Friday, October 29, 2010

A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

So, I'm taking a break from being profound to work on one of the giveaways for my Halloween event with Jackson Pearce. SHIVER/ LINGER paperdolls. I know you are all just dying to see them, so here they are.

Grace the paperdoll:

and her outfit (yes, the winner has to color the outfits themselves, I'm not a MACHINE).

Sam the paperdoll (no, I'm not saying, definitely that he is a boxer over brief man, this is just a suggested serving):

and his outfit:

Isabel the paperdoll (I actually think I wrote her with her hair wrong, because I could never get her to look like what I wanted her to look like with short hair):

And her outfit:

Cole the paperdoll:

And his outfit:


Haha, I think it's charming that you thought he was going to have an outfit.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Further Adventures of Maggie & NASA

So today, I had another conference call with NASA, as the TEDx conference grows closer. One week to go. I thought it went well, despite the fact that whenever I have a call with someone from NASA, I lose the ability to speak and reason and the use of pretty much every higher mental process I've developed since age 3. The call went like so:

NASA: Just checking to make sure you really were going to be profound.
ME: I am doing my best.
NASA: And that you're definitely using the 12 minutes to the best of your ability.
ME: I've timed it.
NASA: And that you're bringing your Camaro.*

*I really, really can't make these things up.

In Which Loki Finally Gets Painted

Waaaaaaay back when, last year, you will recall that I told blog readers that Loki needed a paint job and asked whether I should paint him red again, or black (because black makes everything cooler)(ask Batman). I thought red was unbearably ostentatious, but it turns out, so am I. It was also what blog readers voted for, overwhelmingly.

(background: Loki is my '73 Camaro which goes to all of my book events within driving distance. According to the U.S. government, he is my business vehicle, which I modestly think is the best use of a tax deduction ever.)

I couldn't decide what color red, however, and finally, a few months ago, I had a dream that Loki was this awesome burnt orange/ red color. I spent all day hunting it down. So now Loki is officially "Tangerine Kandy" (which my friend Jackson says would make an awesome stripper name)(I'm not going to use it, so you guys can if you like). In full sun, Loki looks bright red. But in low light, it turns pumpkin orange. And I kept the stripes, because stripes make cars go faster.

You like?

I'm bound and determined to make the Great American Road Trip (maybe to Minnesota around, oh, say, FOREVER's release date?) in this car in 2011. You wait and see. It'll happen. Also on the list of to do? Finally get around to putting air-conditioning in it. And one day, when I'm rich and famous, convert it to electric.

I'm aware this is CarPorn and CarSpam and I'm not sorry.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Space-Age Readers & Art

Yesterday, innocently, I posted on Twitter and Facebook:

"I'm thinking of getting a Nook, somebody stop me."

Because though I love reading actual books, after being on the road for 30 days out of the last 40, I realized that there was no way to bring as many books as I needed in my luggage, and thought that an e-reader would be a great answer for that. Plus, I have a tendency to give away all books that I don't think I'll reread, so I thought this might reduce that number because if I loved a book on the Nook, I could just go and buy it in hardcover for cozy rereading later.

When I posted that, naive thing that I was, I honestly thought that I would get a rush of responses either supporting the Nook or pushing the Kindle or the Sony e-reader or iPad (which I'd already rejected out of hand because I hate reading on the computer, and so anything with a back-lit screen was out).

What I didn't expect was to get dozens of responses that were some variation of this:


Some were downright fearful, and I have to say, I was bemused. Maybe one day in the distant future, when we are all wearing clothing made from recycled toothpaste tubes and driving pod vehicles that run on farts and used cat litter and carrying around membrane-thin laptops that we wear on our hands like gloves, real books will be a mythical creature. But for now? Saying that e-books would ever take the place of real books is like saying that, eventually, we will have no need for the postal service because we have e-mail.

That's great, until you have to order a sexy pair of boots or a box of Tangerine Kandy-colored paint for your Camaro. Yeah, e-mail is fantastic for lots of different kinds of communication, but when it's about an actual, physical object, you'll never replace real mail. Books, it seems to me, are the same way. Some sorts of books are fine when you read them on an e-reader, but some of them, you need the book. One of the things I love about how Scholastic handled SHIVER was the packaging -- the colored ink, the gorgeous cover, the details underneath the dust jacket. The book itself is a piece of art, and if that's what you love, an e-book version of SHIVER will never do.

