Monday, April 25, 2011


Thank you to all who entered the contest to win a signed copy of Saundra Mitchell's THE VESPERTINE. As always, I used to choose the winner. And the winner is:


Congratulations! Please email me with your shipping address, and I'll forward it on to Saundra. My email is on my About page. Thanks again for entering, and happy reading!

Wherein I Lose Half My Face

1. This list might be more random than usual, but there's a theme. WATER.

2. That's important.

3. Before I explain myself, let me tell you a few things you probably don't need to know, and one thing you DO need to know.

4. Important: Today is the last day to enter to win a signed copy of Saundra Mitchell's THE VESPERTINE. Don't miss out!

5. Now, for some not so important things. Etsy is mildly entertaining sort of interesting somewhat diverting CRACK!

6. It is crack. Not only do they have some awesome stores whose wares I frequently drool over, they also have a feature where you can curate your own treasury list of items based on a theme of your choosing.

7. Reader, I cannot resist this.

8. Last night, I made four lists. Because I adore them, and because I cannot possibly have wasted spent that much time on something without at least the excuse of sharing it with you, I give you the following:
9. You see why I started this post by telling you I'd be sharing some things you didn't need to know.

10. Now, for something of dire importance.

11. Water done WRONG.

12. Cue ridiculously WRONG visual aid that actually has nothing to do with the following story except for a vague connection to water.

Look at me! I am so WRONG, I might be right. Okay, no. I am just WRONG. But hey, you're still looking.
13. Two weeks ago, I went to the dentist to have a filling replaced.

14. When one goes to the dentist, one does not expect to be risking one's life.

15. OR, if one is risking one's life, one expects it to be because one coughed while the hygienist had that sharp, pointy thing inside one's mouth aimed most inconveniently at the back of one's throat.

16. One does not expect to risk one's life while rinsing.

17. I usually have the same hygienist every time I visit my dentist. She's a lovely woman with two beautiful daughters, an affinity for adoption, and the charming ability to clean my teeth without causing me cardiac arrest.

18. This time, a new hygienist was in charge of helping the dentist with the entire procedure. I'm sure she's a perfectly lovely woman too. When she isn't a) trying to kill me, b) trying to discuss Kathie Lee and Hoda with me while shoving her hands down my throat, and c) trying to KILL ME.

19. The problem started when the dentist realized my filling needed to be replaced because apparently I clench my teeth at night, and therefore I'd cracked the outside of my tooth. This necessitated more work than she'd anticipated, and so she had to make sure I was not just numb, but My Lip Might Be Wrapped Around The Bottom Of My Shoe And I Don't Care numb.

20. This took three shots.

21. By the time the third shot kicked it, I no longer knew how to properly work the muscles in my face.

22. Heck, I wasn't even sure I still had a face.

23. And I was pretty sure I might be drooling.

24. Enter the new hygienist, a perky woman with a Wisconsin accent who kept asking me questions and then saying "Ya, ya, ya" and laughing.

25. I had no real issue with that, until she started expecting an answer.

26. I tried to give her one when she pointed to the tv in the corner and asked something about whatever asinine thing Kathy Lee and Hoda were doing, but it sort of sounded like Mumfpshs. Shrumboobab. Oogg. And I don't think she truly understood me.

27. Also? When I opened my mouth? Drool. Like WHOA.

28. Still, none of that was life-threatening.

29. The dentist came in, confirmed that I was now missing half of my face, tilted me so far back in the chair that blood rushed to my head, and began to drill.

30. None of that was life-threatening either.

31. But when she finished her first round of drilling, looked at the hygienist, and said "Rinse," I wish I'd understood that "rinse" was code for "flush every orifice you can reach." Because if I'd understood that salient piece of information, I would've taken myself right out of that office, face or no face.

32. But I didn't. So I sat there, my head significantly lower than my body, my mouth still crammed with instruments of torture, and let the hygienist poke the water hose into my mouth and turn it on.

33. The water instantly flooded my sinuses.

34. And began to leak out my nose.

35. And I could not breathe.

36. But I was missing half of my face, so I couldn't say that I couldn't breathe.

37. I tried. It sounded like "Ibbba coggggg bwaaaannthmp."

38. The hygienist leaned forward and said, "What's that, dear?"

39. By this time, I'd begun to accompany my failed attempts at communication with full-on body twitches, and a wild attempt to sit up that had her exclaiming in alarm and gently shoving me back into position.

40. I tried again. "The waaaa woooonnnnn umph maaaa nossssh."

41. "That's nice, dear," she said. And I began to wish terrible, terrible things would happen to her. Things involving water hoses, and duct tape, and a constant loop of Richard Simmons, the early years, on her VCR.

42. The dentist was better skilled at interpreting words from people with half a face. She said "Did the water go up your nose?"

