in the Grand Rapids, Michigan area, Colleen and I will be at Schuler Books in Grand Rapids on April 28th at 7:00 PM. If you haven’t read Colleen’s Stoker and Holmes series, you’re missing out! Come by Schuler’s and say hello. We’ll be giving away t-shirts and my tote bags.

 

cover-chess-queen-enigmaEvaline Stoker and Mina Holmes never meant to get into the family business. But when you’re the sister of Bram and the niece of Sherlock, vampire hunting and mystery solving are in your blood. 

 

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Spring at Shadow Falls

BluebonnetsI know some of you are still shoveling snow in parts of the country. But spring has come to the Texas Hill Country, and that means it has also come to Shadow Falls Camp. And boy, is it ever pretty. Every year about this time, the Texas Bluebonnets and Indian Paintbrushes paint the hillsides with splashes of color.

 

Falls0So, I can imagine my Shadow Falls campers walking through the fields of wild flowers and swimming at the river–not too close to the falls. Unless they call to you. Then you may not have a choice.  It’s the time of the year that all the campers love. And maybe it was the Hill Country springtime that made me decide to set the Shadow Falls Camp there. I mean, isn’t it beautiful?

Rock Falls Havasuapai Photography

 

And there’s a water fall there, just outside of Austin, which reminds me of what I imagined the falls to look like. You’ll have to tell me if it’s anything like what you have imagined. Doesn’t look that scary though does it?

 

MidnightHour_Final CVR_revisedI’m excited to tell you that I finally finished writing Miranda’s book, too. And it’s going to be a real doozie! She surprised me in several ways, and I think you’re gonna love her as much as I do. I revealed the cover and title for her book last week. Midnight Hour will be released in the U.S. on October 25, 2016, but is available for pre-order now at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and iBooks.

 

 

 

 

Bluebonnets1Anyway, happy spring! I hope wherever you live warms up soon and the wildflowers bloom. In Texas, we’re lucky to have them now.

So, have you ever been to the Texas Hill Country? What is it like where you live ?

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Cover Reveal!!

MidnightHour_Final CVR_revisedIt’s finally here! It’s so bittersweet to reveal the cover for the final chapter in the Shadow Falls series! But I have finished writing Miranda’s book. Yup, I typed “The End,” and sent it off to my editor. I can’t tell you I didn’t cry, but it felt right.  So, today I’m revealing the cover of Miranda’s book, Midnight Hour. Again, St. Martin’s has done a brilliant job. I love this cover! And Midnight Hour will be out in October 2016! But you can pre-order your copy now at all major retailers, and let me know in the comments: What do you think will happen at Shadow Falls in Midnight Hour?

 

 

fancy broomOh, I found this photo of a really cool witch’s broom, and I think Miranda needs it. It’s probably the Harley Davidson of the witch’s world. What do you think?

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Exciting News!

Unspoken_revised (1)I have some really exciting news! Last week, I learned that I am a finalist for a RITA award for Unspoken. What’s a RITA, you ask? Well, it’s a very prestigious award given out annually at the Romance Writers of America’s Conference in July. According to RWA, “The purpose of the RITA award is to promote excellence in the romance genre by recognizing outstanding published romance novels and novellas.”

And Unspoken is a finalist in the Young Adult category. I have been pinching myself and walking around on cloud nine all week! So, wish me luck when I head off to RWA’s Conference July 13-16!

 

Now, on to this week’s blog…

Last week I listed some of the crazy things I’ve Googled while writing Miranda’s book. They also provided you with some clues as to what might happen in her book. I also asked you to tell me some of the weirdest things you’ve Googled, and believe me, there were some odd ones. This week, I’m going to list a few more things I’ve Googled for Miranda’s book. Let’s see if you can guess what will happen.

How would a person say the word rape in the early 1800’s?

How many electrical volts can a human handle?

What country uses the slang word “bloody” the most?

