reading is sexy


Dear All,

After much thought, I've decided to pack up shop here on LiveJournal and move whole-hog over to my blog at MacLeanSpace. It just doesn't make sense to keep both going when I'm basically repeating myself in both places.

So...New year, new decade, one blog.

I hope you'll come over and visit! 

yes please

A Novel Romance

If you've never watched a web should try Life from the Inside, which proves just how funny and clever web-based television can be.

The premise:
Mason Evan Harris was the best "English Language Obscure Foreign Holiday Novelty Songwriter" in the business. That was 5 years ago. Now that his money has run out, he's reluctantly come out of retirement to start a new career as a less-than-enthusiastic jingle writer. The road back to financial stability would be easier if his friends would just leave him alone...and if he was willing to leave his apartment.

Today, the LFTI team gave me this little thing of Internet short that is made for romance fans...and the men in their lives. I like to think this is what Eric does when I'm not home.

reading is sexy

The benefits of pining...

Yesterday, Sue Grimshaw, the romance buyer for Borders (uhm, could there be a better job than that? I don't think so) blogged a book report style post of NINE RULES TO BREAK WHEN ROMANCING A RAKE. Now, after I finished having my minor heart attack, brought on by the fact that "OMG my book is in the real world and I can't stop anyone from reading it," and then by "OMG she liked it!" I realized that it's probably time to confess something.

I'm a piner.

I've been a piner my whole life.

So much so, actually, that when my friend Meghan (who has known me for better than 12 years) read Sue's very reasonable question about Callie, the heroine of NINE RULES (who pines for her hero for 8 long years): "I realize in the 1800’s a woman is probably more apt to pine for a longer period of time, but to relate this story to today’s reader, isn’t 8 years a bit much?", Meghan said, "Uhm, clearly Sue does not know that you are a piner of Olympic proportions."

Yes. Yes I am.

Some might call this a flaw. They might suggest that pining is the mark of desperation. To them I say, I prefer to think of it as a mark of persistence.

May I present Exhibit 1: My husband.

I started pining for Eric in 1997. I was in college when my friend Cat, who was dating his roommate--Jake--called their house on speakerphone, and I heard Eric's voice on their answering machine. I can remember precisely where I was, sitting in her Pier I papasan chair, and his voice was deep and rumbly and lovely and I leaned forward in a vague approximation of the way I would ultimately tumble for this mysterious disembodied voice of a man. I had to meet him. And I can't really say why it was so difficult. Cat and I were in Western Massachusetts; Jake and Eric were in Boston. There is no good reason why we never met...but we didn't. And he moved back to California, and I moved to New York and that was that.

But in August of 1999, Cat & Jake got married. In Fresno, California. And I knew this was my chance to finally meet THE VOICE. And I will tell you, I worked out for an entire summer in the hopes of wooing him away from whatever girl he brought to the wedding with my feminine wiles and bridesmaid-dress shrouded person (thank you to Cat for not choosing a hideous bridesmaid dress). And there, as we were standing in line, ready to enter the reception, I saw him. 6'4" and blonde, standing across the room. And I said, "Cat. Who is that?" (because, at this point, it's totally not about the bride--she's already found her guy) And she smiled, and said "That's Eric."

And I was certain. The Voice was The One.

I wish I could say that it ended there...but it didn't. We talked, we laughed, we went for mexican food and to a movie, and then I came back East. And he stayed in California. For two more years. And we had a purely Internet-based friendship.

But, oh, did I pine.

And this is the best part: So did he.

And then, September 11th happened. And, there, in the midst of tragedy, we realized that pining isn't all it's cut out to be. Sometimes, you just have to take the risk--because the reward is worth all the nerves and fear and potential heartache.

Sometimes, you have to make a list and do the things you've always wanted to do.


Jane Turner on Inside the Characters Studio! a former barista myself--and one who used to dream of matchmaking the customers who came in (and myself with not a small amount of the attractive men who frequented the cafe), I am thrilled to host Jane Turner, the main character of Kristina Springer's The Espressologist, on Inside the Character's Studio!

