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An Epic and Bookish Weekend!

September has been a busy, busy month for me because I went on not one, but TWO vacations. Yes, that’s right. After four years of staying close to home, I went away twice in one month. Earlier in the month I went to Texas for the first time to visit one of my best friends (and maybe someday I’ll write about that trip!), and this past weekend I went to Cambridge, Massachusetts! I’ve been to every New England state (we did a lot of road trips when I was a kid!), but I’ve never been to Cambridge (or Boston) before.

I took the train from NYC to Boston, which was an adventure in itself. It was very crowded and I couldn’t find a seat, so I spent the four hour trip in the dining car! It was a little uncomfortable, but not horrible. And the view was gorgeous!

215Manhattan. *_*

218Too bad the leaves weren’t changing colors yet!

Once I arrived in Boston, I met up with my friend Molly! We’ve known each other since high school, but the last time we saw each other was in Japan back in 2008! Now that she’s only four hours away (or one hour by plane!), we’re hoping to see each other more. Molly took me to my hotel and after I checked in, she showed me around MIT (her genius husband is a grad student there).

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014Crazy building!

015Not sure if you can tell from the picture, but those are all cranes.

023A really cool sculpture made out of numbers and math symbols.

022There’s a dome at the top of this building.

030And this is the inside of it!

225The view from my hotel room.

After the tour and dinner, I met Molly’s husband (he wanted to know how I’m able to write books, and I wanted to know how he can write complex math equations all over his multiple white boards. XD), and then Molly and I left for Porter Square Books. Mackenzie Lee, author of THIS MONSTROUS THING, was having her launch event there and I was super excited to meet her and get a copy of her book. At the event I met Molly’s friend, Melissa, who kindly saved us seats in the front row! Molly made this awesome, “I ❤ OLIVER” poster for Mackenzie, and Mackenzie’s face lit up when she saw it.

228Mackenzie!

The event was so much fun. Mackenzie explained her love for Mary Shelley and Frankenstein and read a passage from her book, which is being bumped to the top of my to-read pile! After the event we did a selfie with some props:

 tmt3(From l to r-Me, Molly, and Melissa.)

There was a huge turnout, so it took a bit for us to get our books signed. It was so nice finally meeting Mackenzie! We also signed a copy of TMT for Mackenzie (like her own personal yearbook), which I think is a great idea. After chatting for a bit, we went back to my hotel, but first Molly took me to the roof of her apartment so I could see the beautiful view of the city and the Charles river.

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The next morning was the Boston Teen Author Festival! They had an amazing lineup of authors this year; as soon as I saw who was coming, I knew I had to go. And I’m glad I did because the day turned out to be one of the best ever!

Melissa very nicely drove us to the Cambridge Public Library, and after we parked, we went to get Starbucks when Melissa spotted a whole group of YA authors across the street, who were also going to Starbucks! Inside, I approached Becky Albertalli (author of SIMON VS. THE HOMO SAPIENS AGENDA. If you haven’t read this book yet, DROP EVERYTHING AND READ IT!) and introduced myself. She was super sweet and we had a very nice conversation (she introduced me to David Arnold, author of MOSQUITOLAND). And then we ended up walking back to the library with the authors AND riding the elevator with them. Doing things with authors turned out to be the theme of the day, actually!

241The library! (Look at that sky!)

243I’m not actually sure what this building was used for, but it was next to the library and very pretty.

045All of the authors!

First the authors talked and answered questions from the moderator, and then they split up into smaller panels. There were four panels, two at the same time, and luckily Melissa and Molly wanted to attend the same ones I did, so we didn’t have to split up.

240The Author Friendships and Crit Groups Panel (Adam Silvera, David, and Becky were fooling around in the beginning XD)

245The Craft Panel

btaf1In between the panels we did a selfie with Adam Silvera (author of MORE HAPPY THAN NOT) and Becky Albertalli. No big deal. XD This was our silly faces selfie, btw. We did do a normal one, too!

After the panels was the signings! I brought my copies of SIEGE AND STORM and RUIN AND RISING from home for Leigh Bardugo to sign (She’s already signed my copy of SHADOW AND BONE), and her line was so long! But she talked with each reader and we chatted for a bit (she wanted to know who my favorite character was, and I told her the Darkling.), which was nice. After that I rushed to Becky’s line, and had her sign my copy of SIMON, yay! We talked again and I picked up some SIMON swag, too!

The event was winding down by then, and I found Molly’s friend Nicole (who became my friend after we met at BEA this year!), and we chatted while we waited for Molly and Melissa to finish getting all of their books signed. We left, thinking the day was over, but then this happened:

btaf5Riding in the car with Leigh Bardugo. (Melissa not pictured because she was driving!)

