Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Q and A Fieldtrip!

Last night was my first live chat with fans/readers. The questions were excellent. Lots were about the book, but mostly how it related to my writing philosophy. Things like: do I consider age and content when writing for YA. How did I handle sending Maggie to college and keep it on the YA shelf. The problem of giving enough backstory from previous books to catch up a reader, without doing an info dump or spoiling the reader if they go back.

There were also HELL WEEK specific questions about the magical elements, the nature of the Sigmas, why sororities, and Maggie and Justin hooking up.

So, if you've read PROM DATES and HELL WEEK go here and read the interview and the comments with the questions and my answers. It was a lot of fun. The commenters had very good things to say about writing and books, too. Great group.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Teaser Tuesday + Live Chat 2Nite!

Here's a teaser from the new book, The Splendor Falls, which comes out in September. (From the pre-copy-edited pages so don't be picky.)

John caught up with me as I was looking for a break in traffic. “What are you doing?” he demanded. Behind him, I saw the doorman staring, like he’d never seen a girl with a broken leg try and cross Fifth Avenue mid-block before.

“I’m going to the Park.” I shivered. It was mid May, and the evening air was still cool.

John fingers gripped the flesh above my elbow. “You can’t wander around Central Park after dark by yourself.”

The fact that my plan seemed perfectly reasonable should have been a sign I was a lot more drunk than I thought I was.

“It’s barely dusk.”

“Your leg is in a cast.”

I looked down, not in surprise, exactly. The throb of my leg was constant, blending into the background of my misery. Then something would remind me, Sylvie, your leg is broken, and the ache came flooding back.

Maybe I had reached that point with my emotions, too. I’d ground through the whole day, and now self-pity and passive aggression weren’t enough to distract me any longer. “I want to go to my dad’s bridge.”

Something must have shown in my face. Tightening his jaw, John stuck out his arm and hailed a cab. He had the knack of a native, but I think it may have been my Day-Glo Orange cast that got results so quickly on a Saturday evening.


Don't forget! If you're a reader of the Maggie Quinn series (or even if you aren't, but don't mind spoilers), I'm doing a live Book Blog Chat at Bria's Pages at 9 PM EST. We'll be talking about the (RITA Nominated) second book in the series, HELL WEEK, and anything else that you want to ask me, as long as it's not a spoiler for Book 3. (At 9, Bria will post a new entry, then you can ask your questions in the comments, and I will answer. No logging in required.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Seattle and NorWesCon

Okay, so there was the Con, which I may have mentioned was much bigger and costumier than I'm used to. Which was cool, but I spent part of Friday being really overwhelmed. But the funny thing is, once you do enough panels that you start having people to nod to in the halls, it makes all the difference. Just someone making eye contact. *whew* So Friday afternoon through Saturday night were much less stressful.

(Also, by a certain number of panels, people figured out my sense of humor. I think it's because I have a rather droll sense of humor, but I have this earnest, Dutch china doll face. It's kind of like if you give all the wise-cracking Rosalind Russel's lines to Deanna Durbin. So seriously, I was three panels in before people stopped giving me the "is she joking?" look.)

So anyway. Panels went well. Minimum of foot in mouth, though not-totally without toe-tasting. Met many cool people, authors, readers, and as-yet-unpublished-but-working-on-it writers. That was fun, to get to a completely different part of the country.

I did get out of the hotel some. On Saturday night, I went to the Easter vigil at Saint Mark's Cathedral. I'm very glad I did. There was an inclusiveness in the congregation that I really liked. It was a much less traditional liturgy which I... expected. What I found interesting was how the details of the service and the setting reflected not just the more liberal and relaxed attitude, but some of the naturalistic atmosphere of the Pacific Northwest. Oh the whole though, it was a moving and joyful service that proved that the Holy Spirit is invoked my a wide range of worship flavors and styles, and regardless of our preferences, it's good to step out of our comfort zone occasionally and realize that.