The Espressologist is In

Fridays 6-10 p.m.

Come in for a little latte and love.

That's the sign outside of a local Chicago Wired Joe's every Friday night when jerky boss Derek Peters finds out about 17-year old barista and high school senior Jane Turner's unique talent to match couples based on their favorite coffee drink (which she calls Espressology). He decides to capitalize on it-turning Jane into the holiday promotion for the month of December. She's never been wrong, sales are through the roof, and the line of people each Espressology night wraps the block. But can it be too much of a good thing? During an interview with a talk show at the height of Jane's fame, she is faced with a dilemma, lose her love or lose her credibility? Or possibly lose it all, including her best friend.

Welcome, Jane!

What is your least favorite word?

What is your least favorite word?

What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?


What turns you off?

My boss yelling at me.

What is your favorite curse word?
I don't really swear. But I say freakin' a lot!

What sound or noise do you love?

Friends laughing.

What sound or noise do you hate?

Customers yelling at me.

What profession would you like to attempt?

Fashion Designer

What profession would you not like to do?
Butcher. Ick.

If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
Start the party!

Check out other interviews from Inside the Characters' Studio here.
reading is sexy

Remember, Remember the 5th of November...

Today we celebrate Guy Fawkes' Day...a holiday that gets a lot less attention in the US than it does in the UK, where tonight fireworks and bonfires are being lit across the land...

My mom is British, so I grew up knowing about Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder Plot, although for 5, 6 and 7-year-old Sarah, it was more about lighting a bonfire and watching fireworks than about a history lesson.

I pretty much forgot about Guy Fawkes day as I aged into high school, college and beyond, but a few months back Eric and I rented V for Vendetta...and it all came flooding back. Ok...for those of you who haven't seen the movie, here's all I'll say about it: It is NOTHING like what you think it will be. The trailer is atrocious and captures about 1/30th of the actual plot. Hugo Weaving is astounding, considering he spends the entire film behind a Guy Fawkes mask, and the story is really really compelling. I know, I're saying "But in the previews she's bald! and wearing a burlap sack!" Yes. Yes she is. And I honestly have no idea why that is what they picked for the preview...because it's so not what the movie is.

Anyway, Guy Fawkes wasn't just a crazy guy with a wheelbarrow full of explosives...he's a pervasive part of our culture today-- According to Richard Metzger's blog at the LA Times, Guy Fawkes was the model for Satan in Milton's Paradise Lost...and his "Guy" is the origin of our slang, "guy."

Don't believe us? Well, believe the Online Etymology Dictionary!: Guy: n. "fellow," 1847, originally Amer.Eng.; earlier (1836) "grotesquely or poorly dressed person," originally (1806) "effigy of Guy Fawkes," leader of the Gunpowder Plot to blow up British king and Parliament (Nov. 5, 1605), paraded through the streets by children on the anniversary of the conspiracy.

Anyway...Happy Guy Fawkes Day, y' honor of this most auspicious holiday, for your viewing pleasure, V.

house satisfaction

What do Goethe, Dostoyevsky & Austen have in common?

At first glance, not much...but when you see what the Pawling Book Cove has scheduled for the afternoon of November 14th in Pawling, New York, it all becomes awesomely clear!

I'm super excited to announce that I'll be signing with the hilariously awesome Michael Northrop and the incredibly talented Dina & Daniel Nayeri at that very place at that very time! I will say that Gentlemen and Another Faust were two of my favorite 2009 books...and I'm honored that the Book Cove has included me in this sure-to-be terrific event!

Michael says that Pawling is a great little town...and I believe everything he says. Also, I know for a fact that upstate New York in mid-November can be gorgeous (as long as it's not rainy and frigid) if you're in the area, please consider a trip up on Metro-North (or down, left or right via other modes of transportation) and come hang out with us for the afternoon!

