Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Interview With Sarah Rees Brennan

It's rare for me to take to my blog and gush about a book outside of an author interview. The one exception I can recall from the last two years was Sarah Rees Brennan's DEMON'S LEXICON. That book blew my mind. Literally. There I was, totally captivated by the story, entranced by the vivid characters, sucked into the plot so thoroughly I couldn't bear to sleep until I finished the book when suddenly WHAM. Sarah did something very few authors ever manage to do. She surprised me. Completely. I thought I saw the plot twist coming at the end. I was SO INCREDIBLY WRONG. I was left reeling in the most delicious sense of the word. I raced back through my memory of the story and saw all the stepping stones leading to this moment and acknowledged that Sarah had now irrevocably earned my total devotion.

I approach a lot of authors asking if they'll be interviewed on this blog. I don't feel nervous about it. These are my peeps and I can't wait to share their awesome stories with my readers. But this time? My hands were shaking as I sent Sarah a message. When she instantly responded with not only gracious acceptance but enthusiasm, I literally fangirl squealed right there at my laptop. And then I destroyed all chance of Sarah thinking I was calm, cool, and collected by informing her of said squealage. I may have said something about being her number one fan. (Probably true. Anyone who wants to fight me for the title can face my Spork of Doom.) And maybe I said something about chasing teenagers down the YA aisle at Books a Million with her book in my hand. (Also true. Just, um, let's not mention me by name at BAM, yes?) And she was still enthusiastic about the interview. Yay!

The sequel to DL just came out and I've been devouring it as well. Here's a peek at DEMON'S COVENANT:

Mae Crawford always thought she was in control. Now she's learned that her little brother Jamie is a magician and Nick, the boy she'd set her heart on, has an even darker secret. Mae's whole world has spun out of control, and it's only going to get worse. When she realises that Jamie has been meeting secretly with the new leader of the Obsidian Circle and that Gerald wants him to join the magicians, she's not sure how to stop Jamie doing just that. Calling in Nick and Alan as reinforcements only leads to a more desperate conflict because Gerald has a plan to bring Nick down - by using Alan to spring a deadly trap. With those around her torn between divided loyalties and Mae herself torn between her feelings for two very different boys, she sees a chance to save them all - but it means approaching the mysterious and dangerous Goblin Market alone...

Sarah chose to be interviewed by that bastion of charm, Captain Jack Sparrow.

Captain Jack Sparrow

Sarah Rees Brennan

Now that you know who's who, let's dive into the interview and reveal the gorgeous cupcake my hubby made for Sarah. In Sarah's series, there's a demon mark that you do NOT want on your body. Sarah sent me a pic of it and my hubby reproduced it on a cupcake. Without further ado, I give you the cupcake and Sarah's interview with Captain Jack.

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

I would classify myself as a member of Her Majesty's royal navy, so pirates and I can have an antagonistic and exciting relationship! Um... also for truth and justice. And the Queen: my uncle, who is a diplomat, takes tea with her and assures me she's lovely.

2. I'm not exactly sure what to do with a man who takes tea with the Queen. Unless, of course, he's slipping a few of her valuables into his pockets at the same time? Perhaps a gold-plated teaspoon? I do, however, know what to do with a woman who has an antagonistic relationship with me. What’s your favorite thing to do in Tortuga?

I don't know, sugar. What are you doing tonight?

3. Whatever it is, I can assure you it doesn't involve tea. It may, however, increase the antagonistic and exciting elements of our relationship. *winks* I’m offering you free passage aboard my ship to anywhere in the world. Where shall we go, love?

I pick Australia. Not only because I've always wanted to go there - I have relatives there who are silversmiths for the Queen of England and my friend Justine Larbalestier is Australian and swears it is an earthly paradise - but because that's a long voyage with a handsome pirate...

4. What is it with your family and the Queen? *shakes head* Let's focus more on the voyage with the handsome pirate. 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?

Actually, that is a difficult question! Nick, the hero of my story, is really, really ridiculously good-looking, so he does fine with the ladies, but he's a whole lot surly and a whole lot not smooth. As for honourable, you can forget it... That said, his brother Alan, who co-heroes for me often, is absolutely and definitely a deceptive little minx.

5. Interesting combination. You may want to guard the rum around Alan. I've had a bit of experience with deceptive little minxes and the rum is never safe. Nor is your life, come to think of it. Rum? Or more rum?

That second one. With a pink umbrella.

6. My kind of woman! Despite your regrettable connections with that tea-swilling Queen. And your deceptive little minx of a co-hero. Which leads me to the age old question: Why is the rum always gone?

I don't know what you're talking about. *hides tiny umbrella behind back*

7. You are a sly one, aren't you? What’s the most piratish thing you’ve ever done?

Leaped from a high window in my undergarments, narrowly avoiding crushing a nun. (I had a misspent youth. There's also the butter incident and the pier incident and the fire extinguisher incident. Maybe I need to go back and review my answer to question one...)

8. Darling, no need to review. You are a pirate at heart. If the rum-stealing hadn't already proven the fact, your admirable ability to crush nuns while wearing nothing but your undergarments is undeniable proof. Are they rules? Or more like guidelines?

I keep hearing rules like 'don't change points of view' and 'centre your story on ROMANCE, not family.' Since I keep breaking them, I guess they'd better be guidelines...

9. That's my girl! Any undead monkeys in your stories?

Actually... there's this one bit in book three... Maybe I should talk to my friend Jennifer Lynn Barnes about that. (She is a monkey mad scientist as well as a writer, and I don't want to get any facts wrong.)

10. You crush nuns while wearing nothing but undergarments AND befriend monkey mad scientists? I see I'm going to have to keep a weather eye on you. Any curses in your story? Heartless monsters? Irritating women who insist on taking matters into their own hands?

Countless curses! (Magicians are an untrustworthy bunch.) At least three heartless monsters, and one of them is the hero. And every single woman in the books insists on taking matters into their own hands, the wenches. This leads to things like numerous people going on fire.

11. I'm not surprised you've got people being set on fire with headstrong wenches running rampant through your pages. One of my favorite words is “egregious.” Care to share one of yours, love?

Sneachta. I'm Irish, and it's an Irish word: I like it because it sounds just like the sound of snow crunching under your boots. 'SNEACH-ta.' Very satisfying. Also now you know some Irish!

