Thursday, January 24, 2013

Upcoming Events - Please come see me!

For Phoenix AZ Peeps: Saturday, 1/26 4:00 to 6:30: YAllapalooza Book Fest for teens and tweens w/ lots of awesome authors at Changing Hands Bookstore, Tempe, Arizona. Games, pizza and book signing. Yes, I said pizza!! Awesome, right?

For Portland, OR peeps: Monday, 2/4 7:00: Book signing with Kimberly Derting at Powell's Books, Cedar Hills Crossing, Beaverton, Oregon. We're gonna play a game, Big Brother style! There will be PRIZES!

For Las Vegas, NV peeps: Saturday, 2/9 10:30 am to 5:00 pm: YAllapalooza Book Fest for teens and tweens w/ awesome authors at Centennial Hills Library, Las Vegas, NV. Celebrate teen authors as they share writing tips and explore the world of teen lit. Games, crafts, a literary fashion show and other fun-filled activities will engage the entire family during this 1st annual festival co-sponsored by Barnes & Noble. Book sales and signings will take place throughout the day.

Friday, January 18, 2013

What we can learn about events from John Green

John Green, NYT bestselling author of LOOKING FOR ALASKA, THE FAULT IN OUR STARS, and other novels, sold out at Carnegie Hall for the one year anniversary of TFIOS on Monday, January 14th. At the show, he was joined by his brother Hank, the Mountain Goats, Neil Gaiman, and many other amazing people.

If you haven't watched their show, which was streamed live, you can still catch it here! I watched it live and  I thought it was amazing.

John and Hank have built up a huge community over the past six years, known as Nerdfighteria, where we work together to decrease world suck and tell each other DFTBA (don't forget to be awesome), among other things. I consider myself a Nerdfighter (though yes, an old Nerdfighter, but one nonetheless), as I have been with them since day 1 of Vlogbrothers 2.0. I read LOOKING FOR ALASKA in 2007 and loved it so much, I was ready to follow John Green anywhere. And, wow, look how far he's come!

So that event, combined with another event I witnessed this week, got me thinking about author events in general. On Wednesday night, I went to Powell's to see Martha Brockenbrough (DEVINE INTERVENTION), Kevin Emerson (THE LOST CODE), Sean Beaudoin (THE INFECTS), and Cat Patrick (REVIVED). They were so fun and funny and never once did I think to myself, I hope this is over soon, like I sometimes do at author events. They played a couple of fun games and they found a way to read from their books in a hilarious way, with a timer and people shouting out numbers from the audience, and using famous people's voices. The hour flew by, and when it was time to buy books, well, let's just say my TBR pile now towers even higher.

John has shown us that teens want to feel like they are a part of something awesome. Maybe we can't do something as amazing and life changing as creating Nerdfighteria, like he and Hank have done, but we can make our book signings more fun and more interactive and more about the readers and less about the authors. Yes, it's more work, and yes, you have to get creative, but I believe it's time well spent. Every time a teen goes to a FUN author event, it makes it much more likely she'll go to more events in the future. Guess what happens if she goes to boring event after boring event? 

I know getting up in front of people can be hard for authors, who are often introverted and are most comfortable in a quiet office, in front of the computer. That's certainly true for me! But honestly - I'd much rather play a silly game with the audience than stand there talking about my book and then reading from my book, with all eyes on me, everyone thinking about how boring it all is. 

I'm currently making game paddles for a game Kim Derting and I will play at our event coming up on Monday, Feb. 4th at Powell's in Beaverton. I got my inspiration from watching many, many (probably too many) episodes of the reality show, Big Brother. It will be silly and it will have nothing to do with our books. But there will be prizes and it will be FUN. You should totally come if you're in the area. 

Now if I could just figure out how to get Neil Gaiman to stop by...

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Last Week of the Blog Tour

We're in the home stretch!

Again, thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who has participated and tweeted about it, and the literally *thousands* of you who have entered the contest to win a signed set of my YA novels, all five of them!

I'm also SO thankful to those of you who have bought the book and read it already.

Here are the remaining stops on the tour!

Monday, January 14th, guest post at Novel Novice

Tuesday, January 15th, review at Books Complete Me

Wednesday, January 16th, fun post at The Story Siren

Thursday, January 17th, review at YA Bliss

Friday, January 18th, fun post at Acting Up with Books

Saturday, January 19th, guest blog at YA Reads

Sunday, January 20th, guest post at Book Hounds YA

Monday, January 7, 2013

Blog tour, week 2

We're into the second week of the blog tour Gabrielle at Mod Podge Bookshelf has coordinated for me. Thanks to everyone who has tweeted about the contest, bought the book, reviewed the book, etc. I'm truly grateful! And of course, thanks to the awesome bloggers who are helping to shine the light on my little book. You are the BEST!

Here is this week's schedule - more to come next week!

Jan 7th Interview at 365 days of Reading

Jan 8th review at Pure Imagination

Jan 9th guest post at Good Choice Reading

Jan 10th interview at Kelsey Dickson

Jan 11th guest blog at Girls in the Stacks

Jan 12th review at Reading Angel

Jan 13th interview at Through the Looking Glass

Thursday, January 3, 2013

My year in writing - 2012

Here we go - a look back at the past year!