Oh, oh, and the other thing I heard was the fear of piracy. Don't get me wrong, piracy is a huge problem, and I hate it. It's hard enough to make a living as a creative person -- artist or musician or writer -- without people thinking that intellectual property is free and that downloading for free isn't stealing. You're looking at someone who got a great mix CD from a reader on Friday and has bought all of the tracks that I loved. If I love it, I pay for it. Anyway, piracy and e-books. A lot of people are afraid of e-books because they think it'll make pirating easier. Well, for the longest time, some of my books were available as e-books, and some weren't. I have google alerts to let me know when a pirate link of my books go up, and guess what, I got an equal number for all of my books. The fact is that there are people out there who think it's a game to scan as many printed books as possible and upload them to pirate sites (may they have jock itch forever). The e-book part? Doesn't make a difference. At least not that I could see.

So the fear . . . I don't think e-books are anything to be afraid of. I think they're going to wildly change the market. I think they're going to change how we make our book buying decisions. I think they're going to make reading look a lot different in a decade.

But so did the invention of the lightbulb.

Monday, October 25, 2010

How NASA and I Came to Be Friends

Five days before I left on my European tour, I got an e-mail from NASA.

I've gotten a lot of interesting e-mails since becoming an author. Aggravated letters from ASCAP. Letters from the First Lady of Wisconsin. Readers telling me that they put on SHIVER as a school play.

But it's safe to say I never really anticipated NASA. I'm not even good at algebra. I am, in fact, willfully bad at it.

So I was a bit bemused with this e-mail, which was NASA asking if I was willing to speak at the November 4th TEDx conference at Langley. Langley, as in where NASA does their thing. I did what any author would have done. Assumed it was a spam mail and sent it to my publicist saying "look what they're sending me these days, what a laugh, right?"

She was not laughing.

Which is why I found myself on a conference call with NASA and my publicist a few days later. Again, these are not words I ever thought I would be stringing together.

NASA: So you will be speaking to a crowd of your 1700 of your peers.

ME: Peers?

NASA: Intellectuals.

ME: I think you misunderstand what I do for a living.

NASA: Ha. Ha.

ME: What is it you want me to talk about?

NASA: Just be profound.*

ME: Again, I believe you misunderstand what I do for a living.

NASA: Ha. Ha.

ME: Any other advice?

NASA: Write the best speech of your life.**

*They really said this.
**Also this.

So this is how I find myself writing a blog post about how I will be speaking at the TED conference on November 4th. About profound things. Also, it will be the best speech of my life.

Also, it will be 12 minutes long. NASA wanted to know. So it'll be twelve minutes long. I think it will also involve a chair. I've been thinking about it, and I think that it'll be a lot easier to be profound if I have a chair on the stage with me.

If you're not one of my 1700 peers, you can also watch it online, NASA said. They told me this after I made a strangled noise following the words "seventeen hundred." "Oh, don't worry," said NASA. "The true number is much larger. 100,000 people will watch the video afterward."

If you'll excuse me, I'm going to go do some algebra.


On Friday, the Merry Sisters of Fate had our first ever joint public appearance at KidLitCon, talking about critique partnerships.

Many exciting things have happened, like being treated like a rock star in Lithuania and hitting number on on the bestseller list, but let me tell you, seeing this in a marquis was a fine, fine, fine thing.

Plus, we got to have lunch with Editor Yoda (Andrew Karre), who is one of my favorite people, and who will be editing the Merry Sisters of Fate anthology/ weird thing that we're doing with Carolrhoda. We spent all afternoon talking about books and wounded gazelles and other things that we needed to get caught up on, and then we had our panel at the Loft. It was so incredibly nice to see so many people there that we knew from online. Also, it was nice to have two other people to be clever with me. So I only had to be 1/3rd as clever as I was on Saturday and Sunday, when I had to give talks all by myself.

So right after my talk on Saturday, I had to fly out to Virginia for another talk the following morning. I had a connecting flight, so it took me from noon until 7:30 p.m. to get back to Virginia, and then I had another two hours to drive to the hotel where my Sunday talk would be. I was feeling tired from my European tour, sad that I had to leave Tessa and Brenna behind, sad that I had another day before I could go to my part of Virginia where home and Lover are, and hungry because my preservative allergy means that airplanes and airports are a hunger-strike zone.

