What Stace had to say on Thursday, July 8th, 2010

Wow, this is late in the day to be posting.

Seriously, guys, I cannot recall ever being this busy in my life. I mean, in normal everyday life, not, like, the weeks before my children were born when suddenly the entire house needed to be scrubbed and redecorated, or the weeks before my wedding when the entire house needed to be scrubbed and redecorated and I had a houseful of guests and I needed to get manicures and hairdos and fittings and all of that stuff, or when we move. This is just my daily task-list growing longer and longer. (Oh, and before I forget, did you all see the UNHOLY MAGIC playlist on iTunes? You know I don’t get paid or anything when you purchase it, but the artists do; I just put them together in case anyone was curious about the music in the books and would like to hear it. This way you don’t have to hunt around and not know which songs are mentioned or whatever.)

I just finished a short story for an anthology; it’s a Downside story but because I didn’t want to give spoilers, and am well aware that most readers have never heard of me or my books, I wrote it from an outsider’s point of view, which was fun. You know what the most fun part of it was, though, which is really weird? Getting to actually describe Chess head to foot. You know, it’s hard to find ways to describe characters when you write from their POV; you don’t want to use hoary old tricks like them looking at themselves in the mirror, and really, just about any other sort of trick to describe your characters feel hoary.

MC: Oh, Friend #1, I hate my hair.

Friend #1: Nonsense. I wish I had long blond curls like yours.

Do you know what I mean? I don’t describe my characters too closely, I don’t think of them in terms of what actor they look like and would never describe them that way. I like to leave that up to you guys to fill in, really. Which makes me think of a fun contest! Which I may mention at the end of this post.

Anyway. So it was really fun to write a short where, because the MC of that story doesn’t know these people, he can actually take in the details of their appearances. They’re still not really facially described, but there’s a much more complete description, down to things like what Chess’s bag actually looks like. (I’ll share that one; it’s faded army-green canvas.) The story is tentatively titled Rick the Brave, but I’m still trying to come up with something better.

Now I have two other projects on my plate, one of which is another short for something else, and one of which is a new series-starter WIP which I’m extremely excited about. I’m not super far into it yet, but what I have I’m very happy with, which is a great feeling. It’s tentatively called Stone and Steam, but that will probably change.

I also have a to-do list which includes five interviews, which I really need to get to. And, I’ve got a couple of dozen emails and forum messages in my inbox from readers, relating to the Downside books, which I swear I will answer, my days have just been disappearing from me lately. But I do get those emails, I do read them, and I do appreciate them immensely. Nothing in this world is as amazing as getting an email from a reader who loved your work. (Well, okay. Sorry readers, but there are a few better moments, I have to admit. Holding your baby for the first time is pretty fucking amazing. But outside of stuff like that, reader email tops the list.)

BUT. That does bring me to a question most of the emails have been asking, and a ton of people on Twitter have been asking, as well as here on the blog. And I really wasn’t able to answer the question, although I’ve known the answer for, oh, three weeks or so now. Ready?

YES. There WILL be more Downside books!!

I don’t have any more details I can share as to number or dates or anything, although I think I can pretty safely say, considering it’s now July, that we’re talking about next year. We’re still working a lot of details out. But I’m extremely pleased and excited, and I hope you guys are too.

Oh, and this relates specifically to books with Del Rey, in the US. I have no definite word one way or the other yet as to UK/EIRE/AUS. Certainly I’m very hopeful, but I can’t say for sure.

