Monday, January 31, 2011

Chewy & Strangely Tasteless

1. My daughter takes after me.

2. As proof, I offer the following true story.

3. We were at a friend's house hanging out with several other couples, and I was holding Princess J on my lap while I fed her a bottle.

4. Remember last week when I revealed the (potentially career-ending) fact that I had inadvertently snorted half-chewed sandwich up my nose when hit with an Insta-cough?

5. Princess J had an Insta-cough moment as she was drinking the bottle and ... wait for it ... all the proof you'll ever need that she is MINE ...

6. Shot two streams of formula right out of her nose.

7. I love that kid.

8. Starshine had an interesting moment of his own this week when Clint took the boys with him to an Asian grocery store in Nashville.

9. Among other things, Clint purchased a type of Chinese candy that is wrapped inside rice paper, boxed, and then sealed with plastic wrap. As they were driving home, Clint told the kids they could open their candy, and then informed them the treat was extra cool because the wrapper was edible too.

10. A minute later, Starshine asked from the backseat, "Dad, are you SURE this wrapper is edible? Because I'm having a really hard time chewing it."

11. Clint looked back to see Starshine dutifully chewing on the outside plastic wrapper that came around the box.

12. He takes after me too.

13. Sometimes.

14. This Wednesday, instead of a cupcake interview, I'm posting a list of my ten favorite books from 2010, along with a fun contest where you could win one of those books.

15. The month of February will have cupcake interviews with some incredible authors: Jonathan Maberry, Maria Snyder, and J.T. Ellison. I'm really looking forward to it!

16. My new goal for the month of February is to avoid shooting food (chewed or otherwise) through my nose.

17. A small goal, yes, but one I sincerely hope I achieve.

18. At least in public.

19. Other goals include reaching the 1/2 mark on my current writing project, building my library of to-be-read books on my new Nook, and decimating my laundry pile to the point where I can legitimately yell "What now, funky pile of clothing? What now?!?" without sounding like a crazy woman.

20. If you just thought "The crazy ship sailed on this blog a loooong time ago," better keep it to yourself or your chances for winning one of the awesome books I loved from 2010 will drop. Drastically.

21. I'm trying to remember if I shared one of my unique claim-to-fame stories on this blog. One involving Disneyland, a cheap bra, and ninja skillz that would make Bruce Lee WISH he was this awesome.

22. Sound familiar?

23. If not, I'll have to post that this week. It's one of those stories that should probably embarrass me, but really? If you're a regular blog reader, you realize that if I was prone to embarrassment, I'd have died from it by now.

24. Don't believe me?

25. Check my blog archive for the time I walked in to a tree. Or into a hotel bathroom door. Or did a stop-drop-roll routine down the side of my yard in full view of my neighbors. Or accidentally got drunk off of CAKE and then tried (unsuccessfully) to carry off a professional job interview. Or kicked my eye doctor in the shin while gagging aloud. And since I could continue this list of potentially embarrassing items indefinitely, I'm going to cut it off here.

26. Check back Wednesday for my list of 2010 faves and be prepared to recommend a few of your own! (You might just win a prize!)

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Winner of the Lili St. Crow Giveaway!

This was definitely a popular giveaway! Thanks to all who entered. I hope you'll check out Lili's books next time you're in your local bookstore (or browsing online). You won't be disappointed!

As always, I used to choose the winner. And the winner of the signed 3 book Strange Angels series is ...


Please email me your shipping information, and I'll pass it along to Lili. Thanks again for entering and happy reading!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Winner of RAZIEL!

Thanks to all who entered Abby Zidle's giveaway! As always, I used to select the winner. And the winner of RAZIEL is ...

Ishta Mercurio!!

Ishta, please contact me at cjredwine01 (at) yahoo (dot) com with your  mailing info, and I'll pass it along to Abby. Congratulations and happy reading!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Hourglass Cover Revealed!

My good friend and writing partner Myra McEntire has some exciting news to share today! Her debut novel, HOURGLASS, hits the shelves in May. It's an incredible book, and I can't wait for other readers to get a chance to enjoy it. Humor, suspense, and some really awesome plot twists combine with authentic, well-drawn characters and a super-cool time travel premise to make this book a must-read! To be one of the first to get this book, head to Amazon and place a pre-order.

Today, Myra unveils her cover. Here it is! (Pay close attention to where she's standing...)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Interview With Lili St. Crow

I became a fan of Lili St. Crow (who writes adult urban fantasy as Lilith Saintcrow) a few years ago when I bought one of her books, read it in two days, and immediately headed back to the book store for more. When she began writing YA, I was thrilled! I loved STRANGE ANGELS, the first in her YA series, and each subsequent book has thoroughly hooked me as well. Lili writes adrenalin-fueled books with interesting, imperfect characters and layers of mystery. JEALOUSY is the third in the Strange Angels series. Here's the premise:

Dru Anderson might finally be safe. She’s at the largest Schola on the continent, and beginning to learn what it means to be svetocha–half vampire, half human, and all deadly. If she survives her training, she will be able to take her place in the Order, holding back the vampires and protecting the oblivious normal people.

