Friday, May 28, 2010

Guest Post

I'm a visiting professor at Romance University today discussing the art of writing a synopsis without losing your mind. :)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Today's Interview

Today's scheduled interview has been moved to next Friday for a variety of really good reasons:

1. My hubby injured his knee and couldn't move around the kitchen crafting a cupcake of awesomeness.

2. My scheduled author wants to debut her brand new cover on this blog and doesn't have the green light to make it public until next week.

3. Rabid zombie grasshoppers invaded the Northern Hemisphere, cutting off most internet connections and reducing all inhabitable structures to rubble.

4. You weren't aware of the zombie grasshopper invasion? Sheesh, people. Keep up.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Cell Phone: 1 C.J.: 0

1. As I'm sure you've noticed, I changed the look of this blog last night.

2. I've been wanting to for a long time, but every time I tried, something would go wrong with the layout, and because I'm so NOT a technical genius, I would have no idea how to fix it.

3. I have to give credit to my awesome friend Mandy for sending me a link and walking me through the process. I love that I have people in my life who ENJOY figuring out technical stuff.

4. Speaking of figuring out technical stuff, I have a new cell phone. We sort of hate each other at the moment. It wouldn't let me text correctly (I still can't make the Look Up Contact feature work), it wouldn't save my contacts in any semblance of order, and it defied my every (feeble) attempt to browse through it's options and figure out how to work it.

5. It likes to toy with me. Perhaps it thinks I want its shiny new features more than I want the comfort of a phone I can actually USE and thus refuses to take seriously my many threats to yank its sim card and return to using my old battered phone.

6. My hubby, who has the same Ooh, Shiny! reaction to figuring out gadgets as I do to reading new books, tried for about an hour to tough out my frustration and send me to my phone's manual.

7. That's not how our marriage works.

8. I don't read manuals because they are often incomprehensible to me without a herculean effort of focus and concentration and even then, the technical info raises my blood pressure until I want to scream and throw the phone against the wall because it's just not worth it. He reads manuals cover to cover and spends an hour he could've spent doing any number of truly enjoyable things tinkering with his new gadgets.

9. Yes, I'm a technological curmudgeon. I don't want an iPad, and iPhone, a Kindle or a fancy navigation system in my car. Those things don't look exciting to me. They look stressful.

10. About the time I began to think my battle with my new cell phone was going to make me cry (I'd already decided I would never be able to text my friends again), my hubby took pity on me, stepped in, and helped me navigate through the stupidly complicated features on my phone.

11. I still don't know how to work most of it, but at least it no longer takes me thirty minutes to respond to a text.

12. Apropos of nothing, Starshine walked in to the living room the other night and said, "Dad? When are you going to have that conversation with me? You know. The conversation about ... I can't even say it."

13. My hubby said, "Well, when do you want to have the conversation?"

14. Starshine spent a moment in deep thought and then said, "February 13, 2011."

15. And so we've penciled him in.

16. I've begun the new YA manuscript I pitched to Holly.

17. In a totally shocking development, the entire story is plotted out. The big stuff, anyway. I still get to discover how to make from one big plot point to the next, but I know what needs to happen and where I'm going.

18. I'm as surprised by this as anyone.

19. We'll see how much of it remains true once I get into the story.

20. I'd love to stay and chat more with you today, but I have three boys frantically putting the finishing touches on a clean garage so they can go to the pool. Time to go slather on the sunscreen and hit the water.

Saturday, May 22, 2010


Thank you to all who entered the contest for a signed copy of Jeaniene Frost's FIRST DROP OF CRIMSON! As always, I used to help me choose the winner and the winner is: Werecat1!

Congratulations!! Please get in touch with me so I can forward your info on to Jeaniene. Thanks for reading!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Interview With Jeaniene Frost

When people ask me to recommend a paranormal author for them to try, the first name out of my mouth is always Jeaniene Frost. Her writing is fast-paced, compelling, and fun. Her plots twist and turn, her characters are vivid, and I can't wait to gobble up everything she writes. If you're a vampire fan, this is the author you should be reading. Trust me.

Her latest book, FIRST DROP OF CRIMSON, is just as awesome as the others. I devoured it in one day. Here's a peek at the book:

The night is not safe for mortals.

Denise MacGregor knows all too well what lurks in the shadows – her best friend is half-vampire Cat Crawfield – and she has already lost more than the average human could bear. But her family’s dark past is wrapped in secrets and shrouded in darkness – and a demon shapeshifter has marked Denise as prey. Now her survival depends on an immortal who craves a taste of her.

He is Spade, a powerful, mysterious vampire who has walked the earth for centuries and is now duty-bound to protect this endangered, alluring human – even if it means destroying his own kind. Denise may arouse his deepest hungers, but Spade knows he must fight his urge to have her as they face the demon nightmare together…

Because once the first drop of crimson falls, they will both be lost.

