Saturday, February 27, 2010

Winner!

The winner of the free Query Workshop registration is Larissa! Congratulations. Please let me know your email address so I can add you to the class loop. :)

If you didn't win the registration but would still like to have help learning how to write an amazing query letter, there are currently 5 spots left in Monday's workshop.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Win A Free Registration For The Next Query Workshop!

Do you need help crafting an amazing query letter? Do you long to have the mysteries of querying unlocked for you? How would you like to have a professional critique your query until you get it right?

That's exactly what my two week online (do on your own time schedule!) query workshop offers. It's a $40 value, though my former clients tell me the results they get are priceless. See for yourself.

Now, for the first time ever, I'm going to give away one free query workshop registration. Already took the course? You can give it to a writer friend as a gift. Here's how to enter.

1. Tweet the link to this post and include my user name so I can give you credit. (@cjredwine) = 2 entries

2. Link to this post (with a quick explanation of the contest) on your blog. Include the link to my workshop site as well. (http://queryworkshop.blogspot.com) Comment here with the link. = 2 entries

3. Comment here with a 1-3 sentence pitch for your manuscript (I'm not judging on how awesome your pitch is. I'm doing a random drawing, so don't stress!). = 1 entry.

You have from now until 8 p.m. Saturday night (Central time zone) to rack up the entries. I'll tally them up, generate a random number, and announce the winner here on my blog Saturday night!

Winner of Bree Despain's Giveaway

I used a random number generator for the Bree Despain THE DARK DIVINE goodies giveaway and the winner is Catie S (Book Bound). Congratulations, Catie! Check your inbox for a message from me so I can get your address to Bree. Enjoy your goodies!

Next Wednesday, my Awesomesauce Agent Holly Root will be interviewed by the Spork of Doom. You don't want to miss it! Why? Because she's awesomesauce. And because she's giving away a free book FROM HER STASH. Trust me, she has a STASH. And because the cupcake she requested from Clint might just be the end of him.

The Art of Revision



(The above pic is the only known photo of Lester, the Revision Duck Mafia's highest paid assassin.)


Between receiving a revision letter from Holly for CASTING STONES and handing out plenty of revision notes myself in my synopsis workshop this week, revising has been on my mind. There are several ways a writer can approach the task of taking someone else's critique and applying it to her work without losing the precious sense of ownership that comes from wringing every single word out of that lively, secret space in her imagination.

I can't tell you how YOU should go about it. I can only tell you what works (and doesn't work) for me. And I can assure you, if you intend to pursue writing as a career, revising will be just as much a way of life as the initial writing itself.

What works for me:

1. Let it sink in: The first 24 hours after getting a critique can be difficult. Not just because I feel like changing my name to Silas and moving to the outer reaches of Mongolia, but because I don't yet have a true sense of direction. The story as I know it now has pitfalls, black holes, and wobbly edges where before it was bright, shining, and whole. I'm afraid the entire house of cards will collapse if I poke at it, so consequently, I have no idea where to start.

Giving myself a day or three to let it sink in, let the panic ease, and let the creativity flow again is wise.

2. Talk it out: Talking through my plot works well for me because it unlocks ideas that were currently circling my brain in silence, waiting for me to acknowledge their existence. I'm careful to talk it out with those who already know my story and whom I trust have the ability to push my budding ideas into something gloriously workable by the end of the convo. This time, I talked plot with Myra, gained some traction, shelved it for another day while my brain busily leaped through ideas, making connections and sparking more ideas, and then I ran the entire thing by Holly, who gave guidance on the final pieces and sent me to my keyboard with her blessing.

The wonderful thing about talking it out, for me, is that it gives me what I need for point #3.

3. Internalize the feedback and make it your own: This is essential. Letting the critique sink in, playing with the new pieces until they fit, and then getting excited about the new and improved direction of the story brings the whole process to life. Now, instead of slogging through pitfalls and applying someone else's thoughts to my manuscript, I'm blazing a path to greater things using someone's feedback as my springboard. The momentum is mine. The passion is mine. The story is mine.

