August 6, 2008

Chalice begins . . .

Because she was Chalice she stood at the front door with the Grand Seneschal, the Overlord’s agent and the Prelate, all of whom were carefully ignoring her. But she was Chalice, and it was from her hand the Master would take the welcome cup.
From the front door of the House, at the top of the magnificent curling sweep of stair, she could see over the heads of the crowd. The rest of the Circle stood stiffly and formally at the foot of the stair with the first Houseman and the head gardener, but nearly the entire citizenry of the demesne seemed to have found an excuse to be somewhere in or near the House or lining the long drive from the gates today.
Their new Master was coming home: the Master thought lost or irrecoverable. The Master who, as younger brother of the previous Master, had been sent off to the priests of Fire, to get rid of him. Third and fourth brothers of Masters were often similarly disposed of, but the solitary brother of an unmarried Master without other Heir should not have been dealt with so summarily. So the Master had been told. But the two brothers hated each other, and the younger one was given to the priests of Fire. That had been seven years ago.
A little over six years later the Master died, still without other Heir. The Grand Seneschal had sent immediately to the priests of Fire to say that there was urgent need of the younger brother of the Master of Willowlands, for the Master had died without having produced a son. Such a request—a plea—had never been made before. Once someone has gone to the Elemental priests, they do not return.
But a demesne must have its Master. And a change of family, of bloodline, in any demesne, upsets all, often for generations, till the new family has settled into its charge. The nearest other living relative of the old Master of Willowlands was a fourth cousin who had already married someone unsuitable and had three children by her. The priests of Fire said they would see what they could do, but they promised nothing. The younger brother of the old Master had just crossed into the third level, and by the third level Elemental priests can no longer live among ordinary humans.
But six weeks ago the Grand Seneschal had received another message from the priests of Fire: that the Master of Willowlands was coming home. It would not be an easy Mastership, and the priests were not sure it was even possible, but the Master himself felt the responsibility to his demesne, and he was determined to try.
Mirasol—straining her eyes toward the gate, partly as a way to ignore the three men who were ignoring her—remembered the younger brother: his strength of purpose, his feeling of obligation to the demesne, his feeling for the demesne. It was what the brothers had quarrelled about. The elder brother had loved the power of the Mastership, not its duties, and he was not the least willing to bear lectures on his behaviour from his younger brother. She wasn’t surprised the younger brother was coming home, even from the third level of the priesthood of Fire.
She had dreamed of the message to the Grand Seneschal the night before it arrived: she had felt the fire and smelt the burning. She knew the Master would come. She knew too that the smell of burning was a warning, but she did not know of what. Might the demesne itself burn, or its new Master?
She could see only a little way down the drive as it curved toward the gates half a league distant. But she could see when people better placed than she for first sight of the arrival stiffened and stared. The three men standing with her drew themselves to attention.
She could hear carriage wheels now.
It will be all right, she told herself. It must be all right. She settled her shoulders with a tiny, invisible shake, and fractionally raised her chin.
Six horses drew the coach: four of them coal-black, clinker-black, two of them ashy grey. The coach itself was also black, but black was always fashionable among the great and grand and would draw no comment. But the curtains at these windows were drawn closed, and they too were black. A light flickered behind them, red and wavering, like firelight.
Again she smelt burning, but she did not know if she imagined it.
The welcoming of a new Master was a time of rejoicing. The ceremony of investiture was the official occasion, and after the rites were done there was an enormous banquet with musicians and dancing for everyone who belonged to the demesne—and for anyone else from any other demesne who wished to join in the festivities at the price of some enthusiastic contribution to toasts and cheers and acclamations. But the informal arrival of a Master should still be a happy moment. And she knew she was not the only person present who felt that the brothers had been born in the wrong order: it was the younger who would have made the better Master from the beginning.
But no one clapped or called. No one smiled. It was as if everyone was holding their breath.
The coach stopped in front of the House, where the gravel had been raked in a perfect circle, a symbol of good luck. Any coach wheels and any horses’ hooves would have broken the circle, splintered the careful spiral; that it should be so broken was a part of the welcome, like opening and pouring out the contents of a bottle of wine. There was no reason for her to feel uneasy, watching the horses dance as they halted, kicking pebbles every way, to feel that something fragile and vital was being destroyed.
The body of the coach rocked on its wheels, and little spurts of gravel pattered out from under them.
Then the door opened.
Perhaps she imagined the cloud of darkness like smoke that billowed out; no one else reacted, and she bit down on her own gulp of astonishment. And of sudden fear. She remembered the younger brother. She had not known him—it was not for such a one as she had been to know the Master’s family—but she had known a good deal of him. She had known more of him than of the Master, before the Master sent him away, because he was the one who rode or walked round the demesne, seeing that the fields and woods grew and throve, and the temples and places of power were serene and well tended. He was not tall and handsome and flashing-eyed like his older brother, but there was kindness and grace in him, and intelligence in his unremarkable brown eyes.
She knew little of the Elemental priests, nothing of their initiations, and only folk-tales of what the priesthoods did and were capable of. She knew that Fire frightened her worst, more than Earth or Air. And the Fire priests themselves had said that Willowlands’ new Master could no longer live among ordinary humans.
As the coach door swung back, one of the House servants jumped forward as if suddenly recalling himself, and lowered the steps. Two figures climbed carefully down. They both wore black capes with hoods that hid their faces, but they carried themselves and moved and looked around as anyone might. As any ordinary human might.
There was a collective letting-out of breath. Talisman, the tallest of the minor Circle, seemed suddenly shorter; Sunbrightener, who was the fattest, seemed fatter.
That was until the third figure climbed down from the coach.
He too wore a black cape with a hood, but the cape bulged and seethed weirdly around him, and he let himself carefully down the steps as if he did not know or could not remember how to use his feet for such an activity. The two figures who had climbed down first reached their hands to help him, holding him at the elbows and under the arms, but she felt, looking on, that their hands did not grasp quite where elbows and armpits should be.
He half limped, half rolled up the steps toward the House’s front door with his helpers still on his either side. She seemed to hear a distant roar, like a fire caught in a sudden updraft. She wanted to glance at the faces of the other people, the people who had come here this morning to catch a first glimpse of their new Master, wanted to see if they looked frightened or appalled. But she couldn’t drag her own gaze away from the great roiling black loom of the third figure coming toward her.
She felt the three men standing beside her struggling not to step back and away as she stepped forward. She had been clutching the welcome cup against her body so tightly that her stomach ached where the extravagantly ornamented brim had bitten into her. The roughness of the intricate overlay on the cup’s bowl gave her suddenly cold stiff fingers better purchase as she moved her hands to their proper places on its stem.
She was Chalice, and hers the first greeting.
The top step was a wide smooth half-moon of white stone before the door. There was plenty of space for her and him and his two aides, as well as the three men behind her, and the doorkeepers back farther yet, flanking the doorposts. She raised her cup, grateful that the weight of it prevented her hands from shaking, and looked down. Three faces turned up toward her, two of them brown and ordinary and worried-looking.
The third face was black, as black as the coal-coloured horses that drew the black coach, and its—his—eyes were red, flickering like fire around the black pupils. She recognised nothing in that face from her memories of the younger brother of the dead Master. She looked at him steadily, willing herself to see something—anything—that she could welcome as Master, and in the final seconds it took him to climb the last step, she saw what she needed to see: comprehension. He knew her for Chalice and knew she was there to welcome him, because he came as Master.
When he stood with her on the top step he gave a little shudder, or ripple, and his two aides dropped their hands and stepped back. As they let go of him she saw that they wore gloves. Her mouth was dry, as dry as if she had been eating ash, and she was slow to say the two important words: “Welcome, Master.”
She was slow, but he was slower. He should reach immediately to take the cup from her, hold it briefly over his head for everyone to see that he accepted it, taste its contents and hand it back to her. It was possible that he would thank her, but it was not necessary.
But he only stood, looking at her. The hood shadowed his shadow-dark face; she thought she was glad of it. He twitched, a tiny spasm, once, twice. Perhaps he was trying to raise his hands. The third time he succeeded, the sleeves of the cape juddering back as if blown by a wind, and she saw that he too wore gloves, long heavy ones, laced snugly to the elbows.
She could not give any Chalice cup to gloved hands. She looked back into his face—into the shadows where his face was. She did not know what to do. She thought she must have imagined the comprehension she had seen there a moment earlier; she could read no expression on that black face now.
Clumsily he raised his left hand and drew the fingers through the laces of the glove on his right. The cords fell away in uneven shards, as if charred. Slowly he peeled the glove away from his arm—and the heat of his flesh raged out at her. The air between them was almost too hot to breathe. Even more clumsily he raised his naked right hand, the fingertips glowing like embers, to touch the cup. She held her ground while the fingers of that fiery hand curled round the bowl of the cup inches from her face. The enamelled metal of the goblet grew uncomfortably warm against her skin and steam rose from the liquid within it.
The weight of the cup did not change and she supported it as he stood with his hand around it. He looked at it and back at her.
“What . . . do you give . . . me to drink?” His voice was as eerie as his appearance, but perfectly intelligible.
Her answer to this question had been in no record she had consulted about the rite of welcome; but then no one had ever welcomed a third-level Elemental priest as Master either. She had held her own against the preferences of the Prelate and the Grand Seneschal only because she was, in the end, Chalice, and they could not order her to give him the earthed wine customary for a welcome cup. But she had not expected to have to announce publicly her departure from tradition: only the Master himself would taste the contents of his welcome cup. She felt as if she were being wayward, unreasonable and oblivious all over again when she had to reply, “Water—plain water from the Ladywell—and a spoonful of honey, Master.”
She was sure—she was almost sure—she did not imagine it that he smiled. And it was only after her answer that she felt him begin to draw the cup toward himself. Still he did not—or could not—bear its weight, and so she carried it for him. Together they made only a faint gesture of holding it above his head, for the audience to see; and then she tipped it gently against his mouth, and saw him drink; and also saw a tiny rivulet run down by the side of his mouth and hiss off his chin, briefly leaving a fire-red tracing thread behind it.
He let her draw the cup back toward her again with his hand still around it. She looked again into his face and saw, though she could not have explained how she saw, that he was tired, tired almost to death; and so she knew that it was only weariness that made him clumsier still, that when he lifted his hand away from the cup, he was not able to do it cleanly, and his hand dropped a little, and glanced—only barely, fleetingly glanced—off the back of her hand, where it seared the thin flesh to the bone.