But a web of lies and betrayals is still closing around her, just when she thinks she can relax a little. Her mentor Christophe is missing, her almost-boyfriend is acting weird, and the bodyguards she’s been assigned seem to know much more than they should. And then there’s the vampire attacks, the strange nightly visits, and the looks everyone keeps giving her. As if she should know something.
Or as if she’s in danger.

Someone high up in the Order is a traitor. They want Dru dead–but first, they want to know what she remembers of the night her mother died. Dru doesn’t want to remember, but it looks like she might have to–especially since once Christophe returns, he’ll be on trial for his life. The only person who can save him is Dru.

The problem is, once she remembers everything, she may not want to…
I'm so excited to announce that Lili is giving away a signed copy of the entire three book Strange Angels series! Before I get to how you can enter to win the set, let me introduce today's guests.

Captain Jack Sparrow

Lili St. Crow

Now that you know who's who, let's get to the interview and reveal the Holy Cow Awesome cupcake my hubby made for Lili. There are all sorts of monsters and scary creatures in Lili's books, and one of the first we're introduced to is a zombie. Not just any zombie, but one who HAUNTED my thoughts for the rest of the book. I won't spoil your reading by telling you why, but ... wow. So, in honor of that, my hubby made a zombie hand cupcake. Without further ado, I give you the cupcake and Lili's interview with Captain Jack.

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

Oh, well, I suppose I’d have to say whoever paid the most, or who had irritated me least in the last six months. When one’s sailing the high seas, flexibility is everything.

2. Darling, I like the way you think. So few appreciate the art of playing both sides. What’s your favorite thing to do in Tortuga?

So much to choose from! After waking in the early afternoon and starting a rousing little barfight to get the cobwebs out, I think a quiet afternoon’s drinking at that little place with the mouse-and-turtle races is refreshing. Then, as darkness falls, a little gambling at that place where you had your moustache singed off by the Greek. (Remember him? He sends his love. And this knife, which I’m supposed to bury in your ribs, but I decided I liked it better for someone else’s ribs.) Anyway, after one has won a few rounds and sobered up a little, one goes to a filthy stinking alley where one gives the password of the week, and goes up the stairs to the Pirate’s Library. Where I will continue my studies, at least until dawn rises and I turn in at Madame Moriarty’s Misfortune House. I find I sleep better there.

Now that’s what I call a perfect day.

3. I admit, I'm especially partial to the part of your day where you DON'T stick a knife into my ribs. I’m offering you free passage aboard my ship to anywhere in the world. Where shall we go, love?

The horizon, of course. Where else?

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

I believe my hero should be more like Davy Jones. He suffers for love in a way Elizabeth and Will don’t. And Jack, we know you don’t love anything but your ship. You’re a psychopomp. Don’t take it the wrong way, I say it to all the lovely ambiguous pirate captains.

5. It's such a lovely word, I'll take it any way you choose to serve it. Rum? Or more rum?

Yes. And yes. And some coffee to put the rum in when I want to wake up. Plus the rum cake, rum raisins, and a rum go.

6. You can keep your coffee. I just want the rum. Which leads me to the age old question: Why is the rum always gone?

Because you fell asleep and someone pinched it, for heaven’s sake. Either that or one had a bad day and needed a pick-me-up. There was also that one time when you dumped the shipment. Don’t remind me of that, I’ve only recently decided not to take you to task for it and I can change my mind at any time.

7. *looks around for a suitable distraction* Hey! Is that a fourteen-toed squid I see climbing up the side of my ship? *congratulates self on avoiding being taken to task for anything* What’s the most piratish thing you’ve ever done?

Having children. Definitely. Nothing teaches you the flexibility of guidelines like they do. And nothing else will make you rethink your entire life on a daily basis to quite the degree children do.

8. *shudders* I don't personally care to test that theory. Are they rules? Or more like guidelines?

In some cases they’re rules. In others, they’re guidelines. Knowing the difference is the pirate’s art.

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

For you, darling, anything. I’ll put an undead monkey into a story just for you. I have had a zombie and a patricide in the first three chapters, though. Might that count?

10. If you put an undead monkey in your story, be sure to find a way to take the "un" out of the equation. Any curses? Heartless monsters? Irritating women who insist on taking matters into their own hands?

Loads of curses. Yes, lots of heartless monsters, too. Hmmm…you know, come to think of it, I don’t think I write anything other than irritating women who insist on taking matters into their own hands. Go figure.

11. I see I need to keep a weather eye on you. One of my favorite words is “egregious.” Care to share one of yours, love?

I always get a little thrill out of “paradoxical.” And I love the way “lyrical” sounds as it trips off the tongue. Words are a sensual pleasure for me.

12. *fans self* Darling, you had me at paradoxical. Parlay? Or draw your sword?

En garde.

