Tags: narcissism

Little Dhampir

Tour Day 15: Meet Virginia

You guys, I am so tired. What's crazy is that I've been managing decent sleep here in Washington, DC--especially compared to what I was getting when this tour started two weeks ago. Yet, for whatever reason, I've just been so exhausted when I get back to my hotel these last couple nights that it's all I can do to post these before heading to bed. So, let's do our recap.

Today was pretty quiet for the most part. It was raining, so I ordered all my food in from the hotel and simply stayed in my room working. People keep telling me all sorts of fun things to go see around here, but even when not signing, I've had other things that need doing. I've handled that quite contently--though I did have a moment of weakness tonight on the way to the signing when we passed through Georgetown. Holy shopping, Batman. I just kept thinking I could have been at Betsey or Urban Outfitters instead of in PJs (at 1pm) at my laptop. It's all good, though. I can go to those stores anywhere...but still. I had a wistful moment.

So, that was my day, and it was good and productive. When evening rolled around, it was time to suit up and head out to my signing, held this time at the Borders in Fairfax, VA. (For my international readers, VA in this context = Virginia, not Vampire Academy). I saw a young lady wearing this t-shirt as soon as I stepped up to the microphone, and I had a hard time keeping a straight face through my reading. It's fantastic and now makes me want to write a Diversity Club into the next book.





Here's the back, and I'm actually a little puzzled because at first glance, I thought, "Oh, she's a Dorian fan." But now, looking at it more closely, I can't tell if Dorian is crossed out or if that's a design.





I've always felt a little guilty about posting homemade t-shirts on here because I worry about setting up an expectation. Now, it seems to be going to a new level because I think I'm encouraging people to dress up their adorable children:





What's awesome here is that while she's the focus of these pictures (as well she should be), I'm apparently trying to steal the scene from her each time. How self-centered is that? I'm totally trying to monopolize that camera while she so patiently models her shirt for us.





And since it didn't show so well in the last one, here's a close-up of the back of her shirt. She was a real sweetie and very good about helping us pose her for photos.





All in all, another good signing with another great turnout. And, what's especially important: we had a really great staff at the store running everything. Emily there in the red handed out my Richelle Mead Color-Changing Pencils and did the best sales pitches for them I've ever seen. She even held them while I was signing so that they would be prepped and already turning colors when the reader was ready to leave and get one.





Thanks, everyone! We had lots of locals, and the outliers tonight came from Pittsburgh and West Virginia. That last group has got "Take Me Home, Country Roads" stuck in my head--though it's warring with "I'm Shipping Up to Boston" by the Dropkick Murphys since I shall indeed be heading up to Boston tomorrow. My signing there is at the Burlington Barnes and Noble at 7pm. Details on my website.

And in a few bits of housekeeping, today was list day and Blood Promise is still holding its own. It's at #22 on the USA Today list and #3 on the New York Times series list (fyi - when you have 3 or more books in children's/YA, they boot you off the single title list and onto the series list, so technically "the VA series" is what's #3, but BP drove the sales). So, thank you so much for all of you out there helping the series! I really appreciate it.

Finally, Melbourne folks: make sure you read my previous post about a chance to see me if you didn't get a booking. The rest of you can also find info about the latest Bitten By Books poll.

Okay, off to bed!
French SB

Tour Day 14: Raiding the minibar for food instead of liquor is kind of sad

Okay, let's address something important: my hair. I make no secret of the fact that while my hair is naturally red, I increase its redness a lot. Sadly, red dye fades from hair pretty quickly, and I was prepared for it to happen on this trip, particularly since travel makes you want to wash a lot more than usual. Today I noticed that my color was pretty awful, and the red-enhancing conditioner I used this morning did nothing. Distraught over how I could show my face--er, hair--at a signing, I stopped by a random salon on the way back from breakfast today and asked if they could pump up the color without doing a harsh dye job (since I'd just had one 2 weeks ago). After much consultation, they put some semi-permanent stuff in to boost the color. The whole thing made me incredibly anxious. I've had too many hair disasters over the years, and I was nervous about someone who is not my usual hairdresser in Seattle working on me. Fortunately, when they finished, my gamble paid off.