This actually reminds me, in a roundabout way, of another question I’ve been asked a few times, and my answer to that. I’ve had a few questions regarding TV/movie adaptations. Honestly? There is essentially no chance in hell of something like that happening, lol. The books that get adapted, generally, are the big huge best-sellers etc. Books with a guaranteed audience of more than a few thousand. But, as I’ve said to those who’ve asked, and I say it as it relates to anything, not just me or my books: if you want it, let people in power know! Write to that TV network or production company, you know? Write to the publisher and tell them you want more books. I’m not, not not not not, suggesting some sort of campaign or anything like that. I feel hesitant saying this at all, because I’m aware of how it could possibly be misconstrued. But I believe, as I’ve said numerous times, that you guys are pretty smart cookies. You’re not going to go on some sort of rampage of calling editors or producers at home, and you’re not going to decide from reading this that I’m saying my books deserve this or it’s your job to do that or anything of that nature and start telling everyone online what a crazy egotist I am that I told you all to start letter-writing campaigns on my behalf. I’m not telling you to do that. I would never tell you to do that. I don’t care if you do or not, really, and this isn’t about me, it’s about you (you’ll see why in a minute). Like I said, this really isn’t about my books. And really, the bottom line–sales numbers, etc.–matter a hell of a lot more.

But with books, as with anything else, it’s good to make yourself be heard. For example, as you might know, I loved the show RENO 911! Shortly after it began I emailed Comedy Central to tell them i love the show and to ask if they were planning a DVD release anytime soon. They replied that no, they weren’t.

But like three months later they announced they were going to release it on DVD.

Was that because of my letter? No, I seriously doubt it. But if they realized they were getting letters requesting it, perhaps that moved it higher up the list. Maybe they just passed my email on to the producer of the show or whatever and I managed to make someone smile.

Here’s another story I told recently. Back when I worked the phone psychic line, I had a caller who literally made me physically ill. I have never in my life spoken to someone so negative. And she wasn’t negative because her life was awful. We had a woman who’d lost her baby to SIDS–horrible–who’d call us once a month or so; she’d call three or four times over the course of one or two nights. It was very difficult to speak to her. She broke all of our hearts, and she made all of us incredibly sad. But not sick. My negative caller wasn’t tragic; she was just, well, an asshole. She lived for free in a house her parents bought for her, but that sucked because she didn’t like the house, it wasn’t the one she’d wanted. She had a good job but that sucked because it was boring and she wasn’t getting promoted as fast as she’d have liked, even though other people were. Oh, but those who were getting promoted were just ass-kissers who spent all their time actually working, the brown-nosing bastards. She was way smarter than they were but because she refused to play their game she kept getting passed over. Oh, and sure, she could get a better job if she wanted to go back to school, but that was too much work and why should she bother with that? It was boring. She didn’t have a boyfriend, which sucked, because she was expected to demean herself by actually talking to them, and why the hell should she bother going out or trying to look nice for a man or being nice to them? No, she didn’t have many friends, because they always wanted to talk about stuff she wasn’t interested in and why should she do that? Why should she make any sort of effort at anything, when clearly society and the wrld in general owed her anything and everything she wanted?

Every suggestion I made to this woman was shot down. Every attempt to get her to see her life in a more positive light, to make constructive changes, to give people a chance, to give herself a chance, was pooh-poohed. Like I said, she was the single most negative person I’ve ever spoken to. Geez, lady, even Hitler smiled once in a while, you know?

It was like trying to chat with a Dementor. By the time I got off the phone with her–after twenty-five minutes or so that felt like a year–I was actually physically ill, and on the verge of tears. And I thought, yeah, lady, your life is always going to suck. I mean, you live for free in a house your parents bought for you, you drive a nice car they bought for you, you have a decent job; you know how many people in this world would kill for that? Do you know how many people I used to talk to a night at that job, genuinely caring, loving, wonderful people, who’d suffered a tragedy or a loss or a run of bad luck and were trying to keep their lives from falling apart completely, but who still had room in their hearts and souls for hope, and for helping other people? Who were still trying with everything they had to survive, and to stay positive?

But nothing positive would ever happen for her. I firmly believe that, and I believe the reason why is because she refused to put anything positive into the world herself.

If all you ever do is create and spread negativity, that’s all that’s ever going to come back to you.

