Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Heckling Office Supplies

Today while I was trying to work, my printer was just sitting there. Looking at me.

And on my desk there was a brand new Sharpie. Just sitting there. Looking at me.

*elapsed time 1 hour 20 minutes*

My Printer was just looking at me.

Finally. Finally I can go back to writing this chapter.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Valuable, Content Filled Posts: i.e., my cat playing fetch

I tell people all the time that my cat plays fetch, but they don't believe me. Not in a meaningful way.

Sometimes it feels like it takes YouTube to end any discussion these days.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Foreign Cover Round Up

It's been awhile since I posted foreign covers, and as I find them intriguing, I figured I'd share the ones I'd gotten since my last wrap up.

In other news, I have a Lego Dobby on my desk and for some reason, he's always missing his head when I first sit down in my office. I'm not sure who the culprit is (knowing Dobby, maybe he's doing it to himself). Regardless, it's extremely distracting.

French and Russian editions of The Scorpio Races.

Indonesian editions of Lament & Ballad, Polish edition of Ballad, new German editions of Lament & Ballad

Japanese edition of Lament, Russian and Danish editions of Forever

New UK Mass-market (super market) editions of Shiver, Linger, Forever

Czech, Dutch, Finnish, Lithuanian, and Swedish editions of Forever

Favorites? Ones you hate? Ones you wish we had in the U.S.?

Sunday, February 19, 2012

I Was Going to Answer Reader Questions

. . . but because of the high prevalence of norovirus in our house (if you don't know what that is, I highly suggest NOT googling), I lost interest in operating my brain and I will instead share a photograph Lover took yesterday.

Two of our three dogs, Ginger (Banded Mountain Terrier) and Cooper (Swiss Mountain Dog). Ginger is demonstrating a canine's ability to use problem-solving and tools. In this case, she's decided to use Cooper as a dog bed.

Ginger Uses Cooper as a Dog Bed

I reckon Cooper is allowing her to do this because when he gets bored, he pulls her around by the tie out until she agrees to play with him. They have hard, hard lives.

I will be more coherent next week. And maybe even tackle reader questions.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

If You Give a Cow A . . .

I'm not sure how much time you've spent with cows, but they're pretty friendly.

Not the brightest bulbs out there, but still, more willing to give you the time of day than say, a squirrel or a [redacted].* It turns out that I will be seeing a lot more of cows than before, because our new house has several hundred feet of quality cow frontage. In fact, the cows closest to our house are not just cows, but super-friendly 4H cows with large and liquid eyes, grubby halters trailing leads, and bewildered but pleasant expressions.

*joke redacted here because it is Wednesday and I have already gotten more hate mail than I want to deal with.

Anyway, after closing on our First!Ever!House! on Friday (that sounds an awful lot like grown-up business, by the way, that verb -- "closing." It's like the phrase "mutual fund." Whenever I hear myself say one or the other, I check the mirror for signs of gray hair or the gleaming reflection of a staid silver Mercedes sedan)(just like Edward Cullen!),** I journeyed out to the Future House of Stiefvater with Lover to prance around and celebrate the largest and most brick thing we'd ever bought. After the obligatory standing in the halls and testing the echo-power of a house with no rugs or window treatments or furniture, we all trailed outside to look at the cows.

**Who am I kidding? I'm going to get hate mail anyway. First from people with gray hair, and then from a Cullen. Possibly also from Mercedes.

With uncertain but inevitable amiability, the cows — more like calves, these were definitely YA cows — wandered up to the fence. On previous occasions seeing The Future House of Stiefvater, we had coaxed them into being scratched. Things 1 and 2 had also allowed themselves to be licked. I don't know if you've seen a cow tongue, but I would like you to appreciate the intestinal fortitude of my children. I always felt a little bad that I had nothing to offer to YA calves in return, however. If they'd been dogs, I would've given them a biscuit. But they were cows. We had no biscuits, and anyway, what do you give as a treat to an animal that has four stomachs (well, four chambers in their stomachs, if you want to be technical)? I scrounged around in our vehicle and found a bag containing eight sweet potato chips.

