New Year’s Writing Resolutions

It’s that time when we all start thinking about New Year’s resolutions. I’ve come up with ten writing goals. I might be able to keep nine of them.

1) Learn how to spell hors d’oeuvres so I don’t have to google it every single time.

2) Use the word appetizers more instead of hors d’oeuvres.

3) Don’t yell things at the computer such as, “Find that file or I’ll show you what you can do with your gigabytes!” Or any other thing that would make the neighbors question my sanity.

4) Stop checking Amazon’s rankings for my novels. Do I really want to know that353,194 books are selling better than mine today? No, I don’t.

5) Stop noticing Amazon’s rankings for other books. Do I really want to know that Snookie’s book is number 11 in biographies? Again, no, I don’t.

6) Learn what all those acronyms mean so I can understand my fan emails.

7) Don’t send critiques to authors who have asked me for blurbs. (Yes, I have done this, and yes, I do feel bad about it. But in my defense, I was trying to help the authors improve their books.)

8) Don’t see how many sunflower seeds the hamster can fit in its mouth while I’m supposed to be writing.

9) Don’t see how many Almond Joys I can fit in my mouth while I’m supposed to be writing.

10) Finish my middle-grade fantasy, sell my paranormal romance, write sequels to Slayers, Erasing Time, and the next Fairy Godmother book–and do all the revisions said books require.

Sigh. Can you guess which goal I’ll have the most trouble with?

Saphira vs Tamerlane

Every once in awhile someone asks me why I made the dragons in Slayers vicious animals instead of magical best friends. It’s not that I don’t like the friendly, loyal dragons from Eragon. If I was allowed to have one mythical character as a sidekick, it would be a dragon. Sure, Pegasus would be easier to ride, and all of those cute Disney animal sidekicks could belt out cheerful tunes when the moment called for it, but who would you want on your side in a fight? Right, the dragon.

So I totally get authors who write about good, helpful, dragons. But I have seen what dragons look like. (Okay, not really. This isn’t one of those alien abduction stories—although, come to think of it, that is exactly what all of those alien abduction stories need to spiff them up: a dragon or two.) What I mean is, I’ve seen drawings, paintings, statues, and coat-of-arms depicting dragons. This is generally what they look like:

Or:

Now I ask you, do either of these dragons look like they want to be your friend? No, they don’t. They look like they eat large animals. And probably the kind of animals they like best are the slow ones that God didn’t see fit to provide with horns or claws or anything that would prevent them from being easily gobbled up. Which means you.

This is probably a test that they should administer in schools to emphasize this point:

Which of the following animals would make a good pet?


Okay, you get my point. You wouldn’t want to cuddle with my dragons.

The bug-dragon connection–at least in my mind

Most story ideas don’t come to me whole and complete but are cobbled together from several incidents and thoughts. Slayers is that way. The first incident happened when I was fifth grade and had just moved to Silver Springs, Maryland. All the adults there were quite excited because this was the year that the cicadas would emerge from the ground after remaining dormant and hidden for 17 years. The next door neighbor happily explained to me that this was the cicadas’ way of avoiding predators. Since they only emerged every 17 years, predators couldn’t depend on them as a food source.

A brilliant adaptation, I might add, for an insect that isn’t smart enough to avoid accidentally flying into your hair.

I remember finding a lot of hollow cicada skins that summer, because cicada’s also shed their skin. Ahh, there’s nothing nicer to find hanging from your bedroom windowsill than a creepy, hollow bug skin.

But anyway, the point to all of this was that as a child I immediately picked up on what the adults seemed to have missed in the cicadas’ amazing return from the underworld. If bugs could (sort of) hibernate for nearly two decades in order to give themselves a natural advantage, why couldn’t other species do it too? Maybe there were animals with such long life cycles we just hadn’t caught them emerging yet.

I grew up on Godzilla movies and so had a strong and deep rooted fear that dinosaurs might one day show up and start smacking buildings around and eating screaming Japanese people—or worse yet: eat me.

No one knew what had caused the extinction of the dinosaurs and I was surprised that no one had come up with my theory. They weren’t really gone. They were just hibernating. Waiting until there were lots of yummy fifth grade girls around to chomp on. And there were probably some eggs buried under my house!!

The nice thing about childhood fears is that you can use them later in your novels. Nothing is ever wasted when you’re a writer.
The next piece that added to the Slayers plot was my own clumsiness. I will sometimes wake up in the morning and notice bruises or scratches and I have no idea how or when I got them. My husband is understandably amazed by this phenomena. He’ll say things like, “How can you not realize it when you hurt yourself? Were you with your body all day yesterday?”
Apparently not. Writers are like that sometimes.
I got tired of my husband’s comments so I started telling him, “While you sleep at night, I secretly go out and fight dragons.”

And then because I have a writer’s brain I wondered what it would be like to fight dragons. Viola, the beginning of a plot.

More chances to win Slayers


Fire and Ice is hosting and kicking off the official blog tour for Slayers by C.J.Hill which will run today until Sunday. Each of the 7 blogs participating will be giving away one copy of the book so be sure to visit all the stops.

Monday October 24th- Fire and Ice

Tuesday October 25th- I’m A Reader Not A Writer
http://iamareadernotawriter.blogspot.com/

Wednesday October 26th- Books Complete Me
http://www.bookscompleteme.com/

Thursday Ocotber 27th-Bookalicio.us
http://bookalicio.us/

Friday October 28th- Cari’s Book Blog
http://cariblogs.blogspot.com/

Saturday October 29th- Rachael Renee Anderson
http://rachaelreneeanderson.blogspot.com/

Sunday October 30th- Tales of a Ravenous Reader
http://www.lushbudgetproduction.com/

Immortality up for Auction

(Yeah, I almost wrote immorality up for auction which would have been something completely different and would probably cost you more.)

Anyway, a bunch of authors including yours truly are auctioning off names to use in our books as a fund raiser for Kids Need To Read, a non profit group that provides books for underfunded libraries. The other authors in alphabetical order are:

Robin Brande (Evolution, Me & Other Freaks of Nature; Doggirl), Becca Fitzpatrick (Hush, Hush; Crescendo), Shannon Hale (Princess Academy, The Goose Girl), Brandon Mull (Fablehaven, Beyonders), and Kiersten White (Paranormalcy, Supernaturally).

Personally, I think it would be cool if one person won all the name-bids. Because then confused readers across the country would scratch their heads and wonder why that name kept popping up in books.

If you’re looking for a really cool gift for someone (or yourself) look no further.

The auctions will start Saturday, Oct 29. Here’s more info:

Touch immortality and go down in literary history! Several critically acclaimed, bestselling authors are auctioning off character names to benefit Kids Need to Read, a national nonprofit foundation that promotes childhood literacy and addresses the crisis in library funding that currently exists in the United States.

If you are one of the winning bidders, you will have a character named after you in an upcoming young adult novel by one of the following participating authors: Robin Brande (Evolution, Me & Other Freaks of Nature; Doggirl), Becca Fitzpatrick (Hush, Hush; Crescendo), Shannon Hale (Princess Academy, The Goose Girl), Brandon Mull (Fablehaven, Beyonders), Janette Rallison (My Unfair Godmother, Slayers), and Kiersten White (Paranormalcy, Supernaturally).

Should you win one of the auctions, the author agrees to use your name in an upcoming book. The character that is bestowed with your name may be a secondary or minor character, may have villainous tendencies, or may die at some point in the book or series. The character may have many or very few of your actual characteristics. The author is simply using the name for a character, not transporting your personality into the book. Also, editors have veto power over any name. (So if your name is Ima Jockstrap, you might be out of luck.) If an editor vetoes your name, you will be entitled to a full refund from Kids Need to Read.

The Kids Need to Read Literary Immortality Auction will take place at our eBay store beginning Saturday, October 29, 2011 and ending Thursday, November 3, 2011. There will be a separate auction for each author. All auctions will run concurrently. Bidders will be able to bid on multiple auctions.

Want a Slayers sticker?

The Slayers book launch was awesome! I always love meeting fellow book fans. As you can see, during the middle of my presentation I broke out into song, performing several opera medleys.

Okay, not really.

For some reason the pictures my husband takes of me during launches always turn out rather odd looking. (Better make sure you make it to the next book launch to check out what I’m really doing.)

Here I am telling audience members about my cool Slayers bumper stickers. I think everybody should want one of these because if you have a Slayers bumper sticker, the cars behind you will think twice about cutting you off.

If you want your very own Slayers sticker, email me with your name and address at jrallisonfans at yahoo dot com and I’ll send you one. (US addresses only. If you’re out of the US, you can still get one by sending me a self-addressed envelope.)

Slayers Book launch Oct 4th

I’m temporarily interrupting the Slayers’ book trailer adoration and giveaway to remind you that the Slayers book launch is tomorrow at Changing Hands book store at 7:00 pm 6428 S Mcclintock Dr, Tempe, AZ

Besides telling you all about Slayers and giving out Slayer stickers and posters, I’ll be giving away eight of my back titles and you’ll find out what your secret dragon-fighting superpower is.

You don’t want to miss it!

See you there.