12. Darling, I find the judicious application of rum solves all language barriers. Parlay? Or draw your sword?

Well, I fence, and most of my characters are a violent crowd. So I draw my sword! Plenty of time for parlay if I look like losing later...

13. A woman who can also wield a sword? Shall we run away together? You’ve got a crowd of cursed sailors and a nasty sea monster on your trail. How do you escape?

My enemy's enemy is my friend! I romance the sea monster (stop LOOKING at me like that, romance with supernatural creatures is very hot right now) and then he crunches the bones of the sailors to powder and we ride away into the sunset! Me & Nessie 4 Eva.

14. ROMANCE THE SEA MONSTER? *chokes* I refuse to dignify that with a response. Romantic night in? Preferably with me and NOT a sea monster. Or adventure on the high seas?

Romantic night on the high seas! I'm an all or everything kind of girl.

15. I truly adore that about you. My personal motto is: Take what you want, give nothing back. What’s yours?

Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, magic in it. Begin it now. - I stole it from Goethe. I really may make it big as a pirate.

Darling, I was never fooled. *hands you pirate hat and broadsword* Welcome aboard, mate.

Thank you, Sarah, for such an entertaining interview! And for leaving me with a vivid mental image of you leaping on top of a nun while wearing undergarments. I fear I may never be the same. lol

To learn more about Sarah and her books, visit her site. Of course the fun isn't over yet! Sarah has graciously offered to give away a signed copy of DEMON'S LEXICON. International entries are welcome!

How to Enter:

1. Earn entries:

*Comment on this post with a question or comment for Sarah = 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 3rd. Please check back to see if you've won and to claim your prize!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Winner: Kristin Tubb Giveaway

As always, I used to determine the contest winners. Congratulations to the following:

1. Winner of the signed hardback copy of AUTUMN WINIFRED OLIVER DOES THINGS DIFFERENT: Bentley Family

2. Winner of the comet bead necklace and signed SELLING HOPE bookmark: Gretchen Stull

3. Winner of the signed SELLING HOPE bookmark: Rae Ann Parker

Congratulations! If I don't already have a way to contact you, please leave your email in the comments and I'll make sure your prize gets to you. Thanks for reading!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Bulls, Ladybugs, and Restraining Orders

1. Remember last week's loooong list? And how I said I had another 20 in me but was cutting it off for your sake? Yeah. Well. I still have those 20 and ANOTHER week of life rolling around inside my brain.

2. Be warned.

3. Last Sunday, as we were driving home from church, we turned onto a quiet residential street and saw a bull nonchalantly strolling across someone's driveway.

4. A bull.

5. A. BULL.

6. One that looked a lot like that one. He was plodding along, all of his latent "WHAT?! You dare to wave a red cape in my direction? Now you must die!" instincts cleverly hidden from the casual observer. He was trying hard to blend into the scenery. Very "Nothing to see here, folks. Bull? What bull? I don't see no stinking bull!" but we were on to him.

7. We called the sheriff's office. The lady asked us to repeat our story. Seconds later, we heard sirens.

8. I sincerely hope none of the officers were wearing red.

9. Last weekend, we also spent Saturday at Holiday World in Indiana. You may recall the results of last summer's vacation Part 1 and Part 2.

10. I'm happy to report a day free of ladybugs flying into my teeth. And free of holes in the posterior region of my pants. Also free of riding death-defying coasters. I figured at four weeks out from my gallbladder surgery, roller-coaster riding might not be the wisest decision.

11. I'm totally going on them next year, though. Of course, the fact that I've just bragged about a lack of ladybugs and holes in my pants means next year when I ride a coaster, a swarm of moths will fly into my face while I'm screaming and my resulting jerk of terror will split my pants seam to seam.

12. If that exact scenario happens, I promise to vlog it for your viewing pleasure.

13. We did engage in a piece of CRAZY that day, however. We decided (That's a euphemism for Clint decided, btw) to drive up that morning, spend all day in the park, and then turn around and drive home that night.

14. It's a 3 hour drive.

15. We'd been out in the sun all day.

16. This was a plan full of opportunities for epic fail.

17. We were sooooo tired. By the time we neared the outskirts of north Nashville (we live twenty-five minutes south of Nashville), Clint was punching himself in the face just to stay awake. I offered to dump a cup of ice down his back to help, but he wasn't interested in my brilliant idea.

18. Next time, we'll get a hotel. Probably the one across the street from the jail. I'll keep my eye out for geriatric bike gangs and all will be well.

19. Clint spent the weekend in L.A. at the press junket for TNT's new show Rizzoli and Isles, based on the books by Tess Gerritsen.

20. I am a Tess Gerritsen fan.

21. Clint called me to tell me the TNT folks had given all the attending press members a free iPad.

22. He was giddy.

23. I told myself there would be no living with him now and I wasn't wrong. I'm now officially an iPad widow. lol

24. And I have to say, an iPad looks like the Reader's Digest large print version of an iPhone.

25. I tried typing on it for about 10 seconds, had to delete and retype the SAME WORD five times because the keyboard is small and brushing too close to another letter destroys your plan to simply TYPE ONE WORD, and just handed it back to Clint. No. Thank. You.

26. Anyway, the arrival of the iPad was Saturday morning. Saturday night, Clint texted me and asked if I knew who Tess Gerritsen was.

27. Um, hello? YES.

28. He then informed me he was standing right next to her.

29. I may have squealed. I then texted him and instructed HIM to fangirl squeal at Tess on my behalf. I fear he may have under-performed my requested response.

30. Tess graciously told him to text me "hi."

31. I decided "hi" was code for "Ooh, how nice! A fan! If only I could meet her in person and talk!" Or something like that.

32. I also decided I needed an autograph. I texted Clint and asked him to get her autograph. If no paper was available, I told him to volunteer his forehead for the job.

33. Then I waited with bated breath for Tess to call her lawyer and get a restraining order issued against the crazysauce woman in Nashville who wanted her husband's head autographed.

34. Instead, Tess AND THE ENTIRE CAST of Rizzoli and Isles all autographed the title page of Tess's THE APPRENTICE for me.

35. Forget the stupid iPad. This was SO much better. I was giddy too.

36. And now I must go admire my Ooh, Shiny! book while Clint and the boys drool over the iPhone for the Nearly Blind.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

YA Project: Storyboard for ASYLUM

I thought it would be interesting to post a blog of what starting a new project looks like to me. I make a playlist, find setting pics, find character pics, and play around with back story/story set up details. It looks something like this:

Playlist song #1: Sleep Well, My Angel by We Are The Fallen

Notes: Any more songs by this artist that work for this story? Found five.

