Monday, January 31, 2011

SHIVER, LINGER, FOREVER, TEASER, BLOOPER

So, as I mentioned before, Scholastic's given me the green light to release a video of me reading the first few pages of FOREVER on Valentine's Day.

Because I am supposed to get on a plane for NYC this afternoon, I figured today was obviously the best day to attempt a recording.

Two hours later . . .

-dogs barked
-printers howled
-oil men came by
-cats bit me
-I fell off my chair
-my chair bucked me off
-the microphone malfunctioned
-I needed more tea
-books got wrinkled
-words got flubbed

I'm now recorded and I will hand Scholastic that video tomorrow morning. For now, I shall leave you with the (vastly abbreviated) blooper reel.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Okay, The Insanity MUST Stop.

Okay. I say this with all due tenderness because readers, you know I love you guys, right? I do. You're the reason why I blog.

But.

Ever since SHIVER's film rights got optioned by Warner Bros./ Unique Features, I have been buried underneath emails, blog comments, facebook comments, letters, and banners being pulled behind airplanes -- all of them populated by readers saying "Do I look like Grace? I could be Grace!" or "PLEASE CAST SO AND SO FOR SAM!" or "Who do I contact about playing Olivia!?"

(strangely, no one ever emails wanting to play, say, Ulrik or something).

You would not believe how little role I have in casting or the movie process. None. That's how much. My involvement is limited to phone calls from my film agent with updates on things that have happened without my knowledge and the extend of my input is whether or not they spell my last name Stiefvater or Steifvater on documents. I don't have secret pull with anyone in L.A.. I promise. I have No. Influence. At. All.

And I know I explain this on every single FAQ page I have available to me and still . . . the emails come pouring in. I got 10 overnight. 8 yesterday. As many the day before. It would be different if they came with cookie recipes attached, but instead, it's only hundreds of headshots.

So this is where I say, sadly (but firmly), that I won't be responding to any email, tweet, plane with banner, etc. that has a casting suggestion in it. It just takes too long to say "I don't have any say in the casting!" and try to make it sound like I don't like your face. And I feel weird having  photographs of a million teens in my inbox. Please don't?

To soften the blow of this post, I'm going to share photos of Lover's dog, Cooper. The first photo is the day we picked him up, August 10th. Of 2010. (He's a Greater Swiss Mountain Dog). For some reason, we keep feeding him, and he keeps growing.


ed puppyCooper/ Odd/ ChainsawThe dogsCooper, STAYCooper & PeanutCooper, January 2011

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Today's Screenshot

Here we go again.

Screenshot/ January

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

In Which Maggie Helps With Homework

Currently sitting in my inbox are about 14 requests for information about my life from eager students doing projects on me. They claim that my wikipedia entry just doesn't cover it and ask for more.

I'm not sure there is more. Not only that I'm willing to share, but is actually worthy of a school report. I am not George Washington.

But in the interests of encouraging A students everywhere, here we go.

1. I was a small and cranky child. I threw my food on the wall and, memorably, threw myself down on a mall floor and shouted DON'T BEAT ME LIKE YOU DID LAST NIGHT!

2. My parents did not beat me.

3. I was a Navy brat. We moved a lot. Mostly to places with mosquitoes (Florida) and places with fire ants (California). The Navy only buys properties made cheap by the presence of nefarious insects.

4. In California, it was so hot at the school that they had mandatory snow cones and when you stood in line for them, the asphalt melted the treads on my shoes.

5. I had several bands in college. I considered the name Mandatory Snow Cones. Also Ripping Hags. Ultimately, however, my most successful one was a Celtic band called Ballynoola (but first Murphy Himself and also Widdershins and, very briefly, That All Girl Band With the Guy Guitarist). I also had a band called The Harvest Moon Quintet (our most memorable gig involved senior citizens setting a tablecloth on fire) and one that lived and died so briefly that it had no name at all.