43. "Yumshhhh," I said.

44. "Oops," she said. "Sorry about that."

45. I accepted her apology as graciously as a girl with half a face, a mouthful of metal instruments, and a chin dripping a continuous string of drool could possibly do. But then, THEN, she finished drilling a second time and said "Rinse."

46. And, dear reader, the hygienist poked the hose into my mouth and once more filled my sinuses with water.

47. At this point, I realized I'd neglected to ask a very important question.

48. I jerked away from her, snort-snerked the water out of my sinuses as best I could (not the easiest task when I only had half a face to work with), and said the following: "Ooo yuuuu knoaaaoo Beffff Revvissshhh?"

49. Because it occurred to me that my hygienist was trying to kill me. And anyone who expects to carry on a conversation with a girl who's lost half her face while having a mouth full of every piece of equipment known to the dentisting world couldn't possibly have come up with such a dastardly plot on her own. Beth Revis, having failed in her first attempt, had to be behind it.

50. Both the dentist and the hygienist pretended not to know what I was talking about, (In fact, they acted somewhat confused as to who Beth Revis was and why I'd be asking about her.) but they didn't fool me.  This had Beth Revis written all over it.

51. Especially when the hygienist pretended to feel bad for nearly drowning me a second time, yanked the hose from my mouth, and managed to squirt me UP THE NOSE from the OUTSIDE and then score a direct hit IN MY EYE before remembering to turn off the water.

52. I would've given her a piece of my mind, but figured the lack of enunciation, coupled with the drool, might mitigate the impact.

53. Plus, I didn't want to give her any further cause to go after the few orifices she'd missed.

54. I left the dentist's office and went straight to Books A Million to finish revising TCD, a move which may, in retrospect, have been ill-advised.

55. You'll recall that this is the same coffee shop where just the week before, the day Beth Revis first tried to kill me, I'd contorted my face in all manner of unnatural positions while unknowingly looking like a homeless woman?

56. Now, I was walking into the coffee shop with half of my face dangling around my knees.

57. The barista greeted me, and I tried to nonchalantly greet her in return, but I'm pretty sure it was a fail. A) because it sounded something like "Doonnmt maaandd mee aaah wassshhh almoooossssht killllebd aat thbe dennntissssshbt", B) because she looked at me with pity and offered me a free raspberry chocolate smoothie sample, and C) because when I sat down, I realized I was still drooling.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Interview With Saundra Mitchell

I've known Saundra via Twitter for some time, and have always admired her friendliness, industry knowledge, and sense of humor. But when she entered into an 80's flashback contest with me (and a few others) and not only held her own, but sort of blew the rest of us out of the water, I decided she was my kind of girl. :) I've been hearing nothing but amazing things about THE VESPERTINE, so I was thrilled when Saundra agreed to be on the blog. (I wonder if she's wearing leg warmers and a banana comb while rocking out to a hair band ballad right now?) Here's a peek at THE VESPERTINE:

The summer of 1889 is the one between childhood and womanhood for Amelia van den Broek-and thankfully, she’s not spending it at home in rural Maine. She’s been sent to Baltimore to stay with her stylish cousin, Zora, who will show her all the pleasures of city life and help her find a suitable man to marry.

Archery in the park, dazzling balls and hints of forbidden romance-Victorian Baltimore is more exciting than Amelia imagined. But her gaiety is interrupted by disturbing, dreamlike visions she has only at sunset-visions that offer glimpses of the future. Soon, friends and strangers alike call on Amelia to hear her prophecies. Newly dubbed “Maine’s Own Mystic”, Amelia is suddenly quite in demand.

However, her attraction to Nathaniel, an artist who is decidedly outside of Zora’s circle, threatens the new life Amelia is building in Baltimore. This enigmatic young man is keeping secrets of his own- still, Amelia finds herself irrepressibly drawn to him. And while she has no trouble seeing the futures of others, she cannot predict whether Nathaniel will remain in hers.

When one of her darkest visions comes to pass, Amelia’s world is thrown into chaos. And those around her begin to wonder if she’s not the seer of dark portents, but the cause.
Victorian Baltimore, romance in trouble, and intrigue? Sign me up! Saundra decided to be interviewed by the always debonair Captain Jack Sparrow.

Captain Jack

Saundra Mitchell

Before we get to the interview, it's time to reveal the gorgeous cupcake my hubby made in honor of Saundra's book. Saundra sent me a few pictures of things that are significant in THE VESPERTINE, and my hubby chose to make an edible replica of a sunburst jewelry charm. Without further ado, I give you the sunburst cupcake and Saundra'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 neither. If I said HMRN, we'd be enemies. If I said pirate, we'd be competitors. I fly a curiously neutral flag, sir. Although it does have a tiny green ninja in the bottom right hand corner, which is especially meaningful.

