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The Good, The Bad, and the Prom Dress

October is a difficult month for me. On one hand, it might be my favorite month of twelve to chose from.  Normally it’s a Beautiful Weather month, one of the few that is reliably cooler. Not necessarily cool, but cooler.  We’ll get some mornings in September that are worth leaving the patio door open. But witness this year, when we still had 99 degree days.

But the problem with October is that it’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  Which is not a problem in itself except that all my favorite cosmetic companies put out special products and limited edition collections. And the only thing I love more than a set of limited edition lip glosses is a PINK set of limited edition lip glosses.

pink works - pinks By Essie

Essie’s “Pink About It” which jumped into my shopping bag yesterday.

So anyway. After my trip to ULTA resulted in a new eyeliner (black with metallic pink flecks), a jar of Philosophy moisturizer (exactly the same as normal moisturizer, except in a sparkly pink package), and a pink Origin’s lip gloss, I decided I’d better stay away from the cosmetic stores for the rest of the month, and just donate money directly to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation. It will be cheaper for me in the long run.

In other philanthropy news, lets talk about DonateMyDress.com.  I found out about this site because of Tina Ferraro’s book Top Ten Uses for an Unworn Prom Dress, which came out the same day as Prom Dates From Hell.  (Maggie’s Prom Dress could absolutely not be donated for re-wearing by another lucky girl. It was a very Unlucky Dress. Unless you count the fact that she survived the night. Spoiler.)

OKay, anyway, so what DO you do with a special occasion dress after you’re done with it?  I got double use out of my prom dress because I wore it to a Freshman Formal.  I usually tried to get more than one use out of all my dresses. If I wore it to a fall dance, I’d recycle it for the Military Ball in the spring, or vice versa. I got through college pretty well that way.

Top Ten Uses for an Unworn Prom Dress(Just to brag a bit… I even wore my college formals after college, including to my first RITA awards dinner.)

But through various circumstance–like changing fashions, changing weight *ahem* and tastes, when I moved I discovered an assortment of formal and semiformal dresses. So I went to http://www.donatemydress.com to find a local organization that would take my dress(es) and pass it on to someone who needed it.  They’re all in really good shape, worn only once.  Why keep that hanging in my closet?

Dallas/Fort Worth has HEB Prom Closet. I just visited them with my armful of chiffon and taffeta and met the wonderful volunteers. It’s nice and clean, and they have formal wear for all occasions. They even have suits for guys.  They loan out dresses, shoes, purses, jewelry… the whole outfit.  And they take donations of all those things.

So if you have any dresses in good shape that you know you’re not going to wear again, check out the website and find your dress a good home.

Y’all have been reading all the way down to find out what the “bad” is in this post, haven’t you?  Ha!  Psych. There is no bad.

 

It’s BRIMSTONE Week!

Brimstone is available today!  You can get it in your favorite bookstore, online or in person, and in many e-book forms!  And what a bargain! It’s two books in one!

I’ll be posting excerpts all week on Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook and this blog.  Are you following all those things?  It’s the best way to find out about late breaking news and impromptu contests and giveaways.  (Impromptu is code for “RCM doesn’t always plan very far ahead.)

Today’s News: Want to get your copy of Brimstone (or any of my other books) signed?  I will be joining the Smart Chicks Kick It Tour in Montreal Canada this Saturday the 14th and in Philadelphia on Tuesday the 18th.  Details, including the locations, times and what other authors will be there are all on the Smart Chicks page.

Brimstone Cover Today’s Random Brimstone Excerpt:

 The air seemed eerily quiet once the EMTs were gone.I found myself at the edge of the pool, looking for… I don’t know what. Another glimpse of black shadow, a whiff of something other than chlorine. I’m not sure what it would mean if I did smell something. That I was crazy? Or that I wasn’t. 

I never saw the future. I couldn’t have warned Karen any more than I could have warned my grandparents the night they died. There was nothing I could have done. 

“Of course there wasn’t.” 

My heart slammed against my ribs. I jumped, too, arms windmilling to keep myself from somehow defying physics and falling into water three feet away. 

“What! Careful.” Big, tanned hands caught my waist. Well, where my waist would be if I wasn’t wearing the World’s Most Unflattering Swimsuit.

Last Week’s Winners: Congratulations to the winners of their very own signed copy of Brimstone. Izzybella won the random drawing (by being comment #28 as picked by random.org) and Milena won the arbitrary “Most Creative Essay” award that I just made up because she amused me. Email me and send me your addresses so I can send your books!

Today’s Totally Impromptu Contest: Wish me and Maggie Quinn a Happy Book Birthday in the comments or on Twitter or Facebook and I’ll pick someone to win a copy of BRIMSTONE!  (If you’ve already bought it, you know you can give away one copy to a friend. Or an enemy you want to make into a friend.)

Brimstone cover reveal and a little something extra

I’ve mentioned before that the first two books of the Girl vs. Evil series are being released in a new edition in September.

Without further ado, I present the cover of BRIMSTONE.

Here’s the cover copy:
Slinking down the streets, hiding in the shadows, always lurking just out of sight, evil follows Maggie Quinn. It’s no ordinary, everyday evil, either—it’s Evil with a capital E, and whatever’s behind it, it clearly wants Maggie.
But Maggie isn’t the type of girl to go down without a fight. She has a few powerful tricks up her sleeve, not to mention a best friend who’s a witch, and she’s declaring open season on demons.
BRIMSTONE is available on September 11, 2012.
In honor of Maggie’s new digs, I’m giving away something.
Answer these three questions in the comments section correctly to enter to win a signed copy of your choice of any of my books (including BRIMSTONE, you just have to wait a little longer).
1. What is one thing Maggie is afraid of?
2. What’s Maggie’s preferred way of dispatching demons?
3. What is the name of Maggie’s best friend?
Bonus (for tie-breaking):
4. What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?
Good luck!

A Rose by any other name…

Character names.

So, I totally stole this topic from Tina Ferraro over on Boys, Books, Buzz Blog. I think this is the second time I’ve done that. But I started to answer this in the comments, and it sort of got out of control, so I thought, hell, I’ll just make my own blog entry. So go click over there and give her some love, so she doesn’t hate me.

Anyway. How we name characters is a question we authors get alot (I know I do, and from Tina’s post, I guess she does, too.) They have to fit the character, and a lot of times they convey deeper meaning as well. Plus, you’re going to have to type them a lot, so it’s better to give it thought and not pick something you hate.

Maggie Quinn, the protagonist of the Girl vs. Evil series, was a character in search of a story, when I got the germ of the idea for Prom Dates From Hell. She as also named last name first. Her original concept was as a kind of female Kolchak (from the 70’s TV show, the Nightstalker, which was the inspiration behind X-Files), so oddly enough, she’s named after another 70’s rerun staple–Quincy (Quincy, M.E. was about a medical examiner who solved mysteries. This was before C.S.I., Kathy Reichs and Bones, etc., and so even cheesy 70’s reruns were addictive because there was nothing else like it. I also loved Columbo. These were all shown in rerun every afternoon, back when cable tv was only 20 channels or something.)

ANYway. Her first name “Maggie” just popped into my head from there. It went with the Irish/Gaelic flavor of the last name, it was both girlish but also rather down to earth. You’d expect it to belong to some hard working Irish washerwoman.

What’s really funny is that her full name, Magdalena, emerged as a complete surprise to me. Proof that my subconscious is often smarter than I am. By then I knew that Maggie wasn’t just going to be investigating your average zombies or vampires. She was going up against the forces of darkness, and she needed a name with some weight to it.

Oh, and further proof that our subconscious is weird? I was three books in when someone pointed out to me that Maggie and Lisa are Bart Simpson’s sisters. That is completely unintentional. Oops.

Justin is named after a rat in Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH. I loved that book (and that movie, even though they were substantially different.) But Justin was a young, handsome and noble sort of rat in both, so it works.

Lisa, by the way, has no deeper significance. Except that, like Maggie, she doesn’t go by her birth name. And I’ll just leave you with that big ol’ teaser. :-D

Here’s my question: Do you think your name fits you, as a character in your own story? Personally, I’m on the fence on this question. Rosemarys are kind of all over the place as far as image. We have not fared well in American movies, though books have been kinder to us. (And video games, oddly enough. Though still the brainy girl, I notice.)

Maggie Quinn Quiz

This is what googling your book title will get you. Someone (not me) made a quiz about Prom Dates. Could you be Maggie’s alter ego?

I don’t know if this was a fan or someone from Random House (because it’s actually well written, like, with grammar and stuff), but go give it some love. I’m totally linking to it from my web page.

Thanks, whoever you are!