Ballynoola

Yes, that guitarist is wearing a kilt.Yes, that is me with the tin whistle and the small harp beside me. Yes, that is our lead singer, Erin Hill.

6. That guitarist was wearing a kilt probably because we'd just come from band practice. And by band practice, I mean the Mary Washington College Pipes & Drums, of which I was pipe sergeant. Pipe sergeant = spends every free weekend at band practice, Scottish festivals, competitions, or generally wearing wool and being loud. I practiced two hours a day. AND I LIKED IT. Ah, there I am in the smallest shirt they made, a man's size small, because of course chicks don't play bagpipes!

MWC Eagle Pipe Band

7. I really did warn you that there was nothing of note in my biography.

8. All this time, I was writing bad novels. No, really. They're bad. Check it out. I wrote about 30 of these things from age 10 on. Some of them had ends. Many of them did not. By 16, I was sending out query letters. Sorry, editors.

9. Luke Dillon first appeared in a novel I wrote when I was 16. In this iteration I am sad to say that he was in possession of a lucky pig. At the time I didn't understand how this was not the sexiest of faerie animals for a hero to accompany.

10. I was home-schooled from 6th grade on. Before that, I was beleaguered by nuns at Catholic schools. I was a good student apart from punching people.

11. When I was 16, I legally changed my first name to Margaret.

12. Ha, you thought I was going to tell you what it was originally. It's not a secret, but google has to be good for something, right?

13. There is no item 13 on this list.

14. In college, I used to sneak into class before anyone got there and write jokes in Latin on the blackboard or illustrate scenes from history with giant cartoon talk bubbles.

15. I was a history major. British history. I was a geek, wrote two senior theses BECAUSE I LIKED TO, a 4.0 major, and a member of Phi Alpha Theta though I never went to any of the gatherings because in college, I hated people unless they were holding a musical instrument and sometimes even then. It's also the first time I got something published (it was about 14th century Scotland, don't get excited) and the first time I won an award (it was also about 14th century Scotland, you can still hold the excitement) Behold, I still have a very few of my books from then.

My Exciting BooksMy Exciting BooksMy Exciting Books

Oh hey now, don't you all fight over who gets to borrow them first.

16. In college, I tried to get into a creative writing class and they told me my writing wasn't promising enough.

17. I also showed horses (dressage and jumping), showed dogs (breeds with beards), had aquariums, wanted a goat, poked snakes with sticks, held baby field mice, collected boxes of roly-polies, and wanted to be an Olympic show jumper.

Now, if you can use this information to show how I became an author, you deserve an A. Also. Here is my wikipedia entry, in case you decide I was useless.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Italians Lingering And Whispering

So I'm not sure if you guys remember the whole story of LINGER in Italy. It goes sort of like this:

A Few Months Before Shiver came out in Italy:

ME: I can't believe you guys kept the title SHIVER for the Italian edition!

ITALIANS: Having it in English gives it a certain je ne sais quoi.

Italian edition of SHIVER

A Few Months Before Linger came out in Italy:


ITALIANS: We're having a problem. Most Italians don't know what the word "linger" means. Any ideas?

ME: MMmmmm. . . maybe "Whisper"? Whisper was a possible title for the book in the beginning.

ITALIANS: Awesomesauce (with parmesan). Be right back.


Slightly Fewer Months Before Linger Came Out In Italy:

ITALIANS: Bad news. We can't use Whisper. There's an Italian book coming out with that name already.

ME: Shit.

ITALIANS: Yup. So we did another read through of the book and we've decided to call it . . . . DEEPER.

ME: *blushes*

ITALIANS: *blushes do not translate*

Italian edtiion of Linger

Sometime Last Week

FAN: There is a book named WHISPER coming out in Italy this month!

ME: WHISPER!!!!! That is the evil book that made me SHIVER DEEPER! What is this foul book about?