Setting: Breckenridge Asylum, located in a secluded forested area of South Carolina. Owned by Marcus Holt, weapons and technology developer.

Notes: Are they allowed outside? Where do they dump the bodies? There must be a way out. Also, must be a way to keep them in. Find images.

Playlist song #2: For You by Staind

Notes: Find other songs by this artist for playlist? Found four.

Plot Notes: (must brainstorm/flesh these out)

*Rules of magic

*How are they committed?

*Holt's agenda? Why? How far is he willing to go? Why? What does that mean for the characters?

*Who are the secondary characters? Need patients, staff, and Holt's second in command.

*What are the rules inside the Asylum?

Playlist Song #3: Your Decision by Alice in Chains

Note: Find more by this artist? Found three.

Main Characters:

Abbie: Was a rebel until she was committed. Thinks she's crazy and deserves her fate so doesn't fight it until Blake wakes her up to Holt's true agenda.

Blake: Was a straight-laced, honor roll kid until committed. Knows he isn't crazy and fights his fate every second of every day. Furious to be locked inside Breckenridge.

Playlist Song #4: Lacrymosa by Evanescence

Note: Other songs from this artist? Found three.

I'll add more to this as the story takes shape. The characters will have paragraphs of background and so will the setting. I'll know what everyone's agendas are and how that puts them in conflict with each other. I'll know which agendas reach beyond this book and need to be layered in carefully so the character still has more to achieve/fight for later. But this is the beginning of any story for me.

Now, off to add more words to ASYLUM.

Friday, June 25, 2010

New Winner of Kris Kennedy Contest!

Since Kris Kennedy's fabulous THE IRISH WARRIOR went unclaimed, I visited and selected a new winner.

And the winner is ... Leona!! Congratulations. :) Please leave me your email addy so I can get in touch with you about claiming your prize. Thanks for reading!

Interview With Kristin Tubb

I first met Kristin Tubb at a Music City Romance Writers' meeting when she was a guest speaker teaching us how she organizes all the historical research she does for her novels. I was both impressed with her detail-oriented prowess, and a bit nauseous at the thought of doing so much RESEARCH for a book. Hence the reason I won't ever write historical. Then, Kristin picked up her book and read a section. I was hooked. Her writing is so vivid, you feel instantly immersed in the world of her story. When she agreed to be interviewed AND to unveil her brand new cover for SELLING HOPE on this blog, I was thrilled!

Here's a peek at SELLING HOPE:

It’s May 1910, and Halley’s Comet is due to pass through the Earth’s atmosphere. And thirteen-year-old Hope McDaniels and her father are due to pass through their hometown of Chicago with their ragtag vaudeville troupe. Hope wants out of vaudeville, and longs for a “normal” life—or as normal as life can be without her mother, who died five years before. Hope sees an opportunity: She invents “anti-comet” pills to sell to the working-class customers desperate for protection. Soon, she’s joined by a fellow troupe member, young Buster Keaton, and the two of them start to make good money. And just when Hope thinks she has all the answers, she has to decide: What is family? Where is home?

Kristin chose to be interviewed by the Spork of Doom. (Brave woman)

Spork of Doom

Kristin Tubb

Now that you know who's who, let's dive into the interview and reveal the awesome cupcake my hubby made in honor of SELLING HOPE. Kristin asked for a comet/cosmic matter type cupcake, and my hubby delivered. So, without further ado, let's see the cupcake and read how Kristin faces off with the Spork of Doom.

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

I go beyond being a YesWoman to reading your mind and quelling your needs before you even know they are your needs.

For example: *places fingertips on temples, stares intently into your eyes* Doesn’t Kristin look skinny in those jeans? Tell Kristin she looks skinny in those jeans. Offer to buy her a new pair of boots to go with them.

There now. Don’t you feel better? *admires new boots*

2. I feel woozy and unusual. And weren't you wearing flats a moment ago? Spork of Doom suspects foul play! Being a Spork of Doom takes moxie. What’s the sporkiest thing you’ve ever done?

When I say “sporky,” you say “doom!” “Sporky!” *listens to crickets chirp*

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

Apple. I’m a purist. No cheese. (Who even thought of that, anyway? Gag.) No ice cream. Straight up apple, says I.

4. Spork of Doom approves your choice. Favorite dessert to eat with a spork?

Warm chocolate brownie. Vanilla ice cream is acceptable.

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

I can turn my feet so far inward, they appear to be completely backwards. (True story.) This is, I feel, symbolic of larger things.

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


7. Do they have antique sporks? They must. Why else would anyone want to go? If I had to compare myself to anyone in history, I’d have to say I’m most like Napoleon. Only skinnier. And shinier. And smart enough not to lose my empire at a place with a ridiculous name like Waterloo. Who are you most like and why?

Lisa Kudrow is my doppelganger. How do I know this? From the legions of people who stop me and tell me this. (If you see Lisa, tell her THIS IS NOT OVER.) But that’s physically. Mentally, I’d say I rather resemble Woody Allen.

8. Spork of Doom has many doppelgangers. Most of them hang out at Taco Bell, waiting for the day I call them into action in a bid for Total World Domination. Why is your job just as much fun as world domination?

Writing affords you a tiny corner of domination, if only for the amount of time someone is holding your story in their hands. You are literally shaping someone’s thoughts, whenever they read your words. (Like I am, to you, right now. MWUHAHAHAHA!) What could be more powerful than that? VIVA LAS LIBRI! (I never took Latin. I have no idea if that’s correct.)

9. Spork of Doom has no use for Latin. Besides, SURRENDER OR DIE translates fairly easily without the pesky need for words. In between conquests, I like to read a good story. What can you recommend and why?

I, like everyone else in the free world, am anxiously awaiting Mockingjay, the third book in the Hunger Games trilogy. Want to study seamless plotting? Suzanne Collins is the master. I’m also *this close* to finishing Still Sucks to Be Me by Kimberly Pauley – funny, funny teen vampire adventures with a perfect YA voice. I still adore Janet Tashijan’s The Gospel According to Larry, because I’d love to know how to write a story like that, that leaves you wondering, “Could it really happen?” But my all-time top three are A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle, Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Patterson and The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.