4. Organize the process: I make a plan based on what needs to be accomplished. I like to knock the small stuff out of the way first--word changes, small fixes--and then line up my tasks--layering, scene re-writes, scenes to be added--and do a read-through of the manuscript, putting in the changes as I go. I find this helps me get a sense of the story as a whole and I'm able to keep the continuity of the characters' emotional arcs front and center while I work. That way, when I reach The End, I'm confident the entire manuscript has been tightened and polished to within an inch of its life.

What works for you when you're revising?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Interview With Bree Despain, Author of THE DARK DIVINE



When I opened the pages of THE DARK DIVINE, I had no idea I would be so instantly and thoroughly absorbed by the story. I devoured this book, soaked up a story that was at once haunting, engaging, and fun, and loved sliding beneath the skin of Bree's characters. This was one of those rare books where I finished the last page and wished I had the time to immediately read it all over again. The story lingered with me for days. Days. With all the books I read, all the manuscripts I critique, all the chapters I write, it's rare for a story to take root so deeply for me. I promise you, if you read this book, you won't be disappointed.

Here is a quick peek at the premise of TDD:

Grace Divine, daughter of the local pastor, always knew something terrible happened the night Daniel Kalbi disappeared—the night she found her brother Jude collapsed on the porch, covered in his own blood—but she has no idea what a truly monstrous secret that night held.

The memories her family has tried to bury resurface when Daniel returns, three years later, and enrolls in Grace and Jude's high school. Despite promising Jude she'll stay away, Grace cannot deny her attraction to Daniel's shocking artistic abilities, his way of getting her to look at the world from new angles, and the strange, hungry glint in his eyes.

The closer Grace gets to Daniel, the more she jeopardizes her life, as her actions stir resentment in Jude and drive him to embrace the ancient evil Daniel unleashed that horrific night. Grace must discover the truth behind the boy's dark secret...and the cure that can save the ones she loves. But she may have to lay down the ultimate sacrifice to do it—her soul.


Thankfully, Bree wasn't put off by my fangirl squealing over TDD. In fact, she was gracious enough to agree to be interviewed by none other than our blog's mascot--The Were-llama! It takes an intrepid girl to take on the Were-llama.



Were-llama




Bree Despain

Now that you know who's who, it's time to dive into the interview and unveil the awesome Cupcake Character my hubby made in honor of THE DARK DIVINE. In Grace's yard stands a weathered walnut tree where important moments for Grace and Daniel happen. My hubby decided to turn that tree into a cupcake. And yes, it's all edible. Without further ado, I give you the TDD cupcake and Bree's interview.



1. So, you’re a writer. I’m a super-scary shape-shifter who can command obedience with the awesome power of my glowing red eyes. What do we have in common?

Two words: Mind Control

2. I like to spit at my enemies from whichever end is closest to them. Do any of your characters have cool abilities like that?

One of my characters has wicked awesome parkour skillz

3. If I had a nickname, it would be The Awesome. You?

In middle school I was dubbed “The Killer Bee” after I accidentally punched a jerky guy in the face—at church. It really was an accident. I swear. (Sort of.) I had no idea that I’d break his glasses . . . or that there would be so much blood.

4. I hang around this blog because I love stories. What’s your story about? Bonus points if it includes a llama.

THE DARK DIVINE is a modern exploration of the Prodigal Son with a paranormal twist. The story is about a girl named Grace whose family never talks about the night her brother Jude came home covered in his own blood, and his best friend Daniel disappeared—that is until Daniel returns 3 years later and enrolls in Grace and Daniel’s school. Torn between her loyalty to her brother and her attraction Daniel, Grace must discover the truth behind her the boys’ dark secret, and find the cure that can save the ones she loves. But she may have to lay down the ultimate price to do it—her soul.

