Friday, July 31, 2009

Friday Five: The Air Condition Edition

1. This week is my launch week, as you guys know, because I can't stop talking about it. Tomorrow is the official release date.

I have been informed that even though SHIVER was not technically out last week, its sales numbers were almost good enough to land it on the bestseller list.

Um, that is crazysauce.

Also, hugely exciting. I confess that as a writer, there are other milestones that would thrill me more than landing on the bestseller list (like getting a life sized statue of myself erected in some North Carolina town which will then be named after me), however, the idea of landing on the list does excite me, for the following reason.

All along, I told everyone that if I ever landed on the bestseller list for any of my books, I would put air conditioning in my car, Loki, and paint him black with white stripes. I am uncertain now about the painting black with white stripes, as I've sort of gotten used to his extremely ostentatious red paint, but as I sit here and swelter in 90 degree weather, I am wishing very much that Loki had air-co. Because basically I can't drive him until November as it stands. Not only is the car lacking in air-co, but the driver is positioned perfectly behind a V8 engine that gives off more heat than a star. Well, not all stars. Just those little ones. Brown dwarves? Scientists found one that is only 770 degrees Fahrenheit.

That's about right.

Anyway, bestseller list aside, the first few weeks of a book's life are crucial, so if you were thinking of buying SHIVER, or coercing your aunt into buying SHIVER, or thinking of buying copies of a single book for every member of your extended family, or anything like that, I'd be obliged if you did it in the next two weeks.

And . . . if SHIVER makes it onto the bestseller list next week, I'm going to let blog readers vote on whether I repaint Loki black with white stripes or merely give him a better red with black stripes. Sound cool? I'm putting my car's coolness fate IN YOUR HANDS.

2. Today I was doing a newspaper interview for a story appearing tomorrow while playing blocks with Thing 2. It seems to me this is a metaphor for my entire life.

3. Last night, I won tickets to a screening of the The Time Traveler's Wife in D.C.! It is a symbol of my hopeful love for this movie that I am willing to brave I-95, The Satanic Interstate of Borrowed Licenses and Wicked BMW Drivers, to go see it. Oh movie, you had better not suck.

4. Cat poo is the worst smell in the world. Especially after the cat has eaten a ravioli.

5. My Friday song is not a new one, but rather a video that came out when I was 4 and probably is the entire reason I write the sort of novels I write. Thanks, Mom, for leaving VH1 on all the time. Thank goodness it wasn't something like Vanilla Ice.


Thursday, July 30, 2009

Launch Party in Williamsburg, VA Reminder

Okay, first things first. For anyone who didn't already know, I'm having the launch party for SHIVER on August 7th in Colonial Williamsburg, VA. And I would love for any and all to come. There will be a gift basket giveaway from Wythe's Candy (the candy shop I basically ripped off for the candy shop scene in SHIVER), a giveaway for a free school or library visit, and face-painting and play-doh station for the urchins. Also I will be signing SHIVERs and being rambunctious. And Colonial Williamsburg is gorgeous. Worth the trip. Also, Busch Gardens is there, too, if you're of the roller coaster persuasion (I recommend the Loch Ness Monster if they haven't changed its name).




I've mentioned it once before but as it draws near, I wanted to mention it again (specially since I have a lot of new readers in the past few weeks). Details and place to RSVP are here.




Monkey snoozesAnd to make up for talking about boring details of launch parties, I will do kittenspam. This is our new kitten -- well, technically, it is Thing 1's new kitten, but I don't think that counts as I'm the one doing the scooping of pooping and it's my lap she's sitting on right now -- accidentally acquired at a car show last weekend. Her name is Monkey and she is impossible to scare, very tolerant of being stretched by children, and likes our dogs.



She also stole a hamburger bun off the table the other day and ate it. That was after she stole a chocolate chip cookie the size of her head and ate it.



Those were interesting poos.



Also, SHIVER has been spotted in the wild at multiple Barnes & Nobles and indies. Kristina Springer, who wrote THE ESPRESSOLOGIST (which i have already pre-ordered long ago), sent me this photo of SHIVERs at Anderson's Bookstore in Naperville. I'd love for anyone who saw a particularly impressive display of SHIVERs to snap a cell photo and send it to me! Wow, the grammar in that sentence hurts me.



