Fur Babies!

Anyone who knows me knows I love animals. I’ve had dogs and cats, but one dog in particular tugged hard at my heart strings. So, when I was asked to write a Furbabies blog for One Writer’s Way for April 6. 2018, I immediately thought of Jake. I wanted to share his story with y’all, too.

One cold November day, a big black, mixed lab dog followed my son home from school. I’d only recently lost Bosco, a misbehaving and totally lovable Boston Terrier whom I’d had the terrible misfortune of seeing get run over.  I was in the “Don’t-Want-Another-Dog” stage because it hurt too much.  I was actually out of town on business.  Hubby called and told me about a big black dog with a gray snout.  I didn’t want a dog, but I especially didn’t want a big dog.  Nope, I did little dogs.  And I’d heard how much black labs shed.  Nope, Hubby needed to find who owned the dog and get him back home.  Not a problem, my hubby said, the dog had a collar with two dog tags.

Unfortunately, one tag was for a Chihuahua, and one was for a Great Dane.  Hubby put out signs, but no one came to claim my son’s newest find.  “He’s sweet, Mom,” my son told me over the phone.  “He’s smart, too.”  He tells me how the dog would follow all the basic commands of sit, shake, and roll over.  But my heart was so broken, and I still had flashbacks of seeing Bosco run over, seeing the crazy dog that brought us so much pleasure, take his last breath.

“Don’t get attached,” I told my son. “When I get home I’ll find his owner.”  Well, I was wrong.  I didn’t find his owner, but that dog found his.  He took one look at me, and I saw it in his big brown eyes.  “You are my person!”  Even hubby and son were shocked at how the dog ignored them and was all about me.

“Nooo,” I told him and left the room, but he followed.  He followed me to the bathroom, to the bed, to my office where I spent hours writing my novels.  Hubby would try to coach him away from me with food.  Even bacon wouldn’t get this dog to leave my side.  I relented to keeping him.  How could I take him to a shelter when he was old and probably wouldn’t find a new home.  But I still didn’t want to be his person.  “Choose the boy,” I told him. “He’ll play ball with you. Or choose the hubby, he’s going to be the one to feed you.  All I do is sit in my study and write, you don’t want me as your person.”  But big black dog, now named Jake, wouldn’t hear of it.  I didn’t get a choice.  I’d been chosen.  I had a shedding, big, black labish dog as my sidekick.

Jake liked the boy, he liked my hubby, but Jake was one of those one-person dogs.  And from the moment he looked at me, I was it.

I tried not to love him, but when someone, even a dog, loves you that much, when he looks at you with such devotion… Well, I fell madly in love with Jake.  The vet said he was probably around eight years old.  He lived another six.  Six glorious years, I had a best friend who left a trail of black hair whenever he walked, a best friend who thought I walked on water.   A best friend who broke my heart when he died with his head in my lap.

To this day, I miss my best friend.  Yes, it took a while, but eventually hubby went to the junkyard and came home with a Falcon Ranchero and a dog.  A very sick dog.  The vet said she wouldn’t have lasted another few days.  She gained nine pounds in one week.  Lady is not your normal junkyard dog, she’s sweet, sassy, and I love that girl. But Jake will forever have a special place in my heart.

I’ve always heard and believed that animals make us better humans.  For that reason, almost every book I write has either a dog or a cat. This Heart of Mine, my latest release, stars a golden lab puppy, named Lady.  Matt, Lady’s owner, had lost his father and now his identical twin brother.  Lady offers Matt love, loyalty, and a lot of laughter.

Do you have a fur baby? Is it a dog or a cat? Or something else? What’s their name?

This Heart of Mine

A new heart saved her life—but will it help her find out what really happened to its donor?

Seventeen-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?


Matt gulps fear down his throat and stares at Leah’s front door. Lady, on her leash, is trying to chew herself free. Matt can relate. With what happened last night, and not knowing what her parents know, it was hard to show up this morning. Even harder to come back the second time.

A phone rings behind the door.

Nerves gnaw on Matt’s sanity. If her father opens the door and says Leah’s still asleep,

Matt’s gonna know the truth. Leah is refusing to see him. And then what? Damn it. She said she’d help. And with his mom riding his ass, he could really use some help. Why would Leah turn her back on him? Seeing him with Paula?

Matt had explained that Paula wasn’t . . . his girlfriend, hadn’t he? Then again, how could she be upset about Paula when she was attached at the hip to Trent Becker, and all snug and warm wearing his coat?