2. I am unfamiliar with the concept of a tiny green ninja, but as long as ninjas don't drink my rum, all is well. What’s your favorite thing to do in Tortuga?

Oh, you know. Kicking back with some reads. Selling dead men's secrets. The usual.

3. Hm. An entrepreneur of the shady and somewhat questionable side? Darling, you intrigue me. I’m offering you free passage aboard my ship to anywhere in the world. Where shall we go, love?

Great Britain. I want to see Tintagel and Glastonbury Tor, and the stone rings, and the old Roman roads, and Hadrian's Wall, and Sutton Hoo, and the Elgin Marbles and all the lovely things from Egyptian Antiquity that the British Museum has in its possession. And since we're already in the neighborhood, be a dear and nick us over to Ireland, too!

4. *eyes you carefully* My love, I regret to inform you that should I set boot on merry old England's shores, those insufferable wool-coated navy men shall do their best to see me hung until death. Most unpleasant. 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?
Amelia can be smooth when she wants to be, but for most of the book, she's trying to be good. Even though she fails miserably at it, that counts you out of the running, I'm afraid! Ultimately, she decides that freedom is worth more than propriety, so I expect she and Elizabeth would mix nicely.

5. In that case, remind me never to kiss Amelia. I rather like the thought of remaining alive. Rum? Or more rum?
Jack, darling... spiced rum.

6. Darling, a good rum burns the esophagus and lights a fire in the lower intestines. Adding spice to the mix seems a tad pinch of overkill, but I do enjoy a woman with a sense of adventure! Which leads me to the age old question: Why is the rum always gone?

The tiny green flag ninja hates partials. He finishes all the bottles off. It gives him purpose and meaning. And hangovers. That's why he's green.

7. I fail to comprehend how a tiny green anything is finishing off my rum. I'll run him through with my longsword if he doesn't bugger off. What’s the most piratish thing you’ve ever done?

Some friends and I tried to board a vessel that was not of our own belonging in Baltimore once, but that was just a misunderstanding. We stopped as soon as we understood that proceeding would be a felony. Or a maritime thingie of high bad.

8. Darling, darling, darling ... one does not stop when one is presumably caught red-handed. One simply changes courses and does the unexpected in order to still get one's hands on what one wants. Are they rules? Or more like guidelines?

Everything is a guideline. Actually, even guidelines are more suggestions. And suggestions are generally meant to be ignored.

9. Stop. You had me at suggestions. I understand you’re a story-teller. Any undead monkeys in your stories?

No, but I did just write a story that contains three flaming witches, an earthenwork defiler, and a pair of palm-sized monkeys named Cursor and Celeris. Does that count?

10. Palm-sized monkeys? What is it with you and tiny little things of a deplorable nature? Any curses in your story? Heartless monsters? Irritating women who insist on taking matters into their own hands?

All of the young women in my books take matters into their own hands. Surely a worldly gentleman such as yourself isn't threatened by bright girls with sharp minds. They wouldn't be interesting if they weren't thinking!

11. Depends on what they're thinking. One of my favorite words is “egregious.” Care to share one of yours, love?

Existential. There's a lot of tongue-play involved in the saying of it, and a lot of brain-teasing in the meaning of it.

12. I've had far too much rum this early in the day to participate in any sort of brain-teasing. The other option is still on the table, however. Parlay? Or draw your sword?

Bring the blades; I have a tiny green flag ninja as my second!

13. I begin to suspect YOU are the reason my rum is gone, and this tiny green flag ninja is the natural byproduct of your over-zealous rum consumption. You’ve got a crowd of cursed sailors and a nasty sea monster on your trail. How do you escape?

With generous applications of aqua regia in my wake. Since it dissolves gold, I figure very few will pursue me once they realize their booty is in danger.

14. You are a brilliant little thing, aren't you? *surreptitiously checks own booty for evidence of dissolvitude* Romantic night in? Or adventure on the high seas?

Why isn't romantic adventure on the high seas an option? We have all this rum...

15. I think we shall do nicely together, my love. *hides a few spare bottles of rum, just in case* My personal motto is: Take what you want, give nothing back. What’s yours?

You're gonna get kicked in the face, but you have to keep going. Which I think is a motto you've probably already internalized, amirite?

Thank you, Saundra, for such an entertaining interview! To learn more about Saundra, visit her site. To purchase THE VESPERTINE (or any of her other books) go here. Of course, the fun isn't over yet! Saundra is giving away a signed copy of THE VESPERTINE to one lucky commenter. (Giveaway is North America only) 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 9 p.m. (central time) Monday, April 25th. Please check back to see if you've won and to claim your prize!