Because Leigh’s Uber was nowhere to be found, we ended up driving her to Porter Square Books so she could sign SIX OF CROWS stock! An epic ending to an epic day. As Molly said, we basically won at the Boston Teen Author Fest.

252My haul from the weekend (well, two I brought from home, but the rest I got there or from Molly!).

I left the following day, and it was a much calmer ride, thankfully. I didn’t have to sit in the dining car, for one!

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268Cambridge is very pretty, but my heart will always belong to NYC.

It was one of the best weekends ever. I’m so glad I stepped outside of my comfort zone, got on that train, and went. And now I have a new pile of books that I can’t wait to read!

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Fierce Reads Event 9/19/14

Yesterday I was back at Books of Wonder for another fun author event!

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The Fierce Reads event featured authors Ann Aguire, Caragh M. O’Brien, Marie Rutkoski and Emmy Laybourne. Emmy Laybourne was also the moderator, and she started things off by having each of the authors talk a little about their books. Next, she asked the audience members trivia questions about the authors, and the winners received ARCs! Finally, the authors answered questions from the audience. There were some great questions, and I especially enjoyed hearing the authors talk about how they deal with negative reviews for the first book in their series while trying to write the second book (the short answer? Don’t read the reviews!).

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Amy McNulty was with me, and we chatted with Caragh M. O’Brien and Emmy Laybourne while they signed our books and gave us some neat free swag. We had a wonderful time and I can’t wait for the next book event!

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BEA 2014

Happy June! According to WordPress, this blog turned two. I can’t believe it’s been two years already!

I also can’t believe that another BEA has come and gone. Yep, for the third year in a row, I was over at the Javits Center surrounded by books and book lovers. I ended up with forty-eight new books (that’s the same amount I got last year!) that I can’t wait to read. Want to see what I got?

day1Day One-I thought my arms were going to break carrying all of this! (7 of these are signed)

day2Day Two-9 of these are signed!

day3Day Three-Just one signed this time

I’m excited because a lot of these are YA contemporary, which I’m definitely in the mood for right now! There’s something about the summer that makes me want to read contemporary novels. But what do I read first? Usually I pretty much grab whatever book catches my eye and go from there, but sometimes I have a hard time choosing! I’ve seen my friends make lists of what to read during which month, and I’m going to try that method out. I’ll let you know if that works for me! I hope to get through a large chunk of them this summer since I’m in a huge reading mood and haven’t had a chance to read much this year, but it all depends on how my writing and editing goes with the final two books in the Silver Moon Saga! Last week was spent writing the last story for the second novella, and after I finish that, it’s time for another read of the final book. I have my work cut out for me, but I hope to be done by the end of the month or early next month!

It’s always sad when BEA is over, since I pretty much spend the entire year looking forward to it. But after three days of trekking to the Javits center, dealing with crowds, and carrying bags stuffed with books, it was nice to come home and relax! Now I’m literally surrounded by books (my bookshelf is full, so I have piles on my desk and dresser) and it’s amazing. I love it.

By the way, I joined Instagram, so feel free to follow me to see more BEA pictures. And dessert. I like posting pictures of desserts!

I will probably be quiet again, especially with all the writing and editing I have planned, but I do make an effort to update both my Facebook author page and my Twitter on a daily basis.

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NYC Teen Author Festival 2014

Yesterday I was in New York City for the huge signing event at Books of Wonder. From 1 pm to 4 pm, readers had the chance to meet sixty YA authors! It reminded me a little of Book Expo, but much more contained. That’s not to say it wasn’t crowded! I saw so many readers walking around with stacks of books to be signed, and the shelves were literally empty. How many times have you heard that people no longer buy books? Or that young adults don’t read? Well, guess what? That’s not true!

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I got a copy of The Unbound by Victoria Schwab, which she signed for me as we chatted about sequels and Comic Con (I had previously met her at Comic Con 2013, which is when I got The Archived!). I’m really excited to have both books signed (with matching bookmarks, also signed!). When I go to book signings, I usually only get one book in a series signed, so my collections aren’t, well, complete (Seriously. I’ll have book two of this series, book three of that series. It’s bad, and I definitely need to start filling in the holes.). It’s nice to finally own a matching set! Sadly, I wasn’t able to attend any of the other NYCTAF events, but I’m glad I was finally able to make it to the big signing at Books of Wonder this year!