I became filled with a burning desire to find out what happened when you combined cows and sweet potato chips.***

***Add an angry email from PETA and the American Angus Association to the ones already mentioned in this post.

I proffered the first chip. YA Calf #1 was very pleased with the offering, and despite the fact that YA Calf #1, like all cows, had no teeth on top, the chip seemed to go down just fine.****

****Yes, that's right. I was told this fact about toothlessness by the previous homeowner, and a bit of Googling bore this out. It's hard to imagine, though. Can you imagine us without teeth on top?*****

*****I am seriously regretting photo-shopping that photo of Julia Roberts to include a toothless upper maw, because I will now be having nightmares about that for a week.

This made YA Calf #2 eager to have a taste, but YA Calves #1 and #3 were in his way. What was a curious cow to do? Extend its blue tongue fourteen feet over the heads of the others, of course.


Okay, it wasn't really fourteen feet. But it was about twelve inches. And blue. And sticky. The tongue merely touched the chip and then withdrew back into the mouth, like a frog catching flies. Delighted both by the cow's evident enjoyment and the realization I still had my hand, I fed two more of the chips to YA Calves #3 and #4, respectively. I was certain that we'd become firm friends and that later, when cows had taken over the earth, they would remember me and spare both my family and my Camaro. It was a realization I pondered again and again after returning to the weekend rental cabin to play approximately 17 games of pool. I considered the day a rousing success.

Later, Lover fed YA Calf #1 the remaining four chips, which made YA Calf #1 emit one dry cough. So, basically you can send any angry e-mails about inappropriate cow feeding to him, not me. I have since googled and found that the following make good cow treats:


Admittedly, maybe not fried. But just in case you are planning on going forth and befriending any of our future bovine overlords (I might be channeling Gary Larson here), you're now equipped with 100% more knowledge than I had when I started out.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

More Info About The Raven Boys

Ah! Behold -- Amazon has updated their page for THE RAVEN BOYS, and it has a longer description. That means I'm safe to share it here, too

Cover for The Raven Boys“There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.”

It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.

His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

From Maggie Stiefvater, the bestselling and acclaimed author of the Shiver trilogy and The Scorpio Races, comes a spellbinding new series where the inevitability of death and the nature of love lead us to a place we’ve never been before.

(and for those just seeing this for the first time, it comes out September 18 of this year, is the first in a four-book series, and as always, can be pre-ordered from any bookstore, online or not. But also also like always, you can pre-ordered a signed and doodled in copy by pre-ordering from Fountain Bookstore).

Interestingly enough, every time I think about the book being released, I get a little squeeze of nerves in my stomach. Ha! look! there it went again.

Friday, February 3, 2012

GO Somewhere and DO Something

I am generally a productive person. I have vices, but they generally are vices that make me work more, not less, which is convenient when you are in the writerly line of work. I have even honed a fine system of reward and punishment which grants me time to procrastinate on an earned basis, which probably makes it more properly "free time" than "procrastination." Oh yes, I am a productive person.

Jackson preeningBut it also means that I am extremely unprepared for coping with times when I suddenly find myself not productive, as I did this week. Rather than writing, I found myself making bread, eating cookies, reading novels, watching Ghost Hunters, winning awards, animating hands, and playing Irish pub music on Hannibal the piano. And I seemed incapable of breaking this vicious cycle. So I turned to my authorial friends. I rely a lot on the wisdom of my friends when I get stumped, and so last night, I reached out to my friend Jackson Pearce and asked for her oracular advice on my unproductivity. (that's Jackson ---->)

The following occurred.

