Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Introducing Starfish Project

You all know that speaking up for women who are being exploited is a passion of mine. I'm so excited to have found a tangible way to help. Please read the following post and see how you can also become an advocate for these women. And be sure to check out my special giveaway at the bottom of the post!


Let me tell you about an amazing charity, a great cause, and some fantastic deals.

Exploitation of women all over the world, especially in Asia, is a huge, overwhelming problem. Reading stories of these girls and hearing statistics often makes the problem seem completely unfathomable and people just don't know where to start. But this issue must be tackled. Every woman, no matter where in the world and no matter her background, is important.
Every woman deserves the chance to provide for her family, grow, and feel valued.


Starfish Project


I want to share with you an amazing organization called Starfish Project which works with these women in three different cities in Asia. They find these women, befriend them, and give them a way out by providing them a range of social, emotional and practical opportunities. While in the Starfish program, women can live in the shelter, receive counseling, get work training, and have a job to provide income for themselves. Their job is to make beautiful jewelry. By buying a piece of jewelry you make these programs, and lasting change in these women's lives, possible.
You become an advocate.


But wait, there's more!


This summer, Starfish Project is hosting a sale! They are offering a discount on over 150 of their pieces for two weeks only.

50 | 50 Summer Sale


50% off orders over $50


on over 150 participating products


July 1 12:01 am EST through July 15 at 11:59 pm EST



By purchasing jewelry you are becoming an advocate for exploited women in Asia. Your purchase will give them work for their hands, hope for their hearts, and the knowledge that they are valued by someone who doesn't even know them.


This is an online exclusive deal for two weeks only.


This sale only lasts for two weeks but the Starfish story is both continuing and growing. Would you become an advocate and join the Starfish Project?


You can become an advocate by:


- Buying their jewelry and telling your friends. Find all the summer sale items here.

- Following the story on their blog, Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram
Would you share this post with your friends or on social media?


If you have twitter you can click here to tweet

.
Thanks for becoming an advocate for women in Asia. The problem is huge, but together we can make a difference.


Note: I am sharing this charity and this deal with you because I am an advocate. I do not receive any commissions or free products for this post.

I am so passionate about Starfish Project, that I want to add an extra incentive! I know you'd already love to help because hey, great cause and awesome jewelry, right? Well, I want to reward you for helping and for spreading the word to others. So after you've done your shopping, come back here and enter to win an additional piece of jewelry of your choice (one piece up to $40 value)! The entry form is below.

Go forth and advocate!


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Saturday, May 3, 2014

OUTCAST Pre-order Contest!


On July 1st, Quinn's story will hit e-readers across the world. I'm very excited to share this DEFIANCE prequel with my readers! Here's a look at OUTCAST:

A thrilling, dangerous adventure, this digital prequel novella to C. J. Redwine's Defiance and Deception features Quinn, a popular character from the series. 
Quinn Runningbrook knows a hundred ways to kill a man and make it hurt. He can track, ambush, and torture his prey with terrifying skill—just like his father taught him. But every kill consumes another piece of him, and Quinn longs to stop, to save himself and his sister, Willow, from becoming like his father—a man who kills for entertainment. 
But when Quinn refuses to torture a group of trespassers caught too close to the Tree Village where his family lives and instead kills them quickly, he disobeys a direct order from his father . . . and Willow is forced to take his place. Suddenly, Quinn isn't the favored apprentice to the family business of "protecting" the Tree Village anymore. Willow is. 
When Jared Adams—a courier from the nearby city-state of Baalboden—is caught traveling too close to their borders, Willow is ordered to kill him. But Quinn knows that Jared doesn't deserve torture or death. And he realizes he has to take action . . . or the fate chosen for Willow and himself by their father will remain carved in stone.

Ready to find out how Quinn became the stoic boy who refuses to carry a weapon? Want some betrayal, family bonds, loyalty, death, and danger? This is the story for you!


In honor of OUTCAST, I'm running a pre-order contest. Everyone who pre-orders OUTCAST and sends a screen cap of the receipt (no need to show me any private financial info, just the Amazon or B&N page showing that it's been ordered) to assistant@cjredwine.com goes in the running for some fun prizes. There are also additional ways to earn entries, as you can see from the entry form below. 