Good luck to all, and happy reading!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Interview Goodies

It's Wednesday, and usually I have an author interview lined up today, but this is as off week. Which is sad, because you'll have to wait until NEXT week to see which of our three interviewers author Saundra Mitchell takes on, but allows me to discuss a few interesting details with you.

1. I was interviewed today over at Blame It On The Muse. Feel free to go forth and comment!

2. I've decided to move the author interviews in a new direction. Starting soon, I will do an interview every other week and give that author two weeks of time on the blog. One week for the interview and signed book giveaway, and one for a Take Five list with the author and a giveaway of a one-of-a-kind piece of swag created just for the readers of this blog. This benefits everyone!

  • You get two weeks of exposure to awesome authors and their books instead of just one.
  • The one-of-a-kind swag being created especially for each author's book is a cool fan perk no one else is offering.
  • Each author gets to spend a little more time being accessible to their readers.
  • I free up some badly needed time now that my writing schedule is getting even more hectic. (Each author interview takes a couple of hours to pull together).
I've already booked up the month of June using this format and HOLY COW, you don't want to miss it. Lilith Saintcrow will be giving away an entire signed set of her Jill Kismet books (adult paranormal) and I have a jewelry designer working on a one-of-a-kind necklace representing Jill. Then, Myra McEntire will be giving away a signed copy of her amazing debut novel HOURGLASS, and I'm having my jewelry designer make a steampunk hourglass necklace for one lucky reader.

I'm looking forward to trying this new format and offering my readers the excitement of accessible authors, awesome book giveaways, and truly unique swag pieces no other reader will ever own. For now, feel free to hop over and read my interview answers (wherein I give some of the best writing advice EVER. Pay attention to #10. That's all I'm saying.) and tune in next week for Saundra Mitchell's interview!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Baby Update!

I haven't posted any baby updates in a while, so I thought I'd take a minute to share. As you can see from the pic above (taken last week), she's a happy, healthy little girl. She adores her brothers, thinks dog food is a fabulous snack when she can sneak it, and walks everywhere now. She babbles often, and has assigned a few words to things, but even though she doesn't really talk yet, she can understand us and follow directions. Amazing, considering she's only been around the English language now for 5 months.

Yesterday, when I walked in the door from work, she saw me, lit up with a huge smile, and toddled over to me as fast as her chubby little legs could carry her so she could wrap her arms around my knee. It was one of the best moments of my life.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Spawning! Smoke Screens! & Menopause!

1. Sadly, the shoe pictured above? Totally real. For sale. Touted as one of the haute styles of the season.

2. Consider me out of fashion, then, because I wouldn't wear those things unless you paid me good money to do so.

3. I might, however wear these:

4. Okay, no. I wouldn't. But I would totally admire anyone who did.

5. Enough about shoes! On to today's list.

6. The other night, Starshine and Princess J were playing in the living room.

7. Princess J thought they were playing chase. Starshine thought they were playing James Bond.

8. Princess J was closing in when Starshine shouted, "Behold, my smoke screen!", turned his back, and farted.

9. Princess J was undeterred by either his smoke screen or his bodily functions, but he did manage to make me leave the room.

10. A few nights after that, Clint and I were sitting in the living room talking when Starshine ran by us screaming "I'm spawning! I'm spawning!"

11. We looked at each other and said, "Dear God, I hope not."

12. I thought I had a decent transition from that story to this, but alas, it fell apart on me.

13. My hubby has a death wish.

14. No, he hasn't been making friends with Beth Revis. He learned his lesson by watching me.

15. Is he playing in traffic? Consorting with unsavory types at odd hours of the night? Eating the cafeteria's mystery meat?

16. Worse. Much worse.

17. The other day, I'd had 3 hours of sleep the night before and that always makes me feel sluggish and kind of sick. I happened to mention to Clint that I kept feeling overheated and ugh.

18. And my loving, intelligent hubby looked across at me and said these fateful words:

19. "Maybe it's menopause."

20. My voice sounded sort of like a bullmoose on crack as I bellowed "WHAT?!!?!"

21. He tried to make things better by saying "You know, because of your age. It's not a bad thing."

22. I am 37. I am NOT in menopause. How do I know? Because he's still breathing.

23. I think we all know I have a rather sensitive gag reflex. There was the time I gagged because the eye doctor rolled my eyelid up with a stick. And the well-known fact that if I smell the nastiness that is green beans, I gag on that as well.

24. I can't tell you how many times my co-workers have shoved green beans in my direction so they could have their first laugh of the day. (Green beans are one of my restaurant's specialties)

25. And while I can handle stories of blood, guts, and gore with aplomb, I do not deal well with stories that involve creepy crawlies going into one's mouth.