This struck me as sage advice as I had not left the house in approximately three months when I was last on tour, so I went to bed early with the intention of taking Thing 1 and Thing 2 to school the next day (a task ordinarily relegated to Lover) and then Going Somewhere and Doing Something. The following morning, I rose with the birds, packed school lunches (bread and cookies, because as you could see, we had plenty on hand), and journeyed off to the Big City with the children, driving Slick the Wonder Car.

Well! I thought as I drove. This is already doing quite well! I have story ideas already! I am quite awake! It is not even 8 a.m.! Truly Jackson is wise!

Then I dropped off Things 1 & 2, and because I needed to Go Somewhere, I went to the Big City's Super Target to get some bagels for Thing 2 and some acid for my contact lenses and also several pairs of cheap sunglasses because I had lost the Very Expensive Ones that Lover had gotten me and because the sun was a lot brighter than I remembered from 2011, when I last left my house. By virtue of it being not even 8:30 a.m., the Super Target was virtually empty, apart from the 4,002 employees restocking the shelves. I ogled my books in the book section, because I'm classy like that, and then I collected my items and headed toward the front. There was only one register open, with the cashier standing in front of it (I told you, I was the only customer there), and I made a bee line toward her, smiling in a way that I hoped was more "good morning I am human" and less "my teeth are bared run away." Cashier smiled back, but then her face abruptly changed.

CASHIER: Oh my God.
ME: !
CASHIER: Are you?
ME: . . .
CASHIER: Maggie?
ME: . . .
CASHIER: Stiefvater?

My thoughts were twofold. 1) She pronounced my last name right! 2) This is all Jackson Pearce's fault.

ME *in retrospect, with probably more wariness than was warranted*: How did you know it was me?
CASHIER: I read your blog!
ME: *I am never leaving the house without brushing my hair again*

If you are reading this, friendly cashier and blog reader, I am sorry for goggling my eyeballs at you. I had not left the house in a very long time, as I mentioned, and when I did finally emerge, it seemed that I had become famous. Or at the very least, like someone who really ought to brush their hair before leaving their house. And so I'm sure I would be more coherent now, but at the moment, I know there was eye goggling involved.

My New Cheap SunglassesAnyway, I then staggered back to Slick the Wonder Car. For a moment, I was distracted from Jackson's advice by my urgent need to drink the mango smoothie I had just purchased while listening to a very obnoxious piece of music (you won't like it) and picking the UV sticker off the cheap sunglasses I had just purchased. Then, putting on the sunglasses and coming to, I realized that it was not enough to have Gone Somewhere. Remembering Jackson's exhortation to Do Something, I put the car in gear and drove to the Mitsubishi dealer*.

*Oh, I am so relieved that I have announced RAVEN BOYS so this following story involving Mitsubishis will have a modicum of context.

Because it was not yet 9 a.m., I assumed the dealer was closed, so I cruised into the parking lot and backed Slick the Wonder Car into an empty spot. Ha! I was woefully mistaken, dear reader! The moment I stepped out of the car, a dealer-man manifested directly next to me.

DEALER-MAN: What can I DO for YOU?
ME: I am here to look at Evos.
DEALER-MAN: *strangled noise*
ME: What was that? That noise?
DEALER-MAN: *wordlessly points from Slick the Wonder Car to the Evos.* *finally manages* But you have that. WHY?
ME: That is anti-salesmanship, my good sir.

Do you know what a Mitsubishi Evo(lution) is, dear reader? It is this:


This marvelous thing goes from 0-60 in 4 seconds or something close to it, is not very expensive in the general sense of things that go 0-60 in less time that it takes you to find your car keys, and is generally clumped in the greater automotive lexicon of Boy Racer. It is quite precisely what you would expect to find a Raven Boy in, which was why I was there, but it was also quite clearly not what DealerMan expected to find a Maggie in (which is patently false. If I did not have Loki and Slick the Wonder Car, I would consider a Boy Racer because I enjoy both speed and irony, and me in an Evo would accomplish both neatly).

