Wednesday, November 24, 2010

I have not died

I am just writing. Sometimes when writing a sequel you need more time.

But in the meantime...here's a snippet of what I am working on...(insert evil laugh)


“Lenah! Go inside!” Rhode yelled. His jaw was tight and his eyes pierced me.
Yet, I was frozen where I stood. Rhode closed his eyes in defeat and turned from me to face the vampire in sumptuous red.
“Kill me…” the woman pleaded. “Please, Rhode. No one else will do it.”
“Lady, I cannot take your life,” he said.
“Please….” Her eyes bore into Rhode’s. “No more sunsets.”


:)

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Infinite Days Query

I have had a few requests that I upload my query letter. This query letter was sent to one editor. The manuscript was requested and book deal followed. More stuff happened but that's TMI.

Here 'tis


Dear ____________,

Lenah Beaudonte is 592 years old. She’s an unabashed killer, who is revered for her cruelty in the vampire world. She’s just awakened at an American boarding school....

And she's mortal.

Through ancient magic, Lenah's wish of becoming human is granted. She abandons her taste for murder and blood to become a common high school student. In her first few days, she meets a popular, dare devil junior named Justin Enos, and they fall dangerously in love.

But Lenah's past has come back to haunt her...she was once a member of a ruthless coven that she created to decimate and murder. Lenah's coven, once they realize she is missing, send a warning. They're coming to find her. Lenah knows the coven will search the earth for her even if it means murder.

One more thing? They don't know she's human.

Infinite Days is my young adult novel which finishes at approximately 98,000 words. I have just finished my MA in fiction and am now pursuing an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults. I’ve been a finalist in the Iowa Review as well as Glimmer Train magazine.

Would you be interested in taking a look at this manuscript?

Thank you,

Rebecca Maizel


Go forth!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Winners!!!

Wow. I am amazed by these cast entries and it took me a day and a half to go through all of them.

So of course, there are TWO winners of the necklace and UK hardcover. I couldn't decide because both entries ROCKED.

Winner #1 - YOU receive a UK (signed) hardcover and Rhode inspired necklace!! Her name is CHRISTINE ALLEN and here is the link to her video!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6mKOM5cayEw

Winner #2 - Because I couldn't choose, you ALSO win a UK (signed) hardcover and Rhode inspired necklace. Her name is Mariah Kemp and the link to her video is here!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bicCUZaVNS0

These two videos were incredible and it's really quite hard to pick a winner.

Winner # 3 did not make a video and she wins a UK signed hardcover. Her name is Faye from Faye Flame Reviews. I don't know if her name is Faye but she won, nonetheless. Here is a link to her blog post!

http://fayeflamereviews.blogspot.com/2010/09/my-dream-cast-of-infinite-days.html


Runners up!!

**Runners up Win Infinite Days postcards, satchels of lavender as well as a little somethin' else from me.***


Ashley from AC Book Junkies! Here is a link to her pick:

http://acbookjunkies.blogspot.com/2010/09/review-infinite-days-vampire-queen-1.html

And I don't know this girl's name but here is a link to her BADASS video!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RChCJ4thwYw


What do you have to do if you won?

Winners please send me your name and address at RebeccaMaizelAuthor@gmail.com so I can get the GOODS out to you. Thank you for making this contest super fun and exciting.

Odd Stats on The Contest:

Alexis Bledel is the favorite to play Lenah
Ian Somerhalder is a favorite to play Rhode and every other role in Hollywood...ever.
Alex Pettyfer is a favorite for Justin and I personally find him to be the hottest actor in ALL of the LAND.
Vicken is a wild card on the page and in this contest.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

UK Hardcover Book + Necklace giveaway!

Oh yes. It's giveaway time again. In the UK Infinite Days is now on shelves. You can find it at Waterstones, Amazon.co.uk, WH Smith and Tesco!

What can you win? (Click on pictures to enlarge!!)

The UK hardcover book and a Rhode-inspired necklace made by the fabulous Heather Gardner or as she is known on etsy as littleredreads. Her name is Heather and she makes amazing stuff!! :)

Find her at:
http://www.etsy.com/shop/littleredreads

Cool, right?







How many people will win, Rebecca?

2!

Do both people win the book AND the necklace?

#1 winner receives both necklace and book.

#2 winner receives the hardcover book

THIS IS OPEN INTERNATIONALLY

What do you have to do!
?

1. Cast Infinite Days! That's right. How would you cast Lenah, Vicken, Rhode and Justin if you were making a movie?

2. Either you can post a youtube video explaining your wonderful cast (no spoilers!) or a post on your blog and send a link in the comments here!

For my people who haven't read the book yet:

Rhode - unknown age, could be 17, could be 25. Brunette almost black hair, the bluest eyes you've ever seen. Six foot or taller. At one time a knight with the Order of the Garter. Excellent swordsman, willing to die for Lenah.

Lenah- 16, brunette long hair that falls well past her chest. Blue eyes but nowhere as blue as Rhode's. 5'7 thin but not too waifish - meat on the bones. When she was a vampire she would easily have killed you. Excellent sword fighter. Afterall she learned from Rhode and Vicken. She is British and her vampire aura makes her mysterious.

Vicken- Scottish bad boy. 19 was once a soldier, brown eyes incredible fighter, better with knives than swords. Leader of Lenah's coven. Strong jaw and lean. Not bulky.

Justin- 17. Blonde, tall, adrenaline junkie. Strong features, slim nose, athlete body. Can be reckless and have trouble with authority. A go getter with a danger streak. He's handsome but that's obvious, he's also caring and passionate.


Make sure to add your response in the comments here or e-mail me so I can link to your blog or your youtube video. If you want to enter and don't have a blog that's okay too! Just send your cast picks to rebeccamaizelauthor@gmail.com

This contest CLOSES: September 24!

Good luck!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

A scary post...edits/openings

This blog post is to explain how I revise and why. Maybe it will add something to your writing repertoire, maybe it won't but either way...enjoy.

Here's what I want to say first: it's my experience that when you write, you have to write the Anne Lamott "Shi**y First Draft." If you don't know what I am talking about and you consider yourself a reader or a writer STOP EVERYTHING and READ THIS LINK. Only then can you come back to this post. Keep in mind, I did not scan this, do not know the people who own this site but it's a pdf of "Shitty First Drafts" from Lamott's Bird by Bird and that's good enough for me.

http://www.orcutt.net/othercontent/sfds.pdf

You need to turn off the internal censor and just write the damn thing. Later, when you're deeper into the revising process, it really is the word choice that matters and psychic distance. Psychic distance, defined by John Gardner, is the distance your reader feels to the story, characters, etc. Those words that you choose either shorten or lengthen your reader's psychic distance to your story.

Here is the original opening of Infinite Days (keep in mind this is rough as I never revised or edited it):

Lovers Bay, Massachusetts - Present Day

When I awoke, I immediately felt a cold surface on my left cheek. An icy shiver rushed down my spine. Even with my eyes closed, I could tell I was naked, stomach down on a hardwood floor. I tried to open my eyes but with each flutter of my lashes there was a flash of blinding light. Then another. And another. Each time, I was blasted with a relentless gleam.
I writhed back and forth on the floor, covering my body with my hands. I was sure that I must be weak. Understand that I am not the type of person to find herself naked and alone. Especially in a situation where sunlight shines down on my body. Yet, there I was, bathed in yellow light, sure that I was moments away from a painful, fiery death - I had to be. I knew that flames would erupt from within my soul and turn me into dust. I had been screaming. Yet, nothing happened. No flames or imminent death. There was only the smell of the oak in the floor. I swallowed and the muscles in my throat contracted. My mouth was wet with... saliva! My chest rested on the floor. I pressed down on my palms and craned my neck to look up at the source of my torment.
Luminous daylight streamed down from a circular, glass ceiling. The sky was a sapphire blue. I moved to my knees, then to my feet and stood up. The floor was so cold that another chill shot up through my body. I backed slowly toward the walls in an attempt to somehow hide from the sunlight now peeking through the clouds. Across the room, resting on a bay window seat was small, folded, black cloth and a clear bottle filled with what appeared to be water. Slow breaths, I told myself out of instinct. Then it hit me - breath was filling my lungs and I could feel it moving throughout my body.
My nostrils flared and my chest heaved. The air rushed through my cheeks, into my throat and down into my lungs. I hugged my arms around my body. With my back pressed against the wall, I took another breath to calm myself and finally surveyed the room. It was shaped like a circle with one wooden door. To my left was a window seat but the shade was drawn. My eyes darted back toward the door and I noticed a simple pull lock, locked from the inside. Directly above it was a small, white piece of paper with my name scrawled in a deliberate script:
Lenah
I almost threw myself at the door. I recognized that handwriting. I ripped the note off and unfolded the paper. The paper was so different, soft to the touch. Like a bed-sheet. Like the ones in my home. The last memory I had before waking up in this circular sun spot was at my castle on the English moors. One hundred years before, I had stood on the base of a hill, in a brilliant, green gown and told Rhode of my desires, my deepest desires, what I believed all vampires truly wanted. I unfolded the paper.

Come to the Wickham Boarding School. Seeker Hall. Room 50. Go left out of this building onto Main Street. You are in a small town in a very small library. Do not be afraid. I will explain everything. Put on the clothes behind you.
- Rhode

Before I folded the note, I noticed one more line at the very bottom of the thin page.