13. I do love the sight of a woman with a sword. You’ve got a crowd of cursed sailors and a nasty sea monster on your trail. How do you escape?

Escape? No, no, dearie. I turn around, harangue or cannonade the cursed sailors until they elect me their captain by dint of my sheer ferocity, then we take on the sea monster. Which will either end up my pet (I think Snuggles would be a darling name, don’t you?) or a very large hide and an interesting story, both to sell in Tortuga.

14. While I appreciate your sheer ferocity, I must take issue with the name Snuggles. May I suggest the name Larry instead? Romantic night in? Or adventure on the high seas?
Adventure. I rather think romance is overrated, at least for me. Don’t get me wrong—I love writing it, and I like reading it. But when it comes to real life, give me the high seas.

15. You truly are my other half, aren't you? My personal motto is: Take what you want, give nothing back. What’s yours?

Potius mori quam foedari. Latin, that. “Rather to die than to be dishonored.” The principle’s served me well so far.

Thank you, Lili, for such an enjoyable interview! You were more than a match for our dear Captain. To learn more about Lili and her books, head to her website. And now, for Lili's exciting giveaway! She's giving away a signed 3 book set (Strange Angels, Betrayals, Jealousy). U.S. entries only, please. 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 or facebook= 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. (central time) Sunday, January 30th. Please check back to see if you've won and to claim your prize!

Good luck to all, and happy reading!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Interview With Editor Abby Zidle

When my agent Holly told me her friend Abby Zidle, an editor with Pocket books, wanted to take on the Spork of Doom, I said (in my sporkiest voice), "Bring it!" And she did. Abby's official bio reads:

Abby Zidle is a senior editor for Gallery and Pocket Books, where she acquires a variety of commercial fiction and nonfiction.  She loves sexy romances, horseback riding, and trashy television, and has a cat named Wally who likes to be spun on her kitchen floor.  She is known to a select few fellow publishing goofballs as the Wombat of Terror, due to her general aversion to conflict of any sort. She should probably not be broadcasting this to her professional contacts.

But along with an awesome interview with the SoD, she brought one of her January releases to give away! Here's the premise:

Kristina Douglas’s sizzling debut series introduces a realm of fallen angels and ruthless demons, where an eternal rebellion is brewing… and one unsuspecting woman can change the fate of the Fallen forever. The first novel, The Fallen: Raziel, features Raziel, a fallen angel, and Allie, a mortal whose death catapults her into a supernatural world filled with angels, demons — and true love.

We'll get to how you can win a copy of Raziel right after the interview, but first, let me introduce today's guests.

Spork of Doom

Abby Zidle

Now that you know who's who, it's time to reveal the cupcake my hubby made for Abby and dive into the interview. But first, in an unprecedented move, my hubby wrote a somewhat aggressive note to accompany the cupcake. It seemed appropriate that the Wombat of Terror be the one to take on the Spork of Doom, and so she asked for a wombat cupcake. Turns out? Designing a wombat out of cake is harder than it sounds. So, without further ado, I give you the cupcake, the note, and the interview!

This is the artist's interpretation of a wombat. If the viewer doesn't like it they can: 1: make their own wombat cupcake, 2: feel the wrath of my raspberry of dooooom (pbttttttttttt), or 3: choke on a vegemite sandwich.
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?

The Wombat of Terror is an A+ minion—I am a natural second-in-command. Wikipedia tells us “wombats are not commonly seen, but leave ample evidence of their passage, treating fences as minor inconveniences to be gone through or under.” In the same way, if the Spork says “make it so,” I will totally dig the hole to hide the body of that hobo you killed.

2. I like it. Although I'm not into hobos. With world domination as my goal, I have to start somewhere higher up the food chain. Being a Spork of Doom takes moxie. What’s the sporkiest thing you’ve ever done?

Moved to France for a year with a fairly rudimentary command of the language, during which I decided to quit my Ph.D. program and enter publishing. Best decision I ever made—not only is a bad day in publishing better than a good day in grad school, but drinking all that Bordeaux helped improve my tolerance in preparation for all the publishing lushes with whom I’m now friends.

3. I wonder if lushes make good minions too? 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?

A pie stuffed with the still-beating hearts of your enemies and glazed with their tears? Wombats prefer cupcakes.

4. Your pie has found favor with me, minion! What’s your favorite thing to do with a spork?

Eat KFC mashed potatoes with gravy. OK, any mashed potatoes, really, but at KFC they issue you the spork.

5. KFC is all part of my Master Plan. I have the ability to be simultaneously spoon, fork, and weapon of mass destruction. What unique ability do you have?

My editorial changes are made of kitten whiskers and moondust. I can convey bad news so gently that you’re not even sure it was bad. I am also conversant in any reality TV program ever made (except the surgery ones, because those gross me out).

6. I don't watch reality tv, I create reality tv. Or I would, if anyone was smart enough to document my campaign for world domination with a video camera. 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?