10. You need to accomplish a secret, night-time mission as my minion. Cloak? No cloak? Why?

Absolutely a cloak! How else are you going to whoosh away into the night? A Member’s Only jacket does not a dramatic exit make. (They’re back, I hear. I’m not just dating myself with that reference. Right? Right?!)

11. Spork of Doom refuses to comment upon your age. My best piece of advice to others is this: “Fear the spork!” What’s your best advice?

Fear nothing BUT the spork!

Thank you, Kristin, for a fabulous interview! (And for making me crave brownies with ice cream) To learn more about Kristin, visit her site.

Of course, the fun isn't over yet! Kristin is giving away some AWESOME prizes!

Kristin's Giveaway:

1st place: A signed hardback of Kristin's first book, AUTUMN WINIFRED OLIVER DOES THINGS DIFFERENT.

2nd place: A beautiful comet bead necklace & a signed SELLING HOPE bookmark.

3rd place: A signed SELLING HOPE bookmark.

How to Enter:

1. Earn entries:

*Comment on this post with a question or comment for Kristin = 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. Tuesday, June 29. Please check back to see if you've won and to claim your prize!

Good luck to all, and happy reading!

Look What We Have

Introducing the newest member of our family ... Jack. (You're shocked at the name choice, I know!) We adopted him from our local animal shelter on Tuesday. I'll have better pics soon. He's a tiny little thing with a bob tail and the biggest purr I've ever heard. Spastic Kitten has grudgingly decided to allow Jack to live, but she hasn't yet decided to forgive him for existing. I have hopes they'll be friends in another few days.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Paging The Contest Winner!

Diane Garner, you've won the Kris Kennedy giveaway, but I don't have any contact info from you and you haven't responded to the winner's blog post. I hate to see your prize slip away, but need to wrap up the contest as well. If I don't hear from you by this coming Friday, June 25th, I'll have to draw another name for the contest.

If anyone reading this knows Diane and how to contact her, please tell her she's a winner! =)


I promised to share the story of how a seriously misguided decision of mine ended in an episode of EPIC fail, and here it is.

When we first got married, we lived in a small condo in southern California. Small, in this case, is not a euphemism for cute. Or charming. Or almost-regular-size. Small is a euphemism for living space so confined you couldn't open the refrigerator if the dishwasher was open.

Into these small quarters, we brought two cats and a dog. We kept our cats indoors which meant I had to find a suitable location for the litter box.

The bathrooms had no space for it unless I wanted to put it smack dab in the middle of the floor.

Ew, right?

The bedroom had just enough space for our bed, two dressers, and a small path for us to walk to the closet, which was tiny too.

Not that I really wanted a cat box in my bedroom.

We'd rented the second bedroom to a friend of ours from college, and he didn't seem excited to have a cat box in his room either.

I wasn't about to put a cat box in the living room, kitchen, or dining room, so that left the loft. The loft was a small (surprise!) strip of nearly unusable space hovering above the living room. I had my desk up there and just enough space left over for a cat box. So, that's where it went. Up against the far wall, between the railing and the back wall.

It seemed a good, workable solution at the time.

And it would have been, if I hadn't owned a demented beast of a cat who was the original definition of a Hot Mess. Tigger was a long-haired Maine Coon cat who was constantly doing things that defied logic. Like sitting on the coffee table, laying his beautiful long tail across a lit 3-wick candle, and then getting mad at me when he ended up on fire. Or like the many times he raced our Siberian Husky down the stairs, stopped suddenly in front of her, and got drop kicked the rest of the way down for his troubles.

Gorgeous cat. Sort of short on brains.

One night, I made pizza for dinner, and we chose to eat while sitting on the living room couch so we could watch a boxing match. The couch was located directly beneath the loft railing. This wouldn't have been a problem except that Tigger decided to prove once more that he deserved the title Dork of the Year.

We were several bites into our pizza when a commotion started above our heads. Did we pay attention? Heck, no. There was a boxing match on. It takes an act of God to rip our attention away from that.

Or a demented Maine Coon with a penchant for getting cat litter stuck between his hairy little toes.

Tigger was always getting stuff stuck between his toes and he HATED that. Hated it with the fire of a thousand flaming suns. He would stop everything and violently shake his paws until the offending object was gone.

In this case, he decided to violently shake his paws while STILL INSIDE THE LITTER BOX.

Litter and OTHER THINGS went flying. Out of the box. Into the air. Over the railing.

There we were, innocently eating our pizza while watching two grown men knock the sense out of each other, when suddenly the heavens opened and a deluge of cat litter and OTHER THINGS rained down upon our heads, covered our pizza, and settled onto the couch.

You think you're gagging now? You should try actually living through it.

I bought a covered cat box. And I moved it to the far corner of the loft, where even the most intrepid Dork of the Year paw shaking couldn't fling anything over the edge. And I didn't make pizza again for a really long time.

A really long time.

And every time we heard the tell-tale scrape of a kitty inside the cat box, we looked up at the loft in trepidation. Which, now that I think of it, was fairly stupid on our part. The only thing worse than enduring a deluge of kitty presents would be to look up and take it all full in the face.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Beware the (Potentially Suicidal) Ostrich

1. I have to warn you. I feel a looong blog list coming on.

2. You should probably turn back now.

3. I mean it.

4. Notice the sudden obsession with all things ostrich?

5. Yeah. That's just the beginning.

6. Still here? Fine. But don't say I didn't warn you.

7. I saw several movies in the last two weeks: Karate Kid (Awesome Squared! Better than the original.), The A Team (Awesomesauce double-dipped with a side of Heeeelllllooooo, Bradley Cooper! And Liam Neeson. And a crazy dude who tried to jump start an ambulance with a defibrillator. My kind of guy.), and finally Prince of Persia.

8. Hence the ostrich obsession.

9. I mean, I've always kind of had a thing for them. Who wouldn't? They're fierce, wobbly-necked death machines. I can't really quantify the kind of awesome that entails.

10. But I can try. Here's a glimpse of the scene that got to me.

As soon as I saw the necks, I started laughing. I kept laughing long after most of the theater had moved on to the next ooh, shiny moment. Thankfully, I was with Myra, who was also laughing. Later in the movie, we learn that ostriches apparently have suicidal tendencies as well. A wobbly-necked death machine with emo depths. See? Awesome.

11. But truly, my interest in ostriches was reawakened here.

12. If I ever have to apply for another job, I'm going to put ostrich wrangler on my resume. You can't tell me that isn't a guaranteed conversation starter. And who wouldn't want a former ostrich wrangler as an employee? It shows I have MOXIE.