Happy 16th Birthday.


Sure the initial opening is the same but as you continue into the scene the distance between you, the reader, and Lenah lengthens. I mean, I like some of that writing. In fact, I thought it was pretty good! But Lenah is very much in her head as she is in the opening of the present version yet Rhode speaks to Lenah, talks to her directly. I brought the scene into the present action.

Here is the conversation between Lenah and Rhode in the final version in the opening chapter:

A door somewhere near me opened and closed. I heard a wobbling step, an uneven shuffle then Rhode’s black, buckle boots stepped into my eye line. I rolled onto my back and looked up at the ceiling. Gasping. My God – was I breathing?
Rhode loomed over me but he was a blur. He leaned forward so his hazy features were within inches of my face. Then there he was, as though coming out of a mist, looking as I had never seen him before. The skin over Rhode’s cheekbones stretched so tight it looked as though his bones would break through. His usually full and proud chin was now a thin point. But the blue of his eyes – they were the same. Even in the haze of that moment they pierced me, down to my soul.
“Fancy meeting you here,” Rhode said. Despite black bruises that ringed his eyes, a twinkle, from somewhere deep within looked back at me. “Happy sixteenth birthday,” he said and extended a hand.


More immediate, right? But here's a confession for you.

"I heard a wobbling step, an uneven shuffle then Rhode’s black, buckle boots stepped into my eye line."

I wish I could delete "I heard" from that sentence because it lengthens the psychic distance between you and Lenah. She says she hears the wobbling step instead of just "hearing" it. Because Lenah tells us instead of experiencing it directly, the telling distances us from the direct experience.

But then again I would lose the languid rhythm of that sentence with the inclusion of the words, "I heard." Sigh, this is exhausting!! Rhythm matters. Short/long sentences matter. It should matter to you.

Anyway, back to plot. Instead of reading a note from Rhode, Lenah and Rhode talk and interact. They have a conversation about the location and era:

My heartbeat echoed in my ears. I could taste the air. As I walked the muscles in my thighs and calves seemed to burn, twitch and then relax. In order to stop shaking, I rested my body weight on the doorway and crossed my hands over my chest.
“What century is this?” I asked closing my eyes and taking a breath.
“The twenty-first,” Rhode said. His black hair, which reached halfway down his back the last time I saw him, had been cut short and now stood up in a spiky hairstyle. Around his right wrist was a white, medical bandage. Rhode gripped a side table and lowered himself into a crimson-colored lounge seat.


Here's another scene from the original opening. Lenah wakes up in a solarium in a library:

“Damn it, Rhode!” I spat out.
I heaved the solarium door open and descended down a dark stairwell until I reached another door. The stairwell was utterly black especially compared to the solarium but somehow my eyes did not need a moment to adjust. I could see perfectly fine in the dark. Except, if I were human, didn’t my eyes need to adapt from light to dark? After 592 years as a vampire I remembered that fact and a twinge of panic tingled in my stomach but I continued down the stairwell anyway.
I opened the second door that led out of the stairwell and on the other side was a dowdy, old woman staring at me with wide, watery eyes. She wore a cotton dress with no sleeves. It was decorated with yellow flowers. Her palm covered her mouth and her eyes were wide. Behind her was a great hall filled with shelves of books. Arched windows with shined plate glass showed morning sunlight in the room behind her and I could see a tree-lined street. When she took her hand away she asked,
“Were you screaming? I was just coming up for you.”
“You scared me,” I said quite plainly. I knew this didn’t make sense but I said it anyway. I cocked my head to the side. She seemed to be angry and inquisitive at the same time. My usual instinct when meeting a stranger would have been to take my hands, reach up to her neck and break it, but for some odd reason the feeling never came. This both intrigued and horrified me.
Behind the woman was the main foyer of a library. A light blue pulsation caught my eye. Glowing boxes sat atop two wooden desks! Later, I would find out these were called computers. Directly to the right of the computers was a door. Above it was a lighted sign that said in red letters, EXIT.
“Why were you in the solarium? It’s always locked and it’s eight a.m. The library hasn’t even opened yet. How did you get up there?” She threw question after question, a few of which I would have like answered myself. The fact that I woke up in a strange place was no surprise to me. Typical Rhode. He loved dramatics.
“Well?” the woman asked, pressing me for an answer.
I had to think logically. Okay, I thought. This woman is speaking to me in English. This either meant I was in England or the Americas.
“Where am I?”
“What?” the woman asked. “You’re - you’re in Lovers Bay Public library.”
“I gathered that, you fool. Is this England or America?”
“A- America,” she said though I could tell her annoyance had turned a bit. I now could sense the fear. Part of me was overjoyed I was making this woman fearful - giving way to a terror inside. Yet, most of me just wanted to get out of there. A desire to leave a victim? This was also a first and not something I was expecting.
“What century is this?” I commanded of the old woman.
“I beg your pardon?” The woman peeked over my shoulder at the black stairwell. I suppose she was looking to see if I was alone.
“What century is this?” I asked again.
“Well, it’s the 21st,” she replied.
The 21st century; he had done it. I clenched my jaw tight and could feel my back teeth pressing down on one another. It had been 100 years. 100 years since I was last conscious and awake.
“Damn it, Rhode!” I said again and stalked toward the double door exit. And with that, I deliberately pushed out into the sunlight.

So we waste all this time with Lenah and a librarian when easily, Lenah and Rhode could just speak to one another in Lenah's Wickham Boarding School. But I think we should break this down even farther (by the way that editorial choice was a suggestion by my amazing agent, I do not own credit there).


Old version:


When I awoke, I immediately felt a cold surface on my left cheek. An icy shiver rushed down my spine. Even with my eyes closed, I could tell I was naked, stomach down on a hardwood floor. I tried to open my eyes but with each flutter of my lashes there was a flash of blinding light. Then another. And another. Each time, I was blasted with a relentless gleam.

Final Version:

I release you….

I release you, Lenah Beaudonte.

Believe…and be free.

Those were the last words I could remember. But they were formless, said by someone whose voice I did not recognize. It could have been ages ago.
When I awoke, I immediately felt a cold surface on my left cheek. An icy shiver rushed down my spine. Even with my eyes closed, I knew I was naked, stomach down on a hardwood floor.


In the final version, you (the reader) are reading the ritual though you don't know that yet. You are also hearing Rhode's voice (though you don't know that yet either). These sentences are also fragments which draw the eye down and quickly!

I release you, I release you, Lenah Beaudonte. Believe and be free.

These words are without context. So not only are you confused about who and where this narrator is in the space/time continuum but the narrator is as well. She has no clue where she is, so you and the narrator experience the same emotions and confusion at the same time. Hopefully, this shortens the psychic distance and draws you in even closer.

Am I making any sense? Either way, choice, word choice, sentence length and structure are important when revising. Hopefully this post was illuminating. Or killed some time. Maybe you just skimmed to the end? Which in that case, hey again!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Winner of the audiobooks! It's a tie!!!

I would have posted a vlog about the winners of the audiobook but I am unfortunately feeling under the weather. A cold? Allergies? Who knows, this little guy below (I have a new puppy), is named George and he gets me up very, very early.




Anyway, I couldn't decide between these two entries. I think both of the winners really captured the essence of Infinite Days and were so creative!! The winners both receive an audiobook of Infinite Days, the book, as well as a satchel of dried lavender. I am throwing in an extra surprise but that's just for the winners to know!


The first winner is: Katie Dahlberg. Here is her entry!



The second winner is: Rachel Rivera. Here is her entry!



All of the entries were incredible, really. I appreciate everyone's submissions and will post all of the submissions on my blog later today. As for the winners, I will post Katie's cover on my Twitter page (follow me on: Rebeccajoym) through the middle of September and then Rachel's through the second half of September.

Thanks so much to everyone who created a cover, it was so fun to see your interpretations and I absolutely loved them! Now, I'm off to take some Dimetapp.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Randomness and What I Like To Read :)

Today is your last day to enter the audio book giveaway!!!! Make sure you get your entries in by midnight and remember it is open internationally! If you win, and you live in Budapest, I ship this to you in BUDAPEST!

So...a lovely friend on twitter asked me what I liked to read. These days I've been reading oodles of YA literature not only because I write it but also because I get an enormous amount of joy reading it. Also, I'm in an MFA program where I study YA lit.

Here is a list of some of my favorite YA/MG books. (By the way, I am working on a post about revision and what happens when you take a chunk of text and make it more "immediate." I have found that when I write first drafts I tend to use "placeholder" words, vague, strange that distance the reader instead of draw the reader in - I will post tomorrow the differences between the two and how I approach it when I am editing. This could also be boring to you, which in that case...sorry. But onto the list!

My top ten favorite YA/MG Books so far...

10. Tuck Everlasting - Natalie Babbitt

9. The Sky is Everywhere - Jandy Nelson

8. The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins

7. Life As We Knew It - Susan Beth Pfeffer

6. A Bad Boy Can Be Good For a Girl - Tanya Lee Stone. A verse novel, my VCollege advisor told me to read and it was incredible! Very mature though, definitely for older readers.

