Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Dibs

My hubby and I had an argument of sorts the other day. One which I won because he finally called me a dork and walked away. If you quit the battlefield, you might as well wave a white flag and hand me a handwritten note acknowledging the brilliance of my logic.

Besides, I had the unalienable right of DIBS on my side. HIS dibs. Which he can not take back, no matter how much he might wish he could.

What did we argue about? Well ... we started this disagreement years ago over the salient issue of french fries and ended up two days ago agreeing that I get the next new car we buy.

Mind you, he didn't verbally agree to this new car arrangement, but he did quit the battlefield because in the face of my unassailable logic, he could find nothing to say but "dork." Which isn't very insulting, considering the fact that in the future I will be driving this:

I am C.J.'s future sexy car by right of DIBS.

How did we get from french fries to a sexy new Audi? How did my hubby relinquish his right to choose the next new vehicle? Fasten your seat belts, kids. You're about to get schooled in C.J. Logic.

1. My hubby thinks In N Out Burger is sanctified food fit for the angels themselves.

2. He loves In N Out so much, while on our trip to China, we spent our brief layover in Los Angeles LEAVING the airport to go dine at the closest In N Out. AND we had to film the experience.

3. I think In N Out is fine. The shakes are good enough. The burgers are edible. But the fries? Holy cow, the fries are the equivalent of listening to Kenny G, the elevator years, when in the room next door you could be listening to Miles Davis. Live.

4. My hubby thinks the fact that I find In N Out's fries tasteless is a sign of some sort of brain damage. He also calls it blasphemy. And has spent countless minutes trying to talk me out of this opinion.

5. Because explaining to someone WHY they should like a certain food they find disgusting usually does the trick.

6. I've remained steadfast in my resistance to this heathen gospel. A fry should be crisp. A little salty. An tidy little explosion of taste. Not a limp, chewy travesty I could use in a future origami project.

7. If I was any good at origami.

8. For nearly seventeen years of marriage, we've managed to accept these differences of opinion without crossing any lines.

9. But this past Sunday? A line was CROSSED.

10. We have two cars. For years, the mini van has been my vehicle and the Explorer has been my hubby's. But lately, the Explorer has been acting up, and since my hubby has the longer commute, he switched to driving the van.

11. I didn't consider that to be "dibs" and was more than willing to have him replace the Explorer with a car of his choice.

12. But now?

13. This:


14. Because when I drove the Explorer into the driveway on Sunday, I noticed something on the back of the van. Something I would NEVER have on my vehicle.

15. Something that proclaims love and loyalty.

16. This:



17. Bumper stickers. Plural. One for the driver's side. One for the passenger's side.

18. Not on HIS car. Noooo. On mine.

19. Really?

20. I marched inside and asked him what in the world he was doing putting In N Out bumper stickers on the van? Only to be informed that he'd also given permission to the teenager to put his guitar brand name bumper stickers on it as well.

21. REALLY??

22. So, I promptly congratulated him on claiming DIBS on the mini van.

23. He began arguing.

24. I remained steadfast. Slapping your favorite bumper stickers on a car is the equivalent of a dog peeing on every tree in his yard.

25. It's YOURS.

26. Which means, by default, I get the next new car.

27. When I would not be swayed by statements like "But it's just a few stickers." and "But you like their shakes.", my hubby resorted to calling me a dork and leaving the room.

28. Which is fine.

29. I may be a dork, but I'm about to be a dork with an Audi.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

What You're Worth

This is a post that's been fermenting in my brain for a while, now. And it's partially inspired by a handful of teen book bloggers whom I follow on Twitter and Tumblr, and partially because I wish I'd been able to really hear and internalize this truth when I was younger.

I keep seeing posts that say things like "I wish I was someone's idea of perfect" and "I don't think I matter" and "I've never once felt beautiful." And those things hurt my heart. Because I remember what it felt like to ache for that. I remember how terrible it is to be convinced you could disappear, and no one would ever know the difference. I know what it is to carry a secret weight of failure and shame because you're convinced you don't measure up.

I really don't know if I can put the right string of words together to convince you that you're clinging to lies as if they're your lodestone of truth. You might let it slide in one ear and out the other because you're so sure you KNOW you're less than everyone else around you. You might think "Well, that's true for others, but that will never be true for me."

You might walk away from this unchanged, but I have to say it anyway. The things I wish I'd truly understood when I was younger.

1. Most of your peers feel the same way. Some are courageous enough to admit it. Some believe they have to hide it or it will destroy them. But when you peel back the layers, most are terrified they don't measure up.

2. Taking your worth from what you THINK others think of you is a sure way to never really see how valuable you truly are. Don't let outside sources hand you your price tag. When you truly understand and accept yourself, you'll find you aren't even willing to accept a price tag at all.

