Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Interview With Rachel Hawkins, Author of HEX HALL



I first "met" Rachel when she came to my blog and congratulated me on signing with our mutual agent, Holly Root. I began following Rachel on Twitter and instantly enjoyed her fabulous sense of humor. When the opportunity to read an ARC (Advance Reading Copy) of HEX HALL presented itself to me, I grabbed it. I was in for a real treat. HEX HALL is a hilarious, atmospheric romp with twists, tension, and heart. I devoured it in one gulp and couldn't wait for more.

Here's a peek at HEX HALL:

In the wake of a love spell gone horribly wrong, Sophie Mercer, a sixteen-year-old witch, is shipped off to Hecate Hall, a boarding school for witches, shapeshifters and faeries. The traumas of mortal high school are nothing compared to the goings on at "Freak High." It's bad enough that she has to deal with a trio of mean girls led by the glamorous Elodie, but it's even worse when she begins to fall for Elodie's gorgeous boyfriend, Archer Cross, and frankly terrifying that the trio are an extremely powerful coven of dark witches. But when Sophie begins to learn the disturbing truth about her father, she is forced to face demons both metaphorical and real, and come to terms with her own growing power as a witch.

I was so excited when Rachel agreed to be interviewed on the blog. She chose to take on the Were-llama because she can match him in both moxy and awesomeness.

The Were-llama



Rachel Hawkins



Now that you know who's who, let's dive into the interview and reveal the CUPCAKE OF SOUTHERN GOTHIC AWESOMENESS my hubby made for Rachel. Oh, yes, it deserves all caps. Rachel's book is saturated with atmospheric Southern Gothic tension, so she asked for a cupcake to reflect that. I had several (fairly good) ideas, but my hubby didn't want to hear them. He informed me he knew what he was going to do and that it would be "cool." He was right, though "cool" is an understatement. The cupcake is, in fact, so cool, I'm posting two pics of it. One up close and personal so you can appreciate the detail he put into it (yes, the entire thing is edible). And one with burning candles in the background to really give it the haunting quality a HEX HALL cupcake deserves. Without further ado, here is the cupcake and Rachel'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?

I am a super-scary Mama who can command obedience with the awesome power of my “Teacher Voice.” And glowing red eyes, natch.

2. A woman with glowing red eyes? Perhaps I shall choose you to be my minion. I like to spit at my enemies from whichever end is closest to them. Do any of your characters have cool abilities like that?

Some of my characters can manipulate time, make it rain, and create things out of thin air. But I have to say, NONE of those are as cool as your Awesome Dual-Ended Spitting Abilities!

3. Thank you. It's nice to have my genius acknowledged. If I had a nickname, it would be The Awesome. You?

In college, my nickname was Red because I have red(ish) hair. As a result, my roommate once attempted to steal one of those “Stop Here On Red” traffic signs so that she could hang it over my bed. We kept it ultra-classy in college, obvs. I also answer to Lady Hawkins, which is what my students used to call me (Sadly, not because I seem like such a lady, but because my husband also taught at the same school, and was referred to as Dude Hawkins.)

4. If I met someone named Dude Hawkins, I'd be forced to spit in his face on sheer principle. I hang around this blog because I love stories. What’s your story about? Bonus points if it includes a llama.

HEX HALL is the touching story of a young llama who goes to a special llama camp, wherein she finds sweet, sweet llama love. (Okay, really it’s about a witch who gets sent to magical reform school. Secrets, grisly murders, snarkiness, and hot cellar love ensue.)

5. Hm. Perhaps you could add a special llama camp to book two. It's bound to help your sales. 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 would start by making a life-size replica of Machu Picchu out of fondant for you, then I would decorate it with Spanish moss, some Barbies making out, and swords.

6. I find your offering of Machu Picchu, Spanish moss, and swords acceptable. I do, however, burn Barbies on sight with the awesome power of my glowing red eyes. Any Were-llamas in your book?

Not that I know of. But there are a LOT of shape-shifters, so it’s possible. Although now I kind of want all of Book 3 to revolve around the students of Hecate Hall fighting an army of were-llamas. (Spoiler Alert: The were-llamas totally win.)

7. Spoiler Alert: We always win. Anyone in your stories who might be a Were-llama and you just haven’t figured it out yet?

Elodie seems like a spitter, so something tells me she may indeed be a were-llama.

8. Llamas or camels and why? Think carefully.

Ooh, this is tough! Well, camels do have humps (hee hee! Humps.) But then their mouths are particularly grody. Also, I’ve never heard of were-camels, so I’m gonna have to give the win to llamas!


9. Wise choice. You get to live another day. I give you a baby Were-llama as a companion. What do you name her?

Alejandra, which I would pronounce with a very heavy Spanish accent. I like the idea of “Alejaaaaaaandraaaaaa” echoing over the mountains.

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

Pamplemousse. It’s the French word for grapefruit, and I love everything about it.

11. 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?

Pretty much this. Writing stories, talking to were-llamas… if I were also married to a member of New Kids on the Block, I’d say all of 9 year old Rachel’s dreams have come true!


12. I spat in the faces of NKOTB and ate them for breakfast a few years ago. Good thing you've moved on from that particular dream. Cake or cookies?

Coooooookies!!

13. Do you share chocolate?

I’m an only child. I don’t share ANYTHING.

14. What a coincidence. Neither do I. The Zombie Goat invasion is upon us. How will you fight them off?

First, I would make thousands of macaroni necklaces. Thanks to a Highly Unfortunate Incident in 4th Grade While At A Farm, I know that macaroni necklaces are every goat’s weakness. Once I’d distracted them with the tasty necklaces, I would have someone come up behind the zombie goat and make a very loud noise. This will cause the zombie goat to fall down, as goats are dumb. And then I would be triumphant!


Fantastic! Another non-goat-lover. No wonder I love her books. Thank you, Rachel, for the fun interview and for writing such a captivating book. To learn more about Rachel and HEX HALL visit her site. Now, for more fun! Rachel is giving away a signed copy of HEX HALL and a hexy t-shirt to one lucky commenter!

Rules:

1. Leave a comment answering Rachel's question: "What supernatural creature would you be?" - 1 entry

2. Tweet a link to this interview (include @cjredwine or leave the link here so I can see it). - 2 entries

3. Be a follower of this blog. - 2 entries

4. Post a link to the interview on your blog (and leave the link here so I can see it). - 3 entries.

5. Tally up your entries in your comment.

Contest ends Friday, April 2nd at 8 p.m. central time. Good luck!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Friday Fiction - Winner & Post



She's been threatening to hack into random.org and swing my contests in her favor for weeks now. I guess she finally accomplished the dreadful deed because M.G. Buehrlen is the Friday Fiction winner! M.G. please take a look at the list of titles to the right and let me know which one you want. :)

M.G.'s three words are: Fiesta (the Ford car version, not the party version)
Circumlocution, and Weenie-head.

She thinks she's done me in with those three. Never fear, faithful blog readers. I shall rise to the occasion. And then some.

I hope.


Friday Fiction Entry #2

I've waited here, in this damp, godforsaken husk of what was once a busy, well-lit hub, for more days than I can remember. The darkness swallowed me whole as I entered its lair, and my eyes had yet to adjust. For the first few hours, I'd strained against the thick blanket of black, hoping to see outlines of familiar shapes. Light gray among the opaque. Hints that I was somehow less alone.