At the time it almost didn’t matter. She found that she had been half expecting something like it to happen, and did not flinch when it did. She lowered the goblet only a little bit hastily, and tucked the weight of it against her body again so that she could drop her wounded hand to her side and let the long sleeve of her robe cover the burn. This made it throb worse than if she could have held it up, but that couldn’t be helped. No one farther away than the three men behind her awaiting their turn—and possibly the Master’s two aides—would have seen anything, and she wished to keep it that way.
But the three men waiting just behind her would have seen. The Grand Seneschal might have kept his mouth shut for his own good—it was he who had negotiated with the priests of Fire in the first place, and he who had received the news that the priests did not believe what he was asking could be done. She didn’t know the Prelate well enough to guess after his motives, beyond a growing suspicion he had few of his own and preferred to borrow them from some stronger character. But the Overlord’s agent would have every reason to tell the tale—and doubtless had. While it would upset the balance of the entire country if one of the demesnes were realloted, the process of the reallotment would hugely increase this Overlord’s power, and bind the new Master to the Overlord with a political gratitude it would take generations of Masters and Overlords to bring into equilibrium again. And their current Overlord was a little too fond of political power—she among others believed—without such temptations as a Master who might burn his subjects by the touch of his hand.
By the end of the first day of the new Master’s return, the people she met were looking first at her right hand. Gossip travels as fast as fire. By then she had dressed and bandaged it, so there was nothing to see but the bandage; but that was enough. And there was no way to shrug off what had happened as an accident. Of course it had been an accident: no Master could remain Master who deliberately harmed any of his people. What had happened to her should be viewed as no worse or more significant than if one of his coach horses had shied and trodden on one of the onlookers: an unfortunate mishap. That’s all. But of course it was not, for it was not an accident that should have been able to happen. If the new Master were not a priest of Fire. If the new Master were still human.
“It is nothing,” she said to the people she caught looking at her hand. “It is nothing.” Sometimes she tried to smile. She’d smiled at Sama, when she’d asked for lint and salve; Sama was a Housewoman with a round, happy face and three children, and she and her children were excellent customers for Mirasol’s honey. “I was clumsy. It is no more than if I brushed my hand against a dish just out of the oven.”
“It don’t look like nothing,” said Sama, whose round face was not happy today. “And oven burns hurt.”
“Of course they hurt,” Mirasol said briskly, trying to be competent with one hand and failing. “But we bear them because we are clumsy—and because we still like our food cooked.”
Sama’s face closed a little more, but she did reach out to help Mirasol with her bandage.
“It is not as though we had had a chance to practise our roles,” Mirasol said, trying to make a joke, but she realised as soon as the words were out of her mouth they were a mistake. Usually a new Master was well known to the demesne; usually the Chalice’s welcome cup to the Master entering his House as Master for the first time was a formality only.
Usually a new Master was human.
“But—” Sama began.
“He is our Master,” said Mirasol firmly.
There was an uncomfortable pause while Sama finished tying up the bandage. When she was done she raised her eyes to Mirasol’s and said, “As Chalice wills.”
Mirasol almost blurted out, It’s not what I will! It is what has happened!
A few months ago she would have spoken so, spoken before she thought, a few months ago when her Chalicehood was still so new that every reminder of it was like a burn. But she was Chalice now, and all things had changed, herself most of all. Before the Chalice had chosen her, Sama would have argued with her; would have held her own opinion against Mirasol’s. She would not argue with her Chalice; it was her duty to accept the Chalice’s ruling.
Mirasol hoped she was right.
She told herself it would have been worse if it had been an ordinary accident like a coach horse blundering into the audience, because that would so clearly have been a bad omen. The new Master was a priest of Fire, and adjustments had to be made. That’s all. That’s all. She could not help the bandage on her hand, but once she realised there was no point in trying to hide it, she used that hand freely, as if it did not hurt her. She had to hope that the fixed expression on her face that this usage provoked—because it did hurt a great deal—only looked like the Chalice’s professional mask.
But if their new Master believed he could be Master, then she wanted him to have his chance. In the first place this was only her duty: the Master was the Master, but no Master could maintain his land without his Chalice. But in the second place she wanted this Master to grasp and hold because these first six months of her abrupt and lonely Chalicehood had been almost beyond her strength. She did not think she would be able to bear—to contain—the tumult if Willowlands were given a new, outblood Master; and she did not think this or any demesne could survive an outblood Master and a second disastrously new, inexperienced and untrained Chalice together.

