Monday, August 31, 2009

Yet another teaser...

Have I mentioned that The Splendor Falls comes out in eight days? Tuesday, September 8th. A week from tomorrow. 9/8/09. Just saying.

An excerpt for your enjoyment...

Chapter 1

I wanted to hate Alabama, and nothing about my arrival disappointed me.

To be fair, there aren’t many places that are easy to fall in love with in ninety degree heat and eighty-five percent humidity. The bumpy flight from my connection in Atlanta, on a miniscule plane with doll sized seats, hadn’t helped. And that was before some snafu at the gate forced us to deplane on the tarmac and ride a bus to the terminal.

I’d been out of my walking cast for two weeks. My leg throbbed like a sadistic metronome as I limped down the concourse, and the toes of my right foot were swollen like fat, pink cocktail weenies. Gigi’s carrier bag hung from my shoulder, my fingers white knuckled on the strap. Bad enough to dread something. Even worse when the pain of moving forward is more than metaphorical.

I could rest a minute, sit down between the barbecue restaurant and the souvenir shop with the confederate flag coffee mugs. For that matter, I was inside the security checkpoint. No one could come in and get me without buying a plane ticket. I could just live here until my mother and her new husband got back from their honeymoon and reported me missing.

Granted, that wouldn’t really convince anyone that I no longer needed to see a psychiatrist.

. . .

Saturday, August 29, 2009

One more day to enter to win some splendor!

funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

Don't forget all the ways you can enter and win a copy of The Splendor Falls!

1) Become a fan on my Facebook Fan page. (You are not alone in not knowing I had one. *I* have only half figured it out.)

2) Comment on Monday's Post.

3) Mention me, Maggie Quinn, or the books somewhere on the internet. Tweets, goodreads/shelfari/Amazon reviews all count. (Go to the original posts for links to my author pages on those sites.) Leave a comment bragging on yourself--I'll trust you.

You have until tomorrow to do any, or all, of the above.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Mixed signals

Okay, I know I said I would spare you puppy potty training stories. But this is made me laugh.

When I take Penny outside, I take a treat with me and tell her to 'tinkle' and she does, pretty much on cue. Just now, I was taking her out, and we were on the way to the door. I reached into the treat bowl the same time I said "Let's go tinkle." And boom. Instant results, right there on the floor in front of the door. Oops.

So I exclaimed "Oh no!" and Penny of course does what she always does when I tell her 'no.' Immediately sits and flashes me the "Is THIS what you want?" innocent look. In the puddle. So now I have a puddle, a fluffy dog who's fluffy rear end is now, um, soaking up the puddle, and I'm laughing so hard, there's no way I can turn this into a training moment.

In other news, Lizzie is still sick. She's not drooping around scaring me to death with her lethargy any more, but her ear is... okay, there's a reason I didn't love audiology. And icky ears is #1 on the list. Ironic, yes?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

School Supplies

Yesterday evening I went to the store to buy some mailing supplies (so that I can mail books to the lucky winners of the drawing). I forgot, however, about the start of school, and Staples was PACKED with parents and kids buying supplies. And I was filled with nostalgia.

When I was a kid, I used to love the start of school. It wasn't that I was some kind of masochist--I didn't really want summer to be over, either. But there's something invigorating about a new year. New classes and new teachers mean a fresh start. Later maybe I would get behind on deadlines and spend all night writing my English papers and fudging data on my biology lab assignments because I let my bean sprouts die... (Er. Not that I advocate this method. Water your science experiments, guys.) But the first day of school, it's all a clean slate and the year is all unwritten possibility. (Yes, I am an optimist by nature.)

Plus, there's that feeling you get from brand new school supplies. Fresh new pens and clean, unmarked spiral notebooks. Your binders haven't had Coke spilled on them yet, and you haven't written notes and phone numbers all over the covers. There's this Dutch saying my Oma and mom are always telling me: New brooms sweep clean. There's just something about a fresh, clean start.