5. The True Meaning of Smekday - Adam Rex

4. Un Lun Dun - China Mievill

3. Beating Heart - AM Jenkins (A mix of both 3rd and 1st person. Some in verse, some in prose. Incredible book).

2. Looking for Alaska - John Green (Excellent first person narration and the structure really worked well).

1. Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban - JK Rowling

There are tons more but I'd like to know how your list compares. :)

See you tomorrow!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Audio book sample!

Check out Tantor's website! You can listen to a clip from the audio book and then ENTER TO WIN MY CONTEST!!!

http://www.tantor.com/BookDetail.asp?Product=1890_InfiniteDays


:)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Infinite Days Audiobook CONTEST!!!

So you like to listen to books?

Well, well, well...

Watch, CREATE and ENTER....





So that's it! Due by August 31st

TO: RebeccaMaizelAuthor@gmail.com

TUESSSSDAY.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Yellow Umbrella Book Signing!

We sold oodles of books! For more pictures check out the Rebecca Maizel Author page on Facebook!







Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Kirkus, PW! And an amazing review that made me laugh!

Oh Pub date...how you have been lurking in the corner. You've mocked me. You told me that you wouldn't be a big deal.

But you are a big deal.

You are bigger than my last birthday where some innocent party-goer accidentally lit an entire bouquet of flowers on fire. But, I digress.

Here are some great reviews of Infinite Days. So if you didn't get it - INFINITE DAYS HIT THE SHELVES TODAY!!!!

Publishers Weekly review – Aug. 2

Maizel’s dark and dreamy debut reverses the vampire trend with a heroine whose heart’s desire is to regain her humanity and abandon her evil past. After more than 500 years as the queen of her English coven, perpetual 15-year-old Lenah finally has her chance to become human again when her vampire sire sacrifices himself for the necessary ritual. Determined to live her new days to the fullest before her coven finds and kills her for her betrayal, Lenah explores American teenage life at a boarding school in Massachusetts with best friend Tony and boyfriend Justin. Eventually discovered, abducted, and remade as a vampire, Lenah retains her soul and becomes something entirely new--a compassionate vampire with unexpected powers who can bridge the worlds. She returns to school and her friends, but the coven isn’t far behind, and they aren’t interested in mercy. Maizel’s lustrous style is occasionally uneven, but the captivating characters and intriguing story easily overcome the slight flaws. Vampire fans or not, readers will find a lot to enjoy in this exploration of the power of intent, desire, love, and sacrifice. Ages 12–up. (Aug.)

Kirkus Review -

Once the most feared vampire in the world, Lenah Beaudonte wants what all vampires eventually want: to be human and feel, love and even cry again. After an elaborate ritual that involves the death of her soul mate for the last 592 years and a 100-year secret hibernation at her English countryside estate, Lenah awakens at an elite New England boarding school, returned to her former 16-year-old human self. As she adjusts to the new century (almost too quickly, “chatting up” friends in mere days), tries to fit in with her peers and experiences her first human love with gorgeous and intelligent Justin and guilt for her past ruthless killings, flashbacks across the centuries reveal Lenah’s former life as a vampire, how she formed the coven she rules and why she must prepare to battle its members once they discover her disappearance. In this new series starter, strong, brave, powerful Lenah sheds the wannabe image, capturing readers instead with her complex yet fascinating history and visceral, at times sensual, narration. (Fiction. YA)

And as much as I love Kirkus and PW..I do, the Story Siren's review was great. Her review can be found at:

http://www.thestorysiren.com

And last...but certainly not least is my favorite review so far. It made me laugh out loud!

http://www.foreveryoungadult.com/2010/08/03/are-we-humans-or-are-we-vampires

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Bonus Scene for Infinite Days!

Where did all the time go? I had eons. I had sunrises, sunsets, I had the thrill of the burn. I always wondered what the sand at the bottom of the ocean would feel like between my toes. Centuries ago someone told me that sharks fear vampires. That when a vampire swims, their unbeating heart makes no rhythm or ripple in the water. The shark would know that something unnatural hunts its waters and would swim away deep into the dark of the ocean.

But I never believed that I would ever be sixteen again or at Wickham Boarding School, imprisoned in a job at a library. Not to mention, at that particular moment, investigating a long lane of books. Actually, I was hiding near the stacks so I could watch the movements of boy 500 years younger than I. ‘A veritable child,’ Rhode would have scolded. ‘What could you possibly have in common?’ But Rhode, my Rhode didn’t take breaths. Never a twinkle in his eye. My time at Wickham Boarding school was a machination of Rhode’s vampiric mind. He was always thinking ahead, the constant planner, the orchestrater...the mover of my bones.

But who was this Justin Enos to me? He stepped to the glass door of a private study room down the hall from where I stood. There was a whole line of these rooms flanked with glass windows and doors. Justin grasped the silver door handle and stepped inside. I watched the hunch of his back when he placed his book bag on the floor, then the crook and curve of his arm as he lowered himself into the seat. He was so...warm. I leaned closer to the shelves of books, trying to conceal myself. I took a breath, inhaling the old paper and musty smell of ancient bindings. Justin Enos has a presence, a gleaming aura. He is alive.

“This is a job, Ms. Beaudonte. Not your time to day dream.”

My eyes snapped up from the row of books, the librarian, my overseer, handed me a pile of books. She was a tall woman with a thin nose and eyes shaped like a cat.

“Alphabetize these. Might as well learn sometime,” she barked.

The books she handed me all belonged in the plant life section of the library. I’d heard that this school, Wickham had a magnificent botany department. I had seen nothing of the sort as of yet, but I heard that there was a greenhouse. I’m not sure if anyone besides me was excited to go into that greenhouse but as a vampire, herbs and plant life were the only connection I had to human world. I followed the signs running along the sides of the bookcases, which directed me toward the science stacks.

But I didn’t need books to tell me about the healing power of plants and flowers. I knew a rose in your tea would bring you love.

The burned petals of a peony will rid you of a broken heart. But I knew much more than that...

If you cut an apple in half, the core will make the shape of a pentacle.

If you wish on a shooting star - you will conjure change.

So many curses, I thought as I kept walking down the aisle toward the study atrium where Justin Enos was flipping through the pages of one of his books. The truth was that I lived my whole existence by the pulsations of the stars. Rhode told me that when the Ritual first came to be, hundreds of vampires died, desperate to achieve human life. All failed and the Ritual became myth. But he knew, he said. He knew it was the intention of your actions that mattered. No vampire he had ever known cared for the well-being of another vampire; it went against the natural make up of a vampire to feel compassion towards another being. I remember saying there was nothing natural about a vampire. About us.

I stopped and leaned against another stack of books this time just a bookcase or two away from the study room. I opened one of the books, Natural Holisitic Remedies and lifted the thin page. Even a hundred years before, last when I was aware of the world, paper was different. Thicker. It had a substance and weight. This was so thin, like gauze. I looked down at the contents of the page.

Frankincense.

Myrrh.

I closed my eyes and the memory of a conversation came back to me. A conversation and the deep, woody smell of frankincense.

“The contours of your face stir my soul. You could make wings out of lead,” Rhode said and moved a long strand of hair behind my shoulder. “And you kill so beautifully. No fear.”

“I’m not afraid of this life,” I said.

We sat on a beach at nightfall sometime in the early 16th century. We were in England along the coast, not far from London. I was still a young vampire then, considered a beast of the lowest order. But, then again, I was only learning.

Frankincense smoldered in a scallop shell between us, the smoke swirled toward the sky.

The sun had long left the sky and I faced Rhode, he faced me, his legs bent in front of him, and his arms lazily strung over his kneecaps. We had recently come back from Italy, where an artist named Michaelangelo had sculpted a man out of stone. The David they called it and I spent hours staring at his hands. Beautiful fingers. The slope of a wrist. Rhode’s hand hung like that over his knee. I reached up and touched our hands, fingertip to fingertip.

But we were vampires, no longer hungry from our early evening murdering a peasant couple. We could have cleaned the blood from beneath our nails. Even though we touched finger to finger, there was nothing to feel. Words would be our skin. Our voices and intentions would fill the gap of humanity between us.

“This isn’t filing books, Ms. Beaudonte,” the pesky librarian passed me, her soft sneakers making a squishing sound against the soft carpet of the library.

My fangs would have ripped her neck in two. I would have left shreds of her skin on the floor and liked it. She pointed down the aisle, closer to where Justin Enos was studying. I walked, carrying the books in my hand keeping my eyes focused on the glass windows of the study room ahead of me.

Only, I hadn’t realized that the width of the book case had been blocking the entirety of the door, and someone else had joined him in that room. Justin and his girlfriend, Tracy Sutton were pressed chest to chest, his lips against hers, and they moved their mouths, together.

You could make wings out of lead.

Something inside my chest clenched but I couldn’t look away. Both of them were so...alive. They seemed filled with something I could not touch, like a secret to life or love and living that I could not wield with my hands. His hands trickled up and down her back and while I stood there, motionless, watching. I wanted to be Tracy Sutton. I wanted to be this insipid, useless girl with no original thought in her head so I could feel like she did.

Was that so wrong? I thought. To want to burn? I had smoldered for Rhode but never felt it with my body. Now I had a human body and could only watch others, I had no way to wield this fire within me. When Justin broke away from Tracy he looked into her eyes and then pulled her close to his chest. As her cheek rested against him, he looked through the glass window, directly at me.