Oh yeah, and there’s a talking llama who shoots lasers out of his mouth.


5. So few authors recognize the marketability of a novel with a laser-shooting llama! You’re making me a cake worthy of my awesome Were-llama status and decorating it to represent your story. What does it look like?

I kind of suck at visual crafts (although cake decorating is something I secretly wish I could do) but I imagine it would involve lots of chocolate and some purple awesomeness.

6. Any Were-llamas in your book?

Nope

7. Anyone who might be a Were-llama and you just haven’t figured it out yet?

Okay, so maybe there might be one in the sequel. You’ll just have to read it to find out.

8. Llamas or camels and why? Think carefully.

Llamas all the way. I prefer my animals without odd lumps.

9. A woman with taste! I give you a baby Were-llama as a companion. What do you name her?

Litl’ Mittens: The Destroyer

10. My favorite word is “awesome” because, yanno, look at me. What’s yours?

“Awesomer” . . . because, yanno, what could be awesomer than that word?

11. Seriously? We could be a team. Team Awesomer. As a young Were-llama, I dreamt of taking over the eastern seaboard one face full of spit at a time. What did you dream of doing when you were young?

I wanted to be an Egyptologist . . . or Michael Jackson’s girlfriend. It was the 80s after all.

12. Cake or cookies?

Nothing better than a really good piece of rich flourless chocolate cake. Did I mention that I’m allergic to flour?

13. Do you share chocolate?

Depends on my mood. But my hubby knows that he should never take the last piece.

14. The Zombie Goat invasion is upon us. How will you fight them off?

Let them eat all of my non-recyclables. Seriously, a zombie goat invasion could be great for our landfill overcrowding issues. I’m pro-zombie goats.


Thanks for a fun interview, Bree. And for writing such an incredible book! To learn more about Bree, visit her website. To get your hands on THE DARK DIVINE (and you really, really should), go here for purchasing options.

Now, for a little more fun. Bree brought goodies to give away on the blog today! She's got a fun TDD package that includes a bookmark, stickers, and TDD purple nail polish. (The nail polish needs to be mailed within the US, but feel free to enter for the other goodies if you're outside the U.S.) To enter, just leave a comment for Bree (she'd love to hear if you have any funny nickname that can rival The Killer Bee!).

Yes, I Did

I have depths of untapped talent the likes of which you will, very shortly, envy.

Envy.

Why? Because tonight, while I was minding my own business walking through the grocery store, I took a deep breath and snorted one of the curls of hair that frames my face right up my nose.

You see? Skillz, I haz them.

Your jealousy, it burns.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Just Like Riding A Bike



1. I got some sort of virus last night (kids passed it around this weekend) and had to call out of work this morning. Instead, I'm spending the day in bed (more or less) and am focusing on being uber-productive with writing-related stuff while I rest.

2. I'll be critiquing synopsises for my synopsis workshop clients, reading a few critique partner/client chapters, and continuing work on CASTING STONES revisions.

3. The revisions Holly asked for aren't huge, but there are three scenes that will take some thought, plus I need to layer in something, so while it's a bit time-consuming, I won't be at this for months. More like a week or two.

4. You hear that Revision Duck Mafia? A week or two. Get off my back. *goes after closest beady-eyed hate monger with a spork*

5. Duck. It's what's for dinner.

6. I don't understand how Spastic Kitten can roll across a wet shower floor, carry dirty socks around in her mouth, and chew up erasers and still pretend she has too much dignity to be picked up and carried.

7. Saturday afternoon I rode a bike for the first time in over 20 years.

8. I was flat out terrified that a) I wouldn't keep my balance (a valid fear considering how often my sense of balance fails me) b) the brakes wouldn't work or c) I'd take out a car mirror, toddler, or small dog with my inability to steer, pedal, and breathe at the same time. (Also a valid fear. You'd know this if you read my blog regularly.)

