Adoption

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?

TWO FEET UNDER

Can’t get enough of Riley and Hayden? Did you love The Mortician’s Daughter: One Foot in the Grave? Looking forward to the next book in the series? Well, Two Feet Under will be out this Oct. 1st, and you can pre-order it so you will get it the minute it comes out. In book two, Riley finds herself in trouble up to her neck. And now that she’s figured out who Hayden is, can she help him recover so they can have a real relationship? On top of everything else, she discovers a secret that will shatter her world.

Riley has accepted that her special gift is to help dead people with their unfinished business.  But she never thought she’d be tasked with helping the spirit of a convicted criminal who died in prison.  He may lead her on the scariest mission yet, but helping him could mean saving the life of a child.  The convict’s daughter needs a liver transplant and the one person who could still be a match is his brother…who also happens to be a gang leader.

Hayden’s not happy that Riley’s discovered who he is and is seeing him sick and unconscious in his hospital bed.  This feels like as good a time as ever to cross over and put all of them out of their misery….but Riley is in danger.  She’s visiting some of the most dangerous spots and confronting some of the creepiest low-lifes in town.  For her, he’ll need to regain his strength and fight to keep her safe.

But dealing with other people’s problems still can’t keep Riley from her own.  Her dad’s drinking has gotten worse.  And she’ll soon learn it’s because he’s been keeping a huge, horrible secret that will change everything she believes about her family and her mother’s death.

Pre-order Two Feet in the Grave now at Barnes & Noble and Amazon.

Have You Heard?

I’m so honored and excited that The Mortician’s Daughter: One Foot in the Grave is a finalist for the PRISM Award and has already been awarded:

Have you read The Mortician’s Daughter? Order it today at Kobo, Indie Bound, Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

In Another Life

I’ve been busy writing my next stand alone book. In Another Life is a about a teenager who was adopted when she was three. But not everything is as it seems. This idea came to me one day a number of years ago when I was watching a show on the ID channel.  Yes, I do watch the ID channel.  Because I write a lot of suspense in my books, I consider it research. I think it also scares my husband a little.  LOL.  Hey… I do know how to plan the perfect murder now.

Anyway, the channel often puts pictures of missing children on the show in the hope that someone recognizes the child and will alert the authorities. Sometimes, they show an age progression photo, an image of the child as an artist thought they would look now, when they were older. Shortly after that I was walking into a Wal-Mart and saw the images of missing children on a billboard in the front of the store as well.  Then, it hit me…what would happen to a teenage girl if she saw a photo that looked just like her? So what would you do if everything you believed about your life could all be a lie? From this little thought came In Another Life, my book coming out in 2019.

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?

Pre-order In Another Life now at Amazon.

 

 

Seriously…

I’m going to get serious this week and talk about a very serious and scary subject—suicide. I’m sure everyone has heard about the recent suicides of Anthony Bourdain, Kate Spade, Chester Bennington (Lincoln Park singer), and more others than I can list here.

It breaks my heart hearing about people who appeared to have so much going for them and yet they felt hopeless.  While it’s easy to judge that life is easy for those who have money or fame, it just isn’t so.  Depression doesn’t care about your bank account or any other status in your life.  Depression is a disease.  And it’s hard to understand.  Someone dealing with depression doesn’t always look sick.  Some people are really good at hiding the symptoms.

Growing up, I watched my mother face this issue and in the past, she has tried to kill herself. Luckily, my mom got the help she needed.  But so many don’t.

Suicides are up by 25% since 1999 and are now the second leading cause of death for people ages 15 to 24 in the U.S. The experts are asking why, and of course there is no easy answer. Bullying, sexual violence, and child abuse are often sited, but those forms of violence haven’t increased in the last two decades, and if anything, they have gone down. They also point to the rise of technology, which has replaced important face-to-face interactions (though some argue technology actually decreases loneliness).

We need to remove the stigma connected with mental illness, which has increased in recent years. Educate yourself on the 5 signs of suicide: personality change, irritability or anxiousness, withdrawal, not taking care of yourself and hopelessness. And if the person feeling this is you, know that you aren’t alone. Know that you can get better. You don’t have to live like this. You can get help.