3. You are valuable. You have a unique combination of thoughts, talents, emotions, and gifts that no one else has, and therein lies both your beauty and your strength.

4. You might not meet the person who will think you are their idea of "perfection" now, but the world is so much bigger, so much wider than what you have while you're in school. And if you've found your way to accept and love yourself for who you are, when you meet that person, you'll be ready for the kind of relationship you dream of.

5. If someone in your life consistently makes you feel insecure, depressed, or upset, walk away. There are toxic people out there who will feed on you to meet their own needs, and you don't have to accept that. You can step back emotionally, and physically when possible. You have the right to have your own set of boundaries, your own inner places that you hold sacred, and you have the right to remove toxic people from your life.

6. If something in your life makes you feel less, remove that too. Don't look at the air-brushed, starved images of "perfect" girls in magazines and on tv if it makes you want to starve yourself, or cut yourself, or mentally scream at yourself every time you look in the mirror because you hate what you see. Those pictures? They're a lie. A terrible, cancerous lie that will eat at you until you look it in the eye and call it what it is.

7. It gets better. You begin to see the value in your own beauty, your own way of looking at the world, and you get less and less inclined to accept those who refuse to allow you that right. You surround yourself with others who see your worth and beauty as you see it, and before you know it, you can breathe. You can dream. You can blossom because all you ever needed was to stop calling lies your truth.

I don't know if this post will resonate with my teen readers, but it is what I wish I'd really understood years ago. And it hurts me to see girls I know are smart, talented, beautiful, compassionate, ambitious, funny, lovely, and infinitely precious feel like somehow they never measure up. If the people and things around you make you feel like you never measure up, the best thing you can do is throw out their measuring stick.

I leave you with a gorgeous song that sums up the journey from believing lies to embracing truth.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Winner of the HOURGLASS necklace!


Thank you to all who entered the drawing for the exclusive HOURGLASS necklace designed by the incredible Tashina Falene. As always, I used random.org to choose the winner. And the lucky winner is


Nikki

Congratulations!! Please email me your shipping info, and I'll have Tashina send the necklace your way. Didn't win this time? Don't worry. Next week on the blog, YA author Dawn Metcalf takes on the ever dapper Captain Jack Sparrow, and you could win a signed copy of her book LUMINOUS!


In Which I Nearly Meet My Demise


1. Really? Why would anyone do that to a cat? Poor thing can't show it's ... well, ANY of itself in public without shame for weeks.

2. This week, I don't have any guest posts or interviews, so it's all C.J. all the time.

3. I'll give you a moment to brace yourself.

4. I put on my Twitter bio that I'm a complete klutz.

5. People who only see me on Twitter and never make it over to my blog think I'm joking.

6. Or trying to be modest.

7. YOU know otherwise.

8. And because apparently my epic battle with the printer (and that nefarious instrument of Satan, the office chair), and the time I face-planted into a pile of cardboard boxes just AREN'T ENOUGH for my employees, they've devised a new plan.

9. The super seekrit name of this plan?

10. Kill The Traitor Who Thinks She's Going To Leave Us In One Week.

11. KTTWTSGTLUIOW for short.

12. (As a side note, I just read through some of my old blog posts searching for the links I posted above and I have to say, I am one STRANGE COOKIE. Really. Why are you here?)

13. Where was I?

14. Oh, yes! KTTWTSGTLUIOW.

15. Having already used technology, cardboard boxes, and chairs against me and failed, the employees pulled out the BIG GUNS.

16. Napkins.

17. Lest you snerk in my direction, I must clarify that these were specially engineered mutant homicidal NINJA napkins, and that is the only reason I was unable to defeat them.

18. I was standing in the wait aisle talking to my future replacement about several training issues I wanted us to address before I leave the building for good.

19. While I was talking, someone stacked packages of (specially engineered mutant homicidal NINJA) napkins on the shelf behind me.

20. How hard is it to correctly stack packages of (specially engineered mutant homicidal NINJA) napkins?

21. Not hard. Not hard at all. Which is why I know this was deliberate.

22. One package wasn't stacked correctly, and while I was still talking, it fell to the floor directly behind me.

23. I didn't hear it fall because a) I was talking, b) it's LOUD inside a restaurant kitchen, and c) Really? You expected the girl who face-planted into cardboard boxes to be aware of her surroundings?

24. My replacement did, however, see the napkins fall, but HE CLAIMS I turned to leave before he could warn me.

25. I'm going to booby trap his office and refuse to take his panicked phone calls when every employee in the building has a crisis in the exact same hour and he can't figure out how to make the fax machine obey him while the district manager is walking through his door demanding to know why he's so far behind on his numbers.

