Friday, July 27, 2012

Friday 10 Special: 10 Things You Didn't Know About THE UNQUIET

1. It started out as a NANO novel in 2005, which means it technically took me over 5 years to write story (though more like 1 1/2 once I really got into it).

2. The first 50,000 words were written for adults, not YA. Yep, with sex scenes and everything.

The MC was Liza, a has-been journalist who escaped to River Hills after a scandal that ruined her career. Her love interest was Sam, her landlord. Sam had a weird little daughter whose name was changed so many times I can't remember it now. Liza took a job teaching English at River Hills High which was haunted by the spirit of a dead girl named Delilah.

After my first YA book was published, I decided to switch genres. Liza became Monica, Sam became Luke, and the spooky little kid switched parents and not only became Rinn, but my MC. Delilah changed names about a dozen times, too, and ended up as Annabeth--but when a new novel with a character with that very same name came out (what were THOSE chances?!) I did a "find and replace" and turned "beth" into "liese."

The sex scenes disappeared.

3. The title was originally "Unearthly Possessions" but was changed to THE UNQUIET to avoid confusion with two new YA novels with similar titles.

4. "Nate" was a placeholder. He'd also gone through a variety of names, but I wasn't able to settle on one that truly fit (he was actually "Rory" for a long time till I came across a novel that had both a Rory and a Corinne. Again, weird coincidence).

So I used "Nate"--my son's name (yeah, he was thrilled about that, lol)--and then never got around to christening him something else. The name, I've decided, totally fits the character.

5. If you haven't figured it out yet, I do change a lot of names in the writing process. Lacy, Meg, Tasha, Millie, and Luke all had different names at one time or another. The only name I was absolutely certain of right from the beginning was Corinne (after my hairdresser's daughter) and Dino. Dino named himself. I swear.

6. The characters of Norm Solomon, Stacy Winkler, and Pat Schmidt were all named after real people. Rinn's last name, Jacobs, is from a family doctor. Mr. Lipford, the art teacher, was named for a co-worker. If you ever want me to throw your name into a book, just let me know. :)

7. There was a fourth friend of Rinn's, a girl named Alicia, but she was edited out. So was Rinn's boyfriend, Kyle, who was one of the reasons she and her mom moved to River Hills--to get away from his bad ass. The book is 400 pages long. I would have had to add another 100 pages if I'd kept these two in.

8. Rinn kept a dream diary of all her crazy dreams, and excerpts were included throughout the book. Also edited out. Thank God for agents and editors who aren't afraid to tell you what makes the story really draaaaaaag.... :)

9. The tunnel and the pool at River Hills HS actually existed in a school I attended myself. I discuss this in the back of the book. I know the school is still there. I doubt the tunnel is.

10. I really, really, really want to do a sequel--but this is not entirely up to me. So if anyone wants to send out some positive vibes, I won't discourage you!

Goodreads Winners!

Congratulations to RACHEL DOMINGO and NICOLE HANSON who each won a signed copy of THE UNQUIET on GOODREADS!


Thanks for entering and I hope you enjoy the book! :)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Dreaming of Monsters

So I had this dream the other night...I was driving around and stopped at the home of my parents' old friends: Steve, Edna, and their son, Teddy. No Steve and Edna have been deceased for years and I have no idea what happened to Teddy. I DO know that he once had the hots for my sister. I caught them holding hands while we all walked in the woods. But that was decades ago, and...never mind.

So I stop at their house and the door is unlocked, so I go inside and walk upstairs to use the john (that totally figures because I had to pee when I woke up). I hear a noise from downstairs, and it occurs to me that, at the very least, I should have knocked and asked permission. I go back downstairs (without peeing) and they are all in the kitchen, watching home movies. I join them for a while, and then Teddy says, "I have those magazines you wanted. They're outside."

So I walk out the back door and the first thing I see, way at the far end of the back yard, is this GIANT CREATURE. At first it looks like a white buffalo--but when I really get a good look, I see it's not white at all: it's perfectly hairless and slimy, with all its blood vessels showing through gelatinous skin.

As I stare, it raises its hideous head--and, at the time time, grows in size...and grows and grows, till it's the size of a brontosaurus. I ask Teddy, (safely) behind me, "What the hell is THAT?"

"Don't worry. It's a mulette."

Don't worry, he says. Right.

("Mulette"--seriously??? Well, that's how he pronounced it. I used an online translator that said it was French for mussel, but you know how those online translators work. Like...they don't.)