Our eyes hung there, suspended looking at one another - mine blue, his green - and then it was as though the wind was knocked out me. I remembered that I was standing there in the middle of a library aisle, staring at this boy. My books flew to the floor and my cheeks burned.

“Who are you looking at?” I heard Tracy say only then realizing that the door of their study atrium was just barely open.

“No one.”

Tracy turned and when I looked up she was glaring at me, her long blonde hair cascading down her shoulders and over her breasts. She rolled her eyes and raised her hand, placed it on the door and slammed it shut.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Insomnia breeds a post on craft? Guess so!

I'm up. And it's three in the morning at Vermont College of Fine Arts. And I have a cold - it's mild but nevertheless my ears are completely clogged and it's annoying. So what better way to spend my insomnia than writing a blog on writing? I'm at a writing residency after all. By the way, Jandy Nelson is here. She wrote The Sky is Everywhere and I am desperately trying not to FREAK OUT every time she walks by. That aside, I've been doing an awful lot of thinking about love interests. I even did a vlog a few weeks ago about what makes a good love interest.

For Lenah, Justin is so completely foreign to her - here's a young man who has incredible zest for life, in fact, he's willing to take chances with his body so that he can get that "rush," that adrenaline kick. I thought to myself, what better way to try to bring this girl back from such a dark place than to position her next to someone very, very much alive? It was the same when I thought of Tony's relationship with Lenah. I'm not spoiling anything here - that would be REALLY dumb. But I think when talking about love interests it's interesting to ask yourself (the writer, or reader, I suppose): are these characters capable of being in love with one another? What are these characters learning from one another?

I think when crafting a believable love interest you have to ask yourself: why is the chemistry here important? If I take this person away, out of the narrative, what does it do to the other relationships within the book? What does this person provide? I know these are a lot of questions but I think half the battle in writing, especially YA is making sure that the things we choose to write and relay to the reader are thought through throughoughly (say that three times fast).

I went to an incredible graduate lecture here (graduates give lectures during their final residency here at VCFA) by writer Linda Oatman High and she was talking about instilling hope even into your darkest stories. It was odd that I thought of love interests during her lecture but I wondered: don't romantic relationships in YA books also have to have a semblance of hope? The relationships a writer creates on the page comes with a certain responsibility. What are we giving the reader when we create a relationship? Even our characters deserve a love that will open them up - not close them down. As my friend Victoria Schwab said in her part of the vlog we did, "I'm really not so fine with homocidal tendencies...but I don't really want my love interest to want for one reason for another to want to kill my main character. Ya know?"

I think Linda is right - we need to orchestrate our main characters and their loved ones with a crafted hand so that we can give our readers hope that our love interests are well meaning people. That we've paired them up not only for love but because these two characters irrevocably need one another. That, as I said in the vlog, their inner conflicts are matched. Is Justin a 3-dimensional person who through a mutual understanding of his love for Lenah can find common ground with her? I certainly hope so.

I guess what I am saying is that you don't need to be a 592 year old vampire to know when you meet someone who makes you feel...alive.

It just means more when you do.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

And the winner is...

The first...no, second, attempt. Maybe the third?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Vlog! Me reading an excerpt from Infinite Days

Friday, July 2, 2010

What Makes a Good Love Interest?

My friend Vania is a savvy lady and invited me to join in on a discussion with authors Kody Kepplinger (The Duff), Lisa Desrochers (Personal Demons), Jason Henderson (Alex Van Helsing), and Victoria Schwab (The Near Witch) as well as bloggers from blogs such as: Sarah's Random Musings, Bookalicious Pam, and Danielle from Startingandgoing.blogspot.com. This was so fun. Can I do it again!?

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Vlog.

Vlog

This is the story of Infinite Days.


Infinite Days ARC Giveaway contest!!!

In honor of Infinite Days coming out in 34 days! (Yay!) I am giving away a free, signed ARC!

All you have to do is follow this blog. That's it - just follow it!

But wait...there's more.

If you want to double your chances - follow me on twitter.... I may even throw in some dried lavender with the ARC...

www.twitter.com/rebeccajoym

To triple your chances...friend me on Facebook!

www.facebook.com/rebecca.maizel

If you do THAT...I'll throw in a bookmark.

To entice you to enter this contest watch the world premiere of the Infinite Days US trailer!

This contest will close July 9th 2010!!

Good luck!


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Amazing review of Infinite Days!!!

http://fictionfanatic.wordpress.com/2010/06/28/arc-review-infinite-days/

Monday, June 28, 2010

Kirkus Review!

Thank you Kirkus!!


Once the most feared vampire in the world, Lenah Beaudonte wants what all vampires eventually want: to be human and feel, love and even cry again. After an elaborate ritual that involves the death of her soul mate for the last 592 years and a 100-year secret hibernation at her English countryside estate, Lenah awakens at an elite New England boarding school, returned to her former 16-year-old human self. As she adjusts to the new century (almost too quickly, “chatting up” friends in mere days), tries to fit in with her peers and experiences her first human love with gorgeous and intelligent Justin and guilt for her past ruthless killings, flashbacks across the centuries reveal Lenah’s former life as a vampire, how she formed the coven she rules and why she must prepare to battle its members once they discover her disappearance. In this new series starter, strong, brave, powerful Lenah sheds the wannabe image, capturing readers instead with her complex yet fascinating history and visceral, at times sensual, narration. (Fiction. YA)

Sunday, June 27, 2010

ALA!

This blog is brought to you by coffee.

I only stayed at ALA for a couple days – I couldn’t stay longer but believe me I wanted to. On the way back, I took the longest train ride of my life and realized that if I ever go anywhere south of Jersey, ever again, I am flying. Just have to get over the pesky fear of imminent death every time I leave the ground.

Friday night, I signed ARCs of Infinite Days. It was my first signing!!! I lived with dread for the few hours before the signing. In my heart, I believed that the books wouldn’t go, they wouldn’t be signed and I would stand there looking at my feet wondering why I was invited to ALA in the first place. My fears were laughed off by St. Martin’s team, Ben and Talia, who, by the way, were very nice to me. I made a lot of bad jokes, they laughed politely but mostly I wished I were cool like them - alas, I am not. They were very helpful and made me feel welcome. Ben even made an incredible poster that I brought with me back to RI! Thank you, Ben, I love it. (You can see it in the pictures below)







These are pictures of the books before the doors opened at ALA. Here are some during the signing!







It was amazing - so thank you to everyone who came and got an ARC of Infinite Days and to SMP, I had an incredible first signing.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Excerpt Extravaganza

Because my publisher is awesome - we're sharing the first two chapters of Infinite Days... Enjoy (muhahahaa...cackling into the distance...)


Chapter 1

I release you….
I release you, Lenah Beaudonte.
Believe…and be free.

Those were the last words I could remember. But they were formless, said by someone whose voice I did not recognize. It could have been ages ago.

When I awoke, I immediately felt a cold surface on my left cheek. An icy shiver rushed down my spine. Even with my eyes closed, I knew I was naked, stomach down on a hardwood floor.

I gasped though my throat was so dry I made an unearthly animal sound. Three heaving breaths then a thump-thump, thump-thump - a heart beat. My heartbeat? It could have been ten thousand fluttering wings. I tried to open my eyes but with each blink there was a flash of blinding light. Then another. And another.

“Rhode!” I screamed. He had to be here. There would be no world without Rhode.

I writhed on the floor, covering my body with my hands. Understand that I am not the type of person to find herself naked and alone especially in a situation where sunlight shines down on her body. Yet, there I was, bathed in yellow light, sure that I was moments away from a painful, fiery death - I had to be. Soon flames would erupt from within my soul and turn me into dust.

Only, nothing happened. No flames or imminent death. There was only the smell of the oak in the floor. I swallowed and the muscles in my throat contracted. My mouth was wet with... saliva! My chest rested on the floor. I pressed down on my palms and craned my neck to look at the source of my torment. Luminous daylight streamed into a bedroom from a large bay window. The sky was a sapphire blue, no clouds.

“Rhode!” My voice seemed to swirl in the air, vibrating out of my mouth. I was so thirsty. “Where are you?” I screamed.

A door somewhere near me opened and closed. I heard a wobbling step, an uneven shuffle then Rhode's black, buckle boots stepped into my eye line. I rolled onto my back and looked up at the ceiling. Gasping. My God - was I breathing?

Rhode loomed over me but he was a blur. He leaned forward so his hazy features were within inches of my face. Then there he was, as though coming out of a mist, looking as I had never seen him before. The skin over Rhode's cheekbones stretched so tight it looked as though his bones would break through. His usually full and proud chin was now a thin point. But the blue of his eyes - they were the same. Even in the haze of that moment they pierced me, down to my soul.

“Fancy meeting you here,” Rhode said. Despite black bruises that ringed his eyes, a twinkle, from somewhere deep within looked back at me. “Happy sixteenth birthday,” he said and extended a hand.
*
Rhode gripped a glass of water. I sat up, took it from him and finished it in three large gulps. The cold water trickled down the back of my throat, flowed down my esophagus and into my stomach. Blood, a substance I was used to, trickled, but its absorption into the vampire body was a lot like a sponge soaking up liquid. It had been so long since I'd had a drink of water....

In Rhode's other hand was a piece of black cloth. When I took it from him, the cloth cascaded out to reveal a black dress. It was lightweight cotton. I pressed up from the floor and stood up. My knees buckled but I steadied myself by throwing my arms out to balance. I stood there for a moment, until I was firmly planted to the ground. When I tried to walk, a small vibration shook me so hard that my knees touched.