I'd given up searching for anything days ago. There was nothing here. Nothing but cold slicing into me with bitter teeth, slow seeping damp coating the walls and huddling in the corners, and the whispery fear crawling along my skin.

He wasn't coming. He'd been infected. Or killed.

Either way, I was dead. Doomed to starve beneath the war-strewn streets above me, or fated to join the battle, be recognized at once, and find my head separated from my body before the sun could hide its face from the carnage we'd created.

In the heady days leading up to The Event, we'd thought we were heroes. Saviors. The gods of science all mankind would worship for centuries once we went public with our discovery. In all our circumlocution of logic, ideas, and outcomes, we'd been too busy gulping down the belief in our own greatness to ever stop and consider the consequences. The unknowns. The risks of removing all experimental controls and introducing the most unpredictable element of all--mankind.

There wasn't much mankind left to protest our hubris now.

And I was hiding beneath the streets, clutching the formula for what I hoped would be the antidote while Ben trolled the looted stores looking for ingredients. I'd wanted to come. Insisted on it. This was as much my mess as his. He'd refused me on the grounds that it wasn't just my life on the line now. I was hiding for two.

Hunger wrapped itself around my middle and squeezed with vicious fingers. The meager food I'd shoved into a plastic sack had run out hours--days?--ago. The water had run out soon after. If I didn't make a move soon, I'd die.

Trailing my fingers against the nubby, slime-covered wall beside me, I sidled along the walkway, caution raising the hairs on the back of my neck as faint screams filtered down from the street above. I slid one foot in front of the other without lifting my sole from the concrete beneath me. The last thing I needed was to hit an obstacle and plunge from the subway platform to the rails below.

The wall beside me gave way suddenly to the open space of the platform proper, and I nearly stumbled. Catching myself, I strained to see the steps leading from the underbelly of the city and froze as the distant whine of a motor hummed across the chilly air.

I whirled toward the tracks and crouched as headlights bounced around the corner, washing over the graffiti-coated walls in thin steams of yellow. Twisted letters in black and red bled across the unforgiving stone, a mural of images and words. The final obituary for a civilization brought to its knees in the name of progress.

I shoved myself back until I hit the wall, wrapped my arms around my chest, and watched as the headlights closed in until they slid over me and the vehicle screeched to a halt. It was a Ford Fiesta, battle-scarred and beautiful. As Ben opened the door and stepped toward me, I lunged for him, leaping off the platform to wrap myself around him.

"Hey, now," he said as I sobbed against his shoulder. "I'm here, now. It's okay. I told you I'd come for you. How's our little weenie-head?" He pressed a hand against my womb and the baby kicked.

"I thought you were dead!"

"Not yet."

I heard something weary in his voice. Something that sounded like the awful, choking grief I'd held caged within me since the first moment I'd realized our beautiful gift to mankind was going to be its final curse.

"We need to keep moving. They're coming into the lower levels now," Ben said and gently pushed me toward the Fiesta.

I got into the car as somewhere above us gunfire ripped into the now-familiar cacophony of screams and curses. Soon, there would be no safety. No hiding place. No where to work to undo what we'd unleashed. We had to move fast before our chance for redemption was swallowed by the blood-thirsty tide above us.

I looked at Ben and said "Drive."

Monday, March 29, 2010

Mostly Disturbing



1. Clearly, I did not find the time this weekend to write the Friday Fiction blog.

2. Never fear! I shall choose a winner tonight and write the post for tomorrow!

3. Most likely.

4. What did I do with my weekend instead?

5. I worked. I revised. I cleaned. I took my kids to see HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON.

6. And I fell in love with Toothless the dragon.

7. So in love, I raved on and on about how much I wanted a dragon of my very own.

8. Clint is now threatening to buy me an iguana for Christmas.

9. As a testament to just HOW MUCH I adored that movie (If you haven't seen it, go. One of the best animated films I've ever seen.), I'm totally okay with receiving an iguana as a pet.

10. Wonder how Spastic Kitten would feel about that?

11. One of the previews we watched before the movie was this. (The extended version).

12. In the sudden silence following the end of the preview, right after Donkey offered Puss the use of his tongue, Daredevil exclaimed in his best outside voice, "That's disturbing."

13. He's right.

14. Know what else is disturbing?

15. Jerry Springer is now hosting a dating show.

16. A. Dating. Show.

17. He says: "It's just fun and lighthearted. There's no life-changing issues. I'm like the crazy old uncle. People feel comfortable telling me their secrets, that I won't be judgemental."

18. *rubs hands together* So many opportunities for sarcasm, so little time.

19. The premise of the show is that contestants will reveal their bad habits in order to win a date.

20. I can only imagine the kind of prize dating material willing to a) accept a date with a stranger on national television b) from a reputable relationship expert like Jerry Spring c) after their prospective date has just revealed to the world she enjoys trimming her toenails with her teeth.

21. *has many more jokes ... mostly related to dating cousins, punching immediate family members, and trying WWF moves on your cheating boyfriend while wearing nothing but a tube top and some Daisy Dukes ... but is running out of time.*

22. Rachel Hawkins will be interviewed by the Were-llama this Wednesday and has an awesome giveaway!

23. She's asked for a Southern Gothic cupcake. Clint is inspired. So inspired, he won't even tell me what he's going to do. He just says it's "cool."

24. So, come back tomorrow to see (most likely) the Friday Fic post and winner announcement, and Wednesday to watch Rachel take on the Were-llama, enter to win a book and a t-shirt, and see Clint's "cool" Southern Gothic cupcake.

25. And if you want to be my bff for life? Find me an adorable dragon of my very own.

26. I will hug him and squeeze him and name him George.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Friday Fiction - Not Just For Fridays



Because my Friday has zero flexibility this week, I'm going to post the Friday Fiction winner and writing piece either late tonight or sometime tomorrow. Check back to see if you've won your choice of one of the 4 books in my stash!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Winner: Tessa Dare Giveaway



Thank you to all who commented and tweeted about Tessa's interview. I'm excited to announce the winner of Tessa's HUGE giveaway is Angie! (@bangersis on Twitter) Congratulations, Angie! Please leave your email in the comment trail, and I'll get in touch with you regarding your prize.

Tune in next Wednesday when YA author Rachel Hawkins takes on the Were-llama and gives away a copy of her awesome book HEX HALL along with a hexy t-shirt!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Interview With Tessa Dare Author of GODDESS OF THE HUNT



Before Tessa Dare's first book (GODDESS OF THE HUNT) hit the shelves, my friend and fellow Pixie Courtney Milan was all over Twitter telling everyone they simply had to read this book. Because I value Courtney's opinion, I picked up GOTH, devoured it in one gulp, and couldn't wait to get my hands on anything else Tessa Dare writes. The power of Tessa's writing lies in her astonishing ability to write authentic, funny, lovable, flawed characters who leap right off the page. Her story is charming, heartwarming and funny but with that added something that sets it apart from being just another novel about England's ton. In my opinion, that extra something is her ability to really let us inside her characters' heads and hearts. GODDESS OF THE HUNT instantly became one of my all-time favorite historical novels.