Suddenly the creature notices me and charges right at me. It doesn't look like anything that could move very fast, but it's nearly upon me in less than a second. I whirl around to find Teddy already back inside the house, holding the screen door open, like, maybe twelve inches. Definitely not far enough for me to squeeze through.

"Open the door!" I yell. I push at the the door, but Teddy holds it firmly as I struggle to wiggle inside. The creature by now is breathing down my neck. I scream at Teddy, "OPEN THE DOOR! OPEN THE DOOR!"

Just as I somehow manage to throw myself partially through the opening, my husband wakes me up so I can drop my car off early to get the oil changed.

Culprit: a half of pound of gummybears right before bed?

So...regardless of the stupid name in my dream, does anyone recognize that creature from any works of fiction?

PS Teddy: You SUCK!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Friday 5

1. I've been reading much more than I've been writing. I suck. But seriously, I needed a break. Just finished CONFESSIONS OF A PRAIRIE BITCH by Alison Arngrim who played the despicable Nellie Oleson. What. A. RIOT! If you were a fan of this show, don't miss it.


2. Yes, Elijah ate a whole baby rabbit. I did my best to protect the little thing, but you turn your back on a hound dog for a single moment and the next thing you see is a furry leg hanging out of its jaws. What kind of mother rabbit builds a nest in the middle of someone's backyard? A backyard that is RULED by a dog that'll literally eat anything?

3. As I mentioned on FB, I spent one whole day cleaning out a single closet. This doesn't sound like much--but I had shit clothes in there from the nineties. Teeny, tiny little clothes that I couldn't wrench up over one thigh if someone offered me a million bucks. It was like some twisted episode of What Not to Wear. I now have exactly seven things hanging in there--and I haven't even had a chance to hit my drawers. I even tossed the dress I wore once, for a wedding--the one that looked like it was cut from a bolt of upholstery cloth. PS Don't ask me what I think I'm going to wear. Looks like I'm now limited to hospital scrubs, underwear, and a pair of gray leather riding chaps.

4. I'm going back to work tomorrow after a full week off. Do I look happy about this?


5. Have a great weekend, everyone!

Colorado Shooting

A couple of years ago I was very shaken up when patrons at a Shaker Heights movie theater were clubbed and robbed. I'd been to that theater many, many times. I cut school one day to stand in line to see The Exorcist back in the seventies. Fond memories, etc. :) It's a beautiful theater in a old, beautiful area.

Since that incident, I haven't been back.. Of course, that's ridiculous. Attacks like that can happen in any theater. But just the idea of the people who were sitting there that night, enjoying a movie, munching popcorn--and suddenly clubs are swinging, skulls are cracking, etc....well, I knew I could never sit in that theater again. An attack out of the blue on unsuspecting folks in a pitch-black theater was one of the worst things I could imagine.

It still is: 12 people murdered and 38 wounded in an Colorado theater by some loathsome POS who, no doubt, will plead insanity--never mind that he planned the attack down to the smallest detail: tear gas, four guns, plus a bullet-proof vest and a gas mask for himself.

The youngest victim is only three months old.

"We don't have a motive yet," is what I'm hearing on the news.


First of all, does anyone care about a motive? Second of all, how could there be a motive for an atrocity such as this?

EVIL doesn't need a motive.

And this man is pure evil.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Book Signing!

After being knocked off the internet for a day because of my computer "forget" how to work (how the HECK does that happen anyway?) I can now post that my book signing for THE UNQUIET was a great success. :)

My biggest mistake was not springing for a better camera after my two nice ones mysteriously disappeared. TOTALLY disappeared, as in they-are-absolutely-nowhere-to-be-found-in-spite-of-my-tearing-up-the-house-multiple-times.Yes, ghosts do move things, don't they? Instead of springing for a decent, I bought a crummy Vivitar for around $30 and, sadly, I'm paying a much higher price with pictures like this--


--as well as quite a few others that didn't turn out and are not worth posting



...the book store was small, and quite crowded (above) so we moved next door to Vero Bistro which turned out to be even more crowded that the book store (their gelato, however, is to die for!). And the folks eating pizza seemed somewhat stunned when they realized they'd ended up in the middle of an author appearance.


And, once again, I was presented with some beautiful flowers by my best-ever nephew, Cory (pictured with mom Mary and little sis Rowan). xox

Thanks to everyone who came!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


From Twitter:

CONGRATS and thanks for the tweets! I'll be contacting you.


