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Saturday, March 29, 2008


As many of you have surely noticed, there is a new look around here. The long-promised new website has arrived! This is all part of the general roll-out for SUITE SCARLETT, which creeps closer and closer every day. There’s a new Scarlett page (complete with the official Hopewell Hotel logo and my interactive map of Scarlett’s New York, which I will be expanding over time). There’s the HUGE NEW FAQ for your book report questions! And I have actually started updating news in the Bulletins section, so if you look there, you’ll get info on signings, the big contest, the release date . . . you name it!

I’m in the London Office at the moment. I was out with Justine Larbalestier yesterday. Among our many stops—we went to the place where the Queen gets her bras. For those of you who read 13 Little Blue Envelopes, I claim to know where the Queen gets her underwear. I was guessing. Right now, I definitely know where the top halves come from.

Tomorrow, I am off to Italy with the YA Scooby Gang to meet publishers from around the world, and generally talk about Scarlett until I go blue in the face. Oh, and eat.

Speaking of Scarlett . . . today is, of course, the day Scarlett’s Eleven are named.

Once again, making a decision on this matter was very, very hard. There were a LOT of applications—and there was a LOT to be impressed with. I went over and over them. People created videos, websites, Facebook pages, myspace pages, buttons . . . someone even stood outside of public place and got 42 signatures on a Free Alan Rickman petition.

Picking people for jobs is hard. I mean, look at this:

So I was basically in AGONY trying to make my selections. Picking people is hard. I wanted to make EVERYONE a member. But it’s hard enough for me to coordinate the making and sending of eleven t-shirts, eleven code names, and eleven special assignments.

So, there I was last night, enjoying a delicious Linda McCartney vegetarian sausage and reading the entries, when there was a banging from the mail flap, like the postman was struggling to get something through. I got up to open the door and give him a hand—not even stopping to think that the postman doesn’t come around at eleven at night.

What happened next, therefore, is really my fault. JK pushed through the door as soon as I opened it a crack, knocking me out of the way.

“So,” she said, “what’s this Free Alan Rickman business? And what are you EATING?”

“Alan Rickman should be released from your basement,” I said, getting ahead of her and blocking the way to my sausage. “And that is MY Linda McCartney vegetarian sausage.”

“I’ve never had a vegetarian sausage before. Give it here.”


“Give it to me!” she cried. “I need it! I need it!”

“No,” I replied. “Kidnapper.”

She saw that I was playing tough today, and she moved away a few steps and appraised me.

“If you give me that sausage,” she said, “I will tell you what I’ve done with Alan.”

Now, while I liked my Linda McCartney sausage, I was prepared to give it up for information on Alan. I held the plate out to JK, who clawed up the meatless goodness.

“Very nice,” she said, licking her fingers.


She looked like she had already forgotten our deal. But I anticipated this. I grabbed the nearest food-like item, which happened to be a bottle of HP sauce, and waggled it in her direction. She caved fairly quickled.

“Now, what is this Scarlett’s Eleven you keep talking about?” she asked, drinking it back.

“Only my hand-picked team of renegades who will band together to spread the word of Suite Scarlett and free Alan Rickman from your clutches. Look! Look at all these highly qualified people who have been writing in!”

She reluctantly came over and looked over my shoulder. I heard her made a low noise, not unlike the noise my circus sparkle gun used to make, if I only pulled the trigger halfway.

"I am going to tell you why you are going to fail," she said, backing away.


“Yes. You and your little gang won’t succeed because Alan is happy. He will refuse to leave.”

“Why don’t I believe you?” I said.

“I’ll prove it,” she said. “I’ll tell you about his days. First of all, in the mornings, I bring him his breakfast personally—newspaper, coffee, and a jar of jam and a spoon. Then I take him upstairs for his daily exercise.”

“Which consists of?”

