Ghost Hunting

 

There are some human beings who are dimly aware of their own deaths, yet have chosen to stay on in what used to be their homes, to be close to surroundings they once held dear. –Hans Holzer

 

A couple of weekends ago, I did something that Kylie would have hated. I went ghost hunting. I know Kylie doesn’t have to go looking for ghosts, they just come to her, and it doesn’t always thrill her that they find her, either. I’ll be honest, I’m not too thrilled about meeting up with a ghost either. But in the name of research, I went on a ghost hunt.

I was in San Diego, California, and I heard someone say something about a haunted house being open for tours. I couldn’t resist. I mean, so far, Kylie has managed to deal with all the ghosts that have crossed her path, so surely I could, right? Well, let’s just say I think Kylie handles ghost better than I did.

According to the Travel Channel’s American Most Haunted, The Whaley House is the number one most haunted house in the United States. The land where the house stand was once used to hang people. As a matter of fact, the earliest documented ghost at the Whaley House was “Yankee Jim,” who was convicted of grand larceny and hanged on the gallows off the back of a wagon on the property. According to the San Diego Union, “soon after the couple and children moved in, unexplained heavy footfalls were heard moving around the house.”

Several deaths took place at the house, and people regularly think they have seen one of the Whaley family still meandering around the property. Even the Whaley’s family dog has been spotted by visiting children. I did a slow stroll through the house, and I have to admit, I got chills. Not exactly like Kylie gets chills, just the kind that ran up my back as if something, or someone, was letting me know they were there.

In Whispers at Moonrise, Kylie goes back to the cemetery. Once again she’s surrounded by the dead, and they all want to reach out and touch her. Let me tell you, it was one spooky scene to write. Even I was I ready to leave those pages behind. Later on in Whispers at Moonrise, Kylie’s pulled into a grave, shared by three people. It was very crowded and she didn’t care for the snakes and insects crawling all over her. Let’s just say she wanted out of there–and quick.

Have you ever gone to a haunted house? Have you ever gotten a feeling that someone from the other side was there visiting? How about walking around a cemetery and getting goose bumps? I want to hear about your scariest ghost experience.

Street Team Update

As you recall in my June 5th blog, I told you the exciting news about the Street Team I am forming. I asked that you answer a few questions and said I would pick 50 lucky readers to be on my team. The response was overwhelming. Gosh, I have some fantastic and very avid fans out there!

If you haven’t emailed me the answers to my questions and responded to the follow-up email requesting your address, I’m afraid it is too late. I have closed the search for Street Team members, and those selected will be notified soon by email.

Five reasons Why I Read

When I am done writing at the end of a long day, I love to climb into bed with a handsome young man from Regency England, or perhaps a serial killer. Hold on! Perhaps I’d better explain before you misunderstand and the police come knocking on my door. I am talking about climbing into bed with a good book, one that will catch me up and sweep me away. There is nothing more relaxing than to read a book that makes you forget all the troubles of the day and transports you to another place and time. Once I start reading, and I am smack dab in the middle of a scene, I forget everything else. So I no longer care that the dog chewed the corner up my shoe, or that I have a dentist appointment in the morning. I get lost in that world the author created.

That is just one of the fabulous reasons that I read. Why else do I read, you ask? Well, I learn a lot from reading, too. Not only am I studying another author’s craft of weaving a story together, but there’s educational value in reading. I have benefitted from an author’s research. Like did you know that by the sixteenth century there were five distinct and time consuming steps to become legally married? A far cry from running off to Las Vegas to get hitched. But how did I learn this? In a book, of course! Some author had to do her research to make her story work. When I’m writing, I do some researching, too. Sure I make a lot of stuff up, like the FRU. But that’s fantasy and open to my imagination. Other things, however, require research, and I have learned incredible things researching for a book.

Okay, so far we have enjoyment, education and research. Any other reasons to read? Yes! When I read, I get to do things and go places I never thought I could. I have sailed through a rough storm in a tall clipper ship and escaped dragon hunters. Reading is like jumping off tall buildings, experiencing all the adrenaline with none of the real risk. Yup, I do all this from the safety of my bed.