Matt pushes that whole bitter thought aside. Leah and he are just friends.

Yeah, they kissed and it was awesome, but that was then.

An uncomfortable thought hits. What if Leah told her parents she has Eric’s heart? Maybe it’s her parents who don’t want him here?

Footsteps sound behind the door. He stands straighter. The door swooshes open. Mr. McKenzie, holding a phone in his hand, in a at-footed stance just stares.

“Sorry, I had a call.”

Matt waits to be sent packing.

“She’s getting ready,” her dad says. “You want to come in?”

Not really. But does he have a choice? Matt remembers Lady. Maybe he does have a choice. “I’ll wait. I have my dog.” Mr. McKenzie stares at Lady. A jolt of nerves skateboard down Matt’s spine. The meeting-the-dad-of-the-girl-you-like kind of nerves. Not that this is a date. Does Leah’s father know that?

“Is he house trained?” Mr. McKenzie asks.

“She.” Matt hesitates. “Sort of, but—”

“Then come in. The shower’s going. She might be a while.”

He pushes open the door. Matt barely crosses the threshold when Mr. McKenzie looks back at Lady and says, “But if she’s the sort that poops and pees, you clean it up.”

“Of course.” He scoops up the squirming puppy. Her big yellow paws tread the air and her pink tongue is busy trying kiss his face.

Leah’s dad leads Matt into the kitchen. “Have a seat.”

Matt’s unsure if the man is being nice or is about to interrogate him. Matt pulls the chair out from the table, leaving room for Lady in his lap, then drops in the seat. Mr. McKenzie remains standing and staring. The dog starts twisting and turning, right along with Matt’s insides.

Her father finally speaks. “Want a Coke?”

“No, sir.” He remembers his manners. “But thank you.”

“How do you know Leah?” Mr. McKenzie settles in a chair.

Here comes the interrogation. “At school.”

“You tutored her once, right?”

“Yes, sir.” Lady barks, wanting down. She starts the whimpering. Matt sits her on the ground, but holds her leash and hears her sniffing around for table crumbs.

“You’re a senior, too?” Mr. McKenzie asks in a non- interrogation tone.

“Yes, sir.” Matt wishes he could drop the “sir,” but when you had a father in the army, “sir” is ingrained in you.

Her dad runs his hand over the edge of the table. “My wife mentioned you’re a twin?”

Was a twin. Matt’s nod is small.

“You two close?”

Matt nods again, this one slower. He’d done a lot of nodding with people who didn’t know. It hurts less than explaining.

“It’s Matt, right?” Mr. McKenzie asked.

“Yes, sir.”

“What’s the last name?”


“Kenner?” Her dad tilts his head slightly to the right as if . . . His eyes round. Instant pity turns his blue eyes a shade darker.

“Your brother, he . . . passed away?”

Matt nods. This one hurts. Thank God, he didn’t say killed himself.

“I’m sorry. My wife hasn’t kept up with the news. And I didn’t put the twin thing together.”

“It’s okay,” Matt offers the hated pat answer and thinks shit. Then he smells it. Shit. Dog shit. He ducks his head down and moans. Lady’s in full hunched mode doing her business. Mr. McKenzie leans sideways and peers under the table. Their frowns meet. Effing great! “I’ll get it, sir.” Matt loops the leash around the chair, bolts up. “Paper towels . . . ?”

“On the counter.” Mr. McKenzie’s voice is muffed from covering his nose.

Matt, paper towels in hand, crawls under the table. “Not ladylike,” he scolds Lady, using his mother’s words and tone. The puppy plops down in a poor-me pose. Matt scoops up the crap and is attempting to crawl on three limbs when he hears footsteps.

Still under the table, he glances out and up. Leah’s standing in the kitchen doorway. She’s wearing soft-to-touch-looking faded jeans that aren’t tight but hug her every curve. The red sweater she’s wearing does to her top what the jeans do to her bottom.

“Where is he? You told him to wait, didn’t you?” Disappointment slides off her words. Matt almost smiles realizing she wants to see him.

Lady, past the pathetic mode, dashes from under the table, taking down a chair as she goes.

Leah squeals, jumps, then stares at Lady. “What . . .” She slaps a hand over her nose.

“He’s . . . uh, under . . . there,” Mr. McKenzie’s tight voice echoes from above.

Leah squats down. Their gazes meet, hold, then her focus shifts to his hand holding . . .

Damn! Of all the ways a guy didn’t want a hot girl to see him, down on his knees holding a towel of dog shit has to top that list.

