Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Extra! Extra! Read All About It!



I interrupt what I'm sure is a fascinating midweek evening for you with the following important tidbits of news:

1. I was recently informed by a co-worker that she found me an incredibly intimidating person for over a year. This is news because unless you mess with my family or hurt my friends, I might be one of the easiest girls in the world to approach. I was baffled by her response to me until I realized the obvious: she has an internal ninja radar. It's the only possible answer. Somehow she looked past my fantastically graceless, laughs inappropriately ALL THE TIME red-headed exterior and saw my silent inner harbinger of death.

2. I only have three openings left in August's Plotting Workshop so if you're interested in learning story structure, pacing, tools (for both Pantsers and Plotters...I don't believe anyone writes the same way and don't seek to change your preferred approach), and a personal 1 hour brainstorming session with me, please register before the spots are gone.

3. This post just completely disappeared. In fact, the entire internet disappeared. It was like my modem decided "Hey! You know what would be super fun? Let's shut down for, say, twenty seconds. Just long enough to give her heart failure and plenty of incentive to cast aspersions upon her laptop's mama. And then let's make her doubt that Blogger saved this draft and make her think she has to start all over again. And then you know what we'll do while she's pulling up the draft? We'll DO THE WHOLE THING ALL OVER AGAIN."

4. Curse you, tiny modem. Curse you.

5. News! The most important news of all is this: After five long years of waiting, we've been informed by our adoption agency that we're really close to receiving our child referral from China. Yay!! We should be traveling in either October or November, all depending on China's schedule and when we get her picture and permission to travel.

As incredibly awesome as this news is (and I've been distracted by it for over a week now), we have a problem. Because the process with China stretched from the 6-8 months we'd initially anticipated into YEARS, we've had to re-do everything from our homestudy to our petition for orphan naturalization to our fingerprints. Four times. Sheesh. Meanwhile, China raised the orphanage fee by thousands. Long story short, we find ourselves 8k short of being able to ransom her life and take her home.

I'm not scared of that number. I could fill up this page with all the incredible ways God brought money for this little girl at exactly the moment we needed it. I know she's supposed to come home and nothing is going to stop that. Nothing has shown me how incredibly generous the heart of humanity can be like this adoption journey.

I'm planning a huge online fundraiser for Monday, August 23rd. It's called Skip A Starbucks Day with the idea that if enough people skip a personal indulgence that day and donate something instead, we can bring home little Johanna Faith.

And guess what? I'm not alone in this fundraiser. I have bloggers, authors, and agents ready to jump into the fray with me. And there will be PRIZES. Many bloggers are offering awesome prizes for those who donate--prizes like signed books and entire trilogies. (The amount donated won't matter. Every penny is precious to us.). And everyone who donates will be entered into the grand giveaway on my blog. Here are some prizes you might win:

*Handmade jewelry

*The entire Twilight Saga

*Signed copies of Kris Kennedy's medieval historicals

*A gift basket of handmade soaps

*The Harry Potter boxed set(!!!)

More donations are coming in so this list will grow! :) Make sure to save the date of Monday, August 23rd so you can skip Starbucks and make a lifelong difference to a little girl in a Chinese orphanage.

6. Also, I need to prove to my friend Mandy that yes, indeed, I did once blog about underwear. More proof that I should probably never be interviewed on national television under any circumstances.

Stilettos Vs Flip Flops




This summer, I decided to try something new. I bought flip flops. Now, I've owned flip flops before. One pair. To use only when I went to the neighborhood pool. But owning several pair of flip flops to use for things like being seen in public? Never.

But friends loved their flip flops. Everyone was wearing them. They were less effort than my heels, so I thought I'd give them a try.

Disastrous.

Mostly because the rubber piece in between my big toe and second toe literally wore a HOLE into my foot that was deep enough to force me to bandage it for days.

Awesome.

I can't ever remember a time my stilettos put me in danger of losing a toe.

So, after my summer Flip Flop Experiment, I've compiled a completely scientific and thoroughly unbiased list of my results.

TOP TEN REASONS STILETTOS ARE BETTER THAN FLIP FLOPS

1. Flip flops sound like a fly swatter slapping a brick wall as you walk. Sexy!! Stilettos make a tiny little pop against the floor--a measured cadence that says both "Sexy" and "You're dealing with someone who means business so better bring your A game."