Here's a peek at GOTH:

Ever the bold adventuress, Lucy Waltham has decided to go hunting for a husband. But first she needs some target practice. So she turns to her brother’s best friend, Jeremy Trescott, the Earl of Kendall, to hone her seductive wiles on him before setting her sights on another man. But her practice kisses spark a smoldering passion—one that could send all her plans up in smoke.

Jeremy has an influential title, a vast fortune, and a painful past, full of long-buried secrets. He keeps a safe distance from his own emotions, but to distract Lucy from her reckless scheming, he must give his passions free rein. Their sensual battle of wills is as maddening as it is delicious, but the longer he succeeds in managing the headstrong temptress, the closer Jeremy comes to losing control. When scandal breaks, can he bring himself to abandon Lucy to her ruin? Or will he risk his heart, and claim her for his own?


I was thrilled when Tessa agreed to be interviewed by the Were-llama. (She does, after all, have a story about a were-stag. I may have finally met my were-match!)

The Were-llama



Tessa Dare



Now that you know who's who, let's dive into the interview and reveal the awesome cupcake my hubby made for Tessa. Tessa (who is a prolific author with three books out last year and three books coming out this summer!) has a trilogy of books hitting the shelves this May, June, and July called The Stud Club Trilogy where the heroes—a duke, a war hero, and a low-born scoundrel—hold shares in a priceless racehorse. When the club’s founder is tragically murdered, these three unlikely associates are united by chance, divided by suspicion, and brought to their knees by love. Membership in The Stud Club is denoted by gold tokens with a horse's head on one side and a horse's ... business end on the other. Although a cupcake featuring a horse's business end would have been STUNNING, my hubby chose to do a gold token featuring the horse's head. :) Without further ado, I give you the cupcake and the interview.




1. *Were-llama would like to suggest Ms. Dare write a Stud Club trilogy about him* 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?

Nothing. Which, as any romance reader knows, makes us perfect for one another. I am ensnared by the promise of those glowing red eyes, so lushly fringed with dark lashes. Will you come live with me? I have two children, affectionately known as the darelings, and thus far I have been unable to command their obedience with my eyes, my voice, or anything else. You could really help me out. Also, I once wrote a novella about another were-ruminant (The Legend of the Werestag, available from Samhain Publishing), so I’m in tune with your needs in a way most human women could never be. I sense a fated mates situation here.

2. Back the were-train up, lady. I'm no nanny. I like to spit at my enemies from whichever end is closest to them. Do any of your characters have cool abilities like that?

My characters, no. My children, yes!

Seriously, my upcoming hero, Spencer Dumarque, the Duke of Morland, can go you one better. He is a haughty, arrogant aristocrat who can make people feel spat upon, without even deigning to actually spit. Now that’s talent.

3. Hm. Your children can spit from both ends? *wonders if being a nanny would be akin to recruiting minions* As for Spencer, while the talent to make people feel spat upon without actually spitting is pretty good, I find for the purposes of insult and world domination, nothing gets my point across better than a face full of spit. If I had a nickname, it would be The Awesome. You?

The Awed. I have such a thing for were-ruminants. I kid you not. Look, I wrote about it here. I may be falling in love. I’m telling you, it’s the eyes. And the cud.

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

No llama, sadly, but there is a ruminant! A stud horse. See there was this guy, Leo, who owned this priceless stallion—a racehorse retired to stud. And as a way of sharing it with his Regency buddies, he created the Stud Club. There are ten brass tokens, each of which signifies membership in the club, and the tokens can never be bought or sold—only won or lost in a game of chance.

So Leo’s Stud Club becomes good fun for a few years, as the tokens change hands back and forth. Then suddenly, the reclusive Duke of Morland shows up in London, determined to win all ten tokens for himself so he can own the horse outright. Very unsporting of him, the remaining members think. What does Leo, the club’s founder think? Well, we will never know—because on the night the trilogy starts, poor Leo is murdered.

Here’s the blurb for One Dance with a Duke, releasing May 25th:

A handsome and reclusive horse breeder, Spencer Dumarque, the fourth Duke of Morland, is a member of the exclusive Stud Club, an organization so select it has only ten members — yet membership is attainable to anyone with luck. And Spencer has plenty of it, along with an obsession with a prize horse, a dark secret, and, now, a reputation as the dashing “Duke of Midnight.” Each evening he selects one lady for a breathtaking midnight waltz. But none of the women catch his interest, and nobody ever bests the duke — until Lady Amelia d’Orsay tries her luck.
In a moment of desperation, the unconventional beauty claims the duke’s dance and unwittingly steals his heart. When Amelia demands that Spencer forgive her scapegrace brother’s debts, she never imagines that her game of wits and words will lead to breathless passion and a steamy proposal. Still, Spencer is a man of mystery, perhaps connected to the shocking murder of the Stud Club’s founder. Will Amelia lose her heart in this reckless wager or win everlasting love?


5. I'm disappointed by the lack of llamas and hope you'll rectify that in future books. However, you've got a nice, juicy murder in there, so it's not a complete loss. 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?

Hmm. If One Dance with a Duke were a cake, I’d hope it would be something like this: From the outside, it’s just slathered with dollops of whipped cream. All sweet, sexy froth, at first glance. Cut into it, and you’ll find a decadent chocolate cake—rich and slightly dark. And then, down in the center, there’s a thin, well-hidden layer of filling. Something with a satisfying crunch, and a hint of tartness or even bitterness to it. Almonds, perhaps. Or maybe a sort of orangey praline.

I’m suddenly so hungry.

6. Your cake offering is acceptable. Any Were-llamas in your book?

No, but there is a were-hedgehog. I’m not joking! Here, a tiny excerpt from One Dance with a Duke:

Surely one of these evenings, the gossips declared, some blushing ingĂ©nue would get a proper grip on the recalcitrant bachelor…and a legend would be born.

Legend indeed. There was no end of stories about him. Where a man of his rank and fortune were involved, there were always stories.

“I hear he was raised barefoot and heathen in the Canadian wilderness,” said the first girl.

“I hear he was barely civilized when his uncle took him in,” said the second. “And his wild behavior gave the old duke an apoplexy.”

The lady in green murmured, “My brother told me there was an incident, at Eton. Some sort of scrape or brawl… I don’t know precisely. But a boy nearly died, and Morland was expelled for it. If they sent down a duke’s heir, you know it must have been dreadful.”

“You’ll not believe what I’ve heard,” Amelia said, widening her eyes. The ladies perked, leaning in close. “I hear,” she whispered, “that by the light of the full moon, His Grace transforms into a ravening hedgehog.”


7. Were-llama approves of this book and its author. Do you have anyone in your books who might be a Were-llama and you just haven’t figured it out yet?

Well, Julian, who becomes the hero of Three Nights with a Scoundrel, is very cagey about his origins. At one point, he jokingly tells his companions he was raised by Albanian goatherds. But he’s just throwing them off the scent. Now that you mention it, I think were-llama is a very real possibility….

8. Llamas or camels and why? Think carefully.

Llamas, natch. Because you are my host and you have cake. Also, you’re cuddlier. Plus, my dareling’s favorite book right now is Llama Llama Red Pajama. And I loved you in Napoleon Dynamite.

