On the trail of El Cupacabra

I am delighted to see that Amazon recognizes the value of books on cryptozology. Today in my inbox, I got this:

Dear Customer,
Customers who have purchased or rated Highway to Hell (Maggie Quinn: Girl Vs Evil) by Rosemary Clement-Moore might like to know that Tracking the Chupacabra: The Vampire Beast in Fact, Fiction, and Folklore is now available.  You can order yours for just $14.91 ($10.04 off the list price) by following the link below.

Tracking the Chupacabra: The Vampire Beast in Fact, Fiction, and Folklore
Benjamin Radford

(I’m including the link, because the book actually sounds cool, and I have already ordered my copy. If for no other reason than to find out what OTHER awesome works of fiction include El Chupacabra.)

Even more awesome were the other books in the e-mail:
Tracking the Man-beasts: Sasquatch, Vampires, Zombies, and More
Joe Nickell

TRUE GIANTS: Is Gigantopithecus Still Alive?
Mark A. Hall

The Michigan Dogman: Werewolves and Other Unknown Canines Across the U.S.A. (Unexplained Presents)

Linda S. Godfrey

Don’t know what Gigantophithecus is? From the book cover, it’s nothing I would want to meet in a dark alley.

Okay, so I’m poking a little fun, but I LOVE tracing the folklore of boogeyman legends. To me, the overlap of culture, geography, snippets of history–heck, even meteorology–that conspire to create enduring legends is fascinating. This should surprise no one who has read my books.

So what was YOUR favorite boogeyman story growing up? The more regional and wacky, the better!

Highway to Hell goes paperback

Cue the Beatle’s Birthday song. (Na na na na NAna nana… two three four)

Highway to Hell comes out in trade paperback today.
When Maggie and Lisa head to the beach for Spring Break, they get more action than they bargained for when a Jeep accident strands them in a one horse town where the locals are convinced El Chupacabra is killing their cattle. Having faced demons, sorcerers, and sorority sisters, Maggie and her allies should have no trouble with a Mexican mythical beast, right?
Go bug your bookseller to put it on the shelf. Oh, and if you want to buy a copy while you’re there, that would be okay with me, too!
Remember, all month I’m running a contest to celebrate the paperback edition of Maggie’s adventure in South Texas. When Maggie runs into killer mosquitos in Highway to Hell, they’re (mostly) fictional. But in parts of the world, mosquitos are real killers.
Anyone who donates to Nothing But Nets (a grassroots campaign to end malaria in Africa by distributing treated mosquito nets) from now until April 29th will be entered to win one of a growing list of prizes, including bookstore gift cards, an advanced reading copy of my next book, and tons of books donated by fabulous authors.
And happy book birthday to me!

Field Trips and Freebies!

Missed yesterday’s blog post, which is sad, because I had it all planned! I headed up to Norman, OK, where I spoke to a YA Lit graduate class about writing, books, general blathering. They’ve been great hosts, and only made fun of my "Horny Toad" TCU sticker on my car a little bit.

So I come bearing gifts! On my website, I have Desktop Wallpapers for The Splendor Falls. They are tres awesome and artistic, so click and check it out. Thanks to for making them for me!

And while I’m on my OK field trip, I’m sending you guys to Pink Me, a blog that I enjoy reading ANYWAY, but today she’s reviewing HIghway to Hell. I think this blogger is fun and funny (she’s a librarian with pink hair!) and so it thrills me she gave H2H a great review. (This is not a children’s blog! She reviews YA books for Adult readers. However, there’s nothing untoward in this particular post.) Go read that review, then explore her site a bit.

Off to breakfast, then home to Texas. Oh, I-35, how I love you. Joy! /irony

Highway to Hell teaser (again!)

I know I’ve been letting Twitter do my work for me, posting wise. But to make up for all the microposts, here’s a nice long excerpt from Highway to Hell, which, as I may have mentioned, comes out on Tuesday!

Maggie and Lisa are stuck in a half-horse ranching town, and the talk in the town’s one restaurant/bar/hangout is all about the livestock that’s been dying lately. Here’ the prevailing theory.