26. *pause for gagging*

27. So when a co-worker told me a story the other day about eating termites, I gagged.

28. And then, I asked the obvious: WHY?

29. I mean, I get it if you're Survivorman and that's your only option. But he lives in Nashville. Where there are grocery stores. With sources of protein that don't include bugs.

30. He told me it was because his father-in-law didn't think he'd do it, so he ate them to spite him.

31. I asked the next obvious question: Are you sure YOU eating TERMITES actually caused your father-in-law the sort of grief you hoped to accomplish?

32. Because it seems to me the person eating the bugs got the short end of the stick no matter which way you look at it.

33. Speaking of bugs, we all know I'm afraid of moths. (I know, I know... weird.)

34. Butterflies are moths. They ARE. They might be beautiful and colorful, but they have the same grotesque elongated bug body and fluttering wings.

35. So the other day when I was sitting in one of the manager's offices making a phone call, and she plucked a beautiful butterfly magnet from her stash of "Things To Torture C.J."  and put it right in front of my nose, I nearly screamed.

36. It wasn't a magnet that looked like an artist's interpretation of a butterfly.

37. It was a magnet that looked like a real butterfly somehow got a magnet stuck to its belly.

38. I shot across the room and waved my manager away from me. In silence, of course, because I was on the phone.

39. She frowned and said, "But it's a butterfly."

40. Like that would somehow make me like it more.

41. When she realized I truly did not find joy in the freaky little thing, she put it away.

42. *sigh*

43. I realize I'm very strange.

44. In fact, I freely admit it.

45. I am not, however, in menopause.

46. Tune in on Wednesday to learn about some exciting changes to the author interviews! And keep a weather eye on the blog this week because, believe it or not, I nearly died. Again. Because of my nose.

Sunday, April 10, 2011


Thank you to all who entered the contest to win a signed copy of Bree Despain's THE LOST SAINT. If you didn't win this time, be sure to snag your own copy next time you're browsing a bookstore. You won't regret reading this series!  As always, I used to generate the winner. And the winner is


Congratulations, Zara! Please send me your mailing info (my email is on my About page) and I'll forward it on to Bree. Thanks again for entering and happy reading!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Interview With Bree Despain

It's no secret I'm a huge fangirl of Bree's. THE DARK DIVINE made my list of best books I read last year, and Bree was one of the first to take on the Were-llama. (Brave girl) I tried to win a copy of THE LOST SAINT on her blog by guessing the correct title given only the letters TLS. It should be noted that while I (among several others) guessed the right title, my best guess was TRY LACTATING SIMULTANEOUSLY. I don't understand why Bree didn't immediately suggest a title change with her publisher. I know I'd pick that up off the YA shelves.

Anyway, I didn't win a copy, and was planning to buy my own when the book hit the shelves, but my sister (who is also a devoted Bree fangirl) sent me the book for my birthday. I devoured it in one sitting. It had all the elements I loved from the first book--complex characters, lyrical prose, and tension constantly coiling tighter and tighter until you wouldn't even dream of shutting the book before you reach the last page. But this book? Oh, THIS BOOK. I won't give away any spoilers, but the thing that happens on the last page? I was yelling at the book. Yes. And then I took to the Internet to yell at Bree and demand the sequel. Which she is writing now. I wonder if she needs a beta reader? *schemes*

Here's a peek at THE LOST SAINT: (Warning: Spoilers for THE DARK DIVINE included.)

A family destroyed

A love threatened 
An enemy returns . . .
Grace Divine made the ultimate sacrifice to cure Daniel Kalbi. She was infected with the werewolf curse while trying to save him, and lost her beloved brother in the process. When Grace receives a haunting phone call from Jude, she knows what she must do. She must become a Hound of Heaven.

Desperate to find Jude, Grace befriends Talbot—a newcomer to town who promises her that he can help her be a hero. But as the two grow closer, the wolf grows in Grace, and her relationship with Daniel is put in danger—in more ways than one.

Unaware of the dark path she is walking, Grace begins to give into the wolf inside of her—not realizing that an enemy has returned and a deadly trap is about to be sprung.

I was thrilled to invite Bree back to the blog. This time, she decided to put the Spork of Doom in his place.

Spork of Doom

Bree Despain

Before we get to the interview, it's time to reveal the cupcake my hubby made for Bree. Because this is a big deal in THE LOST SAINT, Bree and I agreed a white wolf's head would make the perfect cupcake. My hubby complied, but would like to post the following disclaimer with this week's cupcake.
"The following cupcake is supposed to be a wolf's head. It is not a panda bear's head. It is not a dog's head. It is, however, the best the artist could do given that he had the flu but loved his wife enough to still drag his sorry carcass into the kitchen and spend two hours slaving over a non-panda, non-dog white wolf's head. If any reader takes exception to the quality, he begs of them to remember that he had THE FLU. And if any reader still takes exception, he politely invites them to make their own life-like cake sculpture, and he'll even more politely tell them where they can stick it." 