Italian edition of Lament


I urge you to study all the text on that cover closely to truly appreciate this irony of this situation.


If you're wondering, it's about a girl who falls in love with a faerie assassin who's supposed to kill her. I'm not sure if that sounds familiar.

Yes, this is how I spend my weeks.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Signing/ Discussion in Fredericksburg, VA

I can't believe I forgot to post about this local event -- I'm doing a signing and discussion (which means basically that you guys can ask strange questions and I'll give strange answers) at my local Borders this weekend. Come see me? It's from 2:00-4:00 p.m., this Saturday, at the Fredericksburg, VA, Borders. More info (and you can RSVP) here. I reckon I may bring a few Linger tank-tops to give away to people who ask questions . . . 

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Writers Workshop?

So, after my post about the writers' retreat I'm going on in February, I got a few e-mails asking about how one got invited to such things and/ or expressing jealousy, envy, or slight homicidal tendencies (depending on the e-mail). The answer for that particular retreat was that you had to be agented and I had to know you and think I could stand a week cozying up to you in my pajamas.

However, it made me realize that there was one resolution from last year that I hadn't tackled for several reasons, but maybe ought to revisit. It was "host a writers' workshop" for unpublished writers.

So I'm still kicking this concept around. If I did such a thing in the D.C./ Virginia area, one-time, maybe one or two days, possibly early summer . . . would I have enough interest? Can I see a show of hands to see if it's even worth looking into?

Monday, January 10, 2011

Jack Frost, the Sequel

Recently I wrote about how my daughter, the 6 year old Thing 1, was contemplating plans to prove whether or not Jack Frost was real. As she is my daughter and my genes are strong, these plans involved knocking him senseless with bricks and then interrogating him.

I thought this plan had been abandoned for dolls and Olivia and baking and other childish female pastimes, but then I found this:



Allow me to interpret.

Thing 1's Jack Frost Plan

I'm never going to sleep.

And in case anyone doubts that Thing 1 is related to me, allow me to present one of my early works, recently given to me by my mother. (who is so pleased that I turned out to be a useful member of society).



You can see how my plots haven't changed much.

If You Could Ask A Writer ONE Question . . .

A little less than one month than now, I and 22 other YA writers will be withdrawing to a secluded location in middle America and, under the watchful gazes of several stuffed animal heads, having a writer's retreat. There will be mirth and probably drinking (by other people, I don't)(taste, not principle)(faeries don't like alcohol, didn't you hear?) and much discussion of the business.



Also there will be a v-log/ v-chat. Because there are so damn many of us, it'll be impossible to have a back and forth with readers as we normally would, so what's going to happen is this: each writer is going to answer one question. This is where you come in. If you could ask one question of one of these authors, who would you ask what? I will use arcane methods, black magic, wisdom, and chance to assign a question to each author. The final v-chat time will be announced closer to the event, but it'll be the first week of February.

And here's the line-up.


1. Me.
2. Tessa Gratton
3. Brenna Yovanoff
4. Carrie Ryan
5. Jackson Pearce
6. Jackie Dolamore
7. Dawn Metcalf
8. Kiersten White
9. Jenny Moss
10. Julie Kagawa
11. Frankie Mallis
12. Sonia Gensler
13. Victoria Schwab
14. Natalie Standiford
15. Saundra Mitchell
16. Myra McEntire
17. Jessica Spotswood
18. Carrie Jones
19. Jeri Smith-Ready
20. Julia Karr
21. Elizabeth Scott
22. Beth Revis
23. Sarah Darer Littman

Friday, January 7, 2011

Foreign Covers!

So just a quick one today to say that the UK unveiled their cover for FOREVER yesterday.

Forever, UK Edition


Yes, that is going to be shimmery in real life. What I find interesting is that they designed this cover before I sent them the manuscript (mostly because I took so bloody long getting them the manuscript) and still, there's an aspect on the cover that really reflects an important Plot Point that they couldn't know about. Color me impressed.