9. I walked the bike down our steep driveway because if I was going to eat a face full of asphalt, it wasn't going to be in front of my neighbors. I've already given them enough entertainment in the six years I've lived here.

10. The Scientist was riding with me and Starshine was jogging alongside. The Scientist likes to jump ramps with his bike. I could jump a ramp too. I could probably even stick the landing. As long as you count plowing into the ground with one's head a perfect landing.

11. The Scientist steered clear of ramps and instead, took me down a long hill. This was fine except for one thing: I DID NOT KNOW HOW TO STOP.

12. Back in the day when I rode bicycles, you simply pedaled backward and the bike stopped. This time, when I started gaining too much speed for comfort (which took about 3 seconds), I pedaled backward and the wheels simply spun around. Mocking me.

13. I may have yelled something along the lines of "Could you please tell me how to brake?" to the Scientist. Or it may have sounded more like "HOLY COW I CAN'T STOP I'M GOING TO DIE YOU WON'T HAVE A MOTHER ANYMORE HELP ME PLEASE GOD I DON'T WANT TO DIE IN A SUBDIVISION." Not that I'd rather die in an urban environment, you understand. It was just what came out at the time.

14. Turns out bikes use handlebar brakes. I think there were handlebar brakes back in the day, but I always used pedals.

15. I gripped the handlebar brakes so hard, they squealed. I nearly fell off. Not because I stopped too fast, but because I'm short. And the only other people who've ridden this bike are my husband and my mother, both of which are taller than me by a few inches. The distance from the seat to the ground was about an inch or two longer than my legs. I sort of had to hop forward and down to get my foot on the ground.

16. And what joker in the bike design factory decided bikes should have a thick bar of metal right in front of the seat?

17. I got more comfortable riding, and then realized a very important detail: the seat was too narrow.

18. It was sort of like straddling a fence. A leather-clad fence. Which, actually, doesn't make it more comfortable after the first few minutes. And because the joker in the factory put a bar of metal in my way and the pedals were too far away, I couldn't just lean forward off the seat without riding a piece of metal.

19. With a choice between straddling a leather-clad fence and straddling a metal rod, I went with the leather-clad fence.

20. Chafe: verb (used with object)
1.to wear or abrade by rubbing: She chafed her posterior region on a leather- clad fence.

21. I didn't walk right all day yesterday. I should've just worn cowboy boots, a stetson, and stuffed a plug of chewing tobacco in my cheek to complete the illusion.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Win the entire WAKE Trilogy - Signed!

Head over to Shannon's blog (She of the Were-platypus cupcake fame) for the details. Hurry! Time is almost up.

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Etiquette of Contest Judging

The writing contest circuit is alive and kicking this time of year with the Golden Hearts, the Ritas, and various chapter contests all approaching the judging deadline. I judged in the Golden Heart this year, and I also judged our chapter's contest this past summer.

I enjoy it for a variety of reasons. For one, sometimes I read really cool writing that I know I'll be able to find on my Books A Million shelf in a couple years. For another, judging a contest (if one judges well) gives me the opportunity to encourage an up and coming writer who needs to know where they can improve, but also desperately needs to hear what they're doing right.

I never thought about writing a contest judging etiquette post until I recently saw some stuff on Twitter and Facebook that was an awful example of judging at its worst. I'll get to that in a minute. For now, I give you my (less than comprehensive, I'm sure!) list of what to do as a contest judge.

What To Do:

1. Remember you hold someone's dream in your hands. Treat it with the same respect you'd want someone else to give yours. This doesn't mean you inflate the score or give insincere compliments. It does mean you treat them as you would want to be treated were you in that writer's shoes.

2. Get perspective of the scoring range. If the highest possible score is a 9, the basic, average, "you've got a lot to work on" score should start at 5. Not 1. A 1 is "you don't know how to put two words together to form the most basic of sentences." A 1 is a crushing insult to someone who can, indeed, write basic sentences, but needs improvement in grammar, spelling, plot etc. If an entry is formatted correctly and meets the basic criteria for a story (has main characters, seems to have a plot, I'm able to read it, grammar errors notwithstanding), start in the middle and move up from there.