On Friday night, a reader -- Sarah -- had given me a mix CD. I remembered it then, getting into my car at the airport, and I put it into the CD player. And it was exactly my kind of music. It was like a mix CD I would've made for myself, only most of it was music I'd never heard before. It was like being home again. If you saw a car barreling along at 85 miles an hour down I-64 on Saturday night, a big smile on the driver's face, that was me. Thanks, Sarah, if you're reading this.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Events, Domestic, and Covers, Abroad

It's been approximately a million years since I've been home and so I am really behind on basic housekeeping. And by housekeeping, I mean mopping the kitchen floor, posting about U.S. events coming up, and sharing foreign covers that shock and awe me. So here it is.

I just checked into my flight for tomorrow morning, because I am heading off to Minneapolis, Minnesota for KidLitCon on Saturday, an conference about children's authors and the blogging world. That I've already announced, I think. But I don't think I've mentioned that on Friday night, I will be holding a roundtable discussion and signing with my two critique partners, Brenna Yovanoff & Tessa Gratton. We'll be talking about what makes a critique group work, how we met, and taking audience questions. (And of course Brenna will be signing copies of THE REPLACEMENT and I'll be happy to sign any of my books).

So, details of that: Friday, October 22nd, 7 p.m. Merry Sisters of Fate at the Loft. Suite 200, Open Book, 1011 Washington Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55415 (612-215-2575)

And the other event I need to mention is the Halloween bash with the hilarious Jackson Pearce (SISTERS RED). We'll be at my favorite indie bookstore, Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, on Halloween, having a werewolf extravaganza. Not only will we be talking books, we'll be hosting a costume party. Winner gets a werewolf goodie bag which may or may not involve stuffed animals, werewolf books, Rilke, hand-drawn Shiver/ Linger paperdolls, or hatchets. Also, since it's Fountain Bookstore, home of Maggie-doodled books, I'll be doodling in everything I sign. And in case you needed any more convincing, there's also a ghost walk there in creepy-cool Shockoe Bottom. So you don't have to come for just us.

Details: Sunday, October 31st, 2-3 p.m. Halloween Werewolves with Maggie Stiefvater & Jackson Pearce. Fountain Bookstore/ Sam Miller's Restaurant. 1210 East Cary Street, Richmond, VA 23219-4118. (804) 788-1594. This IS a ticketed event ($8) - but if you buy a book there, it is $8 off the price of the book, so basically it's just the store's way of ensuring that you will buy a book at the event. And space is limited, so I'd book in advance.

And then, finally, some foreign covers. Collected into one place.

Dutch Edition of Lament

Indonesian Edition of Shiver

Serbian Edition of Lament

Serbian Edition of Ballad

Bulgarian Edition of Linger

Japanese Edition of Shiver

Latvian Edition of Ballad

Spanish edition of Lament (I think I
shared this before, but smaller)

Slovenian edition of Shiver

Slovakian edition of Shiver

Hungarian edition of Linger

Weird, yes? Now I'm going back to polishing my talk I'm giving at a conference on Sunday. I wrote it on the plane back from Frankfurt, and transcribing my notes is going to take me the rest of my life.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

FOREVER Contest Winners!

Okay, after an hour slaving over the Random Number Generator, I have the winners of the FOREVER contest! I wrote down the names exactly as they looked in your entry, so I hope these are identifiable. Also, I'm getting a complex because two of the tank top winners are apparently huge Vampire Academy fans, or else there is an unreal number of Ivashkovs entering my contest. And thirdly, tank top winners: remember, the tank tops are small. If you would rather have a foreign edition of Shiver, I'll substitute a signed Japanese, Hungarian, Czech, or Indonesian edition for the tank top. Everyone else? You're stuck with what you won. >:D

Winners please email me with your real name, your mailing address, WHAT YOU WON, and your name that you entered under. Some variation of OMG I WON I WON FOREVER CONTEST WINNER in the subject line would also be helpful.

And finally, everyone, thank you so much for entering!!!!

LINGER audiobook: xcremebruleex
LINGER audiobook: lotsatrebble
LINGER: Christi Herron Aldellizzi
SHIVER: Del Tsosy
Tank top: Jocelyn Curley Ivashkov-Graves
Tank top: Adriatika Ivashkov
Tank top: Riv Re
Tank top: samantha_geary
UK LINGER: Jessi Barrientos
1. Aggeliki Lazybones
2. emmarose1
3. Kyler Yee
4. inkbabies
5. rachelmglenn
6. Bella (from blogger)
7. winged
8. Jp Sullivan
9. germainedulac
10. Paula Cotton
11. Elena Solodow
12. Jessica Rodrigues Brooks
13. Emma Alice Blackman
14. ifmary
15. poseiwriting
16. jynnmorgan
17. kjersti_3
18. korrigan
19. Jeannete Rayn Hagan Beresford
20. hpuz
1. dark_peacock
2. glowing_threads
3. Aianarie (from blogger)
4. Mariah (from blogger)
5. Erika (from blogger)
6. cynthia|11
7. j_m_nunes
8. Ami 友 Ciminnisi
9. Karina Carroll
10. Jess (the Cozy Reader)
11. Lillian Elledge
12. elnice
13. Alma Coretastic
14. saturnkoneko
15. mswitch

