Posts Tagged ‘Michelle Wolfson’

Feb

23

2016

Win My ARC of ALL FIXED UP by Linda Grimes

Filed under: Book Auntie Braggery, Book Reviews, Check-it-out, Community, Reading, Stuff I Love, Wolf Pack, Wolfson Literary

Today is your lucky day–you have multiple chances to win my ARC of ALL FIXED UP (Ciel Halligan #4)

by the fabulous Linda Grimes!!!!

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Linda is one of my Wolf Pack Sistahs at Wolfson Literary and she was super-duper sisterly and sent me an advanced copy of ALL FIXED UP!!!  I love her for not making me wait to find out what happened to one of my favorite characters in the book world. And since I just finished reading ALL FIXED UP, I get to tell everyone how awesome it is AND I get to be one of the nicest people on the planet because I’m sharing my copy with another Ciel fan.

But before I get to the giveaway, let me tell you a little about the book…

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Coming May 24, 2016 — Tor Books

The hilarious adventures of human chameleon Ciel Halligan continue in the fourth installment of this original urban fantasy series, All Fixed Up.

Ciel Halligan, aura adaptor extraordinaire, has a lot of experience filling in for her clients–as them. A rare genetic quirk gives her the ability to absorb human energy and project it back out in a flawless imitation. She’s hard at work, posing as a well-known and celebrated astronaut, about to make a stunning announcement on behalf of the space program…when the photographer documenting the job sees right through her aura. Worse, it soon becomes apparent that he not only knows Ciel’s not who she’s supposed to be, but means her harm.

When Ciel’s elderly Aunt Helen—also an aura adaptor—is murdered in Central Park, and the same photographer shows up at the funeral, Ciel starts to feel even more exposed. Then more adaptors are killed in the same way, and she becomes terrified her friends and family are being systematically exterminated … and it’s starting to look like she’s the ultimate target. She turns to Billy Doyle, her best-friend-turned-boyfriend, for help, but when an unexpected crisis causes him to take off without a word, she’s left to rely on her not-so-former crush, CIA agent Mark Fielding.

Staying alive, keeping control of her romantic life, and unraveling the mystery of why adaptors are being pursued becomes a harder balancing act than ever in this new Ciel Halligan adventure from Linda Grimes.

And here is my review of ALL FIXED UP:

I’m just going to say it–I LOVE the Ciel Halligan books! I don’t know how Linda Grimes does it, but ALL FIXED UP is my favorite to date. The more she writes, the better she gets. Once again Grimes captures the perfect balance between humor, steamy romance and heart. If you like Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum, but want to add a supernatural twist, you are going to love Ciel Halligan!!!!

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And in case you’ve some how managed to miss this fabulous series, I wanted you to get a look at all the covers and some of the fabulous reviews. You do see that OUTLANDER’S Diana Gabaldon thinks it’s awesome too! Right along with RT Book Reviews and Library Journal. And me, of course.

And I don’t want you to leave without getting to know Linda a little better…

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Linda grew up in Texas, where she rode horses, embarrassed herself onstage a lot, and taught teenagers they’d have to learn the rules of English before they could get away with breaking them for creativity’s sake. She currently resides in Virginia with her husband, whom she snagged after he saw her in a musical number at the now defunct Melodrama Theater in San Antonio. (There’s nothing like a rousing chorus of “If You Wanna Catch a Fish You Gotta Wiggle Your Bait” to hook a man for a lifetime.)

Like IN A FIX’s globetrotting main character, aura adaptor Ciel Halligan, Linda has spent her fair share of time overseas, though fortunately under less stressful circumstances. Kidnapping and daring rescues are all well and good in fiction, but she prefers sanity in her real life.

And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for. It’s time to give my ARC of ALL FIXED UP to one lucky winner!!! The Rafflecopter below will give you all kinds of chances to win.

Ready. Set. Go!

****If you haven’t started this series yet–Linda is also throwing in a signed copy of her first book in the series IN A FIX for the winner!!! It’s your lucky day!!!!!****

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Aug

11

2015

LA SCBWI 2015 Part 2

Filed under: Check-it-out, Community, Conferences, Contests, Publishing, Reading, SCBWI, Stuff I Love, Uncategorized, Wolf Pack, Wolfson Literary, Writing for Children

It’s Day 2 of #LA15SCBWI and I can’t imagine a more inspirational start then hearing Dan Santat speak. Dan was this year’s Caldecott winner with BEEKLE, but what really makes it this keynote special is that Dan “grew up” in the SCBWI. Like many of the speakers I’ve heard over the years, he got his start in this tribe and he made that very clear…ALL IT TAKES IS A LITTLE TASTE: STORIES OF HOW THE SCBWI HELPED ME AND HOW I GREW AS AN AUTHRO WHEN I WASN’T AT THE CONFERENCE

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Over the course of Dan’s keynote, he made us laugh and he imparted tons of wisdom and inspiration. I don’t think there was a dry eye in the place at the end of his speech. Here was my best take aways from Dan…

*Understand why YOU like–don’t be censored.

