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C.C. Hunter

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.)

Happy December!

Let the frantic holiday season begin! Yes, it’s time to search for the perfect gift for Aunt Beth, unless you are planning on giving her another fruit cake—that she might turn around and give back you next Christmas.  Then you need research for the “hottest toy” this Christmas for your child, or niece or nephew. Don’t forget to bake Christmas cookies and pastries. It’s also time to put up all those Christmas decorations.

Now, we put up decorations, but we don’t go crazy like some of the displays you see on TV and YouTube.  A couple of years ago, I bought one of those light display things that had lights dancing on my house. I also pull out my sixteen-foot tall Christmas tree, and it takes a ladder and several people to decorate.  Then I have some holiday knickknacks that I put out through the house.

So you know it’s Christmas at my house, but I’m not the one where the neighbors complain because of all the traffic the Christmas spectacular brings. But I do appreciate the effort that goes into one of these displays. So I wanted to share some of the best ones I found, but be sure your speakers are on. Then be sure to tell me which one is your favorite?

Trista Lights

Musical Instruments

Amazing Grace

Pirates of the Caribbean

Sale Ending! Last Chance!

It’s your final chance to get One Foot in the Grave (Mortician’s Daughter, Book 1) for only .99 cents. This sale ends soon! Get it now at Amazon and Kobo.

I hope you all are having a good time getting ready for the holiday.  If nothing else, grab a book with a holiday theme, a cup of hot chocolate, and enjoy the season.

Happy Thanksgiving, Now Start Shopping!!

It’s Thanksgiving week and I hope you enjoy a nice gathering with your family on Thursday. But this week also means it is the official start of Christmas shopping. Yup, Black Friday is coming up fast. But now, there’s also Cyber Monday. Not to mention how some of the stores have started having pre Black Friday sales. It seems like stores want you to start your shopping earlier and earlier. Heck, I know people that are already finished with their shopping, but most have barely started. I’m one of the later. But I’ve been really busy finishing up a book, and now that I’ve got time, I’ll get serious about shopping.

Last year, I did almost as much in-store shopping as I did online shopping.  I actually see shopping store to store as part of fun of the season.  Almost a tradition. No, I don’t enjoy it if the crowd is manic, but there’s something about being in the stores, Christmas music playing and seeing everyone shop for their loved ones.  There’s something special about finding that perfect gift for someone.  I don’t quite get that same seasonal joy while shopping online.  Half the time I’m scared the gift will arrive and not meet my expectations.  Maybe I need to put on some Christmas music, pour myself some eggnog and try to make online shopping more of a seasonal treat. 

What kind of Christmas shopper are you? Do you shop ahead all year? Maybe have it all done by mid December? Or are you scrambling around a few days before Christmas, trying to find something last minute? Do you buy everything on line or do you shop at your favorite stores? 

One Foot in the Grave on Sale!

Did you know my YA One Foot in the Grave is the winner of Romantic Times Reader’s Choice Award, Fantasy, Futuristic & Paranormal Romance Writers PRISM Award, Write Touch Readers’ Award, I Heart Indie Contest & the JABRIC Award? Did you know you can download it now for only .99 cents? Hurry, this sale is about to end!  Get it now at Amazon and Kobo.

Oh, The Seasons…

I love this time of year when the leaves change and there is a crisp chill in the air. It’s a time of transition, when we shift from the hot Texas summers where we go tubing down a river, or just watching my dog try to catch the water as it squirts out of the hose, to the cold darker winters when we grab a blanket and sip from cup of hot chocolate. 

But between summer and winter is fall, when everything is alive with color: reds, golds and oranges. Only followed by the cold darker days of winter.  But that too passes and we move into spring when everything feels brand new and the blue bonnets and Indian paintbrushes speckle ours roadsides.

Like our world, life has seasons.  We move from being a child, to being a teen, to being an adult.  From being single to being in a relationship.  From being footloose and fancy free to being a parent with responsibilities.  From being newlyweds to celebrating thirty-five years of marriage.  We move from having full nests to being empty nesters.  We move from being someone’s child, to being that person’s caretaker.

Oh, the seasons of our lives.  They each bring with it some beauty, each offering different perspectives and changes.  Some inspire us, some humble us.  Some require us to hang on to things so tightly, others require us to let go.  And while some of the changes are welcomed, soul freeing and make us want to dance with joy, other’s can break our hearts.

When I encounter some of the heartbreak, I try to look back on other seasons where I struggled. Like the full nest season to being an empty nester.  Oh, that hurt.  Then one of my darling children moved back home for a while and…  Oh, that hurt!

I look back on some of the seasons that were hard, and I find hope in that I survived. So I guess even during the seasons that bring heartbreak, we need to be there, to be present, to be counted, to be countable. I’m trying to remember this as I deal with my father’s declining health.  I try to remember to enjoy even some of the difficult times, because the next season may be one in which he is not here.  I try to remember to hold tight for now, because soon I’ll be letting go.