13. And also maybe a lack of common sense.

14. I spent most of last week at my company's home office doing a stint of mandatory corporate training. In that week, I managed to procure another pair of shoes, anger a pack of misguided Celtic fans, and maintain my lifelong vow to avoid ingesting deep fried pork rinds at any cost.

15. I also managed to walk straight into my hotel room's bathroom door.

16. Actually, I didn't walk.

17. I was clever enough to stand still and let the door come to me.

18. Turns out this hotel lacked wifi internet service and had abnormally wide bathroom doors. Two strikes against it, if you ask me.

19. Thankfully, I had no witnesses to the whole stand-still-and-swing-a-door-into-my-face event. The fact that I'm sharing it here with you doesn't count because, while I'm sure your imagination is vivid, you still fail to comprehend the magnitude of this moment of Epic Fail in my life.

20. Trust me. I was there.

21. I did, however, have witnesses to an event of much larger consequence the week before last. It's common knowledge with my management team that I have a love/hate relationship with most pieces of equipment in the managers' office.

22. Until last week, that love/hate (Which is sort of a misnomer because it implies something other than complete loathing. I assure you, COMPLETE LOATHING is the only truly accurate term here.) ... I've lost my place. Oh, yes. Until last week, that love/hate (COMPLETE LOATHING) relationship was confined to my ongoing (losing) battle with the various pieces of technology located therein.

23. The foul beast of a printer, for example, which constantly finds it amusing to seize upon my simple print requests, laugh in my face (Oh, yes, printers can laugh.), and spit out copious amounts of gobbledy-gook-filled pages so fast I can't even grab them before some of them hit the floor. And never mind trying to cancel a print job gone haywire. The cancel button is broken. Or doesn't like me. Or has a sadistic sense of humor. No ... the only way to stop the freight train of destructive tree-killing printing is to empty the paper tray before the printer can empty it for me and then refuse (despite its incessant whining) to give it more.

24. I suppose I could also try to unplug it, but this printer runs on demon energy so I doubt that would work.

25. I also have issues with the fax machine which likes to tell me it can't find a dial tone out of our building when I can SEE there are open phone lines for it to use. I used to panic and resend the entire thing over and over until the fax machine saw fit to stop sitting back sipping Mai Tais and getting a manicure long enough to actually do it's freaking job, but then one day I realized that when it actually got around to working, it would send EVERY SINGLE ONE of my multiple fax requests.

26. It's always fun explaining to a vendor why they received forty-seven requests for the same thing.

27. Of course, the fax and the printer both work beautifully for me whenever my boss is in the room. If he hadn't walked in on an Incident in which I was sprawled on the floor on my hands and knees frantically scooping up half-printed papers while the evil little piece of malice resting on the table above me spewed a continuous stream of paper onto my head, I doubt he'd believe my claims that technology and I go together about as well as gasoline and firecrackers.

28. However, in all my trials with the printer, the fax machine, the adding machine (You are not allowed to laugh at that.), and the computer, I missed all the warning signs of my true nemesis until it was far too late.

29. What could be worse than a demonically-fueled printer, a lazy, liar of a fax machine, a stubbornly geriatric computer, and an adding machine with all the symptoms of someone who went on a Red Bull bender and followed it up with five pots of coffee?

30. A chair.

31. Yes, dear reader, a chair.

32. For all the years I've worked there, we've had the same piece of crap office chair parked in front of the computer. It doesn't adjust to fit your spine. It doesn't adjust to fit your height. It's only claim to technological advancements is the fact it sports four wheels but even those don't roll across the floor without tremendous effort on the part of the sitter. I've never had a problem with that chair. We understand each other.

33. But one day last week, a manager brought in a fancy new chair. It adjusts to fit your spine. It adjusts to your height. And. It. Rolls.

34. It also looks nearly identical to our crappy non-rolling chair.

35. I was in too much of a hurry to tell the difference.

36. I backed up, felt the chair hit my legs, and sat.

37. The chair, with its fancy little rollers that rolled was already halfway across the room.

38. Did I catch myself in time?

39. Heck, no. I hit the floor, which refused to adjust for my height and refused to roll, but had zero problems adjusting my spine for me.

40. Naturally, I had an audience. I threatened instant, on-the-spot, and even IMMEDIATE death to anyone who took pictures or video and turned me into an internet sensation.

41. I'm saving that for when I bedazzle an ostrich and teach it to drop it like it's hot.

42. This is #42. Forty-two. 4. 2.

43. I did warn you this would be a long one.

44. I think I actually have about 20 more in me, but I'll save it for another day.

45. Also, my stint at corporate training (Whose classrooms all had rolling chairs ... I must have looked like an idiot as I clutched the arm rests, lowered myself carefully, and muttered dire threats against the chair's mama should it decide to take off for less imposing keisters.) ... I've lost my train of thought again.

46. Still blank...

47. Oh, yes! I remember now. I didn't have any sort of reliable internet access so you're still without the pizza+cat litter = Epic Fail story. I'll have to remedy that soon.

48. It's worth the wait.

49. Off to wrangle some ostriches!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Winner of the Kris Kennedy Giveaway!

Thank you for being so patient with me as I spent the week in the land of corporate training without even a decent wireless signal to light my way. It's past time to give a signed copy of THE IRISH WARRIOR away!

*drum roll please*

And the winner is Diane Garner! Diane, please leave your email in the comment trail so I can contact you and send you your prize!

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


Yes, I'm still alive. Sort of. I'm out of town for the week doing a stint of corporate training for my job and have extremely unreliable internet service. Never fear! I shall be back to blogging (including announcing the Kris Kennedy winner and sharing at story you'll probably wish I'd kept to myself) Thursday evening when I get home.

See you then!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Interview With Author Kris Kennedy

I met Kris Kennedy in the spring of 2008 when we were both Golden Heart finalists. I was quickly impressed with her intelligence, friendliness, and generosity. Once her first book hit the shelves (remember last week's deliciously medieval THE CONQUEROR?), I was impressed with her talent as well. Her writing is rich in historical yumminess, her plot grabs you from the first page, and her characters are people you love spending 300 pages with. When I learned her second novel was coming out this month, I couldn't wait to have her on the blog!