3. Don't let your personal pet peeves skew the score. If you hate sentences that start with "and" or "but" and you're sooo over vampires and the entry you're reading has both, look past it and judge the quality of the writing. If you honestly can't look past it, contact the contest coordinator and request the entry be reassigned. Being as fair as possible is crucial.

4. Learn how to offer constructive feedback. Saying "I don't like your character" isn't nearly as helpful as saying "I don't feel connected to your character because I don't have any idea how she feels about things. If you showed us her emotional reaction to the events in this chapter via body language, dialogue, and some inner turmoil, I think I'd be connected and care deeply about what happens next." Structure every comment with as much respectful, helpful guidance as possible.

5. Watch the negative comments. If the entry really needs a lot of work, focus on a few things that would make a big difference and touch on those. Be sure to include positive as well as constructive feedback. No one needs to have their spirits crushed when with a little thought and finesse you could get your point across with grace and respect.

6. Remember what it felt like to be new. Remember the rush of deciding you were going to finally pursue your dream of writing? Remember how you spilled words onto the page without much thought to anything but getting the story out? Remember when you thought that first manuscript was the best thing you'd ever write? Give the benefit of the doubt to the entrants. I'm not recommending inflating the score. I'm saying be gentle. Honest, but gentle. Choose encouragement over cruelty every time.

7. Be professional. Discreet. Respectful.

What Not To Do:

1. Do not, under ANY circumstances, tweet or post on Facebook negative comments about the entries you judge. This reeks of unprofessionalism. It's disrespectful to the writer whose entry you're judging and it makes you look rude. Don't blog about it either. If you really can't judge other writers' work without spilling negative comments online, don't be a judge.

2. Don't use sarcasm in your feedback. Even if you think you're being funny. Just don't.

3. Don't roll your eyes at mistakes you know you made when you were new. Help them fix it. If you're judging a contest where comments aren't included, take care how many points you knock off for different things. The goal isn't to grind the writer down.

4. Don't assume the responsibility of helping the writer "grow a thick skin." That's simply a poor excuse for you not remaining professional. Will the writer have to grow a thick skin (or at least the appearance of one?)? Maybe. But you don't have to be the cause.

I'm sure there are some points I've missed. Veteran contest judges (or writers who've had good/bad experiences with contests) feel free to chime in.

Coming Up (Or "Why You Should Keep Tuning In)



No, the car doesn't have anything to do with what's coming up on the blog. It's Jonathan's car (hero from CASTING STONES) and as I'm diving head first (hopefully NOT a euphemism for "face plant") into CS revisions this weekend, it seemed appropriate.

Plus, it's sexy.

The list of items coming up on the blog can be broken down into two categories: Things you will definitely see and things you might see if my life doesn't unravel, my children don't succeed in their bid for anarchy, and I don't run out of crazy.

Definitely See:

*A list compiling the random, ridiculous, and rotfl things happening on a daily basis in my life. (Dad, rotfl means "roll on the floor laughing.")

*An interview with Bree Despain, author of the incredibly awesome THE DARK DIVINE, who has chosen to be interviewed by our blog's mascot, the Were-llama.

*A cupcake character made in honor of Bree and TDD.

*The beginning of another installment of "Get Me Started" wherein you, my readers, give me a first sentence, and I turn it into a short piece of fiction.

Might See:

*Johnny Depp. What? It could happen.

*A post dissecting the revision writing process. Or ranting about it. Or a desperate plea for the ransom money needed to escape Holly's Revision Duck Mafia's beaks of horror.

*An upcoming interview schedule. (I have Holly and three kick-butt authors lined up and more coming)

*A pithy dissertation on what it takes to write authentic characters and how far an author has to go to get there.