26. Not that I'm holding a grudge.

27. Anyway, I turned to leave and SHAZAM! Specially engineered mutant homicidal NINJA napkins.

28. I probably would've been okay if they'd been in front of just one of my feet.

29. But they weren't.

30. I hit them with one foot, started falling, frantically tried to right myself with the other foot, and found it solidly tangled up as well.

31. Which meant I was now air born and heading toward an inevitable crash landing on a concrete floor.

32. Also? I was holding a glass of tea in my left hand.

33. My left knee hit the concrete first, followed by my left elbow, and then my left hand slammed into the ground and shattered the glass, sending a significant amount of it into my hand.

34. I didn't even realize my knee and elbow were wrecked, because I was too busy waving well-meaning employees away from putting pressure on the bloody mess of my hand because hello? THERE WAS GLASS INSIDE IT.

35. My hubby drove out to pick me up and take me to a walk-in clinic. At this point, I'd bled through six handfuls of paper towels and was starting to feel woozy.

36. The doctor kindly gave me shots of numbing medicine (which feels like liquid FIRE going in, especially when one of those shots is right next to a bone), began cleaning me up, and asked the following question "So, how did this happen?"

37. Me: "Napkins."

38. Dr: "Napkins???"

39. Me *giving him the Beady Eye*: "Yes. Napkins."

40. Dr: "I've never had a patient hurt herself on napkins before."

41. Me: "These weren't just any napkins. These were specially engineered mutant homicidal NINJA napkins."

42. Dr: "Did you by any chance also hit your head?"

43. My hand is slowly healing (and the place where I had a tetanus shot no longer feels like maybe I should just saw my arm off and be done with it), but my knee and my elbow hate me with the flaming fire of a thousand suns. Which means I have to keep going back to the same clinic (workman's comp requires it) to get anti-inflammatory prescriptions, exams, and pitying looks when I staunchly maintain my claim that my employees have decided if they can't have me, nobody can have me and they resorted to napkins to seal my fate.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Top Five Methods For Deafeating A Horde Of Undead Ducks

Guest post by the hilarious Myra McEntire.


1. Play this. I double dog dare you to watch the whole thing and not have your brain melt from the awesome. But make sure the Undead Ducks watch it, too, or they'll slurp your brain up off the floor.





2. A turkey fryer. They aren't just for Thanksgiving anymore. (Although I don't recommend you eat the duck. Well, unless you shove a chicken inside the duck and then shove the duck inside a turkey. That Paula Deen, she taught me all I need to know about Turducken. And butter. Also cream cheese.)





3. Run them over with a golf cart. Ducks seem to naturally gather around the water hazards on golf courses. I expect if they were looking for BRAAAAIIIIINZZZZZ a golfer would be a good choice ... no wait. Never mind.





4. Flaming arrows. Distance, as well as fire. It's enough to make a Cullen sweat.





5. Show them this. I don't really need to explain, do I? And you can blame C.J. when you need to bleach your brain. She's the one who sent it to me.



*is busy revisiting her breakfast the hard way* Yes! I admit it! I did send that to Myra once for motivational purposes. But, dear reader, I would never have subjected YOU to it. Never.

Thank you, Myra, for the entertaining post! Did you miss out on last week's giveaway of Myra's fabulous debut novel HOURGLASS? Don't worry, I've got you covered. This week, I'm giving away an incredible necklace designed just for HOURGLASS by the talented Tashina Falene (check out her shop!).



I love that the hourglass is real, and you can spin it around the clock face. This necklace was designed specifically for HOURGLASS and is the only one of its kind! There are many ways to earn extra entries, and the contest is open to North America. To enter, please fill out the form below. The contest is open until 8 p.m. Central Time Monday, June 27th. Good luck!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Contest Winners!

Thank you to all who entered the contests on the blog last week! If you didn't win this time, be sure to check back in this Wednesday when Myra McEntire will post her Top Five list (have you voted for the topic yet? Check the sidebar.) and I will give away a unique necklace made just for HOURGLASS.

Here are the winners for last week's contests:

WINNER OF THE JILL KISMET NECKLACE




The winner of the one of a kind necklace designed for Lilith Saintcrow's Jill Kismet series is:

Jodi Ruschin
Congratulations, Jodi! Please respond to the email I sent you with your shipping information, and I'll have the necklace sent to you. Thanks for entering!


WINNER OF THE SIGNED COPY OF HOURGLASS




The winner of the signed hardcover copy of Myra McEntire's HOURGLASS is:

Camille

Congratulations, Camille! Please respond to the email I sent with your shipping information, and Myra will send this out to you. Thanks for entering, and happy reading!



Friday, June 17, 2011

Harry Potter Trailer & More!