From Highway to Hell, Chapter 6

“Drought didn’t kill my best herding dog,” said Carl from the Old Guy’s table. “Or Teresa’s goats.”

She unfolded her arms slowly, with a sense of drama. “All with their throats ripped out.”

I swallowed the memory of the blood, the phantom taste of it too recent. “So, what do you think it is?”

“El Chupacabra.”

[Teresa] whispered the name, whether for effect or fear. The half-voiced word breathed across the bar to my waiting ear, lifting the hair on the back of my neck.

“El what?” asked Lisa, her tone breaking the spell.

Bud Man groaned, a not-this-again sound of annoyance. “Teresa, you’re crazy. It’s not the chupacabra. That’s a load of horse s**t.”

She reached across the bar and grabbed his bottle. “You don’t have to drink in my bar if you think I’m crazy.”

He grabbed it back, sloshing beer on the counter. “Yes, I do. It’s the only place in a hundred miles.”

“Dave believes me,” Teresa muttered. “He saw what happened to my goats.”

“What is el chupacabra?” I asked. The word tickled a memory in my mental file cabinet of useless information.

“It means the goatsucker,” said Dave. “It kills livestock, drinks their blood.”

“And you think this goatsucker killed the cow and left it on the road?” I tested the weirdometer in my head, the way you nudge a tooth with your tongue to test if it’s loose. No bells went off, but it was hard to think seriously about something with such a ridiculous name.

Especially when Lisa asked, “Wouldn’t that make it a cowsucker then?”

Teresa scowled at her levity. “El chupacabra kills whatever it can get,” she explained. “With the drought, cows are weak, easier to catch.”

The memory clicked. “Hang on. I remember this from an article on the Internet.”

“Oh, well then it must be true.” Lisa’s tone was drolly dismissive.

I ignored her. “It’s like an urban legend. But in the story, someone found a dead animal they couldn’t identify.”

“You have got to be kidding me.” Lisa pushed back her plate and put her elbows on the table. “This is a real animal?”

“Yes,” said Teresa and Dave.

“No,” said Bud Man, at the same time.

“It is,” Teresa insisted.

My gaze traveled between the three of them, over to the Old Guys’ table, across the audience in the booths. “So, what is this chupacabra thing supposed to look like?”

I’d asked the magic question. Everyone answered at once.

“It’s a huge dog shape–“

“Lizard… like a lizard…”

“With spines down its back.”

“It can hop like a kangaroo…”

“Fly like a bat…”

“Stop!” Teresa held up her hands. The voices all subsided; their queen had called them to order. “El chupacabra is too smart to be seen. It comes out of the darkness to drain the blood of its prey, then disappears. No one sees anything–just a glimpse of glowing red eyes.”

The bar had been warm a moment ago, but as she talked, embroidering the words with melodrama, my skin seemed to cool, and I shivered in the air conditioning.

copyright Rosemary Clement-Moore from Highway to Hell.

Your Obnoxious Reminder–Enter and Win stuff

Today is the LAST DAY to enter to win a copy of Highway to Hell. The book comes out on March 10th– One week from tomorrow! –but you can win it before you can buy it! I’ll be drawing one name for every 10 people entered. So that means that you can tell your friends without decreasing your odds of winning! Cause I’m cool like that.

Just leave a comment, any comment. The idea is to tell me about some spring break or vacation you went on. If you have time, read through some people’s stories; some are a hoot, and some are really touching. But don’t be intimidated. ALL comments are entered. Leave a comment that says "I haven’t been on a vacation in 5 years," or "Rosemary’s books really rock" and that counts, too!

And if you are in or near Fort Worth, be sure and mark your calendar for the:

Highway to Hell Book Launch Party
March 14th from 2-4 PM
Barnes and Noble in Hurst, Texas

This is a spring break themed party. I wore my prom dress to my first booksigning. I’ll be wearing spring break attire to this one. (Much more comfortable.) There will be goodies (but no trash can punch, sorry) and I will also be giving away a Spring Break Survival basket. So stop by and say "HI!"