Without further ado, I give you the white wolf's head cupcake and the interview with Bree and 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 don’t do the minion thing. I’m far too bossy and stubborn. But I am in the market for worthy nemesis. Are you game?

2. *Checks out shiny, three-tined appearance in the mirror* Bring it, you non-tined fool. Being a Spork of Doom takes moxie. What’s the sporkiest thing you’ve ever done?

When I was a lot younger, I (pretty much on a whim) took a semester off college and flew across the country by myself to take a job writing and directing plays for at-risk, inner-city kids from Philadelphia and New York. I didn’t know anyone there, and the teens I was working with came from very different places than where I’d grown up. I was scared half to death when I got there, but it turned out to be an awesome experience that changed my life forever.

3. What a coincidence. I am also an awesome experience that will change your life forever. 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 Hostess brand cherry pie. Preferably eaten straight off the road after it’s been run over by a car outside a cemetery. I highly recommend it. It’s my favorite way to eat pie.

4. I don't know whether to be insulted or intrigued. It would be very sporky and doomy to eat pie straight off the road outside a cemetery. Then again, you might just be trying to fool me into eating roadkill, and IT WON'T WORK. Unless, of course, the roadkill happens to be you. What’s your favorite thing to do with a spork?

Eat Kentucky Fried Chicken

5. An entire world to conquer, and you use the blessed tines on chicken? *shakes head* And here I thought you might be a worthy nemesis. I have the ability to be simultaneously spoon, fork, and weapon of mass destruction. What unique ability do you have?

I can beat just about anyone in a burping contest. I live in a house full of boys. They live in awe of my special talent.

6. Ha! I have minions who do my burping for me. 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?

“First Love Bites”

7. Was your first love cherry-flavored and run over outside a cemetery? 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 don’t know who I’m most like, but I can tell you who I’d most like to be like: Audrey Hepburn. Not only was she beautiful, smart, and talented, but she also dedicated many years of her life to UNICEF. And when she was a young girl, she carried secret messages for the underground resistance against the Nazis in her ballet shoes.

8. Little known fact: Audrey Hepburn was secretly a spork. It explains the moxie. Why is your job just as much fun as world domination?

I get to wear yoga pants all day long, eat cinnamon bears and chocolate for lunch, and watching shows like Vampire Diaries, Friday Night Lights, and Buffy The Vampire Slayer are considered “research.” It’s quite awesome.

9. I bet you bite the cinnamon bears' heads off first, don't you? Me? I spork them right through the middle. In between conquests, I like to read a good story. What can you recommend and why?

I’m currently reading HOURGLASS by Myra McEntire (comes out this June) and really loving it. The main character has a lot of moxie and the guy is pretty darn delicious.

I am also super excited for BACK WHEN YOU WERE EASIER TO LOVE by Emily Wing Smith (releases this April 28th) This book is so beautifully written and also a lot of fun to read. It’s about a girl who is so obsessed with her ex-boyfriend that she goes on a road trip from Utah to California (with a wacky side trip to Vegas) in order to find him—with her ex-boyfriend’s obnoxious best friend along for the ride.

10. I've also read HOURGLASS and found it to be worthy of my spectacular spork status. I suspect the main character is secretly a spork herself. You need to accomplish a secret, night-time mission as my minion. Cloak? No cloak? Why?

I am not your minion. But I wouldn’t mind having my own cloak of invisibility for days I have no desire to do my hair before leaving the house.

11. Warning: A cloak of invisibility is useless against me. I will still KNOW what your bed-head looks like. And THEN you will be my minion to keep me quiet. My best piece of advice to others is this: “Fear the spork!” What’s your best advice?

I always say this, but it’s pretty much my mantra:

“Great books aren't written, they’re revised!”

Thank you, Bree, for such an entertaining interview! To learn more about Bree, go to her site. To purchase her books, go here. Of course, the fun isn't over yet! Bree has graciously offered to give away a signed copy of THE LOST SAINT to one luck commenter. (Contest is open to North America)

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 9 p.m. (central time) Sunday, April 10th. Please check back to see if you've won and to claim your prize!

Good luck to all, and happy reading!

Fancy Terrible

My new favorite quote:

"This wasn't just plain terrible, this was fancy terrible. This was terrible with raisins in it."

-Dorothy Parker

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Will It Ruin You?

I've been thinking lately about the nature of art. What it takes to create. What it takes to create something huge. Something that silences everything else inside of you for one perfect moment. Something that comes close to what you originally wanted to write. Sculpt. Paint. Sing. Dance.