The final trailer for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 has been released, and I'm not going to lie. I get choked up every time I watch this. Maybe because it's the culmination of years of living with these characters like family, eagerly anticipating the next time I could plunge headfirst into their magical world. Maybe because this is the moment where everyone I've grown to love steps up and discovers what they're truly made of. Maybe it's when Tonks and Lupin reach for each other but can't quite connect. Maybe it's all of it, but I'm bringing tissue with me when I see this movie because I am going to be wrecked.



Also? J.K. Rowling just launched a site called Pottermore which links to a youtube page counting down to a huge announcement. Rumor has it, she'll be writing more stories from the Harry Potter world. I know I'll be anxiously waiting to hear!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Interview With Myra McEntire


I first met Myra when she chased me down the hall at church and said "Hey! I heard you're a writer! I'm a writer too!" Those fateful words began what is now one of my most treasured friendships. BUT, before we became close friends, we met one night at the local bookstore for coffee and writer talk, and I took a look at the first few chapters of HOURGLASS. You know that delicious little tingle you get up your spine when you start reading a book you realize is going to totally rock your socks off?

I got that tingle and in the years since then, through every revision and edit, I haven't lost it. HOURGLASS is funny, heart-wrenching, compelling, sizzling, and unexpected. The plot twists alone will break your brain in all the best ways. And the romance? Um ... YES. And I love that the time-travel is based in quantum physics and that the southern setting actually feels like the South I know. Here's a peek at HOURGLASS:

For seventeen-year-old Emerson Cole, life is about seeing what isn't there: swooning Southern Belles; soldiers long forgotten; a haunting jazz trio that vanishes in an instant. Plagued by phantoms since her parents' death, she just wants the apparitions to stop so she can be normal. She's tried everything, but the visions keep coming back.So when her well-meaning brother brings in a consultant from a secretive organization called the Hourglass, Emerson's willing to try one last cure. But meeting Michael Weaver may not only change her future, it may change her past.


Who is this dark, mysterious, sympathetic guy, barely older than Emerson herself, who seems to believe every crazy word she says? Why does an electric charge seem to run through the room whenever he's around? And why is he so insistent that he needs her help to prevent a death that never should have happened?
Trust me. This is a fabulous debut you don't want to miss.When I invited Myra on the blog in honor of the release of HOURGLASS, she couldn't wait to take on the legendary Captain Jack.


Captain Jack



Myra McEntire


Now that you know who's who, it's time to reveal the cupcake of awesomesauce my hubby made for Myra's book. He outdid himself and made an incredible cupcake that both honors the title of her book and gives homage to the awesome time traveling that happens within its pages. Without further ado, I give you the cupcake of awesomesauce and Myra's interview with Captain Jack.


HOURGLASS cupcake of awesomesauce


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

Oh I am such a pirate. My eyeliner is always down to my waist and my hair hasn’t seen a brush in years. I do, however, have good dental hygiene. Unless I’m on deadline.


2. You sound quite ... fetching. What’s your favorite thing to do in Tortuga?

Drin … shop for antiques. Especially coins.

3. Hands off my coins, love. Unless you'd like to bribe me with rum? I’m offering you free passage aboard my ship to anywhere in the world. Where shall we go?

Johnny … I mean … Jack? I’ll go anywhere you take me. I DID hear about a super spooky house in Collinsport, Maine. Supposedly this vampire lives there? And he looks a lot like you. But cleaner.

4. A cleaner version of me, eh? Give him a few swallows of rum and a night in Tortuga, and we'll fix that.  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?

He’s insufferably honorable, he is, but his best friend is cut from the Jack Sparrow cloth. Might even dress like you occasionally. Partial to rum.

5. You can keep the hero. I'll take the friend. Rum? Or more rum?

Vodka.

6. You saucy minx, you! But I bet if you were aboard my ship, you'd learn to love rum as well. Which leads me to the age old question: Why is the rum always gone?

I’m going to blame the monkey.

7. Curse that blasted undead monkey! What’s the most piratish thing you’ve ever done?

That time I rode in a paddle boat? Either that or the time I bought a Tortuga rum cake in the Palm Beach airport for C.J. Redwine. (Also? I heard she has a thing for you. Might want to be careful.)

8. A paddle boat? For the sake of your sea cred, I hope you stole it and used it to transport said Tortuga rum cake across enemy lines. (And yes, she does rather have a thing for me, doesn't she? Not that I blame her, of course, but still, I'm keeping a weather eye on that one.) Are they rules? Or more like guidelines?

They are SUGGESTIONS.

9. You DID steal that paddle boat, didn't you? I understand you’re a story-teller. Any undead monkeys in your stories?

There are some ducks in the book I’m working on now. They aren’t undead though. UNLESS …

10. Undead ducks? Darling, you're giving me nightmares. Any curses? Heartless monsters? Irritating women who insist on taking matters into their own hands?