PRIZES:

1 Grand Prize: A signed ARC of DELIVERANCE and a signed set of bookmarks featuring cover art from DEFIANCE, DECEPTION, and DELIVERANCE.


1 Second Prize: A signed ARC of DELIVERANCE


2 Runner Up Prizes: A signed set of bookmarks featuring cover art from DEFIANCE, DECEPTION, and DELIVERANCE


RULES: 

*You must be 13 or older to enter. If you win and are under the age of 18, you must have a parent or guardian email me your home address because giving your personal info to strangers on the internet is dangerous, even if you think the person can be trusted. :)

*Contest is open internationally.

*Contest is open until 10 p.m. CST Friday May 23rd, 2014.

Links to Pre-order:



Good luck!


Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Survey Time!

I'm getting ready to list my summer workshops (and am also planning ahead for fall) and would like to get some feedback on what you'd be interested in taking. The survey is quick! Two questions. :) Thanks in advance for taking the time to fill it out.

PLEASE NOTE: You may choose as many answers as apply to you.

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey , the world's leading questionnaire tool.

Monday, April 7, 2014

YA Scavenger Hunt Winner!

The Spring 2014 YA Scavenger Hunt is over, and it's time for me to announce the winner of the giveaway I hosted on my blog! I offered entrants the chance to win either a copy of Defiance or an advanced review copy of Deliverance, winner's choice. I used random.org to choose the winner from the 196 entrants. And the lucky winner is

Ina Warren

Congratulations, Ina! I'll ship out your copy of DEFIANCE this week!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Spring 2014 YA Scavenger Hunt

Welcome to the Spring 2014 YA Scavenger Hunt!



Hi there! I'm C.J. Redwine, your host for this leg of the hunt. 


I love long walks on the beach, going to the movie theater, and writing epic fantasy novels wherein I put my characters in the worst possible situations and then sit back and eat cookies while they struggle to survive. If my writing career ever tanks, I'll put on my black cape and be a super hero instead.




On this hunt, you not only get access to exclusive content from each participating YA author, you also get a secret number. Add up the numbers, and  enter it for a chance to win a major prize--one lucky winner will receive at least one signed book from each author on my team in the hunt! But play fast: this contest (and all the exclusive bonus material) will only be online until noon PST on Sunday, April 6th!

You can start right here, or you can also go to the YA Scavenger Hunt homepage to find out all about the hunt. There are TWO contests going on simultaneously, and you can enter one or both! I am a part of the BLUE TEAM--but there is also a red team and if you do the red hunt too you'll have a chance to win a whole different set of signed books!




If you'd like to find out more about the hunt, see links to all the authors participating, see the full list of prizes up for grabs, or if you get lost along the way, go to the YA Scavenger Hunt homepage. 

Looking for my exclusive bonus content? You'll have to keep searching. Somewhere on this blog hop, I've hidden a poem Rachel wrote to Logan right after he was declared her Protector. Before you go on though, check out the amazing author I'm hosting. But, first, a few rules.

RULES

Directions: Below, you'll notice that I've listed my favorite number. Collect the favorite numbers of all the authors on the blue team, and then add them up (don't worry, you can use a calculator!). Hint: the secret number is  in BLUE. 

Entry Form: Once you've added up all the numbers, make sure you fill out the form here to officially qualify for the grand prize. Only entries that have the correct number will qualify.

Rules: Open internationally. Anyone below the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian's permission to enter. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the completed entry form by April 6th, at noon Pacific Time. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.

Now that all the technical stuff is out of the way, I'll introduce the author I am hosting on this hunt. 

I am super excited to be hosting...


Amy Christine Parker


Amy's bio:

AMY CHRISTINE PARKER writes full-time from her home near Tampa, Florida, where she lives with her husband, their two daughters, and one ridiculously fat cat. Visit her at amychristineparker.com and follow her on Twitter @amychristinepar.


The book Amy's bonus material comes from is ASTRAY, book 2 in the GATED series! (Look at that cover! I totally want this book!)