Kyra Sellers on Inside the Character's Studio!

I'm super excited to host the awesome Kyra Sellers, the star of Barry Lyga's Goth Girl Rising, on Inside the Character's Studio!

Time is a funny thing in the hospital. In the mental ward. You lose track of it easily. After six months in the Maryland Mental Health Unit, Kyra Sellers, a.k.a. Goth Girl, is going home. Unfortunately, she's about to find out that while she was away, she lost track of more than time. Things seem normal at first. Roger's his typical, pain-in-the-ass fatherly self. Jecca and Simone and the rest of the goth crowd still do their thing. And Kyra is back in black, feeling good, and ready to make up with the only person who's ever appreciated her for who she really is.

But then she sees him. Fanboy. Transcended from everything he was into someone she barely recognizes. And the anger and memories come rushing back. Fanboy. The Spermling. Miss Powell. Roger.

Her mother.

There's so much to do to people when you're angry.

Kyra's about to get very busy.

I have it on good authority (ie, Barry's) that Kyra is not the sharing type, so I'm even more honored than usual that she consented to doing this interview!

What is your favorite word?
I love saying "douchebag." It just rolls off the tongue.

What is your least favorite word?
The F-word. I don't say it anymore.

What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?
Telling people the truth. Especially when they're in denial.

What turns you off?

What is your favorite curse word?
Hmm. Well, I say "shit" a lot, but that's not really my favorite. Probably "bitch," because it has so many uses, you know?

What sound or noise do you love?

What sound or noise do you hate?
People not shutting up.

What profession would you like to attempt?
I don't know. I haven't thought about it since before my mom died. I guess... Honestly, I never thought I'd make it past 16.

What profession would you not like to do?
Anything where anyone else tells me what to do.

If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
I don't want to answer- What? I have to? I guess... Look, I don't think I'm going to the Pearly Gates, but I guess if I get there somehow, I hope God says, "Your mom is waiting over by the chocolate trees and the coffee fountain." Shut up - I am SO not crying.

Check out other interviews from Inside the Characters' Studio here.

Readers' Questions: Answered! (GIVEAWAY BELOW!)

I've been saying that I would do a Readers Q&A post for ages...and it is! I've received a ton of questions by email, twitter and facebook, and am psyched to have a chance to respond!

So, in no particular order, let's get to it!

Q. Will there be a sequel to The Season?
A. Ok, this is probably the question I get asked the and in the real world...the short answer is, "I hope so." I have plans for at least two more books in the series--both Vivi and Ella deserve their days in the sun! Right now, I'm up to my elbows in writing a second book for a different series, but as soon as I come up for air on that one, I'm hoping I'll have news that will make The Season fans happy.

Q. When will Freddie, Lord Stanhope get his book?
A. When I wrote The Season I had no idea that Freddie would be such a popular character--although I shouldn't be surprised, because we girls definitely like our bad boys. Of course, there's nothing terribly wicked about Freddie--he's more bark than bite when you really get to know him. That said, Freddie has many many oats to sow before he'll be ready to settle down--but when he does meet his match, I can assure you that fireworks will ensue! I'd like to write Freddie's story one day--but he needs to cook for a few years before he's ready to fall in love.

Q. How long does it take you to write a book? What's your process like?
A. This question makes writing a book seem way more organized that it is for me. I love the idea of having a process, but mainly I spend a lot of time being insane before I actually get myself into a zone. My books take between 4 and 6 months to write, and then require another 2 or 3 months for editing and revisions. I'm very lucky to work with two of the most incredible editors in the world--they're brilliant, insightful women who make me look like a far far better writer than I actually am. :)

As for Process, so far, all three of my books have come to me with the very first scene: The Season began with Alex's dress-fitting for her coming out; Nine Rules... began with a meeting that happened 10 years before the actual book is set (which is now the prologue); and I met my current WIP's heroine while she was receiving the news of her father's death--and responding to it in a rather bizarre way.