Thank you to everyone who participated!


Awesome writing buddy Laura is having AN UNQUIET GIVEAWAY on her blog, LAURA'S REVIEW BOOKSHELF. She was kind enough to allow to me write a guest a post for her: Why I Write YA. Check it out and enter to win!
Thanks, Laura!
And yes, today is the official release of THE UNQUIET! It's hard to believe this book was SEVEN YEARS in the making--I kept starting it and then stopping it again to work on something else, and published two other books in the meantime. (Nobody can ever accuse me of being organized!)

Tonight I'll be at APPLETREE BOOKS at Cedar-Fairmount in Cleveland Heights from 7 pm till 9 pm. Please stop in if your in the area--I would love to meet you!

Also, thanks to all of your who enter the giveaway content on this blog. I'll be announcing the winners later today. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR SPREADING THE WORD!

And a special thank you to Tina Wexler and Caroline Abbey, my amazing agent and editor, for helping me bring such a complex character as Rinn to life. xox

Monday, July 16, 2012


I can't believe my book signing is tomorrow.

1. Book shipment confirmed: check
2. Prepared introduction: check.
3. Rides arranged: check.
4. What to read? Not checked. Will decide later.
5. Ativan: check.
6. Refreshments: not checked. Pending.
7. Plan B if the A/C is still kaput: check.
8. What to wear? Check. Nothing spectacular--this is summer. In Cleveland!


Why are these always so stressful? Why can't they be as much fun for the author as they are for the guests? Why am I so freeeekin' neurotic? Heck, I get all in a tizzy when I invite relatives over for a cook-out. I've been known to spazz out if I have to make an appointment over the phone. I'm that kid who, when called on in class, would dive-bomb under the desk and not come up till the bell rang.

Some authors thrive on this stuff. You know who you are and I am looking RIGHT AT YOU. Smiley I admire you so much. Why can't it rub off on me?

What the HECK is your SECRET?

Akron Beacon Journal Review + Burning Bridges

HERE IS A REVIEW OF THE UNQUIET from the Akron Beacon Journal by Barbara MacIntyre, and I am loving how she ends this:

"Though Garsee’s story will attract readers with a taste for the paranormal, her true forte is in portraying the paranoia and delusions that Rinn experiences when she discontinues her medication. That Garsee is a psychiatric nurse gives credence to Rinn’s mental deterioration.

This is what I was really,really hoping to accomplish: to show the effects of not taking medications, regardless of your psychiatric diagnosis. No, in real life, you probably won't see "ghosts" --at least not ghosts as depicted in my story. The disruptive, dangerous behavior; the alienation of your friends and family; losing your job or having to drop out of college; losing your home and ending up on the streets--I see all of this at my job, every single day. Visiting hours are often dead because no one wants to come visit my patients (unless they want to slip them cigarettes or drugs, or an occasional Big Mac). Sadly, even the people who have raised them and loved them from the day they were born are no longer willing to get sucked into the drama, the danger, the endless disruption of lives.

The bridges have been burned.

Mom is tired.

Grandma is tired.

Your brothers and sisters have moved on, they're living productive lives. You, on the other hand, spend your time in hospitals, or in jails, or hanging out under bridges. And you were the one who wanted to be a writer...or an engineer...or a teacher...or simply get married and raise a family.

If you are on medications for bipolar, schizophrenia, depression, whatever--regardless of your age--please, please don't stop taking them because you are "feeling better" and don't think you need them anymore. Don't stop taking them, either, because you "don't like how they make me feel" or "it's not even helping me." First of all, there are many, many medications, and you and your psychiatrist need to figure out the ones that work the best for you with the least amount of side effects. There is also medication to counteract these effects. You don't have to be a non-functioning glob of protoplasm in order to avoid psychosis. And some of the side effects--the drowsiness, for instance--decrease in time as long as you stay on the medication. Stopping and starting them, over and over, is almost as bad as not taking them at all. You will never adjust.

Please, please,do not burn your bridges. Don't lose who you are, or what you mean to the people who love and cherish you, and still want to help you.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Favorite Ghosts, Anyone?

Well, my latest favorite ghost picture...



...started me thinking about all the ghosts in my life. Not the real ones--that's a whole 'nother story--but the ones that piqued my interest in The Otherworld.

Starting with this guy, of course.


