Thursday, September 3, 2009

In Which I Am Kilted

It is now one month out from Ballad's release date (October 1st), which means it's time to do some fun count down things. I think I shall spam you guys with Ballad stuff every Tuesday and Thursday until October 1st. Because #$%^ I am excited. Ballad was a huge jump forward for me, so I'm psyched to see what readers think of it.

For those of you who are unaware, Ballad is told from James' point of view. He was the bagpiping funny best friend in Lament, and he got upgraded to main character (making Ballad a standalone companion novel in the process). His story involves bagpiping, people getting burned alive, hungry souls, kings of the dead, and of course homicidal faeries. And snogging. There's always snogging. It's why I can't write picture books; they ask too many questions.

Anyway, so for Ballad Thursday #1 (I need a catchy name here), I thought I would share some embarrassing pictures of me from eight or ten years ago when I was first getting into my piping obsession. It was also before I had learned the meaning of the words "sexy" or "hairstyle," so I'm warning you, it will. not. be. pretty.

So. Join me as I saunter down memory lane.

Me looking sulky. Hey, I was 16. That was what my face always looked like.

Yes, I had hair down to my butt. What of it? Wait, I have further photographic evidence of long hair.

Me when I was 17 at an early Ballynoola band gig. I cut off all that hair in a rebellious act when I was 18. Partially to annoy my parents. Mostly to stop buckling it into my seat belt.

Yes, I had a kilt.

Me playing nicely in a group before my anarchic qualities kicked in in my 20s. Notice how they issued men sized small polos to the women. There was room for another piper in there. (That was not an invitation).

Me acting as both musician and bridesmaid at my older sister's wedding.I have always been good at multi-tasking. That is my husband's butt in the photo. We had just met a few weeks before this photo was taken. Which meant a few weeks after this photo was taken, we were engaged. See, I told you. Multi-tasking!

Now, before I leave you, I must tell the story of James and how he existed before this story. I actually wrote another novel with James in it before Lament came out and submitted it to agents. One agent wrote back that she was really enticed by the writing, but she was having a really hard time picturing a "rockin' bagpiper" without the benefit of, say, Korn backing them up. I fainted in a very Victorian manner and then I sent her this:

The Hellbound Train - Victoria Police Pipe Band

And you may also have this:

Congressional Reels (The Congress Reel, The Swallow Tailed Cost, Captain Chops, The Phoenix) - City Of Washington Pipe Band

If you're not convinced, I don't want to know.


Sara said...

I'm really excited to read BALLAD and see what James thinks of the whole situation...

Also, in the picture where you note that you are wearing a men's size small polo - you and your fellow bagpipers are wearing some pretty snazzy socks. All in all, it was a very interesting outfit... :) I can see how at first glance "rockin" may not be the first adjective that comes to mind! :)

ElegantSnobbery said...

I'm convinced... and I really want to read Ballad! Hurray, only one month to go.

Also, AWWWW what a cute trip down memory lane. And anyway, 16 year olds should look unsexy and hairstyle-free in my opinion (opinion based on the fact that I, too, was unsexy and hairstyle-free... until I was well into my 20's)

Anonymous said...

I'm in WI, so I'm blessed with Irish Fest every August, and the WI Highland Games every September-lots and lots of random people dispersed throughout the grounds just piping away. Usually it's pretty buff older biker guys, so it's nice to see a girl step up to the plate. Even if it's in matching men's polo shirts. You gotta do what you gotta do, right? ;)

Maddie said...

With or without the rockin’ bagpiper music examples I've always had a special fondness for bagpipes. I remember my aunt picking up a bagpipe CD in my room once, looking at me incredulously, and asking sort of disgusted as well, "You listen to this?". I've always been a bit too 'weird' for her. Another group that I think uses bagpipes is Nightwish.

I'm really looking forward to reading Ballad. James was a delight to read, I really enjoyed his humor in Lament and want to read more! An Infinite Thread is also on its way to me and I can’t wait to read it!

Frankie Diane Mallis said...

How about Thirsting for Ballad Thursdays?

Love the trip now memory lane! My mom had bagpipes playing at her wedding (two different kinds actually) and we're jewish, so they always seemed like this mythological important legendary thing to me growing up.

I'm loving reading Lament and I can't wait for more James in Ballad!

Maggie Stiefvater said...

Sara, the outfit is definitely NOT rockin' but what the pipe band required. Normally it's just t-shirt and jeans for me and my pipes.

I think so too, Marisa. Seriously.

And absolutely, Rachel!

Oooh, hope you love the stories in An Infinite Thread, Maddie!

Maggie Stiefvater said...

Frankie, two types of pipes? bellows blown and mouth blown?

Frankie Diane Mallis said...

I'll have to ask my mom, is there a difference between Irish pipes and Scottish-Im pretty sure that's what she said...

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