Christie A.C. Gucker’s “The Cliff” is what I’d like to call the American soft-core version of “Fifty Shades of Grey,” but better, and with a different storyline. Why better? Because I’ve never read a more original novel before where each erotic, fictional chapter ends in a cliffhanger; hence – the name “The Cliff.” “The Cliff” is also a play on words because it sets the scene, within gorgeous, upscale homes on a cliff, for the story about three characters whose lives are intertwined by fate.
The book’s plot is interwoven with semi-erotic twists and turns that keep your attention, because the three main characters, Lanie, Grant, and Dane become involved in a love triangle, with the push of chemical attraction, and the pull of secret pacts which pairs of them had made years before as childhood friends. Yes, I said three characters. So don’t expect an instant replay of “Grey”; but expect something with a little more sophistication that raises the bar (and the heat) in this genre.
“I know you’ve heard of ‘Fifty Shades of Grey.’ She and I were writing at the same time. My book is hot and steamy but it’s not all S&M like hers, and every chapter ends in a cliffhanger. It’s something different. A U.S. author can get the buzz going. Made in the U.S.A., I say!” exudes Gucker with confidence.
“The Cliff” has won master cliffhangers and best villain awards to date. To set the record straight, though, this is not just a book geared towards the minds of women. Men who have gotten to read advance copies of this novel have said that they enjoy the fight scenes and can relate to the parents, male, and even female characters, according to Gucker. The men also had an appreciation for the slightly toned down sex scenes. That’s not to say that this book is rated G. It’s not! Sometimes leaving a little something to the imagination is more powerful than getting downright descriptive in the details. But if you’re looking for an erotic and suspenseful tale, this needs to make your reading list.
Gucker is a relatively new author. Her debut actually happened earlier this summer as part of the anthology, Love Down Under, with a short story she wrote called “The Adventure of a Lifetime”, a beachy tale taking place in an authentic Australian setting about a woman who finds herself again after a world of heartbreak.
Gucker is a New Jersey native, currently residing in Hillsborough, New Jersey with her husband, two daughters and a menagerie of pets. Remember her name because you’ll be seeing a lot more of her hit the bookstores, Kindles, and iPads near you in the coming year. Gucker’s first novel was so impressive, it snagged her a deal with a publisher. After “The Cliff,” expect another to follow: “The Purple Heart” (scheduled for publication in February 2013). “Pacifically You” is her newest project that she’s currently working on. These are all independent works that have separate story lines, each captivating in their own way.
“I want people to pick up this book [The Cliff] and read it, and know how it ends. I love Lauren Kate, but I hate having to wait until her next book comes out. I don’t want my readers to put it down and not know how it ends,” Gucker explains.
Her next book, “The Purple Heart,” will take readers in a different direction upon its release in February 2013. “The Purple Heart” touches on post-traumatic stress disorder while describing the romance of a soldier returning from war. It also has a surprising twist ending.
“I’m dedicating it to every soldier who has put his life on the line. Everything I believe in is what ‘The Purple Heart’ is about: reincarnation, the soul, life after death – it’s all in this book. Two widows have said it has helped them grieve,” says Gucker.
She also said that “The Purple Heart” made her husband tear up.
Her third novel which has not been given a release date yet, “Pacifically You,” is another independent novel where Gucker has collaborated with Luke Tipple, a shark conservationist, to give one of the topics she is captivated by – sharks – authenticity. (You may remember Luke Tipple as the Marine Biologist and TV host who worked with Volkswagen to build the VW Beetle shark cage during Shark Week this year on TV.) So besides “Pacifically You” being a romance novel, it’s also educating the public on sharks. Gucker is donating a portion of proceeds from the sales of this book to SFMI (the Shark Free Marina-Initiative).
So you might say that getting a publishing contract for several books at once is Gucker’s “Adventure of a Lifetime.” Besides using her talents to write, Gucker hopes that her novels leave a legacy for her daughters – giving them something to remember her by and know that if you use your talents, have fun, and pursue your dreams, you can accomplish what you set your heart out to.
Gucker lets her pen follow her thoughts as they guide her when she writes.
“I get the idea for a story and just sit and write. No outline; no idea how it’s going to end. I just let it write itself. It’s a very strange thing because my brain just does its thing and the hands work in tandem and I am basically just reading it as I write,” comments Gucker on her method for producing captivating literature. “My characters come knocking on my door and want me to let them out. 'The Cliff' wanted to be written.”
As a fellow writer, I can relate to her methods. When you’ve got a good story to tell, it just flows from you and comes forth with ease. Those kinds of moments produce the best books and express emotion that people can relate to when they read. When you read “The Cliff,” you will get a true sense of the characters because some of their thoughts and experiences stem from segments of Gucker’s life. When you put a touch of realism in your writing, it just works. That’s why Pagan Writers Press picked her up for publication, for more than one novel, and hopefully even more to come!
Here’s a rated-PG excerpt from “The Cliff” to give you a little preview of what you can expect when you get your copy. (Because of the publication venues of this article, I really can’t put anything too steamy here for your surveillance, but trust me, besides having these types of heart-pounding cliffhangers, there are ones that will get your heart to race in an entirely different way.)
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My phone beeped. I just stared at it. It was Samantha.
“Dane, Samantha is calling. I have to answer,” I said very nonchalantly.
“Fine. Hurry back.” Now he was getting annoyed with my blasé attitude.
“Lanie, turn the news on, now!”
“Why? What the hell could possibly…”
“Turn it on!”
I turned on the news channel to breaking news and almost threw up. Plane crash, and it had departed from our airport, more details to come.“Samantha! I have to go. I have to go call the airline.”
“What flight was he on? They haven’t said what airline or flight yet.”
“I’ll call you back. I switched lines. “Dane, get over here now. There’s been a plane crash. I need all of Grant’s flight info. Now. Get over here now!” “I was panicking. I couldn’t breathe. I knew it. I’d known it all along. It wasn’t the client that was bothering me. It was the flight. I never should have let him leave.
“Lanie, Grant left hours ago. I’m sure it’s not his plane.”
“Dane, get your ass over here with everything you have. Don’t question me. Do it.” I hung up the phone. I unlocked the front door and headed to my office to check the Internet. I started my computer and heard Dane coming running up the stairs.
“I have everything. Go to Eclipse Airline’s website.”
I got to the site and immediately saw the alert on their home page. My stomach knotted and I felt the color drain from my face. I started to hyperventilate.“It’s his airline. It’s his. Oh my God, Dane. Oh my God.”
“Lanie, hold on. They’re the major airline out of our airport. There were lots of flights leaving today. I’m going to read you his flight info. Did they post a manifest yet?”
“No, just the flight number.”
“He was on flight 3--“ Oh shit! Oh shit! I was starting to gag. I was holding my breath.
“4--“ No, no, this can’t be happening…
“7--“ I just stared at the screen. I thought I had died. My body went cold; I couldn’t move. My heart shattered into a thousand pieces. No sounds could escape my lips, because there was no air in my lungs. My eyes started to burn and I couldn’t focus on the screen anymore. I felt the room begin to spin. Even the sounds in the room became jumbled and disjointed.
“1.” Dane was saying something. My brain had stopped processing everything. Did he just say one?
(Excerpt courtesy of “The Cliff” © 2012)
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To find out how this and 48 other cliffhangers end – (There are 50 chapters in “The Cliff” but the last one won’t leave you hanging!) – you can purchase your copy of Christie A.C. Gucker’s novel here at amazon.com (kindle edition), amazon.com (hard copy), Barnes & Noble (Nook edition), Smashwords (e-book) and Pagan Writers Press (hard copy).