I'm thrilled to have Jeaniene on the blog today. She chose to be interviewed by the always smooth Captain Jack Sparrow.

Captain Jack

Jeaniene Frost

Now that you know who's who, it's time to dive into the interview and reveal the super awesome cupcake my hubby made for Jeaniene. Since Spade is a vampire (and thus, technically, dead) and the book is about the first drop of crimson, my hubby made a tombstone for Spade complete with a serious set of vampire fangs piercing the stone and, of course, blood. Without further ado, I give you the cupcake and Jeaniene's interview with Captain Jack.

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

I wouldn’t want to be a member of the Royal Navy that was portrayed in your movies, that’s for sure. But in reality, I’d probably pick the Navy. Piracy looks like fun, but it has an awful version of a 401K (that would be a hangman’s rope, if I recall), and I seem to remember people acting as if you and the other pirates were – how shall I say this delicately? – a bit ripe in the aroma area. No one wants to be Sir or Sister Smelly if they can avoid it, in my opinion.

2. *sniffs the air* I'm sure I don't know what you're talking about, love. What’s your favorite thing to do in Tortuga?

Oh, it would be so awesome to roam about 18th century Tortuga with a camera! Imagine all the incredible things you’d see when it was run solely by pirates. Of course, you’d need a lot of body guards to go along with that camera. Probably need lots of hand sanitizer, too. And a mask for the smell. And ye gods, it would’ve been hot there without air conditioning invented yet. Not to mention lack of bathroom facilities, or toothpaste, or deodorant, or…

You know what? I think I’ll skip Tortuga, thanks anyway ;-).

3. *raises a brow* Forgive me for pointing this out, my dear, but I detect an unhealthy obsession with personal hygiene. You may want to consider loosening the corset a bit. I’m offering you free passage aboard my ship to anywhere in the world. Where shall we go, love?

England first, then Scotland. Would love to visit both those places. England has so many monuments, galleries, and cemeteries that I want to see, and Scotland has Loch Ness, countless historical areas, men in skirts, and everyone talking in cool brogues. As for traveling by boat – why, Jack, how did you know that I hated to fly??

4. If we were meant to fly, why would God have given us boats? I am a trifle concerned about your desire to see men in skirts, but to each his own, I always say. 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?

The hero in FIRST DROP OF CRIMSON, Spade, is like a mix of you and Will Turner, actually. Spade is suave, definitely debonair, has no trouble getting dates, but also has a strong streak of honor. And a dangerous streak if crossed. He’s a great man to have at your back in a fight, but you wouldn’t want to tick him off.

And, uh, since Spade is a vampire and can control where the blood goes in his body, he never has to worry about his “compass” being broken, whereas I seem to remember you had some problems with your compass, Jack. Hee hee!

5. Rum? Or more rum? Not that I'm sharing a single drop of rum with someone who casts aspersions upon my compass. I was tired. And a bit stressed from being hunted by everyone and their parrot. Also, it was cold. *guzzles rum and glares*

Neither. I don’t drink alcohol, but I am a caffeine addict, so it’s coffee in the morning for me – and you do NOT want to ever stand in the way of me and my coffee – and then Coke Zero the rest of the day for me.

6. Coffee and Coke Zero, eh? How kind of you to leave all the rum to me. Which leads me to the age old question: Why is the rum always gone?

Really, Jack, has anyone told you that you might want to check out an AA meeting? Just sayin’…

7. First you question my compass, now you want to divest me of my rum forever? A pox upon you. What’s the most piratish thing you’ve ever done? Besides try to take my rum.

Hmm. Probably getting drunk and then leaping off a moving boat into the Atlantic Ocean – which might explain better than anything else why I no longer drink. Some people can’t handle their liquor. I am definitely one of those people.

8. My darling, if I had a gold coin for every time I leaped from a moving boat into the ocean, I'd be rich. Are they rules? Or more like guidelines?

Rules, of course. If you don’t know what the rules are, how will you know when it’s a good idea to break them? And if there were no rules, then there would be no rebels, and how boring would the world be without rebels?

9. I may have misjudged you. In the same way you misjudged my compass. Lace up your corset again and welcome aboard! Any friend to rebels is a friend of mine. I understand you’re a story-teller. Any undead monkeys in your stories?

No undead monkeys. Lots of undead other things, though. My hero is a vampire. My heroine is a human who gets branded by a demon, which is my villain. Add that to ghosts, ghouls, and some occasional black magic, and you have a lot more dangerous creatures than an undead monkey.

10. Spoken like a woman who's never run afoul of an undead monkey. *shudders* Any curses? Heartless monsters? Irritating women who insist on taking matters into their own hands?

Curses, no. Heartless monsters, sure, but those aren’t as easy to spot as you think in my books. What makes someone a monster isn’t limited to whether that person is human or not. Monstrosity comes from within first. Irritating women who take matters into their own hands? Of course! If all women just sat there and waited for men to rescue them, they’d die of old age. Or get killed by the villain, whichever came first.