I firmly believe that. That’s not to say it’s your fault when bad things happen, I don’t believe that for a second. But you can’t expect the world to just hand you everything you want.

So that’s my feeling. Getting emails from readers is like a little bit of positivity in my Inbox, and it’s fantastic. If there’s something you want, try doing something positive, something constructive. Send a letter to the HBO studios telling them they should consider making a TV series out of that book series you love; who cares what series it is, just go for it, why not? Send a letter to the publisher who put out that book series you love, asking them to buy more; who cares what series it is, just go for it, why not? While you’re at it, tell them how much you love their other books! Tell them what other sorts of books you’d like to read!

Everyone likes positive feedback. Everyone likes hearing from people to whom their work matters. So let yourself be heard.

Which brings us to a couple more quick things. First, I’ll be posting the first three chapters of CITY OF GHOSTS as a PDF download on the site tomorrow of over the weekend, yes.

Second, I’ve decided at the spur of the moment now to do a contest. I have UK editions of UNHOLY GHOSTS and UNHOLY MAGIC; I’ll send both to one random commenter. Yes, the content is the same, but these are UK editions, with different cover art and they’re a different size and all, and it might be kind of cool to have. (If you’re in the UK I’ll send you the US editions.)

What do you have to do to enter? Post in comments here what you think Chess looks like, for real. You can do a full description, you can compare her to famous people, you can post pictures or do a drawing, whatever you like. But what do you think she actually looks like? (I can assure you, she does not look like that girl on the US cover, lol. But then they never really do, do they?)

I’d looove to see how you picture her! And I’ll pick someone at random for the books. And if someone gets very very close to how she looks in my head, I might gave you a copy of the playlist.

39 comments to “Dog-paddling”

  1. tori aka ggs_closet
    · July 8th, 2010 at 3:55 pm · Link

    I LOVE your downside series. It is one the the best UF series for 2010.
    I couldn’t IMAGINE being a phone psychic.
    Chess reminds me of a friend I had growing up. She too was addicted to drugs but fully functional. She looked like a Irish princess. Long black hair-always shiny. Pale as cream skin which was always radiant(though I knew it was the drugs). Perfect features. Long and lean; plus she was sleeved up with tats that she felt “protected” her. She was a stunningly beautiful girl. I think that’s why I love your series. It reminds me of her. I hope Chess makes out better then she did though.

    • Stace
      · July 17th, 2010 at 4:27 pm · Link

      Thanks so much Tori!

      I’m so sorry things apparently ended badly for your friend. :( She sounds wonderful.

      Obviously I can’t spoil anything in the books for you, but I do think Chess has a lot of adventures left in her and a lot of growing to do. πŸ˜‰

  2. Spaz P
    · July 8th, 2010 at 4:18 pm · Link

    First of all, I cannot begin to tell you how busy I am pimping your books. Downside Ghosts series is one of the most awesomely unique series I have ever read and I just cannot get enough! Great news that there will be more!!! Looking forward to the anthology story where we can see Chess from a diff POV! And if I don’t get my hands on City of Ghosts soon, I am going to DIE! DIE I TELL YOU!!! πŸ˜›

    Secondly, “But nothing positive would ever happen for her. I firmly believe that, and I believe the reason why is because she refused to put anything positive into the world herself.”
    —-> AMEN TO THIS. So so so so so true.

    Also, I have both books so please disqualify me for the contest, but I have to say that I see Chess as the cover model of the books. Usually that isn’t the case but for some reason, it is with Chess. Sigh. I loves her.

    I’ll stop gushing now. :)

    • Stace
      · July 17th, 2010 at 4:35 pm · Link

      Oh, thanks so much for the pimpage, and the lovely compliments! Those mean so much to me, I really appreciate them. :smile:

      And only ten days left now! Maybe it’ll hit the shelves in some stores a day or so early.

  3. Colleen Lindsay
    · July 8th, 2010 at 4:23 pm · Link

    Dude, you worked a psychic hotline? Ferrealz? THAT’S A BOOK ALL BY ITSELF!

