Sunday, July 22, 2012

Hey, it's nearly Erasing Time time! My next novel comes out August 28th. In honor of the countdown, I'm giving away my one and only ARC of the book. (Which means I'll be combining entries from both the CJ Hill and Janette Rallison blogs)

Here's the blurb:

In this high-action and romantic futuristic adventure, there is no escape from the future for two contemporary girls pulled out of their own time.

When twins Sheridan and Taylor wake up 400 years in the future, they find a changed world: domed cities, no animals, and a language that’s so different, it barely sounds like English. And the worst news: They can’t go back home.

The twenty-fifth-century government transported the girls to their city hoping to find a famous scientist to help perfect a devastating new weapon. The moblike Dakine fights against the government, and somehow Taylor and Sheridan find themselves in the middle. The only way to elude them all is to trust Echo, a guy with secrets of his own. The trio must put their faith in the unknown to make a harrowing escape into the wilds beyond the city.

Full of adrenaline-injected chases and heartbreaking confessions, Erasing Time explores the strength of the bonds between twins, the risks and rewards of trust, and the hard road to finding the courage to fight for what you believe in

For a chance to win, leave a comment telling me what you think America will be like in 400 years.
Followers of one blog will be given and extra chance.  Followers of both blogs will get two--so let me know in your comment if you follow one or both.

And as an extra teaser, here's the first page or so of the book. (Sorry I couldn't format it to look like a book page. If anyone knows how to do that, let me know.)

It was as good a day as any to plan treason.

Echo’s hands moved over the computer control panels in a quick rhythm until an aerial picture of Traventon appeared on the screen.  He enlarged the wilderness that bordered the domed city, searching for any sign of a path. In order to escape from the city, he needed to find a safe route; the route others took when they fled.
The date code on the picture said it was eighteen years old. From before the war with Chicago.  Had the area changed since then?  It might have.

If Echo could find the encoded site where the government kept recent pictures, he could splice into it. But that could be dangerous. It was illegal to do unauthorized searches.  The Information Department kept track of the government sites, and the more important the data was, the harder it was to search it undetected. No point in taking risks he didn’t have to. People had been given memory washes for less. Anyway, a recent picture might not help him any more than this one.  People had been escaping from the city for decades, so if a trail existed, he might be able to see it in this picture too.

A massive forest spread out to the east of the city, greener next to the river that supplied their water.  Toward the west, the vegetation became sparse and was interspersed with brown and gray rock.  The deep shadows indicated height, although whether they showed hills or mountains, Echo couldn’t tell.  To the north of the dome was the scattered wreckage of the old city: Denver, destroyed in the raids of the twenty-third century.  When Echo was a baby, his father had gone there with an archeological team to rummage through the rubble for artifacts.  But that had been nearly two decades ago, before the vikers became such a danger.  Now the wilderness was so infected with the criminal bands that no one was allowed outside the city walls unless they had a good reason and a strong weapon.

Echo had a laser box hidden in a false compartment in his closet.  It was one more secret, one more danger that he wouldn’t have thought himself capable of a few months ago.

He went back to studying the photo and the dome that had always been his home.  He didn’t want to leave his father, his friends—everything—but if he stayed, the Dakine would kill him.  He only had weeks, days maybe before assassins came for him.  The secret society didn’t waste time on trails or the sort of bureaucracy that made the government so slow.  They just hunted you down.

Echo rotated the picture on the computer screen, hoping a different perspective would show him something; some clue as to which way people went when they left Traventon.  The most logical route was along the river.  It would provide travelers water if they had disinfectors with them.

Echo zoomed in on the river.  He didn’t have a disinfector, but he had another advantage. He had access to historical documents.  He knew that before disinfectors, people boiled water to make it safe. It had been easy enough for him to compile a solar powered heat coil.

The best direction to go would be south.  It was warmer.  He’d gleaned this fact from historical documents too. Stories he’d read about cowboys riding across dry dusty lands and women who sat in the shade fanning themselves.  There was also something called cactus, which were sharp and painful, but not fast moving, so he ought to be able to avoid those.

Whether any of the southern cities would risk taking him in, was another matter.  He had computer skills worth paying for, but no way to convince anyone he wasn’t a spy.

The door to the Wordlab slid open, drawing Echo’s attention away from the computer.  He expected to see one of the wordsmiths coming in, but two black-clad Enforcers strode into the room instead.

Echo’s hands jerked to a stop on the control panel. It was treason to try to leave the city, and he had an aerial picture of Traventon on his computer, the dome of the city in full view. Would it look too suspicious to close out the screen, or was it better to make up an excuse—pretend he was doing some sort of authorized research?

He sat frozen in his chair, undecided, caught in his own panic.  The Enforcers walked toward him, their faces barely visible through their helmet shields.  It was impossible to read their expressions. Did they already know?  Just before the men reached his desk, Echo ran his fingers over the keyboard. It wasn’t subtle, but the photo of Traventon disappeared from his screen.

He put on a disinterested expression.

“Echo Monterro?” one of the men asked.


“We’re here to escort you to the Scicenter.  Jeth’s request.”

So they didn’t know what he’d been researching, hadn’t been tracking his activities.  Echo relaxed in his chair. “Why does my father want me at the Scicenter?”

The man simply motioned toward the door.

Echo didn’t ask for more information.  It wasn’t wise to question Enforcers.  He stood and walked awkwardly between them to the door.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

You know you’re an Arizonan in July if . . .

You know you’re an Arizonan in July if . . .

I live in Arizona which means that for the next three months I will always win in the game of Who-Is-Having-the-Worst-Summer-Weather. Here are the ten reasons I’ve come up with that illustrate why you should feel sorry for me.

 You know you're an Arizonan in July if . . .