11. One of my favorite words is “egregious.” Care to share one of yours, love?

Obfuscation. It’s defined as deliberately making communication unnecessarily hard to understand. Don’t you love the irony of a big, confusing word being chosen to show that using big, confusing words in speech makes it harder for people to understand you?

12. I've always adored irony. Parlay? Or draw your sword?

If you asked me, I’d say parlay all the way, baby! Lol. But if you asked my characters, they would draw their swords. And then talk about negotiating.

13. There's nothing wrong with parlaying your head off a chopping block so you can live to fight another day. You’ve got a crowd of cursed sailors and a nasty sea monster on your trail. How do you escape?

Easy. Call the head of a television network and pitch a new reality show called Survivor: Pirates Cove, with the condition that I’ll tell him/her where all these fabulous, money-making creatures are as long as I’m rescued from them. See? *grin* Told you I’m all about the parlaying instead of fighting.

14. Your parlaying skills are formidable, my love. Romantic night in? Or adventure on the high seas?

With how little free time I’ve had lately, this is a no-brainer. Romantic night in! Preferably with the phone, internet, TV, DVD, and cell phones disconnected. It’s so hard to get uninterrupted time with my husband, so that sounds more appealing to me than a high seas adventure. Besides, hubby’s prone to seasickness anyway.

15. My dear, I don't believe I invited your husband to come along. My personal motto is: Take what you want, give nothing back. What’s yours?

The only difference between an author and a schizophrenic is a paycheck.

Thank you, Jeaniene, for such a fun interview! And for writing such awesome stories. To learn more about Jeaniene and her books, please visit her website. You can also go here to see the book trailer for FIRST DROP OF CRIMSON and to read the first 20% of the book for free. Of course, the fun isn't over yet!

Jeaniene's Giveaway:

One lucky commenter will win a signed copy of FIRST DROP OF CRIMSON! International entries welcome. Here's how to enter:

1. Earn entries:

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

*Be a follower of this blog = 2 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.)

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, May 22nd. Please check back to see if you've won and to claim your prize!

Good luck to all, and happy reading!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Things I've Learned Recently

I shamelessly stole this post idea from my friend Kerry Allen on the (perhaps erroneous) assumption she's too busy to hunt me down and make me pay for the theft.

1. Someone actually makes a product called Anti-Monkey Butt Powder. This is wrong on so many levels. First, who goes around complaining of monkey-butt? Second, even if you had a raging case of monkey-butt (Symptoms include scratching like a ball player and consuming sickening amounts of bananas), would you honestly be willing to publicly purchase the product pictured above? Also? If you're dating, this might be the deal breaker when your special someone goes through your medicine cabinet.

2. I channel Hannibal Lecter when given sedation. I imagine my picture now graces the walls of the local hospital with the slogan "If you see this girl, guard your internal organs lest they be turned into a delicious pie."

3. I truly do love pie.

4. I think my friend Kerry should bake me a pie. A thieving blogger pie. Including a nurse's liver is, of course, optional.

5. Spastic Kitten has truly lost what little slice of kitty sanity she had left. She now spends her days crouched on the floor staring at a small smudge about five feet up on our glass storm door. Every few minutes, she'll leap into the air, slam into the glass door, and then slide to the floor. I could clean the smudge, but she seems so amused and hey, she's attacking a glass door instead of me. I'm okay with that.

6. I have no arts and crafts skillz. I already knew that, of course, but apparently my hubby was laboring under the notion that some small smidgen of talent lurked within me and I was just holding back on him. Last Friday, he was working to get a cake done for a client's party and needed the following made out of fondant: 96.3 When he delegated that task to me and I expressed my (not inconsiderable) doubts as to my ability to execute this (sort of scary) feat, he assured me it was as easy as playing with play doh. Clearly, he's never seen me play with play doh. I rolled fondant snakes and sort of smooshed them into reasonable facsimiles of the numbers and then made a totally awesome cube for the period. He took one look at my efforts, manfully maintained a straight face for about .00000008 seconds, and then started laughing. When I glared and said "I told you I couldn't do it!" he wisely complimented my cube and used it on the cake. I doubt he'll be asking for my help again any time soon.

7. Dexter is an addiction. I'm totally unable to watch just one episode once I start.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Winners: Chelsea Campbell Giveaway

Thank you to all who entered the Chelsea Campbell giveaway! I hope you'll head to your nearest bookstore and snag a copy of THE RISE OF RENEGADE X soon. It's so worth it! The winners of this contest are:

Winner of the signed, hardback copy of RenX: Mundie Moms KatieB!
Winner of a signed bookmark: Sherry (@ Flipping Pages), Lanae T, and Allison!

