Courtney Cole's Blog
January 13, 2017
My Peace, the continuation of Pax Tate’s story from IF YOU STAY, is live today!
Happy endings must be worked for.
Pax Tate used to be an effed up asshole, but you’d never know it now.
He’s got a sexy wife, their own little family, a cozy home, and a successful career.
Everything is perfect.
Until his past rears its ugly head.
Pax will do anything to protect his family,
even if he destroys himself in the process.
I announced recently that I based the character of Pax Tate on my twenty-two year old son, Gunner.
Gunner is a drug addict. He’s currently in rehab, and he’s doing well, but it’s been a long roller-coaster of a journey to get here.
Pax’s personality traits are Gunner’s. Even though Gunner’s moods have been mercurial because of drugs, deep down he is strong and funny, charming and sweet. I wanted that to come through in Pax.
(Of course, when I’m writing the “sexy time” scenes, I’m definitely picturing Jensen Ackles or Alex Pettyfer in my head.
January 10, 2017
In 2013, my book, IF YOU STAY sat on the New York Times bestsellers list for twelve straight weeks. Readers fell in love with troubled Pax Tate. For years, I have been asked to write more of his story.
For years, I didn’t want to.
Pax Tate’s character is based on my son, Gunner. His personality traits, his issues with drugs.
I wanted to leave Pax’s story as a fairytale happy ending. But through my journey with my son, I have realized that happy endings must be worked for, and sometimes, they don’t come easy.
MY PEACE is the continuation of Pax Tate’s story. It releases Friday, although it is up for pre-order now. (The pre-order price is $2.99, and that price will return to it’s normal $3.99 on Friday.)
You can find it exclusively on Amazon:
December 5, 2016
Tomorrow is my son Gunner’s 22nd birthday.
He will be celebrating it alone in a halfway house.
That might sound sad, and it is. But it is also a joyful thing for me, a relief. The fact that he is there means that he is safe. It means he is alive.
I admitted to you a month ago that my son is an addict. And lord have mercy, that was hard. I’m a very private person– at least with serious matters. If something is wrong, I internalize it. On some level, it is easier for me to deal with something if no one knows, and if no one asks me about it.
But this… I’ve lived with it for so long, and it became so heavy to carry. I decided to talk about it, and I’m so glad I did. I have been overwhelmed with gratitude for your prayers and support.
I cannot tell you how much it has meant to me over this past month. On low days, I’ve read through your messages again and again. I’ve cried over some of your stories– at the other sons and daughters, sisters, brothers and parents who have been lost to addiction. At the same time, I have been filled with hope over the ones who have overcome it.
This is such a wide-spread pandemic, and no one wants to talk about it. It is an ugly topic. It is scary. It is real. I’m going to talk about it, though. I’m not going to hold back. Not now, and not ever again. This is a subject that people need to hear about.
We live in a world where everyone puts their best face forward on social media. We stage our selfies at just the right angle, we tell stories of how well our kids are doing in school, and we take beautiful pictures during our vacations. We all want people to know how well we do, and that’s fine.
But we rarely talk about the hard times, and that just isn’t life. Life is full of good times and bad. And I think that when we have bad times, we should share them– not just so that we can get emotional support, but so that others going through the same thing don’t feel so alone.
Many of you have asked how Gunner is doing now. He has been sober for 5 weeks. He has come through the physical withdrawals. He came through the court-ordered drug rehab. He is now in a half-way house, and will be there for the next month.
He has good days and bad ones. Some days, he is upbeat and hopeful. Others, he is angry and ugly. Some days, he is thankful that I called the ambulance that saved his life. Other days, he is furious at me, because when the ambulance came, they found drugs in his home that resulted in his arrest.
Addiction chemically alters brain patterns, and those malfunctions don’t heal overnight. Gunner will be dealing with those long-term effects for awhile. He used drugs over a period of years– and that leaves a mark. One of the things it does is affect judgment, and honestly, that terrifies me.
I’m terrified that when he comes out of the halfway house in a month, his brain patterns won’t be healed enough to sustain the real world, and he will fall into old ways. I’m terrified of that.
But, like an addict has to take it one day at a time, one moment at a time, so too does a parent of an addict.