“Put that on and then come into the other room,” Rhode said and lumbered unevenly out of the bedroom. I should have noticed that he had to hold onto the doorframe when he walked but my knees and thighs trembled and I had to try and find my balance again. I let my hands fall back to my sides. My brown hair unfurled and like seaweed, strands stuck to my naked body. Longer strands reached my breasts. I would have given anything for a mirror. I took a few breaths and my knees wobbled again. I looked around for a corset but there was nothing. How curious! Was I meant to walk around this place with nothing to hold me in? I slid the dress over my head and it stopped right above my knees.

I didn't look a day over 16, yet if someone had calculated on that particular day - I officially turned 592.

Everything was so crisp and bright, too bright. Beams of light trickled minute rainbows across my feet. I looked around the room. Despite waking up on the floor, there was a mattress in an iron bed frame covered by a black comforter. Across the room a bay window looked out at full leaves and swaying branches. Beneath the window was a seat covered in blue, plush pillows.

I ran my fingertips against the textured wood of the walls and couldn't believe that I could actually feel it. The wood was layered and I felt the raised and jagged parts under my smooth fingertips. My existence as a vampire meant that all my nerve endings were dead. Only by remembering what things felt like as a human would my vampire mind understand whether I was touching something soft or hard. The only senses a vampire retained were those that heightened her ability to kill; the sense of smell was linked to flesh and blood, sight was super sight, detailed down to the minutiae, its sole purpose to find prey within an instant.

My fingers fluttered over the wall again - another rush of shivers rolled up my arms.

“There will be time for that,” Rhode said from the other room.

My heartbeat echoed in my ears. I could taste the air. As I walked the muscles in my thighs and calves seemed to burn, twitch and then relax. In order to stop shaking, I rested my body weight on the doorway and crossed my hands over my chest.

“What century is this?” I asked closing my eyes and taking a breath.

“The 21st,” Rhode said. His black hair, which reached halfway down his back the last time I saw him, had been cut short and now stood up in a spiky hairstyle. Around his right wrist was a white, medical bandage. Rhode gripped a side table and lowered himself into a crimson colored lounge seat.

“Sit,” he whispered. I sat down on a pale blue couch that faced the lounger.

“You look terrible,” I whispered.

“Thank you,” he said with the barest glimmer of a smile.

Rhode's cheeks were so sunken that his once masculine, carved features now clung to his bones. His usual golden skin had yellowed. His arms quivered as he lowered himself into the chair, holding onto it until he was almost fully sitting down.

“Tell me everything,” I commanded.

“Give me a moment,” he said.

“Where are we?”


“Your new home,” he closed his eyes. Rhode leaned his head back onto the chair. He gripped the armrests and I noticed that the rings that had once adorned his fingers were now gone. The curling black snake with emerald eyes, the poison ring for emergencies (which meant it was always filled with blood) were missing. Only one ring remained on his pinky finger. My ring. The ring that I had worn for 500 years. Only then did I notice that own hands were bare. It was a tiny silver band with a dark, black stone -- onyx. “Never wear onyx unless you want or know death,” he once told me. I believed him. Besides, up until that moment, I was confident no vampire enjoyed creating death more than I did.

I tried to avoid his gaze. I'd never seen Rhode so weak.

“You're human, Lenah,” he said.

I nodded once in acknowledgement though I looked at the lines in the hardwood floor. I couldn't respond. Not yet. I wanted it too much. The last interaction I had with Rhode, before waking up in that bedroom was about my desire to be human. We had an argument; one that I thought would last for centuries. It did, in a way, the argument had happened a century before that moment.

“You finally got what you wanted,” he whispered.

I had to look away again. I couldn't stand the cool blue of his eyes appraising me. Rhode's appearance was so altered - changed - as though he was withering away. When he was at his fullest health his square jaw and blue eyes made him one of the most beautiful men I'd ever seen. I say man but I am not sure of Rhode's age. He could have been just a boy when he was made into a vampire but through the years, he'd clearly seen and done so much--it aged him. Vampires as they move into the maturity of their existence become so ethereal in appearance that it is nearly impossible to guess their age.

Making sure to keep my eyes away from his, I examined the living room. It looked as though he had just moved in, though the atmosphere of the room felt like Rhode. Despite a few boxes piled next to the door everything seemed to be in its proper place. Many of my possessions from my vampire life decorated the apartment. Specifically, items from my bedchamber. On the wall, an ancient sword was held to a metal plate by golden clasps. It was one of Rhode's favorite pieces, his longsword from his days with the Order of the Garter, a ring of knights under Edward the III. It was a special sword, one that was forged by magic, outside of the brotherhood. It had a black leather grip and thick base that tapered down to a deadly and distinct point. The pommel, the wheel shaped counter weight on the top of the sword had an engraving circling its perimeter: Ita fert corde voluntas, the heart wills it.

On the wall, on either side the sword, iron sconces made to look like roses linked by vines and thorns held unlit, white candles. White candles should be burned in a house wishing to dispel evil spirits or energy. Every vampire had them for protection against other darker magics. Yes, there are worse things in the universe than vampires.

“I forgot your human beauty.”

I looked back at Rhode. He wasn't smiling but his eyes sparkled in a way that I knew he meant it. Seeing me now in my human form was a personal fulfillment. He had done what he had set out to do hundreds of years before.

Chapter 2



Hathersage, England -- The Peaks

October 31, 1910 – Evening

My house was a stone castle. There were halls with marble floors and painted ceilings. I lived in Hathersage, a rural town known for its rolling hills and gorges. My castle was offset from the road and watched over endless fields. That night was Nuit Rouge or in English, Red Night. Once a year, vampires would come from around the globe and occupy my home for one month. For the 31 days in October, Nuit Rouge brought vampires of all races to my home. 31 days of opulence. 31 days of pure terror. This was the last night before everyone returned to their respective hauntings.

It was just after dusk. Above me the stars sparkled in the twilight - they glinted gold light off of glass goblets. I pushed past guests sipping on blood and dancing to a string quartet. Rhode followed me out from the back of the castle and onto the stone terrace. Men and women, dressed in top hats, corsets, and the finest silks from China, laughed and crowded Rhode’s way. At the back of the house, a set of stone steps led down into the gardens. Two white candles stood tall on either end of the steps, their wax dripped tiny archipelagos onto the stone. The yard spread out wide and then down, out into the sweeping countryside. I was wearing an evergreen, silk gown adorned with a gold piping, and a matching corset beneath.

“Lenah!” Rhode called but I was darting through the crowd. I was walking so fast that for a moment I thought I would spill out over my corset.

“Lenah! Stop!” Rhode called again.

It was just after dusk. I ran the length of the gardens down the sloping hill into the start of fields.

I led Rhode down the hill, out of sight of the vampires in the castle. I stood at the foot of fields that spread out for countless miles into the distance. Back then, I looked different. My skin was pale white, no shadows under my eyes or wrinkles on my skin. Just white, clear skin as if my pores had been buffed away.

At the crest of the hill, Rhode looked down at me. He was dressed in an evening suit, with a top hat and black silk lapels. He held a cane in his right hand. When he stepped down the side of the steep hill, the wispy grass that stretched for hundreds of miles, bowed under his feet. I turned to look out at the fields.

“You have not said a word to me all evening. You’ve been completely silent. And now you run out here? Care to share with me what the hell is going on?”

“You don’t understand? If I uttered a word I would not be able to conceal my intentions. Vicken is unnaturally gifted. He could read my lips from five miles away.”

Vicken was my last creation, that is, the last man I made into a vampire. At fifty, he was also the youngest vampire of my coven, though he didn’t look a day older than nineteen.

“Dare I think that this might be a moment of clarity?” Rhode asked. “That perhaps you realize Vicken and your band of ingrates are more dangerous than you anticipated?”

I said nothing. Instead, I watched the wind trace patterns over the grass.

“Do you know why I left you? My fear,” Rhode spat, “was that you had truly lost your mind. That the prospect of infinite time had started to eat away at you. You were reckless.”

I spun around, our eyes met immediately.

“I will not let you fault me for creating a coven of the strongest, most gifted vampires in existence. You told me to protect myself, and I did what I had to do.”

“You cannot see what you have done,” Rhode said. His strong jaw clenched.

“What I have done?” I stepped closer to him. “I feel the weight of this existence in my bones. As though a thousand parasites are eating away at my sanity. You told me once, that I was what kept you sane. That the curse of emotional pain released you when you were with me. What do you think happened to me for the 170 years you were gone?”

Rhode’s shoulders fell. His eyes were the most blue I had ever seen - even in 500 years. The beauty of his slim nose and dark hair always shocked me. The vampire essence heightened a person’s beauty but for Rhode it radiated from within and lit up his soul -- it made my heart burn.

“The magic that binds your coven is more dangerous than I would have ever thought possible. How did you expect me to feel?”

“You don’t feel. Remember? We’re vampires,” I replied.

He gripped my arm so hard, I was sure he would break a bone. I would have been frightened had I not loved him more than I could articulate. Rhode and I were soul mates. Linked in a love bound by passion, the lust for blood, death and the unfaltering understanding of eternity. Were we lovers? Sometimes. Certain centuries more than others. Were we best friends? Always. We were bound.