So, any guesses based on last week’s and this week’s lists? Spiders, guns, snakes and electricity? Hmm…all I can say is that Miranda will take you on a wild ride and leave you breathless.

Winner!

The winner from last week’s giveaway is Kylie Xiong. Congratulations, Kylie! Please send your mailing address to cc@cchunterbooks.com.

 

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Do you Google?

Do you Google stuff?  Do you use Ask.com?  Well, these are my search engines while writing Miranda’s book.  And I suddenly realized that if someone peeked at my search history they would wonder what the heck I’ve been up to.  Then I realized these thing are pretty good teasers for what’s coming in Miranda’s book?  Here are seven questions I’ve asked that make me look weird, but give you hints of what Miranda and the Shadow Falls characters are up to in my next, and probably my final, Shadow Falls book.

Why exactly do meth house explode?

If a meth house exploded and a person was on the front porch, how far could she be thrown?

Do snakes have eyelids?

Are snakes colder than a dead body?

What kind of spiders lurk in the dank darkness under a house?

How do you write AK 47 the proper way?

So tell me, what strange things have you Googled?

Newsletter Giveaway!

You know I have giveaways on my blog, right? Well, did you know I also have a newsletter?  This week, one person who posts about the crazy things they Googled and tells me that they either already receive my newsletter or that they have just signed up to receive it will win a signed copy of one of my foreign editions of one of my Shadow Falls books along with a Shadow Falls book bag.  So non-subscribers go to my website Home page and sign up for my newsletter and tell me you did in the comments as well as what weird thing you’ve researched.  And those who have already signed up, also let me know in the comments,, and then tell me what wild thing some cyber spoof would find if they peeked into your search engine.

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Five Similarities Between Myself and My Shadow Falls Characters

I dug back into my blog archives, and I thought you might like to read this one again.


 

The one question I always get asked is how much of myself goes into creating characters. Do I draw aspects of my own personality when fleshing out the people who star in my books?  Do I give my characters my own flaws, and weaknesses, and perhaps my strengths?  Do I force my characters to take upon my own bad habits?  Are my characters simply reflections of myself?

The answer is yes . . .  and no.

Everything I write isn’t a reflection of my own life.  I haven’t faced the same kind of things that my character Kylie Galen faces in Born At Midnight.  However, I’ll admit my personal experiences not only show up in my work, they help me create real characters and write real emotion.   For example, while I’ve never seen a vampire with blood dripping from his chin the way Kylie does in the book, when I worked at a restaurant years ago, I was confronted by an angry credit-card thief with a knife large enough to skin Bambi. And the I-could-die emotion and fear–the uncertainty of not knowing if my underwear was going to come through the situation clean–was the emotional force for a lot of the scary scenes in the book.  So when writing about fear, lost love, disappointment, I recall a time in my own life that I felt drowned by that same emotion and it helps me write a scene that reads true.

Now for the five similarities between me and my characters:

1.My ability to laugh in the face of adversity.

I think it’s in my genes, because most of my family is like this.  We love to laugh during good times; but we laugh harder during stressful times.  It’s as if we follow that old adage, “If you can laugh at it, you can live with it.”  The hardest I’ve ever laughed was at a funeral.  I give this humorous way of viewing life to all my characters. The funny moments in Born at Midnight mostly stem from my characters’ ability to laugh during tough times–to laugh at themselves and laugh at their mistakes.

2. My parents divorced at sixteen like Kylie’s parents.

I remember feeling as if someone had walked into my life and yanked the foundation out from under me.  I was angry and hurt.  How could they do this to me?  I couldn’t understand how they could just stop loving each other.  I felt they were acting childishly and as if I was the grownup.  And I saw for the first time their flaws and imperfections. When I decided to have Kylie’s parents get a divorce, I immediately remembered the emotional storm that I felt and it all went into the book.

