Sunday, February 27, 2011

Spring Cleaning Book Contest

Not to be cliche, but I'm spring cleaning. At least once a year, I realize that I have to either buy more bookshelves or get rid of some books. Last year I bought a bookshelf. This year, I'm pruning some books. I have a bunch of books that I won't read again, have duplicates of, having on my Nook, have in hardcover, etc. etc. SO.

This is why I need to spring clean.

The Office in Disarray.

That stack you see on the desk is one of two I need to fit into the shelves that line the walls of my office.Any holes you see on the shelves are the result of my pruning.

So I think I'm going to give away my leftovers in three batches. Ah! This feels productive already.

YA BATCH 1:

YA Stack 1

YA BATCH 2:

YA Stack 2

ADULT BATCH:
Adult Stack

I think, um, to enter, you have to post a link to my blog somewhere -- on your twitter, facebook, blog, Mom's forehead -- with something defining like "I read this blog!" or "crazy author!" "I want to win books from here and she's making me post a link, tacky much!?" You know. Something like that. And then comment here or on the blogger version of the blog (your comment will be your entry) with where you posted it and tell me which stack you'd like to win and tell me what you'll do with the books if you win them. One entry per person.

Let's run it through . . . ummm . . . Tuesday morning, 9 a.m. EST. That's the 1st of March and an excellent time to end a Spring Cleaning Contest, I think.

I'm afraid it can only be open to U.S. readers or to international who can provide me a U.S. address, because these suckers are going to be sent media mail.

Okay, go! Also, vacuum! I am. You should too.



ETA: The stacks are getting higher as I go, by the way. I've just added one of the copies of THE VESPERTINE I found to stack #2. And also two copies of The Vampirates series. And HER FEARFUL SYMMETRY to the adult stack. It's dire.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Things That Amuse Me

Hands up if you know why this commercial reminded me of Linger.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Rejected Cover and Title Concepts for FOREVER

twitter

mixer

murder

Monday, February 21, 2011

Merry Sisters of Fate, Borders, & Secret Musicians

My monthly short fiction, "Answered by Small Voices," is up over at Merry Sisters of Fate.

In other news, there's not too much more depressing than going to a Borders store-closing sale.

In other, other news, I spent Saturday in the studio both recording the music for the FOREVER book trailer music and watching one of the Secret Musicians record his version of "Summer Girl." (which he may be sharing in May, stay tuned). And yes, there are multiple Secret Musicians, both of which I'm very fond of, musically. One is recording a single version of "Summer Girl." The others are doing a version which will go with an alternative version of the FOREVER book trailer. I can't wait to share them.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

And I thought NASA was weird

I really thought that NASA was going to be the most surreal thing to happen to me in a long time.

But I was having a perfectly ordinary evening when I got a blast of e-mails and tweets including this photograph.


That's Jeopardy.

AND THAT'S ME AS A CLUE.

Now the only problem is trying to bathe Thing 1 & 2 while flapping my hands helplessly.

THING 1: May I have a bedtime snack?

ME: Go eat everything within reach in the pantry while Mama stands over here and flaps.

NYC Appearances in March - Teen Author Festival

Borders, Glendale, CAOnce again, I'll be doing the NYC Teen Author Festival this year, which means I have a two events in March to announce. The first is a panel with a lovely line up of fellow authors, and the second is a signing at Books of Wonder with an even more dazzling line up of YA authors.

The panel is on MARCH 19TH from 1-2 p.m, part of a three part series. Details here. Here's the complete list:

1:10 – 2:00: The Ties That Bind, Part One: The Struggle Against Darkness

Kim Harrington
Lisa McMann
Maggie Stiefvater
Robin Wasserman

2:00 – 2:45: The Ties That Bind, Part Two: Family Bonds

Melissa Kantor
Melina Marchetta
Alyssa Sheinmel
Natalie Standiford
Danette Vigilante

2:45 – 3:30: The Ties That Bind, Part Three: Friends and Community

Matt de la Pena
Torrey Maldonado
Michael Northrop
Leila Sales

And then the signing is at Books of Wonder on MARCH 20TH, details here. My slot is from 1-1:45 p.m. Because there are so many authors there, the place will be hopping, so I'll sign as many books as I can, but not the enormous stacks some folks bring to my individual signing (though I'm always glad to see the stacks, don't get me wrong). I'll also be bringing Linger tank-tops to the Books of Wonder signing and giving them away to the first 10 folks in line.