2. Flip flops are nothing but a sheet of rubber with very little traction on the bottom. All you need to perform an impromptu slip 'n slide routine for the public at large is a clean grocery store floor.

3. Say what you will about stilettos being ankle-breakers, at least they don't have a loose flap of rubber at BOTH ENDS just waiting to catch on the stairs or fold over on itself while you're walking.

4. Super heroes never wear flip flops. And not just because of the safety issues. Try looking intimidating in a cape, lycra bodysuit, and a pair of pink flowery flip flops.

5. Flip flops do nothing for your calves.

6. Nothing says I'm a GIRL and I can kick your butt like a pair of awesome stilettos.

7. Someone pointed out to me that flip flops could double as protective gear by serving to protect you from toe fungus in a public shower. Allow me to point out that with one well-aimed kick, stilettos double as weapons. Also, allow me to point out that if you're given to bathing in public showers, flip flops are the least of your worries.

8. If Marilyn Monroe had done her famous little walk across the cobblestone streets in Niagra wearing flip flops, no one would still be pointing to that piece of film as an example of the quintessential blonde bombshell.

9. While stilettos look great with capris and a halter top, flip flops do nothing for a pencil skirt and silk blouse.

10. Even the names tell the truth. You can either wear footwear that sounds like a dangerous, sexy little weapon or you can wear something that sounds like a piece of stage direction from The Three Stooges.

Now, I'm off to toss my flip flops into the far corner of my closet where they can dream of eating away at my second toe while slapping against the pavement, searching for a tiny crack to catch in so they can face plant me in front of an audience.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Starshine, Mafia, & Plan B



1. I'm posting my weekly list a bit early.

2. Because I can never tell when I might be kidnapped by wereplatypi again and held for lemon bar ransom.

3. Last week, while driving through southern Nashville, I spotted a beauty parlor with the following auspicious moniker: Hair Mafia.

4. Where taking a little off the top takes on a whole new meaning and nobody wants Joey's Pedicure Special.

5. I might have to go there once just to say I did.

6. Starshine has decided what he wants to be for Halloween this year.

7. He would like to dress up as Fiber.

8. No, that isn't a typo.

9. Fiber.

10. And he wants to wear a cape, a Darth Vader belt, and pack some heat.

11. Fiber, whether you like it or not.

12. May the Force go through you.

13. Sorry, I couldn't resist.

14. Every day I drive to work, I pass a house whose inhabitants might just be brilliant.

15. I say this because they run a business out of their home. The sign beside their driveway reads "Top Soil and Manure For Sale."

16. They seem to be doing well for themselves.

17. Selling dirt from their adjoining field (I've seen them dig up the piles) and poop from their cows.

18. They're making a living on two items that are virtually free to them.

19. Brilliant.

20. Following that business model, I could, perhaps, go into business selling crazysauce and dust bunnies, both of which I have in abundance around here.

21. Not sure there's a market for those, however.

22. Plan B is to set up cameras throughout my home and send the footage to Hollywood for guaranteed sitcom gold.

23. Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go wrestle Fiber Vader into bed.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Business In The Front



1. Last week at work I met Miley Cyrus.

2. No, really.

3. I know. It was the highlight of my life, believe me.

4. She came in to the restaurant with her boyfriend for dinner.

5. Girl is way too skinny.

6. And yes, I pretended I didn't recognize her. I hate the whole fawning-all-over-celebrity thing.

7. But honestly, she didn't act like she wanted to be recognized. Very low key. Unlike some celebrities who come into the restaurant.

8. Like ... Nick of the Backstreet Boys.

9. I never listened to the Backstreet Boys, so when Nick came in I didn't recognize him.

10. In fact, most of the patrons didn't recognize him either.

11. Because this is Nashville. We have HUGE celebrities coming in to eat all the time. Like George Jones. Naomi Judd. Even, on occasion, Jordin Sparks.

12. And because when's the last time anyone saw or heard from the Backstreet Boys?

13. Anyway, one of the girls I work with pointed him out to me and assured me it was Nick Carter.

14. I ranked this piece of information right up there with stuff like "Walmart sells camouflage nightgowns" or "Paris Hilton uses marijuana."