And then there are all the fascinating characters in books. Now you know I love my hubby, but when I read about some really hot, sweet guy, well, love them, too. I have fallen in love over and over again with handsome cowboys, dashing English Earls, tough cops, sweet werewolf guy next door, sexy vampires…the list goes on and on. Every time I pick up a romance, I expect to fall in love with the hero. It is what the author hopes will happen to the readers who pick up their books. That’s why so many of you have written to me telling me Kylie should definitely pick Lucas, or that she absolutely has to pick Derek. Because you have fallen for one (or both) of them, too. You can fall as hard as you like for someone in a book, even someone dangerous. Someone tall, dark, handsome, with a troubled past, eyes so blue you get lost in them, arms that hold you….

Sorry, where was I? Oh, yes, my list of the five reasons why I read. Let’s recap: escapism, education, research, adventure, and hot guys. But wait there is one more reason. And it’s an important one, too. I read for encouragement/inspiration. I read to watch a character in a book deal with, and overcome the problems, stresses, and sometimes dangerous situations that life can plop on our doorsteps. And even if these dangerous situations aren’t likely to happen in real life, like running into rogue vampires, there are some regular humans who can be just as scary. And the point is, I read to see the best in human nature, or in some cases, supernatural nature. Most books have heroes and heroines, and most of these characters learn to deal with, and live life in a manner in which can inspire us. So there you have it, not five but six reasons why I read.

So tell me, why do you read?

What’s Up, Kylie? Round Four

Happy Tuesday, everyone! I’ve got another set of Q&A with Kylie that came from the comments section of my What’s Up, Kylie? blog from April 17th. I love Kylie’s responses this week. Two of the questions are about her real dad, Daniel, and the third is about which animal she’d most like to shift into. I hope you enjoy!

1. If you had the chance to talk to your real father for 1 hour without interruption, what kind of things would you talk about other than the fact that you’re a chameleon? [Question from Faye B.]

C.C.: Oh, this is a great question, Faye B.! Kylie, what do you think?

Kylie: *She crosses her legs and wraps her hands around her right knee.* That’s really a hard question to answer. I mean, I have a lot of questions I’d like to ask him—questions about my heritage, about what it means to be a chameleon, sure. I know he probably doesn’t know everything, but I’ll bet he’s learned a little more now that his mom is with him. But there are other things I’d like to know, too. *She falls silent and I glance over at her to make sure she’s okay. She’s looking down at her hands, obviously lost in thought.*

C.C.: *I clear my throat.* So, what other things would you want to talk to Daniel about?

Kylie: *She shrugs.* Everything, I guess. Like what it was like when he was a kid. If he felt he was different, the way I did. What things were like when he met my mom. I mean, he’s my dad and I never got to know him. We’d have a lot to catch up on.

C.C.: And an hour wouldn’t be long enough. *I smile, knowing that’s how I would feel if I were her.*

Kylie: *She nods.* Exactly.

2. You now know about Daniel… And how much your mom loved and still loves Daniel. Do you want your mom to ever meet her “one and only” love once she crosses over again? To be with “the one that got away” from her? [Question from Aldrick Adorno]

C.C.: Another great question about Daniel. Thanks, Aldrick Adorno. *I turn to Kylie.* Do you think you’re up to answering another question about Daniel, or do you need to take a short break?

Kylie: *She shakes her head.* No, I’m okay. I’ve actually thought about that, you know. About my mom and Daniel reconnecting. I wish that could happen now, rather than forty or fifty years from now when Mom passes over, but . . . *She sighs and leans back in her seat.* My mom doesn’t see spirits.

C.C.: Do you wish your Mom shared your gift, Kylie?

Kylie: Sometimes. I mean, I really wish she could reconnect with Daniel, so she could know how much she meant to him. How much she still does. Hey . . . *She shoots me a dirty look.* Don’t get any crazy ideas, Writer Lady! My mom couldn’t handle seeing ghosts.

C.C.: I’d never dream of it.

Kylie: *Kylie gives me a skeptical look.* Look what you did with Burnett in Taken at Dusk.

C.C.: Okay, so maybe I’d dream about it but, trust me. I have no plans to make your mom suddenly start seeing ghosts. *Then I smile my evil author smile.* I actually have a better idea.