    • Stace
      · July 17th, 2010 at 4:37 pm · Link

      Hahaha, I know. It really could be.

      But honestly, for a writer, it was a great job to have. I learned so much about life and people at that job, I really did. Any job where you deal with people teaches you something about them, but that on especially. People really opened up to us and told us their deepest secrets and dreams and fears. Sometimes it was really fun and sometimes it was really awful, but it was very rarely boring.

  4. Deb
    · July 8th, 2010 at 5:38 pm · Link

    I already emailed you to babble about the greatness of the books so I will spare you a repeat 😐

    All I can say about the phone line job is I wouldn’t last 2 minutes without telling someone to piss off and I admire your patience ALOT.

    I see Chess as tall. slim. the jet black dyed straight hair with bangs, for some reason huge green eyes and pale skin. She is beautiful but the constant drugging and smoking is going to start affecting her looks soon.

    *back to pimping UM πŸ˜‰ *

    • Stace
      · July 17th, 2010 at 4:40 pm · Link

      Thanks for the email, Deb! It’s always amazing when people actually take the time to do that, and it was great to hear from you in a place where we could use more than 140 characters. :)

  5. Michele Lee
    · July 8th, 2010 at 6:12 pm · Link

    That’s exactly why I started reviewing, because I wanted to be part of (or begin) a dialog about the books I was reading and what I thought of them. Of course, often it feels like I’m just on a soapbox with some of them. But hey, it’s gotta start somewhere. And now, like people actually nervously await my opinion, just because they know I’ll give it. Who woulda thought?

    • Stace
      · July 17th, 2010 at 4:41 pm · Link

      Well, those of us who know you a bit know that your opinion is definitely worth hearing. :)

  6. Moonsanity (Brenda)
    · July 8th, 2010 at 6:17 pm · Link

    I have to say you are a much stronger woman than I am to have done phone work like that. I was a telemarketing customer service manager for years, and to this day I hate talking on the phone. I’m sure my experience was NOTHING compared to yours. Wow, Stacia, that woman would have put me over the edge. 😯

    Okay, now since I like visual stuff I started out picturing Chess as the girl on the cover. But then she sort of morphed in my mind. I picture her edgier with no lip gloss, kind of like that girl but part street person/biker gal type. That’s how she looks in my mind 😎

    I would love to interview you, but I want to wait ’til things settle down because I know it’s SO crazy for you this summer. By then I will have read all three books and have some good questions. Thanks.

    • Stace
      · July 17th, 2010 at 4:43 pm · Link

      Oh, it did take a lot of patience, yes. But really, sometimes it was lots of fun, too. I had quite a few callers who were really smart, fun, good people who just wanted some advice or someone to talk to, and we’d have great conversations.

      But I admit, yeah, I still do not particularly enjoy talking on the phone either.

      Email me with your questions anytime, I’d love to come do an interview with you!

  7. synde
    · July 8th, 2010 at 6:18 pm · Link

    Oh would love to win UK versions.. The one thing I always see in my minds eye when reading parts where Chess is talking, are her bette page bangs..I see her pushing them out of the way when she gets frustrated. That and a well worn leather jacket are the big things I see..
    That and Terribles Glen Danzig Mutton Chops..:)

    • Stace
      · July 17th, 2010 at 4:47 pm · Link

      Hee, yes! I love the muttonchops! :)

  8. Nadia Lee
    · July 8th, 2010 at 6:54 pm · Link

    I basically imagine Chess to look very very similar to Uma Thurman character in PULP FICTION, like this.


    (I got the hair thing from the cover image & TBH I thought the cover model looked way too innocent / sweet πŸ˜‰ )

    • Stace
      · July 17th, 2010 at 4:49 pm · Link

      Yeah, the cover model looks too innocent and sweet for me, too, sigh.