So the reason why I went on Saturday rather than Sunday was so I could be a tourist on Sunday. I went--in the rain--on the Seattle by Foot "Coffee Crawl". Seriously. If you go to Seattle, you really should go on this tour. I'm posting a detailed report and PICTURES tomorrow.

Had lunch with my brother-in-law and my niece and nephew whom I haven't seen in years. They're both so big! A. is turning into such a beautiful girl. And she's a reader, like me. So you know I love her. (And J. is adorable, full of being a little brother. They reminded me so much of me and MY brother, it wasn't even funny. Except it was.)

Monday, my friend and her husband (whose LJ I can't remember) took me to breakfast at an AMAZING cafe near the University. Then we went to the University bookstore, which was an awesome place. Seriously. And if you're looking for my books in Seattle--that's the place to go. Tell them I sent you.

Okay. Ridiculous pictures tomorrow. Or Friday. Need to get caught up with page count.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Donate My Dress

Okay, so I'm back from Seattle and I have a TON of stuff to share with you guys. Fun stuff that involves terrible pictures of me. You'll love it. But this came across my google reader this morning, and I had to pass it on while it's somewhat timely.

Tina Ferraro, who is one of my fellow RITA nominees this year, not only shares an editor with me, but our first books came out on the same day and were both prom related. Is it any wonder I feel some kinship with this author? She's also just cool. Anyway. Ten Uses for an Unworn Prom Dress is an awesome book, but one of the things it talks about is donating your prom dress (used or unused) to organizations that then recycle them.

We all know that Maggie's prom dress was destined for nothing but the trash bin after her prom. Fighting demons is hard on dresses. (Though I suspect she MAY have kept it for sentimental value.)

So anyway! Tina posted on her YA Fresh blog the link to Donate My Dress, a site that helps you find local organizations that will find a new home for your special occasion dress after you've enjoyed it.

Personally, this is a form of recycling, and I'm 100% in favor. I have gotten some beautiful dresses in resale shops, and even at Goodwill! But even consignment shops (where the seller gets some money for the item) can sometimes be pricey. So my "outgoing" dresses all go to places that find homes for them at little or no cost to the new wearer. I even donated my wedding dress! Why keep that in my closet when it can make someone else feel like a princess! Share the love, baby.

I know a bunch of you will soon have dresses that you partied the night away--whether it's at prom or spring formals or whatever. Consider passing them on to someone who will love that dress as much as you. And if you go to the YA Fresh blog, you'll see details on how, if you send Tina a copy of your donation receipt, she'll send you a signed copy of her book. Didn't I say she was cool?

Friday, April 10, 2009

Con ramblings

I put this in my Twitter last night, but I’ll post it here: Shout out to Sarah and Anna, who came to the con last night JUST to meet me. Y’all are adorable.

I’m already planning a return trip to Seattle/Portland/Pacific NW, and I swear I’ll publicize I’ll do lots of public stuff. Still new to all this, and I don’t think of things like, oh, there are people who will want to meet me. At the risk of sounding disingenuous, I’m still sort of bemused at this idea. Not because I’m not awesome, because I am. But there’s this part of me still not used to people far far away (i.e., people who I have not strong-armed into it) reading my books. I know, I know. It doesn’t make sense. It’s that thing of what your head knows vs. “Hey, someone in Canada has heard of me!”

Also, I’m not getting to see much outside of the hotel yet. I’ve been getting tantalizing glimpses of trees and mountains every time I ride the (glass) elevator. (I did venture out to Denny’s last night with some friends. I think cons are required to pick a hotel within walking distance from a Denny’s. This is in the unwritten Code.)