15. Apparently, most of the patrons felt the same way I did because no one came to his table to ask for an autograph. No one snapped pics of him with a cell phone. In fact, no one really looked at him at all.

16. It soon became obvious Nick found this lukewarm reception unacceptable.

17. Why do I say that?

18. Because right in the middle of the dining room, over a plate of country cooking, in total disregard of the fact that his dining companions were right in the middle of a conversation, he started singing.

19. Singing.

20. At full volume.

21. Little snatches of lines that I assume were culled from a Backstreet Boy hit or two.

22. After singing a bit, he'd stop, look around, allow his friends to start talking again, and then, when it became obvious no one was going to ooh and aah, he'd start up again.

23. Whether the other patrons finally recognized him, I don't know. I do know he was getting plenty of dirty looks from people who wanted to eat their dinners without the unwelcome accompaniment of has-been boy band members who can't stand not to have fans following them around anymore.

24. And now, just when you think I've exhausted all of my meaningless celebrity stories, I bring you one last thing.

25. Probably the most interesting thing you'll hear from me all week.

26. As I drive in to work every day, I pass a house with buffalo in the front yard.

27. Real buffalo.

28. They don't actually do much.

29. In fact, usually they're too far up the hill to really see more than shaggy fur covering a hump.

30. Last week, however, one of the beasts had wandered down the hill and was staring at the cars as they drove by.

31. I locked eyes with him and realized one truly astounding thing.

32. The buffalo had a mullet.

33. With blond streaks.

34. Actually, more like orange-ish streaks.

35. But yes, I promise you, the buffalo was all highlighted business in the front and party in the back.

36. And I had the thought, as I drove on by, that he strongly reminded me of Billy Ray Cyrus.

37. The early years.

38. I considered using that as a conversational opener with Miley, but decided the phrase "I saw a buffalo that looked just like your daddy" might be easily misinterpreted.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Phoenix Charm Winner!



As always, I used random.org to help me pick this week's giveaway winner. And the winner of a signed copy of Helen Taylor Scott's THE PHOENIX CHARM is wantonactsofwriting!

Thanks for reading. :)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Also

In my continuing quest to take over the Internet one blog site at a time, I've been interviewed by Jabba the Cat over on Wanton Acts of Writing. It's possible duct tape, rum, and ninjas were mentioned.

It's also possible I got a tad snarky in the comment trail.

Against Wordpress.

Who thinks it's funny to mess with a stiletto-wearing ninja.

It's ON.

Interview With Helen Scott Taylor



I'm thrilled to have my fellow Pixie Helen Scott Taylor on the blog today. Helen writes paranormal books steeped in Celtic lore, suspense, and magic. You'll fall in love with both her characters and the rich world they inhabit. If you love fairies, action, and sizzling romance, you'll love her books! When Helen agreed to be interviewed on the blog with her latest release, THE PHOENIX CHARM, I was thrilled! Here's a peek at THE PHOENIX CHARM:

Respectable wise woman Cordelia restrains her secret water nymph sensuality with the Celtic symbols painted on her skin. But Michael’s powerful fairy glamour leaves her breathless, off balance, struggling for control. When Gwyn ap Nudd, the Welsh King of the Underworld, steals away Michael’s infant nephew, Cordelia must work with him to save the child. But how can she trust her instincts with Michael tempting her to explore the hidden elemental depths of her nature and insisting that she believe in the power of…The Phoenix Charm.

Helen chose to be interviewed by that rum-swilling gentleman, Captain Jack Sparrow.

Captain Jack Sparrow



Helen Scott Taylor



Now that you know who's who, let's dive into the interview and reveal the beautiful cupcake my hubby made for Helen. Since a Phoenix charm is central to her story, my hubby recreated that charm on a cupcake. Without further ado, I give you the cupcake and Helen's interview with Captain Jack.



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

I am definitely a member of HM Royal Navy. I’ve always been scared of breaking the law and getting into trouble so I wouldn’t have the guts to be a pirate.

2. Breaking the law can be exhilarating, my dear. Especially when the law is particularly stupid. I may have to broaden your horizons. We'll start with a short trip to one of my favorite places. What’s your favorite thing to do in Tortuga?