That's me with reader Mallory at my signing in the Ellicott City Barnes and Noble tonight. The color isn't as good as what my own hairdresser does, but it was heaps better than when I walked in. I think what's more fascinating than the details of this story (which really aren't that fascinating) is the way it got spread through Facebook and Twitter. Because naturally, I had to let everyone know what was going on while the color was on my hair. And by the time the signing came around, tons of people at the store were all asking me about the hair and assuring me it looked good. The internet is an amazing thing, and as I've said before, you should always be careful about what stray thoughts you share because everyone is listening.





Okay, I'm tired of talking about my hair. Let's get to the signing. It was another 3-hour one, with a turnout of 200-250 very fun and very patient people! The store's staff (Amber, Kat, and Candace who are shown in the above pic) was incredibly efficient and made everything go really smoothly. People came from places as far as New York, Pittsburgh, and Philadelphia! Here were the t-shirt turnouts for the night. They have quotes on the shirts and stickers that may be hard to read here but that are pretty fun. They also gave me some quote stickers of my own.





What also turned out were some of lolcatz's family. He has an insane number of siblings, and as I travel the country, I keep meeting more and more of them. It's kind of like playing bingo or a collectible card game. I think I'm only one sibling away from winning a prize.





Good times--and very exhausting times. I came back to my hotel nearly ready to fall over, only to discover the excitement wasn't over yet. Look what lolcatz scanned in for me:





DUDE! The Succubus Shadows cover flat showed up in the mail! Cool, huh? I'd been wondering what color scheme they'd go with and really like how it turned out. The hair is never quite as light as I imagine Georgina's, but the beauty of a succubus is that really, she can look like anything. And those clothes are fantastic. Artist Chad Michael Ward delivers yet again.

So, that's cheery news as I get ready for bed and eat a sad meal of leftover turkey sandwich from lunch paired with minibar cheese crisps. The bookstore gave me a free frappuccino, though, so really...my life is pretty good, even if my current levels of nutrition are sketchy.

Tomorrow finds me at the Borders in Fairfax, VA at 7pm (note the time). I hope to see the other half of the metro DC area population turn out because goodness only knows how long my hair color is going to last. Don't miss out!
German SB

Tour Day 13: Oasis

Today has been the oddest day of the tour because...I had nothing to do. Well, that's not entirely true. What I mean to say is that I had none of my usual tour things to do. I had no flights, no panels, no signings. I simply woke up here in my hotel and had the whole day ahead of me. Again, that doesn't mean I got to go sight-seeing around the Smithsonian or Washington Monument. I'm racing against the clock to finish Spirit Bound's first draft, so I spent a good portion of my day inside my hotel room working on that and living off of room service.

I did get to escape once and do a bit of shopping, but it was kind of a utilitarian trip to get things I hadn't packed for. I liked what I saw of the city. I didn't see all that much, but it has a good vibe. The weather was warm and had the perfect touch of humidity--until the torrential rain started, pretty much sealing the deal that I would be hotel-bound the rest of the day. That was fine, though. I worked on the book while eating mini-bar cookies and then answered written interview questions while watching a 3-hour marathon of The Office. Having rest and quiet time has been really good for me, and it's looking like I'll also have a good piece of time to work tomorrow before my evening signing and start earning the keep.

Just to clarify once again, here's my Washington, D.C. area signing schedule:

Tuesday, September 8---Baltimore/Ellicott City, MD
6pm--Barnes and Noble
4300 Montgomery Road, Ellicott City, MD 21043
Reading and signing

Wednesday, September 9---Fairfax, VA
7pm--Borders
11054 Lee Hwy., Fairfax, VA 22030
Reading and signing

I'll be there--possibly in outfits not yet seen on tour--with lots of Richelle Mead color-changing pencils to pass out. My suitcase weighed in at a dangerous 48 lbs. at the airport last time, which means those pencils need to clear out. I also probably need to ship some stuff home to reduce the weight, including my Larry Elmore art book and Joe Flanigan picture.