The vision is there. Maybe it's cloudy at first. Maybe elusive, but you can feel the weight of it pressing against your soul. Scraping against your thoughts at the most inconvenient times. Begging to be seen. Heard. Felt.

And so you put pen to paper. Brush to canvas. Hand to clay. And you create.

What you create doesn't quite match your vision. Not at first. It looks like a pale copy, smudged and blurry at the edges, and you push harder. You dig deeper. You seek to find this vision's unique path from where it formed inside of you to where it can live and breathe on its own.

But when you push harder, when you dig deeper, you come up against dissent. Disapproval. Misunderstanding. Rules. The fear that if you remain true to your vision, if you really pull every last twisted, broken, beautiful piece of it out of yourself and set it free, it might come to ruin.

You might come to ruin.

Someone will wonder how the nice girl they've known for years could possibly write that. Sing that. Paint that. Someone else will wonder if there's something wrong with you. Someone will speculate you just don't measure up. Another will whisper that it isn't real art. And you're a fool for pretending it is.

Are you?

Or have you learned what every artist must eventually discover for herself?

If it doesn't hurt, if it doesn't scrape you raw, if it doesn't make something in you bleed, if your honesty doesn't scare the sleep from your eyes, if the truth you deliver in all of its messy authenticity doesn't breathe down the back of your neck, then you may need to push harder. Dig deeper. Stand in the mess, in the beauty, in the singular heart-break and hope that is your vision and stop listening to those who say it isn't. It doesn't. It shouldn't. It can't.

Because it is. It does. You should. You can.

You can.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Beth Revis Tried to Kill Me

1. The above picture was originally going to be in honor of Beth Revis (explanation coming), but now it's for Blogger as well.

2. Thank you SO MUCH, Blogger, thou unholy fiend, for losing the post I'd typed up for today, thus forcing me to perform any number of difficult mental gymnastics in a losing effort to remember everything I'd typed.

3. It was a fabulous post.

4. Really.

5. But you'll never know that, will you? Because Blogger got hungry and my post looked like a tasty snack.

6. *wonders if Blogger is really a zombie*

7. I can't recall all the hilarious little anecdotes I shared (It's been a few days. Don't judge me.), but I can assure you it was a blog post that would rank right up there with such fabulous literary works as Chicken Soup for the Idiot's Soul or the classic Green Eggs & Ham.

8. They don't actually publish a Chicken Soup for the Idiot's Soul, but I think that's a mistake. Look how well the __Fill in the blank__ for Dummies is going! Those Chicken Soup folks are missing a (from my personal observations) rather large demographic.

9. Anyway, I can't remember the entertaining little anecdotes that littered my blogging masterpiece, but I can remember this: Beth Revis, author of ACROSS THE UNIVERSE, tried to kill me.

10. She was sneaky about it too.

11. She disguised her attack as a friendly email full of lovely support and shining promises of opening the secret inner sanctum to a secret few writers know.

12. I was sucked in!

13. I read through the email, wondering what deep, juicy, life-changing secret she was about to share with me ...

14. She did an excellent job of stringing me along, building up the hype, making me WANT TO KNOW...

15. And then she shared the secret.

16. It involved Nutella. And some coffee. But that's not the important part of this story.

17. The important part is this: She took me by surprise, and I half-laughed, half-snerked.

18. It was the snerk that proved to be my undoing.

19. A proper snerk is all about shooting air through one's nostrils like mini oxygenated torpedoes.

20. I do a mean snerk.

21. Sadly, this particular snerk had two overwhelming problems.

22. One, I was in public.

23. Two, I was chewing a fresh piece of Trident cinnamon gum.

24. Cinnamon gum, as I'm sure you're aware, does not shoot through one's nostrils like a mini oxygenated torpedo.

25. It does, however, lodge firmly in the nasal cavities and threaten to cause imminent, immediate, and yes, even instant cinnamon-scented DEATH.

26. Anyone know the universal signal for "Help! Beth Revis caused me to snerk cinnamon gum up my nose and now I can't dislodge it without an act of God?"

27. Neither do I.

28. And you know what is true about fresh cinnamon gum?

29. It burns the tender tissues inside one's nose.

30. So, I had a lot of motivation to get it out.

31. I had nostrils to save. Air to breathe.

32. A best-selling author to kill.

33. I was sitting at my corner table in Books A Million writing. I began contorting my face into expressions designed to scare young children and drop old ladies where they stand.

34. I tried using air to force the gum to complete its journey through my nose.

35. This was a mistake.

36. Now, I was a woman contorting her face, wheezing pathetic amounts of air through her obstructed nostrils, catching the full attention of the barista (who apparently doesn't recognize a gum-arrested snerk when she sees one because she did NOTHING but stare like maybe I was the next Charlie Sheen), and realizing I might need professional help to get myself right again.