I can’t tell you how many emails I’ve gotten from people telling me that my books have helped pull them out of a dark place in their life.  I’m thrilled to hear that.  Reading is good for the heart and soul. But I know sometimes even losing ourselves in fiction, leaving our problems at bay for a while, isn’t enough.  If you need help, reach out to someone close to you.

And if you know someone who may be in trouble and are exhibiting the five signs, encourage them to get help or get help for them.  Let them know that you care. Watching the news yesterday I heard one doctor say, “Don’t be afraid to use the word.  Tell them that you are afraid they might be thinking of suicide.” It’s hard to say it. It’s hard to think about it.  But it would be a lot harder if we didn’t say it and it happened.

If you or someone you know needs help, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

 

Summer Fun?

Summer is here! Most kids are out of school or will be soon. That means many families will be heading off to Disney World or other theme parks for a fun time.

If you’re heading off to Disney World, you should know selfie sticks are banned there. (I’m with them on that one!) Did you also know that Disney bid on the rights to Harry Potter, but refused to give creative control to J.K. Rowling? So that’s how Universal ended up with Harry Potter World.

In the U.S., we’re used to theme parks like Disney World, Six Flags and Dollywood. Parks with rides and funny characters. But theme parks in other countries can be very different.

At the Window of the World theme park in China they have a cremation simulator. Visitors climb into coffins & are carried on a conveyor belt with heat & light projections simulating the effects of a real funeral-home incinerator. It hopes to enlighten people on death & help them make better life choices. Can you imagine?!?!

And there’s a theme park in Japan where kids can experience adult life (working, banking, etc). Now, I can see the practicality of that, but I can’t imagine kids being excited to go there. Can you?

A theme park in Lithuania recreates life as a USSR citizen. Visitors have their belongings confiscated, wear gas masks, experience interrogation, and must learn the Soviet anthem. Their reward is a shot of vodka. (I don’t imagine it’s for children, at least I hope not!)

It gets even weirder in South Korea where there is a sex theme park called Love Land and features 140 sculptures representing humans in various sexual positions. I hope it’s for 18 and over!  Hmmm?

So, when you head off to one of America’s theme parks this summer, be thankful you’ll not be experiencing cremation or interrogation!

Will you be going to a theme park this summer? Which one? What’s your favorite ride? And if you’re not going to theme park, what are you doing?  Camping?  The beach?  Italy?  Can I say the last one sound really nice? As for what I’m doing?  No theme parks.  Hubby and I are thinking of visiting Canada?

Winners!

Last week’s giveaway winners are Courtney H and Amber Schwartz. Courtney, you’ve won a copy of Twelve Steps to Normal and, Amber, you’ve won a copy of Haven. Please email me at cc@cchunterbooks.com with your postal address, and I’ll send your book.

Great Books and A Giveaway!

I’ve been trying to clean my office.  Yes, it’s a mess.  Mostly, it’s a book mess.  I have way to many books. The problem is that when I try to decide which books to donate to the library and which to keep, it’s pure torture. It feels as if I’m giving away friends.  And then there’re the books that have been in my to-be-read pile that I swore I would read before now, but somehow another book, or another deadline, got in the way.  And when I find them I clutch them to my chest and promise soon.

Some of them I may have mentioned before.  And some books I haven’t.  But for today’s blog I thought I’d post about the friends on my  bookshelves that are either on my keeper shelf or on my gonna-read-this-soon shelf.

Soulmated by Shaila Patel

**Winner of the 2015 Chanticleer Book Reviews Paranormal Awards in YA**

Two souls. One Fate.

Eighteen-year-old Liam Whelan, an Irish royal empath, is being forced to search for his elusive soulmate. The rare union will cement his family’s standing in empath politics and afford the couple legendary powers, while also making them targets of those seeking to oust them.

Laxshmi Kapadia, an Indian-American high school student from a traditional family, faces her mother’s ultimatum: Graduate early and go to medical school, or commit to an arranged marriage.