The place must have a rich and interesting history and there’s nothing I enjoy more than exploring historical buildings.

3. *squints at you* Exploring historical buildings? Of course, darling. We can do that. Let's just be sure the Rum Depository is on the list of buildings we explore. I’m offering you free passage aboard my ship to anywhere in the world. Where shall we go, love?

My mother was born in Ceylon, which we now know as Sri Lanka, so I’d love to visit there. I’m sure there will be rich pickings for you as Ceylon is known as the Jewel box of the Indian Ocean

4. Now you're speaking my language! 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?

Savvy, debonair and smooth with the ladies exactly sums up Michael, my hero in The Phoenix Charm. Like you, he loves to enjoy life and leave someone else to sort out the problems if he can.

5. Sounds like a man of excellent character. Rum? Or more rum?

Diet coke for me, I’m afraid. Or I might be persuaded to drink a little wine if I’m celebrating a special occasion.

6. Every day with me is a special occasion, love. Which leads me to the age old question: Why is the rum always gone?

The problem is that if you drink too much of it, you forget where it went.

7. Oh, I know where it went. I just don't understand why we don't have MORE. What’s the most piratish thing you’ve ever done?

I’m a dedicated member of HM Royal Navy so I uphold the law at all times. (That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.)

8. You know, my darling, that sounds like a challenge to me. Perhaps I should take on the task of breaking you of your deplorable law-abiding ways. Here's a test: Are they rules? Or more like guidelines?

Some rules are bendy. You have to give them a push to find out.

9. You see? You aren't so law-abiding after all. *winks* I can always sense a woman's inner pirate. I understand you’re a story-teller. Any undead monkeys in your stories?

Funny you should ask that…I don’t have an undead monkey, but I do have a fire-breathing monkey in my next story.

10. Lovely. As if an undead monkey wasn't bad enough. *shudders* Any curses in your story? Heartless monsters? Irritating women who insist on taking matters into their own hands?

All of the above and lots more dastardly creatures and honorable heroes.

11. Sounds like my kind of story! Perhaps one of your dastardly creatures could be called Jack? One of my favorite words is “egregious.” Care to share one of yours, love?

Indubitably—one of my characters said that just the other day.

12. I admire your character's perspicacity. Parlay? Or draw your sword?

Parlay, without a doubt. I run a mile from conflict.

13. Run away to fight again another day, I always say. Speaking of running, you’ve got a crowd of cursed sailors and a nasty sea monster on your trail. How do you escape?

Have a mythic god throw down a lightning bolt. What’s a little divine intervention between friends?

14. *glances around uneasily* You're on speaking terms with a mythic god, are you my dear? Perhaps you should put in a good word for me. Just in case. Romantic night in? Or adventure on the high seas?

I like blending genres so I think romance on the high seas might be fun.

15. I like the way you think. My personal motto is: Take what you want, give nothing back. What’s yours?

Make your own destiny.

Thank you, Helen, for the fun interview! To learn more about Helen and to read excerpts of her books, head to her website. Of course, the fun isn't over yet. Helen is giving away a signed copy of THE PHOENIX CHARM to one of my lucky commenters. Here's how to enter:

How to Enter:

1. Earn entries:

*Comment on this post with a question or comment for Helen = 1 entry

*Be a follower of this blog = 3 entries

*Tweet the link to this interview = 3 entries (Use @cjredwine or leave url to tweet in your comment so I can see it.)

*Post the contest on your blog = 3 entries (Include link in your comment.)

*Post a link on your Facebook status = 3 entries (Include link in comment.)


2. Tally it up: Please tally up your entries and leave the total in your comment.


3. Check back: The contest is open until 8 p.m. Saturday, July 17th. Please check back to see if you've won and to claim your prize!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

I'm All Over The Web

Today, I've taken over Myra McEntire's blog while she's held hostage by the Revision Duck Mafia. Go forth, my minions, and comment freely!

Also, I posted the writing workshop schedule for August and September which includes a plotting workshop (NOT synonymous with brainwashing writers into One Right Way To Plot, but definitely synonymous with teaching writers basic story structure, equipping them with various tools, and spending an hour one on one brainstorming their plot.) and a query workshop.