37. I could see it. Paramedics called to the scene. Everyone scrambling around for a pair of extra long tweezers. Someone filming it on their iPhone. Another commenting that whatever cinnamon air freshener the bookstore was using smelled quite nice. And everyone wondering why the dying woman on the coffee shop floor kept muttering "Beth Revis" with what little air she had left.

38. I finally scrunched up my face at just the right angle, gathered air like a ninja, and shot that cinnamon-scented projectile right down the back of my throat where, if my grandmother is to be believed, it will reside in my stomach for the next year.

39. Which is fine.

40. It might take me that long to craft the perfect revenge for Beth Revis. Don't worry, Beth. It's coming. And it will smell just as lovely as your initial shot across the bow did for me.

41. I drew my first real breath and that is apparently the universal signal for "Check on the crazy woman in the corner because she might actually die on you" because the barista came over and asked if I was okay.

42. No, I was not okay. I'd nearly had to have a pair of extra-long tweezers stuck up my nose while some stranger made a viral video of me and all because I read an email from Beth Revis.

43. I smelled cinnamon every time I breathed for the next two hours.

44. I recovered my equilibrium and focused on finishing my manuscript. I'm able to completely shut out everyone around me in the bookstore by using my headphones, my playlist, and a single-minded attention on what is going on in my character's heads. So, it was with a great deal of surprise that I looked up to see the barista in front of me an hour later offering me a sample of cheesecake.

45. But it was nice of her, so I accepted.

46. And then got right back to writing.

47. I was nearing the climax of the book. Stuff was happening. Some of it was beautiful, heart-wrenching, and I'd known it was coming for weeks now and was so moved to finally get there with my characters that as they cried, I joined in.

48. Not giant, WHAT IS THAT CRAZY WOMAN DOING NOW? sobs, of course. Just a few tears as I opened a vein and let it bleed across the page.

49. Next thing I know, I'm being offered more cheesecake.

50. I mean, I know it was pretty deserted in the book store at that point (I'd been there for hours and it was getting close to closing time), but really?

51. I finished the scene, wiped my eyes, got up to stretch my legs, used the restroom, bought a coffee, and stared in complete confusion as the barista offered me yet another sample of cheesecake.

52. "I'm fine," I said.

53. "But dear, cheesecake makes everything better," she said.

54. And because she seemed to really need to give it to me, I accepted.

55. Moments later, I packed up, went home, walked in and caught sight of myself in the mirror. (Keep in mind that YES I'd used the restroom at the book store and YES they have a mirror, but I was so focused on being inside my characters' heads, I hadn't bothered to process what I was seeing.).

56. I need to back up this story to the point in the evening where I rushed out of work determined to get to the bookstore as fast as possible so I could finish my book on time.

57. If you're in a hurry, do you grab your change of clothes and go back inside your place of business so you can be stopped by every employee who now wonders what you're doing back in the building so soon just so you can use the restroom to change out of your uniform?

58. Okay, maybe you would. But I wouldn't. I have tinted windows in the back of my Explorer and was deliberately parked in the back, far away from other vehicles.

59. I changed clothes in the cramped backseat of the Explorer.

60. Fast.

61. Because the story was burning inside me and needed out.

62. Now, hours later, I'm staring at myself in the mirror and realizing all those offers for cheesecake? Were because I look like a homeless person.

63. My hair was a little wild, no doubt from the cinnamon-scented choking fit I had courtesy of Beth Revis. My eyes were tear-stained. Any semblance of make-up gave up and fled for easier subjects long ago.

64. But the worst? Oh, the worst was the fact that my sweater was buttoned all wrong.

65. Wrong.

66. Wrong as in the bottom button was in the top button hole.

67. And every subsequent button in between was pigeon-holed wherever I apparently felt there was an appropriate place to stick it.

68. I'm thankful I had a shirt on underneath it or I might have had that choking fit in the back of a police car.

69. I was a wildly disheveled mess who looked like she couldn't even dress herself.

70. No wonder the barista waited until it was obvious I was going to live before approaching me.

71. I wouldn't have wanted to give me mouth to mouth either.

72. I suppose I should blame my own foolishness for the sweater.

73. And my connection to my characters for the tears and lack of make-up.

74. But I'm not.

75. I'm blaming the entire thing on Beth Revis.

Sunday, April 3, 2011


Thank you to all who entered the drawing for a signed copy of Rachel Vincent's MY SOUL TO STEAL. As always, I used to choose the winner. And the winner is:


Congratulations! Please email me your mailing info, and I'll foward it on to Rachel. Thanks again for entering and happy reading!

Harry Potter Trailer & More!

The final trailer for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 has been released, and I'm not going to lie. I get choked up every ti...