So, after a quiet day, here's what I offer to you. First, reader Eleanora was kind enough to send me an ad that shows the Russian cover of Vampire Academy! Thanks so much. It's small, but I figured I'd put the whole thing up for those of you who know Russian.





Second, the interview I did with the nice people at Detroit's Fox station is online, so now you can see me in action--well, in subdued action at least. I'm a bit louder and sillier at the signings. I'm always uneasy about seeing myself on video, but this isn't too bad. What's funny is that the camera in front of me wasn't the one actually filming me, so my eyes are always glancing off to the side, like I'm planning an escape and might run off at any moment.

And so there's no confusion: Detroit people, this is a week old. The signing it's advertising is long past.

Oh, another warning: the description I give for Blood Promise has spoilers. Watch at your own risk.



German cover of Frostbite

Tour Day 8: No blues here, just blue grass

Wednesday is the day book sales numbers and lists come out, and many of us bite our nails waiting for it. Since today calculated Blood Promise's first week out, I was especially anxious. The results were incredible. BP put Vampire Academy at #2 on the New York Times Bestseller list, outdoing Shadow Kiss's #4 release last year. Over on the USA Today list, Blood Promise clocked in at #5. These are amazing, amazing numbers, and I am so grateful to all of you out there who have been supporting the books--and also to the awesome people "behind the curtain" at my agency and publishing house who make a lot of magic happen.

So, that right there makes for a good day, but guess what else happened? I flew into Kentucky, which I'm really pretty excited about! There's just such a wonderful vibe here, and everyone is so friendly. I'm also rather enchanted by the accents and frequent use of "sugar" and "ma'am." The countryside is gorgeous, and my hotel serves grits. So, yeah, good day.

After I landed, my media escort Barb took me to stock signings and a 3-minute interview over at WKYT, Lexington's CBS station. I got to talk to the anchors and weather guy candidly while on commercial, and let me tell you, they were a delight. They cracked me up and kind of make me want to hang out in a newsroom more often.

Then, of course, there was the evening signing, held over at Joseph-Beth Booksellers. Their events venue is amazing. They have this beautiful atrium area around a fountain. My podium was set up over the fountain (which was turned off), like so:





And then the audience sat around it in a semi-circle:





Oh, by the way. Did I mention that the signing had a vampire prom theme?





It was a total fashion show, and I was so jealous because I had no prom-wear. Still, it was pretty awesome to watch all the great clothes come through. Here's a sampling, and note that this first one was homemade in two days a la Project Runway:









In keeping with the festivities, Joseph-Beth had all sorts of activities going on before the signing. There was allegedly karaoke, which I really wish I'd seen. They also had henna tattooing and drawings for fabulous prizes. The Dimitri prize was a set of martial arts lessons. The Blood Promise prize was the big one and has too much for me to list. Erin here won it, along with this ginormous banner:





But of course, you don't need always need prom dresses to have fun, as these girls adamantly argue in their "Dhampir Girls Have More Fun" t-shirts:





Readers came from down the street and from as far away as Tennessee and Ohio. I was gifted with some local jewelry, a mix CD, and even some artwork. Thank you so much!





I was also given the suggestion that Dimitri's middle name be "Valueick," which (I am told) has the optional spelling of "Valuick." The back-story is, and I quote, "I tried to say value-esque. Instead, I said value-ick. It sounded Russian, so we decided this shall be Dimitri's middle name." I'll take it under advisement, guys. :)

And of course, what kind of prom night would be complete without me getting my formal picture taken with bookstore staff in front of the balloons and VA gate?





Whew! Quite a day. Thanks to everyone who made it so amazing. We saw about 200 people, but this is the first night on the tour I've been back in my hotel before 10pm, which is more luxurious than you can imagine. I got to watch TV for the first time in over a week, though there wasn't much on except for Nancy Grace. Still, I appreciated the opportunity.