3. Like Miranda, one of Kylie’s new roommates at Shadow Falls Camp, I’m dyslexic. My son is also dyslexic.

I didn’t learn to read until I was in the third grade.  School was hard for me.  I couldn’t seem to get the written words to stick in my brain.  I often got things backwards, like I’d call the backyard, the “yardback,” and when people would snicker, I still couldn’t figure out what was so funny.  Things like knowing my right from my left is still nearly impossible.  It didn’t help that I could write with both my hands.  When I write, I still leave out words, and I’m still a terrible speller.  I have critique partners who read and proof my work.  But I don’t think I’ve accomplished what I have in spite of dyslexia, I think I’m accomplished it in part due to it.  Dyslexics are very intuitive.  We tend to pick up on emotion and I think this has helped me in my writing.  Also, being dyslexic, I make a lot of mistakes, but I learned to keep going and I think perseverance is what helped me keep writing and growing as a writer/story teller.

4. Like Kylie, I too felt a bit invisible in high school.

I wasn’t really bullied, but I just wasn’t noticed.  Didn’t belong to any ‘In” group.  I had a few friends, and like me, they were mostly quiet and went through school unnoticed.  Now, I’m so not like this anymore.  I think my shyness was in part due to my being dyslexic.  But that feeling of never really fitting in played a big part in creating Kylie’s character.

5. Like Holiday and Kylie in Born at Midnight, I have experienced that feeling of being visited by a ghostly presence.

I know, it sounds crazy, but it’s happened to me several times. The first time, I was only ten.  My great-grandmother had died, and a few days later, I woke up to her hovering over my bed.  She was wearing this beautiful gown and it flowed back and forth, so much so that I didn’t think she had legs.  She said she just wanted me to know that she was fine, and that someday I too would have this beautiful gown.  My parents told me it was just a dream, but I could’ve sworn I was awake.

6. Like Della, I can be a bit of a smarta$$.

Now I wasn’t like that growing up.  It took me years to develop the courage to speak my mind.  And I still don’t do it to be mean, but when something really annoys me, I now speak up, and it usually comes out very sassy and sarcastic!

So what about you guys? Anyone here share any traits with my characters?

 

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“Dellatude” and Burnett

Rachel at Fiktshun interviewed me last October 26th when Unspoken came out.  I thought you’d like to read what I had to say

Unspoken_revised (1)1. In 25 words or less, what can readers expect from Unspoken?

A wild ride of action, suspense, and love that’ll tug at your heart strings. A story of forgiveness and unlikely friendships that’ll make you laugh.

2. What has been your favorite part about writing the Shadow Falls: After Dark series/Della Tsang’s stories?

It’s Della.  Her sassiness, her spunk, her spark.  Okay, you know we all have a little smarta$$ inside of us.  And when I write her, I get to bring out my inner Della and let it party.  My husband calls it “Dellatude.” She’s loyal, she’ll always have your back, but she’s not the girlfriend, you ask, “Do these jeans make my butt look big?”  Because that girl tells the truth, even when a white lie would have been appreciated. Writing her has been . .. as my grandmother would say, “a hoot and half.”

3. Across both Shadow Falls series, who has been your favorite character to write (and why are they a favorite)? And who has been your most challenging character (and what were the challenges)?

Okay, I admit it.  I love Burnett.  He’s a grumpy, macho, sexy vampire.  He drives Della crazy by being so over protective.  But let me tell you, if he wasn’t in love with Holiday, I’d steal him.  His character has slowly evolved in all the books.  As a matter of fact, in Fierce, a novella included in Almost Midnight, [that came] out Feb. 2nd, you’ll discover a little more about his past and the reason he is the way he is.  Now Fierce isn’t Burnett’s story, but rather a story of another character that was a challenge to write.  But Fredericka Lakota demanded her own story.  She bugged me until I finally just cratered.  She wasn’t even a likely candidate, or even a likable character.  She was Kylie’s nemesis —someone everyone wanted to root against.  Yet, even archenemies have stories.  Some of them, like Fredericka, even deserve to be redeemed.  I never thought I’d find myself rooting for her, but boy howdy, when I learned her story, she got under my skin and into my heart.