He is currently attending 2-3 NA meetings a day. He has a part-time job at KFC– not glamorous, but it’s a job. He is saying he wants to stay clean. Since we’ve been down this road a few times before, and he has fallen off the sobriety wagon before, I’m afraid to hope.
But at the same time, I’m afraid NOT to hope. Hope is all we have. And I want my son back.
This is Gunner and his fiancee during a visit at rehab a while back. He’s look so much better already– he’s putting on weight, and he’s getting more color in his face.
I thank God for that. I thank God that my son is alive right now- that he’s been given another chance. I pray every day that he takes that chance and runs with it– that he soars, in fact.
I’m also thankful for YOU. Thank you for being so supportive of me, and for praying for Gunner. I appreciate it more than you’ll ever know. I’ll keep you updated on his progress.
I hope you’re having a wonderful December so far, and that your holidays are merry and bright.
November 2, 2016
Let me preface this post, by telling you that the things I’m about to say are in NO WAY a marketing ploy, or a plea for attention. I’ve thought a long time about when to share this, IF EVER, and I’ve come to the decision that I want to try to use my situation for good, if I possibly can. This is not a secret I want to keep anymore. I’m going to step into the light, and you’re going to see my scars.
Several years ago, I wrote my break-out book, IF YOU STAY. It’s the story of a broken man, plagued with drug use and issues. Pax Tate’s story had a happy ending, and many of you fell in love with him. Many of you asked me who he was based upon… and I have never felt like I should share.
Loving someone with an addiction is a heavy burden to carry. At times, you feel alone, as though no one else could possibly understand. And most of the time, no one can, unless they’ve walked this particular path themselves.
My twenty-one year old son, my first-born, Gunner, was a cheerful little boy, his smile like sunshine, his charm enough to talk himself in and out of mostly everything. He was bright, he was bursting with potential, and he was beautiful. He was rambunctious, he was all boy, playing with lizards and turtles and snakes from the yard. His favorite show was The Land Before Time, and he wanted to be a zoologist when he grew up.
Then, as a teenager, he changed. He became a shell of his former self, his mood mercurial. He lied to himself, and to us, told us that nothing was wrong, that his disinterest in school was because he was bored. That was a lie.
The truth came out soon enough.
He started out huffing aerosol cans in secret, and that branched out to other things, like methamphetamine and heroin, and pretty much anything he could get his hands on. The Addiction hooked into him with sharp talons. I address it in capital letters, like it is a thing, because it is. Addiction is a palpable monster. It grabbed my son, and it wouldn’t let go, and he didn’t want to let it.
It dragged him down, and we all went with him.
Loving someone with an addiction is like being on a terrible roller coaster than you can never get off of. He calls me in the middle of the night, he calls me crying, he calls me saying he wants to die.
Then the next day, once the drug wears off, he calls and acts fine. He’ll insist he doesn’t have a problem, and that he doesn’t need help. Then the cycle begins again the day after.
He rages. He cries. He soars, he crashes.
People on the outside looking in think that I should be able to fix it. That if I FORCE him into getting help, he’ll beat the addiction.
That’s not the way it works. I’ve put him in rehab multiple times. It didn’t take. Because he wasn’t ready. He’s not a minor anymore- he’s over eighteen. So I can’t MAKE him do anything, not even when he’s killing himself with this dangerous cycle.
This has been on ongoing struggle for several years now. We try to make him get help, he resists at every turn. The addiction makes him someone he’s not, someone who says hateful awful things, someone who tries to hurt those who love him.
A while back, at two a.m, he called me. I could tell he’d been high, that he’d crashed. He was very, very low. His speech was jumbled, incoherent. Eventually, he said, “Mom, what time is it?”
I pulled the phone away from my ear to look at it.
“Two-thirty,” I told him.
He didn’t answer.
He didn’t answer.
Still no answer. I could hear some sort of ragged, gurgly sound in the background, and I knew it was coming from his throat. I hung up, and tried to call him back.
So I did the only thing I could do. I called for an ambulance. I didn’t know if he was dying, I only knew, in my mother’s heart, that time was of the essence. I waited by my phone, barely breathing myself, until I heard back.
He had overdosed, and the police had found drugs in his house. He was lucky though. He lived.