Here's what the book is all about:

Lyla is caught between two worlds. The isolated Community that she grew up in and the outside world that she’s navigating for the very first time. The outsiders call the Community a cult, but Pioneer miraculously survived a shooting that should have killed him. Are the faithful members right to stay true to his message? Is this just a test of faith? One thing is for sure: the Community will do anything to bring Lyla back to the fold. Trapped in a spider’s web of deception, will Lyla detect the sticky threads tightening around her before it’s too late? She’ll have to unravel the mystery of what Pioneer and the Community are truly up to if she wants to survive.

To start at the beginning of the series, check out Amy's books here.  Chilling and fabulous ... you won't regret it! Here's a peek at GATED, book one in the series:





A fast-paced, nerve-fraying contemporary thriller that questions loyalties and twists truths. 
Appearances can be deceiving.
 Lyla Hamilton is a loyal member of the Community. Her family was happy to be chosen by Pioneer to join such an lovely gated neighborhood. Here, life seems perfect.
But after meeting Cody, an outsider boy, Lyla starts questioning Pioneer, her friends, her family--everything. And if there's one thing not allowed in the Community, it's doubt. As Pioneer cleverly manipulates his flock toward disaster, the real question is: Will Lyla follow her heart or follow Pioneer over the edge?
From the outside looking in, it's hard to understand why anyone would join a cult. But Gated tells the story from the inside looking out, and from behind the gates things are not quite so simple. Amy Christine Parker's beautiful writing creates a chilling, utterly unique YA story. Perfect for fans of creepy thrillers and contemporary fiction alike.

Besides the fact that we're both writers, Amy and I have one other thing in common. We both have extremely fat cats. I don't know how fat Amy's cat it, but I'd be willing to bet my best pair of Iron Fist stilettos that my cat weighs at least 5 lbs more. He is one faaaat cat. You can learn more about Amy (and her fat cat) at her website.

Now, let's get to the epic bonus content Amy provided for the hunt! 

Are you ready?

Are you sure???

Here we go! Amy is giving us a sneak peek at the first chapter of ASTRAY, which doesn't hit the shelves until 8/26/14! I'm super excited to read it!

Warning: if you haven't read GATED yet, there are spoilers ahead. Read at your own risk.

CHAPTER ONE

I tug on a pair of Cody’s jeans and his baggiest sweatshirt. Pulling my hair into a tight bun and covering it with one of his baseball caps, I check the mirror one last time and try to find some speck of courage in my expression, but my face is all pale terror.

Can I really do this?

I try a few guy-like slouches. With any luck, once Cody finishes giving me a fake beard and I cover my too shapely body, I’ll be believable enough as a guy to fool Pioneer, the Sheriff, and anyone else we run into. I don’t want anyone other than Cody to know that I’m there. I’m not sure I can face Pioneer otherwise.

I hurry out of the bathroom. Cody looks at me and smiles. I have to look away because I’m unnerved enough right now. I can’t deal with the circus that happens in my stomach whenever he looks at me like that.

“Not bad. You’re not dude-like just yet, but we’ll fix that.” He grabs my hand and pulls me downstairs and then into the basement. We tiptoe to the far corner where Cody keeps all of his monster projects and make up tools. He pulls over a metal stool and I perch on it. My hands land in my lap and I rub my thumbs across my jeans. I breathe in and out.

“Ready?” Cody’s all shiny eyed and eager. I’ve just given him a way to practice what he loves. I’m his personal special effects project this morning. Oh who am I kidding? I’m his personal project in a lot of ways. He doesn’t seem to mind, but it’s bothering me more and more. Who wants to be the most broken person in the room all the time? That’s why I’m going to the hospital today, to start repairing the damage that Pioneer did to me. Seeing him again is the first step.

“Yeah,” I say. I watch as he picks up what looks like a tube made out of dark brown hair and unrolls it. He holds it up to my face and compares it to my real hair color.

“Close enough.” He’s not really talking to me as much as himself. He cuts off a few inches of the hair and fans it out between his fingers before laying it across the table beside me. I glance down at the Wolfman head he’s been working on and the severed limbs beyond it. It’s realistic enough that most people would probably get grossed out just looking at it, but I don’t. Once you’ve seen real blood and gore the fake stuff isn’t all that believable, no matter how good it is.