“You left me for 170 years,” I said through gritted teeth. Rhode had only returned from his “break” from me the week prior. We had been inseparable since his return. “Do you not know why I brought you down here?” I asked. “I can tell no one else the real truth.”

Rhode dropped his arm and I turned to face him directly.

“I have nothing left. No more sympathies,” I whispered though there was an edge of hysteria in my voice. I could see my reflection in Rhode’s eyes. His dilated pupils overwhelmed the blue but I stared into the blackness. My voice quivered, “Now that I know you have the ritual…Rhode, I cannot think of anything else. That my humanity - that it might be a possibility.”

“You have no idea how dangerous this ritual is.”

“I don’t care! I want to feel the sand beneath my toes. I want to wake up to the sunlight pouring through my window. I want to smell the air. Anything. Anything I can feel. God, Rhode. I need to smile¾and mean it.”

“We all want those things,” he replied in a calm manner.

“Do you? Because I don’t think you do,” I said.

“Of course. I want to wake up to blue waters and feel sunlight on my face.”

“The pain is too much,” I said.

“You could try again. Concentrate on me – loving me,” Rhode said gently.

“You, who leave.”

“That’s not fair,” Rhode said now reaching for my hands.

“Even loving you is a curse. I can’t really feel or touch you. I look at the humans we take and even they can feel. Even in their last minutes of life they have breath in their lungs and taste in their mouth.”

Rhode held my palm in his and the warmth, the feeling of his passion for me swept up though my hand and into my body. I closed my eyes, relishing the momentary relief from the countless tragedies resting within me. I opened my eyes and took a step away from him.

“I am losing my mind and I don’t know how much longer I can bear it.” I took a moment, careful in my wording. “Ever since you discovered the ritual,” I continued. “It’s all I can think about. My way out.” My eyes were wild, I was sure of it. “I need this. I need this. God help me, Rhode because if you don’t I will walk out into sunlight until it scorches me to flames.”

Rhode nearly lost his top hat with a gust of the wind. He ripped his hand out of mine. He still had long hair then and it fell past his shoulders and onto his topcoat.

“You dare to threaten me with your suicide? Don’t be petty, Lenah. No one has survived the ritual. Thousands of vampires have tried. All - every single one has died in the process. Do you think I can bear to lose you? That I could part with you?”

“You already did,” I whispered savagely.

Rhode pulled me close, so fast that I wasn’t prepared for the force of his mouth against mine. One deep growl from him and my bottom lip split open-Rhode bit into me. I could feel a rhythmic pull as he sucked the blood from my mouth. After a moment, he stepped away and wiped his bloody lip on his jacket sleeve.

“Yes, I left you. But I had to find the magic and science I needed. If we ever try this ritual -- I needed to make sure…I didn’t expect you to fall in love when I left.”

There was a silence. Rhode knew as well as I that I never believed he was coming back.

“I do not love Vicken as I love you.” I said every word so it was clear and calculated. After a moment, I added, “I want out.”

“You do not know what will come to you if you chose human life.”

“The air? Real breath? Happiness?”

“Death, sickness, human nature?”

“I don’t understand,” I said stepping back again. “You have said yourself that humanity is what all vampires crave. The freedom to feel more than constant pain and suffering. Do you not feel this way?”

“It consumes me,” Rhode said and took off his top hat. He looked out at the fields. “There are deer, there,” he pointed. He was right. About ten miles away a herd of deer grazed silently. We could have fed off them, though I did love my dress and blood would not match the green silk. Besides, I hated the taste of animal blood and would only feed on them if I were in a dire situation. With the creation of the coven, I had ensured that would never happen.

Rhode slipped his hands around my lower back and brought me even closer.

“Your beauty will be a powerful force in the human world. Your human face may betray even your best intentions.”

"I don’t care,” I said not quite understanding and not really caring either way.

Rhode reached out and ran his index finger down the thin slope of my nose. He then gently rubbed his thumb over my lips. His furrowed brow and piercing stare. I couldn’t have looked away even if I had tried.

“When I took you from your father’s orchards in the 15th century I saw your future laid out before me,” Rhode confessed. “Swashbuckling vampire linked to my side for all eternity.” There was a pause. Somewhere behind us music from the party echoed down into the fields. “I saw my own dreams.”

“Then give me what I want.”

Rhode’s mouth was a thin line. He furrowed his eyebrows and looked out at the deer. They galloped deeper into the grassy hills. I could tell from his still mouth and dark expression that he was formulating a plan.

“One hundred years,” he whispered but still looked out at the deer.

My eyes widened.

“Starting tonight you will hibernate for one hundred years.” Rhode turned back to look at me and pointed up the hill. I knew he was gesturing toward a cemetery. It was to the right of the terrace and protected by a wrought iron gate topped by spiked points.

Hibernation only occurred when a vampire rested in the ground. The vampire sleeps and deprives herself of blood – there are a series of spells so the vampire remains in a meditative state, almost to the point of death. On a prearranged day a fellow vampire revives her. But only with magic is this possible. Only very brave (and some would argue very stupid) vampires have done this.

“The night before you are supposed to wake,” Rhode continued. “I will unearth you and take you somewhere safe, somewhere you cannot be found. Somewhere you can be a human and live out your days.”

“And the coven?” I asked.

“You leave them behind.”

My heart throbbed, a familiar pain that I couldn’t help but recognize. The magical binding between the coven and myself would force them to search for me. Just as I knew I would love Rhode until the end of the earth, I knew that the coven would search for me. I nodded once but said nothing. I watched the deer nibbling at the grass and licking their fur.

“You are not afraid to die?” he asked.

I shook my head. Rhode turned to face the house. I stopped him from walking up the hill by gently grasping his fingers. He turned to me.

“Will you be there?” I asked. “If I die and we fail, will you be there?”

Rhode’s fingers lightly grazed the top of my hand. He turned it over, touched my palm and whispered,

“Always.”

*

“How did you do it?” I was spellbound. Back in the dark apartment, my back pressed into the pillows. My fingers wandered over the fine velvet. My fingertips skimmed along the softness of the couch, which produced a wave of goose bumps over my legs. Before, I would have known the couch was soft but it would only have meant the fabric. It wouldn’t have meant comfort or safety. Just soft.

“That night. The last night of Nuit Rouge. You went to bed…” Rhode started.

“After killing one of the maids,” I admitted remembering the young, blonde girl I caught off guard in the attic.

Rhode continued with a slight smile. “I told Vicken that you had decided on your hibernation. That you would sleep for 100 years and that I was to wake you on the last night of the following Nuit Rouge. I also explained that you wanted to be buried - to make it official. He thought it was a wonderful idea. He wanted a chance to rule your coven.”

“I wouldn’t have protested against that,” I said.

“Precisely why he believed me so willingly. It was a lie, Lenah. The moment you looked into my eyes on the fields and begged me for human life, I knew that my quest, my vampire life, your vampire life, what I had done to you was coming to an end.”

“I shouldn’t have begged you. Manipulated you like I did.”

Rhode laughed but the breath was short,

“That is your way.”

I looked at the bandage around his wrist and the dark rings circling Rhode’s eyes. At that moment, I felt a surge of guilt. In my human state, I couldn’t imagine bribing Rhode or threatening him with suicide. It had been so easy for me before. Easy because the emotional pain that clouded the vampire life prevented rational thought.

“Please tell me about the ritual,” I asked again.

Rhode unwrapped the white bandage, roll-by-roll until his wrist was bare. There, on the inside of his wrist were teeth marks, my teeth marks - two small indents on the inside of Rhode’s wrist. The one on the left was just higher than the one on the right, I always hated that my bite was uneven. I could have recognized my teeth marks anywhere.

“The most important thing is the intent. The success of the sacrifice and it is a sacrifice, depends solely on the vampire performing the ritual. It takes two days.”

Rhode stood up. He paced whenever he was telling me something difficult. Sometime in the 16th century I asked him why. He said it was so he wouldn’t have to look me in the eye.

“The intent is where most vampires fail,” Rhode continued. “You have to want the other vampire to live. You, in turn, have to want to die. It is the most unselfish act you’ve ever committed. As you know such selflessness is nearly impossible for the natural state of a vampire.”

“Who told you this?” I asked.

“When I left you for those years, I went to France. I searched for --”

“Suleen,” I said though I was suddenly finding it very hard to breathe. Rhode had met Suleen…in person.

“Yes. He was coming out of a fifty-year hibernation. When I described you and then told him of my plan, he comforted me with a compliment. He said that I might be the only vampire with soul enough to succeed.”

I raised my eyebrows in surprise. It must have been quite a special moment in Rhode’s life. I wished I had been there to see Rhode’s reaction when Suleen said something so significant.

I imagined Suleen. He was an East Indian man, or at least he had been some time ago - when, I have no idea. He is the oldest vampire alive. Nothing in the grand scheme of life would or could ever rattle his soul. Suleen is not hindered by death nor does he want to return to human life. All he wants is to live long enough so he may see the end of the world.

“There are a few more rules,” Rhode explained. “The vampire performing the ritual must be over 500 years old. Suleen mentioned something about the chemistry of a vampire of that age. It is a crucial ingredient. But most of all he kept saying, ‘The intent, Rhode. It’s the intent.’ The will and the desire to give up your life in order that another may live. Vampires are selfish, Lenah. Inherently so. I had to find that will within myself.”