4. If you had to pick one scene, or one moment, from Unspoken that was your favorite, what would it be?

That would be when Della and her father finally have their “talk.”  There have been times when writing this series that I seriously considered killing Della’s dad.  He was so hurtful to Della and it broke her heart and mine.  But she loved that man wouldn’t let me whack him.

5. Della and Chase have a rather… shall we say… complicated relationship. What do you think the biggest obstacles are for them to have a happily ever after? And, as the author, are you rooting for them or are you maybe rooting for the other boy in Della’s life?

Chase came into Della’s life under false pretenses—for good reason, but no one likes to be lied to.And Della, well, I don’t know if my readers have noticed, but she’s not exactly quick to forgive.  If Chase isgoingto win her back, he’s gotta put up with some crap.  And Della knows how to dish that out in big scoopfuls.  Now as for who I’m rooting for…Whoever Della chooses.And I’m not saying more!  LOL.But I can tell you this, in the Shadow Falls series, Della loves two guys—both are wonderful, caring and deserving of her love.  One of them is a better choice for her.  It’s not an easy choice.  But in good fiction and in life, choosing the right path, and the right person, is never easy.

6. Throughout both series, Della has had some great lines. What are your top three favorites? And has there been anything she said that made you shake your head and say, “Oh no!”?

I can’t tell you how many times I’ll be writing dialogue and think… Della, you can’t say that!  But she’d say it, so I was required to write it.

* From Reborn—Della defending that women can do anything guys can do to Burnett: “I will respect the authority, when the authority respects me!  And that includes my breasts!”  However, in Unspoken, she’s really tired of having to defend this issue and she puts it in another more direct way.  “Oh, please,” Della said.“Excuse me while I go and grow a penis so the sausage-and-meatball-toting gender will stop thinking I need a man to protect me.”

*  From Unspoken –Della telling a crouching man holding his boys.  “Sorry,” Della said.  “I think I’m allergic to perverts.  I get involuntary knee jerks.”

*  From Unspoken—Della’s dialogue to Miranda and Kylie when they walk in on a heated conversation between Della and Chase.  “I’m going to bed.  I don’t want to commiserate.  I don’t want a diet soda.  I don’t want to explain why it feels like the awkward fairy just came down here and pissed all over the room.”

7. I understand that Unspoken is the final full-length book in this series. Are there any plans for another spin-off series about one of the other Shadow Falls characters? Or are there plans for any new novellas?

Well, I told you about Fierce and Fredericka’s story.  Right now, I’m working on Miranda’s book. The readers have already gotten into Miranda’s head in Spellbinder.  Throughout the series they have watched Miranda come into her powers and overcome a lot of issues.  In this last book, Miranda’s newfound powers will be tested.  And she’ll have to make a decision between Perry and Shawn.   And because this is the last book about Shadow Falls, all my characters will graduate.

8. When ending a series what is the thing you miss most about it, what is the hardest thing for you to say goodbye to?

Just thinking about it brings tears to my eyes.  I’ve been with these characters for over five years.   They have made me cry, laugh and inspired me.  Yes, inspired me to change and to grow.  I know that sounds crazy, because I wrote them.  But when you write a character, you give them the best of you and then you can learn from how they handle the crisis that you also toss their way.

So tell me, who is your favorite Shadow Falls character and why? Who haven’t I written about that you would like to see me write a book or novella about?

 

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Cover Me!

I love my Shadow Falls covers, and I think my publisher, St. Martin’s Press has done a wonderful job. I remember the first time I saw the cover for Born at Midnight, l was so excited. It was love at first sight.  So I always find it really interesting when fans send me my covers from foreign countries. Some of them are very similar to the U.S. covers, but some are quite different. So I thought I’d share me of them with you.