And finally, to conclude this Epic Post, I will be doing a BALLAD contest/ giveaway in the middle of next month. So stay tuned.



Colonial Williamsburg photo from Bill
Barber.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Interview with Sam & Grace

Okay, I'm doing a massive wrap-up post of blog tour interviews and stuff in the first week of August, but I had to post a link to this new one now, because it was rather entertaining to do. Nancy at Ravenous Reader interviewed Sam and Grace from SHIVER instead of me.

Here 'tis.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Friday Five: The Win a SHIVER and notes to celebrities edition

1. There is a SHIVER contest running over at my group fiction blog, Merry Sisters of Fate, where I post short fiction twice a month, along with my two crit partners, Tessa Gratton and Brenna Yovanoff. Anyway, this week we all wrote stories that were retellings of Apollo & Daphne. The contest is like so: comment on any one of the stories: Brenna's, Tessa's, or mine, and it's a contest entry. Comment on all three for three entries.

2. I'm not sure how it is that hedgehogs came to be the cutest animals alive. But they are.

3. I am seriously considering sending this letter to Matt Costa:

Dear Matt,

I used your song, "Wash Away," to help me write my novel LINGER. I have to have a thematic song to set the mood for my novels, and "Wash Away" was that song. It was so bittersweet and gorgeous that I knew instantly it was The One. For that I am eternally grateful. However, starting on November 1st, I have to write the third and final book in the series, and I'm afraid I cannot reuse "Wash Away." I really need for you to write something else awesome. Hell, you don't even have to release a whole album. I just need a single. I'm not saying that the entire fate of world literacy rests on your shoulders, but the future of werewolf literature probably does.

Please don't make me ask The Bravery.

Your fan,

Maggie

4. I really, really just might send that to him.

5. And I leave you with the happiest song ever written. "Wake the Sun" by the Matches

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Monsters, now with 40% less monster. and talk bubbles. x-posted from FFF

As you guys might imagine, I have been doing a lot of thinking about mythical creatures and traditional lore and readers with pitchforks lately, because of SHIVER's release. Regular readers will have already guessed that SHIVER is a werewolf novel, and unlike my faerie novels, which stick pretty close to traditional faerie lore, SHIVER . . . well, it does not.

In my version of werewolves, the full moon is meaningless, as are silver bullets. My werewolves become wolves when the temperature drops in the winter and stay wolves until spring warms them up again and they become human again, and begin to barbecue and watch Rachel Ray and do other human things until winter intrudes once more.

They also become just plain old wolves in the winter. No halfway inbetween thing with slavering and shedding and mauling of natives and flea and tick collars. And aside from healing a little quicker than normal, they are pretty bereft of super powers.

Yeah, they're screwed.

In other words, SHIVER’s monsters are all of the human variety. The werewolves are pretty far removed from the original mythology.

I know that a certain famous vampire series changed the vampire mythology considerably -- made the vampires sunlight-compatible, removed their coffin bedding, and made them sparkle like disco balls. There was a lot of fall-out around that -- traditional vampire folks screaming for blood since the vampires weren’t.

Millions died.

So. Now that’s me. I am imagining scores of readers coming after me with torches and pitchforks for my murder of werewolf legend. Well, for my prettification* of it, anyway.

*I just wanted to note that my spellchecker says that ‘prettification’ is a real word. I am amazed. It is?

So as a reader of creature novels, how traditional do you like your creatures? I have to admit that as a faerie lore person, I like my faeries uber-traditional. Even Tinkerbell pisses me off, just a little bit.

So is there a line you will not cross? I think it’s zombie romances for me. Although it opens up all kinds of one-liner possibilities like “hey at least he loves you for your brains,” it just is too far removed from the original horror roots for me to ever be happy.

Lay it on me. Am I going to be hunted down like the monster that my creatures are not, come August 1st?




Wednesday, July 22, 2009

SHIVER, with dogs. Which are like wolves, but smaller.