Kylie: What’s that supposed to mean?

C.C.: You’ll see.

Kylie: *She rolls her eyes.* I can hardly wait.

3. If you develop powers as a shapeshifter, which animal would you choose to change into and why? [Question from MistyK]

C.C.: Another great question! Thanks, MistyK! *I turn to Kylie.* What do you think?

Kylie: Well, I think it would depend on the circumstances, you know. I sometimes wish I could be invisible, so my first thought is that I might want to change into something really small, like a mouse. *She shrugs.* But that might not work out so well, thanks to Socks. *She furrows her brow in concentration.* So . . . I might choose to turn into a bird. Not a crazy pterodactyl, like Perry does. Something normal. Maybe a hawk. It would be cool to fly.

CC: You mean like a vampire?

Kylie: What are you planning? I can see it in your eyes.

CC: Now, Kylie, why do you act as if I’m always out to do something bad?

Kylie: *Rolls her eyes again.* As if you haven’t written in some bad spots. Look what happened to me in Whispers in Moonrise.

CC: But you survived and are a much stronger person for it, too.

Kylie: Who said I want to be strong?

C.C.: Everyone wants to be strong. And you are amazingly strong. Just ask the readers. They love you. And they’re going to love you even more when they read Whispers at Moonrise.

Thanks, guys! I’ll be bringing you more Q&As with Kylie in the weeks ahead.
C.C.

Street Team

Does anyone know what a Street Team is? No, it isn’t the guys playing basketball on the local playground. Or the kids playing tag at the bus stop. A Street Team is a very special group of people near and dear to an author’s heart. You see, they are the ones who like an author so much that they just have to tell someone about the book.  Have you ever recommended my books to someone searching the shelves of a bookstore for something to read? Have you asked your school librarian to carry my books? Maybe you’ve bought my books for friends just because you wanted to share my books with them. Have you promoted my releases on Facebook, Twitter,  or your blog?  Or posted a review on Amazon or Barnes & Noble?  If so, then you could possibly become a member of my Street Team!

The C.C. Hunter Street Team will consist of fifty fans of the Shadow Falls series.  (I seriously wish we didn’t have to stop at fifty, because all my readers are important to me, but rules are rules.) These are fans who not only read my books, but get so excited about them that they end up telling everyone else to read them, too.  And my publisher St. Martin’s Press/Griffin is going to help you do that.  How? Well, all street team members will receive an early release copy of Whispers at Moonrise, some cool promotional stuff,  and a Shadow Falls t-shirt.  (Sorry, unfortunately for any males out there, the t-shirts are lady’s Ts.  But you are welcome to give it to someone.)

So, how does this help you promote my books?  Well, once you’ve read Whispers at Moonrise, I hope that during the release week, you’ll want to tell everyone about it and encourage them to become Shadow Falls fans, too.  And if you wear your t-shirt, people will ask you about my Shadow Falls series.  But it doesn’t end there.  You’ll also get a handful of bookmarks to give away.

Half of my Street Team members will be selected on their promotional capabilities—those that have the best access to Facebook, Twitter and/or blogs. But to make sure I include all fans, the other half will be selected randomly with a slight focus on demographics. (I wouldn’t want all my Street Team members to be in one state.)  Once you are an official member of the C.C. Hunter Street Team, you will receive sneak previews of titles, covers and other special promotional stuff.  So, what are you waiting for? Do you have what it takes to be a member of the CC Hunter Street Team?

Email me at cc@cchunterbooks.com  with the title “Street Team” in the subject header, and answer these questions:

  1. How many of the Shadow Falls books have you read?
  2. Have you already promoted the Shadow Falls series?  If so, how?
  3. Do you have a Facebook page?  What is the address?  How many friends/followers do you have?
  4. Do you have a Twitter account? What is the address? How many followers do you have?
  5. Do you have a blog? What is the address and name? How many followers do you have?

Oh, and because I want to reward all my fans, I’ll be doing a drawing for all the fans who didn’t get into the team and giving away ten prizes of t-shirts and other cool promotional stuff.

Sorry, but due to mailing costs, I have to limit this to US residents only.

Thanks!

C.C.