“You sacrificed yourself?” I whispered. I was unable to look up from the floor. Rhode remained silent. He was waiting for me to look at him. I hated him for it. Finally, our eyes met.

“The ritual required that I gave you all of my blood. After two days, you woke up, more or less, and bit into me. I had to allow you to finish it—well, almost all of it. But the important thing was the intent, the chemistry of my blood and my love for you.”

“I never would have agreed to those conditions.”

Much to my surprise, Rhode’s stoic facial expression turned into a smile. A toothy, happy smile. “Precisely why I did it when you were weakened and hibernating.”

I stood up, now it was my turn to pace.

“So where is Vicken?” I asked trying to think like a vampire. Trying to place all the pieces together. I had been asleep for one hundred years.

“He remains at your house in Hathersage with the rest of the coven. I believe he is awaiting your return.”

“Have you seen him since my hibernation?”

“He is too young for me to converse with as often as he would like. His energy tires me. Yet, when I stayed with them he was respectful. He’s a fighter. Excellent swordsman. I can see why you loved him.”

My cheeks warmed, which surprised me. Then I realized, I was feeling shame. I snuck a peek at Rhode’s fingers holding the arm of the lounger. They were pruned, and wrinkled as though all the liquid inside him had been sucked away.

“I do not blame you for loving another,” Rhode said.

“You believe Vicken loves me? As I love you?”

Rhode shook his head. “Vicken loves your outward appearance and desire for thick, congealed blood. I love your soul. As a mate to my long search on this earth. You are - were - the most vicious vampire I have ever known. I love you for that.”

I couldn’t respond. I thought of Hathersage, of the fields, of Rhode in his top hat and the deer grazing in the distance.

“Vicken will search for me,” I said. “As you know, he is bound to me. And when he finds me, the coven will destroy me. I created the coven to do just that. To seek, capture, and obliterate.”

“That is the exact reason why I chose this place.”

“Yes. Where are we?” I looked about the apartment.

“This is your new school.”

“You intend for me to go to school?” My head reared in his direction.

“It is crucial you understand.” Even in his weakened state Rhode stood up and towered over me. He glared at me with such a passionate fierceness that I should have been frightened. “Vicken will dig you up from the cemetery. I promised you would return on the final night of Nuit Rouge. The party ends October 31st.”

“So on the 31st he will find an empty casket. End of story.”

“It’s not that simple. You were a vampire, Lenah. One of the oldest of your kind.”

“I know what I was.”

“Then do not pretend that you need a tutorial in the seriousness of this situation!” Rhode snapped and continued pacing very slowly. I was silent. Rhode regained some of his composure and again spoke at a low decibel. “When Vicken digs up the grave and discovers an empty casket he will search the earth for you. As you’ve said yourself, the magic that binds the coven has made it so. You made it so. He will exhaust himself, so will all of the coven until they find you and bring you home.”

“I did not foresee myself in this situation.”

“Yes, well, luckily, for now, the magic that protects you allows a few luxuries. Your vampire sight and your extra sensory perception.”

“So I did keep it, then,” I said and stood up. I looked around the room again. Yes, as Rhode said I could see all of the adornments in the room down to the knots in the wood floor and the perfection in the paint on the walls.

“The more you assimilate into this human existence these accompaniments will fade.”

How was I to process not being a vampire anymore but still retain some vampire qualities? Could I be in the sun? Did I eat food again? These thoughts rattled within my head and I stamped my foot in frustration. Rhode put his hand on my cheeks and I was startled by how cold they were. It stopped my tantrum.

“You must disappear into human life, Lenah. You must go to school and become a sixteen year old girl again.”

In that moment, I couldn’t cry no matter how badly I wanted to – I was too shocked. Vampires cannot cry. There is nothing natural in a vampire. No tears, no water¾just blood and black magic. Instead, the tears, which would spill over the cheeks of a normal person, in the vampire are utter and acidic pain that scorches the tear ducts.

I wanted to run or turn inside out, anything to curb the feeling that made my stomach burn. I balled my hands into fists and tried to fill the anxiety with a breath but it caught in my throat. My gaze fell onto a photo resting on top of a bureau. It looked tattered and old though the last time I had seen the photo, I was posing for it. 1910, the last night of Nuit Rouge. In the photo, Rhode and I stood hip-to-hip, arms around each other’s waists, on the back terrace of my home. Rhode was dressed in his black suit and top hat, me in a gown, my long brown hair tied and styled in a long braid that fell over my left breast. We were more than human. We were frighteningly beautiful.

“How can I do that?” I turned away from the photo to look at Rhode. “Hide?"

“Oh, I think you will find it easier than you expect. You have never been sixteen before. I snatched that away before you could.”

He stepped close to me again and kissed my forehead.

“Why did you do this for me?” I asked. He pulled away and the air shifted as the space opened up between us.

“Of course, you must know,” Rhode said and cocked his head to the side.

I shook my head to say that I did not nor could I ever understand what he had done for me.

“Because,” he continued, “throughout all of my histories I found no one I loved more than you. No one.”

“But I’m losing you,” I said, my voice breaking.

Rhode grasped me so my cheek pressed against his chest. I stayed there a moment and let my heartbeat echo between our bodies.

“And you think Vicken won’t be able to find me?” I asked

“I do not think in his wildest dreams he will understand what I have done. It will take the entire coven’s effort just to follow us this far and I believe I have done my best to conceal our whereabouts. Also, why would he ever suspect you could be human?”

I stepped away and looked back at the photo portrait of Rhode and me.

“When will you die?” I asked turning away from the photo and sat back down on the couch. I brought my knees to my chest and linked my arms around my shins.

“The morning.”

*

We sat together and I stared into Rhode’s eyes for as long as possible. He told me of the changes in society. Cars, television, sciences, wars that neither of us, even in our vampire minds, could understand. He said that practical things were of the utmost importance to humans. I would now be capable of getting sick. He had placed me in the finest boarding school in New England. A doctor, he informed me, was only a few buildings away. He begged that I complete school and grow up, as he had prevented me from doing.

We talked and talked and without knowing it, I fell asleep. The last thing I remember were his eyes looking into mine. I think he may have kissed my lips but that also felt like a dream.

When I awoke, the shades were drawn and the whole living area was shrouded in darkness. Across from me, red-lighted numbers illuminated the blackness. A digital clock said that the time was eight in the morning. I was on the couch and Rhode wasn’t in the red lounger across from me. I shot up. My muscles were stiff so I stumbled and held onto arm of the chair.

“Rhode?” I called out.

But I already knew.

“No…” I whispered. I spun in a circle. There were only four rooms: a bedroom, a bathroom, a living room and a kitchen. Off the living area was a porch. The curtains were closed yet the way the wind drifted inward made the curtains billow. The door was open behind them. I pushed them aside and stepped out onto the wooden patio. I put my hand over my eyes as a visor. My eyes adjusted immediately as I scanned the porch, hopeful for only a moment.

Rhode was gone. From my life. From my existence.

I saw the onyx ring lying in the center of the tile. When I approached it, I realized it was in the middle of a tiny pile of glittering dust. It looked as though sand was mixed with mica or tiny diamonds. My Rhode, my companion for close to 600 years, weakened from the transformation and self-sacrifice had evaporated in the sun. I dipped my thumb and index finger into Rhode’s remains. They were cool and gritty. I pulled out the ring and slid the smooth metal over my new, sensitive skin.

I was alone.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

ALA...and other stuff...

Oh June...how you mock me with your fickle weather. So, why didn't anyone tell me that London and Rhode Island switched climates? Because when I left London I said to myself, IT'S JUNE. Beach days ahead!

I've been wearing a raincoat for 6 days.

But this whining is not the reason for my post. I have many wonderful things to report!

1. Infinite Days will be an audio book! Yipee! It will be read by Justine Eyre who also read Lauren Kate's Fallen. Her voice is beautiful and I love its depth. I can't wait to hear it!

2. I am going to the American Library Association Conference. Yay (again)! I'll be signing ARCs of Infinite Days on Friday the 25th. I'm really excited about it. If you are planning to go to ALA please stop by and say hello. I know there are tons of Vermont College writers that will be there so I am very excited to go to their signings as well.

3. I'll be speaking at an ASTAL event on Monday June 28th! ASTAL is (http://www.astal-ric.org/) The Alliance for the Study and Teaching of Adolescent Literature. It's a wonderful association and if you live in the New England area, I suggest you check out their website. They have great seminars and conferences about writing and teaching YA lit. I have no idea what I'll be talking about yet. That's probably not comforting for Jean, the director but I know I'd like to talk about the query letter I sent out for the earlier draft of Infinite Days which was originally called, The End of Warm Days. I am terrible with titles - just so you know. Once I know what I'm talking about, I'll post it here. Or you can attend!!! June 23, 24, 25, 26, 28 & 29, 2010 at Rhode Island College.

Just so you know why I want to talk about the query, I truly believe a query letter can make or break your submission process. I didn't start out with William Morris as my agent, I sent a cold query submission out to a publisher who was accepting unsolicited manuscripts. So the query opened the door. Once I get the OK, I'll post the query here so you can see how I formatted it, etc. The agent and the book deal came later, came after I wrote a query, played by the rules and tried to break into the industry.