My author copies of SHIVER came in yesterday. I thought that since I'd seen one, I'd seen them all. But no. The effect of 30 some SHIVERs is like the effect of seeing the first finished SHIVER, times thirty something.

Also, SHIVER is apparently already stocked in several Barnes & Nobles.

Also, apparently, it's inching slowly up the Amazon Teen Romance rankings -- it's at #25. Um. Right below a bunch of editions of TWILIGHT. That's crazy. And thank you, guys.

My head may possibly explode. I am completely unable to concentrate today. So instead of doing my final push of edits for LINGER, I am going to post photographic evidence of author copies. With variously sized animals for size comparisons.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

HolyCrapHolyCrapHolyCrap

I have been informed that SHIVER is no longer listed as a pre-order on Amazon. It's in stock and shipping.

I maybe should've guessed this when 30 of them appeared on my doorstep today.

But I didn't.

Holy cow. I should've known today was different after three BMWs didn't cut me off while I was driving on I-95 today. But I didn't know how different that was. I know this is not quite the release date in stores sort of event, but . . . um . . . it's finally here. It's for sale. *melts*

Monday, July 20, 2009

The True Meaning of Christmas in July

I think I may go homicidal at any moment.

I am editing LINGER and listening to the station I made for it on Pandora. If you're not familiar with Pandora, it's this brilliant website where you can create a station and tailor the station to your own tastes. You plug in the music that you like and it plays songs it thinks are like that. You further improve its musical taste by giving each song that comes on a thumbs up or a thumbs down. For instance, for my LINGER station, I give Jonas & Plunkett a thumbs up and Radiohead a giant thumbs down dripping with melodrama and apathetic vocals. So it uses musical influences and instrumentation on each track to inform your station.

And it gets pretty good at guessing what you like. I get some great suggestions from it.

However, it has suddenly decided after days of play that it wants to play Christmas music.

Apparently, vocal harmonies + acoustic + indie = elves.

And it's making me a little irate. It's bad enough to hear Christmas music early in the fall. It's worse when you are having to listen to someone sing (with a twang): "born, born, born, born in Bethlawwwhaam, one was a hebrooo, one was a . . . . " in the middle of July. While trying to edit.

I am about to rain down Christmas spirit all over my neighbors. Pandora, you are letting me down. I'm trying to write meaningful prose here, dammit.

"The last time I had been in these woods, surrounded by wolves HO HO HO"

If you see that in LINGER, you know where it came from.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Book Recommendation Time!

It's been awhile since I recommended the books I've loved the most recently, so i figured I would catch up with two that I read recently and loved. To make it onto the blog as a recommendation, it has to be something that sticks with me for longer than the amount of time it took me to read it. Or something really different. Sometimes I actually have to read a book twice before I really love it.I'm annoyingly picky, so a lot of times I won't finish books or will like something but not love it enough to gush. These are the gushers.

STITCHES: A MEMOIR, by David Small. (September '09)

I am not going to tell you anything about this book.

I'm sure you're thinking that's an odd way to begin a review, but that's how I went into this book, and it worked for me. I was doing an interview with Booklist last weekend and I asked the interviewer what he thought was the graphic novel of the year so far. Without even having to consider, he said, "STITCHES." My publicist picked an advanced review copy up for me at ALA and I am thrilled that she did. I didn't know anything about it except that it was a memoir written as a graphic novel, and that it was supposed to be fabulous (which makes me naturally mistrustful, of course). I didn't even read the back -- just opened it up in the airport and fell in.

So I won't tell you what this book is about. I will tell you this: David Small shines in illustrating the small details that make people real. This is a fairly dark book, but there were parts were I laughed out loud at Small's cunning characterizations. If you read other reviews, you'll see they call the style "cinematic" and "stunning" and it's both of those things. It's also whimsical, sad, and ultimately uplifting. It has possibly the best final line of any book I've read. Definitely one I'll be buying in hardcover and my favorite graphic novel for the past several years. Stunningly done and a good pick for adults who haven't stuck their toe in the graphic novel pool. The water's fine.


HOW TO SAY GOODBYE IN ROBOT, by Natalie Standiford (October 2009).
The best favor I can do to everyone considering reading this book is to tell them that it's not a YA romance. Once you get that out of the way, you can enjoy this book for what it is: a quirky, intelligent YA novel about two lost teens finding their way back to normalcy -- or not.