And here is the dazzling list of authors who will be at the signing. If this doesn't awe you, you don't have a pulse and I'm sorry for your undead self.

1-1:45

Lizabeth Zindel (A Girl, A Ghost, and the Hollywood Hills, Penguin)
Maryrose Wood (The Hidden Gallery, Harper)
Suzanne Weyn (Empty, Scholastic)
Danette Vigilante (The Trouble with Half a Moon, Penguin)
Maggie Stiefvater (Linger, Scholastic)
Natalie Standiford (Confessions of the Sullivan Sisters, Scholastic)
Mark Shulman (Scrawl, Roaring Brook)
Alyssa Sheinmel (The Beautiful Between, RH)
Kieran Scott (She’s So Dead to Us, S&S)
Leila Sales (Mostly Good Girls, S&S)
Patrick Ryan (Gemini Bites, Scholastic)

1:45-2:30

Marie Rutkoski (The Celestial Globe, FSG)
Lena Roy (Edges, FSG)
Michael Northrup (Trapped, Scholastic)
Sarah Mlynowski (Gimme a Call, RH)
Neesha Meminger (Jazz in Love, Ignite)
Terra Elan McVoy (After the Kiss, S&S)
Lisa McMann (Cryer’s Cross, S&S)
Kimberly Marcus (Exposed, RH)
Melina Marchetta (The Piper’s Son, Candlewick)
Torrey Maldonado (Secret Saturdays, Penguin)
Barry Lyga (Archvillain, Scholastic)

2:30-3:15

E. Lockhart (Real Live Boyfriends, RH)
Sarah Darer Littman (Life After, Scholastic)
David Levithan (Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares, RH)
Melissa Kantor (The Darlings Are Forever, Hyperion)
Carla Jablonksi (Resistance, First Second)
Gwendolyn Heasley (Where I Belong, Harper)
Kim Harrington (Clarity, Scholastic)
Christopher Grant (Teenie, RH)
Margie Gelbwasser (Inconvenient, Flux)
Elizabeth Eulberg (Prom & Prejudice, Scholastic)
Helen Ellis (The Turning, Sourcebooks)

3:15-4

Daniel Ehrenhaft (Friend is Not a Verb, Harper)
Sarah Beth Durst (Enchanted Ivy, S&S)
Matt De La Pena (I Will Save You, RH)
Brent Crawford (Carter Finally Gets It, Hyperion)
Eireann Corrigan (Accomplice, Scholastic)
Susane Colasanti (Something Like Fate, Penguin)
Marina Budhos (Tell Us We’re Home, S&S)
Kate Brian (Book of Spells, S&S)
Philana Marie Boles (Glitz, Penguin)
Judy Blundell (Strings Attached, Scholastic)
Cathleen Bell (Little Blog on the Prairie, Bloomsbury)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Slick the Wonder Car

My Valentine’s Day began with Lover deciding to puke in lieu of taking the kids to school, so the morning school run fell to me. Distracted as I was by my imminent reveal of the FOREVER teaser, it was all I could manage to scrape together lunches and otherwise make certain my children wore pants before leaving the house. I was feeling virtuous about getting out the door on time when I discovered, in the way of most major Hollywood motion pictures, that there was a set-back at the last minute. The Valentines that Thing 2 had completed in painstaking, breathlessly slow, 5-year-old handwriting had vanished. I’m not certain who would want fourteen IronMan valentines, but if you see them, you can keep them. We did them again.

Which meant that by the time I got into the driveway, we were running a little late.

And that is when I made my first mistake.

Lover had just traded in his previous car, the Land Yacht, for something more fuel efficient. I had yet to try the new car, and in my infinite wisdom, I decided that this was the day to take it. The new car, which I named Slick the Wonder Car (without my husband’s knowledge) due to the fact that it is slick as a new-made dolphin, turned out to be more complicated than I thought.

I like to think I know as much about cars as the next person, but apparently not.

I sat in the driver’s seat, key in hand, Things 1 & 2 buckling up in the back seat, and that was when I first got a good look at the key. Normal keys have a key part, and then a fob part. Anything different from this is a perversion of nature.

Slick the Wonder Car was a perversion. There was no key and fob. There was only fob. I did not how to operate a vehicle in which there was only fob. In front of me, the clock informed me we were two minutes late. I moved the seat forward, because at least I was going somewhere then. No answer presented itself. What was I supposed to do with this keyless key? Panic, that’s what.