Cody leans over and grabs the TV remote off of the table. “This’ll go faster if you watch something,” he says as he turns on the TV and hands me the remote. I’m pretty sure that he’s not worried about me being bored. He’s trying to get me to stop thinking about Pioneer. The only problem is that ever since I left Mandrodage Meadows, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about him. When I close my eyes he’s there. I’m back in the stable reliving the moment right after I shot him. I see the blood blooming across his dingy white shirt all over again. Sometimes I think I can even catch the coppery scent of his blood in the air. And the blood of my best friend, Marie. Pioneer slit her throat so he could “send her to be with the Brethren in a better place”. There isn’t a TV show that can compete with those memories. Still, I scan through the channels.

Suddenly, like my thoughts conjured him up, Pioneer’s face fills up the screen. It feels like my heart freezes up. He’s staring right at me. I turn up the volume.

“Alan Cross, who now calls himself Pioneer, along with his followers spent the last ten years isolated in an apocalyptic compound.”

Cody grabs the remote out of my lap—I must’ve dropped it, but I don’t remember it falling. “That’s enough of . . . ”

“No, wait! I . . . I need to see this,” I say even though part of me wants to cover my ears and squeeze my eyes shut. If I can’t deal with seeing Pioneer on a television screen how can I expect to do it in person?

Pioneer’s face fades and a new image of the hospital flashes across the screen. Gathered on the sidewalk just outside the entrance are my friends. They’re huddled together on their knees, their hands upturned towards the sky—every one of them in the exact same position. They smile at the camera. The look on their faces . . . it’s eerie how happy they seem. My stomach roils and I have to swallow to keep from gagging.

“ . . . his followers say that they will continue to show up at the hospital until Pioneer is released.”

Julie’s face fills up the screen. She grins widely at the camera. “He’s alive! Pioneer should’ve died, but he didn’t.” She looks over at Mr. Brown who is standing nearby and he beams at her.

The man holding the microphone gestures to the way she’s sitting. “You’re all kneeling. Why?”

Julie laughs, a high pitched tinkly one that sounds nothing like the laugh she does whenever she finds something truly funny. I hate it. “We kneel because we want to show Pioneer our obedience and renewed faith.”

The interviewer tries to look serious, but he’s having a hard time.

Julie looks at him and her mouth twists. Her grin turns into a smirk. “You’ll remember this moment—when you refused to see the miracle of his survival. On earth’s last day you won’t be mocking us anymore. You’ll know he was right—that you’re gonna die.”

“Totally deluded, the idiot,” Cody shakes his head angrily and taps hair onto my chin. I don’t look at him, because I don’t know what to say. I believed in Pioneer once . . . does that make me an idiot too? I bite my lip and try to focus on the screen so I won’t cry.

“ . . . they have begun to share their message publicly on YouTube through taped sermons Pioneer gave in the last ten years.”

Footage of Pioneer standing in front of our old clubhouse pops up. I suck in a breath. I can see myself in the background. This past me smiles as Pioneer walks towards her and holds out his hand. I watch as she leans her cheek into his palm. My heart starts to hurt. Even though I don’t want to, part of me misses that girl and her belief. I haven’t felt sure about anything at all since I left the Community. My mouth tastes sour and I look away, up at Cody. Has he spotted the old me?

“The end is coming isn’t it?” I watch as my parents, my friends and past me nod and clap.

Cody lets out a disgusted sigh and I stand up and lunge over the table to hit the TV’s power button, getting beard hair stuck to my shirt in the process. I slam back into my seat and hold my head in my hands. I don’t know what’s worse, the fact that past me was nodding right along with everyone else . . . or the fact that present me still has an inexplicable urge to. My brain feels like it’s split in half and past me and present me haven’t decided who’s in charge yet. Maybe seeing Pioneer today is a mistake. Maybe it’ll tip the balance in past me’s favor. I start to shake, I can’t help it. I am suddenly overcome by nerves.

“We don’t have to do this, you know. I could go by myself and tell you all about it afterwards.” Cody studies my face. He touches my cheek with his fingertips. They’re warm. I move away almost by reflex. It isn’t because I don’t want him to touch me. Pioneer always told us to steer clear of Outsiders and my body still hasn’t figured out how to make disobeying him a regular habit. I guess this means that past me still has the upper hand. It makes me want to punch something.