While the two main characters -- nicknamed 'Ghost Boy' & 'Robot Girl' -- in this book are earnestly 3D, the real star of this novel is the late night radio program that both of them listen to. The quirky and sincere and bizarre and fascinating callers enchant both the narrator and the reader, and ultimately, this book ended up on my five star list because the show and the ending remained in my head for longer than it took me to read the book.

I think this one also goes on my top five YAs that ought to be movies list -- I can see it perfectly in my head.



I'm hoping to have more posts up soon once I get through my ARCs for ALA. I'm really looking forward to them . . . don't let me down!

Friday, July 17, 2009

What I Said in the Last Post, Except This Time, with Pictures

So, photos from ALA. As usual, clicky on them to see them larger.

My publicist observed that this photo looks like I'm wearing a SHIVER sandwichboard. This has made me desperately want another one of these to wear and parade up and down my hometown sidewalks.

Me and the Sandwich Board

Does this Bean make my butt look big?

Me & the Bean

Me and Patricia Wrede and the Scholastic Literary Brunch. Funny, you can't see the icicles forming on my ear lobes.

Patricia Wrede & Maggie

The group signing for Scholastic. First just me. Those pigtails, by the way, will haunt me forever. Decisions made at 6 o'clock in the morning, particularly hair decisions, should not carry such weight.

Me Signing

Then me and Mark Teague, making me look more crazy than I really am because he is so normal and nice.

Mark Teague & Me

Me being interviewed by Becky Anderson at the Anderson Bookstore Warehouse.

Me Being interviewed, II

Me signing the first boxes of hardcover SHIVERs, destined to be hidden away until the release date! I have discovered that regular pens trump Sharpies when signing the finished copies, as the finished copies have rougher pages. Just in case you were wondering. I know you were.

Me signing books

Finally, me with the folks from Anderson's -- they were so great! Weird to think that I thought when I saw them, "Oh, a nice small group." I have been brainwashed.

Anderson's Bookstore Pre Publication Event

Anderson's Bookstore, Show of Hands

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Maggie's Never Ending ALA Post

Okay. I am finally now recovered enough to do a Massive ALA Post, Complete with Photographs Stolen from Publishers Weekly. I didn't bring a camera as I was planning on scoring a few books that I really, really wanted, so I left my camera in Virginia.

So, first of all, my trip started on Friday afternoon. I headed up to my friend Marian's house in northern Virginia. She needed photos of a pony for sale and I needed a pad to crash in closer to the Baltimore airport, so I arrived with a camera and she handed me sweet tea and off we went. Isn't said pony pretty?

SATURDAY

Anyway. Bright and early on Saturday morning -- think 5:30 -- think there's a Visine for that -- I headed to BWI airport. I pass without event through the terminal and sit on the plane. In my head I am happily thinking about the fact that I am going to have lunch with both editor Yoda (previously at Flux, now at Carolrhoda) & editor Mixtape (Scholastic) at the same time.

Then the captain comes on.

CAPTAIN: I'm afraid there is bad weather in Chicago. We have a no ground order until the weather improves. We'll keep you posted.

CAPTAIN (45 minutes later): We were actually wrong. They told us there was bad weather and there really wasn't, so we could've gone. However, it's good that we didn't, because while we were waiting, we found a leak in the hydraulics. 1 in 500 planes, folks, and this is that plane.

CAPTAIN (15 minutes later): The mechanic has checked out the hydraulics and found that the leak is within legal limits. We're taking off anyway!

As I'm watching a glossy fluid travel over the wing I can glimpse from my window, I wonder why they didn't just stick with the weather story, which was simply and logical and had zero accountability for them. Say it with me, boys and girls. T. M. I.

Needless to say, I missed my editor lunch. I tried to let them know that I'll be appallingly late through a series of text messages which took me so long to punch in that the girl in the seat next to me started laughing at me. My texting speed is woefuly and willfully bad.