“A few hours in the tank with my dolphin,” she said. “Fatso LOVES Alan. You should see how they play! He treats Alan just like a little beachball, bounces him all around, bangs him from side to side. The tank’s fully sealed, so there is no danger of Alan getting thrown out. We had a little scare the other day when his oxygen tank got knocked off for a few minutes, but we fixed that. Then we take Alan back down to his room, because he’s usually pretty tired after that. Sometimes he can’t even talk for the rest of the day! Good, healthy exercise will do that.”

“Or brain damage from lack of oxygen,” I said.

“After the nap,” she said, ignoring me, “we revive him, usually with smelling salts, and he has lunch. He always has a nice cup of tea and a jar of jam.”

“More jam?”

“Alan LIKES jam. Everyone LIKES jam.”

“Not as a meal,” I said.

“Anyway,” she went on, “he has his afternoon jam, and then we read to each other. Alan reads very nicely. I wanted to test the theory that he could read the phone directory and make it sound interesting. He did! Hours and hours he read, and I was riveted!”

I had no idea what to say, which was fine, because JK never needs my input anyway.

“After the reading, he has his tea, and then he puts on the Snape costume and we practice.”

“Practice what, exactly?”

“I call our exercises “Snapeshifting.” Right now, we are working on the Snape twirl. This takes a few hours. Then it’s the smelling salts again, and a hot bath with bubbles, and then he gets his dinner.”

“Not more jam . . .” I said.

“Don’t be stupid! For dinner, gets a lovely plate of pickled onion flavored Monster Munch, sting cheese, crushed Oreos, and assorted ketchups. We watch home improvement shows, then we play Risk. After Risk, he gets a half an hour of free time, then it’s back up into the tank for an evening swim.”

“This is so much worse than I thought,” I said.

Monster Munch: the jam alternative

“You see? He’ll never go willingly. So you might as well just call off your little pack of wolves. Come with me to the house, you can see for yourself.”

“There is no way,” I said pointedly, “that I am going to your house. Especially not today. I have to go to Italy tomorrow.”

“Italy! I love Italy. I think . . . I think I bought Italy last year. And it’s your loss. Now, give me a box of those, what were they . . . Beatle fingers?”

“Linda McCartney vegetarian sausages,” I corrected her, as I went to the freezer. “And here. Feed Alan these, please.”

She took one out of the box and ate it. Frozen. She watched me as I came back to the computer, and she watches me as I type this now, and she’s still eating them.

Never has the need to Free Alan been greater. It’s time to call the Eleven. So, without further ado, here they are, with their code names:

Rebecca Leach: Lone Star
Karen Budig: Alley Kat
Savannah Randall: The Caffeinator
Christina (sparky91): Rickshaw
Heather C.: The Vespator
Caroline Barnett: Sparkles
Danica Eakins: Diamond D
Kelsey Murphy: Snapeshifter
Tobias Huisman: McQueen
Kelly Graham: Crackers Cate
Judy Lunsford: Jamblaster

To all who entered . . . thank you! And your services are STILL NEEDED!

I hope to keep updating from the Scooby Shack in Italy, but I have no idea what our internet access will be like. So . . . if you don’t hear from me . . . I’m still out there and will be back! Probably with a video.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congrats to all of Scarlett's Eleven!

12:49 AM  
Anonymous JK said...

Congrats everyone!

12:57 AM  
Anonymous Halle said...


Good job you guys! You MUST FREE ALAN!

1:00 AM  
Anonymous Christina R. said...

Rickshaw, here.

We will do everything within our power to free Alan. Or at least get him some decent snack foods.

But in the mean time...
*happy dance!*

1:04 AM  
Anonymous Karen said...

Oh. My. Lord.

I am the luckiest person in the world. <3

Alley Kat!!


1:12 AM  
Blogger Caroline said...

Monster munch?
Assorted ketchups?
This news is seriously alarming. I am more dedicated to the cause than ever.

1:31 AM  
Blogger Reese said...

Congratulations you guys!

1:39 AM  
Anonymous Danica (aka Diamond D) said...

I'm in! Scarlett's Eleven FTW!

Have fun in Italy, and I can't wait to meet the rest of the gang!!