      Hmm, Uma in Pulp Fiction. I hadn’t really thought of that so much; I see her face as being kind of rounder and softer, than Uma’s, if you know what I mean. But yeah, the hair is very close. :)

  9. Betsy Dornbusch
    · July 9th, 2010 at 8:17 am · Link

    I never win contests so I’ll leave that to the lucky.

    However, I found your book endcapped at Borders last night, down on the main floor with a bunch of big name similar books. Thought you’d want to know.

    • Stace
      · July 17th, 2010 at 4:50 pm · Link

      Oh, that’s really cool, Betsy! yeah, thanks so much for telling me! *happy dance*

  10. midnightblooms
    · July 9th, 2010 at 8:56 am · Link

    How I picture Chess: straight black-dyed hair with those great Bette Page bangs, arms covered in black ink rune tattoos, blue eyes, pale skin (from low sun exposure), a little too thin from the drugs and not eating enough, and on the tall side (5’9″ to 5’11”) with long legs (she keeps up with Terrible without too much trouble and I picture him around 6’3″ or 6’4″).

    I always picture her wearing beat-up old jeans and either a pullover or old band t-shirts. I’m guessing she would wear sleeveless shirts when going up against ghosts because she’d need access to her tatts and wouldn’t want the chalk to smudge. She probably dresses up for church (skirts and blouses maybe) and possibly for meeting clients (slacks or maybe a suit), but none of her clothes would be really fancy or expensive. (Wow, that was really detailed…)

    I finished UNHOLY MAGIC night before last and stayed up until the wee hours because I couldn’t put it down. I went from “awww” to “You nitwit.” to “NO!!!” to *sob*. In other words, it was a great book, and I can’t wait for CITY OF GHOSTS.

    Congratulations on the deal. Will the new books be about Chess (and Terrible), because you didn’t say? (Please let there be more books with Terrible because he is my favorite character. But I understand if you can’t say.)

    • Stace
      · July 16th, 2010 at 6:27 pm · Link

      Hi MidnightBlooms!

      That is a GREAT answer; if you want to email me, staciakane AT gmail, or use the contact form on the site, I’ll send you an iTunes gift card or the playlist, if I can figure out how, lol. So it may be just a gift card. I am web-stupid. :)

      I alluded a bit to her height in UM; she’s actually about 5’6 or 5’7, but yeah, not short like me, heh. And yep, a lot of Church functions require dresses or dressier outfits, so she had them, but they’re not really nice expensive ones.

      Oh, and the next two books are absolutely the same characters! The Further Adventure of Chess & Her Friends. :)

      Thanks so much!

  11. Allie
    · July 9th, 2010 at 10:04 am · Link

    That’s great news about the books πŸ˜› . Well done Stacia!!!

    To be honest, I probably picture Chess as the cover model because I saw the cover before reading the book.

    BUT, if I had to pick a real person, the closest to my image of Chess would be Andrea Corr. She’s petite, with big soulful eyes and an urchin vibe – which is how I picture Chess. Runner up would be Natalie Imbruglia in the video for ‘Torn’ (love that song!)

    Oh, and thanks for giving us preview chapters before City of Ghosts xxx

  12. BernardL
    · July 9th, 2010 at 10:30 am · Link

    I’ve had to limit my urge for an all out butterfly stroke through ‘Unholy Magic’ to a ‘dogpaddle’ or I’ll be reading the last page far too soon and well before my pre-order of ‘City of Ghosts’ gets to me. ‘Downside’ – most surprising and addictive series I’ve had the pleasure to read in a very long time. I have to be careful now not to start speaking like ‘Terrible’… aye! :)

  13. writtenwyrdd
    · July 9th, 2010 at 10:45 am · Link

    I was (very briefly) also a phone psychic, and I talked to people just like you mention. The saddest cases were the folks who knew what they had to do to achieve what they wanted, but refused to work on it. They’d call and expect the answer to simply change because they called back.