There are dead people. And a snarky teen who can totally take matters into her own hands. And also kick your ass.

11. I believe you've just insulted my honor. *checks today's agenda* I'll avenge it sometime after "Drink a jug of rum" and "steal King George's lunch." One of my favorite words is “egregious.” Care to share one of yours, love?

Echinacea.

12. Sounds like a particularly productive sneeze. Parlay? Or draw your sword?

I’d rather watch you draw yours.

13. Darling, you'll make me blush. And also? It's a date. You’ve got a crowd of cursed sailors and a nasty sea monster on your trail. How do you escape?

Well, I certainly don’t set the rum on fire.

14. Where have you been all my life? Bring your unbrushed, vodka-drinking, paddle-boat stealing self onto my boat and stay for a while. Romantic night in? Or adventure on the high seas?

How about a foot rub and a nap? I have kids, Jack. By any chance do you “manny”?

15. Let me make one thing perfectly clear. I am NO ONE'S "manny." Unless ... you don't happen to have a spare ship lying around, do you? My personal motto is: Take what you want, give nothing back. What’s yours?

1. Do not engage The Crazy. 2. Do not BE The Crazy.


Thank you, Myra, for such an entertaining interview! To learn more about Myra, visit her site. To purchase your copy of HOURGLASS, go here.

Of course, the fun isn't over yet! Myra is offering a signed copy of HOURGLASS to one lucky commenter. Contest is open to North American entries. Contest is open until 8 pm Sunday, June 19th. To enter, fill out the following form and don't forget to leave a comment at the bottom of the post. Also, VOTE in the poll on the sidebar to help choose Myra McEntire's Top Five post for next week's SUPER AWESOME GIVEAWAY! :) Good luck!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Pizazzed!



1. It's been FAR too long since I did one of my lists.

2. So much has happened between when I posted my "YAY I SOLD MY BOOK" post and now, so there's a pretty good chance I won't remember most of it.

3. Naturally, the stuff I don't want to remember is indelibly seared into my brain.

4. And, sadly, the brain of one very embarrassed TSA agent at the airport in Sacramento where I left my dignity and a good portion of any residual "Hm, perhaps THIS should be the last straw that sends me over the edge and into a loony bin" thoughts.

5. What was I doing in an airport in Sacramento that cost me my dignity and nearly made a hapless TSA agent walk into a wall?

6. I was traveling home from a mini-vacation to California. With my fifteen-month-old daughter. Just the two of us, a stuffed-to-the-limit diaper bag carry on, and a long security line that failed to keep her adequately interested.

7. Know what a toddler does when she's bored and has decided to abscond for more interesting locations?

8. She squirms. She fusses. She wiggles. And then, THEN, she makes an all-out bid for freedom that is probably now a viral video somewhere, only I'm not about to go trolling the internet looking for it.

9. I was there.

10. Once was enough.

11. I'd struggled to get her shoes off without taking a hand off of her (She's decided she likes to go up to complete strangers and ask to be picked up. Which, in a crowded Memorial Day weekend airport, is a frickin' nightmare for a mother.), and then struggled to get my own shoes off and place our carry on in the appropriate bins, all without losing my grip on her.

12. I'd then struggled to move those bins along to the conveyor while my daughter tried her best to ride the conveyor as well.

13. I figured once I only had myself and the baby to worry about, my troubles would be over.

14. That's a refreshingly naive statement, isn't it?

15. I released my bins onto the conveyor belt, turned to face the bulky TSA agent waiting for me on the other side of the metal detector and started walking.

16. Baby J, having had quite enough of wiggling in her mother's arms, chose that exact moment to whip an arm down the front of my shirt, bend over, and heave herself toward the floor.

17. I caught her before she succeeded in her kamikaze mission, but saving her meant sacrificing something else.

18. My dignity.

19. What little I possess.

20. She yanked my shirt down to my belt line.

21. MY BELT LINE.

22. The girls were on full display as I walked through the metal detector and came eye to eye with a ridiculously embarrassed TSA agent.

23. He immediately turned away from me, sort of stumbled into the side of the metal detector, and said something like "Do you want to sit down? You should sit down. Why don't you go sit down, and I'll help you get your bins?"

24. His face sort of resembled a radish.

25. It was the fastest security check I've ever had. Why check what you've already seen, right?

26. In other news, my last day at my current job is July 7th.

27. I'm thrilled to a) be able to spend a good chunk of the summer with my kids and b) be able to support myself with writing.

28. In other, other news, I have these pesky author questionnaires to fill out, and they ask questions like "what awards have you won" and "who do you know who might help promote the book"?

29. My agent has nixed the idea of recommending my mom as a strong promoter and claiming to have won an award as Queen of the Llamas.