I've also answered interview questions for two other bloggers and will let you know when those interviews go live. You should know I threaten cannibalism in one of them.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Death Is On Its Way



1. So last week I was a terrible blogger.

2. I have good reason, though. Being kidnapped and held for ransom by rogue were-platypi isn't exactly the easiest experience to endure.

3. All those webbed feet! All those chattering beaks!

4. I got tired of waiting for ransom to arrive and fought my way to freedom with the clever use of tongs, a Bette Midler cd, and duct tape.

5. Worked like a charm.

6. I forgot to keep my personalities in their separate cages last week at work. (I tone it down A LOT at work. They don't think so. They think I'm hilariously funny but relatively normal. They don't realize I've rejected the first three responses that came to mind because, yanno, I'm at work and most people there wouldn't know what to do in a conversation about Zombie Goats or Were-llamas.)

7. Also, they don't realize I'm a ninja.

8. But, whatever.

9. Anyway, I forgot and made an off-hand comment to a group of new employees wherein I threatened them all with Belly-button Plague if they broke one of our important policies.

10. No one laughed.

11. One of them stared at me like she'd never seen a creature quite like me before and couldn't decide whether to pat me on the head or run.

12. One of them gave clear indications that he was seconds away from calling in the men in little white coats to take me to a nice padded cell.

13. The other took notes.

14. Took. Notes.

15. Thankfully, I remembered my separate personality cages before I gave a pithy, possibly snarky observation on the note taking.

16. Spastic Kitten got a cold last week. This entailed a visit to the vet.

17. The vet and the technician fell all over themselves to exclaim over SK. Calling her sweetheart and such a beautiful girl.

18. I mean, yeah, she's beautiful. But so is a full-grown jaguar. Doesn't mean we should be fooled into cuddling something programmed to rip out our jugulars.

19. The vet, however, had zero problem scruffing SK and delivering a dose of oral medicine. She then sent me home with instructions to do the same twice a day.

20. The first time was easy because SK wasn't expecting it. The problem with sociopathic beasts, however, is that they learn.

21. It now takes three of us to pin her down and even then, we all come close to losing limbs we'd much rather keep.

22. I've re-written the beginning of Asylum four times now and think I'm happy enough with it to move on for now. This is a nice improvement over the six times I rewrote the beginning of Casting Stones and the 7 times for Shadowing Fate and the I-refuse-to-put-this-number-in-print times for my first novel.

23. I really like the voice for Abbie, the story-teller for Asylum. She's VERY different from Lilli (story-teller for Casting Stones) and that's a good thing. I like my characters to be fully-formed people, not teaspoon-deep caricatures of each other.

24. We saw Despicable Me last week and LOVED it. It's both hilarious and has heart.

25. This week, we're going to see The Sorcerer's Apprentice. I've been looking forward to this movie so much, I'm giddy.

26. I have an author interview up for this Wednesday and just realized I'd better bake some cupcakes today.

27. I know some boys who will be thrilled about that.

28. And now (just NOW), Spastic Kitten ran up to one of the boys who helped hold her down this morning and scratched him across the thigh.

29. I fear I'm next.

30. Tell the world I fought bravely.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Help! The Were-platypi have me!

I've been abducted by a rogue band of chopstick wielding wereplatypi! They've held me hostage for days, hence the reason I haven't been able to blog.

Please send a pan of lemon bars as ransom so I can resume blogging soon!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Winner: Sarah Rees Brennan Giveaway!



Before I announce the winner of the signed copy of DEMON'S LEXICON by Sarah Rees Brennan (that undergarment-wearing, nun-crushing instigator of the highly secretive Butter Incident!), I have to say the commenters did NOT make it easy on me. Why?

Because the first number to pop up belonged to the Adult Diaper spammer (I guess you mention undergarments enough in a post and you're really just bringing it on yourself.). The next one belonged to someone who opted out of the giveaway because she already owned the book. The next one belonged to someone who ALSO opted out of the giveaway for the same reason.

It was at this point that I realized I'd neglected to make my customary spreadsheet. We'll chalk that one up to a long day in the sun after a week of too little sleep, shall we?

Once I had my spreadsheet with all the qualifying entries tallied, it was simple! With no further ado, the winner of the signed copy of DL is red_reaper! Since you left me your email in the comments, I'll send you notification soon. :)

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