Here's a peek at THE IRISH WARRIOR:

Inhibited, accountant-minded Senna de Valery comes to Ireland to finalize a deal that will save her faltering wool business. What she gets instead is a cunning English lord with dangerous ulterior motives.

Forced to rely on her wits, not her ledgers, Senna frees an Irish warrior chained in the prisons, and together they flee across the war-torn land of medieval Ireland. But Finian O’Melaghlin is much more than a charming, roguish warrior. He is councilor to his king, on a grave mission to recover military secrets, and has a dangerous agenda of his own.

Neither is prepared for the powerful forces arrayed against them …

Neither can resist the fiery passion igniting between them …

Neither can imagine the sacrifices they will face, nor the choices they will be forced to make …

King and outlaws, weapons and war: Can love indeed triumph over all?

Kris chose to be interviewed by the always dashing Captain Jack Sparrow.

Captain Jack Sparrow

Kris Kennedy

Now that you know who's who, let's dive into the interview and reveal the awesome cupcake my hubby made for Kris. (He thanks Kris for the fantastically simple concept she gave him!) Since her latest novel is called THE IRISH WARRIOR, he made a cupcake fit for an Irish warrior. Without further ado, I give you the cupcake and Kris's interview with Captain Jack.

1. Would you classify yourself as a pirate or a member of Her Majesty¹s
Royal navy? Why?

Oh, dear. Are you going to be black-and-white about things the whole
interview? Umm. Bearing in mind the fact that I get terribly, vomitous-ly
seasick, which would be bad for whomever¹s side I'm on, and good for the
opposing team, I'd have to choose . . . pirates. Sorry, Jack.

2. Am I to understand you chose pirates because you actually sympathize with the navy and plan to use your delicate digestive system as a weapon against us? *shakes head* Bad form, my dear. *hands you a bucket* What¹s your favorite thing to do in Tortuga?

Well, clearly, sweat. But it's the why that matters . . . :)

3. One can only hope you refer to an activity slightly more agreeable than copious vomiting. If so, I offer myself at your service. I'm offering you free passage aboard my ship to anywhere in the world. Where shall we go, love? Besides the privvy.

Let's go check out all the sea caves of the world! And then, let's anchor
in real close to some of the best smuggling shores in England and Ireland,
because I have an upcoming story about that. You can show me all those
places, right? And you will, right? Because I can . . . sweat.

4. Darling, anyone who longs to spend time with smugglers can't possibly be overly sympathetic to the navy. 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?

Ohh, Finian is a little of both. I call him a 'good alpha.' He's super
charming, teases the heroine quite a bit, but, unfortunately for you, Jack,
he's honorable too. I say unfortunately, because you do NOT want to meet him
in a sword fight.

5. My dear, I don't want to meet anyone in a sword fight. There are so many more interesting ways to pass the time. Speaking of which. Rum? Or more rum?

More wine! More beer! No Rum!

Seriously, Jack, you are happy I¹m saying this. Me + Rum is another
vomitous proposition. Anyhow, it leaves more for you. See, I'm generous
like that.

6. I see. In that case, no rum for you! Which leads me to the age old question: Why is the rum always gone?

Clearly, you drank it all. Has no one ever told you that before?

7. You may be right. Or that wicked little pirate Elizabeth may have had an inescapable craving for s'mores and needed a bonfire for her marshmallows. What's the most piratish thing you've ever done?

Hmm, pirates steal things, right? I don't have anything there . . . Are we
talking daring and derring-do too, though? If so . . .I took a cross-country trip on my own the year before I graduated from college. Six weeks, all across the country. Yes I had my car (for part of the time) but it was all me and the open road. It was incredible. Many adventures.

Hey! One of those adventures was . . . gathering gemstones!! Like for a
treasure chest. That makes me a para-pirate, right?

8. There's no such thing as a para-pirate, love. You're either a rogue at heart or you aren't. Despite your vomitous proclivities, I sense a rogue in you. Here's a nice little test. Are they rules? Or more like guidelines?

LOL. Jack, for you, they're merely suggestions. Possibilities.

9. More like pesky annoyances I use when it suits me. I understand you're a story-teller. Any undead monkeys in your stories?

Wow. No, I hadn¹t thought of that. See how hanging with a pirate expands
your horizons? I¹ll have to try and work one in . . .

In The Irish Warrior, though, there are mysterious ancient dyes, more
precious than the Tyrian purple of the ancient world, and they're worth a
man's life, literally. The Wishme dyes have multiple militaristic
capabilities. They are beautiful weapons.

10. Am I to understand you're comparing dyes to undead monkeys? I have to tell you, having lived with one, I strongly suggest you proceed with caution in your plan to include one in your next story. They're devilish little creatures. Any curses? Heartless monsters? Irritating women who insist on taking matters into their own hands?

Ha. Yes to all three.

Check: Curses, although they are more like . . . suggestions. To stay away
from the Wishme dyes. And from the dye-witches (Not a real witch, btw. Not
paranormal-ly Urban Fantasy witchery. Just a person who has this coveted
dye-making skill)

Check: Heartless monsters, except he's a man. The villain. And he actually
DID have a heart, once, but it got all stomped on, and anyhow, it was partly
decaying, so there was no hope. (We're speaking metaphorically here,
Jack. No dead monkeys or decaying beating hearts.)

Check: Self-directed women. Oh, wait, did you say irritating? Hmmm,
well, at one point, Finian the hero has his hand clamped over the heroine¹s
mouth and asks her, "Can ye not hush for a single second?" Then he kisses
her. :) And another time he says she¹s like a spring wind, she just
keeps pushing. So, you mean, like that?

11. Aye, like that. I find myself in sympathy with your Finian. Oft times kissing a woman is the only way to shut her up. It's most unfortunate the pretty creatures usually see fit to apply the flat of their hand to the side of my face once I've successfully silenced them. One of my favorite words is "egregious." Care to share one of yours, love?

Two words: Your Choice. And Your Consequences. Oh, wait. How many words is

12. I'm not overly fond of the word "consequences." Parlay? Or draw your sword?

It totally depends. But for me, well, parlay first. Because Jack, the rest
of us have to live with these people later. You get to sail away on your
Pearl. We land-lubbers have added incentive to parlay.

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

Holy cow. I steal your ship.

14. Slander and calumny! Blasphemy! Steal my ship and I'll hunt you down, woman or not. And, I'd bring one very undead monkey along for the ride. And you said you weren't a pirate. Romantic night in? Or adventure on the high seas?