In the end, my editors had lunch with each other and I only got to share a cab from my hotel (where they were waiting, much to my eternal gratitude) to the convention center. Editor Mixtape gave me two finished copies of SHIVER, which were almost incomprehensibly beautiful. Best part? The text inside is blue. I really wanted to go back to the hotel and curl up with them and pet the shiny covers, but business called. I was forced to put them in my bag and pretend they weren't calling my name in icy blue tones.

So. Meetings of Editor Brian (who has yet to acquire nickname) ensued, as did signings of BALLADs until they were all gone. There was an almost slap-fest between a librarian and a teen boy for the last copy. Disappointingly, it was settled without coming to blows.

After the BALLAD signing, I hoofed it to the Scholastic booth where Tracy, the Scholastic publicist and all around awesome person, met me and whisked me into downtown Chicago for an interview with Booklist. It went well, as I mostly didn't swear. That I remember. Also, Ian (said Booklist interviewer) recommended STITCHES as the graphic novel to get. Tracy and I made a note of this.

Then off to see the Bean (note to self: try to procure photo Tracy took of me and her in the Bean). And then slipping into Little Black Dress for a Scholastic awards dinner. I met Elizabeth Bunce, the Morris Award winner, there and was totally charmed. Also met Arthur Levine, who I thought for some reason must be an old man, and is actually a very dapper Not Old man who forever wins points for knowing the Mom's on the roof joke. And Cheryl Klein, an editor at Arthur Levine/ Scholastic and the person who gave me my very first personalized rejection!

Basically, good times.

SUNDAY

Up brilliantly early for the YA Coffee Klatch. Basically, this was throwing thirty-something authors at thirty-some tables of librarians in a weird, geeky version of speed-dating. The list of authors here was rather star-studded and intimidating, but that turned out to be irrelevant, because the only time we managed to glimpse each other was when they put us together for a giant group photo, where we all smiled/ grimaced/ showed lots of gum in eighteen directions at once.

Right after that, I was whipped to the Scholastic Literary Brunch. This is Publisher’s Weekly’s take on it. My major observations were

a) it was very cold in there. I had goosebumps on my goosebumps. When I read from SHIVER for the audience, I had cool *shivering* effects to add to the ambiance.
b) I want the translator of Heartsinger to read SHIVER to me at bedtime, because she did a gorgeous job reading Heartsinger.
c) Editor Mixtape dropped yellow frosting on the shoes I had borrowed from a friend for that morning.
d) I was feeling like the shoes had gotten what they deserved, since the bastards had by that time given me four honkin’ huge sores.
e) if the shoes had been mine and not my friend’s, they would’ve died in a fire very shortly after this trip.

It was an amazing event. There was a group of great teens there that were hugely enthusiastic and made me forget my gaping shoe wounds and lack of sleep. There is photographic evidence of me forgetting about these things, as you can see.

Then we all went tearing back to the convention center for a group signing. I was sitting next to Mark Teague, who was so nice that I felt quite insane in comparison. In fact, Lisa Schroeder has a pic of us on her blog (don’t ask me what I’m doing with my hands, I have no clue and don’t really want to know) that sort of describes it all.

Ooh, and while I was signing, Tracy scored me a copy of STITCHES -- which I read since then and it is AMAZING. (review and generalized gushing to follow later this month).

Then a brief tear around the convention floor to score some books -- I only asked for things I really wanted, because they don’t do any good sitting on my shelf -- and then back to the hotel to get dolled up for the Newbery/ Caldecott Banquet.

While waiting in line to get into the banquet, I spotted Brian Selznick. I really, really wanted to go up to him, but I was convinced I wouldn’t be able to form actual words, such was the depth of my fannishness. Editor Mixtape, however, was kind enough to introduce us, and this is how the conversation went.

Mixtape/ David: Brian, this is Maggie Stiefvater.
Brian: Hi, Maggie.
Maggie: Nckgh?
Brian: Nice to meet you to.
Maggie: Ungh . . . gnucklick! mmmm!
Brian: Yes, I’ve been an artist for quite awhile. So you are too?
Maggie: Ngh immer asglhmmm!
Brian: Oh, David wants to know when I’ll be done with my next project too.

He was kind enough to pretend that my fangirl incoherencies were actual sentences. I appreciate that.