You have to do it this way, unless you know someone, which I hate to say, some people do and it's easier for them but that's any industry. YOU are better than that. YOU will write an amazing query and open the door to your own career.

Side note: Pitch fests are not for the faint of heart but in my experience, I also found that they can open doors. It takes the literary aspect out of the process a bit but it does get you in there with agents and publishers who want to sell books based on ideas, fascinating characters and great story lines. I know this for fact. I pitched an idea to an agent at a pitch fest and she looked at my manuscript (not Infinite Days but another manuscript) and a revision! Be brave - but it's helpful. If you e-mail me, I will tell you privately the name of the pitch and shop I attended.

RebeccaMaizelauthor@gmail.com

Monday, June 7, 2010

London is kicking my butt

I wanted to blog while I was away - I really did. But London, well, England in general is making me tired, making my legs hurt and making me wish I could transplant all these cutttteee English men and bring them on home to the ol USA. But see...I'm vacationing, err I mean, researching with my mother and talking to these cuties would be well, completlely awkward. So I've been admiring from afar though the highlight of today's meanderings was a guy on a bike almost ramming into me and screaming "F*** OFF!!!!!!!!!" I smiled. I lived in Harlem for 2 years - I aint scared!

Seriously though? This trip has been incredible. Derbyshire England (almost 3 hours north) is better in person than I ever could have dreamed. You can research a place through historical societies, they can send you pictures but until you see a place in person you have no idea. That's what happened to me when I stepped out of the car in Hathersage. First my mother stopped looking like this:



Let's say that me driving on the other side of the car was...eventful. As all of my friends know who are near and dear to me, my driving skills are...lacking.

When we eventually found the motorway and got to Hathersage, we looked around us at this:












Did Lenah live here? Yes, she did. In my mind she walked these hills, these remote enormous hills away from the society just enough that she could watch society from the outskirts. I know that not everyone can travel and hell, until 6 months ago, I couldn't either. My life was from behind my keyboard and behind a bar. But this trip has been more than I could have asked for - I can hear Lenah again, just like when I first wrote the book, which makes me very happy. She's quite snarky right now too. When walking around Chatsworth (please google, it's insane). The gardens look like this:



But she's saying things to me like: "You think I'd step foot in this bloody place? Rebecca, no. Please go find a dark tavern. I'd much rather be there..."

So if you ever get a chance to travel to Hathersage, Derbyshire, UK. Please do. It's unreal - the beauty will knock you out and it's a haven for people who like to rock climb and bike. The Hotel George was particularly lovely.

I fly out of London on Wednesday and while I've met some incredible people, namely, Elizabeth May and her friend Ewa (please model, Ewa) it's time to come home to my fat cat Nemo and my writing desk. Oh, and to the oodles of perfume that Ewa inspired me to buy from Black Phoenix Alchemy lab. I don't work for them - promise. I just love the idea of these perfumes!!!

http://www.blackphoenixalchemylab.com/ - I ordered, Emma, Snake Oil and oodles of other dark and scary sensual perfumes.

See you on the other side of the pond!!!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Another great review of Infinite Days (I feel so so lucky)

Thank you Angela over at (http://darkfaerietales.com) Dark Faerie tales!

May 31st, 2010 @ 9:08 pm
Posted by Angela under Review Tags: Infinite Days, Rebecca Maizel, Review


Title: Infinite Days

Author: Rebecca Maizel

Genre: YA Paranormal

Publication Date: August 3, 2010

Format: Trade Paperback, 320 Pages

ISBN-10: 0312649916 (St. Martin’s Griffin)

ISBN-13: 978-0312649913 (St. Martin’s Griffin)

Synopsis (Goodreads):

When Lenah Beaudonte, a 500-year-old vampire queen, wakes up a human teenager at an ultra-cliquey prep school, she must choose between embracing the humanity she’s always craved and saving her new friends from her vicious coven. The first in a sizzling new YA series.

Lenah Beaudonte is, in many ways, your average teen: the new girl at Wickham Boarding School, she struggles to fit in enough to survive and stand out enough to catch the eye of the golden-boy lacrosse captain. But Lenah also just happens to be a recovering five-hundred-year-old vampire queen. After centuries of terrorizing Europe, Lenah is able to realize the dream all vampires have — to be human again. After performing a dangerous ritual to restore her humanity, Lenah entered a century-long hibernation, leaving behind the wicked coven she ruled over and the eternal love who has helped grant her deep-seated wish.

Until, that is, Lenah draws her first natural breath in centuries at Wickham and rediscovers a human life that bears little resemblance to the one she had known. As if suddenly becoming a teenager weren’t stressful enough, each passing hour brings Lenah closer to the moment when her abandoned coven will open the crypt where she should be sleeping and find her gone. As her borrowed days slip by, Lenah resolves to live her newfound life as fully as she can. But, to do so, she must answer ominous questions: Can an ex-vampire survive in an alien time and place? What can Lenah do to protect her new friends from the bloodthirsty menace about to descend upon them? And how is she ever going to pass her biology midterm?

Quick & Dirty: A highly original and truly extraordinary read.

Opening Sentence: Those were the last words I could remember.

Excerpt: Chapter 1

The Review:

Lenah Beaudonte, a 592 year old vampire queen, awakens disoriented and shocked to find that, after more than five centuries, she’s human again. She has wanted to be human again for so long, desperate to escape her brutal vampire existence. Lenah needed this, not only to save herself, but all of the innocent people who could cross her path. With help from her vampire sire and former lover, Rhode, Lenah’s dream has been realized. Rhode discovered an ancient ritual to assist him in their endeavor. Unfortunately, Lenah had no way of knowing how her transition would affect the one who performs it. Forced to cope with her new reality, Lenah struggles to fit in. Rhode has enrolled her at the very secluded and exclusive Wickham Boarding School. He wants Lenah to have the life and experiences that he robbed her of when he decided to take her for himself. Rhode also gives her a crash course on technology and societal evolution. The modern world is a marvel to Lenah because she’s been hibernating for the past century. Once her crypt is opened and her vampire coven discovers her missing, the hunt begins. Lenah knows that she’s living on borrowed time because her deadly vampire coven is compelled to search for her, linked to her by dark magic. They want their queen back and now that she’s human things are about to get ugly.

It’s so hard for me to convey how much I loved this book. Infinite Days is unlike any other book that I’ve read in the vampire genre. I am pleased to say that Infinite Days more than exceeded my expectations. Ms. Maizel is a powerful and provocative new voice in the vampire genre. Infinite Days is a much more authentic portrayal of immortals, much closer to the grittiness of True Blood than the sparkles of Twilight. Lenah is one of my all-time favorite fictional characters. Despite all of the horrible and evil things she did as a vampire, I have so much sympathy and compassion for her. The harsh reality is that Lenah is a victim as well as a villain. Born in the 1400’s, Lenah is a product of her time and environment, making it completely understandable why she scourged Europe for so long. She was concerned with her survival and feeding the pain that plagued her everyday of her life. The boredom of immorality and hopelessness also played a role in her nefarious behavior. Lenah had nothing but time on her side, which she used to plot creative ways to kill and seduce her victims. With such a bleak future and faced with the prospect of never achieving satisfaction, release from the dull ache, Lenah is driven to dark places. She also has the sexiest men in her life. Just when I think I have to have Rhode all to myself, some other sexy guy enters the picture and Vicken is his name. Vicken, a member of the coven and Lenah’s lover, is absolutely delicious. He’s a deadly killer, yet he’s also a gentleman. Well, in a sort of vampire gentlemanly way. Vicken also has an amazing connection with Lenah. He has sacrificed so much for her, and has a hard time understanding why she would forsake him.

Just when I’d switched sides and I started rooting for Vicken, along comes Justin who casts a shadow over Lenah’s former immortal lovers. Justin is strong, loyal, devoted, and will do anything to save Lenah from the coven. I became so attached to his character. The vivid scenes and the gripping emotions behind this love story really broke my heart. The romance is sincere and heartfelt and you won’t be able to get enough. The conflicts that the characters face are brutal and realistic. Ms. Maizel did an amazing job bringing these characters to life. Stellar plot development and a stunning conclusion bring this story and these characters full circle.

Overall, Infinite Days is a captivating story and I highly recommend reading this book. Ms. Maizel has an amazing gift for storytelling, characterization, and this story won’t be easily forgotten. Ms. Maizel has crafted such a beautiful and compelling story. The characters are intense, flawed, multi-dimensional, and their journey is fraught with tragedy and danger. Infinite Days will undoubtedly become a must-read series for lovers of the vampire genre. I can hardly wait for the sequel.

Notable Scene:

Rhode looked me up and down and I realized he could see through my sleeping gown. He ran a fingertip from my throat down through the middle of my breasts and ended at my belly button. I shuddered. Out of nowhere, he hooked a hand around my waist and brought me against him. It all happened so languidly as through it were choreographed. The slap of our wet bodies when Rhode brought me close, and the feel of his palm on my forehead as he wiped a string of hair out of my eyes. He groaned when he met my eyes. And in that instant, Rhode sunk his teeth into my neck so fast that I didn’t notice the sound of my skin breaking.



FTC Advisory: St. Martin’s Press provided me with an ARC of Infinite Days. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review. In addition, I don’t receive affiliate fees for anything purchased via links from my site.