After I meet them, characters can't do anything else without me knowing precisely where they're going and what they're doing. I'm a heavy outlines are very stream of conscious--they tell the story from beginning to end, but range in format, voice, tense, tone and can even be snippets of dialogue that pop into my head and ultimately become a part of the finished book.

Once I have an outline, I write longhand...everything related to a book goes into a single notebook and then I edit it into my I tell myself that I'm really handing in a second draft when I send my editors my first draft.

Because of my deadlines, I write as much as I can, whenever I can. There's no rhyme or reason to it. It's just all the time. This makes my process harried and harrowing--but boy is it awesome when you write that last word!

Q. What's your favorite part of writing? Your least favorite?
A. Revisions are my favorite part, because that's the time when you're really working to make it a terrific book. Editors are incredible. My editors are two of my favorite people in the world because they look at my messy, unpleasant manuscript and they see the gold in it. And then they help me mine it. I like the "team" feel to revisions. They're hard, but you're not alone.

My least favorite part is the second to last chapter. Always. In my books, it's usually a chapter where lots of stuff is happening, plots are at their climax, characters are having their moments of clarity, loose ends are tying themselves up into (I hope) neat little bows. And I'm SO CLOSE to the end. But not there yet. I HATE not being there yet.

Q. When did you know you wanted to be a writer? When did you first know you ARE a writer?
A. When I was in high school, some teacher in some class asked us to make an "About Us" card--it's a half a piece of construction paper with a picture of 16-year-old me and a bunch of random facts...favorite book, favorite movie, weakness, etc. One of those things was "dream job." I wrote Romance Novelist. So, I don't know when, exactly, I knew I wanted to be a writer, but it was pretty early on.

As for the second half of that question, well...I guess it shows a bit of my weakness that I don't usually show...but I still don't think of myself as a writer. It's such a scary, amazing, unbelievable's almost like i'll jinx myself if I actually say the words out loud.

Q. What music inspires you when you write?
A. I listen almost exclusively to classical music (on my Pandora station) when I write. Boccherini, Strauss, Mozart, Beethoven, Rossini, and dozens of others. But almost all of my books have a pop song that serves as their modern inspiration. Nine Rules... was inspiried by Jason Mraz's I'm Yours, my current WIP's theme song is Brett Dennen's Darlin Do Not Fear.

I think that's a good list for now...if y'all would like, I'm happy to do this feature more frequently...maybe once a month? If you're interested, post your questions for November in comments or tweet them @sarahmaclean! I'll answer them...and give one lucky questioner a signed copy of The Season!

Oscar Banks on Inside the Characters' Studio

Give it up for Roz Peterson, the star of Pam Bachorz's Candor, on Inside the Character's Studio!

Oscar Banks has everything under control. In a town where his father brainwashes everyone, he’s found a way to secretly fight the subliminal Messages. He’s got them all fooled: Oscar’s the top student and the best-behaved teen in town. Nobody knows he’s made his own Messages to deprogram his brain. But then Nia Silva moves to Candor, and Oscar falls in love. He must choose whether to let Nia be lost to brainwashing—or to sacrifice himself.

Welcome, Oscar!

What is your favorite word?

What is your least favorite word?

What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?
getting away with something

What turns you off?
having to obey

What is your favorite curse word?
The Messages make it too hard to curse. Usually it's not worth the effort.

What sound or noise do you love?
The scrape of my girlfriend Nia's skateboard coming down the sidewalk.

What sound or noise do you hate?
The Messages, crawling around in my brain 24-7. I hate them all and I hate my father for putting them there.

What profession would you like to attempt?
I never really thought about this until you asked. But I'd like to be a scientist so I can find a way to break the Messages' grip on people's brains.

What profession would you not like to do?
My father thinks I'll be taking over the family biz of building a town that controls all its residents. Never.

If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
I'd like God to tell me there will be zero background music in Heaven. In Candor, you never escape the music--or the Messages.

Check out other interviews from Inside the Characters' Studio here.