I guess this is part of my love of office supplies. It evokes that same feeling, that a new pen will give you fresh ideas. That a new notebook symbolizes a world of new possibilities. Plus there's that feeling that THIS time, you have the chance to get it right and make it perfect. (Maybe that's just me.)

Because I've always worked either a vaguely school type schedule (theatre seasons usually run summer to summer, too), September has always been more of a "new year" for me, much more so than January. It's a time for getting my office in order and getting a fresh jump on things. I also love knowing that cooler weather is coming soon. (Relatively speaking.)

So, fess up-- Do new pens and pencils and notebooks fill you with excitement? Do you go to the office supply store and get lost looking for the next wonderful thing that will help you get a fresh new start on a project? Does anyone else have to start notes for a new book with a new pen, or is that just me?

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Splendor Falls Giveaway

Guess what came in the mail yesterday? Three boxes of The Splendor Falls! That means I can give away beau coup copies. Yes, you could win this book before it's even available in the stores.

Okay, to mix things up--and to be just a tad self-serving, because, darn it, we're talking 520 pages of free book goodness--you've got several ways to enter to win. I'll draw from three different pools (which means you could have at least three chances to win).

1) Comment in the comments. What could be simpler? Don't know what to say? How about: Your book sounds awesome, RCM! If I don't win it, I will be at the store when it opens on September 8th... (It's okay if you lie to make me feel good. You can go after school/work.)

2) Become my fan on Facebook. I will draw for one book every 25 fans, so it behooves you to recruit your friends.

3) Okay, this one is a leeeetle more effort: Mention me and/or my books anywhere on the internet. Twitter your friends, mention the books in your blog, add me to your books on goodreads, library thing, shelfari, etc. Post a review on B&N or Amazon. It doesn't have to be a good review, either. If you give me one star, your name still goes in the hat. (This is my secret revenge--to force another RCM book on you when you hated the first one you read.)

Now, you need to tell me where you mentioned me. You can post in the comments, OR you can e-mail me at rosemary at readrosemary dot com. Give the link only if you want; I'm willing to go on the honor system, if you tell me you spammed your friendslist or whatever. (And if you gave me one star, just... seriously, just tell me you left a review and leave it at that. ;) )

Stumped what to say? How about: this author you LOVE, who writes this AWESOME Maggie Quinn supernatural mystery novels, has got a NEW BOOK coming out on SEPTEMBER 8th. It looks spooky and romantic and stupendous.

Ahem. Just a suggestion.

And YES, your comment telling me where you mentioned me counts for drawing #1 and drawing #3. So that's two entries in one!

I'll draw names on Sunday so I can put your books in the mail on Monday.

Easy peasy! Comment now, while you're thinking about it!

Random Buzz about The Splendor Falls (teaser)

Hey guys! I'm chatting today at Random Buzzers, Random House Teens message board. I'm getting a ton of questions, so come and check it out.

Here's your Monday teaser from The Splendor Falls, which comes out in two weeks!

Pasha set me down, soft as moonlight; the orchestra covered the hollow tap of my pointe shoe. I balanced on one leg, the other stretched up behind me, prolonging the illusion of flight.

I could never say what went wrong in the next eight bars. The stage was clean, my pointe was solid. It wasn’t even a particularly difficult combination. Come down to fourth position, port de bras and changement to second position and a quick series of chaîné turns.

Right foot, left foot, right… then a strange crunching sound that seemed to come from inside my head. Without knowing how I got there, I was face down on the stage, and the murmurs of the audience were escalating with worry. In my dream—my memory--I tried to get up, but Pasha held me down, lapsing into panicked Russian. I didn’t have to understand the language to know that something had gone very wrong.

It’s funny how so much can hinge on one missed step.

Not funny ha ha. Funny that the moment that should have been the pinnacle of my seventeen years on this planet, ends up making me famous for the entirely wrong reason.

So, I really don’t mean funny so much as “tragically ironic.”

Dancers get injured doing the flashy things, jetés and échappés. I mean, who the hell breaks their leg on a turn they teach in the tiny-tots class?