9. Sweet! I give you a baby Were-llama as a companion. What do you name her?

Shamu, just to mess with her head. Just kidding. Hmm. Let’s go with Pearl.

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

It’s cruel to ask a writer for her favorite word. I can’t possibly choose just one! You are looking (staring, really, with those mesmerizing red eyes…) at a woman who has never handed in a novel under 100,000 actual words. Obviously, I have difficulty choosing favorites.

11. Well, I should think the word "were-llama" would be at the top of your list. 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?

Being a writer. And I am now living the dream! I’ll admit, it’s a bit less glam than I imagined.

12. True glamour is being a were-llama. Cake or cookies?

Yes.

13. Do you share chocolate?

Depends on who’s asking. Are you asking? You know I will not refuse.

14. No one can refuse the awesome power of my glowing red eyes. The Zombie Goat invasion is upon us. How will you fight them off?

I have to confess….If there’s a ruminant I love more than the llama, stag, or stud, it’s the goat. I once wrote a whole book called Goats on a Boat. The marketing people thought Surrender of a Siren would be a better title, and they left the goats off the cover—but I swear to you, they’re there! On that little boat! Pirate goats. Arrrrgh.

So you see… *slips on sunglasses impervious to glowing red eyes* I will not fight them off at all. In fact, I am part of the Zombie Goat invasion. Just reconnaissance, though. No worries, we still have time for cake. I’ll take cake over brains any day. Make that cake OR cookies. =)

Pirate goats! Is it any wonder I adore this woman's writing? Thanks for the fun interview, Tessa. And for writing such captivating books! To learn more about Tessa, visit her website where you can find links and blurbs for each book, news, contests, and even a peek at her diary. And pick up a copy or two of Tessa's books. You'll thank me for the recommendation. Trust me.

Tessa's Giveaway:

Now for MORE FUN. Yes, it deserves all caps. Tessa has generously donated a giveaway that is full of the kind of AWESOMESAUCE worthy of the Were-llama. One lucky commenter will get all of the following:

*A signed copy of Goddess of the Hunt

*An e-copy of The Legend of the Werestag

*promotional swag: including the very first set of her new bookmarks and a coverflat of Three Nights with a Scoundrel

*A copy of the dareling-approved and thematically-appropriate picture book, Llama Llama Red Pajama.


Told you today's giveaway was HUGE. To enter, please leave a comment here for Tessa. Two additional entries can be earned by tweeting a link to this interview. Make sure you either give me the url for that tweet here in the comment trail or include @cjredwine so I see it on Twitter. Also, make sure to follow Tessa on Twitter (@TessaDare). I will close this contest Thursday evening (March 25th) at 8 p.m. Central Time and announce a winner.

Thanks, Tessa! Good luck to all of my readers!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Stuff You Need To Know



1. In case you haven't yet entered the Friday Fiction giveaway (where you get to choose 1 of 4 books as your prize!), go here and do so.

2. There are only 4 spots remaining in April's Query Workshop. Find more details here.

3. Tomorrow, historical author Tessa Dare (whose books I absolutely adore) will be interviewed on the blog and is generously donating a HUGE giveaway package. HUGE. It's so full of AWESOMESAUCE I can't even begin to tell you how awesomesauce it is. Tune in tomorrow for all the details!

Monday, March 22, 2010

It's Platypus Monday (Plus a chance to win 1 of 4 books!)



1. I admit it. Before the whole Hey Why Don't You Make A Were-Platypus Cupcake! movement on this blog (inspired by Shannon Messenger and Kerry Allen, may they rest in peace), I hadn't given the platypus more than a passing thought.

2. Now? They're everywhere.

3. Example A: I was watching tv with my kids the other day when a commercial for Littlest Pet Shop came on. Imagine my surprise when the pet being offered was a platypus.

4. Not that the item pictured inside that box looks even remotely like a platypus, but whatever.

5. I decided to investigate this strange occurrence (Because, really? Who expects to buy toy platypi for their kids? Not me.) and discovered the platypus is taking over the internet.

6. Most notably on a site that is a gift shop entirely focused on the platypus.

7. Some of my favorite platypus-inspired items?



Platypus Christmas ornaments. Nothing says Happy Holidays like a semi-aquatic mammal on a string!



A platypus wine stopper! (I love that the site describes this as an "elegant" gift. Because nothing says elegant, posh wine-lover like an animal that sweats milk.)

And my personal favorite:



Canned platypus. It's what's for dinner.

8. But all of those items combined can't possibly match the utter What Were They Thinking?! reaction I had to this gem.

9. You have to click on it and read the description to really get the full impact.

10. The platypus has EGGS. That SQUEAK. And that your dog PULLS from the platypus's sacred egg-carrying orifice.

11. And then YOU get the joy of STUFFING the eggs back IN said orifice.

12. Good times all around!

13. In an abrupt, non platypus-related subject change, I overheard a woman last week say she'd played Farm Town so much on Facebook, she'd decided she really wanted to buy a real farm and live the video game in real life.

14. ...

15. I certainly hope she doesn't decide to start playing Street Fighter IV.

16. In this week's poll (see sidebar), I've listed the titles of the books I'll be giving away in the coming weeks. Of course, the Wednesday interviews will have their own special giveaways!

17. To enter this week's giveaway (and to pick from one of those four books!), leave a comment on this post with three words you'd like to see me work into a piece of writing for this week's Friday Fiction.

18. Just three words.

19. If you have other, platypus-inspired comments to make, feel free, but only those comments including 3 words for my Friday Fiction challenge will go into the drawing.

20. Of course you can nab extra entries as well (but only those who also comment on this post will be in the drawing):

Leave comment w/3 words for Friday Fiction: 1 entry

Tweet a link to this post (include @cjredwine so I see it): 2 entries

Tweet a link to my query or plotting workshops (@cjredwine, http://queryworkshop.blogspot.com) : 3 entries

Be a blog follower: 2 entries

Please tally up your entries and include the total in your comment (to make sure I don't miss any) I'll do the drawing on Friday morning. Then, I'll use the winner's 3 words in a writing prompt, and the winner can choose from one of the four titles I'm currently offering as prizes!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Friday Fiction - #1

The random number generator gave me WandererInGray's first sentence for today's installment of Friday Fiction. Congratulations, Katie! You've won a book of your choice from my stash. Today's choices are: Maggie Stiefvater's SHIVER, Kelly Gay's THE BETTER PART OF DARKNESS, and Jeaniene Frost's FIRST DROP OF CRIMSON.

FRIDAY FICTION

When I woke up in a dumpster covered in lime Jello I knew it was going to be one of those Mondays. Not that any of my Mondays have been peachy since she showed up, but whatever.

I stood up, felt the world tilt, and crashed back onto my bed of Jello, used napkins, and other substances I decided not to investigate. My head ached with so much intensity I had to reach up and pat my skull to make sure no one had embedded an axe in it while I wasn't looking.

My head, while mercifully axe-free, was covered with a sticky substance I soon discovered was blood. My blood. Which was shame because a) it really sucked to wake up bloody and lying in a dumpster and b) after everything I'd done yesterday, I'd really hoped to make her bleed instead.