Wombatten down the Hatches! OK, that’s terrible. The wombat will have to find a writer to do some work for hire.

7. Since I'm still enjoying a slice of enemy pie, I forgive you the sorry slogan. If I had to compare myself to anyone in history, I’d have to say I’m most like Napoleon. Only skinnier. And shinier. And smart enough not to lose my empire at a place with a ridiculous name like Waterloo. Who are you most like and why?

I would like to claim I’m like Hatshepsut, the Egyptian queen who became a pharaoh by cunning and sheer strength of will, and who declared herself male (and wore a beard) in order to hold the throne. Because she is awesome, and I am also awesome! But I spend less time in drag. And honestly, I don’t have her follow-through. But people are free to build me a temple anyway.

8. Right after they finish building a temple to ME. Why is your job just as much fun as world domination?

Because it’s domination of the mind! OK, maybe I’m getting a little drunk with power, but my job has the perfect combo of creation and collaboration, and also means that when I find a story that I love, I get to share it with thousands of people!

9. Domination of the mind? Hm. A strategy I never considered. *take another bite of pie* In between conquests, I like to read a good story. What can you recommend and why?

I can recommend so many good stories! For you, I suggest RAZIEL, a paranormal romance about a fallen angel tasked with ferrying the souls of the dead—until he meets Allie, who’s supposed to go gently into that good night but just…won’t. It is Sporkworthy because, just as you are spoon & fork in one, Raziel is both angel and demon (well, vampire)…and of course, you’re both irresistible to all.

10. I am, aren't I? You need to accomplish a secret, night-time mission as my minion. Cloak? No cloak? Why?

Definitely no cloak, for I am a student of esteemed superhero designer Edna Mode. Also, wombats are short of leg and stumpy of build, so cloaks are…not so flattering. We are already excellent at blending in, burrowing and otherwise proceeding by stealth. The cloak would just be ostentatious.

11. I also find no need to hide my awesomeness behind a billowing sheet of fabric. Let the world be blinded by the glare of my titanium sporkiness and tremble! My best piece of advice to others is this: “Fear the spork!” What’s your best advice?

Speak softly. But carry a big spork.

Thank you so  much for such a fun interview, Abby! To learn more about Raziel and the author Kristina Douglas, head to her site. You can follow Abby on twitter as @AbZurdity. And now, for the giveaway! One lucky reader will win a copy of Raziel. 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 or facebook= 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. (central time) Thursday, January 27th. Please check back to see if you've won and to claim your prize!

Good luck to all, and happy reading!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

News Flash! Weekend Edition

I am REALLY excited about next week on the blog.


Why, you ask?

Because the week went from great to HOLY COW THE AWESOME, IT BURNS! First, one of the authors I'm featuring in my top ten book picks from 2010 just agreed to do an interview on the blog. This is an author I've recently started stalking made contact with, so I'm super thrilled to have him. Also? He's the first male author on the blog. That has to be worth a party, right? Right.

Second, Lillith Saintcrow, who will take on Captain Jack this Wednesday, is now giving away not one, not two, but a signed THREE BOOK SET to one of my readers.

You see? The awesome. It burnnnnnnnsssssss.

Friday, January 21, 2011

At Least It Wasn't The Bird of Paradise

1. Sooo, I sort of sucked as a blogger this week.

2. I did, however, rock as a writer.

3. Next week I'm going to be both awesome writer AND awesome blogger.

4. Watch for it.

5. On Monday, The Spork of Doom interviews an editor from Pocket and she reveals her unusual nickname, why she'd be an incredible minion, and a fabulous new paranormal book coming out this month. She's even giving away a copy of the book to one of my readers!

6. Plus, for the first time ever, my hubby writes a (somewhat aggressive) note to accompany his cupcake creation.

7. On Wednesday, Captain Jack interviews best-selling paranormal author Lillith Saintcrow (and a reader can win one of her books too!). It remains to be seen if my hubby will write a (possibly homicidal) note with her cupcake as well.

8. Also, I'm going to do a post on my ten favorite books from 2010. Everyone who comments with one of their own favorite reads from last year will be entered into a drawing for one of my favorite books.

9. If I know the author personally, I might be able to get the book autographed first.

10. Or, I might need bail and a lengthy explanation for how my actions should be construed as misplaced enthusiasm rather than creepy stalker-girl.

11. In other news, I have 3 spots left in the Query Workshop that starts Monday. Head to my workshop site if interested.

12. In other, other news, my super-secret YA project is going so well, I'm slightly giddy. I have a word count bar at the top of my sidebar so I can keep myself accountable to my weekly writing goals. I have no idea why that should matter to you, but now I'm in a competition with myself to make sure I don't publicly humilitate myself by not adding to it each week.