I stared at the fob, looking for buttons and knobs that would shoot out a key, feeling like I’d fallen into an 80s movie with Sylvester Stallone and Sandra Bullock. USE THE SHELLS.

Three minutes late.


ME: There’s no key on the key!

CHILDREN: It just goes in! It just goes in!

ME: *frantically thinks that’s what she said, that’s what she said*

That’s when I saw a slot by the steering wheel. A curiously fob-shaped slot. I inseredt the fob with the dubious trust of someone using an unfamiliar ATM -- will I get this back later? -- and the car came to life.

Four minutes late.

ME: Drive! Drive!

My euphoria melted. Driving was a no go. Slick the Wonder Car informed me the parking brake was on. But I, for one, saw no parking brake. There was absolutely nothing useful looking in sight. There was nothing but smooth surfaces and leather as far as the eye could see. It was like a Lady Gaga photo shoot.

CHILDREN: Oh, great, we’re going to be late because Mama can’t drive!

And then I saw this.


First, I noticed that Lover had a Lego Batman as his co-pilot (that is two super heroes in one blog post! I think that’s a record!) And then I noticed a glowing red light next to a letter P. In movies, you aren’t supposed to hit the red glowing button, but Slick the Wonder Car gave me no options.

ZOOM! We careened from the driveway.

And that was when I notice the speedometer.

Now, in my normal life, when I’m not driving Loki, I drive an ordinary little Jetta. It has a speedometer that looks something like this.

But that was not what Slick the Wonder Car’s speedometer looked like. This was what it looked like.

So that was what was in front of me -- that, and the open road, and suddenly I was flashing back over every moment spent going over 72 miles per hour between the ages of 19 and 29. I could hear the riffling of the sheaves of speeding tickets. Hear once more “license and registration” in a dozen different vocal timbres.

I was Atticus Finch presented with a rifle. James Bond presented with a fashion model. I had seen this weapon and I knew how to use it.

You cannot put OMFG on a speedometer without expecting that Maggie is going to attempt OMFG at some point.




This is the part of the blog post where you all are expecting me to tell you about the ticket that I got on Valentine’s Day.

Turns out, for all the things that Slick the Wonder Car could do, it couldn’t move distracted ladies in Broncos, old men walking Pomeranians, or change the school zones to something more conducive to speeding.

I want my money back.

Monday, February 14, 2011

In Which I Read the First Pages of FOREVER

Friday, February 11, 2011

Friday Five. The Forever Edition

I just got home from being snowed in at the writers' retreat and I'm pretty much incapable of anything but lists.

1. I mentioned before I'll be releasing a video of me reading the first few pages of FOREVER on Monday, Valentine's Day. Well, now Scholastic has given me the time and place: noon EST, on my Facebook page. So that's here. It will stay up indefinitely (some folks asked).

2. There were some rumors, after we got snowed in in Branson, that people were planning on eating me as food ran short on the retreat. I'm relieved to report that I was not eaten. But Jackson Pearce did make this video anyway.




3. And finally, in last retreat related news, here are the folks who were on the last live chat (including me). Natalie Standiford, Jeri Smith-Ready, Jackson Pearcce, and Dawn Metcalf. Thanks for the folks who came out to chat!



4. I will actually be blogging like a normal person in the week to come. But for now I'm just going to sit here and be happy there's no snow anywhere in sight. 

5. I have no five.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Unfortunately, Branson Has Rendered Me Edible

I believe Jackson Pearce describes our situation the best.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Monday's Live Chat & Tonight! Is! Me!

Aaaaaaaand once again, I'm posting the covers and bios of the authors who were on the chat last night. And here's the line up for the chat tonight, starting at 8 p.m. EST here: www.livestream.com/jacksonpearce. Come and ask questions! See ya then.

1. Jackson Pearce (SISTERS RED, SWEETLY)
2. me. (me)
3. Natalie Standiford (CONFESSIONS OF THE SULLIVAN SISTERS, HOW TO SAY GOODBYE IN ROBOT)
4. Jeri Smith-Ready (SHADE, WICKED GAME)
5. Dawn Metcalf (LUMINOUS)

And last night's authors:

Tessa Gratton: TESSA GRATTON has wanted to be a paleontologist or a wizard since she was seven. She was too impatient to hunt dinosaurs, but is still searching for someone to teach her magic. After traveling the world with her military family, she acquired a BA (and the important parts of an MA) in Gender Studies, then settled down in Kansas with her partner, her cats, and her mutant dog. You can visit Tessa at TessaGratton.com






Julie Kagawa - Julie was born in Sacramento, California. But nothing exciting really happened to her there. So, at the age of nine she and her family moved to Hawaii, which she soon discovered was inhabited by large carnivorous insects, colonies of house geckos, and frequent hurricanes.
To pay the rent, Julie worked in different bookstores over the years, but discovered the managers frowned upon her reading the books she was supposed to be shelving. So she turned to her other passion: training animals. She worked as a professional dogtrainer for several years, dodging Chihuahua bites and overly enthusiastic Labradors, until her first book sold and she stopped training to write full-time.