    I’m so glad I’ll get to read Unholy Magic soon!

  14. jjdebenedictis
    · July 9th, 2010 at 11:58 am · Link

    Why should she make any sort of effort at anything, when clearly society and the world in general owed her anything and everything she wanted?

    Eek, that’s a boatload of entitlement.

    But nothing positive would ever happen for her. I firmly believe that, and I believe the reason why is because she refused to put anything positive into the world herself.

    She already has had some positive things happen to her–a pair of very generous parents, for a start.

    The thing is, she’ll never see any of the positive things that happen to her because she’ll always look at those gifts through the filter of her own selfishness and decide they are lacking.

    I’m sorry you had to go through that, and it’s a pity you couldn’t get through to her (because it would have made the world a better place.) Thank you for trying.

    It’s makes you wonder why she was calling at all–if she knows all the answers, why ask for advice? Was she so desperate for human contact she was willing to pay for it? Is some part of her brain saying, “My life isn’t working. I must change, but I don’t know how. Maybe this will help?”

  15. Ale
    · July 9th, 2010 at 12:07 pm · Link

    WOw, loved the Dementor part- it is so true cause I’ve worked with people like that before and it literally suckes your energy… It’s as if they feed on it. =P

    On the other hand- Chess? Long black hair, tanned skin, tall- thin cause of the drugs, but with big boobs. For some reason I see her with bright green eyes, and her bangs get on the way all the time. I see her wearing faded blue jeans all the time with comfortable shoes and a tee or a tank top…

    Btw… I LOVE your books, I LOVE THEM LOVE THEM LOVE THEM! *I get all fangirl-ish, I know* But I’ve gotten some for my besties, just to share the awesomeness! =)

  16. Michelle
    · July 10th, 2010 at 11:02 am · Link

    First off I would like to say that I am an avid reader of Urban Fantasy. I have read the good, the bad and just the down right dumb of the Genre. And the Downside series is by far one of the most enthralling, gritty and intoxicating series I have read in a VERY long time.
    I tell absolutely everyone I know about these books because I honestly believe that they deserve to be read. This series deserves to be on the NYT Bestseller list.
    Just thought I would share.

    • Jen H
      · July 10th, 2010 at 12:53 pm · Link

      First I love I just read the first book Unholy Ghost and I LOVED IT! Thank you for writing such a refreshingly different urban fantasy book! I never win contest either but I am gonna put my two cents worth in..

      I see Chess as being tall and slender with jet black hair and deep blue eyes that when you look in them that look haunted. She would wear sleeveless shirts and worn jeans or maybe cargo pants.

  17. Marie
    · July 11th, 2010 at 6:03 am · Link

    First, it’s wonderful to hear that we will have more Downside books!! It really is the kind of series that makes you want to keep reading about the characters. I’ve said it before, but it all seems so real, and it makes you really care about the characters, flaws and all.

    Oh, and by the way, since the iTunes playlists aren’t available for purchase outside the US (the songs probably are, but the playlist isn’t), I made a couple of Spotify playlists with most of the music from the “soundtrack”. Not all of the songs can be found on Spotify, but most of them. (I think I managed to find most of them anyway. :-)

    Unholy Ghosts:

    Unholy Magic:

    Thanks for telling us more about Chess’s bag! Maybe I’m weird (well of course I am), but I kept wondering what it looked like, and what kind of bag it was!

    I absolutely agree with you about what you wrote regarding your experiences as a phone psychic. I am constantly amazed when I meet people who just seem to ooze negativity. I just don’t get why? How is their life better by spreading negativity to everyone around them? When it makes me sad and ill to be around them, how mustn’t they feel themselves? How is that a way to live?

    A woman I used to work with barely bothered to say hello to people, and all she had to say in a day (except to certain people that she liked for some reason) had to do about complaining about things. One time I actually saw her really light up and that was when she was trash talking another person we worked with. I just don’t get it!