He was treated, and arrested, and he was put into jail. He was eventually released, and placed on a list for rehab. Finally, after several weeks, he’s now in rehab. Again. All we can do is hope that this time it takes. That this is the time he’ll want to get better and we can all get off this roller-coaster ride from hell. He tells me he wants to get better, but he’s in for the fight of his life. He wakes up in the night, in cold sweats and craving needles. The cravings are stronger than he is, he thinks. But I don’t think so. I think if he concentrates, he is strong enough.
Gunner is now twenty-one. He’s got a sweet fiancee, and a beautiful infant son. He’s got a lot to live for, if only he’s strong enough to see that.
This is my baby boy now. Do you see the dark look in his eyes? The lines on his face? The hardened expression? The skinny arms and bony shoulders? That’s what drugs do. They take and take and take, until there’s nothing left.
This can’t be the end of my son’s story. He’s got so much left to give.
If you are a praying person, would you mind saying a prayer for him? Because I believe that the more people who whisper the same prayer, the louder the words are to God’s ear. And Gunner needs God’s help to beat this.
I am a normal person. My family is normal. We live normal lives, and this has happened to us. Once upon a time, I thought that drug addiction was something that happened to OTHER people. People who weren’t like me.
That was not true.
Drug addiction can happen to ANYONE.
You can teach your kids right from wrong, and bad things can still happen. Hug your kids tight. They will make their own choices, and you can’t control that.
As an author, that’s a tough pill to swallow, because I’m accustomed to creating worlds. I control what happens in those worlds, and I control the choices my characters make. I control everything with keystrokes from my keyboard, or a red pen on a white page.
Real life isn’t like that. My son is killing himself, and I can’t do a thing to stop it. So, to deal with it, I do what I do best.
I’m writing another book based on Pax Tate. I first created his character because of my son Gunner. And because real life has shown me that stories evolve, I feel as though Pax’s story has to continue, to show that sometimes, happy endings must be worked for, with blood and tears. But if you work hard enough, and pray and hope and HANG ON FOR DEAR LIFE, a happy ending can be had. I have to believe that.
Writing is my therapy. I write to live. I’m going to write more of Gunner’s struggles through Pax, and I’m going to give Pax the ending that I want Gunner to have.
If God is willing, it will be so.
November 1, 2016
October 3, 2016
Did you love Dare DuBray from the Nocte Trilogy? Did you love love love the story, but you wished there was some more steamy scenes?
Well, guess what?
Dare is back in Dare Me, a novella featuring he and Calla… and some steaminess to be had.
August 18, 2016
A lot of people have been asking me lately how they can buy signed books. I only do them a few times of year nowadays, but I’m taking orders this week. So if you want a signed book,
In other news, the other day I did something fun. I decided to sit down and write a Flash Fiction piece– just for the fun of it.
Flash Fiction is a very short piece of fiction– usually between 500 and 1,000 words. It was fun to write– it stirred up my creative processes, without any kind of expectation. I knew I wasn’t going to sell it, so I didn’t have to worry about whether it was salable, or if people would like it. I simply wrote it… just because. If you want to read it… it’s here.
June 13, 2016
So, if you follow me on social media, you know that I love Disney. My family and I go there often, and in fact, my husband and I even go there for dates. We’re large children at heart, apparently.
Since we live in Central Florida now, we have annual passes– which means that I’m very experienced at some tricks for making your visit more enjoyable. I thought I’d share!
Make sure you have the Disney App. It allows you to make fast passes, dining reservations, check wait times, etc.
Make fast passes on your app or computer. You get to make three at a time, and when you’ve ridden all three attractions, you can make new fast passes at a kiosk. It’s more convenient to get a magic band, rather than using your plastic card ticket.
3. Look for the “hidden mickeys”. They are hidden in various places throughout the park– in the form of paint rings, sculptures, rock art, etc.
4. Make Fastpasses for rides like The Mine Train, and Peter Pan (Magic Kingdom), and Soarin’ (Epcot) as far in advance as you can. They sell out fast, and the stand-by lines reach 80 minutes regularly.
5. If it’s your birthday, stop by guest relations and get a birthday button. Cast members will be wishing you a Happy Birthday all day long– which makes your day even more special.