Then we got to hear speeches from the award winners -- Neil Gaiman’s was fantastic. He had this great line . . .something about how there are not books that are good for you and books that you enjoy, but just . . . good books. He was a lot more pithy. But it was a wonderful point.

Anyway, so I teetered off to bed insanely late and thus concluded day two of the festivities. Oh, and that's a random photograph of me, Editor Mixtape, and Holly Black, nicked from PW. Holly Black isn't the only author I ran into, either. I met Lisa Schroeder, Cynthia Liu, Susan Fine, and millions of others who are all running together into a stream of literary awesome.



MONDAY


Monday morning I had breakfast with Melina Marchetta. I am terribly in love with her writing and I was really excited to grab some tea with her one on one. We talked the book biz and chattered about each other’s books -- it was . . . um . . . THIS COOL to hear that an author that you absolutely love is also a fan of your writing. The best bit was finding out that she was a very thinking sort of writer. And also that she is playing in a literary world that I was very much hoping she’d go back to.

Then I sat in the convention center and started to write my monthly story for Merry Sisters of Fate (story is here).

Then to Anderson’s Bookstore in Naperville for a pre-publication visit and a video interview with Becky Anderson. I loved every bit of this visit, from talking with Becky (who was so enthusiastic about SHIVER I possibly peed myself). I signed a ton of books, talked with a ton of librarians, teachers, and teens, and ate the preservative-free pizza that they were so nice to order for me. (nothing has ever tasted as good as that pizza. Nothing). And the best bit? All the teens and other folks there signed a copy of SHIVER for me.

I can't wait to go back to Anderson's after SHIVER's come out.

TUESDAY

And finally, a four-thirty a.m. trip to the airport to fly to Detroit for a meeting at Borders’ offices in Ann Arbor. It was great to meet the Borders YA buyer, Liz, again. She was nice enough to give me some of her recs for good YAs about to come out, and Elizabeth at Scholastic made my day by a) catering the event with preservative-free food so that I didn’t die and b) shipping all my ALA and Borders’ books back to my house so that I didn’t have to lug them around the airport. Borders is so incredibly enthusiastic and supportive of SHIVER. If I was actually fully awake now, or during any part of the trip, I would probably be rendered quite useless by total amazement at the direction that SHIVER’s life cycle has taken, but the single most useful thing about sleep deprivation is that it makes fantastic and amazing things like TOTAL CRAZY SHIVER IS EVERYWHERE AAAAAAAAAAUUUGGGGHHHHH a lot easier to take in. So. That’s a good thing.

Then home again -- I was lucky enough to catch an earlier flight with no hydraulic leakage (at least that they told us about) and I fell asleep during take off. I awoke a few hundred miles outside Baltimore, and my mouth snapped shut.

Which meant it had been hanging open.

That’s sexy.

Thus concludes the highly abbreviated version of my ALA festivities. And then the zombies came, and everybody died.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Friday Five: The Librarian Edition

1. I leave today for ALA -- staying with a friend close to the airport over night, and then flying to Chicago first thing in the morning. Okay. You know what I get to see second thing in the morning? My book. Editor MixTape has promised me a finished copy of SHIVER tomorrow. I know it's stupid, because I don't get nervous in front of crowds or while doing outrageous things . . . but I'm nervous about seeing a real SHIVER. Not about it being gorgeous -- I've seen the dust jacket, so I know it will be -- but because of some, amorphous feeling of GAH! AHH! EEEEEE!

etc.

2. YALSA is considering making the Best Books for Young Adult list a popular choice list. Please don't, YALSA!

3. I want this painting.

4. Those few of you who are waiting on contest critiques, I'm going to try to finish them this weekend. Typos may abound. Stay tuned.

5. Current musical obsession for the week: "No One Sleeps When I'm Awake" by the Sounds. Also love, love, love their "Crossing the Rubicon." These babies are keeping me company on my drive to the airport.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Contest Winners!!!

Okay! Phew -- sorry i'm a few minutes late, guys. I started tallying the entries at 8 and didn't expect it to take so long. I put everyone's entries in a document, numbered for each entry (not each person), and when I had them all totaled up, I used a random number generator to pick the prizes in order.

