Friday, January 29, 2010

Tea and Crumpets

Americans are missing something, not having the concept of "tea time." I said to someone this morning, "I'll be there around tea time" and got a blank look. I'm not saying we need an extra meal. (I mean, the last thing American's need is to eat MORE.) But the chronological concept of tea time is very useful. We say all the time "I'll be there by dinner. I'll stop by at lunchtime." It's just useful to express a non-specific but generally socially agreed upon time of day.

Mr. RCM get's irritated with me when I say "Americans need to this..." or "American's don't that." He's like, "You're American. You were BORN here." Yes, and when I say "Americans" I totally include myself in that. As it happens, however, I was raised by my eccentric Dutch family, I don't even have an extended American family (I have an uncle and cousins on my Dad's side, but they lived far away), and my dad adapted much more to my mom's European habits than vice versa. Mostly where culinary matters are concerned.

So I grew up with some eating idiosyncrasies that might have blended in better in other parts of the country, where there's more Dutch and German influence, or a more diverse cultural melting pot. But in Texas, you get looked at a little weird when you put jam on your pancakes instead of syrup. Or eat your pizza with a knife and fork. (Though I actually stopped doing that pretty quick, because the mocking was intense.) Oh, and here's a shocker: I don't believe you need to eat meat at every meal. Heck, I don't even think you need to eat meat every DAY. And that was before I went vegetarian. I really do not understand the American obsession with meat.

Heh. My inner 12 year old snickers.

ANYWAY. By "tea time," I'm not talking about high tea, with scones and jam and Royal Doulton. (At least, not as a general rule, because I do love my scones and jam. And my Royal Doulton.)  I know a lot of people who stop mid day to have a cup of coffee or tea and a snack, to have a break, or tide them over for dinner. This is not a unique concept. But there's no name or agreed upon time for this mini-meal. But I think we need one.

I wouldn't mind adding Elevenses to the American lexicon, either. Though I'd be willing to go with what we call it in my house, which is "second breakfast."

Monday, January 25, 2010

Cool fan art is cool

Look at my cool new years present! Jhenne T. sent me this lovely fan art as a holiday present. I thought it was so cool, I wanted to share it with you guys. You should definitely check out her portfolio here, or her deviantart blog here. (I am somewhat distracted by the zombie art on the front page of the deviant art page. It's strangely cute, but also gross and zombies give me the heebie jeebies.)

Maggie Quinn by Jhenne T.

I *think* this goes without saying, but please don't repost this, claim it as your own, sell it (I don't know... I'm trying to cover my bases here). It was a prezzie to me, and Jhenne gave me permission to post it on my blog, so don't abuse her art and my feelings, okay? 

FYI, here's my stance on fan art or fanfic: As long as you're not making money off of it, I'm copacetic if you want to write or draw something inspired by my books. I'm flattered, actually, but not making money off it is not only important to me, but my publisher, who has, you know, lawyers and stuff.  Oh, and if you write anything that's rated above PG-13 (I consider the Maggie books PG-13 and Splendor PG-ish) don't put it where kids (and I) will run across it accidentally.

Oh, and I love to see art, but my policy is that I cannot read or critique your fiction, fan or original. If I did that, I wouldn't have time to write my own books, and I know y'all want to see more books. ;)  I do occasionally give critiques as prizes and I will always let you know about that.

Thanks again to Jhenne, happy belated new year to everyone! 

Friday, January 22, 2010

Helping Haiti Heal

Hey guys. Nice, meaty writing post over on Genreality today. Go over and comment so I look smart and popular and stuff.

And while you're field tripping, take a gander over at the HP Alliance for the details on a really cool fund raising webcast, Helping Haiti Heal. The press release is posted here for your convenience. (I'm awesome that way.)

There are some amazing prizes being offered, things that are cool whether you're into Harry Potter, or fandom, or you just love books and stuff. Some of them are listed in the press release, but I'm donating:

A signed (personalized, if you want) set of the Maggie Quinn: Girl vs. Evil series


A critique of up to 30 pages of original fiction (short story, first chapter(s) of a novel, whatever)

Now, I do a really thorough critique. In text and overall.  It's monetary value is... Well, I'd say priceless, but modesty forbids.

So check it out. The webcast is Saturday starting at 2 pm EST, but you don't have to watch all that time. That's just the telethon part (which should actually be a lot of fun.) The logistical details should be on the website.

Press release: 


JANUARY 21, 2010 - BROOKLYN, NY - Harry Potter fans and fans of other blockbuster books, movies, and tv series are gathering for a live fundraising webcast benefiting Partners in Health ( this Saturday, January 23, 2010, on Livestream ( in support of Helping Haiti Heal, a home-grown effort to contribute to the growing humanitarian aid and charitable relief activities in Haiti. Starting at 2 P.M. EST, the four hour live event will feature a donation drive where donors have the opportunity to win prizes, several of the Internet's most popular podcasters, leaders and celebrities from various segments of popular culture, performers from popular book-based musical acts, interviews with civic leaders and Haitian Americans, and more.

