Wednesday, December 28, 2011

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?

Monday, December 19, 2011

Worst Christmas Gifts You Can Give

I wish I could say that I had to look long and hard to find these horrible gifts, but no. I'm apparently on the catalog list for crazy people, and I get dozens of Gifts-for-the-Bizarre magazines. Without further ado (because there is enough doo-doo in this list) here are some gifts that will win you no brownie points with your friends and relatives.

What could be more tacky than dog poop on your lawn?
A sign with a dog pooping that you put in your lawn. I'm sure this is a lovely sight to see each morning. I bet the Home Owners Association will have nothing to say about it.

And speaking of poop (because what says the holidays better than poop?) here's a charming gift for that special someone in the office.
It poops paperclips, combining all that is sophomoric and unprofessional in one convenient desk item.

Looking for nostalgia? How about a gift that will remind you of those childhood days where you trapped unsuspecting bugs in an old jar and most likely left them to die on your dresser. Yep, just let these little babies blink on and off in their pathetic attempts to gain freedom. Plus, your loved ones will know that you spent actual money on this gift--which is worth approximately an old jar and some bugs.

This Granny sling shot would be a great gift for, um, uh, Grandpa, after Grandma runs off with Enrique, the poolboy.

How about a matching set of hats that look like sharks are eating your head? Junior will need therapy after this gift. For many reasons.

A lot of the items we sell here in America have the made in China label stamped on them. I often wonder what the factory workers in China think of the items they assemble.

"What are we working on today, Shang?"

Shang picks up a glowing solar frog and shrugs. "Maybe it is to warn against nuclear fall-out."

And lastly, what is a better way to impress upon friends and loved ones that you are totally not a psychopathic serial killer--than to hang a human brain ornament on your Christmas tree? Don't ask what happened to Dinky, Santa's missing elf.

If you want a good gift instead--try a book. In fact try one of mine. They're all good. And, as a special Christmas offer, my ebook Blue Eyes and Other Teenage Hazards will be available on Amazon for .99. This price will only last for a couple of weeks. (Or longer if I forget to change it back.)

Merry Christmas everyone!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

How authors party

One of the fun things about being an author is getting to hang out with other authors and cool book people. Last week eight Arizona authors put on an author appreciation open house--which sounds like we were appreciating ourselves, but really we were appreciating all of the many awesome teachers, librarians, and booksellers who do so much for reading. We lured them to Lisa McMann's house with promises of books and free food.

Here's another cool thing about being an author. You can have a blow-up of Captain Underpants sitting on your table and nobody thinks it's strange.

Here is a picture of James Owen and the chalk masterpiece he whipped up for the evening. Seriously, it only took him a few minutes to draw these dragons. Which seriously baffles my not-able-to-draw mind.

Many thanks to Janni Lee Simner, Amy Dominy, Aprilynne Pike, Lisa McMann, Bill Konigsberg, Tom Leveen, and James Owen for a great time!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

eBook give-away and interview with a writer's husband

I met Danyelle Leafty at a writer's conference a couple years ago. A few days ago her husband emailed me and asked if I would like to interview her on my blog. I have to say I was impressed her husband was actively promoting her. If I had known I was going to be an author, I would have questioned all my boyfriends about their willingness to set up interviews for me. Alas, I didn't have the foresight to ask that important question.

Anyway, I decided to do something different for this interview. You’ve all read lots of interviews with authors. By this point you know about our creative quirks, our into-the-night writing sessions, our despair at rejection letters, and you know about those times we forgot to pick up our children from (fill in the blank) _________ because we lost track of time while writing that awesome love scene. But have you ever heard an interview from an author’s husband--from those poor folk that have to deal with us? Neither have I, so this interview should be interesting.

Without further ado, here is Jadean Leafty, husband of Danyelle Leafty, author of The Fairy Godmother Dilemma: Catspell. We’ll be giving away one of her ebooks to a lucky commenter on the blog.

When did you realize Danyelle was a writer, and by then was it too late to do anything about it?

I am told that I should've realized it a lot sooner than I did. I have a bad memory. I first realized that she was a writer when I went off gallivanting with a bunch of freshly graduated high school kids in Texas. Which is also when I was being yelled at by men in uniform to whom I was their senior in age by quite a few years. Pretty much while I was away at basic training. I knew it was serious though when I was deployed to Afghanistan. Of course by then it was too late, but I wouldn't trade her.

I once spent ten days dragging my husband around England to research castles for a novel that I still haven’t written. Has Danyelle ever dragged you into her research, and if so what did you have to do?

If by research, you mean the book store. YES. She doesn't have to really drag us anymore. Our six year old gets put out when we don't take the turns that would end us up at Barnes and Noble.

When I was writing romances, my husband once accused me of fantasizing about other men.
“Yeah,” I said, “but I’m getting paid to do it.” Then for my next romance I put my husband in the book as the hero. (What the Doctor Ordered) Which would have been a really sweet gesture if I hadn’t fired him from my romance four days later. My husband is too easy-going and he just wouldn’t argue and banter with the heroine. (Who incidentally was me. I did not fire myself from the novel as I am quite good at arguing and bantering.) Have you shown up in any of Danyelle’s books?

Bits and pieces of me do. The whole me has been in each of her dedications thus far. Usually some aspects of me are found in her prince charmings. I'm still trying to devour Catspell. But I have to fight the children for it. So reluctantly, I sneak chapters in while at church.

I am pretty sure that classifies as a sin--or true devotion to your wife. Either way, you are clearly a supportive husband. Do you read your wife’s drafts and offer suggestions?

Of course, time permitting. I have a keen eye for line editing. Heck, I even find mistakes in her "research" books.