*Johnny Depp. No, really. I'll be heading out to the sneak peek of Alice In Wonderland. No way I'd miss blogging about that.

So, stay tuned. Gear up for next week when Bree (mild-mannered, kick-butt author who totally rocked my world with THE DARK DIVINE, and I don't toss that compliment around lightly) takes on the Were-llama and gets a cupcake in the process. She's bringing goodies to give away too!

Enjoy the weekend!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Living With Doubt

I had a super pompous (and uber-verbose) title for this post. Something that would seem at once both clever and wise with undercurrents of hidden depths.

I deleted it.

Because sometimes simple is best.

I'll be honest, though. Some days I don't know what's best. I look at my writing, and I wonder if maybe I'm delusional. Maybe I drank the Kool Aid at a writer's conference somewhere along the line and became convinced I had a great and shining gift when really all I had was a fleeting piece of inspiration--here one day, gone without so much as a by-your-leave the next. Maybe I'm not the real deal.

Or if I am, maybe I'm not enough of the real deal.

Doubt is a real and present companion to me as a writer. The good news is, I go months without feeling it. Months where I feverishly spill yet another idea onto the page. Months where the cold light of reality has yet to poke its unwelcome nose into my glorious story. Those are grand months.

But then, there are the months when instead of immersing myself into the telling of a new tale, I spend my time picking apart a story I already finished. Finding the flaws. Scouring every paragraph for any sign of weakness.

And I find weaknesses. Every time.

For me, finding the weaknesses isn't a surprise. I'm dedicated to the career I've chosen and that means I'm committed to honing my craft.

The surprise is the stealthy hit of doubt that sucker punches me in the stomach, whispers to me I'll never get it right, and settles onto my shoulder like it's lived there always. I hate doubt. If I'm not careful, I can let it steal my resolve, hijack my imagination, and strand me in a creative wasteland.

But I love doubt, too. Because doubt forces me to take another, deeper look at what I've done. It calls me to push myself harder to see what else I'm capable of doing. And it refuses to let me rest until I'm sure I've done my best.

Living with doubt is part of being a writer. Maybe its part of being human. It can either paralyze us or push us into action. Personally, I've always been a fan of action.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have some doubts I need to go prove irrevocably wrong.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Agent Holly's Revision Duck Mafia Strikes Again!



Myra and I long ago realized our agent, Holly Root, had a secret weapon in her rather impressive arsenal: the Revision Duck Mafia. A visit from the RDM goes something like this:

1. First, a missive arrives in your inbox, cleverly disguised as a letter from Agent Holly, bearing the news that, while most of your book was The Awesome, the following fifteen things were verging on The Suckage and must be changed.

2. Second, you take a few days to absorb the news, examine the Suckage parts, and hope you weren't misreading the Awesome bits because if you were, you might as well just give in to your secret longing to go out in a blaze of Cheese Puffs and vodka.

3. Third, you begin revising. Sort of. You revise the easy parts. The ones that you looked at in your initial read-through of the RDM's letter and thought "Hello, genius, how did you miss that?"

4. Fourth, you sort of let the difficult parts simmer. This is the point where Holly's RDM begins flexing its muscle. The RDM frowns on procrastination. They treat waffling with the same vengeful response they give to idiot humans who dare approach their flock without the requisite offering of bread crumbs or a first born male.

5. Fifth, the RDM pays you a little visit. You're sitting at your computer, minding your own business, sort of not revising, when out of nowhere, you feel watched. You look up, and there's a duck. No, really. A duck. Eyeing you with tiny little orbs chock full of hate. It's the RDM's warning shot across the bow. You only get one.

6. Sixth, you revise. In earnest. Because you fear the fuzzy. You really, really do.

Think I made this up? Last time Myra had a revision letter, she was writing on a front porch, wallowing in indecisiveness or angst or procrastination or something the RDM found offensive. She looked up at one point and found herself surrounded by ducks. Hateful, beady-eyed little feathered Revision Duck Mafia members. And she knew. Revise or face the RDM's wrath.