comments

Please join the discussion at Robin McKinley's Web Forum.

Comment by Melissa Mead

Ooo. Yep, I want to get this one.

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Comment by Robin

Excellent. The right answer. :)

 
 
Comment by jmeadows

*squee**squee**squee**squee**squee**squee**squee*
*squee**squee**squee**squee**squee**squee**squee*
*squee**squee**squee**squee**squee**squee**squee*
*squee**squee**squee**squee**squee**squee**squee*

I’ll have to come back and read the second scene — I must eat or I will perish! — but I wanted to tell you! *squee*

I held my breath when she was looking into his face, right before he finally made an expression. And then the cup. *squee**squee**squee**squee*

*fawns* *adores* *CAN’T WAIT FOR THE REST*

Okay. Yes, scene two when I have consumed food.

(Finally got the last of the branches chopped up and moved into appropriate piles today. Thank goodness.)

Once more for kicks:

*squee**squee**squee**squee**squee**squee**squee*
*squee**squee**squee**squee**squee**squee**squee*
*squee**squee**squee**squee**squee**squee**squee*
*squee**squee**squee**squee**squee**squee**squee*

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Comment by Robin

I like a woman secure in her enthusiasms. :)

Comment by jmeadows

I like a woman secure in her enthusiasms. :)

Sometimes one finds it impossible to restrain herself. This is one of those times. ;)

Comment by Robin

Permit me to encourage you in this folly. :)

 
 
 
 
Comment by Black Bear

:)

Well done, you!

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Comment by Charlotte

I just read an ARC of Chalice, and wanted to say THANK YOU! It was a very great pleasure, and I have put a few thoughts on my blog here: http://charlotteslibrary.blogspot.com/2008/08/chalice-by-robin-mckinley.html

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Comment by Vikkik

Ooooh!!!!!!!

Robin, that was fantastic! Thank you!!
(only problem is, now I REALLY REALLY REALLY want to read the rest……)

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Comment by Robin

GOOD GOOD GOOD. :)

 
 
Comment by Shelley--ssshunt

So do we get a chapter a day?

YAY! I love the way Chalice reads! I inhaled it! I can’t wait until I can get my hands on the rest. Brilliant, really. (And I’m not sucking up…)

You go girl.

And oh yeah–Thank you thank you thank you. And I HATE burns. Poor Chalice!

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Comment by Robin

So do we get a chapter a day?

As above. What’s it worth to you? :) I’ll ring my builder to hurry him up tomorrow.

 
 
Comment by Melissa Siah

Oh oh oh! Thank you!

*makes giant puppy eyes in the hope of more*

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Comment by Robin

Sure. What’s it worth to you? –Still waiting for final estimate from builders for attic floor. :)

Comment by Melissa Siah

Name your price. :-)

Oh hang on, there were those accountant and lawyer bills that ate my entire discretionary expenditure for this month.

Umm… perhaps I can shove it into the Food category. The book has bees, which make honey, which is food… Or does your builder take Green and Black’s?

Comment by Robin

I think he probably DOES take Green and Black’s. I’ll ask. :)

 
 
 
 
Comment by livvispatula

Thank you. I was having a miserable day until just now.

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Comment by Robin

Oh, I’m sorry! I’m–er–glad! :)

Comment by livvispatula

You are an excellant antidepressant. How can you be sad in a world where this book is going to come out in 42 days?

I wonder if you’re allowed to camp out at Borders for things other than vile abominations?

Comment by Robin

You could start a great new trend. :)

 
 
Comment by livvispatula

My friends and I wanted to go to the Breaking Dawn party at Borders and advertise Sunshine, perhaps by giving out cinnamon rolls or something, but it was Friday night/Saturday morning and I had to work in the morning. Also I suspect that wearing shirts saying “Vampires are people too; not shiny god-like beings” would have gotten us lynched, or at least firmly escorted from the building.

Comment by Robin

LOL!! Well, lots of points for the *thought*!

 
 
Comment by Marian

42 days??? Noooooooooooo! I managed to convince myself it was sooner than that. You should have a special early release for people who read the blog!

Comment by Robin

You should have a special early release for people who read the blog!

********* You’re right. Hmm. [things to drive publisher crazy NEXT book]

 
 
 
 
Comment by Stella

I don’t know whether I love you or hate you right now. THIS BOOK IS NOT COMING OUT FOR WEEKS AND WEEKS. And I don’t have any money anyway…!

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Comment by Robin

Both–?

Only about four. And go nag your library.

 
 
Comment by Southdowner

Oooohh!! Thank you! What a lovely opening – it reminds me of Spindle’s End in a sort of mediaeval folk story way. I’m ordering 3 copies, 1 for me and 2 for friends; wishing you an attic floor and a hellhound paddock!

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Comment by Robin

It’s a start! :) Thank you!

 
 
Comment by jmeadows

And back for the second scene. *flail* *gibber* *pitter-patter*

I’m so excited about this one. I must hop around!

I feel kind of like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kycv43mEs30

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Comment by Robin

LOL! They are hellhounds with short legs! They ARE!

(And I finally saw/heard your dead baby song, which you never posted HERE! But what was REALLY funny is, you know how YouTube likes to give you related videos? Austin got a McCain and an Obama! What are your ferrets doing in their spare time???)

Comment by jmeadows

Oh, I’m sorry about the dead baby song! I should have linked. *grovels*

AUSTIN FOR PRESIDENT!

(You didn’t know? Write him in. ;)

Comment by Robin

I’m sure he’s the best choice. Sigh.

 
 
Comment by jmeadows

I’m sure he’s the best choice. Sigh.

Treats, tummy rubs, and long naps for everyone!