30. *le sigh*

31. The other day, I checked my Klout score (a tool for measuring how much influence you wield within the social media landscape) and found it to be truly enlightening.

32. According to Klout, I'm a Specialist (Kind of like Stallone, only with better grammar and waaaaaay less physical prowess) in my area of influence and people look to me for the low down on the following topics: books, authors, creative writing, young adult books, and ... *drumroll* ... LLAMAS.

33. I laughed so hard, I nearly peed my pants. I may be the only person in the world who has a social media score that revolves around llamas.

34. Though it's sort of disappointing that llamas fell behind books, authors, and creative writing. When's the last time a book spat at you and while sporting an emo flop of hair over a pair of beady eyes?

35. Exactly.

36. Anyway, there's got to be some way to include my amazing Specialist of the Llamas status to my author questionnaire, right?

37. I can slip it into my bio with none the wiser!

38. Because really? My bio needs a little ... sparkle.

39. My youngest son ran by me the other day and shouted, "You've just been PIZAZZED! What now?"

40. And I realized that's exactly what my bio needs.

41. Pizazz!

42. What could add more Pizazz! than a llama?

Monday, June 13, 2011

Top Five Methods To Determine If You Are A Zombie

Guest post by the always entertaining Lilith Saintcrow.

The zombie apocalypse has struck, but you're prepared. You've done your cardio, you know about the double-tap, and you're cautious in bathrooms. You know not to be a hero until the last quarter of the movie, especially if your partner is Woody Harrelson. But something doesn't seem quite right. You can't quite put your finger on it.


You want to know if you're at risk. Fear not, doughty warrior facing the hordes of undead. Here are five simple methods of determining whether you're a zombie, or at risk of becoming one.

5. Check your appetite! Do spongy, soft, wrinkled, warm human brains sound really good, instead of as disgusting as a politician's sex life? Extra points if you don't even want ketchup/mustard/salt with your hot, steaming, messy brain breakfast. If that didn't make you want to blow chunks, you might be a zombie.



4. Try to run, hop, skip, or dance. If you can only shuffle-shamble (Dawn of the Dead) or scuttle (Night of the Living Dead remake) or move freaky-fast (28 Days Later), you're probably a zombie.


3. Look at your leisure activities. Do you sit for hours chained in a shed, playing video games and making long gassy noises? Or do you crouch behind Dumpsters waiting for unwary heroes to race past? If you do, you, my friend, are probably a zombie. On the other hand, if you are practicing flinging LPs like shuriken or learning to shoot a gun in a cool montage, you're safe. For now.


2. Sniff your pits! If you smell like gun oil, BO, or Cheetos, you're OK. If you reek of rotting flesh (and have not shot a zombie in the head recently and been spattered with stinking goo) or if the tip of your nose falls off while you sniff, you're probably a zombie.


1. Most importantly, think about your Horror Movie Karma. If you:

*have stolen something from a protagonist,


*have threatened an innocent bystander,


*have not been allowed any speaking lines,


*are wearing a red shirt,


*are hearing swelling sad music or eerie drumbeats in the background,


*have fallen in like with the Silent Grim Hero or the Spunky But Helpless Heroine,


*had sex (if female) or fallen in unrequited love (if male),


*have acted Billy Bob Thornton-creepy while carrying a shovel OR any other household/gardening implement


*have had to run away from Kevin Bacon in creepymode,


*have realized you are a token minority in a group,


*have recently said "I don't see anything," or "What could go wrong? or "Where are you?" or "Nothing's going to happen!" or "I'd rather die than be one of those things," or any variation of the previous,


*have forgotten to turn your cell phone off,


*have ever forgotten to lock a door/window/aperture during the course of events,


*have found out you are spunkier/sassier/sexier than a protagonist with more lines than you,


*have realized you are Sean Bean or Lance Henriksen or any other actor/actress who they have to kill so you don't steal the movie,


*have noticed that everything around you is dead quiet except for your own panicked gasping breathing...


...well, my friend, sucks to be you, you will soon be a zombie. Don't worry, though--the hero/ine will soon bash your head in or ignite you, and your agony will be brief.


I hope these simple guidelines help. Stay safe (and zombie-free) out there!

*is busy sniffing her pits and nearly misses her cue* Awesome list, Lilith. I'm nearly convinced I'm not a zombie, but I worry a bit about my neighbors ...

If you missed out on Lilith's amazing book giveaway last week, fear not! (Unless you've determined from this list that someone you love is a zombie. If that's the case, FEAR. And then RUN. And also, act as brainless as possible. I've heard that helps.) My favorite jewelry designer on Etsy, Tashina Falene (check out her shop!), has designed a one-of-a-kind necklace just for Lilith's character Jill Kismet, and I'm offering it to one lucky reader!