She revised.

Because a wise writer fears the fuzzy.

I've got a revision letter for CASTING STONES. I have no time to dive into it until Friday. You hear that RDM? Friday. I promise. Because I, too, fear the fuzzy.

Billy Goat!



1. School is cancelled. Again.

2. That sound you heard last night? The collective screams of hundreds of mothers across middle Tennessee.

3. If you're counting (and I am!), that makes six days this month. Six.

4. Plus President's Day, so my kids barely remember what the inside of a classroom looks like.

5. And why is the school district cancelling school so often?

6. Snow. Yesterday, we got an entire inch.

7. ZOMGHOLYCOWRUN! Apparently, an inch is all it takes for a Snopocalypse here.

8. Yesterday, we took the kids to see the Percy Jackson film.

9. They loved it. I enjoyed it for what it was. I wasn't wowed like I was with Harry Potter, and I haven't yet read the books so I'm sure my reaction would be different, but it was awesome to hear all the kids cheering and screaming the second the title came on the screen.

10. What was even more awesome?

11. Some lady decided "Hey! I'm going to be sitting in a packed theater! I should use half a bottle of really strong floral perfume to make sure all the rows around me appreciate my womanly scent!"

12. And she sat right behind me.

13. I don't do well with strong floral scents. They give me instant headaches.

14. I don't ever say anything, of course, because she probably didn't realize how strongly she smelled.

15. I was, however, seated next to Daredevil who has yet to show any inclination to keep the thoughts in his head quiet for more than 1.6 seconds.

16. He took a whiff, looked around him, and said in his best carries-over-fifty-seven-other-conversations voice "Whoa! Lay off the flowers, peeps! It isn't doing you any favors."

17. I laughed.

18. Last night, Starshine came into my room and said "How many licks does it take to get to the center of a tootsie roll pop?" so fast I could barely understand him.

19. I said "What?"

20. And he looked at me and said "Billy goat!"

21. Like that explained it all.

22. I guess it does.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Spork of Doom Needs YOU



As I told you in a previous post, I'll be interviewing authors and agents using the blog's Usual Suspects as my interviewers. Guests can choose to be questioned by Captain Jack Sparrow, the Were-llama blog mascot, or the Spork of Doom.

Upcoming interviews include:

Author Kelly Gay: Captain Jack
Author Bree Despain: Were-llama
Agent Holly Root: Spork of Doom

Captain Jack was more than forthcoming in giving me his list of questions. The Were-llama had some issues getting past his own Awesomeness, but in the end, he gave me a list of questions.

The Spork of Doom is so obsessed with world domination and pie, he hardly gives me the time of day.

That's where you come in. What question(s) would you like the Spork of Doom to ask its hapless victims?

Monday, February 8, 2010

Presenting: Wally The Were-Platypus!

You've waited with bated breath for two whole weeks, salivating at the thought of a one-of-a-kind Were-platypus cupcake. You loved the idea soooo much, you voted for Wally over the incomparable Captain Jack Sparrow, driving the good Captain to his rum bottle and this writer to the edge of Crazydom.

A Were-platypus is, of course, far more kick-butt than its more tame counterpart--the simple platypus. The Were-platypus is a vicious creature, consumed with blood lust and driven by the need to teach all would-be-water-villains a lesson they would never have forgotten had the Were-platypus been gracious enough to let them live.

He isn't.

He's on a mission. Think Jaws is the worst that can happen to an unwary swimmer? Think the Anaconda is the stuff of nightmares? Think again.

Without further ado, I give you Wally, the Were-platypus.



He looks good from every angle.



What Wally sees.



I can only take credit for baking the cupcake and providing the chocolate sprinkles for fur. My incredibly talented hubby did all the rest. He really, really didn't want me to give him credit for this one. Really didn't. I don't know why.

Another incarnation of Wally is here on Shannon's blog.