*If you have a closed mind, you’re going to miss out on the beauty of things.

*Comic books are soap operas for nerds.

*Learn from others. Ex. BREAKING BAD is a study in character development.

*Read Goodreads reviews with some common sense. You know when someone is giving you useful information that can help you grow. Also read the bad reviews of the classics to gain some perspective.

*Study the fundamentals–when you understand them, you then have the freedom to move around.

*Learn by imitation–don’t become a clone, use it to ADD to your fundamentals.

*If you do something hard once, you know you have it in you to do it again.

*Find your voice–stop imitating and start INNOVATING.

*Do what you love when the work will find you.

*Do it because you are passionate about what you do.

*If you put money in the equation, you’re never going to find it. It’s like chasing a shadow.

*Live and die by your own sword. If you put your faith in yourself you will tread water and survive.

*You don’t want to live with regrets. If I had quit I never would have had the Caldecott Medal. *cue sobs*

 

Next up was the AGENT’S PANEL: INSIDE THE CHILDREN’S BOOK MARKET

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JRJodi Reamer (Writer’s House)

APAlexandra Penfold (Upstart Crow Literary)

KNKristin Nelson (Nelson Literary Agency)

BGBarry Goldblatt (Barry Goldblatt Literary)

BBBrenda Bowen (Greenberg Associates)

JBJenny Bent (The Bent Agency)

MODERATOR–LOLin Oliver

Here’s the advice and information that I took note of…

AP–You’re not acquiring a book, you’re taking on a life.

BG–Competition to get manuscripts read by editors is immense, so your MS needs to be in the best shape.

BG–9 to 5? WHAT IS THAT?

BG–You are the one in the driver’s seat. You get to choose.

JB–I don’t care who you are–there will be downtime in your career.

JB–Respect and honesty on both sides are key.

AP–Write the book that can get you above the noise.

BG–Editors should have the ability to take a flyer because a great smaller book can become a huge best seller. Ex–WONDER

JR–Social media should be natural. It should be you.

BG–We are colleagues. We’re not out to undercut each other. You’re not competing with anyone in this room.

AP–You never know where the connections are going to come from.

AP–If it makes me feel–I’ll follow you anywhere.

BG–We get jaded, but then we see something that knocks us off our seats and want to sell it!

AP–If you have a rich reading life, you will have a rich writing life.

BB–Best promo for a book is the next one. Keep writing.

JB–Be a mensch–Be kind. Be helpful. Be generous.

JB–I see social media as an opportunity to be kind to people and share.

 

Next up was my first Workshop of the Day. BONNIE BADER–CHAPTER BOOKS: WHAT’S WORKING AND WHAT’S NOT

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Some things that make a book–a chapter book…

-a milestone event

-a protagonist around the age of the reader (7-10 year olds)

-Roughly 80-120 pages

-size of type, density of illustrations

-expand the details of your character to make them unique.

-use a universal theme with a twist

 

What kinds of chapter books that are successful…

Magic Tree House

Junie B Jones

Princess in Black

George Brown, Class Clown

The Dory Books (Dory Fantasmagory)

Captain Awesome

 

LUNCH TIME!!!!

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The next keynote of the day was Jane O’Connor–BORROWING FROM LIFE: CREATING A CHARACTER

Here were some Fancy Nancy style tips to remember…

*Leave out all the stuff that’s boring.

*Eavesdropping is crucial to writing.

*Middles are a bitch.

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Jane was followed by Varian Johnson–IF IT WERE EASY, EVERYONE WOULD DO IT

Varian was open and honest and so touching with his ability to share his hard publishing moments with the audience. He had so much inspiration to share…

*The hard is what makes it great.

*We make the time.

*We all deserve to be part of the conversation, but we have to do the work.

*My job is to put words on paper. If the muse shows up that day–BONUS.

*Writing is a job that deserves to be treated as such. Set up a schedule.

*Don’t talk about it. Be about it.

*And while I’m not looking forward to my next failure…I know it’s coming.

*We’re writers…IT’S OUR JOB TO MAKE FICTION COME TRUE. <3

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My second Workshop of the day was with the lovely Wendy Loggia–FROM THE EDITOR’S DESK

Ia addition to hearing Wendy rave about my fabulous agent Michelle Wolfson of Wolfson Literary and my Wolf Pack Sistah Kiersten White

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…I loved learning a little bit more about Delacorte Press. Did you know…

*Delacorte plans their books out way in advance to give them the best marketing attention they can give. If you were to sell a book to Delacorte today (8/15) It would not be slotted for publication until Spring of 2017.

*Delacorte does not have a acquisitions board. Editors can acquire what they choose.

*Delacorte does not compete with other imprints at Random House

*Wendy does all her own editorial reading.

*Why Wendy purchases a manuscript?