6. If you’re a woman, and don’t absolutely need to take your purse in, don’t. Then you can skip the bag check lines at the gate.
7. The best place to see tons of princess is the Breakfast buffet in Norway. Plus you get yummy food for Breakfast!
8. I personally think the best times to go to D-World (in terms of lighter crowds) are September, November and February. Christmas, Spring Break and Summer are crazy busy.
9. It’s ALWAYS least busy at night. We like to make fast-passes for the evening, and arrive at 6:00-ish and stay til 11:00-ish. If you’re a fireworks fan, they put on the best show– every night.
10. Ride lines are shorter during parades. So if you’re not the biggest parade fan (we’re not), then skip the parade and hop on rides.
11. At Epcot, ride the Spaceship Earth in the afternoon or evening. Since it’s right inside the gate, many people will get in line as they go in, and stand there for a long time. So skip that one and ride it on your way out- or make a fast-pass.
12. There’s an entrance to Animal Kingdom through Rain Forest Cafe. So if lines are really long, cut through the restaurant.
13. Best places to eat at Animal Kingdom: Tusker House, and The Yak and the Yeti. Both places are fairly expensive, but delicious.
14. The Beast’s castle in Magic Kingdom is awesome– and it contains the Be Our Guest restaurant. You need reservations for dinner (and make these months ahead of time), but you can usually walk in for lunchtime. Make sure you get the Gray Stuff (Master’s cupcake) for dessert. It’s delicious!
15. Don’t overlook riding the People Mover in Tomorrowland. It’s a great way to rest your feet, cool off, and see attractions. We ride it every time.
16. One of my favorite roller-coasters ever is the Rock n’ Rollercoaster in Hollywood Studios. Try to make a funny face during the take-off, that’s when they snap the picture. It accelerates so fast, that I can never manage to keep my eyes open during the beginning.
17. If you go during winter months, truly– pack a jacket. You think that Florida never gets chilly, but it does at night, and especially if it rains. Pack a small umbrella, too.
18. Wear comfortable shoes, and take a ponytail holder. I know it’s tempting to want to look cute– you’re on vacation, I get it. But trust me, it’s humid here. You might spend an hour curling or straightening your hair, but the humidity is going to spoil it within an hour. Wear a ponytail or mom-bun. And skip the fancy sandals. Wear tennis shoes. Thank me later.
19. Don’t skip the Hall of Presidents at the Magic Kingdom. The presidents are so lifelike. It’s a great ride to go on when it rains.
20. When you ride Thunder Mountain– if you like to go faster, sit toward the back. If you like to go slower, sit at the front. You can request that of the person placing you in line.
Most of all, keep hydrated and have fun. It’s going to be busy, it’s going to be crowded. But it IS the happiest place on earth.
April 23, 2016
Whenever I have signings, one of the most commonly asked questions is WHEN WILL CONFESSIONS OF AN ALLI CAT HAVE A SEQUEL?? Yes, it’s usually spoken in all shouty caps.
I know. Alli Cat was released in 2012, and It’s now 2016. BUT!! Time is just a number, like age, because TODAY, the sequel is released.
If you want to read Sara’s story– it’s here, it’s here, it’s here!
Our definition of Cougar:
A sexy, confidant woman who knows who and what she wants.
This is Sara’s story.
She’s fiery, sassy and explodes at any given second.
She’s sexy, funny and wildly inappropriate.
She pokes holes in eggplants,
And has an obsession with penises.
She might be a train-wreck,
but she sure has fun before she crashes.
Also, just in case you haven’t read Confessions of an Alli Cat, it’s on sale for three days.. from now until April 26th. If you enjoy wildly inappropriate things, you need this book in your life.
I hope you enjoy the sequel. I’m sorry it took so long to write. But I do plan on writing other novellas in the Cougar Chronicles. They’re a fun break from reality— a chance to laugh at ridiculous things. Have fun with them!
Have a great weekend!
March 23, 2016
The Nocte Trilogy boxed set just went live on Kindle! It includes all three books in the Trilogy– Nocte, Verum, and Lux– and includes the novella, Initium. It will be $4.99 for a very limited time…. so if you’ve been waiting to read this series– now is the time to snap it up!