Matt frowns. “Lady shi . . .”—he corrects himself—“had an accident.”

Leah’s surprise fades into something softer, sweeter. A sparkle lights up her blue eyes. They crinkle at the corners with humor, and her face transforms into one big, so-damn-beautiful smile. He’s captivated.

She giggles—falls back on her butt. Lady rushes her with puppy excitement.

Leah’s laughter is like a song you want to sing along with. One he hasn’t sung in a long time. He wants that back. He wants to be able to let go of the pain he’s felt since his father died, since his brother died, and laugh like that. Laugh so free—free of grief.

Then Mr. McKenzie’s laughter roars above. Even Lady makes happy puppy sounds. Then it happens. A light feeling swells in his chest and his own laughter spills out. He can’t remember the last time he’s laughed so spontaneously. But for these few seconds, he doesn’t want to think about it.

He just wants to enjoy it. He knows it won’t last long, because in just a minute his heart is going to remember everything he’s lost.


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. 

RWA Conference

Every year, I like to attend the Romance Writers of America’s (RWA) conference. And this year was no different.  It’s held in various cities throughout the U.S., and this year, it was in the Mile High City of Denver, CO.

RWA’s conference and my experiences have changed a lot over the years. When I first joined RWA, I had a dream of being a published author. I was overwhelmed by my first conference, and it wasn’t half the size it is now.  Today, 2,000+ aspiring writers and authors attend hundreds of workshops held during the week. You can learn how to craft a better scene, how to create better character, how to navigate the business of writing, you can even learn police procedures on investigating murders. Now, I actually teach a workshop at the conference, and it’s always fun. I think inspiring other writers, paying it forward to all those who were there to offer me advice, teaching craft or just offering words of wisdom, is my favorite part of the conference.

When others come up and tell me that I inspired them, or that I’ve given them something that will help them with their work, it gives me a sense of sharing my passion.  I love what I do and I want others who love storytelling as much as I do to live their dream.

Then there’re the fans.  This year I had a fan that came all the way from Louisiana to see me.  (And if you are reading this, I went looking for you to buy you a drink and couldn’t find you.)  Her hug and telling me how much my book got her through some difficult times was like a cocktail of feel good emotions.  Thank you.

And then there’re my writing buddies.  Friends that I’ve known for years but don’t see often since we live in different states.  When we see each other, there are smiles, hugs, chitchat, and we share our writing successes and woes as well as a glass of wine or cup of coffee.  One dear friend even helped me out by doing a short video.  She took time out of her schedule to do this.  Thank you, Peggy!  You’re the greatest.  Then there was the spend-the-night party with my roommate, laughing at each other bed hair and giggling like teens.

Of course there are the industry folks, too.  Editors, publicists and agents. The dinners and cocktail parties. The late night get-togethers, and a few more drinks that I partake of than when I’m home.  Then there’re the aching feet.  (Hey, at home I’m in tennis shoes.)  I don’t think anyone would have appreciated it if I’d removed my bra during the signing.  So, it’s good to be home, but at the same time I’m already missing the friends, the hugs, the laughter, the comradery you feel when you are amongst so many other writers.  I can say that RWA is like a family reunion.  You may not know their names or where they live, but if you spend just a few minutes with them, you feel like they’re family.

I’m already looking forward to New York next year!

Forever Friends?

I read an interesting article recently about friends and why we lose them. It made me curious enough to do a bit more research on the subject. I was surprised to learn that many scientists have studied this and agree that up to the age of 25, you continue to make friends. However, after the age of 25, is when the numbers begin falling rapidly and continue to fall throughout the rest of a person’s life.

Sounds sad doesn’t it?

Actually, it’s a natural progression. Why does this happen? For many reasons. First, your priorities may change.  Perhaps you become a parent and you no longer have the time to hang out with your friends. Often, you get more responsibilities at work, and that cuts into your hang out time. Also, as you mature you may realize that some of your friendships are toxic, and since you have less time to spend with friends, you let go of the toxic relationships. Or you may get a job transfer or your interests change.  And sometimes when you are friends with someone who shares a common interest, and one of you no longer shares it, the relationship becomes hard to maintain.

Whatever the reasons, it’s totally normal to lose friends as we grow older. And while some friendships grow stronger, others become weaker.  I’ve found you have to put the time in.  But sometimes when life gets hectic it gets hard.  Good friends however will be there for you when things go back to normal.