Julie now lives in Louisville, Kentucky, where the frequency of shark attacks are at an all time low. She lives with her husband, two obnoxious cats, one Australian Shepherd who is too smart for his own good, and the latest addition, a hyper-active Papillon puppy.

Carrie Ryan - Born and raised in Greenville, South Carolina, Carrie Ryan is a graduate of Williams College and Duke University School of Law. A former litigator, she now writes full time. She lives with her writer/lawyer fiance, two fat cats and one large puppy in Charlotte, North Carolina. They are not at all prepared for the zombie apocalypse.

The Forest of Hands and Teeth is her first book and a companion, The Dead-Tossed Waves, will be released Spring 2010.









Sonia Gensler - Sonia Gensler grew up in a small Tennessee town and spent her early adulthood collecting impractical degrees from various Midwestern universities. A former high school English teacher, she now writes full time in Oklahoma. So far, her husband and cat are putting up with this. The Revenant is her debut novel.








Monday, February 7, 2011

And YET MORE Live Chatting!

Thanks to everybody who chose our live chat last night over the Superbowl. CLEARLY you are people of culture and good taste.

Like yesterday, I'm going to post the covers and bios of the authors who spoke last night, and again, I'm going to mention that five more authors from the retreat will be chatting tonight at 8 p.m. EST here. I'm not saying who, but these are the authors who have yet to appear on the chat and will appear either tonight or tomorrow night at 8 p.m. EST:

1. Jackson Pearce (SISTERS RED, SWEETLY)
2. me. (me)
3. Tessa Gratton (BLOOD MAGIC, coming May)
4. Natalie Standiford (CONFESSIONS OF THE SULLIVAN SISTERS, HOW TO SAY GOODBYE IN ROBOT)
5. Carrie Ryan (FOREST OF HANDS AND TEETH)
6. Jeri Smith-Ready (SHADE, WICKED GAME)
7. Julie Kagawa (THE IRON KING)
8. Julia Karr (XVI)
9. Jenny Moss (SHADOW, TAKING OFF)
10. Sonia Gesler (THE REVENANT)
11. Dawn Metcalf (LUMINOUS)

Julia Karr - Julia Karr was born in Indiana, and moved to Chicago when she was fifteen. After the initial culture shock of going from quiet, small town living to Carl Sandburg's "stormy, husky, brawling" metropolis, she fell madly in love with the city. Her schooling in the art of writing came from reading voraciously. While students were being forced to read the classics, Julia was busy going on author binges. As a young mother, reading books to, and eventually with, her daughters, she fell head-over-heels for children's literature. Not a far stretch for someone who had loved reading since the age of three. While still working a nine-to-five job, after hours Julia can be found at home, sitting on the couch tapping out stories on her laptop, with one of several cats draped behind her and her dogs sleeping nearby.







Jackie Dolamore - Jaclyn Dolamore was homeschooled in a hippie sort of way and spent her childhood reading as many books as her skinny nerd-body could lug from the library and playing elaborate pretend games with her sister Kate. She skipped college and spent eight years drudging through retail jobs, developing her thrifty cooking skills and pursuing a lifelong writing dream. She has a passion for history, thrift stores, vintage dresses, David Bowie, drawing, and organic food. She lives with her partner and plot-sounding-board, Dade, and two black tabbies who have ruined her carpeting.









Sarah Darer Littman - Sarah Darer Littman, writer, mother, and unpaid chauffeur, is a living example of the cliche, "Life Begins at 40." After spending much of her adult life doing things she didn't really plan to, including such diverse occupations as financial analyst and farmer's wife, she at long last found her true calling as a writer. Her first book, CONFESSIONS OF A CLOSET CATHOLIC won the 2006 Sydney Taylor Award for Older Readers. She indulges her adult voice as a columnist for the Stamford Advocate/Greenwich Time newspapers.
Sarah lives in CT with her two teenage children and an adorable Havanese in a house that never seems to have enough bookshelves.