Ladies, please leave your email addy in the comments so I can get your mailing info and forward it on to Chelsea. Thanks for reading!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Winners - Kimberly Pauley Contest

As always, I used to generate the winners of the Kimberly Pauley contest. And the winners are:

1. Winner of the set of signed hardback SUCKS TO BE ME and STILL SUCKS TO BE ME: Angie!

2. Winner of the bookmarks and temporary tattoos: Sherry S.!

If you didn't already leave me your email, please do so in the comments and I'll be in touch w/you regarding your prizes. Congratulations and thanks for reading!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Interview With Chelsea Campbell

I'm going to let you in on a secret. Yesterday, THE RISE OF RENEGADE X hit the shelves, and you want this book. No, really. You do. I'll tell you why. When I set up this interview with Chelsea, I asked her to send me the first few chapters of RenX (since it wasn't yet available in stores) so I could knowledgeably talk about it today. She complied. I decided to open the file and just check to see that it arrived in one, readable piece. I wasn't planning to read it, yet. I didn't have time, nor was I wearing my reading glasses. Five minutes later, I was deeply immersed in chapter two and wondering why I had an eye strain headache.

This book sucks you in from the first word. It's captivating. Energetic. Intriguing. And just plain AWESOME. Here's a quick peek:

Damien Locke knows his destiny–attending the university for supervillains and becoming Golden City’s next professional evil genius. But when Damien discovers he’s the product of his supervillain mother’s one-night stand with–of all people–a superhero, his best-laid plans are ruined as he’s forced to live with his superhero family.

Going to extreme lengths (and heights), The Rise of Renegade X chronicles one boy’s struggles with the villainous and heroic pitfalls of growing up.

Chelsea enthusiastically agreed to an interview with the always debonair Captain Jack Sparrow (who is preening a bit at having interviewed TWO lovely ladies on the blog this week.)

Captain Jack Sparrow

Chelsea Campbell

Now that you know who's who, it's time to dive into the interview and reveal the awesome cupcake my hubby made for Chelsea. Damien spends a lot of time hanging out on top of skyscrapers in Renegade X, so my hubby made a gorgeous skyscraper cupcake. Without further ado, here is the cupcake and Chelsea's interview with Captain Jack.

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

A pirate. The navy doesn't have talking parrots.

2. Truer words, my dear. What’s your favorite thing to do in Tortuga?

Steal pirate ships.

3. Darling, you may have just stolen my heart. Shall we abscond with a poorly guarded vessel or two? I’m offering you free passage aboard my ship to anywhere in the world. Where shall we go, love?

On a tour of the Mediterranean.

4. I certainly hope that tour includes relieving a few careless owners of their ships. 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?

Oh, you, of course.

5. I do believe you and I are a match made in heaven. Rum? Or more rum?

Rum sandwich.

6. *stares at your answer* Rum ... sandwich? You would sully the purity of gut-burning rum with bread? I fail to understand the appeal. Which leads me to the age old question: Why is the rum always gone?

It's an existential thing. There is no rum, kind of like how there is no spoon.

7. My dear, based on that answer, I fear the rum is gone because you've ingested all of it. Every drop. What’s the most piratish thing you’ve ever done?

Fed a man's hand to a crocodile. Oh, wait, that's Peter Pan...

8. *casually tucks hands behind his back* Are they rules? Or more like guidelines?

Guidelines for sure. I hate rules, especially when it comes to important things, like writing.

9. Once again, we find ourselves in agreement. I understand you’re a story-teller. Any undead monkeys in your stories?

I prefer the term “reanimated.” The book is just full of reanimated primate types.

10. Really? *backs away slowly* You begin to worry me, my love. Any curses? Heartless monsters? Irritating women who insist on taking matters into their own hands?

I suppose Damien being of mixed villain and hero parentage could count as a curse. Did I mention his parents are also undead monkeys? Who are cursed and have no hearts?

11. Sweetheart, you are without a doubt the most accomplished story-teller I've ever met. One of my favorite words is “egregious.” As in "combining rum and bread is an egregious waste of rum." Care to share one of yours, love?

Gusset. It's a fun word to say, is practical, and invokes a sense of mystery, because even though I have made my fair share of gussets, I'm still not sure what they are. But I know enough to be able to say, “This thumb gusset is giving me guff!”

12. I say we sail off into the sunset and make our fair share of gussets at every turn. Parlay? Or draw your sword?

Sword. We can talk parlay while we swash some buckle.

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

Hypnotize them all into working for me. Now I'm not only out of trouble, but I got a free army, complete with sea monster!

14. I can see my fortunes will vastly improve if I stay on your good side. Romantic night in? Or adventure on the high seas?

Adventure! But realistically, a night in dreaming about adventure.

15. Darling, with me, adventure isn't just a dream. My personal motto is: Take what you want, give nothing back. What’s yours?

Coffee heals all wounds.

Thank you, Chelsea, for such a fun interview! And for writing such an awesome story. To learn more about Chelsea and her books, please visit her website. Of course, the fun isn't over yet!