Me, I guess. The month before, I’d gotten a full-page write-up in Ballet Magazine. The month after, I was a tragic item in a sidebar to an article on insuring your legs, Betty Grable style, against career-ending injuries:

Sylvie Davis, the youngest-ever principle dancer for the North American Ballet Company, during her stunning debut at Lincoln Center, suffered a compound open fracture of the tibia and fibula in front of hundreds of horrified audience members.

At least I knew how to make an exit.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Hard at work amid distractions. Here's the main one. Penny is a pain in the butt. She wants to play with Princess Lizziebelle, who is having none of it. She cries when in her crate, which, since I'm housetraining her, is a LOT of the time. Including all night, when I'm trying to work, when I'm trying to sleep, when I'm trying to think... In other words, she's a puppy.

A good thing she's cute. She looks like a fox!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Bonus Monday Excerpt

For your reading pleasure, a short teaser from The Splendor Falls (which, as I may have mentioned, comes out September 8th).

Shawn said, “I could show you around the town, or whatever you wanted.”

He stood just on the edge of my personal space, smiling with boyish charm. It was a Tom Sawyer smile, the kind that could get him into, or out of, all sorts of trouble. I had no difficulty imagining that a smile like that could be Becky Thatcher’s downfall.

In a way, it was the strength of that pull that made me hesitate. Liking Shawn was very easy, and it was against my nature to do anything the easy way.

“I’ll think about it,” I said, not entirely shutting him down. “If I feel like getting dressed.”

His grin widened. “Don’t bother on my account.”

He managed to make me blush. Out in the truck, Addie leaned on the horn, and Shawn hurried to join her, letting the screen door bang behind him. The effect of his smile lingered behind him, liked the Cheshire cat’s disappearing grin.

I let Gigi out of her crate, thinking, strangely enough, about picket fences. Believe it or not, there’s a ballet Tom Sawyer. It’s by a Russian, so I wouldn’t use it to write a book report. But my point is that Tom, with his southern charm and boyish grin, was still a trickster. Maybe I needed to remember that.

I sighed, and pulled the scrunchie out of my tangled hair. As if I had any business even thinking about guys when there were big, important things to worry about, like what was I going to do with the rest of my life, and how I was going to keep from going crazy while I was stuck here.

Crazier, I mean.

Because the thing that shook me up when Shawn mentioned ghosts wasn’t the idea the house was haunted. It was that, just for a second, I hoped it was. If I was grasping at the supernatural for a lifeline where my sanity was concerned, I was a lot farther gone than I thought.

Vampires, Gray's Anatomy, and the end of civilization as we know it.

Exciting times at Chez Clement-Moore:

1) Armadillo Con was great. Managed to stick my foot in my mouth only a couple of times. (On that subject, see below.)

2) The Splendor Falls comes out in three weeks (!!!) and I hope you have the date (September 8th) marked on your calendars. (And for you all in the DFW area, September 12th is the book release party at the Barnes and Noble near North East Mall in Hurst.)

3) And of course, I'm trying to housebreak a puppy. (Because Penny, now nicknamed Penelope Pitstop for rather unfortunate reasons, is definitely still a puppy. I need to remind myself that ALL my dogs were pains in the butt as puppies. At least dogs grow up faster than children.)

Point of Clarificiation:

Believe it or not, I was laying in bed thinking of this last night. I have to correct something from the Young Adult Books panel at Armadillo Con yesterday. While I have joked in the past, "I don't do vampires," I don't hate vampires or vampire books on principle. I'm personally at the point where I look for something different--but there are plenty of vamp books I love.

My favorite vampire books include: Sunshine, by Robin McKinley, the Vampire Academy novels, by Richelle Mead, and The Morganville Vampire series by Rachel Caine. Also popular but I haven't read it yet, is Red Headed Stepchild by Jaye Wells, and the books by P.C. and Kristen Cast. For lightweight vamp fare, check out Vamped, by Lucienne Diver and Bite Me! by Melissa Francis.

There. I feel a little better. Vampire books got a really bad rap on that panel, and I need to correct that karmic imbalance a bit.

