Welcome to another feature for my Blogoversary! 

Today I'm welcoming C.J. Hill, AKA Janette Rallison, to my blog. She is one of my favorite YA authors!!! I love how her humor comes across in her writing. You can even see that in her Tens List below. I thoroughly enjoyed finding out what things she has researched for her books!

An ARC of Friends and Traitors and a signed copy of Echo in Time are both part of the US giveaway, and an ebook of Slayers is part of the INT giveaway. You can enter the giveaways below, if you haven't already.

Tens List
Top Ten Things I Researched for Recent Books

1) Where the bathrooms in the White House are located. In Slayers: Friends and Traitors, Tori gets a top-secret call while she's at a White House function. I figured she would head to a restroom for privacy. The White House has 35 bathrooms, but they're not listed on online blueprints, so after searching sites didn't turn up anything, I asked my Facebook friends if anyone had been to the White House. I got the information that way. Thanks, Facebook!

2) Flashbangs. In case you were wondering, they don't destroy night vision googles. (Again, Slayers: Friends and Traitors)

You wouldn't believe how hard it was to find out this piece of information. I watched videos of flashbangs and videos of people demonstrating night vision googles. I searched online. I called the company who makes night vision goggles. Unfortunately I never got passed the answering machine. (Perhaps because the company knew I had also been researching, weapons, body armor, and the White House floor plans. I am probably on some terrorist watch list by now.) Finally I called an old neighbor who is a navy seal. He gave me the info I needed.

3) More physics than my brain can naturally hold. In Erasing Time I have a brilliant physicist who creates a time machine. When the physicist talked about principals behind making the machine work, I needed the dialogue to be believable. I studied up on dark matter, repulsive energy and other things that make no logical sense to me.

4) Free falls from airplanes. In Slayers: Friends and Traitors the characters jump out of a plane over the Catskill Mountains. In order to be authentic, I decided to go sky diving. I should mention that I have one phobia: the fear of falling. Perhaps it was an unwise venture to begin with, but I thought I could master my fear for the sake of research. All was well until the plane reached ten thousand feet and the door opened. Then I realized that human beings are equipped with an area in their brains which loudly insists: DON'T JUMP OUT OF A PLANE. IT IS A BAD IDEA!

At that point, my 23 year-old instructor didn't believe me when I told him I had changed my mind about jumping. This is perhaps because the only sound that was coming out of my mouth was wail-like gasps of protest. He dragged me out of the plane door. When you read the plane-jumping scene in the book, I hope you appreciate my diligence.

5) On a similar note, in Echo in Time I have some characters zipline off a skyscraper. I needed to figure out how tall the building should be. I went to the top of a 34 story building and looked over the edge. Did I mention that my one phobia is a fear of falling? I decided that 34 stories was tall enough.

6) Common phrase origins. Echo, one of the characters in Erasing Time and Echo in Time, is a historian wordsmith who studied the English language. I got a book on the origin of phrases and learned all sorts of interesting stuff about our language. I ended up not using any of it, but at least I know why we say, "It's raining cats and dogs." I'm sure that will come in handy one day.

7) The record for shooting clay pigeons. In Slayers, the characters are good at shooting, so I had to know how many clay pigeons they could reasonably shoot during a practice session. The record is ten in one throw, just in case you wondered.

8) Round house kicks, archery, and horse jumping records. The Slayers' characters are also good at these things as it takes a lot of talent and athletic prowess to fight off dragons. Thank goodness for people who put this sort information on wikipedia and youtube.

9) The difference between straw and hay. When I first wrote My Unfair Godmother, I thought hay and straw were interchangeable. It turns out they're not--at least not in modern definition. Straw is inedible. I had characters saying things like, "What will the king feed his horses, if he has the miller's daughter turn all the straw into gold?"

Not straw, so no problem.

I asked the copy editor to change all the references, but one still stayed in. Those are the sort of mistakes that bother authors forever.

10) What is around in a castle courtyard. I spent five hours researching this topic during My Unfair Godmother, then realized I didn't need the information for the scene after all. I purposely had my heroine look out a castle window later just so I could write what was in the courtyard. Five hours redeemed. 

About the Author

CJ Hill is a pen name for a YA author who is best known for writing romantic comedies. (Slayers will be her 18th published book.) Her writing has shifted away from the romantic comedy genre, so her editor thought a pen name would be a good idea. (New books will include: dangerous dragons, time travel to dystopian worlds, and flesh-eating beetles.) Since the publisher refused to let her have the pseudonym : The Artist Formerly Referred to as Princess, she chose a name to honor her mother. CJ Hill was her mother's pen name, or at least it would have been if her mother had published. Her mother wrote a few children's books and a middle grade novel but was taken by cancer before she had fully learned the craft.

Most writers' first novels aren't publishable. CJ Junior's first novel wasn't, but somehow was published anyway. Now, even though it is out of print, it remains forever available on Amazon, where it taunts her with its badness. This was another good reason to use a pen name.

CJ Hill has five children, three of whom like her on any given day depending on who is in trouble. She has lived in Arizona for the last half of her life, but is still in desert denial and hopes that one day her garden will grow silver bells and cockle shells or maybe just tomatoes.

You can find CJ here: 

Books by the Author

Slayers (Slayers, #1) 
Erasing Time (Erasing Time, #1) Echo in Time (Erasing Time, #2)

Here are a few of the many books published under Janette Rallison:

How to Take the Ex Out of Ex-Boyfriend My Double Life All's Fair in Love, War, and High School My Fair Godmother (My Fair Godmother, #1)

The first giveaway is for US Continental entrants ONLY and this is what you can win:
- A copy of Bound by Prophecy and Shifting Fate by Melissa Wright + Prize Pack
- ARC of The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith
- Copy of Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay
- Copy of Meant to be Mine (releasing in April and will be delivered then) by Becky Wade
- Copy of After Hello + Swag
- Copy of Pivot Point or Split Second by Kasie West (winner's choice)
- Signed paperback of Echo in Time by C.J. Hill
- ARC of Friends and Traitors by C.J. Hill
- Signed copy of The Art of Wishing or Signed ARC of The Fourth Wish by Lindsay Ribar (winner's choice)

The second giveaway is for International entrants ONLY.
- One book by a participating Blogoversary author (authors listed on the schedule above) of $15 USD or less from the Book Depository (winner's choice). Book Depository must ship to you for free to be eligible.
- ebook (Kindle or Nook) of Dear Mr. Knightley
- ebook (Kindle or Nook) of Slayers by C.J. Hill

All my usual requirements apply.
Ends February 28th.

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