Chelsea's Giveaway:

One lucky commenter will win a signed, hardback copy of THE RISE OF RENEGADE X! Three runners up will each win a fun signed bookmark! Here's how to enter:

1. Earn entries:

*Comment on this post = 1 entry

*Be a follower of this blog = 2 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.)

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, May 15th. Please check back to see if you've won and to claim your prize!

Good luck to all, and happy reading!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Let's Bake A Book

Kait Nolan, awesome cook and up and coming writer, guest blogs.

Note: For the purposes of this discussion, we’re going to talk about baking bread in the conventional way rather than using the revolutionary (and well worth it) method put forth by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois in Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes A Day, which does away with time consuming steps like proofing yeast and kneading. If you love fresh baked bread, try their method. It will be the best bread you ever put into your mouth. End foodie fangirl plug.

On to the meat…or crumb of the post (did you know the soft part inside a loaf of bread is referred to as the crumb? There’s your foodie fact for the day).

Writing a book is like baking bread. At least that’s what I told CJ, and she thought it was a cool idea for a post. I’m not sure I had any idea exactly how writing a book is like baking bread that day. Mostly I was focused on the super awesome loaf of French bread I’d just pulled out of the oven and had bread on the brain. However, on further consideration, I stand by my off the cuff statement.

Let’s review the basic steps of baking a loaf of bread.

1. You add your packet of yeast to the requisite amount of warm water, along with some form of sugar (could be granulated, could be a natural sugar like honey). Then you wait for the yeast to “proof”. Basically, this is waiting 10-15 minutes for the yeast to activate and get kind of foamy and the mixture to get cloudy.

This step is analogous to the initial inspiration for a book. We’ll call your brain the water, your natural creativity the yeast, and whatever the random thing is that’s inspired you is the sugar. In most cases you need a little time to process that inspiration and for ideas to generate and arrange themselves in your head before you start writing. Kind of like how you see, for example, an episode of Deadliest Warrior and think that someone should really write a time travel romance about how a Spartan travels through time to the modern world (which they totally should). You’d need a little time to process what the implications would be and how that would work (whether you are a pantser or plotter).

2. Next, in a separate bowl, you mix your dry ingredients—typically flours of one ilk or other, possibly wheat gluten if you’re making whole wheat bread, etc. Mix well. You will also be adding any additional wet ingredients to the water/yeast/sugar mixture—possibly oil, eggs, etc. Whatever your recipe calls for.

I’m going to compare this to whatever prep work you do before you write. Maybe you do character interviews or character sketches. Maybe you outline. Maybe you just map out the basic story structure. If you don’t do any prep work before you write, then you’re probably making quick bread and this analogy may not apply to you. Just go with it.

3. Next, you mix the wet with the dry and stir until well incorporated. Then you dump it out on a lightly floured surface and you knead it for some period of time. The point of kneading is to develop the gluten that holds the bread together. You know how if you pull on dough it’s kind of got that stringy looking thing going on? That’s gluten.

So clearly this part is the writing of the book. You’re working on all the elements that hold a plot together. Character arc. Goals. Stakes. Conflict. Turning points. Motivation. All of these things (and more) go into a plot that will stand up to cutting once it’s baked.

4. Once you’ve finished kneading, you set the dough aside, covered with a damp cloth, to rise.

I think this clearly compares to the resting period between finishing a first draft and revisions. Whenever I finish my first pass at a WIP, I have to set it aside for some period of time (usually a week) to let things rest and allow my brain to shift over from writing to revising mode. It’s always much easier to approach when things aren’t quite as fresh in my mind.

5. After the first rising, you dump the dough back out onto a lightly floured surface and you punch it down and knead it again.

Punch your book down. Yes, I said it. This is the part where you axe all those tangents and little darlings that don’t add to or advance your story. You’re honing things now. Getting rid of the extra air and kneading the words and the plot until you have a book that’s tight and contained.

6. Then you set the dough aside for a second, briefer rise (perhaps in a pan, perhaps on a pizza peel if you’re making an artisan loaf), during which time you preheat the oven.

You step away one more time from that plot, just to give yourself some clarity and warn your crit partner that you’re about to need her services. Yes, a good crit partner is an invaluable part of the writing process. If you don’t have one, find one.

7. Then you put the bread in the oven to bake. You set the timer and wait.

And you turn the entire revised manuscript over to your crit partner to slaughter (because, yes, a good CP is gonna bring the heat and put your manuscript to the test). And you wait.

8. When the timer goes off, you carefully remove the bread from the oven and allow it to cool.

When you get your manuscript back from your CP, you wait for the sting to fade (because of course you have actual work still to do).

9. Once cool, you slice the bread and top with your choice of deliciousness: butter, peanut butter, jam, bruschetta, sandwich makings, etc.

You take your CP’s feedback and incorporate whatever you believe will make your book the best, followed by packaging the story either in a query for an agent or in the appropriate formatting necessary for self-publishing.