Oh, I also sort of slammed Grey's Anatomy, lumping it in with lowest common denominator television. I don't know what I was thinking--that was a brain fart. The program doesn't do it for me personally (neither does House or Lost), but there has been some great writing and acting on that show. While they don't make my list, they are leagues above things like The Bachelor (and it's clones) which I consider evidience of the break down of society. (I don't now how I mixed up GA and The Bachelor, except that both seem to be about attractive women basing their self worth on the approval of McHotties. But in GA they wise up eventually, at least long enough to save someone's life now and then...)

Er... I kind of undid my restitution on that one. But oh well.

I will atone with a scene from The Splendor Falls (in the next post).

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The More the Merrier (canine edition)

If you've been wondering where I've been lately-- We've had a new addition to the family.

Now, Princess Lizzie and I are very close, as anyone who's met us (or had to suffer through my showing off dog pictures) knows. But my mother has been hinting lately that she needs a new granddog. She's been cruising, sending me links, pointing out how much Lizzie loves Abby (Mom's dog), but Abby doesn't really play, and wouldn't Lizzie love to have someone to play with. I certainly didn't think she'd have a problem adapting to another dog, but the timing hasn't been right.

Well, the timing STILL isn't right, but Mom sent me ANOTHER petfinder picture and somehow, before I knew it, I was calling Recycled Poms (a Pomeranian rescue organization) about a new family dog. (I was swayed by the fact that, in the pictures, she looks a little similar to Lizzie--more on that in a sec.)

This was going to be 'our' dog, part of the pack. Then on the way there, Mom starts talking about how, well, maybe SHE can have her OWN new dog, too. And I'm all: we'll see. And then this little miniature honey bear of a dog gets in Mom's lap, curls up and goes to sleep. Boom. Done deal. We're going home with two dogs.

Tentatively named "Clare" because yesterday was the feast of Saint Clare, Mom's little dog was rescued from a puppy mill. How could we NOT give her a home? She needs the kind of spoiled silly, couch potato life that Mom will give her. (Though she also loves to walk on the leash--which Mom really wanted. Her current dog, Abby, is a big fraidy cat and won't walk on the lead.)

"My" new dog--and the quotes are because ultimately, I'm the alpha dog of this pack, so all dogs are my dogs, especially when something goes wrong--is taller and longer than Lizzie (taller and longer than I was expecting for a Pom), and has this beautiful foxy face and soft blonde puff-ball hair. She's like a supermodel next to my cute, goofy little Lizzie (who is, like me, rather compact, though I have to admit, Lizzie had a cuter tail).

But she's a sweetie, and everyone seem to get along okay so far. We haven't quite worked out who gets to be where while I'm working. (The couch in my office is big enough for two dogs but not four. Well, not with me in it, too.) But I'm sure it will shake out.

Here's a picture caught with the iPhone. I will upload better ones soon.

Clockwise from the top left that's Abby, leaning away (she did great meeting everyone, but the photo op was a little much for her), Clare, Lizzie, and the newly christened Penny.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Texas, my Texas

Every summer, I complain about the heat in Texas. (Summer, heck. I start in May and gripe about it until October.) This, and my grumpy attitude toward certain Texas attitudes, may give you the impression that I don't love my native state. But I do. It seems to me, as I'm sweltering in the August heat, this seems like a good time to list of a few things I do love about Texas:

1) Spring wildflowers. We don't have a very pretty autumn here (though the weather is usually really nice in October, our leaves don't turn here--well, they just turn brown and fall to the ground). But springtime in Texas means wildflowers. They are everywhere. Open fields of them, the highways are lined with them--yellow and red and blue. By far my favorites are the bluebonnets.

2) Kolaches. This is a pastry that the Czechoslovakian immigrants brought with them. There are kolaches (ko-lah-cheez) in the rest of the world, but I doubt there's nothing like a good, doughy Texas kolache. Certainly nowhere else do drivers plan their routes around where to buy them. There are fruit ones and sausage ones, but really, the classic cream cheese will always be my favorite.