Saying good-bye is never easy
January marked my two year anniversary of quitting the day job. I'm so thankful for the opportunity to write for a living. I saw John and Hank Green when they came to Portland, which was fun. But mostly, I remember being sad in January because my good friend, Suzanne Young, moved to Arizona. On a positive note, The Day Before was an Oregon Book Award finalist!

A trip to Utah
I spent a long weekend in Utah at a writing retreat with friends Lindsey Leavitt, Rachel Hawkins, Emily Wing Smith, and Irene Latham. I was working hard on revisions for Falling for You at the time. Seems like just yesterday we were writing and talking and getting milkshakes and watching the finale of season 2 for Downton Abbey, and now Falling for You is out!

Me? A cupcake judge!? AWESOME!
I took an amazing trip to Rhode Island to be a part of Cupcake Madness, an annual fundraiser to raise money for Hazard Castle. I signed books and ate cupcakes. And the weather was incredible, so I even spent some time before the event on the beautiful beach. A great trip! To round out the month of cupcakes, I sold a third book to Aladdin, called Frosting and Friendship, coming out September of 2013!

A busy month! 
I drove four hours south, down to Grants Pass Oregon and had a really fun school visit at South Middle School. The librarian, teachers and kids were AWESOME! A couple of weeks later, I flew to Chicago for the International Reading Assoc. conference. Deep dish pizza - mmmmm.

Hello Blackhawk Middle School!
When a teacher outside of Chicago e-mailed me in early April about visiting her school, I had to see if we could tie it in to the trip I already had planned for IRA. It worked out beautifully, and the visit at Blackhawk Middle School was a huge success. I did three presentations for each of the grades and signed lots of books. This is a picture of a wall of poems the kids wrote after reading one of my verse novels.

ALA and Hawaii!
The Day Before came out in paperback and ARCs for Falling For You were ready. I went to the American Library Assoc. conference (ALA) in Anaheim where I participated in the YA Koffee Klatch and signed ARCs at S&S's booth. Here I am with my buds Lindsey Leavitt and Jessi Kirby. Love these girls! After that, the family and I took off for a vacation in Maui. June was a very, very good month!

A month of revision
My oldest son had his wisdom teeth pulled the end of July. And I spent most of the month revising a manuscript that ended up not selling. Disappointing, yes, but in the long run, perhaps it's for the best. July was not the best month. You win some, you lose some, right?

A trip to Los Angeles
I flew to L.A. to hang out with friends at the SCBWI conference. We had a blast! We ate good food, we brainstormed plots, and we danced the night away on the patio. I came home and started work on a new manuscript. August made up for a crappy July.

It's a writing kind of month
Spent most of the month working on a new manuscript. Sprinkles and Secrets came out in paperback.

A trip to Houston
Tweens Read is an all-day book festival specifically geared toward 5th - 8th graders. I feel so fortunate to have been a part of this great event. It was an awesome day where I participated on a panel and signed books. Here I am with authors Diana Lopez, Claire Legrand, and Shana Burg.

Lots of writing
While lots of other writers participated in Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month), I worked on a secret something-something. And I got 20,000 words written on a new YA manuscript that I'm very excited about. I'm hoping to work on this and maybe finish it in January.

Editorial revisions 
In 2011, I sold a fantasy middle grade novel to Henry Holt. December was the month of editorial revisions for that novel. I worked really hard on them, and I think the book is better for it. I hope soon we'll nail down a title, and that 2013 brings more news about this book that I can share! I also got some good news I can't share yet - hopefully soon!


Overall, it was a good year. A fun year. I did enough traveling that it kept things interesting while I wasn't so busy that I couldn't write. I did write quite a bit.

There will be less traveling and more writing in 2013. Probably more writing than I've ever done in a year - and that will be the challenge. I'm excited and terrified!!

2013 also brings two new releases for me - Falling For You, my fifth YA novel, and Frosting and Friendship, my third MG novel. I'm so thankful for my readers, who have supported me over the years. Thank you for allowing me to make a living at this writing thing. It's hard work a lot of the time, but it's also a lot of fun.

Here's to a happy, healthy, and prosperous new year for everyone!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Blog tour

Gabrielle at Mod Podge Bookshelf has coordinated an AWESOME blog tour for Falling For You. I love the blog tour banner created specifically for the tour.

Lots of great stuff  happening - reviews, interviews, sneak peeks into the book, a big giveaway where someone will win a signed set of all of my YA novels, and much more.

I'm so thankful for Gabrielle's hard work and for all of the bloggers willing to participate. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

Here is the schedule for the first week - more to come next week!!!

Jan 1st Giveaway at Mod Podge Bookshelf

Jan 2nd Review and Interview at Book Chic Club

Jan 3rd Guest Blog at Kelsey Sutton

Jan 4th Review at Mundie Moms

Jan 5th Fun Promo Post at I am a Reader Not a Writer

Jan 6th Review at Hobbitsies

Jan 7th Interview at 365 days of Reading