10. Then you serve up both your bread and your book and hope everyone enjoys.

Are you as hungry as I am after reading this? Because I don’t have the patience for waiting hours for a traditional yeast based bread like I just described, I’m going to share with you my recipe for one of my favorite quick breads: Herb and Cheddar Beer Bread Muffins (taken from my food blog Pots and Plots).

Now I really love beer bread. My husband is a beer drinker, so we usually have a six pack of something or other that I can rob for bread (I think he’s kind of horrified that every beer I taste I immediately think in terms of how it would taste either as bread or for drunk chicken). What makes this such a fabulous quick bread is that you are using the yeast that’s in the beer as your leavening agent. It interacts with the baking powder to make it rise while in the oven.

• 1 12 oz. bottle of beer (This particular recipe works best with a sweeter beer like Michelob Honey Lager.)
• 2 cups white flour
• 1 cup whole wheat flour
• 1 tablespoon sugar
• 1 tablespoon baking powder
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 2 oz. finely grated sharp cheddar
• 1 tablespoon herbs de Provence

1. Preheat oven to 375.
2. Combine the sugar, baking powder, salt, flours, cheddar and herbs.
3. Add the beer and mix until just combined.
4. Spray 3 muffin tins with cooking spray.
5. Using well floured hands, pinch off 1 inch sections of dough and form into a ball. Each muffin cup should hold 3 balls of dough.
6. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
7. Cool on a rack for 10 minutes before eating.
You can certainly make this in loaf form, although if you do that, you should adjust the cooking time to 45 minutes and allow the loaf to rest in the pan for 10 minutes, then cool on a rack for another 10 minutes.


Thanks for hanging out in my kitchen today! For those who are interested, my debut paranormal romance novella, Forsaken By Shadow, is available at Scribd, Smashwords, Amazon, and the iBookstore. It is the first in the Mirus series.

Cade Shepherd is on top of the world as this year's Ultimate Fighting Champion. He doesn't even remember his life as Gage Dempsey, a Shadow Walker with the ability to magically transport himself from shadow to shadow. In fact, he can't remember anything before waking up in a cheap motel room ten years ago with mysterious burns on his hands--not even the woman he almost died for.

Embry Hollister has picked up the pieces of her life, learned to control her ability to generate flame, and now works an enforcer for the Council of Races. But when her father is captured by the human military and the Council refuses mount a rescue mission, Embry has no choice but to go rogue. All she has to do is find the man with the new name and new life who was completely wronged by her people, give him back the memories they stole, convince him to join her on what's probably a suicide mission, and hope that after ten years of living as a regular guy he still remembers what her father taught him.

And after that, she just has to leave him. Again.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Interview With Kimberly Pauley

I gobbled up Kimberly Pauley's SUCKS TO BE ME (Click that link for FUN info.)in one sitting. Her writing is witty, warm, and engaging and her characters become people I feel I know as well as I know my own circle of friends. When I heard STILL SUCKS TO BE ME was hitting the bookstore shelves, I couldn't wait to introduce my blog readers to the awesomeness that is Kimberly Pauley and her stories. Here's the premise of STILL SUCKS TO BE ME:

With vampire boyfriend George and best friend Serena by her side, Mina thought she had her whole life—or rather afterlife—ahead of her. But then Mina’s parents drop a bomb. They’re moving. To Louisiana. And not somewhere cool like New Orleans, but some teeny, tiny town where cheerleaders and jocks rule the school. Mina has to fake her death, change her name, and leave everything behind, including George and Serena. Not even the Vampire Council’s shape-shifting classes can cheer her up. Then Serena shows up on Mina’s doorstep with some news that sends Mina reeling. Mina may look a lot better with fangs, but her afterlife isn’t any less complicated!

When I asked Kimberly for an interview, she was quick to accept, though I now suspect that had more to do with the savvy Captain Jack Sparrow than with me.

Captain Jack Sparrow

Kimberly Pauley

Now that you know who's who, it's time to dive into the interview and reveal the awesome cupcake my hubby made for Kimberly. Since Mina is a vampire and is toting a blue suitcase on the cover of SSTBM, my hubby made a vampire suitcase cupcake. Without further ado, I give you the cupcake and Kimberly's interview with the inimitable Captain Jack.

First off, Captain Jack, I just wanted to thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to chat with me. As a token of my appreciation, I’d like to present you with this bottle of scotch. I know it isn’t rum, but I made it myself at Whiskey School in Bladnoch, Scotland so I can attest to it’s potency. I hope you enjoy it.

Oh, and a note on the picture I sent you. It’s me in my Derby hat, since the Derby was two weekends ago. I thought you might appreciate the hat. Can I borrow yours next year?

1. *gingerly takes the bottle of scotch and examines it carefully* Well, it isn't rum, but far be it from me to turn down a free bottle of potent alcohol. However, hands off the hat, love. Would you classify yourself as a pirate or a member of Her Majesty’s Royal navy? Why?