-Diamond D

1:59 AM  
Anonymous Kelsey said...

Yay!! So excited! We begin immediately!!!


2:20 AM  
Anonymous Allie said...

congrats everyone!!! free alan rickman!

2:30 AM  
Anonymous Diamond D said...

Also, according to Justine, I have to tell you this:


I think we need to see a picture of this dress. If Justine says it's fab, then is MUST be fab.

2:55 AM  
Blogger Reese said...

I know, you're busy. But I had to meme someone! Plus, I think you'll have fun with this.

- Link to the person who tagged you.
-Post the rules on your blog.
-Share 6 useless trivia about yourself.
- Tag 6 random people.
- Tell the tagged people by leaving a comment on their blog.

You have been officially memed.

2:58 AM  
Anonymous Iris said...

I agree with daimond d, it must be fab, and i think we do need a pic. love the new site!
congrats to the Scarlett's Eleven! hey, and i've got that free alan rickman button!

4:43 AM  
Anonymous Crackers Cate said...

Hooray, I can't believe it! Scarlett's Eleven, I'm in! And my codename rules. Best birthday ever.

5:10 AM  
Anonymous Hillary! said...

Congratulations everyone! Now, what Alan really needs is a chocolate bunny.
Maureen, did you buy that dress like Justine said?

6:31 AM  
Anonymous Raelyn said...

well... at least alan has not yet been forced to take part in activities like this... ;) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B77MxjIWixk
P.S. congrats to the 11!
P.P.S. mj! buy the dress! :D

9:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maureen, I interrupt this blog to announce very important news that I think you will REALLY want to know: Look what you can buy!!!


I suggest it as a "Suite Scarlett publication gift to yourself"

9:44 AM  
Blogger Sandy said...

I love the new layout! Very pink, very awesome. :D

Oh, and Buy the dress, 'cuz Justine said so! :p

7:18 PM  
Anonymous shaylaluna said...

I am really irritated that im not on scarletts 11. I feel that just because i dont have time/skills/knowledge to make petitions and videos and websites that I cant be part of scarletts 11.
I have been spreading the word to everyone I know and have been sticking to my/your story and not letting anyone tell me that im wrong. I completely support the cause and over the period of the last couple of days i have been thinking of ways to complete our mission and eventually save alan.

I think you should sell the tshirts. I would most definetly buy one.

Or you could have another contest thats fairer to more people.

Or you could give me one.
OR not.

10:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey this is kim......

i had to do a car wash today. my
arms are sumburned, my calfs are sunburned. it hurts like heck.

if my sunburn hurts this bad i can only imangine what alan is going through.

FREE ALAN RICKMAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!

6:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey mj! buy the dress :)

6:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love the Mighty Boosh.
Long live Julian Barratt*.

*Not Noel, though.

7:55 PM  
Blogger Trish Doller said...

Congrats to the Eleven... and mj... the new site is sooooo pretty!

1:44 AM  
Blogger Little Willow said...

Bueno, bueno, Once de Scarlett. Congratulations!

I was going to sing the MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE theme song, but now I just keeping dinging like your site dings.

7:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are you vegetarian? :)

10:26 PM  
Blogger limeywesty said...

Well done guys.
mj, you look fabulous and have to buy the dress...
and we must save Alan.
Before he gets fed to Fatso for reading the telephone directory poorly.

12:13 PM  
Blogger Reese said...


Only Mj's latest book...set in a hotel in NYC...I wonder what it could be...

4:12 AM  
Anonymous michelle said...


I'm on spring break in chilly indiana, and I went to Barnes and Noble last night and guess what I found!?!

thats right.. SUITE SCARLETT! it's out an entire month early here! I'm super excited and I can't wait to read it!

just thought I'd let you know. So if there's anybody else in Indiana check your booksellers they may have it!

2:46 AM  
Anonymous blissfullydazed said...

I gots my Scarlett!!!!!!


8:11 AM  
Blogger chesty morgan said...

Here is Rebecca Budig http://rebecca-budig.blogspot.com

11:45 AM  

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