3) Shiner Beer. Made just up the road from where I used to live. If you go up to Oklahoma, they call this an import.

4) Lyle Lovett.

5) The Texas Turnaround. I don't really love these. It just amuses me that it originated in Texas. And considering how often I overshoot and have to get myself going the other way on a highway, I do actually get a lot of use out of these.

6) Stonehenge II. World's most famous stone circle in two thirds scale. I could not make this stuff up.

7) Dublin Dr. Pepper. Not Dublin, Ireland, but Dublin Texas. They make their DP with real cane sugar according the original recipe.

8) Bats. We had lots of bats out on the ranch. (They also lived in the rafters of the theater where I worked, appropriately enough.) These things eat a ton of mosquitoes. And they're kind of cute, in a terrifically ugly sort of way.

9) Austin. The blue speck in the center of the red state. Great music, great arts scene, a bit of counterculture thrown in for good measure... Here, the bizarre excesses of the state take a cool turn, less bubba, and more hipster. And I'm headed down there next weekend!

10) The people. I know we have a bad reputation. But we're not all obnoxious and bombastic blowhards. There's some genuinely cool people in this state, but we tend to get overlooked, because the asshats and weird stuff make better news stories and punchlines.

SO, there's my reminder to myself why I put up with Texas when I'm so physically miserable three months out of the year!

Fess up. What are the quirky, iconoclastic, or unique things you love about where YOU live?

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Q & A Day: Page Counts and Processes

Today’s Q & A Day is brought to you courtesy of a colleague*, who asked me a questions, and as usual, I’m so darn long winded in my answer, it turned into a blog post. Yay!

So the question was: What’s your daily page goal?

The short answer is: Depends on when the book is due.

Though seriously, when I went up to OU last week to talk to the YA Lit class (*wave to Karin, Mark, and Courtney*), one of their questions was about my writing process. And I said, quite honestly, I have a wacky process that I don’t recommend to anyone.

However, I’ll share it with you, because I always hear people post their disciplined, 5, 10, 20 pages a day routine, or their 8 hours of writing, or whatever, and sometimes, if I’m not doing that, I feel like a failure, or an undisciplined hack, or both. Any of which might be true, but there’s no sense in making myself depressed over it. (/sarcasm. I know am not a failure. Though the undisciplined part is arguable.)

Usually when I start a book, I’ll write some chapters (which may or may not be the actual beginning of the book) do some research, write my outline. And then I’ll go into this phase where it doesn’t look like I’m working but I’m thinking about the book all the time. This is my germination period. For instance, before I wrote The Splendor Falls, I watched every ballerina movie I could get my hands on, and re-read my favorite gothic novels, and went and drove around Alabama (not something I always have the luxury of doing.)

This may go on for a couple of weeks, then I’ll usually start back in slowly and, to be honest, go in some wrong directions while I convert the internal process to an external one. Then things will get rolling. (knock on wood.)

During my active phase, my goal is usually "write every day." Sometimes I go on a research tangent, and end up writing one page. Sometimes I do a lot of thinking, running a scene different ways in my head, write barely anything, and then turn around the next day and write 20 pages. (That's what happened yesterday.)

When I do set myself a page/word count goal (which I always eventually do), it's usually because I'm letting myself get distracted when I really need to buckle down and get the story out of my head and on the page. In other words, I don't really NEED more research, but I'm using it as a procrastination tool. Or I'm second guessing myself, and I need to force myself to more forward.

So the moral of this story is… find what works for you, what motivates you, and what keeps you moving forward. For most people, it’s a combination of things. Give yourself germination time, but know when it’s time to turn incubation into perspiration.

I'd love to hear your creative process in the comments, whether it’s for writing or any other activity.

*Colleague is Tess Mallory who's time travel romances are being reissued from Berkley with awesome new beefy Scotsman covers instead of the old-fashioned clinch covers. (You know, with the flowing hair and awkward not-so-romantic grappling poses?) Anyway, I have a sekrit and ridikulous love for a good time travel romance.)