Definitely a pirate, because I’m not much on formality or uniforms, for that matter. Besides, they tend to be insufferable prigs, don’t they?

2. Insufferable prigs? I might fall in love with you if you keep tossing phrases like that about. What’s your favorite thing to do in Tortuga?

Eating rum cake on the beach.

3. Darling, as delicious as that sounds, why sully the purity of rum with something as mundane as cake? I’m offering you free passage aboard my ship to anywhere in the world. Where shall we go, love?

Well, if I’m off with you, I’m not sure I really care where I go, but…hmmmm…how about Bora Bora? It’s fun to say and a perfect place to drink rum, right? Though next on my list is really probably France. I did just get back from China and so it’s back to Europe, I think. Or maybe Costa Rica. Hey, that’s kind of fun to say too and I bet they have rum…why can’t we just go on a worldwide cruise?

4. A worldwide cruise it is! Just don't get any ideas about my hat. 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?

Well, I’d have to say most like Will Turner. But in a good way. I’m afraid I don’t really write savvy, debonair characters, though I’d really like to run into such a person in real life (hint, hint).

5. Darling, feel free to run into me any time you like. Rum? Or more rum?

When life gives you rum…make mojitos! I know you’re more of a rum purist, but I have to admit that I like it doctored a bit.

6. I must admit, I fail to understand your obsession with adding things to a perfectly excellent jug of rum. Which leads me to the age old question: Why is the rum always gone?

Because you’ve drunk so much you’ve forgotten where you hid the rest?

7. *pauses* I believe you may be right. What’s the most piratish thing you’ve ever done?

Um…buried stuff in the backyard?

8. Darling ... if you spent less time mixing rum and cake and more time thinking in terms of pillage, you might have more to show for your pirating ways. Are they rules? Or more like guidelines?

What rules? There are rules? I don’t believe in rules. Guidelines? *snort*

9. *pushes Derby hat aside to stare into your eyes* You mix rum and cake, bury things in the backyard, but eschew both rules and guidelines? You little enigma, you. I might need to take you on that worldwide cruise just to figure out what makes you tick. *snags your wrists* But you still can't touch my hat. I understand you’re a story-teller. Any undead monkeys in your stories?

No, afraid not. Though my first book did feature a really ugly hairless cat in a walk-on role. And the second one has a cow. You ever watched a cow eat? They seem kind of like an undead shambling monster.

10. *shudders* I worry about you, my love. I really do. Any curses? Heartless monsters? Irritating women who insist on taking matters into their own hands?

Definitely the latter. But, you know, she’s the heroine of the story, so you have to cut her some slack. Besides, by the time the second book rolls around, she could kick your butt. Not that she would, because I’m sure she would find you quite charming. But she totally could.

11. Darling, as long as she brings more rum, she can do whatever she'd like. Except borrow my hat. One of my favorite words is “egregious.” Care to share one of yours, love?

Actually, that’s one of my favorites too! I like words in general, honestly. But I especially like precocious ones.

12. I believe you are the precocious one here, my dear. Parlay? Or draw your sword?

Sword. A fine-edged cutlass, though that’s probably too girly. Let’s make it a broadsword with a nice heft to it.

13. *raises brow* Unless you're simply planning to slice your rum cake with this sword, I may have underestimated you. You’ve got a crowd of cursed sailors and a nasty sea monster on your trail. How do you escape?

By convincing the sailors that the only way to remove their curse is to remove and eat the gullet of the nasty sea monster. And possibly some rum.

14. I like the way you think! But no, you still cannot borrow my hat. Romantic night in? Or adventure on the high seas?

Erm…both? An adventurous romantic night in the cabin of a ship on the high seas?

15. Your wish is my command. Unless your wish involves my hat. My personal motto is: Take what you want, give nothing back. What’s yours?

Mean people suck. Yes, I know I totally stole that from a bumper sticker. But it’s still true. And it’s a shorter version of one of my favorite quotes from the movie Harvey:

"Years ago, my mother used to say to me, she'd say: 'In this world, Elwood,' she always used to call me Elwood. 'In this world, Elwood, you must be oh, so smart or oh, so pleasant.' Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant. And you can quote me." - Elwood P. Dowd (James Stewart)

Thank you, Kimberly, for such a fun interview! And for writing such captivating stories. To learn more about Kimberly and her books, please visit her website. Of course, the fun isn't over yet!

Kimberly's Giveaway:

One lucky commenter will win a set of signed, hardback SUCKS TO BE ME and STILL SUCKS TO BE ME! One runner up will win a fun package of STBM bookmarks and temporary tattoos! Here's how to enter:

1. Earn entries:

*Comment on this post = 1 entry

*Be a follower of this blog = 2 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.)

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. Thursday, May 13th. Please check back to see if you've won and to claim your prize!

Good luck to all, and happy reading!

Retribution (aka Pirate Kitty)

1. Agent of Awesomesauce Holly sent the above pic to four of her darling clients (Yes, I was one of them. No, this time I wasn't the ringleader.) who each threatened to send her a crappy first draft at the end of this month.