Let's do . . . adventure.

15. Brave woman to risk the contents of her stomach like that. You're welcome aboard, of course, but don't even think about laying one pretty finger on my ship's rudder. My personal motto is: Take what you want, give nothing back. What's yours?

Wow, Jack. That's harsh. You're living the life you intend to live. So
start intending bigger, better things right now.

Thanks Jack!!! I¹ll give you a book, if you promise to read it, and
also I'll give away a book to one reader, k?

Thanks for the awesome interview, Kris! And for writing such delicious medievals. Speaking of delicious medievals, the fun isn't over yet!

Kris's Giveaway:

One lucky reader will win a signed copy of THE IRISH WARRIOR!! Here's how to enter.

1. Earn entries:

*Comment on this post with a question or comment for Kris = 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 a link on your Facebook page = 3 entries (Leave the link in your comment.)

*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, June 12th. Please check back to see if you've won and to claim your prize.

Good luck to all and happy reading!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Memphis! Hot Dang!

1. Hubby and I spent the weekend in Memphis on a press junket for TNT's new show Memphis Beat.

2. The up side? I got to spend a kid-free weekend w/my hubby on someone else's dime and met Jason Lee and Alfre Woodard (who grabbed me while I was sitting at our table on our dinner cruise and pulled me onto the dance floor with her).

3. The UP side? We took an accidental scenic tour through a less-than-polished side of Memphis and I took notes on everything I saw just so I could bring you this blog post.

4. But first, Graceland. We spent a chunk of Saturday morning taking a VIP tour of Graceland, and it was interesting. I don't know that I'm totally down with green shag carpet on the ceiling or furniture that looks like a giant shaggy squirrel donated its coat and then industriously carved up the armrests with evil intentions, but it was very interesting to see how he lived. One of the members of his entourage (Jerry somebody) met us there and talked to us for a while about Elvis as a friend which helped us connect to him more as a man than as a superstar.

5. We stayed at The Peabody hotel, home of DUCKS. You'll remember Holly's Revision Duck Mafia, yes? So, naturally, when I walked into our room and found ducks on the coasters, the shampoo bottles, the pillow cases, and even a mini duck-shaped soap waiting for me on the bathroom counter, I had a moment of "Noooo! I thought my revisions were finished!" Holly assures me the Peabody ducks are too soft to be members of her mafia, but I saw them race out of the elevator and head toward the fountain in the lobby and I'm here to tell you, one of them was nothing but ATTITUDE.

6. Now, for the things I saw while on a scenic detour through Memphis.

7. A tiny little shack of a beauty salon with a sign proclaiming it to be "House of Elegance."

8. Another hair salon called "Rose's Hair Port."

9. And my personal fave, a store called "Lila's Final Touch." I guess Lila isn't the kind of woman you want to have on your bad side.

10. All of these original business names were located in the same strip mall or directly across the street from it.

11. Also? Next to the Shack, er, House of Elegance, there was a dollar store advertising "Real, 100% human hair!" I really don't want to know what state the hair is in. I'm betting you get what you pay for.

12. But all of that... the hair port, the $1 human hair, and Lila the Grim Reaper didn't add up to the sheer awesomeness of the billboard I saw while entering this side of Memphis.

13. The billboard advertised a club whose main attraction is "Hot Dang Bull Riding!"

14. Don't think that phrase of pure genius isn't going into the next Lilli book.

15. Hot dang!

17. Later this week, Captain Jack interviews historical author Kris Kennedy writer of the (deliciously medieval) THE CONQUEROR, and I reluctantly confess to one of the worst decisions of my life. Yes, pizza was involved. As was cat litter. You'll have to tune in to see how the two connect.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Winner of Barbara Poelle's Giveaway!

As always, I used to determine the winner of the Barbara Poelle giveaway. Thanks to all who entered!

The Daring Novelist is our winner. Congratulations! You've won a copy of the (deliciously medieval) THE CONQUEROR and a 10 page mss critique from Barbara! Please leave your email addy for me in the comments, and I'll get in touch with you re: claiming your prize.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Interview With Barbara Poelle

Barbara Poelle is a literary agent with the Irene Goodman Agency and is the person responsible for bringing us the delicious medieval romance whose gorgeous cover you see to the right. I met Barbara when the RWA national conference was in San Francisco in 2008. She was lunching with my friend and fellow Pixie Kris Kennedy (who is responsible for writing the delicious medieval romance to the right!) in the same sports bar as my current lunch mates and me. (Of all the sports bars in San Francisco, she had to walk into mine...) Kris grabbed me and introduced us.

Thankfully, I hadn't consumed too much caffeine at lunch or that spontaneous conversation could very well have ended with my name on the HOLY COW DON'T ENGAGE THIS GIRL IN CONVERSATION IF YOU VALUE YOUR LIFE list at the Irene Goodman Agency. Barbara was enthusiastic, friendly, and even in a short conversation, exuded the kind of savvy, smart, go-for-the-throat business sense she's known for. (This assessment had NOTHING to do with the fact that she requested my manuscript during this convo.) In the time since that meeting, I've come to enjoy and admire Barbara even more, so when I was lining up interviews for the blog, naturally I had to issue her an invitation!

Here's a peek at THE (deliciously medieval) CONQUEROR:

England, 1152. Henry II is king. The country is wracked by bloody civil war. Griffyn Sauvage is a valiant knight with a strict moral code of honour. But when his family's estate and vast treasures are seized, he becomes hardened by the betrayal. Now he will go to any lengths for vengeance - even if it means forming a union with his most despised enemy by marrying his daughter, Lady Guinevere de l'Ami. Then, Griffyn lays eyes on Gwyn and is completely disarmed. As war strikes, Gwyn is left alone to fight her enemies who want control of her ancestral lands. When Griffyn comes to her rescue, she is grateful that the mysterious, brave knight has risked his life to protect hers. With each passing day, she finds herself drawn to him even as she senses he's hiding a dark secret from her. And when another dangerous adversary closes in on both of them, Griffyn and Gwyn's trust in each other will be put to the ultimate test.

Barbara chose to be interviewed by the Were-llama himself.