Kiersten White - Like most adults, Kiersten was once a teenager. However, Kiersten never outgrew it--literally. Standing at a daunting 4'11", Kiersten decided to write to her height peer group. Everyone knows that teenagers have more fun. Turns out writing for teenagers is more entertaining, too. Born and raised in Utah, Kiersten was lucky enough to marry a native San Diegan and be adopted into the fish taco and beach culture. A stay-at-home mom and full-time writer (if you count scraping in whatever hours she can after her kids go to bed as full-time), Kiersten lives with her wonderful husband and two adorable children in San Diego, CA. She's currently twenty-six, but that's bound to change next year.

Desperate for entertainment, Kiersten started writing shortly after having her first baby and hasn't stopped since. Being an author is quite literally a dream come true for a girl who spent every free childhood moment reading, and still spends most of her moments (free or otherwise) daydreaming.
 


Brenna Yovanoff - Brenna's good at soccer, violent video games, and making very flaky pie pastry.Brenna's bad at dancing, making decisions, and inspiring confidence as an authority figure. She suspects this is because she is short, and also terrible at sounding as though she have any idea what she's talking about.
She was homeschooled until she was fifteen, which has probably affected her world view in ways she can't fathom.
Also, she really, really likes parentheses. (Really.)

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Last Night's Live Chat

So, last night's chat was a huge success -- we'll be doing it again with four or five different authors tonight at 8 p.m. EST. I wanted to post everyone's covers last night in case you wanted to know more about their books, and I reckon I'll do it again tomorrow night for this night's batch. Etcetera, etcetera.

Without further ado (There is frequently further ado on this blog, I've discovered), the authors from last night were:

Saundra Mitchell - A screenwriter and author, Saundra Mitchell penned the screenplays for the Fresh Films and Girls in the Director's Chair short film series. Now an executive producer and head writer for the programs, she mentors young screenwriters from first page to production.

Her short story "Ready to Wear" was nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and her first feature film, Revenge Ends, debuted on the festival circuit in 2008. Her debut novel, SHADOWED SUMMER, won The Society of Midland Authors Book Award for Children's Fiction, was a 2010 Edgar® Award Nominee, a VOYA Summer Reading selection, a Junior Library Guild selection, and an ALAN Pick in 2009.

In her free time, she enjoys studying history, papermaking, and spending time with her husband and her two children. She lives in Indianapolis and welcomes you to visit her on the Web at www.saundramitchell.com.



Victoria Schwab - Victoria is the product of a British mother, a Beverly Hills father, and a southern upbringing. Because of this, she has been known to say "tom-ah-toes", "like", and "y'all". She lives in Nashville, TN when she is not wandering in search of buried treasure, fairy tales, and good tea.













Beth Revis - Beth Revis grew up in western North Carolina reading the classics of CS Lewis and Madeleine L'Engle and devouring YA fantasy and science fiction by Robin McKinley, Patricia Wrede, and Orson Scott Card. Her debut novel, a sci fi novel for teens who don't like sci fi, is coming from Penguin/Razorbill in January 11, 2011. ACROSS THE UNIVERSE, the first of a trilogy, tells the story of a girl born of Earth but cryogenically frozen for a centuries-long trip across the universe and the boy born on the ship who she meets when she's woken up fifty years too early.










Myra McEntire - Myra McEntire knows the words to every R&B hit of the last decade, but since she lives in the country music capital of America where her lyrical talents go sadly unappreciated, she chose to channel her mad word skills into creating sultry Southern timeslip novels. But if you catch her at a signing, she can probably be convinced to rap with you anyway.












So again, we'll be live again tonight at 8 p.m. here: www.livestream.com/jacksonpearce. Come ask questions!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Live Show with Authors tonight at 8:00 P.M. EST

SO I am reporting live from Branson, Missouri, the site of the writers' retreat I'm hosting. Hijinks have already occurred and we are eating cookie dough under the shadow of the stuffed moose head, but that's not what I'm popping in to tell you. I'm sticking my head into the blogosphere to say that every night February 5-8, we will be hosting a live chat with four or five authors from the retreat from 8:00 p.m. eastern to 9:00 p.m. You can ask them any questions you like (no guarantees they'll ANSWER them) and they're all yours for an hour . . . but I'm not telling you which authors will be there on which night. I CAN tell you that each of these authors will appear at some point on one of those nights:

1. Jackson Pearce (who's hosting -- thanks, Jackson) (SISTERS RED, SWEETLY)
2. me. (me)
3. Tessa Gratton (BLOOD MAGIC, coming May)
4. Natalie Standiford (CONFESSIONS OF THE SULLIVAN SISTERS, HOW TO SAY GOODBYE IN ROBOT)
5. Beth Revis (ACROSS THE UNIVERSE)
6. Carrie Ryan (FOREST OF HANDS AND TEETH)
7. Jeri Smith-Ready (SHADE, WICKED GAME)
8. Brenna Yovanoff (THE REPLACEMENT)
9. Julie Kagawa (THE IRON KING)
10. Julia Karr (XVI)
11. Sarah Darer Littman (LIFE, AFTER)
12. Kiersten White (PARANORMALCY)
13. Myra McEntire (HOURGLASS)
14. Jenny Moss (SHADOW, TAKING OFF)
15. Victoria Schwab (THE NEAR WITCH)
16. Saundra Mitchell (THE VESPERTINE)
17. Jackie Dolamore (MAGIC UNDER GLASS)
18. Sonia Gesler (THE REVENANT)
19. Dawn Metcalf (LUMINOUS)

So please come? The link is here: http://www.livestream.com/jacksonpearce.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Weird Posts About Writers' Retreats

Every time I organize a writers' retreat, I'm struck by the weirdness that the Internet brings to relationships, and then I'm further struck by the further weirdness that any degree of fame (or notoriety) brings to relationships, and then I'm further, further struck by the further, further weirdness that being a sensitive, creative person brings to relationships.

Basically, since I organized this last retreat with me and 24 other authors, I've gotten such a bizarre range of e-mails and gotten sent such a strange array of blog posts referring to it that I feel like I should say something about it.

This is how I pick my invites for retreats.

- I'm going for harmony. You know how reality show producers cast folks they think are most likely to fight? I do the opposite. Every invite list I draft looks like a mix tape. I have to think that the songs go together. Because otherwise, one of those songs is going to end up hiding in her room for the entire retreat sobbing and rocking and I have that emotional blood on my hands. WHAT KIND OF A MONSTER DO YOU THINK I AM?

- I have to know you. I sort of feel like this should be obvious, but dude, I need to have some concept of whether or not you're going to kill me in my bed. I would never, ever pick some random person to come to one of these events. Also, like I said: harmony. I try to add personalities I think will fit in and enjoy the brand of conversation that's likely to fly around and to know that, I have to have actually communicated with you on a slightly less than cursory level.

- It's professional. Though we will have loads of fun at this particular retreat of Moose Head Wonder, it's also a professional thing where we talk about the industry. I have a few emails and comments from folks who expressed wistful sadness about not coming, since clearly we would be sitting around fangirling about each other's characters. True confession? I haven't read all of the authors' books that are coming to my retreat. We'll be talking industry and deadlines and creative processes, but probably very little about specific books. I try to add people I think think about the industry like I do.

- Ego. It's really easy to get a bruised ego as a creative person in a room full of people more and less successful than you. Bigger advances, better covers, better reviews, more books published, better looking editor -- so many things to compare yourself too. I invite people I think can stand the heat. And trust me. There's heat. When you're sitting next to someone at dinner and they're five years ahead in their career than you, the conversation needs to not be sulking, awe, or any degree of self-deprecating fangirling. If I add unpublished writers I know to the mix, I want to be relatively confident that they're not going to melt into ooze. Likewise, if I ask hotsy totsy authors to the mix, I want to be certain they check any ego at the door. We enter the door of the retreat, we're equals. This is the #1 reason I add someone to my list or take them off.

Okay, that said, these are NOT reasons I pick or exclude people:

- how famous you are
- how much I love your books
- how unfamous you are
- any sort of clique
- the size of your book deal
- whether or not you're published
- who you're published by
- who you're agented by
- whether or not you have an agent
- whether your blog/ hair/ face/ book/ etc. is shiny and beautiful

Basically, what I've been hearing is that people -- especially not invited people -- are regarding an invite to a Maggie Stiefvater retreat as a status symbol. And this annoys me. No decisions that I make over a pot of tea and a spoonful of cookie dough while dancing around listening to techno should be used to establish anyone self worth. The idea of it hurts my soul.

Now go out and create a writers' retreat.
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