Now I was stuck inside a metal prison that smelled like rotting food, and she was still out there. Hunting. Probably cozying up to Jonathan, lying through her teeth, and plotting his ultimate demise. She probably thought she'd killed me and the coast was clear.

She was going to really regret not finishing the job.

This time when I stood up, I dug my fingers into the cold, slimy side of the dumpster and hung on for dear life when the dizziness threatened to slap me back down. Nausea lurched toward the back of my throat as my sense of vertigo collided with the overwhelming scent of decaying something permeating the air. I swallowed against it and shoved the metal flap resting over the top of the dumpster. It flipped open with the harsh screech of metal hinges slowly giving ground to rust, and I grasped the edge with both hands and pulled myself up enough to see over the edge.

A man stood in the alley, his hands full of glossy black trash bags, his mouth gaping open like he'd never seen a girl covered in blood and lime Jello trying to crawl out of a dumpster.

"Am I glad to see you," I said. "You think you can give me a hand? I seem to be stuck."

He closed his mouth, but came no closer. "Um. What were you doing in there?"

I rolled my eyes and instantly regretted it as the pain in my head doubled. "Research."

He frowned. "What kind of research?"

The kind that seeks to understand what happens when a fairly average human girl decides to pick a fight with a totally superstar Nephilim.

"Never mind what kind of research. Can you pull me out?"

"You're bleeding," he said.

Thank you, Captain Obvious. "I know. I slipped on Jello and hit my head. Are you going to stare at me all day, or will you help me?"

He dumped his trash bags on the cracked asphalt and offered me a hand. Several minutes, two failed attempts, and one very ungraceful landing later, I was free of the dumpster. I thanked the man, who was now wearing almost as much Jello as I was, and headed toward the mouth of the alley. My head pounded with every step, dried blood caked my face, and my clothing looked like I'd somersaulted through an all-you-could-eat-buffet. I didn't care. All that mattered was I was alive, I knew where the weapon was hidden, and I no longer had any compunctions about using it.

I had a lying little Nephilim to kill.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Workshop Update




Registration has been open for a mere 24 hours and I'm already down to only 9 spots available in April's Query Workshop. If you're considering it, please head here for the info.

Query Example

I'm involved in #querychat tonight on Twitter and find it difficult to really explain how to include both PLOT and VOICE when I'm constricted to 140 characters. So, I'm posting the query that landed me my agent as an example for those currently involved in the chat.

Ms. Holly Root
1234 Publishable Ave.
New York City, NY 10001

Dear Ms. Root,


Alexa Tate is more than human. She can swim underwater without holding her breath, scale a brick building in five seconds flat, and hear the emotions of those about to commit a crime. A secretary by day, she uses her skills to hunt down evil at night. She is stronger, faster, and more lethal than anyone she's ever met.

Until now.

A non-human hunter has come to town. Using mind-control to inhabit his victims and through them commit unspeakable crimes, the hunter leaves a trail of bodies leading right to Alexa's door.

Suddenly, Alexa is the prey in an ancient war whose rules she is just beginning to understand.

To stop the hunter and save those she loves, she must uncover the truth about her origins, keep a certain handsome cop from suspecting her of crimes she may have committed, and unleash the tremendous power locked inside of her without becoming what she fears most: a killer.

Living in New York City can be murder.

Shadowing Fate is an urban fantasy complete at 80,000 words. I'm a member of RWA and a 2008 Golden Heart finalist. I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

C.J. Redwine

Winner of CITY OF BONES



Thank you to all who read and commented on the Mundie Moms interview yesterday. I used a random number generator to choose the winner of a copy of CITY OF BONES. The winner is Travis Pearson. Please leave your email for me in the comment section (or DM me on Twitter) to claim your prize. Congratulations!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Interview With The Mundie Moms: Young Adult Book Bloggers & Reviewers



I first met the Mundie Moms when Myra began talking with them on Twitter. I followed them, visited their blog, and soon became hooked. Need to know the scoop on the exciting new books hitting the shelves in the Young Adult (ages 13-17) genre? They've got it. Want a peek behind the scenes of your favorite author's life? They've got the backstage pass. Want to chat with authors, enter contests, and score free books and a host of other super cool book swag items? They've got it all.

According to their website:

Mundie Moms is a world wide fandom brought together through our love of discussing books. Mundie Moms was founded as a place to come and talk about our love of the Mortal Instrument Series. From there, it grew into a place to discuss YA books and more.

You will find links to our Mundie Moms forum, Cassandra Clare's forum, our book forums, books reviews, author chats and much more on our blog. Be sure to visit our Cassandra Clare forum, as Cassandra stops by to answer fan questions.

We're not your normal group of moms, nor are we all moms. We have fans that include women and men, teens and more who are a part of our blog or forum.


It's always so enjoyable to meet others who love books the way I do, so I was so thrilled when the Mundie Moms team agreed to be interviewed on my blog by none other than that charming rogue Captain Jack Sparrow.



Captain Jack Sparrow




Three of the four Mundie Moms team members

Now that you know who's who, let's dive into the interview and reveal the cupcake my hubby made for them. The Mundie Moms requested a cupcake with their Double M logo on it. Because their site has black, purple, and orange on it, my hubby decided to go with a purple background. He thanks the Mundie Moms for giving him the easiest cupcake assignment yet! Now, without further ado, I give you the cupcake and the Mundie Moms' interview with Captain Jack.



1. Would you classify yourself as a pirate or a member of Her Majesty’s Royal navy? Why?

We’re a different breed, altogether, *whispers* Mundie Moms. Have you heard of us?

2. A different breed? I admit to being slightly nervous. I thought I'd met and conquered every breed out there. What’s your favorite thing to do in Tortuga?

Read. It’s always our favorite thing to do.

3. Reading in Tortuga? You are a different breed! I’m offering you free passage aboard my ship to anywhere in the world. Where shall we go, love?

Idris, please.

4. Idris? I'm not familiar with it. But, as long as it has rum and some treasure for the taking, I'm game. Whom do you love the hero of a story to be most like: me (savvy, debonair, and unquestionably smooth with the ladies), the insufferably honorable Will Turner, or that deceptive little minx Elizabeth?

We have a thing for hot, honorable and snarky boys. Also extremely smart girls who don’t necessarily need saving from the hot, snarky boy.

5. Rum? Or more rum?

We like water. It’s healthy. Here, try some.

6. Darling, I'm afraid I must decline. Water is for sailing upon. Rum is for drinking. Which leads me to the age old question: Why is the rum always gone?

Because you’ve been there before, Captain Jack?

7. You know me too well. What’s the most piratish thing you’ve ever done?

Mundie Moms don’t like pirates who steal books. Stay away from that type of pirating and you’re safe from our wrath.

8. Are they rules? Or more like guidelines?

Always, guidelines. And new worlds to explore. We love when books have maps in the beginning.

9. I understand you love a good story-teller. Any undead monkeys in your favorite stories?

No, but we have our fair share of Downworlders. Sorry, Mundie Mom humor. We love all Downworlders.

10. I haven't met any Downworlders. Given my propensity to run into trouble with creatures not of this world, let's hope I never do. Any curses? Heartless monsters? Irritating women who insist on taking matters into their own hands?