Of course, we’d have to rename the country after him — The United States of Austin — but it wouldn’t be too confusing since we could keep the same letters. And other countries would like us again. How can anyone not like such a cute ferret? :D

Comment by Robin

Treats, tummy rubs, and long naps for everyone!

****** Front page of TIME. Absolutely.

 
 
 
 
Comment by Jeanine

I can’t wait to read the rest! Gimme, gimme!

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Comment by Jeanine

maybe you could have one of those clocks on your website that count down the days hours minutes seconds to the release date…

some people might find it helpful. ; )

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Comment by Robin

I notice Neil has one for GRAVEYARD. Well, it can’t hurt to ask . . . uh . . . someone. Where does one get a countdown clock?

Comment by Jeanine

I’m ashamed to say I haven’t a clue.

Sigh…

Couldn’t you have “your people” get with “Neil’s people?” Right after they finish walking the hell hounds and picking up your drycleaning and pruning the roses and cherrypicking all the green M&M’s for you to eat.

Sigh…

And, in case I didn’t make it clear and you need some more authorly affirmation, what a frickin’ awesome opening!

Comment by Robin

Oh good. :) Authors, in general, can never have too much affirmation.

I don’t think Neil’s people would TALK to my people. Sigh. But I will ask about the clock.

 
 
Comment by Angelia

Thank you for the generous excerpt. September is coming! Chalice and Jonathan Carroll’s newest (if you don’t know Carroll, here’s a link–a glowing introduction by a fan, and familiar name–Neil Gaiman): http://www.jonathancarroll.com/indexframes.html

I can’t wait!

Comment by Robin

Yes, I know Carroll’s work! But I didn’t know his web site!

 
 
 
 
Comment by b_twin_1

Want. More.

Tease! :p

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Comment by Robin

Excel. Lent. :)

YOu know you can’t *win.* Post an excerpt! they say. And then everyone hates you. :)

Comment by jmeadows

YOu know you can’t *win.* Post an excerpt! they say. And then everyone hates you. :)

Not hate! This is not my hate face. This is my gasping and fainting and omg squee! face. I don’t know if I can make it with letters. But it’s easy to tell from the hate face. The hate face is this:

):<

If you turn your head sideways.

Comment by Robin

Oh THAT’s a hate face? I knew it expressed disapprobation, but I didn’t know what kind.

So, what’s a squee face?

/+ P
\+ x

or

x O
x

. . . maybe?

 
 
Comment by b_twin_1

LOL I’m seriously looking forward to September. (What if the bookstore doesn’t receive it on time? What if it takes an extra month?? aaarrrgggh)

Thanks for posting this snippet. ::wags tail::

Comment by Robin

::wags tail::

******** *Now* you know the way to my heart. :)

What if it takes an extra month??

********* What I need is an AUSTRALIAN publisher.

 
 
Comment by jmeadows

So, what’s a squee face?

Yours are all very good!

I think a popular happy face is this, looking straight, for once:

^_^

There’s a list of a bunch of faces somewhere. I want to say it’s in the online urban dictionary. I will find it for you, if you like. :)

Comment by Robin

Oh, yes please. :)

 
 
Comment by b_twin_1

::wags tail::

******** *Now* you know the way to my heart. :)

LOL you would probably be more concerned for my sanity if there was tongue panting at the same time! I’ll let Belle do that for me! hehe

I presume my bookstore will purchase Chalice direct from USA if there is no publisher here. They had no problem getting Dragonhaven for me. (Dad used to be in the book trade… I grew up with such things. Ha. No *wonder* I love books LOL)

btw I would do an angry face like so: >:-(

 
Comment by jmeadows

Oh, yes please. :)

Okay, not urban dictionary. But Wiki knows all!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_common_emoticons

I can’t imagine anyone remembering all of those, but…there you go.

 
Comment by Ithilien

b_twin_1 wrote, “I presume my bookstore will purchase Chalice direct from USA if there is no publisher here.”

Yup, they can do that as long as there’s no Australian edition coming out within 30 days of the US release. I think there’s currently some discussion on whether they should remove the restriction entirely… can’t remember where I saw it though.

 
Comment by b_twin_1

Ithilien wrote: “I think there’s currently some discussion on whether they should remove the restriction entirely… can’t remember where I saw it though.”

Yes they were debating that on the ABC (??) the other day. Talking about how it be the end of Australian spellings and we would only gave American spelling etc. While the $AUD is so high it is very tempting to the book buyers to buy direct. The publishers made the comment that if the change went through then the book sellers wouldn’t actually reduce the price of course … they’d just get a bigger margin! Sad to say they are most likely correct.

 
 
 
Comment by afuzzybird

My cat is a bit nonplussed. I think it’s the squealing that’s done it. However, she’s always grateful for a new book to sit on while I’m trying to read it, so I’m sure she’ll be enjoying it in the end.

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Comment by Robin

Teach her to read! :)

 
 
Comment by Lusty Librarian

Yippee!!!!
(especially cause I didn’t score the review copy, grrrr.)

Pre-ordered for both library (for those with no $) and myself!

Now, off to read again! Tyring to savor, not devour, this time. lol

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Comment by Robin

You can devour savouringly, I think. :)

Comment by Synchronicity

“You can devour savouringly, I think.”

In your case, Robin, ABSOLUTELY.

 
 
 
Comment by JulesP

Gasp! Glorious! There is such poetry in the way you write! I can’t wait to read more! And, yes, I believe a countdown clock would be lovely. Of course, sometimes that makes it worse because then I’ll be checking it every few hours and groaning, “Why have only a few hours gone by?”

Seriously, I can’t wait!

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Comment by Robin

Oh good. :)

I’ll ask about the clock tomorrow. Well . . . later today.

 
 
Comment by sharaze/grumple_soup

Oh, how wonderful. I can already tell that this is going to be a “blanket, cup of tea” book that will sweep me to another place. :) I’ve already starting rereading your other books in anticipation!

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Comment by Robin

I’ve already starting rereading your other books in anticipation!

******* Beam. :)

 
 
Comment by Julia

OOOOOOOOH!
YAAAAY!

want to keep reading!
must buy book!
must get library to buy book!

*excitement*

[see! I’ve reigned in the ridiculousness. A bit]
[But if jmeadows hadn’t done it first, I probably would have typed 60-something *squee!*s. She did though. If I did it now, it would look like copying. And then I wouldn’t be as ridiculous or brain-exerciseish now would I?]
:)
Hugs and chocolate!
–A Very Happy Julia

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Comment by Robin

I’ve reigned in the ridiculousness

******** I like it. I’ve reigned in the ridiculousness. If I were going to reign anywhere, I would definitely vote for in the ridiculousness. :)

YOu could always make a clever unique pattern of squees. :)

Comment by Julia

Okay okay. Brain not functioning– you know I meant reined not reigned…. must be all the stories about Connie. Horses on the brain and so on. Oh wait, no– that is reined. Because that is where the word comes from. I can’t win.