Yep, my favorite cartoon on Saturday mornings, with this one following a nose behind:


(I wanted to be Daphne)

OK, not scary. And these were mere cartoons, unlike the shows that really unnerved me (well, at age 5 or so) like when The Little Rascals ran into some spirits--

Photobucket Photobucket

(I honestly believed that would happen to your hair...)

--not to mention The Three Stooges:


(OK, OK, it was an animated skeleton. Close enough)

GHOST was the first "ghost story" I fell in love with, though I was much more impressed with the creepy little demons at the end:


(Note: What was even creepier was when Patrick Swayze's spirit took over Whoopi Goldberg's body, and...well, some people thought that was romantic. I found highly D-I-S-T-U-R-B-I-N-G)

I was never a fan of GHOSTBUSTERS. Cartoon ghosts? Puh-lease. But I did fall in love with this guy and his two ghostly companions:


I'm pretty difficult to scare, but POLTERGEIST freaked me out:


--and so did THE GRUDGE--


--but I prefer my ghosts to be what I imagine them to be: the lost, troubled souls of real people. In that sense, THE OTHERS was the perfect ghost story:


For me. the ABSOLUTE SCARIEST movie about ghosts is THE INNOCENTS (1961), based on Henry James's TURN OF THE SCREW. The book itself is chilling. The film is terrifying.


Now THAT'S a ghost!


See this movie!

In the dark.


I dare you!

Monday, July 9, 2012

A Great Review...and a Word About Rinn

A great review for THE UNQUIET by TEEN LIBRARIAN TOOLBOX which pretty much nails the storyline:

"...A very important part, of course, of The Unquiet is Rinn's mental health issues. In this particular instance, Rinn is being medicated for being bipolar. Something happened on the West Coast because of her bipolar issues, and that is one play on the idea of haunting. In fact, each chapter heading is a countdown of the numbers of months and days that have passed since that event occurred; it is so significant to the life of Rinn that it is now how she measures time. And in the end it weaves its way into the other haunting, which is the other part of the story.

Years ago, the body of Annaliese was found floating in the pool of the local high school, the very high school where Rinn now attends school. She is said to haunt one very particular hallway of the school and strange things begin to happen to the people who go into that hallway. Annaliese seems to be especially targeting certain people, including Nate and Rinn.

In the end, Rinn decides that the only way she can find out what is really happening is to go off of her medication, with the premise being that the medication is somehow dulling Annaliese's ability to communicate with her..."

I love when a reviewer totally "gets" the story. Thank you!

Lately I'm finding reviews where this biggest issue seems to be: how could Rinn be friends with such a nasty bunch of girls?"

It's pretty simple. Rinn has no friends. She hasn't had any "real" friends for the longest time because her erratic behavior scares people away. So when Meg invites her into her small circle of friends, Rinn is positively thrilled.

True, these girls might not be the nicest bunch in town. Meg is sweet, though she changes gradually once Annaliese gets her hooks into her. Lacy's the bitch of the group, and no, Rinn is not fond of her. But Tasha's a hoot, and always the first one to call Lacy out on her bitchiness. Cecilia might've become good friends with Rinn, but Lacy treats her like crap and Rinn isn't strong enough to ditch her core group and join ranks with Cecilia. It happens all the time. She simply wants a circle of friends, which, in her mind, will prove she is "normal" enough to be liked by others. And she is human enough to feel torn, and angry that she is expected to "choose" between Cecilia and Meg, Tasha, and Lacy.

Believing that Rinn would NOT be friends with this group of girls--really, she feels they're like a gift to her, handed over on a silver platter--is the most unbelievable thing of all.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Win a Copy of THE UNQUIET!

Two weeks from today, THE UNQUIET will be released--so it's time for a contest!


To win a signed copy (I have 3 to give away!) please copy this announcement or post a link to it in your own blog, on Facebook, on Twitter (mention @jeanninegarsee), etc. Anywhere, really.

Then e-mail me that link (sassenach43 at aol dot com) or post it in the comment section here or HERE. Note: LJ non-members are screened but I do read all the comments! If you tweet or re-tweet, I'll find it myself. Smiley

Winners will be drawn at random, so the more places you post it, the better the chance your chance. I will announce the winners on JULY 17, 2012.

And if you're around, this is where I'll be that day:

APPLETREE BOOKS on Cedar Road in Cleveland Hts. (Cedar and Fairmount) Ohio
JULY 17 from 7:00-9:00 P.M.

Thanks and GOOD LUCK!!!!