    I too believe what you wrote about how if all you do is spread negativity, all you are going to get is negativity in return, partly because you just won’t be able to see or appreciate anything good that happens to you.

    But I’m so glad that you added that it’s not your fault when something bad happens, because that’s one thing that really disturbs me with this talk lately about how you can get what you want if you just wish it enough, and also that what happens, happens for a reason.
    That is a positive thought for people when good things happen to them, but it’s really insulting to people who’ve had terrible things happen to them, to basically say that it’s their own fault for not thinking enough positive thoughts.

    I can’t believe that I’ll soon be able to read a little bit of City of Ghosts! I was heartbroken after reading UG and UM, and I so want to know what’s going to happen to Chess!
    I don’t know if I should read the excerpt, because maybe then the wait will be that much harder, but then again I don’t know if I’ll be able to contain myself. :-)

    Oooh, I love to have different covers of my favorite books! I’ve only seen the US editions in real life, so those are the ones I’ve bought. I thought about buying the UK ones, because I suspected they were bigger, but the US covers are more beautiful, I think.

    I’ve actually seen yet a different cover of Unholy Ghosts. I guess it’s the audio book cover?

    It’s an interesting question, what characters in books look like to different people, and I’m always surprised how different a character can appear to people. Sometimes it’s stated in a book that the character has long black hair, and still some people see her with blond curls.

    When it comes to what Chess looks like in my mind, I never really see characters that clearly when I read a book. I just get a general idea. But I definitely see Chess as a bit pasty, thin, but not in a toned kind of way, more like how some people are naturally slim, but not from exercising.
    I see her with black hair, but for some reason I’m really having trouble picturing here in the Betty Page bangs.

    She looks a little like Natalie Portman to me, but not as sweet. She actually looks a little like Cissi Ramsby, a Swedish Idol contestant from a few years ago. Here’s a picture I found of her:


    I have no idea if it’s anwhere near what Chess looks like to you, though. :-)
    She definitely has an air of vulnerability about her, that you can see if you look close enough, even though she’s working really hard to hide it.

    • Stace
      · July 16th, 2010 at 5:12 pm · Link

      Hi Marie!

      First, according to my very scientific contest-winner method of having my husband pick a random number, you win the free books! So email me with your address, staciakane AT gmail, or use the contact form here on the site, and I’ll get those UK editions out to you asap. They are a bit bigger in size, yes, which at first I was kind of iffy about, but having held them and looked through them I actually quite like the bigger size now. It’s not just taller, it’s a little wider as well, but not so wide it sticks out oddly on my bookshelves.

      And thank you so much for doing the playlists on Spotify! Yeah, I was hoping someone might go ahead and put them up on the international itunes sites, so this is great. I’m going to give the links to my webmistress and ask her to put them on the Fun Stuff page with the other soundtrack links (when she gets those up, which will be after I give them to her, ha), so when you email me, let me know how you want to be credited (if you do; you may want to be just “a reader,” that’s entirely up to you).

      Hee, Chess’s bag has all kinds of little pockets and stuff sewn into it to organize her things. You may have noticed she’s a bit of a germophobe, and organization is important to her because she forgets things, so she’s very compulsive about keeping everything in there in its proper place. :)

      The cover at Alibris was actually the original Del Rey cover, and that model looked very close to how I picture Chess. Del Rey decided they wanted to go in a different direction with the following two covers though, so in the interests of continuity they redid the first as well. But the original one still pops up from time to time.

      It’s funny, though. I don’t usually picture my characters in any great detail, and no, I don’t picture other characters in other books that closely either. I feel kind of like I don’t really need to know exactly what they look like, you know?

      But yes, you’re absolutely right about the air of vulnerability. :)

      Thanks, and make sure to email me with your address!

  18. Allie
    · July 11th, 2010 at 6:44 pm · Link

    *yawn* I give up on chapters – its nearly 2am here and I have to be up at 6:30.