But I do quite like it. And I do seem to be La Reine d’Ridiculousness [de Ridicule? something like that.] , reigning over the chaoitic kingdom known as Ridiculousness.
Oh, never mind.

Hmmm… a unique PATTERN of squees?
[ponders this. more to follow, possibly!]

–Julia

 
Comment by Julia

*squee**squee* *squee* * squee* *squee* *squee* *squee* *squee**squee* *squee**squee* *squee*
*squee* *squee* *squee* *squee* *squee* *squee* *squee* *squee* *squee*
*squee* *squee**squee* *squee* *squee* *squee* *squee* *squee* *squee* *squee*
*squee* *squee* *squee* *squee* *squee* *squee* *squee* *squee* *squee**squee* *squee*
*squee* *squee* *squee* *squee* *squee* *squee* *squee* *squee* *squee* *squee*
*squee* *squee* *squee* *squee* *squee* *squee* *squee* *squee* *squee*
*squee* *squee* *squee* *squee* *squee* *squee* *squee* *squee* *squee* *squee* *squee*

Oh. It didn’t work when I copied and pasted from Word.
But I spelled Chalice! in *squee*s.
Hmmm.
I think I will email it to you.

–a while later–
email has been sent.
goodnight!
–Julia

Comment by Robin

Sorry, it’s very late at night . . . ‘spelled CHALICE in squees’. **What??**

 
 
Comment by Julia

I DID.
Didn’t you get my email?
parisgirl921@hotmail
The subject line was something like Hi Robin! This is from Julia. You know who I am. Please do not delete. This is not spam,
or something.

[quizzical face]

–Julia

I am SO exhausted- just spent last four and a half hours [or so] bailing out the basement and the front yard, and mopping and sweeping and despairing a bit– we had the worst thunderstorm just now, and the house flooded- there were flash flood warnings and it was hailing and pouring with rain. My whole body kind of just is between total numbness and total hurting. sigh.

Comment by Robin

GO TO BED. Possibly with a good book. And a big mug of hot chocolate.

–Yes, it came, but I don’t understand the *concept*. And I don’t think the pattern came through in the email either. Or I’m being stupid, which is very likely.

 
 
Comment by Julia

Not being stupid.

Probably the pattern didn’t work– though I tested it by sending it to myself and then adjusting it to make it clear, the transition from hotmail to aol might have done something. Maybe.

I’ll explain it- or try to… I typed the word “squee” a bunch of times [well, I typed it once and then copied and pasted it a bunch of times], and then formatted it, with spacing and so on, so that when viewed from farther away, it made the word Chalice.
Thus- Spelled “Chalice” using many “squee”s. Like making a pattern, as you suggested, except it was a word.
Made from words.

Do you see?

–Julia

Comment by Robin

Um . . . I can only suggest that it didn’t come through very well.

 
 
Comment by Julia

I’d send you the original word document, but a) it isn’t worth it. and b) I have Word 2007, and if I sent it as an attachment, it might not work/open on your computer [and I know that I can change the document to a Word 99-03 type version thing, but it still might not work].
So nevermind.
–Julia

Comment by Robin

Technology seems like such a great idea till you run into a WALL.

 
 
Comment by Julia

Yep.
Too true.

Offerings of Chocolate and Hugs,
From,
–Julia

 
 
 
Comment by --Deb

Thank you! My copy has been pre-ordered for MONTHS, but now I’m even more excited. Any time there’s a new Robin McKinley book is a time to celebrate–and sneak previews are even better.

(It helps ease the pain of no “Saltation” chapter from Sharon Lee and Steve Miller this week, too, so extra thanks for that!)

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Comment by Shelley--ssshunt

I’d squee to but hell, I’m originally from Texas where squeeing is discouraged. You do have to know how to say sumnabitch by the time you’re 5 or they kick you out…

I have a handy husband. He could rebuild your attic floor if you flew us to you. Really. No problem. Squee! (sumnabiitch)

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Comment by Robin

Fine. He’s hired. Plane tickets follow. :)

 
 
Comment by Stephanie

My first reaction was – well, dammit, now how am I going to wait for the book?

Love it, a lot. You’ve got a whole new world thing going on there, its own rules and norms and atmosphere – it must be very challenging to write that way. It must take a lot of immersion into that other place. Is it hard to come back to the everyday world when you are writing?

I really like this a lot, and I’ll have to read it right away, now that I’ve had a taste. Usually I save them, due to rareness. Hope you’re having a great day, and maybe working on the next one…just a little…

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Comment by Robin

Remember most of it isn’t up to me. It comes. It happens. That’s the way it is. The challenge is to learn enough about it to write it down. And not to give up in wild despair that you can’t write it WELL enough. Yes, sometimes it’s hard to come back . . . but I usually come back because I’m so exhausted I’ve just FALLEN out.

 
 
Comment by skating librarian

Whoa, wow, hmmmmm. (I am too old to squee, and besides the cats are already nervous because of a roaring downpour.)

I’d say you’ve done it again … created compelling characters, imagined a new world to explore, and guaranteed that I’d better schedule two “days off” (yeah, I know I’m “retired”) so I can read all night, get some sleep and then start all over again.

Reined in Ridiculousness … a horse of unpredictable traits perhaps? suitable companion for Chaos and Darkness?

Rained in Ridiculousness (a small village in Vermont, north of Goose Green and east of No Town, not to be confused with the village of Ridiculousness Four Corners in western Maine)

Ohhhh, it’s grand, but I need sleep!

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Comment by Robin
 
 
Comment by handyhunter

*squee* — a very demure online expression compared to jmmeadows or my audible reaction. :D

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Comment by Robin
 
 
Comment by Dana

oh……… THANK YOU…………

I am kind of wanting to gush with the excessive enthusiasm of a very excited puppy about how amazing you are and how much I already love it and all kinds of nonsense usually spouted by adolescents to movie stars and so forth… although they probably do not generally gush about semi-colons and adjectives and imagery and the like.

Instead I’ll just say it’s so good I want to cry from sheer happiness.

I think we should petition your publisher to let us blog regulars get our copies a little bit early. (Hey, it’s worth a try.)

Thank you VERY MUCH for the sneak peek!!

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Comment by Robin

YOu’re welcome. I actually like the idea of blog readers getting it early, but I don’t know how it could be done. But I could maybe make trouble NEXT book. :)

 
 
Comment by anne_d

Wow. Just… wow.

[remembers how to breathe]

Now I won’t be able to sleep for thinking about it, dammit!

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Comment by Robin

Not for 42 nights I hope. . . .

Comment by anne_d

Not sleeping well anyway, so at least I had something good to think about instead of the usual worries. : )

I immediately told my S’cubie friends about it (it’s a BtVS forum*, the Soulful Spike Society=SSS=S-cubed=S’cubies) – several of them are already fans of your work, and I’ve gotten a few more to read Sunshine, heh heh heh**.