Tomorrow I fly off to Atlanta, which I'm looking forward to because I'll be staying there for three nights, which means I can really unpack! I'm doing a signing at the Alpharetta Barnes and Noble at 7pm on Thursday (September 3). I hope you guys in the area will stop by! Over the weekend, I'll be doing the madness that is DragonCon and Decatur Book Festival. My schedule is over on my calendar page, as are links to the cons and admission info. I'll be signing at Decatur, not DragonCon. Hope to see some of you down in the southeast!
Tinycat

Training camp

Many of you have heard me plug University Bookstore as a way to purchase signed/personalized copies of my books. It started off as a small system. Every few weeks, Duane (who oversees this system I've set up with them) would let me know he had an order in. I'd stop by, sign a couple books, and U Bookstore would mail them out. It soon reached a point where he was getting orders every other week that required me to swing by and sign--probably because I started advertising more.

Recently, he asked if I could come in to sign Blood Promise pre-orders today so that they could ship out next week. He said there were "a lot." So, I came by the store this afternoon and was led into the depths of their secret employee storage area into a room marked off especially for me:



I really like that it's on a Judy Blume post-it note because it kind of drives home the seriousness of this. And it was serious when I walked into the room and saw this:



Yes, those copies of Blood Promise are two deep on the carts. Turns out I had over 200 books ahead of me to sign, including both BP and other titles. I have a public signing with U Bookstore on Tuesday, and I suspect there won't be that many books there.



I was amazed at how slick the store's system was. They had everything organized and ready to go so that I could easily see who each book needed to be made out to. It required three employees and almost two hours to get through them, but we chatted along the way, so it was pretty fun.



My poor wrist, with its history of injury and repetitive stress, was letting me have it by the time I was done! Clearly, I need to train up if I'm going to handle the next few weeks - because I love signing for readers. Plus, I am totally amazed and humbled that this many people are pre-ordering my books, so I want to come through for you in return. Thank you so much for those! I can't wait to meet more readers once the official release kicks off!
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Comic Georgina

This, that, things, and stuff. And a Seattle poll.

So, things are getting a little crazy around here as the official release date for Blood Promise looms closer. After much moping, I now have Australian copies and one US copy of the book in my hands. lolcatz and I frequently have a saying when we're outside and notice my garden: "That's a good looking flower bed." (And it is the most awesome one in the neighborhood, if I do say so myself). That expression has now been transferred inside whenever we see Blood Promise lying around: "That's a good looking book." And it is. Aside from being my first hardcover, it's also just...massive. I look at it, and it seems like it must be a book that someone else wrote, not me.

My life right now seems to be divided up between working on Spirit Bound, doing promo for Blood Promise, and getting ready for the tour. In that order. The building stress and craziness is affecting SB's progress, but it's plugging along, one chapter at a time, and I'm now in the last portion. That always goes (relatively) fast. Promo is all set in the swag department, and I've also been doing a lot of phone and email interviews, which is pretty cool. I've had some "big" publications interview me, as well as my good ol' hometown newspaper, the Kalamazoo Gazette. And as for the tour? Well, that's the part I'm lacking in. I've done no assessment on what I'm wearing or how to pack for 25 days. So far, the only thing I know for sure is that I'm doing laundry at Stacia Kane's house when I'm in Atlanta.

And like all authors with impending releases, I'm watching Amazon and Barnes & Noble sales ranks obsessively.

In closing, I have one of my shoddily made polls for people who live in Seattle (or the Northwest since I know some of you Portland folks are driving up). My pals at University Bookstore are trying to figure out how many people are coming to my release day signing on August 25. It's at 4pm, which is always a mysterious time.

So, here's a little poll to see if people are going to that one or the one in Redmond, which is that same day at 7pm. I did consider having a poll option for people who aren't going to anything, just so you could feel involved and get to click a button. I decided not to because the results would just look sad and askew since the majority of you don't actually live in Seattle.

Here we go:

Poll #1444469 Blood Promise Release Day Signings!

If you're attending a Seattle area signing on 8/25, which one are you going to?

University Bookstore, 4pm
10(41.7%)
Redmond Borders, 7pm
14(58.3%)


And oh, hey! Speaking of polls: many thanks to all of you who voted for Blood Promise at Bitten By Books. It won handily, and I really appreciate your support.