First, some stats.

You guys linked SHIVER's video 297 times, resulting in 1,307 views of it since June 29th. I also drank 9 liters of sweet tea since June 29th. That stat was not entirely necessary, but was entirely true. Anyway, you guys are awesome and I'm incredibly grateful for your support!

And here, without further ado . . . the winners! Winners, please email me with the address you'd like your goodies sent to.

1. CD of music for LAMENT/ SHIVER: anai415 (LJ)
2. CD of music for LAMENT/ SHIVER: veschwab (LJ)
3. 15 minute live chat with me: inkbabies (LJ)
4. Finished copy of SHIVER: Mya at Dissecting Perfection
5. Finished copy of SHIVER: alessandra-lee (LJ)
6. ARC of SHIVER: lin17 (LJ)
7. ARC of SHIVER: MyNameIsEleni


Congrats, winners, and thank you so much to everyone else for entering and passing the word along!

Behind the Scenes: the SHIVER trailer

Okay, as I count down to the final moments of my giant SHIVER ARC contest (still time to enter), I figured I would post some behind the scenes photos from the making of my trailer, for anyone who is interested.

Here's the trailer:

And here, in dazzling pictoral goodness (click for larger), are some of the nitty gritties.

The first scene, with little leaves all ready to fall and drift around. I moved them with the eraser end of a pencil for better grip. They were slippy little bastards. Also, they had to be protected from the cat's butt for weeks before the rest of the scenes were ready.
first panel


Many, many trees for the various scenes. The actual trailer was conducted over about five panels.
Trees from the background


Close-up of said trees. Light colored for farther away, darker for closer.
Trees, close up


A panel that never made it in (that I loved but was ultimately too busy)
A panel that never made it in


A collection of wolf and Grace and Sam parts:
piles of wolf heads


Headless Grace (she had several heads to be able to look down towards Sam the wolf and up to Sam the human) and other parts
Grace parts


The Evolution of Sam. One of them flipped so you can see how most everything was numbered on the back in the order it was supposed to go. I had my sister kneel and stand about eighteen times so that I could quickly sketch the stages and ultimately transfer them to the patterned paper and cut them out.
The Evolution of Sam


Wolf parts. All numbered, of course. Their heads are legion.
Wolf parts, numbered


Close-up of a wolf. See the articulating detachable head. Convenient!
Close up howling wolf


A wolf that didn't get used because I quickly realized I could not animate wolves running and still actually turn in LINGER on time. I'm sticking this puppy (pun totally intended) in one of the giveaway ARCs.
Cut Out Wolf


The leaf, in different sizes. Actually my favorite part of the trailer. One of the frames got lost when my camera overheated (there were six lamps in a three foot area for consistent lighting), making the final scene choppier than it was supposed to be, but there wasn't time for a reshoot.
Leaf parts


More Grace parts.
Grace bits


Sam and Grace, from an angle to see how they are Frankenstein.
Sam Grace


Awww.
Sam Grace with trees



After the photos were taken, they were photo-shopped for color consistency and size, ordered, compiled, duplicated to correct for timing, coordinated with the music, and attached to the video with the title and cover. Ta-da.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Music! Borders! OMG! Etc!

Okay, I'm planning on doing a behind-the-scenes post on the paper cut trailer later today, but I just had to fursplode because quietselkie forwarded a SHIVER-filled email from Borders. And there was SHIVER, all over the place -- including a link to the exclusive SHIVER music that I wrote for Borders. I can finally share it!

It's here.

I don't think I can possibly describe how weird it is to see a piece of music that I composed on the homely keyboard sitting behind me and recorded in a studio in Fredericsksburg sitting there on the Borders' website. I mean, I know they asked me to write it . . . but I didn't think they'd actually use it.

It's THIS weird, seeing it.

Anyway, that track's called "One Happy Day," and there's a scene in SHIVER where Sam uses that phrase -- that's the scene this song was written for.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Vomiting (as depicted in art) and Maggie Acting Out of Character

First, I must include a random photo of the most distressing cake I have ever made. Thing 1's birthday party was yesterday and she requested a princess cake on short notice, with low provisions. So I was forced to create the Fugly Cake with princesses baked inside. I am displaying it here for everyone who as ever asked me "Maggie, what can't you do?"