13. It's convoluted logic, but it works for me.

14. And now, to save this post from going down into the anals of blog history as The Most Boring Blog Post Ever, I share the following:

15. Two weeks ago, I had the flu. While I'm no longer sick, I still have a bit of a cough.

16. When I say I have a bit of a cough, what I mean is, I'll be totally fine until suddenly, WHAM! I have to cough.

17. Insta-cough.

18. A few days ago, I was eating lunch.

19. I had a mouthful of sandwhich when WHAM! Insta-cough.

20. In the millisecond before the cough hit, when I realized it was coming, my brain cataloging my options and prioritized.

21. Badly.

22. Instead of considering the overall health and wellness of my nasal cavities, my brain screamed "Don't spray food! It's rude!"

23. So, I clamped my lips shut and coughed.

24. And sent a mouthful of mostly-chewed sandwich up my nose.

25. Yes.

26. So, tune in next week for a fun week on the blog. And until then, may your nose remain completely sandwich-free.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Winner of LINGER!

After using to generate the winner of a signed copy of Maggie Stiefvater's LINGER, I'm pleased to announce the winner is Deb!

Deb, please contact me with your shipping info so we can  get that in the mail to you. Happy reading!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Interview With Maggie Stiefvater

It's no secret, I'm a huge fan of Maggie Stiefvater's writing. Even before her mega-hit SHIVER hit the shelves, I was hooked. Maggie's prose is lyrical and hauntingly atmospheric. Few authors have the power to usher their readers so completely beneath the skin of a story like Maggie does. She was on the blog before SHIVER came out, giving us a peek at SHIVER according to a Twitter feed from the main characters. Fun, yes? So, when LINGER came out, I couldn't wait to have her back on the blog.

Here's the premise for LINGER:

"In Shiver, Grace and Sam found each other. Now, in Linger, they must fight to be together. For Grace, this means defying her parents and keeping a very dangerous secret about her own well-being. For Sam, this means grappling with his werewolf past . . . and figuring out a way to survive into the future. Add into the mix a new wolf named Cole, whose own past has the potential to destroy the whole pack. And Isabel, who already lost her brother to the wolves . . . and is nonetheless drawn to Cole.

At turns harrowing and euphoric, Linger is a spellbinding love story that explores both sides of love—the light and the dark, the warm and the cold—in a way you will never forget."

So, how did Maggie choose to top her awesome Shiver-Twitter transcript? By taking on the one and only Captain Jack Sparrow, savvy?

Captain Jack Sparrow

Maggie Stiefvater

Now that you know who's who, it's time to dive into the interview and reveal the beautiful cupcake my hubby made in honor of Maggie. In Linger, Grace is addicted to coffee and a red coffee pot becomes a symbol for the new, independent life she desperately wants to carve out for herself. My hubby made a shiny red coffee pot just for Grace. And now, without further ado, I give you the cupcake and the interview with Captain Jack.

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

I refuse to be classified. I’ve got an overdeveloped sense of justice but I also don’t really care for arbitrary rules. I won’t listen to a song for free but I speed egregiously. I guess that makes me a pirate with a really strong code of ethics.

2. Ethics? *squints* I'm a bit rusty on the exact definition of that word, but at least you call yourself a pirate first. It shows you have priorities, darling. What’s your favorite thing to do in Tortuga?

Catch the live music. Ever since they banned smoking inside the Tortuga pubs, the shows have been way more enjoyable.

3. As long as they don't ban rum, I'm all for it. I’m offering you free passage aboard my ship to anywhere in the world. Where shall we go, love?

Someplace cold, miserable, rainy, and with cliffs. Maybe a small Scottish island. I’ll bring my sweater. You bring the firewood.

4. I do not bring firewood to a party, my dear. I bring rum and steal someone else's firewood. 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 have four narrators in LINGER, so this question is unnecessarily complicated. Cole is rather debonair, although he wears clothing less often than you, Mr. Sparrow. Sam is pretty insufferably honorable, and so is Grace. Isabel is pretty much not like anyone except for possibly Captain Barbosa.

5. A female Captain Barbosa? God spare us all. Rum? Or more rum? After your last answer, I believe I need some now. *takes a generous swig* *takes another*

I don’t drink. Not on principle, but because I don’t like the taste of alcohol. I have other vices.

6. Darling, you had me at "vices." Not that rum drinking is a vice, of course. More like  a... rather persistent habit. Which leads me to the age old question: Why is the rum always gone?

This is something I ask myself frequently.

7. Well, if you make it a habit to have insufferably honorable people around you, you've only yourself to blame, my dear. What’s the most piratish thing you’ve ever done?

I had a bad habit of drag racing with strange boys at stop lights when I was in college. Does that count?

8. Most definitely, you scandalous little wench. Are they rules? Or more like guidelines?

Everyone else’s rules are guidelines. My guidelines are rules.

9. Spoken like a true pirate! Not that I'll be using your guidelines as rules, of course. But I admire the sentiment. I understand you’re a story-teller. Any undead monkeys in your stories?

I’m not a fan of the undead. I prefer my monkeys with pulses.

10. I prefer a world with no monkeys at all, but alas, monkeys appear to be my burden to bear. Any curses? Heartless monsters? Irritating women who insist on taking matters into their own hands?