Oh, I thought of something else. You may notice comments are turned off here. It's a long story, but they'll be off for a few more days and then you guys can weigh in again. There's always Facebook and Twitter if you've got something to share! :)
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German Shadow Kiss

All in the family

About eight years ago, I got interested in genealogy. I played with it for a while, found some interesting stuff, and then let it fall by the wayside. A few months ago, I picked it up again, and wow. What a difference eight years makes. The digital age has made so much accessible now, and it's crazy to see your great-great-great grandfather's name on a scanned-in 1850 census.

American history is hard because depending on how far back your family came over, the paper trail can get sketchy when they cross the water. This is particularly true for my mother's side of the family, which until the mid-twentieth century stayed clustered in a small Southern region on top of the Virginia/Tennessee/Kentucky border. Census records show many of them living in the 1800s and earlier were illiterate, which meant name spellings were always changing--making it harder still to track them. But, there are also records of my ancestors fighting in the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, so go patriots! And like all Southern families, we have fuzzy stories of alleged Cherokee ancestors. There are also an uncomfortable amount of first cousins (okay, one set) who got married.

My father's side is made up of a lot of people kicked out of Europe for practicing the "wrong" religion (not surprising since America was settled by the religious, the opportunistic, and the criminal). The paper trail is cleaner for these relatives. One branch was Anabaptist (turning Mennonite in America) and had to leave Switzerland in the 1700s for fear of arrest. Another branch is English, and while their religion is unclear, I do have ancestors named Mehitable and Hezikiah. Maybe it's my own stereotypes, but that says hardcore religion to me. Sadly, despite their sacrifices, none of their heathen descendants carried on those religions.

What's interesting is that I recently got coupons for those DNA tests you can do to gain insight into your family's history. The usefulness of this is debatable; it's a pretty fuzzy science. Without boring you with genetic details I don't even understand, the only test a woman can take tracks the line of DNA through her maternal line: mother, grandmother, etc. To learn about my dad's side, I had to make him take a test. Men, through two separate tests, can track both their paternal and maternal lines. Not fair! Only one test has come back: a partial of his paternal line. It was surprising because I expected it to sort that side into the generic Western European DNA group. Instead, we got I2a (for those in the know)--a group with origins in Eastern Europe and some occasional ones in Ireland and England. I feel very exotic knowing this, though it's not entirely surprising. Eastern Germanic regions (Swiss, Austrian) count, so this kind of goes along with the Anabaptists. So, I doubt there's any Transylvanian ancestry. And that's the extent of the test's abilities, which is disappointing. I kind of wish I knew if my ancestors were part of some fur-wearing barbarian tribe fighting the Romans.

The ironic part of all of this is that when people see me, they always say, "Oh, with that hair, you must be Irish!" And in all this research, we have yet to find any paper connection to Ireland. Only Germany and England. This doesn't mean there's no Irish. It just means the proof hasn't been found. It's most likely on my mom's side since her family's ancestral region had a lot of Scottish and Irish settlers. The last names in my far-back family also suggest Irish/Scottish. But nope, no hard evidence yet--just speculation. And first cousins.

Anyway, in closing: many thanks to those who turned out to vote for my friends in the Funniest Author contest at Bitten By Books. Mark Henry won, so thanks for your support! For those not on Twitter, Mark sent a special thanks to all of you who voted, as well as a thank you to the entire continent of Australia. Per my request, he also posted "Dimitri is hawt."
Spice Cat

Richellopedia

I'm not going to put much of a blog entry here, seeing as I'm a guest blogger over at Bitten By Books today. I've answered over 100 questions so far on, well...everything. So check it out if you want a whole lot o' Richelle and ask your own questions! Cast your vote for Georgina in the best heroine poll on the side while you're at it (she's in second so far), though there are other good ones to choose from too. Plus, BBB visitors today can win a full set of Georgina books. Yay!

Man, back to the blog...
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Win

Riddle me this

Okay, here are the winning questions from my recent contest. I had over 200 entries (thanks, guys!), and these ten were randomly selected. Winners have been contacted and will get some prize packs once I get them put together.

In the meantime, in no particular order: here are the questions and answers. My apologies if some are brief. If some hinted too much about the future, I'm afraid I had to be careful of spoilers! :) Also, if an entry had multiple questions, I picked only one to answer. Thanks, everybody.