Here's the necklace:




Isn't it amazing? It was designed with suggestions from Lilith and is the only one that will ever be made. To win it, simply fill out the form below. There are many ways to earn extra entries, and the contest is open internationally. You have until 8 p.m. Central Time on Friday, June 17th to enter. Make sure you scroll down to answer every question on the form and hit Submit so your entry counts! :)




Thanks again to Lilith for being an amazing author and giving us such a plethora of spine-tingling, heart-grabbing, edge-of-your-seat stories. If you haven't read her yet, I hope you'll pick up one of her books the next time you're looking for a fabulous read.

Check back Friday night for the winner announcement, and good luck to all!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Winner of the set of Jill Kismet Books!



Thank you to all who entered the drawing for the set of Lilith Saintcrow's Jill Kismet books. (Along with a HUGE thanks to Lilith for offering a prize worthy of the Were-llama himself!) As always, I used random.org to choose the winner. And the winner is:

Tialessa


Congratulations! You will receive an email from me shortly. Please send me your shipping info so I can pass that along to Lilith. Thanks for entering and happy reading!

Didn't win this time? Don't worry! The majority of you voted for Lilith to post her Top Five Methods To Determine If You Are A Zombie *snicker* and that post goes up tomorrow, along with an awesome giveaway! You could win a one-of-a-kind necklace designed just for Jill Kismet.

Also this week, debut author Myra McEntire takes on Captain Jack Sparrow and gives away a signed copy of her sizzling time travel HOURGLASS!

You don't want to miss either giveaway (and both writers are entertaining like WHOA), so check back in tomorrow to get the party started. :)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Interview & EPIC Giveaway with Lilith Saintcrow





It's no secret that I adore both the YA and adult books of the talented Lilith Saintcrow. And I'm not alone in this ... her earlier interview consistently ranks among my top ten viewed blog posts. Lilith's books are full of spine-tingling action, edge-of-your-seat suspense, and raw emotion. Her newest book in the Jill Kismet series continues the thrill ride as Jill keeps her enemies closer than her friends in an attempt to defeat the latest awful creature crawling out of the pits of hell to torment the inhabitants of Earth. Here's a peek at the story:

When a new hellbreed comes calling, playing nice isn’t an option. Jill Kismet has no choice but to seek treacherous allies – Perry, the devil she knows, and Melisande Belisa, the cunning Sorrows temptress whose true loyalties are unknown.



Kismet knows Perry and Belisa are likely playing for the same thing–her soul. It’s just too bad, because she expects to beat them at their own game. Except their game is vengeance.


Nobody plays vengeance like Kismet. But if the revenge she seeks damns her, her enemies might get her soul after all…

Don't expect to get much sleep while you're reading it! I was thrilled when Lilith agreed to be interviewed again on the blog. (And wait until you see the HOLY COW AMAZING giveaway she's offering!) This time, she chose to take on that bastion of awesomeness, the Were-llama.


The Were-llama



Lilith Saintcrow

Now that you know who's who, let's dive into the interview and reveal the cupcake my hubby made in honor of HEAVEN'S SPITE. In the novel, there are pale oval doors between our world and hell, and misshapen appendages try to pull their way through those openings. My hubby decided to make a cupcake depicting one of those fruitless bids for freedom. Without further ado, I give you Lilith vs. the Were-llama and the cupcake doorway to Hell.


Why no, that isn't a door knocker. That's a hand. A silvery hand. A silvery hellish undead hand of DOOM.

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?


In addition to being a writer, I am a mother. Which means I can command obedience with a single scorching look, an aggrieved sigh, or a single word. The power of my Mommy Voice can stun an entire class of seventh-graders into silence, halt a teenage boy in his tracks, and turn adults into children caught at the cookie jar in an instant.

I do try to only use my powers for good.

2. I was impressed right up until that last sentence. Only use powers for good? Pfft! Where's the fun in that? I like to spit at my enemies from whichever end is closest to them. Do any of your characters have cool abilities like that?

Not quite that…theatrical. One of my characters can bring the dead back to answer probate questions. Another can set things on fire with her mind. Yet another can get shot with an assault rifle and get up ready to kick serious ass. They’re a mixed bunch. But no, not as…cool…as your abilities.

3. I see what you're trying to do with that deliberate little hesitation before the word "cool." You deal with a face-full of llama spit (from either end!) and then we'll talk about who's COOL. If I had a nickname, it would be The Awesome. You?

“Tiger Lili.” It’s what my bouldering partner calls me at the climbing wall. Probably because I enthusiastically throw myself at the wall like a maniac, and claw my way up through sheer force of will.