If my recoiling from his touch bothers Cody, he doesn’t show it. Instead he picks up more hair and starts filling in my beard.

I don’t know if I should apologize or just ignore what’s just happened. After a moment of silence I choose ignoring. “I need to see him. Make sure.” I don’t finish this sentence. I’ll just sound weird. After I shot him twice in the chest, almost exactly in the heart, I was sure he would die, but he didn’t—even after lots of complications. I can’t seem to stop myself from wondering if maybe he really is what he says he is. How else could he have survived it all? If I can’t see Pioneer as a man I’ll never get rid of the part of me who still wants to believe in him.


***

Love it! If you think this series is exactly what you've been looking for, head here and grab your copy of GATED so you can get started on this fabulously chilling read soon! 

Before you head to the next stop on the Scavenger Hunt, guess what? I'm offering a bonus prize to one lucky entrant! I'll be giving away the winner's choice of a copy of DEFIANCE, the first book in my trilogy, or an advanced review copy of DELIVERANCE, the final book (comes out 8/26/14).

Simply fill out the entry form below and leave a comment on this post answering the following question: If you were the hero/heroine of a fantasy novel and you were facing a villain with an army of assassins and a fire-breathing dragon on his side, what would your weapon of choice be?

*Contest is open internationally. Winner will be drawn Monday, April 7 by 8:00 a.m. CST. You must be 13 years old or older to enter. No purchase necessary. Incomplete entries will not be considered. Please note that the entry form has 5 questions. Scroll down on the side of the entry form to answer them all.

Be sure to check out the next stop on the Hunt after the entry form!




The next stop on the Hunt is here! Go forth and scavenge!

Monday, March 31, 2014

Winners!


Before I list the names of those who won the drawings for the prizes offered in last Friday's Skip a Starbucks Day adoption fundraiser, I have to take a moment to extend a huge, heartfelt THANK YOU to everyone who donated to Isabella's adoption fund, who donated prizes for the giveaway, and who tirelessly promoted the fundraiser. Many of you are strangers to me, and the beauty of your incredible generosity has blessed our family in ways I can't even put into words. We prayed that we might at least raise 5k of the 15k needed. Instead, we raised every penny we needed and had enough left over to give a donation to The Moses Basket for another adoptive family to use. We are so grateful to God and to all of you who opened up your hearts to our little girl. As soon as China gives us permission to travel (we expect to go sometime this summer), we will announce that here and post from China as well so that you can share in the homecoming.

Now, on to the winners! I used Google docs, which gave me a spread sheet and assigned everyone a number. Then I used random.org to pick the winners.

 If you won a prize, yay! I will be emailing the donor your info. Prizes should go out this week and next depending on the donor's schedule. (Some authors are currently on tour.) Thanks again for making Friday and Saturday such an incredible story of love and generosity for my daughter.

PRIZE:                                                                                             WINNER:

Level One:

FAKING NORMAL by Courtney C. Stevens                                               Heidi Zweifel
Handmade mitts by Jodi Meadows                                                               Doricela Millan-Sotelo
57 LIVES OF ALEX WAYFARE by MG Buehrlen + YABC tote                 Heather Gonyo
KEEPER OF THE LOST CITIES by Shannon Messenger                           Miranda Wyattmills
LET THE SKY FALL by Shannon Messenger                                              Charissa Weaks
Handmade knitted cap by Heather Lindahl                                                     Jessie Patterson
INDELIBLE by Dawn Metcalf                                                                        Melissa Findley
UNNATURALIST & THE TINKER KING by Tiffany Trent                          Stephanie Carson
RENEGADE & REVELATIONS by J.A. Souders                                          Missy Holmes
GRAVE DANGER by Rachel Grant + t shirt                                                   Yara Reca-Vargas
REBOOT + advance copy of REBEL by Amy Tintera                                      Kay Hudson
REBOOT + advance copy of REBEL by Amy Tintera                                      Jennifer Weiser
REBEL BELLE by Rachel Hawkins + poster                                                    Katherine Coates
IF YOU FIND ME by Emily Murdoch                                                              Erica Haglund
ASK ME by Kimberly Pauley                                                                           Ashley Am
THE DEVIL'S BACKBONE by Rae Ann Parker                                             Janine Hays
OF POSEIDON by Anna Banks                                                                       Brianna Shrum
HEMLOCK by Kathleen Peacock                                                                    Jason Nelson
HEMLOCK by Kathleen Peacock                                                                    Melissa Brooks
UNINVITED by Sophie Jordan                                                                        Brittany Moore
FIRELIGHT by Sophie Jordan                                                                          Anne Brown
MOONLIT by Jadie Jones                                                                                Stephanie Pajonas
EYES LIKE STARS by Lisa Mantchev                                                             Dextra Hoffman
THIS SIDE OF SALVATION by Jeri Smith-Ready                                          Victoria Scott
SUBLIME by Christina Lauren                                                                          Jasmine Stairs
TOUCHING THE SURFACE by Kimberly Sabatini                                         Vicki Bechet
STARTERS by Lissa Price                                                                                Megan Trotter
MY BLUE IS HAPPY by Jessica Young                                                           Adrienne Rosado
CHARMED VENGEANCE by Suzanne Lazear                                                Ashley Hufford
THE CAVENDISH HOME FOR BOYS AND GIRLS by Claire Legrand        Rachel Baker
THREE by Kristen Simmons                                                                              Pauline & Eliana Campos
MY LIFE NEXT DOOR by Huntley Fitzpatrick                                                Melissa Maggi
BRIGHT BEFORE SUNRISE by Tiffany Schmidt                                             Casey Chwiecko
STORYBOUND & STORY'S END by Marissa Burt                                        Jamie Wilson
THE DARK LIGHT by Sara Walsh                                                                   Paola Benavides
BORN WICKED by Jessica Spotswood                                                           Bridget Howard
THE PRINCESS IN THE OPAL MASK by Jenny Lundquist                           Teal Haviland


Level Two:

Grab Bag of YA books donated by Kristin Rens                                                Michelle Kellogg
Grab Bag of middle grade books donated by Kristin Rens                                  Sophie Riggsby
Grab bag of assorted books donated by Holly Root                                           Amber Lough
GIRL OF FIRE & THORNS trilogy by Rae Carson                                          Daisy Richeson
ACROSS THE UNIVERSE trilogy by Beth Revis                                             Sara Spock
EVIDENCE series by Rachel Grant                                                                   Shannon Mizikoski
SAMANTHA OWENS series by J.T. Ellison                                                    Kailey Jerome
ANGEL EYES trilogy by Shannon Dittemore                                                     Keli Gwyn
BLOOD OF EDEN trilogy by Julie Kagawa + dragon figurine                           Jennifer Souther
Box of recent YA releases donated by Wendy Darling                                       Lora Beth Johnson

Full manuscript critique by literary agent Pam Van Hycklama Vlieg                     Cate Hart


Level Three:

Diamond & tanzanite jewelry set donated by Heather Lindahl                             Mindy Ruiz
Jewell handbag donated by Amy Rosa                                                               Stephanie Scott
Set of Harlequin Presents + 2 hot military romances by Lynn Raye Harris           Laura Kramarsky
IRON FEY boxed set by Julie Kagawa                                                             Kelly Wood
$50 Barnes & Noble gift card donated by Jenny Lundquist                                Amy Olsen

Congratulations to the winners! If the prize donors have any questions or need more information, they will get in touch with you.

Thank you again to all who came together to help us bring Isabella home. You will forever be in our hearts.



Thursday, March 27, 2014

Skip a Starbucks Day Adoption Fundraiser

**Edited to Add: You did it! The full 15k needed to bring her home this summer has now been raised. We are so incredibly grateful to God and to all of you for giving generously to help Isabella come home. Any additional donations that come in will be given to The Moses Basket as a grant for another adoptive family. Drawings for the prizes will happen Monday. Thank you all!






Our Story:

In November of 2010, my husband Clint and I were in China finalizing the adoption of our first daughter and preparing to bring her home. During the two and a half weeks that we were in China, we both came to the realization that we had to go back. We knew there was one more little girl waiting somewhere in China who belonged in our family. We also knew that this time around, we wanted to adopt a child with some medical needs. 