Q: Why Russian? Out of all the cultures Dimitri could have been, why was Russian the culture you picked when you thought of Dimitri?


A: A lot of the vampire stories that we have in the US and other parts of western civilization come from Eastern Europe, particularly Romania and Russia. I took classes on this in college, and when I went to research VA, I decided to use the myth of two races of vampires from those regions. So, when creating the Moroi and dhampirs characters, I had a lot of them born in Eastern Europe since it seemed inevitable that a lot of them (even the American-transplants) would have roots in those countries. That’s why Dimitri’s from Russia. Plus, the accent is hot.


Q: What do you when you’re writing and nothing comes to mind on what to write, or if you do write something and you really don’t like it?


A: If I had all the time in the world, I’d just wait until something comes to mind. I’d go do other things—movies, reading, etc.—and not stress about writing. Unfortunately, I don’t have all the time in the world anymore. I’m turning a new book over every 2-3 months, which means if I don’t have ideas…I have to force them. Sometimes they’re good; sometimes they’re bad. The thing with books (and this answers the second part of your question) is that they go through lots of editing and revising with my publisher before hitting the shelves. So, hopefully, if I write something bad that I don’t like, I later get a chance to change it.


(Note: this one’s been slightly edited so it doesn’t give away the ending to the third book, but those who have read the whole series will know what we’re talking about).
Q: Since Rose has been shadow-kissed, will that somehow come into play with her [going on her mission at the end of book 3]?


A: The powers that Rose has already exhibited from being shadow-kissed definitely come into play in Blood Promise, and you’ll see some of them returning. She’s also going to learn new things about spirit-users and being shadow-kissed…but as to how those affect her quest, well, you’ll just have to read the book!


Q: What would Rose's perfect day be?


A: Rose’s perfect day would probably be spent hanging out with Lissa and some of her other friends for a while, doing ordinary things likes movies or shopping. At night, though, she’d probably want some alone time with Dimitri. :) And naturally, she wouldn't want any of the problems going on that she’s currently facing in books 3 and 4, though I suspect she’d still want to get a little combat practice in during the day (just for fun) because she’s one of those people that always needs to stay active. She’d also probably eat a lot of junk food since she likes doing that too. Plus, she’s one of those annoying people who never puts on weight from it because she’s so athletic! Grr.


Q: Why does Rose call Dimitri "Comrade"??


A: I love getting this question, largely because I get to deliver a history lesson to those of my readers who were born after the fall of Communism. Older readers will have to forgive my over-simplified answer here. Back when Russia was the Soviet Union, its system of government/economics wanted to put forth this idea that there were no elite people in the country and that everyone was equal (the truth of that is debatable). “Comrade” was a popular term to address people by, instead of “Lord” or “Lady” or “Mister" or "Miss." Everyone got the same treatment: Comrade Belikov, Comrade Jones. In 1980s movies, you’d see it used as kind of an insult when Americans fought Soviets. The term stopped being used after the Soviet Union became Russia again, but it still comes up now and then. Rose calls Dimitri that as a joke—one that some Russians might fight insulting, which is why he’s always telling her to stop. To her, it’s a sarcastic nickname for him, kind of mocking that part of Russian history. He takes it good-naturedly.


Q: I was wondering if we were going to find out about what happened in the VA books with Rose's mom and dad. Who is he? Is he still alive? Will we get a chance to meet him?


A: Yes, indeed. Rose’s dad is still alive, and we are going to get to meet him sometime during the series. Naturally, I can’t tell you who he is or when we’ll see him! I can say, however, that he’s a pretty interesting character and not someone you’d expect Janine Hathaway to be involved with! He’s also not quite the kind of person Rose expects her father to be.


Q: What's the title of your favorite book (that you didn't write)? Why?


A: My favorite book is The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley. This always comes as a shock to some readers, mostly because they’ve never heard of it. Also, there are no vampires in it at all. It’s a semi-historical novel, based on the myths of King Arthur and told through the women in those tales. It’s a massive book, and I first read it when I was fourteen. It totally opened up my eyes to the world and gave me a huge appreciation for Celtic culture, as well as insight into spirituality and religion. Every few years or so, I pick it up again and re-read it.