That, my friends, is my answer.

Anyway, onto my anecdote. The other day I was driving down from a fairly disastrous trip to an Elizabeth Scott book signing (disastrous because there was no Elizabeth Scott there). In tow I had my sister and Thing 1 & Thing 2.

Anyway, on the way back, to make up for sitting in traffic on the Devil's Vortex of Doom, High Blood Pressure, and Wankers in Porsches*, my sister asked if we could stop at this antiques place that always had cool furniture sitting out front. Since I'd just subjected her to five hours of driving, I acquiesced.

*otherwise known as I-95

I am not normally an antiques person. I did not even realize that 'antique' could be a verb until a few years ago. So I was largely disinterested. I did, however, find myself highly attracted to this mug/ stein thing. As you can see at the right, it depicts people dancing in pairs, holding fiddles, and . . . vomiting. I mean, what is that guy doing there on the left? Do you see him? The one with the string of something coming from his mouth?

I am pretty sure that is an excess of Heineken, right there.

Anyway, so if you guys ever wanted to know what kind of things would spur me to act out of character and spending money, now you know. Salt-glazed German guys playing music and vomiting artistically.

You have a better explanation for what that gentleman is doing?

Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Giant Schedule Post

I realized that I should probably put this down somewhere. I promise tomorrow I will do more interesting posts than contests, music recommendation requests, and schedules, but for today, I finished my copyedits on BALLAD and I feel that posting this schedule is a very impressive achievement all by itself.

So:

I will be at

July:
11-13.
Chicago. ALA Annual Conference. I will be signing ARCs of BALLAD at the Flux book on the 11th at Booth #2658 from 1-2. I'll be at the Morris Award Dinner that night. The morning of the 12th, I'll be at the YALSA Coffee Klatch, then I'll be at the Scholastic Literary Brunch (with Avi. AVI. This is unreal). I'll be signing SHIVERs at the Scholastic brunch with AVI from 1:00-2:30 pm — Booth #1520. I'll be dressed in a little black dress for the Newbery Caldecott dinner that night. The 13th I'll be doing pre-pub stuff at Anderson's, and then the 14th, I'll be in Detroit doing more of the same. I will be spending the entirety of the 15th asleep.

August:
7th
. Williamsburg, VA. THE SHIVER LAUNCH! 5-7 p.m., all invited, RSVP here.
19th. Fredericksburg, VA. Teen Book Program (I typed that 'Pogrom', which would be an entirely different sort of event) at the Central Regional Rapphannock Library. Exact time to be announced; it'll be late afternoon.

September:
4-7th. Atlanta. DragonCon and Decatur Book Festival. At the same time. A literary threesome.
24-27th. St. Paul. Or. . . Minneapolis. No, I think St. Paul. Midwest Booksellers Association Conference.

October:
9-10th
. Richmond, VA. James River Writers Conference.
13th. THE BALLAD LAUNCH PARTY! WHOO!
15th-21st. UK Publicity & Scotland.

November:
5-8th.
Charlotte, NC. AASL Conference.
19-22. Philadelphia. NCTE Conference.

December
5th. Charlottesville, VA. Signing, 1-3, at Barnes & Noble. Reserve copies at the store to be sure you get one.

And woof. That's it for now.

And I'm spent.

Music Suggestions, Pretty please?

Yes, it's that time again -- rough drafting time -- and again I'm sorely in need of mood music. I have gotten incredible suggestions before, so I'm reaching out again.

I need haunting string music along the lines of the soundtrack to The Village. Any suggestions?

If I don't find some, I may never write again.

I mean, I might be slightly melodramatic here. But it's a possibility.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Too Much Amazing for One Small Table

I just found out that at ALA next week I get to have brunch with both my now-editor David (Levithan) and my first editor Andrew (Karre) at the same time.

I die of happiness. Will the world explode when editor Mixtape and editor Yoda sit at the same table with me?

If the planet explodes the weekend of the 11th, I'm sorry. That was me.
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