NorWesCon is different from what I’m used to in Texas. It’s much bigger, for one thing. And the costumes! They tell me I haven’t seen anything yet--Saturday is the big costume day. But there’ve been some gorgeous ones. Lots of faux fantasy renaissance stuff, many brave men in kilts (It’s cold here, y’all.). And lots and LOTS of Steampunk. I love the Steampunk stuff, because I love the Victorian-esque-ness of it. If I wasn’t clinging to some remnant of professionalism, I’d be all over this one corset/vest/jacket thing I saw in the dealer’s room.

As it is, I’m very inconspicuous. A quiet little mouse in my Star Trek sweatshirt that Maggie teases me about. Believe it, it’s true. Though I am…surprise! …in the bar. The coffee bar! But I’m sitting here by myself. Being QUIET and just… observing. It’s kind of fun, actually.

Today I’m paneling on all kinds of social issues. How did that happen? Fantasy as social commentary, gender roles in SFF… oh, and deconstructing the Mary Sue. That’ll be fun. And I’m moderating “Bad Science in Science Fiction.”

Let’s see if I can get the WiFi to work so I can post this. I need a coffee refill so I can go be insightful and brilliant on all these social issues….

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Grateful but crazy

In keeping with Friday's post, you will notice that Monday's post is a day behind. There was some sad stuff going on around me this weekend. Two of my friends--one friend from church, and the other the husband of my BF CAS--lost their mothers. They've been on my mind and in my prayers a lot.

I just couldn't be flippant yesterday. I had been grumpy for completely unrelated reasons, and I was going to post about THAT, but nothing makes you realize you're grumpy for no reason like hearing someone else's bad news. It *really* puts someone eating the last of the ice cream into perspective. And, having lost a parent at a (relatively) young age... I don't know. It made me introspective.

I've mentioned that it can be weird living with a parent when you're an adult. Mom and I are both rather young for such an arrangement. And sometimes I'm not fit to cohabitate with one person (see above re: Mr. RCM eating my ice cream), let alone two. Mom and I are both headstrong and neurotic in completely opposite ways, which of course makes things fun. But I'm glad she's around, and if her living with me keeps her around longer, then I'm grateful I'm in a position where I CAN take care of her. What's a little life complication. :) Keeps life interesting.

Now I have to go close my office door and turn up the stereo, because her singing and talking to herself in the other room is driving me crazy. Grateful, but crazy!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Like an Argyle Sock in the Tumble Dryer of Time

I lose time like other people lose socks in the dryer.

For instance, I started this yesterday. Thursday, I should say, because at this rate, who knows when I'll get it finished.

I realized I'm going to Seattle* next week. There were a bunch of things I wanted to get organized before I headed way up there, and now it's a week 5 days out. Gah. (Since I'm going for NorWesCon, this didn't occur to me until one of my readers asked if I was doing something. And then I thought, wow, I should do something. And then suddenly it's April.)

That said, I got a bunch of things done today, none of which was (yet) work on my actual work. (The evening yawns ahead of me, though, never fear.) Taxes are done (ugh). Books and authorly stuff sent in for RITAs finalist round. (squee!) Played with Mom's new Kindle. (*covet* It bugs me she got an e-reader before I did. I was going to get one, but... well, I did my taxes. Ugh.)

Didn't call the doctor for the thing I've been putting off for, um... yeah. I mentioned I lose time, right?

Though that might have a little to do with avoidance.

But a lot of it is that when I get involved with something, like, say, writing a book, or even copy edits, or a craft project, I tend to dive into it and emerge much later, surprised that time has elapsed at ALL, let alone so much of it. That's the good kind of time slip. Then there's the kind where you don't really have that much to show for the lapse. Sometimes I think the Internet has some kind of time compression capability.

And some of it I blame on Lizzie. Sometimes, when you've got a soft, warm dog on your lap, time does seem to slow down. A recent study said that dogs lower blood pressure and improve your general health. I wonder what it would say about folding the space/time continuum?

*P.S. If you're in the Seattle area, leave a comment or drop me a note. I may yet set up a coffee-hour or something. I mean, one thing I *know* they have in Seattle is coffee shops.