Q: Did you show your students your first published book, and if so, what was their reaction?


A: I did not show my students my first book—largely because I was no longer teaching when it came out! It takes so long for a first book to get published. I sold Succubus Blues in November 2005, I quit teaching in February 2006, and the book came out March 2007. So, there were no students then. But, they knew I’d sold a book, and I refused to ever tell them the name because I didn’t want them to know what a succubus was! I suspect a lot of them have read Vampire Academy now but probably don’t know I wrote it since I had a different name back then.


Q: Which series do you enjoy writing the most?


A: I wouldn’t say there’s one series I enjoy the most, but I can say that the succubus series is the easiest for me to write. Georgina’s sense of humor is the closest to mine, and she’s closest to my age (relatively speaking). Eugenie’s close to my age too, but she’s a real physical, fighting character like Rose is—and I definitely am not! I’m a thinker like Georgina.


Q: What type of school is good for students interested in writing and English?


A: Any school you can take writing and literature classes in is the way to go. If you’re looking at colleges, you can find out which have the best creative writing programs by doing a little research. Almost any humanities class in college (history, literature, etc.) is going to make you write, and that’s all good practice. You can certainly major in English if you want to become a writer, although I didn’t. My degree was in general liberal arts, but I was always writing throughout college. The other key thing is to keep reading books—in school and on your own. Being exposed to good writing will teach you as much as any class, and I actually think I learned more about writing a novel that way than I did in any class. Bottom line: do lots of things to develop your writing. It all adds up.


Thanks again to all the great questions submitted! Man, if I had all the time to answer them all, I would. In the meantime, remember that some of my most commonly asked questions are over at my FAQ. Also, Angela Mann from Kepler's Books recently interviewed me with a few more questions.

And if that's not enough Richelle info for one day, I don't know what is. Even I'm tired of hearing myself talk!
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Tags:
Succubus Heat

Sea of Love

Happy Valentine's Day! Today, lolcatz and I set out to experience one of the most romantic events known to mankind--er, well, seakind: Octopus Blind Date Day at the Seattle Aquarium.

Here's how it works. Every Valentine's Day, the Seattle Aquarium releases a male octopus and a female octopus into the same tank together to see if they'll mate. Apparently, these two have been in adjacent tanks for the last year--able to see each other but not touch. Romantic, huh? The hope is that once joined, these two will fall in love and get in the mood to make baby octopi because tomorrow, the male is going to be released back into the Puget Sound. The event started at noon, and I kid you not, people were literally lined up way down the street to the aquarium to get in to see this. We were afraid we weren't going to make it in time but managed to pay and run into the exhibit just as the barrier between the tanks was removed...

...and nothing happened.

The two octopi kind of shuffled around a little bit, and the female moved toward the male, but they mostly stayed on their own sides of the tank. There was no magic in the water, but it wasn't for lack of trying. The aquarium staff had strung doily hearts around the tank, put roses in it, and--get ready--played Barry White music in order to set the mood. But no, the octopi weren't going for it. Apparently, male octopi die shortly after mating, so maybe he had his own reasons for not going for it. Whatever the reason, I hope it's not a bad omen like the groundhog not seeing his shadow.

In spite of that cloud on romance, we still had a good day at the aquarium. I got to see seahorses and puffins, which always puts me in the good mood. Plus, there were high school volunteers doing face painting:



I could have gotten an octopus, but seeing as they'd already proven they hate love and romance, I didn't want to ruin my day. Seahorses seem like born romantics.

After our day at the aquarium, we came back to the suburbs to have a dinner at a Thai restaurant. Just before heading out, lolcatz made my Valentine's Day by gifting me with a shiny, sparkly present:



Yes, I got an award for being the hottest author in town. There was a lot of fierce competition, no doubt, so I'm quite flattered, and cross your fingers I can win for 2010 too. :) Of course, I think the judge was kind of biased.

In closing, I've gotten a fresh crop of questions here and on Facebook from people asking about Blood Promise updates--sadly, there are none to give, nor do I have estimates on when there will be any. Believe me, whenever I find out news and am able to tell it, I do!
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