Does she take kindly to your comments?

If they are valid, yes. She's always right.

Any last advice for wives who are authors?

Love the author. And even though she calls you biased don't believe it, her books are the BEST!

Those are words every author's husband should learn. Remember to leave a comment for a chance to win. To find out more about Danyelle you can go to her website at:

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Your questions answered, plus a really cute dog

Want to win a copy of Slayers? Free Book Friday is giving away three copies.

Monday, November 14, 2011

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:


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.

Monday, November 7, 2011

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.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Oh Rats . . . literally

Sometimes fans give me things. I'm always appreciative. I have a really cool apron, a framed picture of a stone angel, and a Barbie doll made to look like Chrissy that reader friends have given me. This is a perk I never expected when I first started writing, and I always find a special place in the house for such gifts. But lately I got a gift that I'm not sure where to put.

Let me explain. It started with an email conversation my writing friend, Angela Fox, and I were having. She said, "I don't give a rat's tush* what So-N-So** thinks."

(*Not the real word she used)
(**Not the real name she used.)

I wrote back to her, "Well, it's a good thing you don't give a rat's tush what So-N-So thinks, because I clearly remember you promising me all of your rats' tushes."

Sometimes I am witty in my emails like that.

But Angela is always wittier, because at the book launch she showed up and gave me plastic rats all through the event. Some of them were as big as chihuahuas and had scary red eyes. I laughed a lot. People probably thought Angela and I were a little strange, which strictly speaking is true.

I brought the rats home and tried to find a place for them. I must admit I'm having trouble finding the right spot. At first I tried one of the doll cases. (I have three.)

It didn't seem to be a good match. So then I tried the coffee table.

But I thought visitors might not appreciate the rat motif. So then I tried upstairs by the reading angel which sits next to one of the bookcases. (I have eight--but that's not a sign of hoarding because I'm a writer.)

Here you can see some of the smaller rats. They're gray. Knowing that this surface is frequently engulfed in clutter (which is normal because I have five children, and so is not a sign of hoarding tendencies either) I decided to try the rats in my room.
Here they are on my dresser.

As you can see, they didn't work here either. My dolls look distinctly creeped out by the rats. (And yes, even though I have three doll cases, I still can't fit all my dolls into them, which actually may be a symptom of hoarding, but we aren't going to talk about that.)
So, while I try to find a place for the rats, my friendly little dog is doing everything she can to welcome the new editions.

Friday, October 7, 2011

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 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.)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Slayers book trailer and give-away

This is an awesome book trailer and why I love Matt Morrell. If you're looking for a great trailer, he's your man. (And how many guys do you know who have three sets of double letters in their name?)

Leave a comment about your favorite part of the trailer for a chance to win a copy of the book.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Slayers is officially released! My Unfair Godmother and Slayers give-away and

Yes, that magical day that we've all been waiting for is almost upon us. I'll be talking about Slayers at the Hamilton Library in Chandler on the 28th and the book launch will be at Changing Hands on Oct 4.

I just got my author copies of Slayers today and I have to say the cover looks better in real life than it does on all the pictures I've been posting. The gold lettering is shiny. It's oh so spiffy.

To win it or a copy of My Unfair Godmother (which is also chalked full of awesomeness) do the following: (Just realized that's a pun.)

Leaving a comment on the CJ Hill blog will get you one chance.
Being a follower of the CJ Hill blog will get you another chance.
Announcing this give-away and or posting the cover of Slayers on your blog/facebook/ or twitter and telling your peeps that Slayers is coming out Sept 27 will get you three chances.

Tansy Miller has always felt that her divorced father has never had enough time for her. But mistakenly getting caught on the wrong side of the law wasn' texactly how she wanted to get his attention. Enter Chrysanthemum "Chrissy" Everstar, Tansy's fairy in shining, er, high heels. Chrissy is only a fair godmother, of course, so Tansy's three wishes don't exactly go according to plan. And if bringing Robin Hood to the twenty-first century isn't bad enough for Tansy, being transported back to the Middle Ages to deal with Rumpelstiltskin certainly is. She'll need the help of her blended family, her wits, and especially the cute police chief 's son to stop the gold-spinning story from spinning wildly out of control. Janette Rallison pulls out all the stops in this fresh, fun-filled follow-up to the popular My Fair Godmother.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Another Slayers give-away

I thought I'd give my blog followers a heads up. You can enter the Goodreads giveaway for Slayers at:

Then go to the fantasy link on the righthand side. Right now it's on the second page.

I'll be starting my book-a-day give-away on Sept 17th (Or 18th if I forget, you know how I am . . .)

And here's a couple of reviews:

"Bold, imaginative, and very, very exciting! This is the best new Dragon mythology I've read in ages. Awesomely good stuff."

- James A. Owen, author and illustrator of HERE, THERE BE DRAGONS

"enjoyably campy"--Kirkus

I have to laugh at the Kirkus review because the book is set at a summer camp. I wonder if they intended the pun. Probably not. Kirkus isn't known for their sense of humor.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Slayers Book Launch

Come find out what dragon-fighting superpower you have (Oh, you know you have one. You've all slayed plenty of dragons) at CJ's book launch for Slayers

Tuesday, Oct 4 at 7:00 pm
Changing Hands Bookstore
6428 S McClintock Dr. Tempe,Arizona

Dragons exist. They're ferocious. And they're smart: Before they were killed off by slayer-knights, they rendered a select group of eggs dormant, so their offspring would survive. Only a handful of people know about this, let alone believe it – these "Slayers" are descended from the original knights, and are now a diverse group of teens that includes Tori, a socialite senator's daughter who didn't sign up to save the world.