September 18 can’t come soon enough for me. I’m planning a bookstore tour of north OC; I’m driving from Borders to Barnes&Noble to wherever until I find a copy. Actually one of the two will probably do it, but it sounds so much more impressive this way…

*Also many other TV shows and books and movies, we’re an eclectic group. Rather like this one.

**That was my evil laugh.

Comment by Robin

And be sure to NAG and be astonished and outraged at any bookstore so benighted as NOT to have it. :)

 
 
 
 
Comment by janet

o! thank you ever so much! your writing is always such a joy to read. thank you

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Comment by Robin
 
 
Comment by janet

perhaps a squee face s/b: x D

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Comment by bluepixie

I wants it. You can’t see, but my fingers are curling. They do that when I want to get them on something. I don’t think I breathed through that whole excerpt.

It’s probably best for me that it’s not coming out for a little while yet… I’ve got end of term essays and a job and a house that is falling apart just a little bit and all sorts of things that would be totally, completely sidelined if I did get my hands on that book… so it’s a good thing that I don’t have to rely on my self-discipline, which would crumble in the face of the awesomeness.

I might just sit here and think about it feverishly for a bit instead of writing my essay, though.

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Comment by Robin

:)

I’d worry about the house that is falling apart just a little bit however. . . .

Comment by bluepixie

Wait, someone told me that houses are always falling apart a little! You mean it’s not normal?!

(It’s a matter of requiring a new roof in one part. And some drywall, and insulation, and paint… okay, it’s falling apart more than a little, but I’m an optimist. The house is mostly standing, vs. the house is falling apart.)

Comment by Robin

Remember that the wrong things develop momentum. . . .

 
 
 
 
Comment by Stacey

*I* can already tell that this book, like Sunshine, will be one that I sneak off with to the coffeehouse and curl up with on their ratty couch and read straight through in a stolen day. I can’t WAIT!!!

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Comment by DrummerWench

Ummm.
What they all said.
*What* an enticing beginning! Cannot wait to order Chalice from from the local bookstore. In fact, must make sure they order it for their shelves.

A countdown clock…interesting! I think they come in a variety of themes–that would be pretty fun!

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Comment by Creek

You had me at the website and then I come to the blog…

It’s like I’ve died and gone to heaven, now I want more and CANNOT wait!!

Bravo!!!

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Comment by Lynn (romsfuulynn)

Squeee!

and whimper. What second scene? where? I’ve been at my mother’s since Friday.

It’s lovley and preordered.

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Comment by JM

I yelled “Oh, YESSSSS!!!”

… and scared my husband, who was watching the Colbert Report.

For a countdown ticker, here’s a generic site: http://www.tickerfactory.com/ezticker/ticker_designer.php

I am planning to use it in my sig lines for some of the boards I’m on “Countdown until release of “Chalice” 8-) (smiley in cool shades)

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Comment by Robin

. . . Well thank you! :)

 
 
Comment by librigeekgirl

Ah bliss!

Reading the opening of one of your books is always such a wonderful experience (simply not enough superlatives to express how wonderful).

And the totally weird thing is (and I am embarrassed to confess this) I finally dragged myself away from my studies long enough to pick up one of Peter’s books (The Ropemaker) at lunchtime (I work in a library, so my tardiness is inexcusable, except to say that I am currently doing my honours and I am not supposed to be doing things as frivolous as reading fiction – except did two DWJ’s on the weekend – me bad) and started that. (lucky me – at least I get to go home and read another wonderful author, which I am assuming he is by deduction, all evidence would indicate this)

Today is truly magical beyond all imaging…

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Comment by Susan from Athens

I didn’t read it! Or the comments. I refuse to. Will read the book when it comes out. I’m back from Crete and off to England and I sent you an e-mail about the bee pendant – if you care to respond. I found you a lovely one! I will be posting Cretan food pictures on flickr soon. (you’re not the only one who can lay on temptation **evil grin**)

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Comment by Diane in MN

*Thank you* for posting the opening excerpt–I’m looking forward to digging in once my copy arrives from the nice folks at B&N. Sometimes you get things earlier than expected . . . one can always hope! Good job you!

By the way, did you ever get the bloat link to work? Here it is again, minus web-confusing punctuation:

http://www.hmgdc.org

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Comment by Robin

GREAT. Thank you. Yes, this one works.

(Sorry, I can’t help wanting to know, are there any operas *you* can’t stick because of the libretto? How are you on Cosi?)

Comment by Diane in MN

****(Sorry, I can’t help wanting to know, are there any operas *you* can’t stick because of the libretto? How are you on Cosi?)****

I am ashamed to say that I don’t know Cosi at all well. I know the plot, which I find *extremely* aggravating, but with Mozart of course you can forgive A LOT.

You shouldn’t say “sorry”–it’s a good question. I’m sitting here thinking about an answer, and it’s hard to come up with any real “avoid-this-libretto-at-all-cost” pieces amongst the operas that I know–although the Grapes of Wrath I saw last year may fall onto that list–and I think it’s because for me, the music outweighs the libretto. There are so many plots that don’t survive analysis. If you pay strict attention to the libretti, you think that no actual moderately sane or intelligent human person on the planet would behave in the way that the plot depends on, or be so stupid about figuring things out, or be the victim (or beneficiary) of so many coincidences. But the silly or offensive libretti aren’t really meant to stand by themselves, and combine with the music to give you something else that expresses emotional or archetypal truth. If I love the music I can put up with a dubious libretto (of course, this is easier to do when it’s not in a language I understand!). Although I think that if Verdi had realized his wish to write a Lear, that might have gone on the list too. I don’t like Lear.

Also, I was a medievalist before I abandoned academe to earn a living, and that has to instill a certain tolerance for unsympathetic stories. Even though Chaucer put Patient Griselda’s story in the mouth of the Clerk, he gave it to us all the same. And then there’s Troilus and Cressida . . .

Comment by Robin

I entirely agree that you can’t look at ANY opera plot too closely. And I suspect it may be what I do for a living that means that I go over the edge oftener than other opera lovers. I would LIKE to be able to ignore the story of Cosi, and Magic Flute for that matter, and Turandot. And Falstaff. I just can’t.

 
 
Comment by Diane in MN

Yes, you have to suspend a lot in Magic Flute. It’s always seemed to me like the front end of one story and the back end of another, stuck together for who knows what reason. (Well, to make money, of course, but we aren’t supposed to apply that motive to High Art.) The fact that the story content can be of primary importance to you makes *perfect* sense. It is for me with film/TV and with some theater–I can’t stick Grease, for example, entirely because of the plot (I’ll admit that the music doesn’t especially interest me, but it’s innocuous enough). And with books, of course, but fiction is capital-S story by definition.

I came across this quotation today when getting a recipe from Marian Tracy’s REAL FOOD–she uses it as an epigraph:

“Of all the books produced since the remote ages by human talents and industry those only that treat of cooking are, from a moral point of view, above suspicion.”

