I couldn’t wait for this week because in today’s guest post, we are featuring C.J. Redwine. This debut YA author has already caught the attention of many readers, and her book isn’t officially out yet! DEFIANCE hits the shelves tomorrow, but in the mean time, you can read C.J.’s personal summer camp experience and check out the giveaway!
In my junior year of high school, some men in suits came to our school and announced that they would be choosing one boy and one girl to attend a special Leadership Camp. They were looking for tomorrow’s leaders and thinkers—responsible kids who got good grades and participated in extracurricular activities that showcased their leadership potential… I know, I know. Sounds soooo exciting.
I was kind of one of those kids. I got straight A’s, was in the sort of extracurricular activities that would make me look well-rounded on my college applications, and played the part of a responsible girl focused on her future.
I was also an incurable klutz with a penchant for doing the absolute most ridiculous, embarrassing thing possible in any given situation. Want a girl who will accidentally slide down the icy hill at winter camp and take out the preacher at the bottom? Or a girl who will enter an egg toss only to catch one full in the face? Or a girl who will be mid-swallow with a mouthful of burrito when you crack a joke, thus forcing her to either coat her lungs in Mexican goodness or send said burrito flying out her nostrils like twin bean-fueled missiles?
I’m it, baby. I’m. It.
Fortunately, the interviewers for Leadership Camp didn’t know that. All they had to go on were my stellar grades, busy extracurricular activities, and obvious lack of burrito missiles flying out of my nose during my interview. Before I knew it, I’d been chosen to attend Leadership Camp with a bunch of other hand-picked kids from around the county.
I don’t need to go into detail on the entire week I spent enduring Leadership Camp. I can sum up seven days just by telling you about one.
12:00 noon: I boarded a bus with about thirty other kids, and we set out for Leadership Camp. Our bus driver, Henry (May a pack of rabid squirrels take an unholy interest in his face) Johnson, told us it would take an hour and a half to get there. An hour and a half crammed into an un-air conditioned bus in the hot California summer with a slew of strangers wasn’t my idea of a good time, but I could endure it. We all could.
1:30: Contrary to Henry (May his toes forever stub themselves against his dresser) Johnson’s assertion, we didn’t pull up into Leadership Camp an hour and a half after we left. In fact, we were several miles in the wrong direction. And by several, I mean eighty. And by wrong direction, I mean Holy Buy A Freaking Compass Already, Henry.
2:00: Despite the vocal protests of many of the bus’s passengers, Henry (May a ravenous goat discover his shoes) Johnson refused to stop and look at a map. Or ask for directions. Or acknowledge that we all knew Leadership Camp was due south and the road signs clearly indicated we were making a run for the Oregon border.
3:00: Perhaps fearing a mutiny, or perhaps wearying of his passengers incessant complaining, Henry (May he be the first permanent resident on planet Mars) Johnson finally turned the bus around, stopped at a gas station, and bought a map. One wonders why he didn’t have a map in the first place. Also, one wonders why he still had a job driving kids anywhere. Anywhere at all.
7:30: Henry (May he be cursed to wear velour forever) Johnson deposited us at Leadership Camp and drove away. We hadn’t eaten since noon. We were STARVING. Okay, no. Kids in Africa were starving. But we were hungrier than we appreciated. The camp’s director greeted us, told us dinner was served at 5:30 and therefore we’d missed it, but assured us that the cook (May she fall into a vat of mayonnaise) had left some food out for us.
7:40: We munched on carrot sticks.
7:45: The carrot sticks were gone. So was evidence of any other food. The cook (May she discover a skunk in her bathtub) had left us carrot sticks and carrot sticks alone.
7:50: We headed off to our cabin assignments. I’d grown rather fond of the crew I’d spent time with on the bus, but was I rooming with any of them? No. No, I was not. I was rooming with seven other girls who hadn’t been cursed with Henry (May his nose fall off into his coffee) Johnson and who had all eaten far more than a handful of carrot sticks for dinner. I walked into the cabin to find them all seated around the floor in a circle, talking like old friends.
7:55: After awkwardly introducing myself and slugging my suitcase onto the only available bunk, I settled down into the only place left to sit—against the cabin’s thin wooden door. Nothing is quite as much fun as being the only stranger in a room full of girls who’ve already determined the social pecking order, but I gave it my best shot. I was charming. I was engaging. I was noticeably lacking in burrito shooting out my nose.
8:05: My mistake, I realize now, was twofold. One, I became too comfortable. Too willing to let my inner klutz loose. Two, I’d failed to properly latch the cabin door. Disaster struck just as I was happily joking with the girls about Henry (May he anger the Incredible Hulk) Johnson. Someone said something funny. My lack of natural coordination and inner balance came roaring to life. I threw my head back to laugh. The rest of my body said “Hey! What a good idea! Let’s follow the head!” My back hit the cabin door. It flew open. And I, dear reader, rolled right out the door, across the little porch, and straight down the hill until a tree kindly broke my fall.
8:10: No broken bones. No real damage at all, unless you count filthy jeans and mangled pride. The girls were at first concerned, and then amazed, and then delighted. Not because I’d amused them. No. Because right before I came in? When they were all sitting around on the floor having a conversation? They’d been discussing the group assignment handed out by the camp director while they were all enjoying a nice hot meal. That group assignment was to produce a skit on the last night of camp. They already had their idea. They just didn’t know which of them was best qualified to play the part of the geeky girl who dresses up like she’s a prom queen and then makes a fool of herself.
8:11: I got the part.
Leadership camp taught me several valuable lessons. One, don’t get in a bus if the driver is named Henry. Two, always carry back-up food with you. Three, if you laugh at yourself first, it takes the sting out of any embarrassing moment and invites others to enjoy it instead of to mock it. And four, always latch the cabin door.
Here’s the scoop on DEFIANCE, which hits the shelves tomorrow, August 28!
Within the walls of Baalboden, beneath the shadow of the city’s brutal leader, Rachel Adams has a secret. While other girls sew dresses, host dinner parties, and obey their male Protectors, Rachel knows how to survive in the wilderness and deftly wield a sword. When her father, Jared, fails to return from a courier mission and is declared dead, the Commander assigns Rachel a new Protector, her father’s apprentice, Logan—the same boy Rachel declared her love for two years ago, and the same boy who handed her heart right back to her. Left with nothing but fierce belief in her father’s survival, Rachel decides to escape and find him herself. But treason against the Commander carries a heavy price, and what awaits her in the Wasteland could destroy her.
At nineteen, Logan McEntire is many things. Orphan. Outcast. Inventor. As apprentice to the city’s top courier, Logan is focused on learning his trade so he can escape the tyranny of Baalboden. But his plan never included being responsible for his mentor’s impulsive daughter. Logan is determined to protect her, but when his escape plan goes wrong and Rachel pays the price, he realizes he has more at stake than disappointing Jared.
As Rachel and Logan battle their way through the Wasteland, stalked by a monster that can’t be killed and an army of assassins out for blood, they discover romance, heartbreak, and a truth that will incite a war decades in the making.
Harper Collins Canada is offering a copy of Defiance to (1) lucky winner!
To enter the giveaway, fill out the Rafflecopter form below.
Ends Wednesday, August 5th, 2012
(like all of our Paranormal Summer Camp giveaways)
To learn more about C.J., visit her at: