The Rest of September and Stuff

Since my last post was from Canada, I figured I’d better update the blog and let y’all know that I was back in Texas. Though some of you do, because some of you have seen me. Maybe even wearing a Steampunk Hat:

Rosemary modeling Steampunk fashion at FenCon in Dallas

What all the fashionable are wearing last year.

So here’s a recap of the rest my trip:

New York City! I love visiting NYC. I don’t know that I’d want to live there, mostly because I couldn’t afford to live in Meg Ryan’s apartment from You’ve Got Mail. But if I COULD…

Meg Ryan in You've Got Mail

This was a tiny computer in 1998. But she still used AOL. What gives, Meg Ryan?

(Trivia tangent: You’ve Got Mail is one of my favorite romantic comedies. (I was going to say “recent” then realized it’s 14 years old!) The characters manage to spat/spar without coming off as shrewish or horrible. (Well, Ryan is just a little bit, but quirky!shrew was her rom-com shtick and it’s the least grating in this movie.) Also, why is it so hard to write a 21st century romantic comedy heroine who is responsible and capable until she decides she Must Get Married and then she turns into an incompetent idiot?)

(New tangent:  I just watched The Decoy Bride with Kelly Macdonald and David Tennant. (So this is kind of a Tennant Tangent)  It’s a UK film and I thought it was charming. Ridiculous premise, and in looking up this picture, I found out it has an appalling Rotten Tomatoes score. But I thought it was fun.)

Tenant isn’t this mean looking in the movie. Neither is Macdonald’s skirt quite so short.

Where was I?  Oh yeah. NYC.  So I’m striding down Broadway to my appointment, as one does when one is close enough that a taxi would be silly, and I’m navigating around people who insist to stop right in the middle of the sidewalk to take pictures/ask for directions/look at their map.  And I’m like, Ugh. Tourists. (As I wheel along with my pink polka dot suitcase.)

Lunch with my fabulous editor then down to Penn station to grab the train to Philadelphia. The Philly train station is gorgeous. Then I had a taxi ride out to the suburbs with Lavender the Opera Signing Cabbie. I can’t make this stuff up, people. (He was very nice. And an impressive baritone.)

Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station. Picture this with some people in it. But still this big and pretty and clean.

Then it was Smart Chicks Tour last stop. In a torrential downpour with tornado watches all around–considering all this, it was a nice turn out. Sarah Reese Brennan got to do a dramatic recitation from Wuthering Heights. Or was it Jane Eyre?  (This is what I get for taking so long to write a blog post, but it doesn’t really matter, because I was laughing too hard to really remember.)

Sarah Rees Brennan and friend. Sarah is the one on the right.

Thanks to all the Smart Chicks, especially the organizers and headliners Kelley Armstrong and Melissa Marr for a great time. The host bookstores were super, too!

So I was home for one day, then headed to FenCon, where many exciting things happened. I was on an Avengers panel where there was almost a fight. (Appropriate.)  Then a panel about writing and voice, where I had to rule a delightfully talkative panel with an iron fist.  But really, how do you top being on Hollywood Squares with a dalek?

Joe the Dalek gets ready for FenCon Squares. (Just like Hollywood Squares but with more questions about Star Trek.)

Since then it’s been work work work. And, of coruse, playing with my dog, who missed me terribly. See?

Here is Penny Dog. She is still because she is waiting on my cereal milk.

Oh Canada

Today’s blog post is coming to you from on the road. Or on the rails, rather, since I’m typing in the cafe car of the Adirondack express, en route from Montreal to New York City. (I have no idea of the exact town we’re passing through, but it has a beautiful church.)

I loved Montreal, even though I was only there for about thirty-six hours. Downtown was really lovely. A little bit european feeling, a little bit New York with the international feel. But not a fraction as big, and much cleaner and less crowded. Actually, not that much like New York at all. But it probably reminded me more of cities in England. Except all the signs were in French.

(Oh!  The Royal Military College! We just passed that. That’s where I am.)

Arrived Friday night, and despite the fact that I was right off of Rue de Sainte Catherine, where the shops and restaurants are open until midnight on Friday, I was lame and had room service.

Saturday I woke up at the crack of dawn. Seriously. I don’t know if it was because the sun came up so early, but it was 4 am my time. So I rolled over and went back to sleep. Then I went out for breakfast and had crepes.  Nutella and banana. I had them at this place:

But I didn’t take a picture of my food because there was a table full of Italians next to me complaining about tourists. Which was kind of funny. But I was definitely not going to out myself by taking a snap of my delicious Nutella and banana crepe.

Then I walked around, burning off my breakfast, found a cafe with wifi, found out that my leisurely plan to stroll over to the Chapters bookstore on Rue de Sainte Catherine was FOILED by the fact that the booksigning wasn’t at that bookstore at all, but out in Pointe Claire. NOT THE SAME THING AT ALL.  It was pure dumb luck that I mentioned something offhand about walking to the shop and the other authors were like, “Wait. You can’t walk here from there.”

Cue my frantic search for a taxi to take me to the right place. It’s not a proper RCM trip without at least one OMG I’m in the wrong place moment. But I got there in time!

The booksigning was Freaking Amazing. There was a whole section of book bloggers who trekked in from the wilds of Toronto and Ottawa to see us. (And my “us” I mean the fabulous headliners, but I had fans coming to see me, too.) And look!  I got a present. I can’t wait to wear them on the one day it gets below freezing in Texas:

RCM with Canada mittens

Showing off a gift from a reader. Photobomb by Rachel Caine. (How many people can say that?)

Here’s a snap of the authors at work, signing and greeting their fans.

Melissa Marr and Kami Garcia (and in the far background, Kelley Armstrong) signing like crazy!

The next stop (for me) is New York City, for about 24 hours. Yay!  Then Philadelphia for the last stop on the Smart Chick’s Tour. September 18th, 2012, 7:00 pm, Oxford Valley Barnes & Noble, Philadelphia, PA.

I’ll be signing BRIMSTONE!  You can get your copy in your local bookstore, and I can send you a signed bookplate to put in it!  Just email me for information!

News and stuff!

News! Texas Gothic has been included on the 2012 ALA list of Best Fiction for Young Adults. I’m thrilled to be included with some of MY favorite books of the year!

Also, central Texas folks, get ready. I will be at Book People in Austin on February 10th at 7pm, where I will be on a panel with fellow “spine-tingling YA authors” Jordan Dane, P.J. Hoover, Mari Mancusi, Cynthia Leitich Smith and LA Weatherly. We’ll dish on writing about scary stuff life vampires, ghosts, and falling in love.

Obviously, I’m back in the USA. Penny was so happy to see me when I got home. I fixed the line breaks on the posts from the cruise (now that I’m not paying tourist wi-fi rates) so if you want to read about the trip more or less as it unfolded, the first post is here.  
If you want the backstory on why I don’t sound quite as excited about the cruise as you might think, you can start with this post, which you should bear in mind was written days before that terrible cruise ship wreck last weekend. (Which, incidentally, I did not even hear about until I was ON the Carnival Magic, due to conspiracy of my friends and family.) 
However, in the end, I had a really nice time. Some enforced downtime was probably really good for me. I read four Agatha Christie novels and a Barbara Michaels ghosty-mystery. I did not get kidnapped by Pirates or Cuban Revolutionaries. I didn’t even get sunburned. 
I did, however, come home with a cold, which I am going to go nurse now with a cup of tea and the happy thought that the ALA thinks my book is good enough to include with some of MY favorites from 2011, including Beauty Queens, Enclave, and The False Princess. Congrats, my friends!

Cruise, Day Whatever

(I have no idead why there are no line breaks in my posts. Possibly something in the way I’m copy/pasting them. I’ll have to fix them when I get home. ETA: Fixed, all the way back to the first day.)

Short update tonight, just so Mom knows I’m okay and my friends don’t up the stakes on the sci-fi disaster pool.

 Arrived in Montego Bay this morning, and I have to say, Jamaica may be one of the most beautiful tropical places I’ve ever seen.

 Went into town, saw some of the old parts of Montego Bay, walked down the hip strip where the shops are… Got offered a lot of things that weren’t for sale in the shops. “Sorry, mon. I have too many control issues to indulge in mood altering substances.”

 The people here really do seem to be very friendly. Everyone wants to offer you a deal (not even that kind of deal) but they’re good natured if you refuse. I hear it’s a little different in Kingston; this side of the island is resort-friendly.

 The only sad part of today was that the heat and sun touched off a migraine. I’m just not a heat and sun person. A few hours in a dark stateroom helped, but I’ll definitely be calling it an early night.

 Tomorrow, all day at sea! All day lounging in the shade with a virgin colada and the 20 books on my Nook. (This is by far my favorite part of cruising. What? Nothing to do but lay around and read? Darn it!)

Cruise Day… 3?

I’ve given up on the tweet format, because it’s a pain to count characters by hand. So here is the prose version:

Tonight’s report is coming to you from the Lido Deck, where I’m sprawled in a deck chair watching Iron Man on the Jumbotron. It’s like a drive movie. I hear there are night clubs in this ship. I wouldn’t know. That’s for grown ups. (There’s also a casino, which I know because you have to go through it to get to the coffee bar.)

This morning we arrived at Grand Cayman, and I actually got off the ship. Which was an adventure, because there’s not a cruise ship pier in George Town, so you have to take launches from the ship to shore. This was delayed, and delayed, and finally Mr. RCM and I got to shore about noon, after two and a half hours waiting for a launch.

 So not much time in George Town. Saw a lot of banks. Send post cards. Ate lunch. Headed back to get ahead of the line.

 So the day I actually do something, I don’t really have much to tweet. It basically went: wait wait wait, rocky boat, walk walk walk, wait, rocky boat, nap. That’s my Grand Cayman experience. (Beautiful place, though. The water is so blue! <–Obvious cliche is obvious. But true.)

Cruise Tweets Day 2

Day 2, right? It feels like longer than that. The theme of today’s tweets is “overshare.” Here are today’s tweets: 

 8:00 am. Hello Cozumel. I’ve been to tourist Mexico before, and beaches have sand, so I’m staying on the ship today.

 9:00 am. Shaving my legs is SO much easier when the boat is docked.

 9:30 am.  I have my pick of shady lounge chairs! There is no line at the buffet line! Disembarkation is for wusses. 

 10:02 am. The View is on the jumbotron over the pool. 1st story = cruise ship wreck. This is like watching Airport ’76 on the inflight movie.

 10:03 am. Ha! Someone changed the channel. Picturing the Cruise Director’s mad scramble for the remote control.

 10:45 am Oh, here’s Mother Nature, and she’s brought a gift for me. My life is a Tampax commercial.

 10:47  am. Did I really just Tweet that, even if only in my head? What if only I think it’s funny enough to balance out the TMI?

 The mid-day hypothetical tweets go like this:  Reading. Dozing. Eating. (repeat)

 5:59 pm. Miss Marple unmasked the murderer just in time for dinner.  Convenient. Also convenient that it was not a poisoner.

  9:40 pm. On our way to Grand Cayman, where I will attempt to actually get off the ship.

 *waving* Hi Mom! I’m still fine! No mutant shark attacks (yet)! Love, Me.

Cruise Tweets Day 1.5

Monday 11:45am Ooo. Half price mimosas before noon.

 12:30pm omg. I’m actually having a good time. Maybe it’s the mimosa?

 2:15pm So. Sleepy. Maybe it’s the mimosa? Or the Dramamine. Ooops. #badjudgement

 5:15pm Formal attire night. Mr. RCM is dressed in his tux. I suggest he pick up $$ as a strolling violinist. He says we’re going to be late. (This was too long for a tweet.)

 5:18pm Spanx dance.

 9:00pm Skipped desert at dinner (see above re: Spanx). Remedying this oversight on Lido deck now. 

Tweets posted. Nook opened. Pajamas on. Tomorrow, Cozumel.

Pirate Blogging Day One

I caved. Bought a WiFi package. Watching all these programs on the shipboard TV about shopping in George Town and Montego Bay convinced me. Duty free designer sunglasses? $150.  Emotional connection to the rest of the world in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico? Priceless.

So here are the Tweets I would have sent over the last 18 hours if I weren’t on International Data Rates.  

 1:15 pm Winding line to security. Winding line to check in. Winding ramp to boat. Did not realize I was walking to Cozumel.

 1:45 pm  Crowded elevator on a crowded cruise ship. Um. No. Goodbye worst nightmare. Hello stairs to the Lido Deck.

 2:00pm All the ceilings in this place are really low. :-(

 2:01pm Panic attack. Dammit.

 2:30pm Managed not to abandon ship. Of course, we haven’t left port yet. Walking around the open decks is helping. Stupid adrenaline.

 3:45pm Safety briefing painless. Now there’s just the lifeboat drill to get through, and I think I’ll be okay. 

 4:15pm  How is it that on a ship with this many people, I keep running into the same annoying ones?

 5:00pm  Goodbye Galveston!

 6pm Dinner. I am so doped on Dramamine, I hope I can carry on a conversation.

 7:30pm  Dinner was delicious. Stuck to diet, except for desert. Creme brulee was probably not a wise way to fall of the wagon.

 8:45pm Yep. Not wise at all.

 9:30pm Doped on Dramamine and a 5 am start to my day. Going to bed. So. Very. Lame.