"This community is uniting with other popular and vibrant fan communities to harness the energy of popular culture toward making a genuine difference in Haiti," says Andrew Slack, Executive Director of the Harry Potter Alliance. "We have chosen Partners In Health because they have written the book on addressing poverty in Haiti and will be with Haiti, rebuilding long after the initial effects of this recent earthquake subside."

The Helping Haiti Heal fundraising webcast aims to raise monetary funds for the benefit of the Haitian people through the donation drive of unique and personalized items donated by prominent musicians, authors, and actors. Items up for auction include:

Signed, dedicated, first edition novels by bestselling author Terry Pratchett.
Signed books from Time Magazine's Lev Grossman, NY Times bestselling author Melissa Anelli, Movies in 15 Minutes author Cleolinda Jones, and Urban fantasy novelist Lilith Saintcrow, as well as young adult authors Karen Healey, Aprilynne Pike, Pam Bachorz, Lisa Mantchev, and many more.
A signed Mega Book Pack of 30 novels from The 2009 Debutantes (, including: Malindo Lo, Saundra Mitchell, Sarah Ockler, Michelle Zink, and Jackson Pearce.
Guest spots on PotterCast and Hogwarts Radio.
Signed CDs from such wizard rock bands as The Remus Lupins, The Whomping Willows, The Butterbeer Experience, and Oliver Boyd and the Rememberalls.
Quality replica LightSaber based on Luke's from Star Wars: Return of the Jedi.
Full Access Registration to LeakyCon 2011, valued over $300.
$200 Gift Certificate to Infinitus 2010.
Limited edition, artist signed, Replica Slimer from Ghostbusters.

The fundraising webcast will also feature podcasting personalities from leading Harry Potter podcasts that reach well over 50,000 listeners: PotterCast (, MuggleCast (, Hogwarts Radio (, FictionAlley (, and HPA’s PotterWatch (; live performances from many wizard rockers; leaders in fan communities; personal interviews with Haitian-Americans about the importance of giving to Partners In Health; human rights activists; a representative from MIT's Media Lab discussing ways that we can donate our time using new media; and much more. It is the aim of Helping Haiti Heal to provide ideas and inspiration across fandoms to those with the desire to aid those affected by the earthquake. Together, we can help heal Haiti.

# Helping Haiti Heal is sponsored by The Harry Potter Alliance (, The Leaky Cauldron (, (, HPANA (, and FictionAlley (


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Cool news!

I have decided I need to take the news feeds off of my live home page. Every time I open a new browser window, I have bad news from Dallas, Fort Worth, the US and the whole darn world. I'm not saying that it's not important to keep up with what's going on in the world. But darn it, everyone's big problems are making my problems look small and petty, darnit. And I like my world to revolve around me.*

I've been lax about the blog and stuff because I've been under the weather. Not like dire, but sort of an ongoing low grade misery That's why it's very annoying when people I love have developed real health problems or Serious Auto Injuries, because I feel like a total schlep for whining about things that, while cumulative taken all together, aren't terribly serious.

So it's this quandary, because no one wants to hear about that, but my head hasn't really been around coming up with other topics either.

But today I have good news, so I'll post it. Highway to Hell made the ALA's 2010 List of Best Books for Young Adults. I'm so excited, y'all. It's just surreal to see my name listed along with authors I admire. (Or, you know, worship.) There are some great books on that list and there I am, too!

Highway to Hell is my personal favorite of the Maggie books (Shhh... I know I'm supposed to love all my children equally, so don't tell the others.) I know other people have other favorites, and I'm not saying it's the BEST of the books, but it's just personal preference.

So, there's that! Congratulations to all the authors on the list, especially people I actually know, like Suzanne Crowley and Carrie Ryan.


*This is ironic, for those that don't know me. I believe the complete opposite. Except about once a month, when I wish I could lay on the couch and have scantily clad men fan me with ostrich feathers and rub scented oil on my temples and feed me dates and Krispy Kreme Donuts all day.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Vacation Pics

Don't you hate it when some joker wanders into your group photo?*

see more Lolcats and funny pictures

Seriously. That little guy's expression cracks. me. up.

I know the blog has been quiet lately! If you're in desperate need of an RCM fix, you can find my recent post on Fresh Fiction, with January YA book recommendations, and over on Genreality, where I got all philosophical and stuff with the new year.

*Not that I've been on vacation, unless you count the couch and the places in my head that my decongestant takes me. Who needs uppers and downers when I have Sudafed and Benedryl? I would be the cheapest drug addict in the world.