I try to remember after this, there will be another season.

ONE FOOT IN THE GRAVE SALE ENDING SOON!

Don’t forget One Foot in the Grave (Mortician’s Daughter , Book 1) is on sale for only .99 cents, but this sale ends soon. Get it now at Amazon and Kobo.

What Are You Watching?

There is an abundance of new shows out this month and I, for one, am paying attention.  You know I’m working on a book and I work around ten hours a day, but when I move out of my office, I usually either whip up some dinner or order in and watch a few shows. 

Here are the show I’m watching:

Emergence

It’s what I would call a speculative fiction.  A young girl survives a plane crash unharmed.  But overtime we see she has powers.  A detective ends up taking her in and trying to protect her from the unknown.  But the question becomes do they need protecting from the child? 

Evil

Now can I say I watch this one with one eye closed?  It’s spooky.  A young mother, with three girls, who does not believe in demons and such, is hired to work with a group of religious investigators.  Basically, she tries to disprove that demons, ghosts and other creepy things don’t exist.  But let me tell you, there’s a lot to disprove.  It’s scary, it’s really creepy.  But I kind of like it.

Stumptown

I love this one guys!  It’s a lot like my humorous romantic suspense novels.  A sassy, kick butt army veteran becomes a private investigator who stands up for the underdog.  She’s flawed, so very flawed, but you have to love her as she always sets out to protect someone who deserves protecting.  And she finds herself up to her eyebrows in trouble fighting bad guys.

All Rise

This one is a legal show about a new judge who is determined to make her court fair to those who are not getting justice.  She’s creative, she’s got guts.  She’s the kind of judge we would all love to think wears a robe and determines what’s right and wrong in courts.

Bluff City Law

Jimmy Smit and his daughter are lawyers with a tumultuous relationship who take on the injustice of the world one client at a time.  It’s largely a family drama with characters who fight for the underdogs.

As I’m writing the descriptions of what I’m watching, I realize how close my interest in shows is to the plots I choose to write.  Paranormal elements, ghosts, sassy characters, underdogs that need championing, and a touch of danger and suspense. 

In The Mortician’s Daughter you totally get the paranormal element.  Poor Riley is faced with spirits left and right.  However, you still have the underdogs, and you get the sass.  If not from Riley, then from Kelsey.  That girl calls it like she sees it.

Snag a copy One Foot in the Grave (Book 1) for only .99 cents for a limited time at Amazon and Kobo.

So what are you watching?  Are you watching any of the shows I mentioned? Do the shows you watch on television fall in line with the types of books you read? 

Reading Suggestions?

This week, I’ve had to take it easy. Hubby gave me the crud. You know where you feel horrible, you nose runs and you can’t stop coughing. So, I’ve been reading. I’m currently reading Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng and I’m really enjoying it. Have you read it? I guess they are making a Hulu limited series based on it with Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington. I’ll be watching!

At least I finished writing my final Christie Craig Texas Justice book, Don’t Look Back.  FBI agents, Texas Detectives, and murder.  A cat named Psycho. A hero that is drool worthy.  And a plot with more twist than a pretzel. Now I can concentrate on my next C.C. Hunter book.

So when I have the crud, it takes a while for me to get over it, so expect to be catching up on my reading. Any books you’d like to recommend? What are you reading right now?

Haunted Edinburgh

I’m going to share a few more images from Edinburgh, before I take you to some of the other places we visited.  I know I mentioned that I walked around some graveyards and even did a ghost tour.  And if you’ve read my books and my blogs, you know I love a good, spooky tale.

And while visiting, there were plenty of stories that sent a chill running up my spine. Edinburgh, where just a stroll long the cobblestone streets, takes you back in time, has a long ghoulish history. Psychics and ghost hunters have long said that the Scottish capital is one of the most haunted places in the world.

A walk through the cemetery, that is so old that most of the script on the tombstones is no longer legible, can raise the hairs on the back of your neck.  It made me stop and wonder about the bones of the people buried six feet under.  Were they happy?  Did they love someone?  How did the die?

As a pet owner, one story stood out.  The tale of a phantom Skye terrier, Bobby. The dog was said to have spent fourteen years guarding his master’s grave.  In 1872, the faithful pooch passed away. He is now buried in the Greyfriars Kirkland, near his owner.  It is said that people can still hear his bark near the grave. Dare I say, that is one spirit, I wouldn’t mind running across.

Ahh, but even deeper down, deeper than the bones of the now unnamed-dead, are a collection of underground passageways.  With very little ventilation, these dark, dank tunnels were called home to the very poorest of people: vagrants, thieves, gamblers and an array of undesirables.  The ghost tour I attended took me under Edinburgh’s Old City. With only candle light to guide us, I learned of the sad and often gruesome history of this place.  A history of religious persecution, of executions of witches, and even the great plague.  No doubt, the beauty of this timeless city that draws so many to visit, is stained with blood.

Winner!!