When Liam moves next door to Laxshmi, he’s immediately and inexplicably drawn to her. In Liam, Laxshmi envisions a future with the freedom to follow her heart.

Liam’s father isn’t convinced Laxshmi is “The One” and Laxshmi’s mother won’t even let her talk to their handsome new neighbor. Will Liam and Laxshmi defy expectations and embrace a shared destiny? Or is the risk of choosing one’s own fate too great a price for the soulmated?

Twelve Steps to Normal by Farrah Penn

James Patterson presents this emotionally resonant novel that shows that while some broken things can’t be put back exactly the way they were, they can be repaired and made even stronger.
Kira’s Twelve Steps To A Normal Life
 
1. Accept Grams is gone.
2. Learn to forgive Dad.
3. Steal back ex-boyfriend from best friend…
 
And somewhere between 1 and 12, realize that when your parent’s an alcoholic, there’s no such thing as “normal.”
When Kira’s father enters rehab, she’s forced to leave everything behind–her home, her best friends, her boyfriend…everything she loves. Now her father’s sober (again) and Kira is returning home, determined to get her life back to normal…exactly as it was before she was sent away.
But is that what Kira really wants?
Life, love, and loss come crashing together in this visceral, heartfelt story by BuzzFeed writer Farrah Penn about a girl who struggles to piece together the shards of her once-normal life before his alcoholism tore it apart.

Haven by Mary Lindsey

“We all hold a beast inside. The only difference is what form it takes when freed.”

Rain Ryland has never belonged anywhere. He’s used to people judging him for his rough background, his intimidating size, and now, his orphan status. He’s always been on the outside, looking in, and he’s fine with that. Until he moves to New Wurzburg and meets Friederike Burkhart. 

Freddie isn’t like normal teen girls, though. And someone wants her dead for it. Freddie warns he’d better stay far away if he wants to stay alive, but Rain’s never been good at running from trouble. For the first time, Rain has something worth fighting for, worth living for. Worth dying for.

Not the Girl You’re Looking For by Aminah Mae Safi 

Lulu Saad doesn’t need your advice, thank you very much. She’s got her three best friends and nothing can stop her from conquering the known world. Sure, for half a minute she thought she’d nearly drowned a cute guy at a party, but he was totally faking it. And fine, yes, she caused a scene during Ramadan. It’s all under control. Ish.

Except maybe this time she’s done a little more damage than she realizes. And if Lulu can’t find her way out of this mess soon, she’ll have to do more than repair friendships, family alliances, and wet clothing. She’ll have to go looking for herself.

Debut author Aminah Mae Safi’s honest and smart novel is about how easy it can be to hurt those around you even if —especially if—you love them.

This book doesn’t come out until June 19, 2018, but I was lucky enough to read an ARC. You can pre-order it now.

Giveaway!!

And today I’m giving away a copy of Twelve Steps to Normal and a copy of Haven to two people who tell me about their fictional friends on their bookshelves. (Sorry, but I have to limit this giveaway to U.S. residents.)

Organ Transference

 

In This Heart of Mine, Leah MacKenzie receives the heart of Eric, a fellow classmate. Not long after she gets out of the hospital, she finds herself craving Indian food, an ethnic food she never cared for before. She even ends up in the same Indian restaurant that Eric used to frequent because he loved their food.  Is that possible? Can that really happen with transplant patients? The answer is that in at least ten percent of all transplant cases, patients report these happenings. Yes, there are many documented stories of organ recipients suddenly developing a taste for a food they never liked before only to find out their donor loved that food. It’s a phenomenon known as organ donor transference.  After his transplant, my husband suddenly found himself craving barbecue.  And before, he simply wasn’t a big fan.  For months when he’d go out to feed this craving, he’d tell me, “I’m going out to feed the kidney.”

There are also cases of transplant recipients developing a liking for the same kind of music their donor loved, or changes in personality similar to that of the donor, developing artistic tendencies when their donor was an artist and even solving a murder. Yes, like Leah, there was a case of an eight year-old girl, who received the heart of a murdered ten year-old girl. She soon began having recurring vivid nightmares about the murder. Her mother arranged a consultation with a psychiatrist who after several sessions, concluded that she was witnessing actual physical incidents. They decided to call the police who used the detailed descriptions of the murder (the time, the weapon, the place, the clothes he wore) given by the little girl to find and convict the man in question.