For a moment, I thought about inventing a story about how I was contemplating trading Slick the Wonder Car in for an Evo because I'd caught my husband and my dog trainer in the back seat of Slick the Wonder Car, or how I had watched 2 Fast 2 Furious so often that my life wouldn't be complete without an Evo, or how I just couldn't bear the unremitting Slickness of Slick the Wonder Car and needed something less slick, but then I remembered that I lived in the Big City and had just been recognized in a Super Target, so it wouldn't behoove me to go around telling grandiose falsehoods in case I ran into DealerMan again in a different context.

So instead I told him who I was and that one of my characters was driving an Evo in my next book (the sequel to Raven Boys) and that he had absolutely no chance of selling one to me as I merely wanted to poke around for research's sake. Unperturbed, DealerMan spent the next 30 minutes talking about Evos and then he got the key and let me sit in it and start it up. I would've test-driven it, too, although there was no earthly reason to test-drive one for purposes of my novel, but apparently you cannot test-drive Evos, because they know that all you want to do is find out if it really does go 0-60 in less time than it takes you to say "Excuse me, ma'am, can I have a ham and cheese sandwich with lettuce but no mayonnaise, please?"

Then DealerMan and I parted ways amicably and I drove home and wrote a chapter with a Mitsubishi Evo in it. It's a very fine chapter, if I do say so myself.

So thank you, Jackson Pearce. It turned out all I really needed was to Go Somewhere and Do Something.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

And My Next Project Is . . .

Okay . . . so it is that moment. That moment where I reveal what MagicalNovel is really about. On Monday I mentioned that it was the most ambitious thing I’d ever tackled and I showed MagicalNovel’s baby photos, and then I encouraged readers to guess what it was about, with hilarious results. (One reader — Cathrine M.H. — did get it precisely right and I will be sending her something prizey).

But now the guessing is over. It will be coming out September 18th of this year, and here is the cover.

Cover for The Raven Boys

*cuddles cover*

*cuddles it some more*

And here is the official summary:

Filled with mystery, romance, and the supernatural, The Raven Boys introduces readers to Richard “Dick” Campbell Gansey, III and Blue Sargent. Gansey has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on the hunt to find Glendower, a vanished Welsh king. Legend has it that the first person to find him will be granted a wish—either by seeing him open his eyes, or by cutting out his heart.

Blue Sargent, the daughter of the town psychic in Henrietta, Virginia, has been told for as long as she can remember that if she ever kisses her true love, he will die. But she is too practical to believe in things like true love. Her policy is to stay away from the rich boys at the prestigious Aglionby Academy. The boys there—known as Raven Boys—can only mean trouble. When Gansey and his Raven Boy friends come into her life, Blue realizes how true this is. She never thought her fortune would be a problem. But she was wrong.

It doesn’t mention that Gansey wears top-siders for practically the entire novel, but that is also true. It doesn't mention that this was the book that had me soliciting Twitter for all that "boys behaving badly" music for the playlist while I wrote it, but that is also true. It also doesn’t mention that THE RAVEN BOYS is book one in the four-book Raven Cycle, but that is also ALSO true.

So . . . there it is. I feel weird releasing this into the world, because it feels like such a different sort of project for me (which I now realize I have said every time I announce a new book). I’ve never planned out a series so painstakingly before, nor worked with so many characters. I’m having more fun than you can possibly imagine.

Well, possibly you can imagine it. Just insert my face hovering above three bowls of a cookie dough. That emotion is quite similar.

As always, if this sounds delightful, you can pre-order a signed and doodled in copy from Fountain Bookstore. Or you can pre-order from Amazon here.

I hope you guys love it. I leave you with the two songs iTunes informs me I listened to the most in this novel's playlist.

I realize the songs are very different, but so are Gansey and Blue. If you put those two tracks together, I think you have a pretty good idea of what this book is like.
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