This pretty much describes every novel I’ve ever written.

11. *raises a brow* I see I need to remain on your good side. One of my favorite words is “egregious.” Care to share one of yours, love?

WE ARE CLEARLY MEANT FOR EACH OTHER. Do you see that I used ‘egregious’ in this interview once already? I personally like “revoltingly” and also “nasty.” Revoltingly because it’s so useful and nasty because it looks like what it means.

12. You speed egregiously, as I recall. I do quite a number of things egregiously myself. Perhaps we should sail off into the sunset together? Parlay? Or draw your sword?

Parlay if they’re smiling. Sword if I am.

13. I couldn't have said it better myself. You’ve got a crowd of cursed sailors and a nasty sea monster on your trail. How do you escape?
Write in a convenient but confusing plot twist whereby we’re all saved by circumstances outside of our control.

14. Since I'm assured said plot twist won't involve any undead monkeys, I'm okay with that. Romantic night in? Or adventure on the high seas?

Romantic night on the high seas.

15. An excellent choice! My personal motto is: Take what you want, give nothing back. What’s yours?

No regrets, Jack Sparrow. No regrets.

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

Maggie's Giveaway:

One lucky commenter will win a signed copy of LINGER! 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 or facebook= 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. (central time) Sunday, January 16th. Please check back to see if you've won and to claim your prize!

Good luck to all, and happy reading!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Progress Report

I still can't tell you what my new project is about, but I can give you an interesting (I hope) peek into my main character's mind. Some characters just start talking in my head, and before I know it, I've got enough info on them to fill several books. Some are more reluctant to just open up and let me see behind the curtain of their everyday life. For characters like those, I have to find unusual ways to climb beneath their skin.

Rachel is proving to be a very layered character to get to know. I thought she was one thing and went, "Hm. A pretty straight-forward character with clear goals. But where are her flaws?!" Because a character without flaws isn't authentic, and I want to write with depth and authenticity. A character's flaws are often what push them further and further into a story's conflict, or what cause additional conflict.

I made Rachel's playlist, and she surprised me with some of the picks. I can't really explain how I know if a song is right for a character. I just do. It either fits them on an emotional level (either the music or the words), or it doesn't. Sometimes, I think a song fits, but after listening to the playlist a few times, I realize it isn't quite right and delete it. Rachel has a solid playlist now, but I still couldn't get more than a layer or two into her before running into walls of silence.

Tonight, I decided to take another approach. One of the other main characters in her story has become very clear to me in the last few days. As I began to understand him, I began to understand her relationship with him, and I decided to use that as my way in. I sat down, put a few of Rachel's instrumental songs on, and let her write a poem to this other character.

Here it is.

And now I see more clearly what drives her, where her flaws are, and how that will ultimately drive the outcome of the story.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Tortilla, Thou Art My Nemesis

1. Yes, I know it isn't a cat. But seriously? This pic made me laugh so hard, I had to have it for my blog.

2. Also? I don't really want to meet a wombat in person. It looks like a cross between a beaver and Dracula. No. Thanks.

3. I got super organized this past weekend (le gasp) and revamped my workshop website. I also listed the dates for every upcoming workshop for the entire 2011 year. Take a look, register if you need some help writing a query or synopsis, or if you want help understanding pacing and plot structure. And of course, feel free to send other writers my way!

4. Along with revamping my workshop site, I lined up some Really Fun Stuff for the blog this month.

5. For example, this Wednesday, Maggie Stiefvater, author of SHIVER and LINGER, will take on the infamous Jack Sparrow in the first cupcake interview of 2011. She's offering a signed copy of LINGER as a prize to one lucky commenter!

6. I've yet to break the news to my hubby that once again I require his cake-art skillz.

7. I guess he'll figure it out when I start baking cupcakes tomorrow.

8. Of course, those of you who read about his Dastardly Deed will know I don't feel the slightest bit guilty.

9. My birthday was this past Saturday.

10. He wisely did NOT shop for my gift in our closet. Or our garage. Or anywhere in the immediate vicinity of our house.

11. He falls asleep first, you know, and I have very few scruples when it comes to revenge.

12. I went out with a friend for brunch on my birthday and ended up ordering one of my favorites -- a southwest chicken salad.

13. Halfway through the meal, I took a bite, tried to wrestle an uncooperative crispy tortilla strip into my mouth, and ended up accidentally shoving it up my nose instead.

14. Yes.

15. At this rate, none of my friends are going to want to be seen in public with me anymore.

16. Unless it just makes them look good by comparison.

17. Anyway, enough about my new nemesis the tortilla strip. I was discussing the Really Fun Stuff planned for the blog.

18. In addition to Maggie Stiefvater, I have Abbie Zidle, an editor at Pocket Books, and author Lilith Saintcrow (Yes, the one I've been known to fanatically somewhat enthusiastically rave about) lined up for cupcake interviews too.