Now, it is important to note that apart from miscellaneous information such as gender, age and cause of death, profiles of organ donors are traditionally concealed from their recipients for psychological reasons. So these organ recipients had no idea what their donors liked, disliked or how they behaved.

Are they doctors who argue with this theory?  Yes.  They believe that not all cells carry memory.  But so far there had been no proof that they don’t carry memory.

In my husband’s case, he actually had a reoccurring dream after his transplant.  And for as long as I’ve been with my hubby, he’s only been able to recall about five or six of his dreams.  This dream was that he’d wake up and there would be an old man staring him right in the face.  He kept having that dream for about three days.  Then we found out his donor was an older man. Now, the doctors told us that some of the medicine he was on could bring on weird dreams.

And yes, it could have been his meds, but . . .  I’m really doubtful.  I know it all sounds a little woo-woo, but aren’t there a lot of things in life that are hard to explain? You have a dream and it feels like a warning.  You pick up the phone before rings.  You think about an old friend you haven’t seen in years, and then you discover they died the day they came to your mind.   Do you believe in things that are hard to explain?

Winner!

Jennifer Prager, you won an ecopy of This Heart of MIne. Congratulations! Please email me at cc@cchunterbooks.com and let me know if you prefer the Kindle or NOOK version.

Am I Dreaming?

Just the other night I had a dream.  A bad one.  Okay, let me just call it what it was, a nightmare. I woke up, heart racing, unable to breath.  I was at an airport and someone had stolen my purse, my phone and my ticket.  I wasn’t even sure which airport or how I’d gotten there.  Or where I was going. Now, I had my clothes on, because I have those dreams too where I’m naked and afraid, but even with my clothes on in this dream, I got so upset. I felt completely lost.  Unsure of myself. I admit, I didn’t like that dream.

But not all dreams are bad. Several times in my life, I’ve dreamed that I was flying.  Man was that a high.  It made me feel unstoppable. Yes, dreams can be powerful. They can make us feel elated, unhappy or as with the airport dream, terrified. Did you know some statistics state that the average human spends six years of their life dreaming? Except for a few people with psychological problems, they claim everyone dreams. You may not remember your dreams, but you still dream.

Some people look to their dreams for signs, for something that can help or even warn them in their waking life. I kind of believe that.  I think the airport dream is about me feeling lost because I’ve been writing something different.  I feel a little unsure as to where I’m going with this new project.  So my takeaway from the dream is that I need to stop questioning myself.  Remind myself that it’s okay to try something new, maybe relook at my plot to confirm I’m on the right path.

In doing some research on dreams, I found some interesting facts.  Men and women dream differently? Men are more likely to have violent and aggressive dreams and they dream more about other men, about 70% of the dream characters in a man’s dream are men. On the other hand, women dream about women and men equally. See, we females believe in equal opportunity.

In a survey, it was found that between 18-38% of people have experienced at least one precognitive (future sight-acquisition of future information) dream and 70% experienced déjà vu. In addition, 63-98% of people believe that it’s possible to have a precognitive dream.

I have a friend, who is a psychologist who says when you dream of someone, that person is really you.  To interpret the dream, ask yourself how you view this person.  If she a little shy and timid, the dream is trying to tell you something about that part of you that is shy and timid.

In This Heart of Mine, Leah MacKenzie has some really scary nightmares. She’s pretty sure Eric, the organ donor for her heart, is trying to tell her something through her dreams. She’s ready to discount them until she discovers Eric’s twin brother Matt is having the same dreams.

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. 

GIVEAWAY!

Have you ever had a dream that warned you of something or revealed anything to you?  I’m giving away an e-copy of This Heart of Mine to one person who tells me about one of their dreams. (Sorry, this giveaway is limited to U.S. residents only.)

 

What’s It Really Like?