I have a friend, who is also an author. We used to live close to each other and we walked every day together. But I moved further away to a new neighborhood, but we’re still close and we still walk together. Then I have friends, who I also see once or twice a year, but when we see each other it’s as if we saw each other yesterday.

As a writer, I love writing about friendships.  Do you recall the friendship between Della, Kylie and Miranda? In Don’t Close Your Eyes, my Christie Craig romantic suspense out 8/28/18, Annie has her good friend, Isabella and the two of them see each other through some difficult times.

Do you have a special friend that you’ve been friends with for years?


Several years ago, I was sitting in my kitchen looking at a milk carton. There was an age progression photo of a missing child. It got me wondering…what if it looked just like someone I knew? Or even scarier, what if it looked like me? What would I do? Ignore it? Talk to my parents?

So, I put that idea on the back burner for a while. But last year, I found myself thinking about it more and more. It got me wondering what would happen if a kid was stolen and then adopted out in an illegal adoption. So I decided to do a little research, and I was shocked by what I found out.

I found loads of adoption cases in countries like Guatemala, El Salvador, Panama, India, and the list goes on, where the children were snatched from their parents, smuggled to another country and adopted out with fees as high as $50,000. But it doesn’t just happen internationally. There have been cases in the U.S. where the birth parents never gave up their children. Some were illegally adopted, others just kidnapped and raised by their captors.

Which brings me back to my book idea. What if a child grew up knowing she was adopted, but then had reason to believe the adoption was illegal? What would she do? How would she be able to find out? Well, Chloe, the main character in In Another Life, gets some help from Cash, a cute guy in her school with more than enough street smarts.

In Another Life comes out March 26, 2019, but is available for pre-order now at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

In Another Life

What would you do if your whole life was a lie and learning the truth could cost you your life?

From New York Times bestselling author of the Shadow Falls series comes C. C. Hunter’s new YA thriller about a girl who learns that she may have been kidnapped as a child, and must race to uncover the truth about her past before she winds up a victim.

Chloe was three years old when she became Chloe Holden, but her adoption didn’t scar her, and she’s had a great life. Now, fourteen years later, her loving parents’ marriage has fallen apart and her mom has moved them to Joyful, Texas. Starting twelfth grade as the new kid at school, everything Chloe loved about her life is gone. And feelings of déjà vu from her early childhood start haunting her.

When Chloe meets Cash Colton she feels drawn to him, as though they’re kindred spirits. Until Cash tells her the real reason he sought her out: Chloe looks exactly like the daughter his foster parents lost years ago, and he’s determined to figure out the truth.

As Chloe and Cash delve deeper into her adoption, the more things don’t add up, and the more strange things start happening. Why is Chloe’s adoption a secret that people would kill for?

So tell me, do you know anyone that was adopted?


Three Things You’ll Always Get With A C.C. Hunter Book

There are three things I can promise you’ll always get with a Christie Craig/C.C. Hunter book.

A Hero. 

Yup.  I need someone to root for.  Today there’re a lot of stories, in movies, television, and even in books that are about flawed people.  And I get it.  Every hero I write has flaws. I’m intimidated by perfect people, but to put it bluntly, I don’t like stories without a hero.  I don’t want to read or go on a three-hundred-page journey with characters who have no regard for other people.  People who are simply out for themselves.  Yes, I do have villains in my work, but in every book I promise that you’ll always have someone you can look up to.  Someone whose goals, actions and moral compass give you hope this world isn’t going to the dogs.

A Little Laughter

Don’t get me wrong, fiction should be a smorgasbord of emotions.  And I know I’ve written some scenes that broke your heart.  In This Heart of Mine, you may have cried a bit more than usual.  I sure as heck know I cried writing it.  But even during hard times, my characters live by the advice my grandmother gave me.  “If you can laugh at it, you can live with it.” I personally know that even during some of my own personal dark times, I relied on humor to help me deal and cope.  So in my books, even those that yank at your heart strings, I’m going to find some way to make you smile.  That’s important for me. 

A Happy Ending

Yeah, I’m a sucker for a happy ending.  I know in real life not everything ends well.  Bad crap happens.  And yes, I know that fiction should emulate life.  And my characters face disappointments.  They have their black moments.  And that is meant to make the reader question how in the world things could turn out okay.  But I just can’t see taking someone on a journey that ends with heartbreak.  I know of some readers who have told me that there have been books that didn’t end well.  Well, I don’t want to take the surprise away, but you can count on my books not leaving you feeling depressed.

So there are three things I promise.  What are some of the other things you expect out of the books you read?