1)      You’re not sure whether you’re having hot flashes or whether it’s just summer.

2)      A hundred degree forecast is a cold front.

3)      No matter what you set your washing machine’s temperature at, it comes out hot.

4)      Your car doubles as both a sauna and sweat lodge.

5)      The butter tray becomes a butter puddle-holder unless it’s kept in fridge.

6)      You can’t actually fry an egg on the sidewalk, but you’ve tried.

7)      You can actually burn the bottom of your feet on the sidewalk.

8)      You’ve got to blow dry your hair fast, or nature will do it for you.

9)      Hot chocolate loses all appeal (almost).

10)   Regular chocolate becomes hot chocolate within the time you buy it and the time you rip it open in your car.

(Funny how so many of my blogs end with chocolate. Okay, maybe not funny, just fitting . . . or not fitting if we're talking about my skinny jeans.)

Monday, July 9, 2012

More doll wrecks . . .

Those of you who are faithful followers of this blog know that I have a thing for dolls. I was clearly doll-deprived as a child and have therefore made up for it by buying enough for three childhoods now.  Dolls sit around my house perched in cabinets and on my dresser (and according to one of my daughters watch us in a creepy manner).

The thing I love about dolls though is that they are like clean, obedient little children.  A beautiful doll embodies all the tender, precious things about motherhood.

With that in mind, you would think that people who are creating baby dolls would make tender, precious dolls--and usually they do.  If you look on ebay right now under "reborn dolls" you'll find hundreds of gorgeous, one of a kind dolls.  Here are a couple of good examples of reborn dolls.
Aren't they sweet? Don't you want to take them home? 
Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous.

Unfortunately not all dolls or doll artists live up to these high standards. When I saw the next dolls listed, I didn't really get that  "warm" and "precious" vibe.  They seemed to be saying something altogether different. 
This doll is saying, "Get that @#$*& camera out of my face!" Either that, or he ate something that didn't agree with him.  Either way, this isn't a motherhood moment I'd want to pay money for.

The description for this doll said, "So lifelike!" Yeah, only if in real life your kids are ugly. If so, sorry, that hat isn't going to make junior's life any better.

This doll clearly just received terrible news. Did someone cancel Sesame Street?

The next doll says, well, your baby isn't all that bright. You don't need to set up that trust fund for Harvard quite yet.

And this is his future girlfriend.

You see this doll and wonder what has been put in his bottle, because he seems to suffering from a hangover.

This doll says start saving for that Harvard trust fund right away, because junior can already tell he's smarter than you. As soon as he's able to reach the keyboard he'll be sending out advertisements for parents more to his liking.  And by the way, you're out of Grey Poupon again.

And his sister doesn't think much of you either.

Okay, this next doll isn't a reborn doll. It's just a regular doll. I'm adding it because I think my daughter might be right about this one. He is watching you in a creepy manner.  (*shivers*)

If you want to see the links for my past doll wrecks blogs they're:

Sunday, July 1, 2012

I know what you’re thinking after reading that title. The sentence shouldn’t say, "problem", it should say "problems" because there are clearly many things wrong with public restrooms. At least that’s what you’re thinking if you’re a woman. If you’re a man, it may have never occurred to you that there are any issues at all—and that is the root of the problems with public restrooms. I'm not talking about dirt, empty toilet paper roll dispensers, and such. I'm talking about the fact that men clearly designed these places. And anyone who thinks urinals are an acceptable way to relieve oneself is not going to design a bathroom that women want to use.

Between a wedding and a family reunion, I’ve been traveling around a lot in the last two weeks, so this is an open letter of protest to whoever is building women’s restrooms.

Dir Sir,

1. Restrooms are not a place where men and women are equal. Due to that gift of nature that makes women want to rip off your head once a month, women need to use the restrooms more frequently than men. Build bigger bathrooms for women. Because having to wait in long lines makes us want to rip your head off even more.

2. Hand sensors at the sink are more trouble than they're worth. In theory sensors are a good idea. They would be a great idea if every restroom had them, but since some don’t, I find myself automatically holding my hands out underneath the faucet and waiting there like some desert traveler begging for water. And then I feel foolish when the person next to me walks up and flips the faucet handle on. A public restroom is not the place where I want to explain to strangers that I'm neither crazy nor incompetent when it comes to plumbing--I've just been conditioned, like one of Pavlov's famous pets, to stand there with my hands outstretched waiting for something to happen.

Also the faucet sensor is an especially annoying feature if you happen to knock your camera into the sink with your purse while you are wrestling paper towels out of a recalcitrant paper towel dispenser. This is not a time when you want the faucet to automatically turn on.

3. Automatic flush sensors at the toilet. This is a feature that men probably think women like. This is because men have never used these sorts of toilets in conjunction with the tissue paper toilet seat covers. Men, let me clue you into what happens when you use the two things together.

Step one: pull out the tissue paper cover from the wall receptacle.

Step two: tear out the middle so it will fit on the toilet.

Step three: carefully place the now ready tissue paper over the toilet seat to protect yourself from germs, grime, and the invisible toilet monsters that lurk in public restrooms.

Step four: start to do the necessary undressing.

Step five: watch as the toilet sensor decides the tissue paper constitutes something that needs to be flushed and whisks it and the water down the bowl.

Step six: repeat

      4. Hand sensors on the paper towel dispenser. Are you noticing a theme? You should. I frequently look like I'm practicing a jazz hands routine while I wave pointlessly at the paper towel dispenser. Either I am actually a vampire and have no body heat, or those sensors are temperamental things that hang onto their hoard of paper towels with Scrooge-like diligence.

Well, I'm back home now. Back to work and deadlines and my real life, but thankfully also back to my non-sensored bathroom.