No curses that we know of or heartless monsters. But, as far as irritating women go, fortunately, we count ourselves amongst those. We think of that as a Good Thing. *pauses* Don’t you?

11. Depends on whether you're currently holding my life in your hands. *backs away and reaches for sword* I'm beginning to think my life expectancy will increase tenfold if I never fun afoul of the likes of you. One of my favorite words is “egregious.” Care to share one of yours, love?

Mundane. I know, that was a big surprise.

12. Parlay? Or draw your sword?

Always a sword. *flips a stele in the air*

13. You’ve got a crowd of cursed sailors and a nasty sea monster on your trail. How do you escape?

Okay, Mundie Moms don’t like people who curse. Oh, I see … you said cursed. Not who curse. Because sailors do curse. At least the ones we know. I’m sorry, you were asking? Mundie Moms get distracted. Too many things to do. Are they hot, cursed sailors? Because then we’d want them to stop and chat for a while. And sea monsters don’t scare us, we’ve changed too many diapers in our lifetime. *gives Sea Monster the “Mommy Glare” and says “Go, to your room, now. Time out!”*

14. My darlings, I concede to your formidable attitude and do hope if war breaks out, you'll allow me the pleasure of being on your side of the battle. Romantic night in? Or adventure on the high seas?

“Bring me that horizon” – always the high seas.

15. Lovely. I couldn't agree more. My personal motto is: Take what you want, give nothing back. What’s yours?

“I’m pure at heart. It repels the dirt.”



Thanks for the fun interview, Mundie Moms! And for running such a fun fan forum (fun for authors and readers alike!) To learn more about the Mundie Moms, visit their site.

Now for some more fun! I asked the Mundie Moms to recommend their favorite book and the unanimous recommendation was Cassandra Clare's CITY OF BONES. (Which I've read and loved!) The Mundie Moms have this to say about CITY OF BONES:

We have to recommend Cassandra Clare's City of Bones. It has unbelievable plot twists, three dimensional characters and a richly layered mythology. Did we mention unbelievable plot twists??


In honor of the Mundie Moms, I'm giving away a copy of CITY OF BONES to one lucky blog reader! Simply leave a comment for the Mundie Moms to enter and check back tomorrow to see if you've won.

New Workshops Open for Registration

I've opened two new workshops up for registration today. The first is April's Query Workshop. The second is a new How To Plot an Amazing Story workshop. (Please note the plotting workshop does not seek to change the unique way each writer approaches their own writing process.) For details on either workshop, go here.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Anything But The Eyes



1. I believe all of my regular blog readers know how I feel about eyes.

2. If you need a refresher course, go here.

3. I can seriously handle just about any nasty thing you throw at me. I clean up anything my boys can dish out (And really? I deserve a freakin' medal for that one.) without batting an eye. I can handle any subject you wish to discuss while I'm eating. I can even clean up after strangers who've been sick at the restaurant without losing my own dinner. But I gag out loud if I feel a blood vessel breaking in my eye.

4. And if I smell green beans, but whatever. The fact I can handle the smell of vomit but not the smell of green beans is just part of my quirky charm.

5. Did you know you can feel when a blood vessel is breaking in your eye?

6. GAH! I can't even write about it! My gag reflex is forcibly threatening to make me revisit the coffee-flavored yogurt I just ate for breakfast.

7. Anyway, everyone in my family knows I can't stand eye stuff. They all think it's funny to regale me with nasty eye-related stories.

8. (It's okay. I know how to get the last laugh. My latest plan involves duct tape, silly string, and a vat of lime jello. Mwuahahaha!)

9. A few days ago, my children learned an exciting tidbit of information and hurried to share it with me.

10. You know that gunk in your eye after you wake up? That's dust mite poop.

11. Hello, coffee-flavored yogurt! How nice to see you again.

12. I haven't been right since they told me that.

13. Really.

14. *eye-twitches*

15. Moving on. *slaps hand over left eye to stop the twitching*

16. Have you entered some first sentences for me to use for Friday Fiction? If yours is picked (random number generator used), you win a free book from my stash! Go here to enter.

17. This week's interview is with the Mundie Moms, a full-service YA book review/fan forum with tons of giveaways, author chats, contests, and great reviews of all the young adult books hitting the shelves.

18. Upcoming interview guests on the blog include: Jeaniene Frost, Rachel Hawkins, Tessa Dare, Lisa Mantchev, Maggie Stiefvater, Kay Cassidy, Kris Kennedy, Chelsea Campbell and more!

19. My poor hubby is so excited to make all those cupcakes!

20. Since I'm still not over the "she begged" comment, I'm okay with this.

21. Until Wednesday, think of me every time you wipe dust mite poop out of your eyes.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Winner!



I used a random number generator to pick the winner of the signed copy of THE BETTER PART OF DARKNESS. Congratulations, Sara McClung!! You've won! Please email me your mailing address and I'll forward it on to Kelly.

Thank you to everyone who commented and entered. Stay tuned for next week's interview where Captain Jack pursues not one woman, but two!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Interview With Kelly Gay Author Of THE BETTER PART OF DARKNESS



When my friend and fellow Pixie ('08 Golden Heart finalists) Kelly Gay's book hit the shelves, I couldn't wait to get my hands on it. I had that little tingle of anticipation that tells me I'm going to love a book. I was right. Kelly's world-building is amazing, her characters come right off the page, and she managed to write both a fast-paced thriller and a heart-breaking story of love, loss, and the sacrifices we're willing to make to do what we think is right. Plus, she laid the groundwork for a well-developed series, and I can't wait to read the rest!

Here's a peek at TBPD:

Divorced mother of one, Charlie Madigan, lives in a world where the beings of heaven and hell exist among us, and they aren't the things of Sunday school lessons and Hallmark figurines. In the years since the Revelation, they've become our co-workers, neighbors, and fellow citizens.

Charlie works for ITF (Integration Task Force). It's her job to see that the continued integration of our new "friends" goes smoothly and everyone obeys the law, but when a new off-world drug is released in Underground Atlanta, her daughter is targeted, and her ex-husband makes a fateful bargain to win her back, there's nothing in heaven or earth (or hell for that matter) that Charlie won't do to set things right.


I was so excited when Kelly agreed to take on Captain Jack Sparrow for a blog interview. (Not that taking on Captain Jack Sparrow is a hardship.)



Captain Jack Sparrow



Kelly Gay

Now that you know who's who, let's dive into the interview and reveal the amazing cupcake my hubby made (No more Cupcakegate for him!) in honor of Kelly. The source of much of TBPD's trouble is a flower called the Bleeding Soul. Hubby transformed this mythical flower into a cupcake. Without further ado, I give you the cupcake and Kelly's interview with Captain Jack:



1. Would you classify yourself as a pirate or a member of Her Majesty’s Royal navy?

Why? Pirate, of course. I have issues with authority.

2. Darling, you're speaking my language. What’s your favorite thing to do in Tortuga?

Checking out the other pirate’s looted treasures when they dock. If there’s something I want… well, rest assured I’ll find a way to get it. This usually involves bets, dares, and games of chance. Bat an eyelash, look simple, and most tend to underestimate me. You should see the things I’ve collected, mate.