The Were-llama

Barbara Poelle (aka Beeshark)

Now that you know who's who, it's time to dive into the interview and reveal the amazing cupcake my hubby made for Barbara. Barbara told me she adores the Beeshark (And who wouldn't? Look at his pic!) and wanted his likeness immortalized in cupcake form. Always up to a challenge (Although he did have a "Bee-what???" moment at first ... sort of like his "But what does a Kitten of Doom look like??" reaction to Holly's cupcake request. Lit agents might be the death of him.), my hubby stepped up to the plate and proved once again he is the Cupcake Master. So, without further ado, I give you the cupcake and Barbara's interview with the Were-llama.

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?


2. Vodka before noon? Light weight. I can drink vodka from three in the morning until midnight and never miss an opportunity to slay an opponent. I like to spit at my enemies from whichever end is closest to them. Do any of your characters have cool abilities like that?


3. I beg your pardon. I do not slobber. I spart. If I had a nickname, it would be The Awesome. You?


4. Gentle? Flower? Peace? Maybe you need to lay off the vodka. Besides, everyone knows true peace will only happen when every living creature gives in to the power of my awesome red eyes. I hang around this blog because I love stories. What’s your story about? Bonus points if it includes a llama.


5. You named a llama Peter? And gave humans permission to regularly strip him of his fur? *glares with awesome red eyes* 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?


6. Llamas are fierce, predatory creatures. Even transforming one of us into Naked Peter won't stop our awesomeness. Recognize. Any Were-llamas in your book?


7. Any book titled THE CONQUEROR must surely have a were-llama within its pages. Who else would be doing the conquering? Anyone you know who might be a Were-llama and you just haven’t figured it out yet?


8. Well, naturally. Who else could write THE CONQUEROR? Llamas or camels and why? Think carefully.


9. You seem obsessed with stripping llamas. I defy you to come over here and try to strip me. It would be the last thing you ever did. I give you a baby Were-llama as a companion. What do you name her? ... Say Naked Peter and I shall terminate both the interview and you.


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


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


12. The bee-shark seems a fierce beast nearly as awesome as a were-llama. Nearly. Cake or cookies?


13. Do you share chocolate?


14. Or when I compel you to with the awesome power of my glowing red eyes. The Zombie Goat invasion is upon us. How will you fight them off?


Thank you, Barbara, for such a fun interview! And for making sure delicious books like THE CONQUEROR make it onto our book store shelves. To learn more about Barbara, visit her agency site or check in with her every Tuesday on the Hey There's A Dead Guy In The Living Room blog. Of course, the fun isn't over yet!

Barbara's Giveaway:

One lucky commenter will win a 10 page critique (if you're a writer) and a copy of THE CONQUEROR! Here's how to enter:

1. Earn entries:

*Comment on this post with a question or comment for Barbara = 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. Sunday, June 6th. Please check back to see if you've won and to claim your prize.

Good luck to all and happy reading!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Camels, Slingshots, & the Grand Canyon

This pic is a t-shirt recently offered on, and I laughed myself stupid when Clint shared it with me.

What I'm listening to right now: Almost Lover by A Fine Frenzy

1. The more exposure I have to the general public, the more I subscribe to the belief that certain gene pools could use a bit more chlorine.

2. Yesterday, Clint, Starshine and I went to the Renaissance Festival. As we were walking past a large corral where little lords and ladies could take a ride on a camel for the bargain price of $5, a teenage girl behind me said to her boyfriend, "Oh, those poor camels! They must be so hot out in the sun! I bet they wish they could just stay in the shade."

3. Her boyfriend agreed.

4. Is it possible we have a generation of kids who have no clue about a camel's natural habitat? I mean, Tennessee gets hot, yes, but we've got nothing on the desert.

5. On a side note, I could smell that camel looooooong before I saw him. I wonder if the camel has any natural predators? If so, I bet copious lack of personal hygiene is a pretty strong defense.

6. While at the Festival, I wandered into a tent with gorgeous artwork. Dragons, castles, mythical creatures...right up my alley. The artist was one of the four who was commissioned by the Tolkien family to do artwork on LOTR. He drew (among other things) the Eye of Sauron. I found a fascinating gargoyle pic I simply had to own. Ten seconds of staring at it and I had the beginnings of a really cool story in my head.

7. The artist autographed the pic for me. As we chatted, I confessed I'd always wished I could draw but just didn't have the talent. He looked like I'd just told him I had four days to live. I saw the moment he was going to give me the "Everyone can be taught to draw passably well" speech I've heard so many times before. I hastened to assure him that a) I really had all the drawing talent of a piece of gravel and b) this didn't bother me because I more than made up for it with story telling ability.

8. He was somewhat mollified, but I think he still felt I probably had latent, undiscovered artistic ability somewhere inside me. He needs to spend five minutes watching me try to do arts and crafts, and he'll be cured of that notion.

9. We spent Saturday at the local water park hanging in the wave pool, floating down the lazy river, and playing mini-golf.

10. Again, mass exposure to the general public did nothing to dissuage my growing belief that a Zombie Apocalypse might be a good thing.

11. Women: There comes a point in most of our lives when we must embrace the concept of a one piece bathing suit. Naturally, there are exceptions to this *coughAngelinaJoliecough*, but I didn't see a single exception this weekend. I saw a lot of HOLY COW PUT THAT AWAY BEFORE SOMEONE LOSES AN EYE, and I doubt any of those women wanted that kind of reaction when they crammed themselves into bikinis several sizes too small.

12. Men: You have a drawstring. This means you have OPTIONS. There's no need to wear your suit so low you walk around looking for all the world like a damp plumber. And GOD FORBID you squat down to pick up a child. No one came to see the Grand Canyon.

13. This weekend, I stopped Starshine as he was walking out the door with a handful of brightly colored items. On closer inspection, I realized he was an armload of my bras.

Me: What are you doing with my bras?

Starshine: These aren't bras. They're slingshots.

I vetoed the plan (and avoided any more pesky phone calls from my neighbors. "Did you know your son is spraying the driveway with black spray paint?" "Are you aware your boys are throwing the contents of their room out a hole in their window screen?" "YOUR BOYS ARE HAVING A PEEING CONTEST OFF YOUR BACK DECK DO SOMETHING NOW OH MY POOR EYES.") and sent him back upstairs to put my unmentionables back where they belonged, all the while refusing to consider how many times he may have raided my drawers without my knowledge.

Although, given some of the things I saw at the water park, he's not the only one who believes Victoria's Secret sells slingshots.

14. Tune in tomorrow when the Were-llama interviews the savvy and hilarious Barbara Poelle, lit agent with the Irene Goodman Agency. She's giving away books!

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...