We turned in our dossier to China in the beginning of February 2014, and we figured, based on the average wait time for special needs families, that we had about an 8 month wait to get our referral. (A child’s picture and file matched to a family.) But there are two ways to be matched to a child through the special needs program. One is to wait for China to get to your file, translate it, and then search for a child who matches your medical checklist (the list of things we’ve said we’d accept). The other is to be matched to one of the Special Focus kids whose files are sent to our agency each month. Special Focus children are those who are considered hard to place with a family. They have multiple medical conditions, and many families sign on for only one need.

Clint and I early on felt that we needed to be open to multiple needs. I kept seeing us with a girl who had a cleft palate and a heart murmur. Clint kept seeing us with a girl who had minor hearing loss and a missing or extra limb. 

Two weeks after our dossier arrived in China, our agency called us with a Special Focus child to consider. Her file arrived to us on her second birthday. She had cleft palate, congenital heart disease, minor hearing issues, and an extra thumb.

In other words, she is everything Clint and I kept seeing for our daughter. *cue the moment we started weeping*




Isabella Grace was abandoned beneath a highway overpass when she was four months old. She had severe pneumonia, along with her heart disease and cleft palate, which were both causing her medical difficulty. That says to me that her parents loved her, and they tried for four months to care for her in secret, either to avoid paying the second child penalty fee, which is prohibitive for poorer families, or because they couldn’t afford her medical care, and when they realized she was going to die without care, they put her where she would be quickly found. Highways in China, especially in cities, are much different than ours. They are choked with pedestrians and bicyclists. She was sure to be found quickly.

She is a strong, brave little girl. A month after she was found, she had heart surgery to repair four different defects in her heart. She was in and out of the ICU for recurring pneumonia during her first year. In her second year, she had two surgeries to repair her lip and palate and to remove her extra thumb. At two years old, she’s still tiny (wearing 9 month clothing size), she’s not walking on her own yet, and she doesn’t have many words yet. Her delayed development is a result, I feel certain, of her constant surgeries and hospital stays.

The orphanage reports that Isabella is quiet, shy, and loves to smile and grab onto the nannies and play with them. We can’t wait to bring her home! 

This is where you come in. We need to raise Isabella’s orphanage fee of 5k and the 10k we need to travel to China and to stay there for the two and a half weeks it takes to finalize her adoption. The concept of Skip a Starbucks Day is simple: skip an indulgence or two and donate the money toward Isabella's adoption fund instead. You can see our goal and how close we are to meeting it on the sidebar of this page. 

I know you'd donate even without me offering you something tangible in return, but to make this even more fun, a bunch of my friends have donated some really amazing prizes! (listed below) To enter, simply donate and then fill out the form at the bottom of this page.*

Thank you so much for helping us bring our sweet daughter home. Your generosity in early donations have already raised almost 3k toward our goal (as of the writing of this post). That is incredible! Isabella will know the story of how a community of people came together to bring her home to her forever family. 

To donate, please use the Paypal button on the sidebar ---> 

If you are on your phone and can't see the donate button, scroll down and choose to see the page in web version and the button should appear.

Anything donated above our 15k need will be given to The Moses Basket, a non-profit organization that supports adoptive families through grants, resources, and support.

Don't forget to enter the prize giveaway by using the form below! I will use random.org to choose a winner for each prize from those who qualify. The prize giveaway is open until 9 a.m. CST Monday, March 31st.

And again, THANK YOU.

*Tennessee law requires me to offer these prizes with no purchase required, so if you decide to enter the giveaway without donating toward Isabella's adoption fund, you can legally do so. 


Prize Level One - Minimum Donation of $5*

*1 signed copy of FAKING NORMAL by Courtney C. Stevens

*1 pair of fingerless knitted mitts donated by Jodi Meadows

*1 signed copy of THE 57 LIVES OF ALEX WAYFARE by M.G. Buehrlen and a YABC tote bag

*1 signed copy of KEEPER OF THE LOST CITIES by Shannon Messenger

*1 signed copy of LET THE SKY FALL by Shannon Messenger

*1 knitted cap donated by Heather Lindahl

*1 signed copy of INDELIBLE by Dawn Metcalf

*1 signed copy of THE UNNATURALISTS & 1 signed copy of THE TINKER KING by Tiffany Trent