This is Conrad, in a preface to a cookbook written by his wife. Hmmm . . .

Comment by Robin

I was listening to Magic Flute last night and thinking ‘yes, *very* nice music, don’t THINK about the dratted plot.’

I don’t see why cooking is automatically above suspicion!!!!!!

 
 
 
 
Comment by Amelia

Thank you Robin! That was a lovely 15 minutes at work well-spent. :) A really incredible opening – as you can tell, we’re all hooked.

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Comment by Robin

Oh I hope so! :)

 
 
Comment by sarah;cincinnati

Lady, you can write.

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Comment by Robin

I’m very relieved. I’d take it very badly, at this late stage, if . . .

 
 
Comment by Synchronicity

Robin, what have you DONE??? You should know that, due to my unrestrainable habit of rereading (and rereading and rereading) ANYTHING resembling new writing of yours, I helplessly imprint on whatever form I am first exposed to. I become intimately familiar with the geography of the layout, the placement of each and every word. Usually this isn’t (much of) a problem, as it’s usually the library’s hardback (of course this forever ruins the paperback release for me, as the pages are always all WRONG). But now I’ve gone and IMPRINTED ON A BLOG ENTRY!!! What am I supposed to do? Print it out and staple it in my preordered hardback when it comes???

P.S. However. Excerpts are ALWAYS a good idea.
P.P.S. Except when they are not immediately followed by the rest of the book.
P.P.P.S. OH HELP! I’M GOING TO DIE OF STYMIED LONGING HERE!

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Comment by Robin

Print it out and staple it in my preordered hardback when it comes???

****** Tattoo it on your forearm? :)

 
 
Comment by Val G

This is so unfair. Not that you posted the first bit of Chalice, but that I’ve got to wait a month until B+N gets the book in to read the rest.

I’m re-reading Sunshine and it’s making me not want to go to work. I missed a lot of the subtle, Jane Austinish, humour the first time. Now I’m ROTFLOLSTAMM.

Because of your Chalice post, I don’t even want to finish Sunshine, just mope until the release of Chalice. Hell, I haven’t even been able to put DragonHaven on the library waiting list.

Wonderful work, Robin.

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Comment by Robin

Thank you!

Okay, so what is . . . LOLSTAMM??

Comment by Val G

lolstamm – laughing out loud, spitting tea at my monitor!

I don’t *squee*, I stamm. *squee*ing sounds fun, though, I’ll have to try it.

Comment by Robin

LOL, or ‘snork’. Thank you!

 
 
 
 
Comment by Jennie

“O wonderful, wonderful, and most wonderful wonderful! and yet again wonderful, and after that, out of all whooping!”

I cannot wait till my copy arrives.

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Comment by Robin

Wonderful! :)

 
 
Comment by Becky in VT

I’ve been re-reading your other books in anticipation for this one! Reading Beauty and Rose Daughter back to back is a bit confusing for me – but in a good way!

Maybe I’ll buy two copies of Chalice and donate one to my tiny little library, I bet they’d like that…

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Comment by Robin

Well I’D like it. :)

–LOL! Yes, BEAUTY and ROSE DAUGHTER one after the other WOULD be confusing!

 
 
Comment by Jeanne Marie

Hooray!!! Beautiful!!! As Always!!! Slavering in anticipation of my pre-ordered copy!!!
Smiles,
JM

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Comment by Shakatany

On one hand what a terrific opening on the other hand I now will have to wait until September to find out what happens next :(

Oh the antci…pation.

Shakatany

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Comment by Swedishbrunette

Well, there was never any doubt that I will get this book as soon as it is available to me. Now it is just even harder to wait. But I am not sorry at all :)
So if you are struggling for a post at any point…

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Comment by Robin

I’ll keep it in mind. :)

 
 
Comment by Mrs Redboots

Want it! Definitely want it! When is Christmas?

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Comment by Robin

Three months AFTER pub date. :)

 
 
Comment by Amy from Boston

I am a daily reader, though I’ve only commented once before, but … THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!! for posting this!

Now, can you recommend a homeopathic remedy to make the days between now and the release date fly by with great speed? :-)

I must now go and fetch all of your previous books from their places of honor next to the bed and put them next to the couch (where Sunshine, Spindle’s End and Deerskin are already residing), so that I can re-read them forthwith, in the hope that they will make the wait easier to bear …

Oh, yes, and THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU again!!!!

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Comment by Robin

YOU’RE WELCOME!!!!!!!!

 
 
Comment by katfromseattle

Re: Countdown clock. I did a quick test of this and it seems to work. Any way to link it to your site?

http://www.timeanddate.com/counters/customcount.html

Re: CHALICE. I have to wait HOW long? (sigh)

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Comment by Robin

NO idea. Must ask Blogmum. . . .

 
 
Comment by Darice

Oh, that really is lovely — so minutely human and so epic in one swath. September 18, eh? *makes plans to stalk Borders*

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Comment by the damosel maledysaunte

Ah! It is beautiful. However, I will now be useless for anything but daydreaming for several hours. I need a cup of tea.

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Comment by Robin

I like your connections. Daydreaming + cup of tea.

 
 
Comment by AJLR

Oh, yes, very….very…can’t think of the precise term of extreme approbation that I need and that this deserves. But I am enjoying the anticipation…one never wants things of great enjoyment to be over too quickly…:)

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Comment by Robin
 
 
Comment by Jax

am assuming that blog posts pointing here telling ppl to come read and go buy are absolutely acceptable. if not I can remove it.

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Comment by Robin

Absolutely. The more the merrier.

 
 
Comment by Alannaeowyn

YOU EVIL, SADISTIC WOMAN!!!!! *breaks down in tears* Weeks…..four weeks…..*sniffle* YOU JUST MADE THE WAIT ABOUT FIVE TIMES WORSE! But….

u u
q e q e
*s e* *s e*

*squeeeeeeeeeeeee*
*s e*
qu ee
ee ee
eee eee
eeeeeee

Something like that?

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Comment by Robin
 
Comment by jmeadows

Something like that?

Showoff!

;)

 
 
Comment by Alannaeowyn

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Comment by Lorraine

It has been a while since I looked you up on the web. Last time I was here I found Dragon Haven. This time I found Chalice. Sunshine was the first book of yours that I read – picked it up at the library because Sunshine is one of my nicknames for my daughter. Read the book straight through (not unusual) and promptly started rereading (never happened before or since). My relationship with your writing seems so serendipitous and (almost) fated! I think Chalice may be like Sunshine – they have the same “taste”. Many thanks for paying attention to what comes to you and for choosing to put it to paper.

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Comment by Robin

I think Chalice may be like Sunshine – they have the same “taste”.

******** How very odd. They don’t at all to me.
But as long as you like them . . . :)

Comment by Lorraine

May we have a conversation about that after I’ve read the rest of the book? Do you “discuss” your books with your readers?