From The Czech Republic

 

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Born at Midnight                       Taken at Dusk

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Whispers at Moonrise                Chosen at Nightfall

From France

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Born at Midnight

From Germany

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      Born at Midnight

From Brazil

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 Reborn

Which foreign cover do you like best? Or do you prefer the US versions? And for my overseas fans, send me more foreign covers at cc@cchunterbooks.com!

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Unspoken, Della and Ghosts

In November this interview was posted at To Read or Not To Read, but I thought in case you missed it there, I’d post it for you here.

  1. Unspoken_revised (1)Unspoken is the last book in the Shadow Falls: After Dark Are you leaving Shadow Falls behind, or do you still have a few more stories up your sleeve?

Don’t make me cry!  Seriously, I’ve been with all these characters for over five years.  The thought of leaving them forever makes my heart hurt and puts a wrinkle in my soul.  That said, I’m not done yet.  In February, Almost Midnight comes out.  This is an anthology of all my previously published novellas.  However, there’s one new one included.  And I think my readers are going to be surprised whose story it is.  She wasn’t a likely choice, or even a likeable character in the first four books.  She was Kylie’s nemesis, Fredericka Lakota.  Ahh, but even archenemies have stories. Some deserve to be redeemed.  In addition to Almost Midnight, I’m working on what might be the last Shadow Falls book on the schedule, Miranda’s book.  You know I’m gonna shed some tears when I type the words “the end” on that story.

  1. Who is your favorite character from this series?

Seriously, this is like asking me which of my children I love the most.  I love all my characters for various reasons. I worked hard to make the girls different so they would shine in their own way and their personalities would make each of them distinct.  Kylie is logical, kind hearted and a peace keeper.  Della is sassy, sarcastic, a fighter, and spontaneous.  Miranda is flirty, a little flighty, and believes the best in people.  They all share the traits of loyalty, determination, and the ability to laugh through some of life’s hardest hurdles. I will say Della’s sassy dialogue is easier to write because deep down I’m a wanna be smarta$$ and maybe I might even have a little of Della in me. LOL. Then I can’t lie, I also love Burnett.  I mean, who doesn’t love tall, dark, sexy and albeit a bit grumpy, vampires?

  1. What do you think Della’s biggest flaw is?

I’m glad you said biggest, because that girl isn’t shy of flaws.  It’s actually hard to pick one, but I guess I’d have to say that Della’s smart mouth really gets her into more trouble.  I mean, she is not the type of friend you ask if these jeans make my butt look big, because that girl isn’t good at sugarcoating things.  She calls it the way she sees it, and she sees things a little differently than most.  Take for example the time in Unspoken that Della is upset at Chase and Burnett for being a tad protective.  She doesn’t say, “Just because I’m a girl doesn’t mean I can’t take care of myself.” Instead she says… “Oh, please. Excuse me while I go and grow a pe^^!$ so the sausage-and-meatball-toting gender will stop thinking I need a man to protect me.”  Yup, it’s definitely her mouth that is her biggest flaw.

  1. You’ve created an extraordinary super natural world. If you could be any type of super natural creature, what would you be?

I’m more of Fae than I am anything else—so maybe Holiday.  But I would love to fly, so maybe I might swap up and be Della sometimes.  I do love Della’s sassiness.  Although, drinking blood . . . I don’t know.

  1. ghostWhat your favorite scary ghost story?

When I went to camp as a kid everyone always told the Bloody Mary tale.  Ghosts scare me more than just about anything, because I kind of believe in them.  Haven’t we all had a spooky experience and felt we weren’t alone?  I know I’ve had more than one.  That’s why I added ghosts to Shadow Falls.  I’d never really been afraid of a vampire, but I couldn’t say that about a ghost.

I’d like to know if you could be any type of supernatural, what would it be and why?

 

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