UK/ Ireland/ Europe Tour: Days 17-20 & Welcome to Lithuania

The last destination on my tour was Lithuania. I didn't know much about Lithuania other than what Wikipedia had provided: 3.3 million occupants, part of the European Union since 2004, and the highest rate of suicide of anywhere in the world. And my attempts to find out more about Lithuania on my tour were pretty unsuccessful. I asked at every stop if anyone had ever been to Lithuania or was Lithuanian. One woman told me on twitter she was married to a Lithuanian and she was pretty sure she was a werewolf. In Amsterdam, one boy told me he was fourth generation Lithuanian. And his mother was evil.

So I was looking forward to it.

I flew from Amsterdam into Vilnius. I was supposed to have a public book signing just a few hours after I touched down, so I was feeling my lack of knowledge acutely. The plane touched down and rolled down the runway. I caught glimpses of landscape that looked like Virginia, fighter jets with tarps over the mouths of their engines, tiny prop planes also wearing tarps to keep out birds, and beyond all of that, Lithuania. I was picked up by two folks from my Lithuanian publishing house, Alma Littera, one of whom spoke great English and the other . . . not at all. Guess which one escorted me to my hotel and book signing event?

I thought, if I don't learn to speak Lithuanian in two hours, this may be the longest three days of my life.

Then I thought: I am 4,561 miles away from home and people who know me and possibly no one will come to my book signings and then I won't have to worry about speaking Lithuanian anyway.

This is what the first book signing looked like.

(more from the article here)(and more here).

There were television cameras and journalists with cameras and basically a million people who all made a lot of noise when they saw it was me. And before I spoke, they had a Lithuanian singer from Amberlife singing before me. Basically, it was like having that dream where you have to give a presentation in front of a big class and you look down to your notes and they're blank and everyone's watching you, and right before you wake up, you realize that you're in Lithuania. 

But it was kind of amazing, too.

Dalius, my interpreter, was terribly nice and terribly funny (he also taught me things like vilkas and Koks tavo vardas?) He introduced me to Lithuanian cuisine:

And he also helped me to find Lithuanian pastries to take back home to my kids. This, for instance, is Sakotis, and it's an eggy pastry that you can buy in bags at grocery stores, which I did. Those of you who were following along will remember the Great German Cookie Disaster of 2010, so it was with great care that I stored this in my hotel room until such time that I could fly back home with it. I want you to remember that I said that, later. Okay?


So. I had three book signings and a ton of interviews to do while in Lithuania, and one of the signings was three hours away on the other side of the country. I was rather keen about this one because, like you, I imagine, I wanted to know what Lithuania really looked like and figured a car ride would be the best best. Well, here's what it looked like.

So, beautiful. I left two postcards -- one in Vlinius and one in Klaipeda. Scenes of the crime:

And this is what they said.

Then, on the way back from Klaipeda, as I was riding in a Mercedes van with three Lithuanians under the age of 30, going about 85 or 90 miles per hour because the road was dead straight and the speed limit is very high, one of them turns to me.

LITHUANIAN: *with funny little smile* Would you like to hear some traditional Lithuanian music, Maggie? 

ME: Does that smile mean I should say 'yes' or 'no?'

LITHUANIAN: That's a yes!

She puts in a CD and this is what plays.

I would like to remind you again that this is playing at 90 mph with three hysterically laughing Lithuanians and some swerving. So, basically, it was fantastic.

I really loved Lithuania -- they were funny, friendly, and the country was gorgeous. I was more than ready to come home, though, after 20 days of touring. I'd never gone so long without seeing Lover or Things 1 & 2. I'd never gone so long not playing a musical instrument. I'd never gone so long wearing socks.

So I went off to the Vilnius airport with my computer bag and my clothes bag and my Lithuanian pastry held very carefully as not to break it. It had to get x-rayed along with everything else. Security eyeballed it. I eyeballed them back. The Sakotis survived security. It survived boarding. I put it in the overhead compartment. I had to connect in Frankfurt, and remembering The Great German Cookie Disaster, I was determined not to forget it there.