3. Is that an invitation? I’m offering you free passage aboard my ship to anywhere in the world. Where shall we go, love?

The Mediterranean would be nice. The Greek Isles. Ruined temples. Warm nights. And I hear there’s treasure to be had if you know where to look…

4. Where have you been all my life? Who is the hero of your story most like: me (savvy, debonair, and unquestionably smooth with the ladies), the insufferably honorable Will Turner, or that deceptive little minx Elizabeth?

I’d say Charlie is a lot like Will with a little dash of Elizabeth and you, Capt’n, thrown in. She’s honorable, with a sense of justice that runs deep, but she’s not above going vigilante (or dare I say, pirate) if need be.

5. Rum? Or more rum?

More rum. =)

6. Which leads me to the age old question: Why is the rum always gone?

*tucking bottle of rum behind her and looking innocent* I don’t know what you mean.

7. Darling, we may have to run away together. With the entire stash of rum, of course. What’s the most piratish thing you’ve ever done?

Sailing to the Outer Banks. Digging for diamonds in Arkansas. Mining for gemstones in North Carolina… I’ve an eye for the sparklies, mate.

8. And I've an eye for ladies who know how to get their own sparklies. Are they rules? Or more like guidelines?

Bah. I’ve no love of rules. Guidelines? Perhaps. If they suit me.

9. I understand you’re a story-teller. Any undead monkeys in your stories?

No undead monkeys, but there are gargoyles. Nasty, monkey-sized irritants that cost far too much gold and cause far too much trouble.

10. Let's hope none of them are named Jack. Any curses? Heartless monsters? Irritating women who insist on taking matters into their own hands?

Heartless monsters, check. Women taking matters into their own hands, check – though ‘irritating’ depends on what side you’re on.

11. The last woman I met who took matters into her own hands cost me my life. I find that just a wee bit irritating. One of my favorite words is “egregious.” Care to share one of yours, love?

Words are my treasures, Capt’n Jack. I like strong ones like ‘claim’, ‘enthrall’, ‘slay’ ‘possess’.

12. I say forget the rest of the interview. Let's go slay, claim, enthrall, and darling, feel free to possess me. Hands off the hat, though. Parlay? Or draw your sword?

*grins* Swords. *standing back, drawing blade, and admiring the gleaming steel* She’s a beauty, isn’t she? You ready to feel her sting?

13. And here I thought we were getting along so famously. There's a strong streak of pirate in you, my dear. I'll be watching my back. And my rum. You’ve got a crowd of cursed sailors and a nasty sea monster on your trail. How do you escape?

Follow the fleeing guy with the rum?

14. Run away to fight another day is always an excellent course of action. Romantic night in? Or adventure on the high seas?

Adventure on the high seas, of course. Though, there is always time for a little romance amid the fun, eh?

15. As long as you're with my, love, you can have all the romance and adventure your little pirate heart can take. My personal motto is: Take what you want, give nothing back. What’s yours?

Always follow the rum. =)

Thanks for the fun interview, Kelly! And for writing such a fantastic book. To learn more about Kelly, visit her website and her blog. To order a copy of THE BETTER PART OF DARKNESS (and you really should!) go here. To pre-order the sequel, THE DARKEST EDGE OF DAWN (I know I am!) go here.

Now, for a little more fun. Kelly is giving away a signed copy of THE BETTER PART OF DARKNESS to one lucky commenter today! To enter, leave a comment for Kelly answering this question:

What's the most piratish thing you've ever done?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Cupcake Malfunction Continues



The cupcake malfunction (soon to be known as Cupcakegate) is no closer to a solution. The flower petals refuse to dry sufficiently to allow my hubby to take the flower off its stand. He'll try again today.

I would say he has the patience of a saint, and he's soooo wonderful to keep working on this for me and yadda yadda yadda, but I think we can all agree after yesterday's conversation, he's lucky to still be alive.

Until tomorrow!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Excuse Me?



Usually, I bring you an interview on Wednesdays. Today's interview, however, has been rescheduled to tomorrow (and there is an AWESOME giveaway so stay tuned!) because of a tragic cupcake malfunction.

So, in place of my regularly scheduled blog feature, I bring you the following conversation which happened yesterday in the car:

Hubby: Oh, man! I still have to make that cupcake.

Me: *glances at him* I'm sorry. If you really don't want to make cupcakes for my blog, just tell me. I'll do something else.

Hubby: *is silent*

Me: Well?

Hubby: I'm not answering that.

Me: Why not?

Hubby: Because I love you.

Starshine: Answer her, Dad! Weren't you listening to her?

Hubby: I never listen to her.

Starshine: *makes frustrated sound* I can't believe you got married to her. How in the world did you ever manage to get married if you don't listen to her?

Hubby: I got married BECAUSE I didn't listen to her.

Me: Oh, nice.

Starshine: *ponders this for a minute* So .... did she ask you to marry her?

Hubby: Nope. She didn't ask. She begged.

To send flowers to Hubby's memorial service, call 1-800-O-No-U-Didn't

Monday, March 8, 2010

Klassy!



1. I saw two things this weekend that made me laugh.

2. The fact that neither of these things were meant to be funny made it that much better.

3. First, I saw an ad for a hairstyling salon that read as follows:

4. Klassy Not Sassy Boutique

5. I think the "k" just gives it that extra special touch of sophistication and--dare I say it?--klass.

6. I stopped by the Starbucks inside my local grocery store and discovered a new free-to-me product: bagged used coffee grounds.

7. The slick bag housing the grounds explained (in glossy, colorful letters) that the grounds were excellent for gardening and offered them for free to customers who wanted to a) make their plants very happy and b) help Starbucks reduce their environmental footprint.

8. Am I the only one who sees the big fat irony in taking something that is environmentally friendly and wouldn't harm a landfill and packaging it in a slick, ink-covered bag so the company can seem environmentally conscious?

9. *rolls eyes*

10. I saw Alice in Wonderland last week and LOVED it. Gorgeous imagery, stellar acting, and top notch writing. Also, on a Tim Burton 1-10 scale of weird, this was about a 2.

11. My kids loved it too.

12. I can now be bribed with Alice in Wonderland swag, fyi.

13. I'm over half finished with CASTING STONES revisions and they're going well.

14. And that's really all I have to say about that. *brain is mostly broken this morning*

15. Fun question for you: What are your top 5 favorite movies of all time?

16. It's a tough one to answer because so many could make the cut, but you need to just pick 5.

17. Mine are: The Dark Knight, Mary Poppins, Harry Potter & The Chamber of Secrets, Pirates: Curse of the Black Pearl, and The Princess Bride.

18. Yours?

Friday, March 5, 2010

Friday Fiction



I used to call this feature "Get Me Started," but decided I couldn't resist the alliteration of "Friday Fiction" instead. Here's how it works.

1. You leave me a comment with an interesting first sentence. (No profanity or sex please)

2. Every Friday, I use a random number generator to pick one of the comments, and then use that first sentence as a starting place to write a short piece of fiction for the blog.