By the way, this is my first blogging experience – I’m just so tickled that you replied! Tee hee!

Comment by Robin

I can’t see threads (easily, and don’t have time to hunt) so I don’t know what you’re talking about. And no, not much.

 
 
 
 
Comment by Charlotte

My first try at this message didn’t seem to get through– I was lucky enough to get an ARC (which is to say very very lucky), and loved it!

Thanks for writing it!

(if anyone is interested, I blogged about it here: http://charlotteslibrary.blogspot.com/2008/08/chalice-by-robin-mckinley.html)

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Comment by Ali

It feels so GOOD to read words of yours that I haven’t read before! (It feels so good to read words I have read before, too, but it’s a whole new kind of exciting reading this!) I’m going to work a happy happy girl, and I’m definitely going to bug everyone (I work at a library) until this book is on the shelf with the rest of them!

THANK YOU! This was the BEST thing to read in the morning! Was this another fire short story that turned into a novel?

Oh, and Mirasol, any relation to Aerin-sol? ;)

Again, THANK YOU! This is WONDERFUL! SO HAPPY! :D

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Comment by Robin

definitely going to bug everyone (I work at a library) until this book is on the shelf with the rest of them!

*********** Yes please! :)

THANK YOU! This was the BEST thing to read in the morning! Was this another fire short story that turned into a novel?

************ Yes. Afraid so.

Oh, and Mirasol, any relation to Aerin-sol? ;)

********** No. Mirasol’s her name. Sol is an honorific. Aerin’s her name.

 
 
Comment by Jeanine

You do know, don’t you, that ebay doesn’t have a single ARC of Chalice for sale??? Now, about that attic and the builder’s estimate….. I’ve already preordered
Chalice –wonderful, but seems to have its own flavor to me, maybe close to Deerskin with a riff on a fairy tale that isnt one? —but being that type of person inclined to call on any deiety to provide me with patience right NOW, I was wondering if your builder might want an ARC or 2 to be auctioned on ebay????
FYI I buy books I love in HC and then again in paperback so I can reread them on the subway and I buy e-books (baen) and HC as well for those I want to reread. FYI, Chalice intro is SUPERB! Jeanine-

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Comment by Robin

Thank you! Oooh, multiple buyer, my FAVOURITE. :) Well, I want to think it’s a GOOD thing the galleys of CHALICE aren’t up for sale. Maybe everybody they’ve been sent to just hasn’t READ it . . .

Comment by Charlotte

I’ve read mine! And loved it, and won’t be selling it!

Comment by Robin

. . . Bloody *&^%$£”! WordPress has just decided that saying ‘Oh good’ again is DUPLICATION and they won’t post it! Somebody pull the plug!

 
 
 
 
Comment by Tessa from SA

Thank you,thank you, thankyou!

And ooooooooooh!

And *droools*

And omg how am I going to wait?

Please continue teasing. It was exactly I needed… another McKinley to press on my long-suffering friends when I finally get in in my panting, sweaty, squealing, drooling, paws.

In a non-lugubrious sense, of course.
I can’t WAIT

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Comment by Robin

LONG SUFFERING? I RESENT that. :)

Comment by Tessa from SA

Oh dear. I guess you would, at that. Um, sorry.

Did NOT mean it that way!!!

Please blame it on my getting entirely over-excited by having a *little* more McKinley to read. Beauty, Hero, Blue sword and Sunshine are ALL practically memorised. (I never ever considered myself the fan type personality. Then I started reading your books…)

BTW sorry in advance for not replying to some of your repsonses. I am in a hellish cimbination of dial-up, living in a “wifi shadow” and a practical phone monopoly. It’s rather frustrating.

 
 
 
Comment by spindriftdancer

Yay(:

(just waiting, now…)

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Comment by Rachel

Yum.
This is delicious – and I’m very intrigued by the Fire Priest.
I’m first on the wait list at the library!
R

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Comment by Robin

Excellent! :)

 
 
Comment by KatrinaRose

I have been running around like a decapitated chicken this week, popped in to read the latest blog (writers group), scrolled down, and just as I was about to close the laptop BEHOLD! MORE OF CHALICE!! Which meant I had to pack up my laptop and bring it with me on location because I didn’t have time to finish reading it, and I was in a sparkling mood for several hours because there is a NEW ROBIN MCKINLEY BOOK IN THE WORLD!!!!!! Huzzah!

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Comment by Judith

Well, I didn’t squee upon seeing it. I just started reading, looked at my computer clock briefly, realized what time it was, scrolled down to see how long the excerpt was, realized I was going to be VERY late for an appointment, said, “Tough shit!”, and shut out the world and kept reading to the end.

It’s you — but you getting better all the time. Amazing.

Judith

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Comment by Robin

Thank you! (Getting old HAS to be good for something!)

 
 
Comment by WayStone

Thank you. Thank you. And a thousand times, thank you.

You managed to distract me from this local-news horror… that I’ve been unable to get out of my head all day. (New house rule… all mail will henceforth be accepted and opened outside the front door. I’m not kidding.)

The opening of Chalice has all the things I love most about your books – most of all, the weaving in of the theme naturally through the actions of fascinating characters. It was when I first read Deerskin that I began to really notice and learn that what one /doesn’t/ say, when writing, is just as important as what one /does/ say… that sometimes (Star Wars prequels, anyone?), telling every niggling detail diminishes the story itself.

(Which is why, as much as I would dearly love to know more about Sunshine, I won’t break down and outright beg for more… well, not much, anyway ;)

Counting the days till it’s released!

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Comment by Megan

I have been reading for a year, but have never posted. It has been such a lovely addition to my internet stops. (Reading your blog for a year, that is; my love affair with your books, and their beautiful words, started long before that! I still have parts of Blue Sword and Spindle’s End and Sunshine memorized : )

I must make an exception to my silent presence to state:

TWO Robin McKinley books in less than 5 years. BLISS!!! YEAH!! Great rejoicing and HURRAY for the Ten-fingered Robin McKinley!! (I assume you have 10 fingers and not 9).

It was such a long wait between Sunshine and Dragonhaven! Although Sunshine came at a perfect time; it got me through the first months of my grandma’s cancer diagnosis my senior year of high-school.

I am thrilled that it need not be so long for this one! Just in time for the the mid-semester doldrums, too.

Thanks for all your wonderful stories in the past. This looks like an exquisite addition to mine and my public library. I had to tell you how excited I am.

I can’t wait. Thanks for the special preview!
Megan

PS I hope you finish Pegasus soon, but I will wait patiently until you polish it to your satisfaction! Thanks >_>

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Comment by Robin

Thank you! Yes, I have all ten fingers, nor have I tramped across Mordor with Gollum shadowing me. . . . I’m so sorry about your grandmother.

 
 
Comment by Nema

YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY!
Want. More. NOW. (YAY!)
-Nema

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