Have books, will travel

This morning I went to speak to a junior high group up in Lewisville (which is only "up" in the sense that it’s north of where I live, which is the SOUTH part of the metroplex.). I really do enjoy talking to (receptive) students. It’s sort of hellish when they’re required to be there, and you can tell they don’t give a crap about what you have to say. I start to flashback to my own school days when that happens, to that awful feeling of being looked down on, seen for the dork I am…

Who am I fooling. I feel like that no matter where I go. 🙂 I wonder if there’s ever a point when you DON’T secretly worry people are going to see through the facade to the dork beneath. Maybe that’s why I out myself for being a nerd right away, sometimes more quickly than necessary. Because people are going to figure it out anyway, so I might as well own it.

Weirdly random– There’s a herd of buffalo in the pasture near the school. Livestock in the middle of town is actually not that weird where I’m from. We used to stop to pet the horses on our way to elementary school. But buffalo? Random.

Don’t forget to leave your spring break and/or vacation story here so that you can be entered to win a copy of Highway to Hell before it hits the shelves on March 10th!

Highway to Hell teaser

Two weeks until Highway to Hell debuts! To celebrate, I’m running a quick and dirty, win it before you can buy it contest on my website. Click over here to enter.

I’ll also be posting fairly sizable teasers for the next two weeks. Enjoy!

(From Chapter One, Highway to Hell by Rosemary Clement-Moore)

[Maggie and Lisa are in the car, heading for South Padre Island…..]

“Not that I can remember why that seemed like a good idea.” [I said.]

“Because we’re best friends.” Lisa unplugged my iPod and replaced it with hers. The screen cast her face in a cool glow, at odds with her devilish smile. “And when I take over the world, I’ll appoint you to a place of distinction in my Council of Evil.”

“Can’t wait.”

The music had started low–a distinctive, almost tribal, drumbeat. Bending her other leg to join the first, Lisa tapped her bare toes on the dash and drummed on her knees along with the Rolling Stones.

“You have got to be kidding me,” I said.

Lisa just grinned and sang along with Mick, “Please allow me to introduce myself, I’m a man of wealth and taste…”

“Sympathy for the Devil.” I slanted her a look of disbelief. “You have got a sick sense of humor.”

All I got was a wider grin and more lyrics. “’Pleased to meet you. Hope you guess my name.’”

“That might have been funny before you took up sorcery as a hobby.”

“One little demon summoning,” she said, as the chorus began. “And you never let me forget it.”

If she was going to Hell, I guess I was, too, because the outrageous irony dragged a laugh out of me. She bobbed her head, tapping the beat on her knees. This was why we were still friends, as much as because of the saving each other’s lives and teaming up against Evil stuff.

Abruptly, Lisa dropped her feet to the floorboard. “Brake lights.”

I peered into the darkness beyond the Jeep’s headlights. “I don’t see anything.” Only road and more road.

Drumbeats nearly drowned our voices. “There! Dead ahead.”

I glimpsed twin red beacons in the silver-grey darkness. But in the instant it took for me to shift my foot to the brake, the lights disappeared.

“Where’d they go?”

I’ve been around for a long, long year, sang the Stones.

“There!” Lisa pointed into the field. How had that car moved so fast? The gleam of red seemed to be moving off road, across scrub and between the shadows of scraggly mesquite.


“Maggie! Look out!” I slammed my foot on the brake. Lisa braced herself with a hand on the dash and another on the roll bar. I could see it now–something huge lay across both lanes, too close to swerve around. The Jeep hit the yielding bulk of the thing; a lower profile car would have smashed into it. But the off-road tires of the Wrangler went up and over, tilting precariously to one side. The whole vehicle shuddered as something scraped the undercarriage to the tune of tearing metal.

We hit the ground on the other side. There was a sharp crack, and my teeth rattled as we spun out, tires squealing like a tortured soul. The flat gray Purgatory of South Texas whirled past the windshield as I released the brake and turned the wheel into the spin, my right arm burning in sharp protest. Careening onto the shoulder, we came to a stop facing back the way we’d come.

The headlights illuminated the great misshapen carcass of a horned animal, dead in the middle of the highway. In the anti-climatic quiet, the Rolling Stones played on.

Pleased to meet you. Hope you guess my name.