3. If your comment is chosen, you win a book of your choice from my private stash!

4. You may enter up to five separate first sentence comments.

5. If I use your comment, you have until the following Friday to give me your email addy so we can talk prizes.

6. What are you waiting for? Give me some awesome first sentences and let's get Friday Fiction going!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Winner of Holly Root's Giveaway!

The Random Number Generator picked comment #16 as the winner of Holly's free book giveaway. Aimee Bartis, please give me your email address so I can put you in touch with Holly. Congratulations!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Interview With Agent Holly Root

I'm so excited to have my Agent of Awesomesauce Holly Root on the blog today. Holly is a class act who understands and respects the creative process, is a pit bull when it comes to negotiating for her clients, and doesn't flinch from writers who think discussing milk-flavored duckies and spiders down cleavage in the same post is acceptable blog content.

Plus, she has minions. Revision Duck Mafia minions. You know that's cool.

The first time I talked with Holly, I felt instantly at home. Especially when I sort of wondered aloud if she'd wandered through my blog because what she found MIGHT sway her decision to offer representation (and not in a good way), and she assured me she'd read my blog, and it was crazy-free.

Crazy-free.

I decided either she was being kind, or she was my kind of people. Turns out she's my kind of people.

When I asked her which of the Usual Suspects she'd like to be interviewed by, she chose the Spork of Doom.



Spork of Doom.



Holly Root

Now that you know who's who, let's get to the important stuff. As you know, Clint makes a special cupcake in honor of whomever is being interviewed. Holly requested a Kitten of Doom cupcake. I thought it was going to be the end of Clint. He kept asking me, "What does a Kitten of Doom look like?" To which I replied, "Yanno. Doomy."

He didn't really find that helpful.

And then, after he'd nearly finished the Kitten of Doom, disaster struck. Our very own Spastic Kitten, furious at the apparent competition for the title of Most Insane Feline Under Our Roof, did a drive-by swiping, sending the cupcake (and two hours of hard work) flying toward the floor. Thankfully, the Scientist was close at hand and he caught the cupcake before it splattered everywhere, thereby saving this blog post and Spastic Kitten's life. So, without further ado, I give you the (doomy) Kitten of Doom (Yes, it's ALL edible.) and Holly's interview with the Spork of Doom! We're all about Doom! today.



1. I’m all about world domination, and I’m always looking for good help. Why would you be an acceptable minion in my quest?

You can never go wrong with at least one minion with opposable thumbs.

2. Being a Spork of Doom takes moxy. What’s the sporkiest thing you’ve ever done?

Worn fuchsia and red together and Made. It. Work.

3. When I’m not busy taking over the world, I like to eat pie. What kind of pie do you think is worthy of my Spork of Doom status?

I'll see you your pie and raise you a blackberry cobbler. That, my friend, is how God intended us to consume fruit and carbs together, and as a bonus wouldn't it be most efficient to consume via spork?

4. You make a valid point. Favorite dessert to eat with a spork?

See above. Check and mate.

5. I have the ability to be simultaneously spoon, fork, and weapon of mass destruction. What unique ability do you have?

A devastating deadpan.

6. In this day and age, a savvy spork bent on world domination can’t afford to ignore a good marketing campaign. I’m thinking t-shirts with “Spork or Die.” If you made a shirt with your own slogan on it, what would it say?

If you can read this, I sold it.

7. If I had to compare myself to anyone in history, I’d have to say I’m most like Napoleon. Only skinnier. And shinier. And smart enough not to lose my empire at a place with a ridiculous name like Waterloo. Who are you most like and why?

I'm going with my boy Ghengis on account of the conquering the known world and the excellent bone structure.

8. Why is your job just as much fun as world domination?

They both come with a corporate jet.

9. Seriously? Why don't I have a corporate jet? I'm a SPORK OF DOOM. I need a corporate jet. Or at least some pie. You need to accomplish a secret, night-time mission as my minion. Cloak? No cloak? Why?

Oh, no cloak. Didn't you see The Incredibles? Never a cloak.

10. My best piece of advice to others is this: “Fear the spork!” What’s your best advice?

Quit picking at it.


Thank you, Holly, for taking on the Spork of Doom with such inimitable style. To learn more about Holly as an agent, go here.

Holly brought a giveaway with her today--the choice of one of the books from her stash. Trust me, she has a STASH! Answer Holly's question in the comment trail to go into a drawing. The winner will be announced on Thursday, so stay tuned. Holly will then email you with a list of books to choose from. Have fun!

Holly's question: What color scheme would your super* suit follow? (The * is because I respect supers of both the villain and hero persuasions. And mine would be lavender and deep purple, for the record.)

Monday, March 1, 2010

Monday Linkage

A writer friend of mine, Sara McClung, is running an awesome contest on her blog right now. Signed books, entire trilogies, and even a really cool Alice in Wonderland giveaway are available to win! (FYI: The Alice prize=MINE so back off.) It's easy to enter. Check it out.

Also, today I guest blogged at Romance University and critiqued one lucky(?) writer's query.

Bombs Ahoy!



1. There's a commercial on the kids' channels advertising a new, wonderful, must-buy-this-now product.

2. What is this new, wonderful, must-buy-this-now product?

3. 3-D bubbles.

4. Which is a relief because I can't tell you how many times I've looked at bubbles floating through the air and thought "If only these were 3-D!"

5. ...

6. In other what-were-they-thinking product news, Cracker Barrel has their Easter candy out. We have all of the usual suspects--peeps, chocolate eggs, jelly beans--and one very special addition:


7. I had to read it twice to be sure the manufacturers hadn't accidentally left off the word "chocolate."

8. They hadn't.

9. This is truly every child's Easter candy dream: A yellow rubber-ducky-look-alike that tastes like milk.

10. Excuse me while I go gag for a minute.

11. And speaking of gagging, I have a seriously irrational fear I'd like to share with you.

12. And no, I don't think the other fears I've shared with you are irrational.

13. You just keep on believing goats and moths aren't the eventual cause of the Apocalypse. One day soon, I'll be able to say "I told you so."

14. If you survive.

15. But, I digress.

16. I have an irrational fear that if I take a cup out of the cupboard, pour a drink into it, and begin drinking without ever looking into the cup, there will be a spider floating in my drink.

17. This fear is irrational on a number of levels.

18. One, I keep the glasses in the cupboard upside down so there's very little likelihood a spider could get inside.

19. Two, we have a monthly pest service and it's rare to see a bug of any sort inside my home. (Although there was the one day a spider literally DROPPED FROM THE CEILING and LANDED IN MY CLEAVAGE but I can't talk about that without curling up in the fetal position and whining for my mama.)

20. Three, never, not once, has this happened to me.

21. Still, on the rare occasion that I wander into the kitchen at night for a glass of water and use only the hall light to guide me, I'm totally convinced that as I swallow the water, I will, at any second, feel the brush of a nasty spider body against my lips.

22. Do I keep drinking?

23. Yes.

24. Without turning on a light and looking?

25. Yes.

26. Does it make my stomach cramp with fear and my gag reflex threaten to expel everything I've eaten in the last five hours?

27. You betcha.

28. Why do I do it?

29. Because sometimes a girl has to look her irrational fears in the eye and tell them to suck it.

30. I do, however, have a very rational fear of suicide spider bombers lurking along my ceiling ...

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