The winner of last week’s giveaway of an audiobook of One Foot in the Grave is Belinda Ortiz. Congratulations! Please email me at cc@cchunterbooks.com to claim you audiobook.

Edinburgh!

Well, Hubby and I took off to Scotland.  Can I say wow?  I took loads of pictures and for the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing some of those on my blog.  I’ll start with where we landed in this great country, Edinburgh.

I don’t think I’ve ever been to a place where everywhere you look, every glance over your shoulder, turn of your head, there’s another photograph to take.  The city is so old you feel it when you amble through the streets. 

When we got there, the Fringe was happening.  The Fringe is the largest arts festival in the world. Street entertainers at every corner.  Music, bands, and tons of shopping. Our favorite thing to do was to find a pub on the Royal Mile, sit outside sipping wine and people watching.

We lucked out and the Royal Edinburgh Military tattoo was happening while we were there too, and we got tickets.  This is an annual series of Military tattoos performed at the Esplanade of Edinburgh Castle by British Armed Forces, Commonwealth and International military bands and display teams.  It was colorful and awe-inspiring.

You know me well enough to know that I wanted to visit a few graveyards.  Yes, I love walking around and seeing graves that dated back to the 1700’s.  We even did a ghost tour.  Scotland had its share of spooky stories.

The trip was mind boggling and got my creative juices flowing.  I even got an idea for a book.

If you ever get a chance to go, do it. 

Okay, until next week.

Happy Reading!

Giveaway!!

Did you know ONE FOOT IN THE GRAVE, the first book in my Mortician’s Daughter series, is now on audio? To celebrate, I’m giving away a copy to one person who leaves a comment. (Sorry this giveaway is for U.S. residents only If you’re reading this on Goodreads, you must go to my blog and leave your comment.)

Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot!

This week I wanted to talk to you about genres. You know, paranormal, contemporary, fantasy, sci-fi, etc. The publishing industry is funny. They study the current trends, what’s selling, what’s not, and they try to predict what genres will be hot in the future. Sometimes I think they need a crystal ball.

When St. Martin’s contacted me and asked me to write a young adult paranormal series, they felt that genre was the hot ticket and would continue to be popular for a while. Now, however, paranormal is supposed to be waining and contemporary is the thing, especially if someone is ill in it.  Fantasy was huge a while ago, especially with the popular Lord of the Rings movies, but now it seems less in demand. It’s always shifting and changing.

So after I finished my Shadow Falls series, St Martin’s request a contemporary book. So, I wrote This Heart of Mine and In Another Life.  But I also still loved paranormal and I knew I still had a lot of Shadow Falls fans out there. So, I decided to write my Mortician’s Daughter series with them in mind. So, if you’re still rereading my Shadow Falls series, but haven’t tried my Mortician’s Daughter series, I’m encouraging you to give it a chance. I think you’ll enjoy it.

So do you pay attention to the trends in publishing?  Do you read the hot new genre or do you still read books that aren’t in the trend? Where do you see the genres heading? What do you think will become the next hot genre?

Winner!!

The winner of last week’s giveaway, an audiobook of One Foot in the Grave is Michelle R. Please email me at cc@cchunterbooks.com to claim your prize.

Back to School

I know it seems like we just celebrated the Fourth of July, but it’s already August. And in much of the country, that means school is about to start. It actually starts this week in my area of Texas. When I was young, I loved and hated the start of school. I hated waking up early after being able to sleep in and wake up naturally. In Alabama, where I grew up, we didn’t start back to school until a week or so into September. 

And I loved how it was always a little chilly in the mornings.  I actually loved shopping and buying a new wardrobe, too.  I didn’t get a lot of new clothes, but I always got some.  And wearing new clothes tended made me feel better about myself.  I hated always feeling as if I was invisible, unless it was when I ran into the school bullies. Then, I prayed for invisibility.

But I’ll admit, part of me looked forward to going back and seeing the boys that I had crushes on.  I always had the dream that this would be the year when one of my crushes would notice me.  (Yeah, I was a romantic even back then.)  Oh and I loved getting all my school supplies. There’s a certain smell to school supplies that I can still remember.  I also recall organizing everything.  And actually being happy about learning and getting back into a routine.  School was not my favorite thing.  But I remember the new school year feeling every September, and it was sort of like a part of life, almost like a season that when it comes every year, you are pulled into the familiarity of it.  Those first days of school every year were just part of life.

How do you feel about school? Or how did you feel about it? 

Giveaway!!

Did you know One Foot in the Grave, the first book in my Mortician’s Daughter series, is now available as an audiobook? To celebrate, I’m giving away a copy to one reader that leaves a comment. (Sorry, but this giveaway is limited to U.S. residents only. If you are reading this on Goodreads, you must leave you comment on my blog to be entered to win.)

Winner!

The winner of last week’s t-shirt giveaway is Amy Morris. Congratulations! Please email me at cc@cchunterbooks.com with your postal address and your t-shirt size.