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New York Comic Con 2013

On Friday, October 11th, I attended New York Comic Con! Comic Con is always a crazy, fun time, and this year was no exception. Actually, this was the best organized year yet, so maybe it was slightly less crazy than other years? For example, this year they placed microchips in the badges, and you had to tap your badges before entering the venue. When I first heard about this, I groaned and said, “It’s going to take even longer to get into the exhibit hall now!” But they actually set everything up outside of the Javits Center, where there is much more room. Better yet, there were no crazy long lines as everyone waited their turn to tap their badges. Once through, I waited my turn to enter the building, and then it was on to the exhibit hall!

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My first stop was, of course, to the booths run by publishing companies! This area wasn’t too crowded, so I was able to take my time and look at everything. Everyone there was super nice, too. For example, when I stopped in front of the Penguin booth, they asked me what I liked to read, and then went out of their way to open up a box of books so I could get an ARC of Rebel Springs. They were also giving away giant tote bags, which I grabbed and used for the rest of the day. When I passed Disney’s booth, I saw Victoria Schwab was doing a signing in a few minutes. I actually missed seeing her at BEA (her line was so long they ran out of books!), so it was nice to finally meet her and get a signed copy of The Archived.

014 (Medium)Free swag

After that, I wandered the floor some more, looking at merchandise for sale and all the different cosplayers, before heading down to the conference rooms. I don’t know whose idea it was to have two literary panels back to back in the same room, but I want to shake their hands and thank them. For two hours I got to sit down, put my heavy bags on the floor, and listen to authors speak.

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The first panel was “Once Upon a Time in Fantasy Lit…” featuring authors Bennett Madison, C. Robert Cargill, Catherynne M. Valente, Soman Chainani, Emily Croy Barker, and Gitty Daneshvari. They introduced themselves and their books, and then went on to discuss everything from Disney animated movies to what fantasy creature they wouldn’t want to meet in a dark alleyway. As a lover of fantasy, I had a great time and wished the panel had been longer, because the authors were both interesting and informative. I’m definitely going to pick up their books in the near future!

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After a fifteen minute intermission, the next panel, “Kill or Be Killed: Crafting a Powerful Female Protagonist” started, featuring authors Amelia Kahaney, Kendare Blake, Danielle Paige, Lauren Oliver, and Lindsay Ribar. Once again, each author was introduced and talked a little bit about their books, before discussing their awesome female protagonists in their current and upcoming novels. In particular, I was very excited to hear about Lauren Oliver’s forthcoming Panic, and Danielle Paige’s Dorothy Must Die. Both sound excellent. Ironically, they also discussed Disney animated movies. In fact, The Little Mermaid was mentioned in both panels (both favorably and unfavorably) by the authors!

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Once the second panel finished, I headed back to the exhibit hall. There was a book giveaway going on at the Harper Collins booth (spin the wheel, win a book), and I won an ARC of Cruel Beauty, a Beauty and the Beast retelling I can’t wait to start reading! I spent a little bit more time at the con (visited the Artist Alley to see all the beautiful artwork) before heading home, thoroughly exhausted. But I had a great time, and I’ll definitely go again next year!

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Fantastic Teen Reads 9/22/2013

If you follow me on Twitter, then you know Amy, my beta reader and best friend, came to New York last week! She comes once a year, and each year I try to think of new things we can do in Manhattan. This year, after hearing me gush about Books of Wonders and all their great events, she asked if they were having a signing while she was in town. Turns out, they were! So on Sunday, September 22nd, we attended the “Fantastic Teen Reads” event.

004 (Medium)(From left to right: Gene Luen Yang, Patrick Ness, Robin Wasserman and Alex London)

006 (Medium)(Another shot, so you can actually see Alex!)

This was, hands down, the funniest event I’ve been to yet. The authors filled us in on their horrible high school days (complete with stories on how they faked back injuries just to get out of gym class!), how they trained themselves to write (Robin Wasserman would reward herself with a brownie at 2 in the afternoon, every single day!), and why they’re not sorry for doing horrible things to their characters. I found it especially interesting that Patrick Ness needs to know the final line of the story before he can start writing. For my last two manuscripts, I’ve figured out the final line as I was writing the first draft, but never before! All of their books sounded amazing, and I definitely added them to my to-read shelf!

I was worried Amy and her boyfriend, who doesn’t read YA at all, would be bored during the event, but they had a great time. You can read about Amy’s experience here, and see all the signed books she ended up getting!

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The paperback.

My copy of the paperback version of The Sight Seer arrived yesterday, hooray! It’s so incredibly surreal, holding a book that you wrote in your hands. Wow. I’ve been waiting for this day for a long time.

Because I love the cover and still can’t stop staring at it, how about some pictures?

011 (Medium)Cover!

012 (Medium)The back!

013 (Medium)First page!

Pretty, isn’t it?

I also signed a copy for the first time ever on Saturday for a friend. First of many, I hope!