I got to Frankfurt. I remember the Sakotis. I carried it gingerly through customs.

SECURITY: What is that?

ME: A Lithuanian pastry.

SECURITY: Can I have some?

ME: No.

This happened three times, but the pastry survived all three times. By this time I was elated to be on my way home. I was so close I could taste it. 8 hours on a plane, and I'd be home. I was trying to stay awake so that my jet lag wouldn't be so bad, so I paused to get tea and a muffin at one of the shops in the airport. I had to put sugar in my tea, so I had to set the Sakotis down. I eyeballed it, because I didn't want to forget to pick it up again.


ME: A Lithuanian pastry.

PASSERSBY: Where's Lithuania?

So I carried the pastry with me toward my gate, stopping to put my money away in my pocket. I got to my gate; my flight was on time and leaving in thirty minutes. I sat down. Lover called.

ME: All is going well! I'm going to make my connecting flight! I'll see you in 9 hours!

LOVER: The kids are excited to see you.

ME: I'm bringing them a pastry! It's a --

This would be when I realized that I did not have the pastry.

I had put it down when I put my money away. I yelped something at Lover, hung up, and went tearing over to where I'd put my money away, to where I'd set the sakotis on a table. And . . .




Yes, folks, that's right. It had been five minutes, but already, it had been whisked away as abandoned goods. Meaning that, in the end, security had gotten another one of my baked goods. This hardly seems fair.

But the blow was softened this time by the fact that I was going home after three weeks. 20 days, 4 countries, hundreds of readers, thousands of books, two lost pastries, over 10,000 miles of traveling, and now I was going back home. 

I left my last postcard to a stranger on the baggage carousel in Washington, D.C. Last time I saw it, it was going around and around next to a large green bag and a black duffel. I like to think that whoever owned those bags picked it up, but it's possible that Security got that one as well.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Europe/ UK/ Ireland Tour: Insolent Dutch Children & Many, Many Postcards to Strangers

When we last saw our fearless heroine in Europe (that would be me, in case you didn't recognize me by the description), she was leaving Frankfurt for one short day in Berlin. We had a little under two hours before my last event in Germany, so Judith and Jeannette from Loewe took me to see some of the sights in Berlin. I'm afraid I fixated on the wrong things, however.

Judith: Look, there's the Armani store!
Jeannette: And Bottega!

me: !!!

Yes, there was a Bugatti dealership (well, technically, I think it was a something-else dealership that had a Bugatti on display). I can tell you that it is approximately 1,000 times hotter in real life than in this photo (which I ganked off the internet, by the way, of the same car, because I hadn't brought my camera that day).

Jeannette and Judith were quite forbearing. They took me to a massive German bookstore, where I bought German books (because books are clearly the easiest, lightest thing to bring back home in your luggage) and also to a store where I bought lebkuchen for my mother (and only ate some of it myself). Then it was a nice event with the Berlin Literature Initiative . . . and onto Amsterdam.

Amsterdam, oh you beautiful creature you. Ask me how much of Amsterdam I got to see. ASK ME.

I had school visits every day of my Dutch visit, no public signings because the books are quite new there (thank you to blog readers who managed to find me anyway!), which meant that I saw a lot of the train system, the school system, and also the inside of a small red rental car that would fit into my carry on luggage. I did manage to see a lot of bicycles -- the Dutch go everywhere on them, and there were thousands -- and a lot of Dutch school children.

Who were insolent.

No, not all of them, I guess. And given that most of them had to be insolent in a second language, you had to give them credit. Normally, when I finish a school talk, it goes like this:

ME: does anyone have any questions or comments?
THEM: how long does it take you to write a book?

But in Amsterdam, it went like this:

ME: does anyone have any questions or comments?
THEM: what is your bank pin code?

Clever little bastards.

Most of them really were great, and spoke embarrassingly good English (embarrassing because I have no Dutch at all) and the Dutch editions of Shiver and Linger are pretty darn gorgeous -- same cover as the U.S., but in heavy paperback with cover flaps. And I also ran across the Dutch edition of LAMENT, much to my surprise.

And I left not one but three postcards in Amsterdam, while going out to dinner with my publishers. The scenes of the crime:

And the post cards:

and number two:

and number three:

Those three were left on bicycle seats and benches. And then there was on last one, that I gave to someone directly at the Amsterdam airport, because I thought they needed it:

Then it was good-bye to Amsterdam, and on to Lithuania. Bye, Amsterdam. I loved your stroopwafels. Sigh.

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