When I tell someone I just finished a book, I get the perfectly normal, acceptable response.  “Congratulations.  I imagine it feels good.”

And they imagine right. It does feel good, but there’s so many other emotions tied to crossing that threshold and finishing a story.  And while this may sound a little crazy, some of those emotions are, well, kind of melancholy. Sort of like having a friend move away or having a long vacation end.  Don’t get me wrong, there’s always a sense of fulfillment, and because I write happy endings, I feel the high of the all’s-well-that-ends-well. And because love plays a part in all of my books, I experience that sweet gooey feeling that love really can solve problems.  I feel that huge sense of success.  Of accomplishment.  And then I find those moments when I’ll stop and wonder, did I tie everything up?  Did I leave something out that I should have included?  I’ll recall a scene I imagined, but didn’t add.  And with every book I finish, I’ll spend some time worrying that my readers will not like it.

For me, writing a book is sort like having people move in with me for three or four months. I spend all those days and nights getting to know them.  They become my friends.  People I worry about.  They are in my head.  They are in my heart.  I’m working endlessly to get them to tell me their secrets.  Tell me what they are afraid of.  What makes them cry.  What makes them laugh.  I need to understand the ins and outs of why they act like they act and why they do what they do. And believe me when I say these people have problems.  Because yeah, I create those problems, because without problems, there are no stories.  And for however long it takes me to tell the story of these individuals, their problems, are my problems.

The word writer in print letter cases

When I close my eyes at night, I think about them.  Sometimes I don’t sleep because I’m can’t stop thinking about them.  And when I wake up in the morning, right after I have my first sip of coffee, I’m thinking about them again.  What’s going to happen next? I’ll hear a line of dialogue from them when I’m making my oatmeal in the mornings.  Or when I’m in the bath tub, they love to spout out lines, and I struggle to keep that bit of info in my head until I can write it down.

As a writer, my job is to make the reader care.  To make a reader feel something.  And to do that I have to care, I have to feel something.  These people in my head have to feel real for me, so I can make them feel real to the reader.  This explains why I get a massage every two weeks.  Because these problems my character have and experience, I experience too.  I get shot at.  My mom had cancer.  I need a heart transplant.  I take on those problems as my own.

So often when I’m knee deep into a book, my husband will ask, “Where’s your head?”  Then he answers the question before I do. “You’re thinking about your book, aren’t you?”  Yeah, the people in my life often share me with the people in my mind.

So often when I’m living my life, I think about the characters that live cozied up in my cerebral storage area I’ve arranged for them.  So often when I’m alone in my study, those characters will crack me up.  I’ll laugh.  Then there are times I cry.  Sometimes I scare the crap out of myself.  Ahh, but I also I fall in love and I get to feel that glowing feeling that makes your chest feel huge.  I experience the wonder of sweet kisses, of those warm hugs.  I make best friends with people who make me laugh and who will be there for me no matter what.

I help find these people resolutions.  In a C.C. Hunter or a Christie Craig book, I always find happy endings.  But after those endings, after a long nose-to-the-grindstone marathon to finish before my deadline, I feel a little lost.  The first day I wake up and no longer need to go spend time with Chloe and Cash, or Mark and Annie, I feel a little lost and anxious. I’m like oh, my, what am I supposed to do now?  Then I realize, oh yeah, it’s almost Mother’s Day and I need to go shopping for my mom.  That’s right, I have a real life that I can focus on.  And I do focus on it.  But I know it won’t take but a few days before I’ll have someone else move in and  they’ll redecorate their special spot in my mind, I’ll discover their problems, their quirkiness, and they’ll become part of my life for the next few months.

Yeah, writing and finishing a book is an amazing thing.  It’s therapy, it’s stressful, it’s powerful, it’s humbling. It’s what I love to do.  Sometimes it takes me away from my own problems, and sometimes it helps me solve them.

For anyone out there who has ever felt the desire to write their own story, to put pen to paper, hands to the computer, I encourage you to do it.  Find the time, the courage, find a part of yourself, and take a journey that only another writer understands.  If you aren’t a writer, pick up a book and lose yourself for a few hours in a world that’s not your own.