Long live Wally the Were-Platypus!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Holla!



1. First, let me just get the whole Wally the Were-Platypus thing out of the way.

2. Yes, I made cupcakes today.

3. Yes, I have Were-Platypus supplies at the ready.

4. No, it wasn't easy to find Were-Platypus supplies at ANY of the stores in my town.

5. Shocking oversight, really.

6. At some point tomorrow, in between work and my hubby's attendance at the local city council meeting, we'll be putting together a Were-Platypus cupcake.

7. Shannon has already made and posted hers.

8. Kerry has been conspicuously silent in the face of my blatant challenge.

9. But I think I dragged Shannon's friend Frankie into the fray.

10. I hope so. I hate to suffer alone.

11. Today, as we drove home from church, the Scientist began discussing the band Nirvana which lead to him giving us a startlingly accurate dictionary definition for the word "nirvana" which lead to him explaining it was generally a term one associated with the Buddha.

12. We asked him if he even knew what the Buddha was.

13. Before he could answer, Daredevil piped up and said, with a heavy dose of I-can't-believe-I-have-to-explain-this-to-you-people, "I know what a Buddha is. It's the part of your body, just above the back of your legs, that you sit on."

14. And he slapped his Buddha, just to make his point.

15. Also, Daredevil snuck a can of silly string onto the school bus this week and coated everyone in a five foot radius around him.

16. Is it any wonder we're on the principal's speed dial?

17. A few days ago, Starshine took a shower.

18. Yes, that statement deserves it's own numeral. As does the fact that this time he used soap.

19. Because we reminded him, but whatever.

20. When he exited the shower, my hubby, Daredevil, and I were all sitting on my bed talking.

21. Starshine ran up to us, his towel flapping around his shoulders like some terry cloth cape, threw his arms above his head, thrust his business in our general direction, and shouted "Holla!"

22. That's "holler" pronounced "haul-ah" for those of you lacking in street cred.

23. I tried really, really hard to convince him that he must NEVER do that on the school bus, in the classroom, or while we wait in line at the grocery store.

24. But, like I said, the principal has us on speed dial.

25. Holla!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Were-Platypus For The Win




So, the Were-platypus cupcake character won by a landslide. Captain Jack has guzzled three cases of rum to drown his sorrow and humiliation.

FYI - I'm still going to make a Captain Jack Sparrow cupcake.

Because it's MY blog.

However, I will bow to the will of my blog readers and make the Were-Platypus cupcake first. But why should I have all the fun?

I've got a stash of books (ranging from YA to paranormal to historical to suspense) to give away! You know you want one. Plus, you get Were-Platypus bragging rights. Apparently, there are over 100 of you who desperately WANT Were-Platypus bragging rights.

Far be it from me to stand in your way. I hereby announce the Were-Platypus Cupcake Character Contest! (And I fully expect those of you who tormented me with votes for Wally to jump on this opportunity to prove your choice was the worthier choice. Yes, Shannon and Kerry, I'm looking at YOU.)

Rules:

1. Make a Were-Platypus cupcake and post a pic of it on your blog.
2. Link that blog post back to this post.
3. Leave me a note in the comment trail saying you've made a cupcake.
4. I'll draw one lucky Were-Platypus fan's name from a hat (No, really. A hat.) and that person will win the novel of their choice from my stash. If you're a writer and you'd rather have a free chapter critique instead, I'll gladly offer that as well.
5. Sorry, but I need to ship the prize within the U.S. or Canada.
6. For 1 extra entry, tweet this contest link. Make sure you include my @cjredwine so I know you've tweeted!
7. For another extra entry, become a follower of this blog.

Due Date: Monday, February 8th, 8 p.m. central time.

Let the Were-Platypus bake-off begin!

*Disclaimer: The top of the cupcake does NOT have to be all frosting. You can use any non-edible artsy-craftsy stuff your little heart desires. I know I will. Who could possibly make a Were-Platypus out of frosting alone?

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