19. And I have some year end Top Ten lists that you may or may not find fun/interesting. If you like them, yay. If not, just imagine me with a tortilla strip up my nose and consider yourself entertained.

20. And now, I'd love to talk some more, but I must go rescue a teddy bear from the rather enthusiastic amorous advances of our dog.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Dastardly Deed

This year, my hubby put coal in my stocking. Actual coal, not that yummy chocolate stuff. He took a charcoal briquette off the BBQ, stuffed it in a sandwich baggie, and shoved it in my stocking.

That wasn't the Dastardly Deed.

He also left a nasty note to Santa pinned to the outside of my stocking. It made libelous, unsubstantiated claims as to the general state of my nature (Naughty) and said I didn't deserve any presents.

That wasn't the Dastardly Deed either.

He said I'd opened a box of Hot Tamales which were already inside my stocking and snitched a few and that justified the note and the coal. A) They were in MY stocking. B) Which meant they were MINE. C) Nobody saw me do anything of the sort.

But none of that was the Dastardly Deed.

No, that happened a little later Christmas morning as I was opening my presents. I picked up one beautifully wrapped box which said it was from Clint. He saw which present I was holding and started laughing.

Not a good sign.

I figured he'd done some silly man-thing and purchased me a Swiffer duster or a brand new box of Clorox wipes for Christmas. (FYI, those only count as presents if you've also attached a $100 gift card to the local spa, bookstore, or shoe store. Preferably all three. Especially if you're lunatic enough to think any cleaning product doubles as acceptable holiday giftage.)

I was wrong.

I ripped off the paper and saw a box with an AWESOME picture of a pewter dragon statue holding a beautiful clock.

He laughed harder.

Naturally, I figured the box wasn't accurately advertising its contents. So, I asked if what was on the outside of the box was what was inside the box. He said it was and laughed even more.

I'm a complete dragon geek, and I got really excited about this gift. It was perfect! I could already see it sitting on my office desk.

Then Clint opened his mouth and sealed his fate by uttering the following words: "I found that in the back of our closet."

Me: "I beg your pardon?"

Clint: "Our closet! When I was putting the luggage away, I found it. It's been there for like two years. Don't you remember? I gave it to you a few years ago for Christmas."


Clint: "You're surprised, aren't you?"

Me: "Not nearly as surprised as you're going to be when I get my revenge."

Clint: "Revenge for what? It's a perfect gift for you. You love it."

Me: "Wait until I tell my blog readers my amazing husband went Christmas shopping for me IN OUR OWN CLOSET."

You do realize, of course, that this begins a brand new family tradition. No underwear available on Father's Day? Don't worry! Just open that lumpy looking package stashed with your other gifts. Tools disappearing from the garage? Have no fear. Your birthday is a mere ten months away!

*rubs hands together with evil intent*

He should know me better than to start something he didn't want me to finish.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Resolutions I Can (Probably) Keep

I learned some valuable lessons in 2010. Since I'd hate for those lessons to go to waste, I thought I'd use them to guide my list of New Year's Resolutions.

1. I will pay strict attention to what I'm actually holding in my hand BEFORE applying the contents to my toothbrush. I don't care how late it is.

2. I will never trust that my side of the bed is booby-trap free before sliding under the covers in the dark.

3. For that matter, I will never trust that any area in my house is booby-trap free, no matter what time of day or night it is.

4. I will NOT reach blindly into my purse searching for my car keys. Not that fate would be cruel enough to dispose of another moth corpse inside my handbag, but you never know.

5. I will remember if I've just touched cinnamon oil BEFORE rubbing my eyes.

6. I hope.

7. If I hear a strange hissing sound from behind the refrigerator, I will NOT pull the appliance away from the wall without first grabbing a handful of towels and donning a plastic garbage sack or two.

8. Also? If I do hear the strange hissing sound and my refrigerator decides to spew water in all directions again, I will NOT race toward the problem area.

9. Unless I'm wearing padding and a helmet.

10. I will assume every co-worker is out to kill me and modify my behavior accordingly. This means no blindly walking out of my office as if someone hasn't laid a trail of empty boxes perfectly aligned to cause me to face plant into the nearest one. And no turning my head to answer a question while walking. Stupid walls.

11. I will also assume every piece of technology at work is also in on the murder plot. Including that wheeled spawn of Satan the office chair. And I will begin carrying a hammer and a flame torch (miniature size so as not to alert them to my new found spirit of resistance) everywhere I go.

12. I will carry extra diapers whenever I leave the house with Princess J. Extra. As in MANY extra.

13. I will stop investigating the strange noises, objects, and most especially, SMELLS my boys bring into the house.

14. On a related note, I will look into hazmet suits and a tranq gun.

15. And most importantly, I will remember the DASTARDLY DEED* done to me this past Christmas morning and will choose the optimum moment for vengeance most sweet.