Also notice how it is covered with the glossy tears of British readers.

While I'm at it, I might as well post some other foreign covers that I don't think I've shared yet.

Chinese edition of Shiver

I think this one -- the Chinese edition -- would be a great poster for my wall. It's ART.

Russian edition of Shiver

The Russian edition of Shiver! Oh! says Grace! My thoughts are in Cyrillic!

And finally, the UK edition of Ballad (coming out in May).

ballad

Thursday, January 6, 2011

New Years' Resolutions: The Butt-kicking Fear Edition

So it's that New Years' Resolutions time of year again. I wrote what I thought was probably my definitive post on my New Years' thoughts last year right here but folks have been asking about what I think this year. So I'm gonna say it again.

I'm a big believer in resolutions. Especially when you call them "goals" and remove all of from your list that look like this "be healthy!" "be nicer!" "get thinner!" "be smarter!" Because statistically that's what most resolutions look like and statistically, those resolutions suck. No one sticks to them. And this is why.

How nice are we talking? Is your resolution finished when you're this nice?


Or is it done when you're this nice?



Or is your resolution done when you're this nice?*


And how, pray tell, would you know if you were that nice?

*My niceness scale was established in order of people least likely to flip someone the bird.

The point is that an ill-defined resolution is worse than no resolution at all, because when you look back at yourself in 2012 and say, wow, I'm just as big of a creep as I was in 2011, you're going to feel guilty. If, however, you had made your resolution: "volunteer 4 hours at a children's hospital," you would be 100% less creepy than you were in 2011. You might say -- "hey, but that's not very much niceness." Yes, but it's guaranteed niceness. Quantifiable niceness. Which means you're far more likely to go out and do it. It's better to have small, specific resolutions. Instead of "shine like a grail shaped beacon of hope in 2011" which will accomplish nothing.

But I have said this before. Other things I have said before include: do not make your resolutions based upon other people. For instance "get published" would be a bad resolution, because it relies on someone else saying "yes" for you to cross it off your list. I also yelled at my sister for putting "teach brother how to cook." Because it requires said brother's participation in order to make it work. This works well if brother also has "get taught to cook by sister" on his goals but if not . . . yeah. Ix-nay on the class participation in resolutions. It should be all about you, baby. The only way that I like joint resolutions is if there is either mutual resolution making, as mentioned before, or if it's a "if . . . then" resolution. Last year I had "if Linger goes to #1, buy a piano." And the year before I had "if my UK rights sell before March, go to the UK in fall." But other than that, I'd keep 'em about you.

THE TWILIGHT SAGA: NEW MOON

Other, other things that I believe: resolutions should be within your grasp or just slightly out of it -- and what is in your grasp depends on who and where you are. No point making a resolution saying "make a wildly ambitious and CGI driven movie spectacle that costs $500 million" unless you're James Cameron, for instance. But that's not to say that what shouldn't be on your list this year shouldn't be on your list next year. If you make a wildly ambitious and CGI driven movie spectacle that cost $250 million this year, then the $500 mil might be on the list for 2012.

I'm also against putting things on your list that you feel that you should do. Duty is a crappy motivator unless you're in a Russell Crowe movie. Resolutions are a really specific sort of goal, I think, that make you a happier/ better/ more awesome person. They should not include "do laundry."

Which I think brings me to my one thing that I haven't said before but I'm gonna say now. It's come to my attention that fear is a big factor in people's lives. Fear of failure. Fear of looking silly. Fear of disappointing people. Fear of wasting money. Fear of wasting time. Now I know that I have an underdeveloped sense of fear myself (my personal motto is "drive it like you stole it") but still, this seems like a terrible reason to not do something. I mean, unless you're a proponent of reincarnation**, you only get to go around once, and when you get to the end, do you really want to look back and say "I would've done that, but I have a fear of crowds."