*1 signed copy of RENEGADE and 1 signed copy of REVELATIONS by J.A. Souders

*1 signed copy of GRAVE DANGER by Rachel Grant plus t-shirt

*1 signed copy of REBOOT plus an advance copy of REBEL by Amy Tintera (2 of these sets up for grabs)

*1 signed copy of REBEL BELLE by Rachel Hawkins plus poster

*1 signed copy of IF YOU FIND ME by Emily Murdoch

*1 signed copy of ASK ME by Kimberly Pauley

*1 signed copy of THE DEVIL'S BACKBONE by Rae Ann Parker

*1 signed copy of OF POSEIDON by Anna Banks, donated by Fallon Vaughn

*1 signed copy of HEMLOCK by Kathleen Peacock (2 of these available)

*1 signed copy of UNINVITED by Sophie Jordan

*1 signed copy of FIRELIGHT by Sophie Jordan

*1 signed copy of MOONLIT by Jadie Jones

*1 signed copy of EYES LIKE STARS by Lisa Mantchev

*1 signed copy of THIS SIDE OF SALVATION by Jeri Smith-Ready

*1 signed advanced review copy of SUBLIME by Christina Lauren

*1 signed copy of TOUCHING THE SURFACE by Kimberly Sabatini

*1 signed copy of STARTERS by Lissa Price

*1 signed copy of MY BLUE IS HAPPY by Jessica Young

*1 signed copy of CHARMED VENGEANCE by Suzanne Lazear

*1 signed copy of THE CAVENDISH HOME FOR BOYS AND GIRLS by Claire LeGrand

*1 signed copy of THREE by Kristen Simmons

*1 signed copy of MY LIFE NEXT DOOR by Huntley Fitzpatrick

*1 signed copy of BRIGHT BEFORE SUNRISE by Tiffany Schmidt

*1 signed copy of STORYBOUND and STORY'S END by Marissa Burt

*1 signed copy of THE DARK LIGHT by Sara Walsh

*1 signed copy of BORN WICKED by Jessica Spotswood

*1 signed copy of THE PRINCESS IN THE OPAL MASK by Jenny Lundquist

*Tennessee law requires me to offer these prizes with no purchase required, so if you decide to enter the giveaway without donating toward Isabella's adoption fund, you can legally do so. 


Prize Level Two - Minimum Donation of $10*

Donors at this level qualify to have their names (or the name of  your choice) written on the back of a puzzle piece. We will be making a puzzle out of a picture of Isabella and using a two-sided frame so that she can see the legacy of love that brought her home. Donors also qualify for Prize Level One.

*Grab bag of YA books donated by Kristin Rens at Harper Collins

*Grab bag of Middle Grade books donated by Kristin Rens at Harper Collins

*Grab bag of assorted books donated by Holly Root

*1 signed GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS trilogy by Rae Carson

*1 signed ACROSS THE UNIVERSE trilogy by Beth Revis plus swag

*1 signed set of Rachel Grant's EVIDENCE trilogy

*1 signed set of SAMANTHA OWENS novels by J.T. Ellison

*1 full manuscript critique from literary agent Pam Van Hylckama Vlieg (There is a question on the entry form to indicate if you are interested in this prize. She has a two month turn around for the critique.)

*1 signed ANGEL EYES trilogy by Shannon Dittemore plus bookmarks

*1 signed set of BLOOD OF EDEN trilogy by Julie Kagawa plus dragon figurine

*A box of YA new releases plus swag donated by Wendy Darling

*Tennessee law requires me to offer these prizes with no purchase required, so if you decide to enter the giveaway without donating toward Isabella's adoption fund, you can legally do so. 


Prize Level Three - Minimum Donation of $25*

Donors at this level qualify for both Prize Level One and Two as well.


*1 diamond and tanzanite necklace and earring set

*1 Jewell handbag donated by Amy Rosa

*10 Harlequin novels plus 2 hot military romances by Lynn Raye Harris

*1 signed box set of THE IRON FEY series by Julie Kagawa

*1 $50 Barnes & Noble gift card donated by Jenny Lundquist

*Tennessee law requires me to offer these prizes with no purchase required, so if you decide to enter the giveaway without donating toward Isabella's adoption fund, you can legally do so


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