*Details of the DASTARDLY DEED coming tomorrow. Ready the pitchforks and call the village mob.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Super Secret YA Project

I promised you a post on my current writing project, even though I'm not going to give away any incriminating specific details. My deadline is March 15th. *left eye twitches slightly*

I respond strongly to visuals when writing, so one of the first steps for me in any new project is to find a few (Very few ... I like to keep my imagination free to make up my own details.) pictures that help set the scene for me.

Like this one:

And this one:

And then I start listening to my characters so I can get to know them. One of the best ways for me to a) get to know my characters and b) create the atmosphere/mood for the story is to build a playlist specific for that story. The narrator of the story usually drives most of the playlist. The narrator of my current project is Rachel and her songs sound like this:

And this:

Sometimes, I know a specific scene is coming, and I search for a song just for that scene. For this project, I needed the following song for a scene that happens near the end of the book:

And then I usually head back to Google searching for a picture that most closely matches how I see my main characters.

Here's Rachel:

Here's Quinn:

Here's Logan:

I never know exactly how a project will sound until I start writing it. For this one, I was 500 words into it before I realized I was writing in present tense. It works for the story, and I like it, I'm just surprised it came so easily without me having to think it through.

So, it isn't much, I know, but that's the project I'm working on now. I even have a working title (a much BETTER working title than the Something Hinky On The Mountain title I had for Casting Stones...), and now I'm off and running.

Monday, January 3, 2011

How To Tell If Your Cat Is Planning To Kill You

Behavior: She meets you at the door when you return home.

Meaning: You might have brought home witnesses. Reinforcements. A dog. She needs to know if her dastardly plan must be altered to achieve her desired results.

Behavior: She winds around your ankles as you walk.

Meaning: Um, hello? Face-plant, anyone? If she times it just right, you'll bounce your face off the counter top, ricochet off the table, and execute a perfect 10 of a landing through the sliding glass door and the entire thing will look like an accident.

Behavior: She climbs on top of you and begins to knead your stomach.

Meaning: She could be checking for weakness in your internal organs. Or maybe she just likes her meat nice and tender.

Behavior: She stares at you with unblinking malice.

Meaning: Do I really need to spell it out for you? She's staring at you with unblinking malice. Your days are numbered.

Behavior: She stares at you with unblinking malice and then suddenly looks behind you like there's an axe murderer about to bury his blade into the back of your skull.

Meaning: It's a trick! Don't fall for this! The second you turn your head to see if an axe murderer really is lurking behind you, the REAL threat to your safety will pounce.

Behavior: She digs in her litter box for minutes on end.

Meaning: How else will she be able to bury your remains? Practice makes perfect, you know.

If your feline is exhibiting any of these signs, your best bet is to keep her well fed, contort your body into unbelievably uncomfortable sleeping positions at night so as not to disturb her chosen resting place, and for the love of tuna, DO NOT CHECK BEHIND YOU FOR AN AXE MURDERER. You don't want to be remembered as the foolish person they had to dig out of a litter box and identify by dental records.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

*Insert Clever Title Here*

1. Ooh, look! I'm blogging again!

2. Yeah. I know. You're thrilled.

3. Although, can you really call this a legitimate blog post when all I'm going to do is tell you about upcoming blog posts?

4. Still reading?

5. Then I guess this qualifies as a legitimate blog post.

6. You should know I had tremendous difficulty spelling "qualifies." And "legitimate." And also "difficulty," which is pretty ironic.

7. I attribute this to the fact that it's 12:20 a.m. Sunday morning, and I spent the day digging my way out of the Laundry Uprising, so I'm too tired to really see the screen.

8. Oh, the lengths I'm willing to go to bring almost-useless posts to my readers!

9. Hm.

10. I get punchy when I'm tired. It's remotely possible I've already sailed well past punchy and into delirious.

11. I might re-read this in the morning and delete the whole thing.

12. Anyway, posts are coming!

13. There's one about my new writing project (though I'm being super secretive about it, so you'll just get some visuals and a taste of my playlist for now).

14. One about the DASTARDLY DEED my hubby did to me on Christmas morning which shall, I assure you, be most thoroughly avenged.

15. And since I'm reading all kinds of end of the year top ten lists, I might compile one of my own. Topic ideas? Anyone? Bueller?

16. And I'm going to run a fun contest where you tell me your favorite book from 2010 and why I should read it and then I'll draw a winner from the commenters to receive a copy of MY favorite book.

17. I wonder if I can coherce convince the author to sign my copy first?

18. Since I don't have a personal relationship with this author, that may take a small miracle.

19. *makes a note to brush up on author-stalking skillz*

20. Finally, there will be handy guide on how to tell if your cat is planning to kill you.

21. You know me. The very soul of useful information.

22. And now, since BOTH of my cats are exhibiting signs 1,4, and 5 simultaneously, I'd better go shore up my defenses.

23. Feel free to tell me what list of 10 things you'd like to hear from me.

24. If I pick your topic, I'll most likely send you something.

25. Probably something fun.

26. Probably not a cat.

27. But you never know.

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...