 Monday 1am  Creme brulee was SUCH a mistake after a month of nothing richer than the half-and-half in my coffee.

 8am Wrapped in bathrobe on the deck of my stateroom. Water, water everywhere and yummy coffee to drink.

 9am Still in bathrobe.

 10am Showered. Back in bathrobe. And now I’m going to post this blog and go knock around the ship. It’s a big ship, I should go see some of it! 

 P.S. I’m not answering my email, and probably won’t comment much!

Upcoming Events, Should I Survive

This Saturday morning from 10am-noon, I’ll be teaching a writing class at the Yellow Rose RWA chapter in Grapevine, TX. The class is called “Method Writing: Using the Actor’s Toolkit to bring your prose to life.”  Or something like that. The subtitle changes every time I type it. But it’s basically about using acting skills to bring realistic emotion to your writing. (ETA: It’s not focused on writing Romance specifically. It’s a class any genre can use.)

Details about the meeting and location are on the chapter website. They welcome visitors, and according to the website, everyone goes out to lunch afterward so hey, if you ever wanted to go to lunch with me, this is your chance.

Maybe your last chance, since on SUNDAY I leave on the Killer Death Cruise (TM). Only last night that started to freak me out, so it’s now called the Cruise of Potential Delights.

So, the deal is this. I have to go on a cruise. For free. Mr. RCM was awarded this from his company because he’s that awesome at his job.  Well, I’m rather fond of Mr. RCM, so there didn’t seem to be a good way to say, “Congratulations and have a good time” if I wanted him to remain fond of ME.

(Yes, Sally. I know it’s a ridiculous problem to have. I ALSO could not find a tactful way to say, “Hey, Mr. RCM. This is my friend Sally. She’s going with you in my place. I’m sure Mr. Sally won’t mind.”)

So how is this a problem? Well, I’m a pasty, sun-sensitive, motion-sick, neurotic, for one thing. (Okay, four things.)  And, oh yeah, I have panic attacks in… well, in a variety of situations, 90% of which will be manifested in a ship in the middle of the water with no way out which I am not steering or in any way in control of. Yeah. So that’s a problem.

Just to amuse me, my friends have actually started a betting pool  of all the disasters that could happen while I’m sailing the Caribbean. Here are just some of the slots taken:

1. Zombie pirates. (A little obvious, I think.)
2. Mutant bipedal shark attack.
3. Migratory Killer Bee Swarm
4. Plague.
5. Iceburg.

That’s the kind of friends I have. I’m so blessed, really. I’m going to miss them when those zombie pirates come for me.

Scalding Hot Blog Post. Really.

Do you ever do that thing where you’ve put off doing something for so long that you actually put of doing it because you’re embarrassed you’ve put if off for so long? 
That’s how I feel about this blog. I was going to write an end of the year post. Then I was going to write a beginning of the year post. And now it’s ten days into 2012. So instead of telling you why it took me so long to get my year started, I’ll tell you why it took me so long to get my morning started. 
Since I’ve been sleeping well for the first time in a LONG time, I’ve actually become… Okay, not a  morning person. But coherent and less likely to slice open my finger while cutting a bagel.  But thanks to a storm, and my dog having to go out (twice) in the middle of it, and drying her off, and drying ME off, I didn’t get much sleep. 
So I stumbled through my morning routine, sticking a gluten-free waffle in the toaster and pouring my cup of coffee. Only I slosh scalding coffee on my thumb, then tipped over the cup and suddenly there’s a coffee waterfall over the counter and onto the floor.  Then as I’m mopping it up with a kitchen towel, I stand up and brain myself on the open cabinet door. THEN, as I’m reeling from that, my mom comes in, sniffing, and asks, “Is something burning in the toaster?” 
After that start to my morning, I figured should think twice about driving or operating heavy machinery. So, finally, a blog post. 
It figures I would start this blog back up just days before I set off on The Killer Death Cruise*. Especially from the Cruise Ship, which charges $50 an hour for internet. At that rate, it would cost me $1 a Tweet. So there will actually be a reason for me to be incommunicado. 
Well, there’s always a reason. But a GOOD one, and not just lounging on my couch watching reruns of CSI: NY. 
Because I’m apparently 60 years old now. Going on cruises. Watching crime dramas. *sigh*  What’s next? Pajamas in the daytime? 
Oh. Hell. I already do that, too. 
*I am going on a cruise because Mr. RCM was awarded one as a bonus from his company. I’m claustrophobic, motion-sick, heat and sun intolerant, as well as Internet dependent.  More on this tomorrow.