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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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Debut Spotlight: First Time Authors for Teens Event 9/14/14

On Sunday I had a chance to attend Books of Wonder’s Debut Spotlight: First Time Authors For Teens event, featuring Adi Alasid, Isabel Gillies, Katherine Howe, Amanda Maciel, and Amy Zhang. First each author introduced him or herself, and then they talked about their books. I always love hearing about how authors come up with their ideas. After they spoke, the audience asked questions. Since two of the books dealt with bullying in high school, many of the questions centered around that. Some of the authors agreed that high school was the worst experience of their lives, while others said they loved it. They were also asked if they would be friends with their main characters, and Amy Zhang, whose character is a bully, promptly answered, “NO.”

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After they finished answering questions, the authors signed books for their readers. It was a quick but fun event, and I’m happy I went. I’ve read some but not all of the books featured, and I’m definitely going to read the rest soon!

I will be attending another event at Books of Wonder this week. This Friday they’re hosting the Fierce Reads event, and I’ll be going with Amy McNulty. I’m very excited for that one!

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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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On the eve of Comic Con 2013

Tomorrow I’m going to New York Comic Con! I’m hoping to have a good time, although the weather doesn’t look very promising. Bad weather aside, I’m excited to attend two book panels, see some authors, and pick up free swag. It should be fun, and I’ll do a write-up once I get home.

Right now I’m mentally preparing myself for tomorrow’s craziness. So many people, so many things to see and do!

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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 Eve of BEA2013

Heading to Book Expo tomorrow, hooray! I can’t believe the day is finally here. I think I’ve been talking non-stop about BEA for the past three MONTHS. Am I excited? Yeah, just a little.

I’m not going as a writer, but as a book lover. I can’t wait to get my hands on all the shiny, pretty ARCs. I will try and post about each day, but I’m probably going to be too drained to do it after I get home. Maybe I’ll just share pictures of my daily haul, how’s that sound?

On an unrelated note, my blog turned one yesterday. (I wouldn’t have even known if WordPress hadn’t sent me a little trophy.) Here’s to another great year of blogging!

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4/14/13 Author Event

On Sunday, April 14th, I had a chance to attend another book event at Books of Wonder in Manhattan. This one featured five authors of supernatural or paranormal books. I haven’t had a chance to read any of their novels yet, but everything sounded so interesting that I’m definitely adding them to my to-read list! And all five books varied greatly from one another. There was a book about missing girls, one about witches, another about Frankenstein’s daughters, a book set 400 years in the future in Brazil, and a book about memories.

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The five authors were (from left to right) Nova Ren Suma, Brittany Geragotelis, Suzanne Weyn, Alaya Dawn Johnson, and Jesse Karp. They started off the event by reading passages from their novels, and then answered questions from the audience. As always, I enjoyed hearing other authors talk about how they write and edit. For example, I’m not the only one who hates to share a manuscript until it’s been edited quite a few times! They even talked about National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo); Nova Ren Suma said she attempted it once, but failed. And Brittany Geragotelis talked about Wattpad, which I had never heard of until then! Free stories, how cool is that?

The weather was nice and I had a chance to do some exploring, but due to another commitment, I had to rush home sooner than I liked. I’m hoping to take advantage of another warm day and go back to the city in the very near future, camera in hand.

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Teen Flights of Fancy 2013

Today I attended the Teen Flights of Fancy event at Books of Wonder in Manhattan. It was my first event since October, so I was super excited about it. Not even allergies with a constantly running nose or the frigid NYC air could keep me away!

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The authors for this event were Brodi Ashton, Jocelyn Davies, Cynthia Hand, Jodi Meadows, and Teri Terry. I’d never met any of them before (but have read all of them except Teri Terry), although I did see Jocelyn Davies MC an event at Comic Con last year. They were all wonderful, interesting, and incredibly funny (Brodi Ashton had the crowd in stitches!). First they each introduced themselves and talked a little bit about their books/series, telling us how they first conceived the idea for their stories. Then the crowd asked them questions, which included everything from how much input did they have in their covers (little to none, but no one minded as they all have gorgeous covers!) to who their literary boyfriends would be. The authors also did trivia questions and the winners received some neat swag!

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(Brodi Ashton, Jocelyn Davies, Cynthia Hand, and Teri Terry)

003 (Medium)(Jodi Meadows)

Afterwards was the signing portion! I first had Cynthia Hand sign my copy of Boundless, the final book in the Unearthly trilogy. I’ve only just discovered the Unearthly series, but I love it to absolute pieces. I’m afraid to read the final book, though. Last books in a series ALWAYS scare me. Next, I met Jodi Meadows, which was really exciting as I’ve loved Incarnate since I read it last year. Can’t wait to read Asunder! Jodi is an avid knitter, and she had little Ana and Sam knitted dolls, along with an adorable and awesome dragon! I should have taken a picture, but when you get up there and are talking to a favorite author, your mind tends to blank out. But they were really cute! I also met Margot from Epic Reads and Tea Time, which was really, really awesome. I felt like I was meeting a celebrity!
014 (Medium)011 (Medium)It was a great day, and I can’t wait to read my new books! Author events are always fun, and they end up inspiring my writing. Looking forward to the next one!

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Fierce Reads 2012

On Sunday I went to the Fierce Reads event at Books of Wonder in Manhattan! I found out about the event last month and was so very excited when I saw both Leigh Bardugo (Shadow and Bone) and Caragh M. O’Brien (Birthmarked trilogy) were going to be there! Shadow and Bone happens to be my favorite book of 2012, and the Birthmarked books are breathtakingly dark; I couldn’t wait to tell the authors how much their books meant to me!

This was my third event at Books of Wonder. Like the other two times, the authors talked for about an hour, answering questions from both the host and audience. My favorite part was when they discussed where their ideas came from—I especially enjoyed hearing how Leigh Bardugo came up with the idea for Shadow and Bone! Later on, audience members picked random page numbers and the authors read a few lines from the page (no spoilers, of course!).

After the discussion, the audience lined up to get their books signed! I ended up having a nice long chat with Caragh M. O’Brien—when she found out I was a writer on submission, she wished me good luck and said she hoped for the best. It was super sweet of her, and made me extremely happy. But before I could freak out, I had to restrain myself so I could meet Leigh Bardugo! I fangirled a bit (how could I not?), telling her how much I loved Shadow and Bone. And I may have admitted to being in love with the Darkling. *coughs* What? If I hadn’t said it, I would have regretted it!

Books signed, I walked away and promptly freaked the heck out. Silently, because I still surrounded by around people. What a great experience!

Book tours are so much fun! If your favorite author comes to town, go see them! You won’t regret it, I promise you!