**even if you are a proponent of reincarnation, there's a good chance that you won't have the ability to go to that Goo Goo Dolls concert you wanted to when you come back as a squirrel in Sri Lanka.

Recently someone told me they had a morbid fear of flying*** (and I'm afraid that they're going to know who they are when they read this) and so they couldn't go on an Awesome Trip I Have Planned For Several Authors and I was pretty much horrified. It's not that I don't understand the fear of flying - I mean, basically it's a few hundred thousand parts soaring in formation -- but it's also very easy to get around.  You just get on the plane. And if you don't . . . your world shrinks to the size of your car's gas tank? That's what we do when we let fear tell us what we're doing or trying. Every time you make a decision or refuse to make a decision based on fear, that's a possibility that is dead in the water. It's a slightly shrunken world. It's someone who you'll never be.

***Also, statistically, you're more likely to die in a tsunami than at the hands of United Airlines. Just saying.

HarryPotterBWP_468x357

 So. That said, here's my list for this year:

1. Read an entire novel in GERMAN (specifically SPLITTERHERZ).
2. Teach my sister how to drive a stick shift (and yes, "be taught to drive a stick shift" is on hers)
3. Buy a house.
4. Record at least 6 songs.
5. Go trail-riding in May.
6. Adapt Secret Novel to a screenplay.
7. Go to an art workshop.
8. Perfect November Cakes (a recipe from Secret Novel)
9. Buy a Maggie outfit for driving tour this summer.
10. Memorize Für Elise.

I'm buoyed by my success of last year's resolutions. How about you guys?


ariel8



Now, if you excuse me, I have a screenplay to write.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Housekeeping

There's just no clever way to fit all of these things into one post, but they need to be said, so here I go.

1. I finished Secret Novel on January 1st, just under my deadline wire. I've been writing for about 12 hours a day since December 12th, so I was surprised to find that when I stopped writing for 12 hours a day, I have free time. Huh!

2. Secret Novel, before you ask (well, some of you already have), is due to come out next fall, pretty soon after FOREVER (which is July 12th). It will not be Secret too much longer.

UK Edition of Lament 3. LAMENT came out in the UK yesterday, with its spiffy new cover. Also, it has no f-bombs, unlike the US version.

4. I hear rumors that LINGER is coming out in Brazil this month too. I'll post a link and cover when I find it. When you have 36 foreign publishers, it's like every month is release month! Whoo!

5. 36 is a lot.

6. I am really, really behind on e-mails and blog comments but I'm playing catch-up this week. So if you start getting a lot of email notifications as I reply to your comments . . . that's why.

7. I'm going to be doing a butt-kicking New Years Resolution post tomorrow. Just warning you.

Frankfurt Shapeshifting8. People have been asking me about my tee-shirt that I wear everywhere. (Seen at right in Germany . . . but there are sightings of me wearing it all over the world). I made it because you just can't find quality shape-shifting tee shirts at Wal-Mart. If you want one, they're here.

9. I went and saw Tangled in 3D and it was, hands down, the most gorgeous animated film I've ever seen. Go see it. I'm taking my sister to see it again this afternoon. No seriously. Go. Now. Everything else can wait for DVD. GOOOOO.

10. Now that I'm done with Secret Novel, I've been reading TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD for the first time -- almost done -- and I feel that it's rubbing off on me. In any case I've been trying to work out "I'm going to wear you out!" into polite punitive conversation and when I played Bananagrams with my family last night, my words were things like "juries," "lynch," and "mob."

I now return you to your regularly scheduled web surfing.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Maggie's Best 15 Songs of 2010

So those of you who read this blog regularly will know that I have a bit of a music problem. Namely, that I buy a lot of it. I listen to music from the moment I wake up to the moment I fall asleep. Anyway, last year I put together a blog post with a few of my favorites I'd found over the course of the year, and readers keep asking me for more recommendations, so I'll do it again. Unfortunately, I seem to have bought 741 songs in 2010, so it was hard to narrow it down. I'll do my best to keep this short . . .