2. I believe she said something about retribution.

3. Sadly, while I'd LOVE to see what sort of retribution she had in mind, the past three and a half weeks of being sick and then recovering from surgery have derailed any possibility of getting even a crappy first draft done in time.

4. I leave it to my sisters in crime to get the dirty deed done instead.

5. Speaking of being sick, I am THANK GOD feeling better.

6. My stomach still protests a bit when I move, but I've pushed myself physically each day and am vastly improved.

7. I'm glad to be rid of my rebellious gall bladder.

8. My sister suggested I have the surgeon leave a "You're next" note on my spleen and my appendix in case either of them decided to stage a coup.

9. Unfortunately, I was too busy telling the nurse I'd eat her liver to remember those instructions.

10. I'll just have to take my chances.

11. This week is back to blogging as usual with a bonus: Last week's scheduled interview will be posted today which means you get TWO awesome opportunities to win fabulous book prizes this week.

12. Also, the bidding on the Do The Write Thing For Nashville auction is going strong! I donated a registration to one of my query workshops (you pick which workshop to join). Win that and you also win your pick of a cool piece of writer's gear from Romance Yardsale. Bidding closes tonight at midnight so hurry over to the site and check it out!

13. Off to put together today's fabulous interview. Check back soon!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Help Nashville

I'm shocked at the lack of national news coverage on the disaster Nashville suffered over the weekend. Entire neighborhoods are under water. Most of the historic downtown district is under water. The Grand Ole Opry and the Opryland Hotel are under water. Most of the people who lost everything don't have flood insurance because they weren't in a flood zone. Shelters are overflowing. Cities in the surrounding area are on day five of no power. Water supplies are compromised and everyone is rationing.

The awesome news is, our community is pulling together to help each other and YOU can be a part of it by bidding on some amazing books (and other goodies). All proceeds go to benefit Nashville flood victims. Please go here and check it out. We need your help.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Conversations With Demerol

Those of you who haven't been keeping up with the drama in my life on Twitter will be wondering why I seemed to have abandoned this blog for nearly a week. The truth is, I got very sick last week and, long story short, ended up in the E.R. Sunday, was admitted to the hospital, and had surgery Tuesday morning to remove my rebellious gall bladder. I'm home now, though I still feel high on pain killer and sedation.

Speaking of being high, on Sunday night my pain was so bad, the nurse had to give me the maximum dosage of Demerol to get me comfortable. I've never had the maximum dosage before. Apparently, the maximum dosage makes me talk. A lot. Fortunately for you, my hubby was there to record the moment. He texted a string of interesting comments of mine to Myra and now, for your enjoyment, I give you the following:

C.J. + Demerol = High As A Kite

Whoa. I'm floating. And I want some spaghetti.

Hey! There are two of you now!

I don't really want an iguana.

There is no cactus in this room, I want pancakes.

I like talking.

Mike is going to bring me a peach pie, I'm looking forward to that. Myra can have some.

I don't know why, but I'm just soooo happy right now. I could just hug you. Goodwill to all!"

^at this point my hubby edited my stream of consciousness rambling because apparently I suggested things that are most likely illegal in 48 states.*

mmmmmmmm bjffhhgh cgfdghhh, yeah.

I'm sorry, I just can't seem to stop talking.

I have said any number of things to you in my brain over the last minute. It was too much trouble to open my mouth...but it's open now.

*then I apparently sat up and stuck my tongue out at my hubby*

I want hot tamales (pause) LEMON BARS! The good kind.

There's no spaghetti around here. A real lack of spaghetti.

If I roll out of the wheelchair my boob will fall out of my pocket.

I really like wiener dogs.

No, I don't like wiener dogs.

Nurse says "Hey, I have a wiener dog!"

Cj to nurse, "I'm very sorry for insulting your wiener dog. Do you like them because they are long?"

Move forward to Monday when a different nurse prepared me for the scope down my throat procedure. She sedated me and strapped a thing around my face with a mouthpiece that totally reminded me of the mask Hannibal Lector wore in Silence of the Lambs. Since the sedation had yet to put me under, I was able to reach up, push the mouthpiece aside, look at the nurse and say "Clarice! Come here! I want to eat your liver with a nice Chianti."

I didn't get to add the part about the beans because the sedation finished its job and knocked me out. Which was probably a good thing.

I'm thankful my hubby decided to record all of this in writing, rather than video. The world is not yet ready for a video of me high on Demerol.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Stamp Out Hunger

Did you know there's an easy, convenient way for you to help feed the hungry in your own community? Check this out.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Bound By Darkness Winners!

Congratulations to donnas and jeanette8042!! You were selected by as the winners for the Annette McCleave contest. Each of you has won a signed ARC of BOUND BY DARKNESS! Please leave your email address in the comments, and I'll forward the info on to Annette. Happy reading!

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 ti...