4. I don't claw my way up anything by sheer force of will. I make humans do that for me. I hang around this blog because I love stories. What’s your story about? Bonus points if it includes a llama.

My story’s about a woman who wakes up in her own grave out in the desert, covered in wasps and amnesiac. As usual, she’s got to save the world, but that’s tough to do if you can’t even remember your own name. Things just get worse from there. I am greatly saddened to report that I was not talented enough to put a llama in.

5. *sighs* So few truly understand the literary genius of adding a llama to the story. 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?

Burned, blood-spattered, scattered with silver charms and spent ammo casings, drenched with rainwater, sliced by hellbreed claws. Rendered in exquisite confectionary detail, and, of course, delicious. (After all, CJ’s husband is drafted to make it. Right?)

6. Your offering has been deemed acceptable. And yes, C.J.'s long-suffering husband makes all confectionery carnage in this household. Any Were-llamas in your book?

I wish! Alas, my literary talents are not considerable enough for the challenge of portraying the nuance, the grandeur, the sheer scope of the Were-llama. My lack of ability fills me with despair.

7. *pats you on the head* The accurate portrayal of the majestic Were-llama and his formidable spitting abilities is more than most authors dare attempt. We are, however, notoriously sneaky and might have slipped in under your radar. Anyone who might be a Were-llama and you just haven’t figured it out yet?

I can’t think of a single character worthy of that high status. Although there probably are a tribe of Were-llamas in Jill Kismet’s world.

8. If there are an entire tribe, rest assured, Madam, that they shall soon rule that world. With a business end at BOTH ends, no one escapes the wrath of the Were-llama. Llamas or camels and why? Think carefully.

Llamas, of course! They are ideal for home defense. I once (and this is 100% absolutely completely true, before you ask) knew a Reiki master who had a herd of sheep; he had a llama to guard them. He said the llama scared the coyotes so bad they never came back. I believe this.

9. There was a brief, tragic time in our history in which we were used as spitting guard dogs for the benefit of humans. But we've since handed that role over to donkeys (They have a high kick to rival that of any Vegas showgirl.) and are intent on ruling the humans instead. I give you a baby Were-llama as a companion. What do you name her?

Whatever she pleases.

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

I can’t choose! Words are a neverending smorgasbord of delight, a banquet of sensual joy. I love them all. Each word is exquisite. I can’t pick a favourite, though I do sometimes whip out “antidisestablishmentarianism” to trip the unwary.

11. I sometimes whip my hair back and forth to trip the unwary, but whatever works for you. 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’m afraid my dreams most often centred on simple survival. Where I grew up, dreaming was dangerous. One had to be alert at all times, and dreaming was a liability.

12. No wonder you have an innate appreciate for the ferocity of the Were-llama. I'm glad to see your dreams now give us doorways to hell and women bent on revenge. Now, all you need to do is add a llama to your next story, and you'll be the complete package. Cake or cookies?
Yes, thank you.

13. Do you share chocolate?

With my writing partner or my teenage daughter, yes. Because they know where I sleep. Anyone else, it depends on the time of month—and their methods of begging or persuasion.

14. I refuse to beg or persuade, but I have no doubt you would share with ME. The Zombie Goat invasion is upon us. How will you fight them off?

Firepower. Sledgehammers. Katanas. Kerosene. High-heeled shoes. Sippy cups. Bendy straws. Toothpicks. Grand pianos. Wet noodles. In short, anything I can get my hands, feet, teeth, elbows, knees, or nose on. In the face of a Zombie Goat invasion, everything is a weapon. Everything.


Silly girl. All you need is a tribe of Were-llamas.

Thank you, Lilith, for once again delivering a fabulously entertaining interview! To learn more about Lilith and her awesome books, visit her site. To purchase HEAVEN'S SPITE, head here.  But of course, the fun isn't over yet!

Lilith has generously offered to give away the ENTIRE SET of Jill Kismet books to one lucky commenter! If the winner is from North America, the set will be signed. If the winner is from anywhere else, the books will arrive via Book Depository. That's five books!

How HOLY COW AMAZING is that??

And that's not all! Next Monday, you'll get a chance to read Lilith's Top Five list and be entered into a drawing for a one-of-a-kind necklace designed especially for HEAVEN'S SPITE. Trust me, this necklace is awesome!

To enter the drawing for the set of Kismet books, please fill out the form below. And don't forget to vote one which Top Five list you'd like to see from Lilith this Monday! The poll closes on Friday, June 10th at 10 p.m. Central Time. The drawing for the set of Kismet books closes at 8 p.m. Central Time on Sunday, June 12th.

What are you waiting for? Fill out the entry form, vote in the poll (located on my sidebar), and check back Monday to see who won and to enter the drawing for the one-of-a-kind Jill Kismet necklace!







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