    Fingers crossed for tomorrow…

  19. srbastian
    · July 11th, 2010 at 6:49 pm · Link

    Hmmmm, I see Chess as being tall, really skinny, pale skin which really make the tatoos stand out. Long bottled black hair (you know how sometimes when people dye their hair black it almost has a blue tint to it? like that). I see her wearing faded cargo pants, boots and tank tops or t-shirts. Actually, I kinda see her looking a little like the black haired chick on NCIS (but way skinnier and prettier)…I think it’s the hair/bangs that make me think that though. I never watch that show so I can’t remember her name. I think she’s pretty in that girl next door kind of way, nothing really stands out about her, she’s just pretty.

    • Stace
      · July 16th, 2010 at 5:15 pm · Link

      Yep, you’re pretty much right there. I never picture her or imagine her as being beautiful; she’s just pretty enough, you know? Maybe a little more than average, but certainly not someone everyone stops to stare at.

      And yes, the dyed-black hair has the blue tint to it, definitely. :) I’ve seen a few episodes of NCIS so know who you’re talking about, but I don’t know her name either! She’s cute though!


      • Tom
        · July 17th, 2010 at 3:48 pm · Link

        I believe her name is “Abby”

  20. Missy Ann
    · July 11th, 2010 at 9:55 pm · Link

    I am crazy in love with the Downside. I finished book 2 tonight and I’m seriously considering re-reading them both this week.

    Chess looks like the average Jane. I worked in a convenience store many moons ago and she probably came through the door 6 or 7 times a night. I might remember her because of a tat or the jacket she wore but her face and hair she just kind of blends. And if she were a regular at my store I’d have her pack of cigs sitting on the counter waiting by the time she grabbed her drink and came up to pay.

    That’s not to say she’s invisible, everyone in the neighborhood knows her – but she looks like one of us.

    • Stace
      · July 16th, 2010 at 5:17 pm · Link

      Oh, thanks Missy Ann!

      And yep, “she looks like one of us” is so right. I just told Sebastian that Chess is maybe a little bit prettier than some other girls, but she’s not beautiful; she’s not someone people stop to stare at or anything. You said it right, she blends. :)

  21. Rachel B.
    · July 12th, 2010 at 3:45 pm · Link

    I love the Downside books and am pretty sure that they are my new number one favorite series of all time. So yay! terrific job! and you are my new most favoritest author <3 I love the dialect the downside people have.

    Anyway I've pictured Chess as looking somewhat like this –
    I saw that pic a long time ago and the day I started reading the first book that image popped back in my head. Of course in my mind there are some differences. The tattoos, and I saw her with brown hair instead of black and if she does highlights (which I think she wouldn’t on normal days) would have red and less make-up. I’m sure that’s not what she “really” looks like but that’s the attitude I get from her

    • Stace
      · July 16th, 2010 at 5:22 pm · Link

      Oh, thanks so much Rachel! I’m totally blushing. :smile:

      And yes, there is a bit of attitude about Chess. She doesn’t suffer fools, and she doesn’t let people in general get too close to her, so that stand-offishness definitely can feel like attitude or even rudeness.

      And no, she doesn’t normally wear a lot of make-up, but she does like to go heavy on the eyeliner. :)

  22. Katie
    · September 19th, 2010 at 2:08 pm · Link

    Hi! Just wanted to say that i found your books last week and proceded to read all three in three days! I couldn’t put them down. I am in the u.k. and have an e-book reader, i nearly died when i couldnt find an e-book og city of ghosts that would download in England! evetually amazon came to my rescue but it was a close thing as i dont have one of their Kindles!
    I really love your characterisation, your plots are gripping and not too predictable and the writing has a good flow. My favourite character has to be terrible! i want to take him home and look after him and really hope the Chess does!

    Anyway i want to say a huge thankyou for entertaining me and wish to request that you write quickly! i can’t wait to read more.

    Katie xxx


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