As usual, if you love any of these things, do the right thing, go and spend the $1 on iTunes or Amazon or a music purveying man on a street corner. $1 is really not that much . . . unless you buy 740 more of them.


First song bought in 2011. “Samson” by Regina Spektor.


1. Best Song to Listen to When Leaving On A Month-Long European Book Tour Away From Everyone You Love


“You Will Leave a Mark” - A Silent Film




("Swallow You" - Ruse, "Dead American Writers" - Tired Pony)


2. Best Song to Listen to On the Plane Back from A Month-Long European Book Tour Away From Everyone You Love


“Welcome Home” - Radical Face



(“Heimkehrerlied” - Peterlicht, "Winter Song" - Sara Bareilles & Ingrid Michaelson, “Lille” - Lisa Hannigan, “Offenes Ende” - Peterlicht)


3. Best song to listen to when you’re laying on the floor of a porch in New Orleans with your best friend, thinking that you’ll never write again after you’ve thrown out the entire manuscript of FOREVER right before your deadline

“Never Bloom Again” - The Perishers



(“How to Save a Life” - The Fray, “New Low” - Middle Class Rut)


4. Best Song to listen to while driving over 65 miles an hour.

“Talk Amongst Yourselves” - Grand National





(“Loud Pipes” - Ratatat, “Derty” - Ronald Jenkees, “Drum Song” - The Temper Trap)


5. Best song to listen to after getting crushing news.

“Light Outside” - Wakey! Wakey!



(“Here Before” - Lissie, “First Floor People” - Barcelona)



6. Best song to inspire you to write a Secret Novel.

“An Toll Dubh” - Runrig



(“The Banshee” - Matt Molloy, “The Blood of Cuchullain” - Mychael & Jeff Danna)


7. Best song to listen to when it’s snowing and you’re writing a Secret Novel instead of wrapping Christmas presents.

“La Fontaine - Connie Dover”



(“Electric Landlady" - Kila, “Tuuli” - Hedningarna)


8. Best song recommended to me by a reader.


“Resurrection Fern” - Iron & Wine



(“When I Decide” - My Terrible Friend, “Far Away” - Jose Gonzalez)


9. Best Song to inspire wickedness.

“Sinister Kid”  - The Black Keys



(“Crying Lightning” - The Arctic Monkeys, “How The Leopard Got Its Spots” - Portugal the Man)


9a. Best Song to loiter with.

“Struggle” - Ringside.



(“Mountain Man” - Crash Kings, “I’m Good, I’m Gone” - Lykke Li)


10. Best song to celebrate your novel debuting at #1 on the New York Times Bestseller List

“Walking the Dog” - Fun!



(“Pull My Heart Away” - Jack Penate, “Hurricane Drunk” - Florence & the Machines)


11. Best Song your friends have never heard of.

“The Gospel Song” - Magnet



(“Lately” - The Helio Sequence, “Hi-Fi Goon” - Throw Me The Statue, “Home” - Jenny O)


12. A song with over 100 plays in my iTunes

“We Insist” - Zoe Keating



(“Arrival to Earth” - Steve Jablonsky, “Eyes on Fire” - Blue Foundation)


13. Best song to frighten your inlaws with.

“Id Engager” - Of Montreal



(“I Was Born (A Unicorn)” - The Unicorns, “Rome” - Yeasayer)


14. Best song to play when your mom is over.

“Honey Bee” - Zee Avi



(“Little Kids” - Kings of Convenience, “Hey Trouble” - The Concretes)


15. Song that suddenly made FOREVER make sense.

“Comes and Goes (In Waves)” - Greg Laswell



(“I And Love And You” - The Avett Brothers, “Sandra’s Theme” - Danny Elfman)


Last song bought in 2010.

“Drive it Like You Stole It” - The Glitch Mob.

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