-emotional connection

-loves the voice

-thinks it deserves to be published

 

Our next keynote was Molly Idle–YES, AND: SETTING THE STAGE FOR CRAZY CREATIVE DEVELOPMENT

Sorry–was having an afternoon brain fart or a caffeine low and missed getting a picture of Molly. Just imagine a highly energetic creative teaching us how to use theater to create stronger writing and illustration on the page.

Ummm no pictures here either. I swear I wasn’t sleeping LOL! This was a great panel on DIVERSITY IN CHILDREN’S BOOKS: CHALLENGES AND SOLUTIONS

MODERATOR–MPMiranda Paul

NYNicola Yoon

VJVarian Johnson

BCBrandy Colbert

JCJoe Cepeda

IWGIW Gregorio (didn’t attend due to illness)

This may have been my favorite diversity panel I’ve heard yet. Here are some bits from my notes…

VJ–You don’t need permission to write diversely, but you do need to do your due diligence. And remember you aren’t trying to write the experience of ALL the people–just the one that’s your character. Your research is not different than any other research for a character.

JC–I try not to overthink the issue too much.

VJ–I’m not a fan of the term, CASUAL DIVERSITY, but it’s when the characters featured are diverse, but the diversity isn’t the issue. Ex-Lando in Star Wars

NY–I’ve never been sassy a day in my life! (on sassy diverse sidekicks)

JC–Write and illustrate without fear and if you have fear, pretend you don’t.

 

 

And then it was time for the Saturday Gala! This year’s theme was Sparkle and Shine. And FYI the sugar cookies were amazing–I ate them before I could get a picture LOL!

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I hope all this fabulous information is helping your writing to sparkle and shine. You can catch me first conference blog installment here…LA SCBWI 2015 Part 1 At the end of that blog, you’ll see that I’m still running a contest to win a signed copy of…

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WHEN A DRAGON MOVES IN AGAIN by Jodi Moore

So don’t forget to head over there and take advantage of the opportunity. I’ll be back on Thursday with LA SCBWI 2015 Part 3!!!

 

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Mar

10

2015

Book Auntie Braggery– Win THE BIG FIX by Linda Grimes

Filed under: Book Auntie Braggery, Book Reviews, Check-it-out, Reading, Stuff I Love, Wolf Pack, Wolfson Literary

May is almost here and there is more reason to be excited than just the thought of warm, snow free weather. You should be super pumped because the next installment of Linda Grimes’ Ciel Halligan series will be available on May 12th!!!!

 

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And trust me, you want to read this book. Actually, you want to read this series. (IN A FIX and QUICK FIX) How often do you get to read stuff that’s smart, creative, sexy and hilarious all at once? You can if you read Linda’s books. Here’s a little bit a about THE BIG FIX…

Linda Grimes’s sexy and hilarious urban fantasy series that began with In a Fix and Quick Fix continues in The Big Fix.

Aura adaptor extraordinaire Ciel Halligan, who uses her chameleon-like abilities to fix her clients’ problems—as them—is filling in on set for action superstar Jackson Gunn, whose snake phobia is standing in the way of his completing his latest mega-millions Hollywood blockbuster. There’s only one thing Jack fears more than snakes, and that’s the possibility of his fans finding out he screams at the sight of one. Going from hero to laughing stock isn’t part of his career plan.

Seems like a simple enough job to Ciel, who doesn’t particularly like snakes, but figures she can tolerate an afternoon with them, for the right price—which Jack is offering, and then some. What she doesn’t count on is finding out that while she was busy wrangling snakes for him, his wife was busy getting killed. When Ciel goes to break the sad news to the star, she finds out Jack was AWOL from her client hideaway at the time of the murder.

Ciel begins to suspect Jack’s phobia was phony, and that he only hired her to provide him with an alibi—but if she goes to the police, she’ll have to explain how she knows he wasn’t really on set. Up against a wall, Ciel calls on her best-friend-turned-love-interest Billy, and her not-so-ex-crush Mark, to help her set up the sting of a lifetime.

Told you it sounded great. Aren’t you jealous because I got to read it already????

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Kimberly’s Review of THE BIG FIX:

I love ALL of Linda Grime’s Ciel Halligan books, but THE BIG FIX made me go…”WHAT? I can’t believe she did THAT!!!!” And I mean that in the most flattering way. I’m still shaking my head LOL!

Grimes’ writing is creative, smart, intriguing, sexy and funny all rolled up. I haven’t enjoyed an adult series this much since I fell in love with the Outlander books. Grimes had better be writing fast and furious because I NEED my next FIX!

 

You can preorder THE BIG FIX here…

*Amazon

*Barnes & Noble

*IndieBound

 

Linda Grimes

Linda grew up in Texas, where she rode horses, embarrassed herself onstage a lot, and taught teenagers they’d have to learn the rules of English before they could get away with breaking them for creativity’s sake. She currently resides in Virginia with her husband, whom she snagged after he saw her in a musical number at the now defunct Melodrama Theater in San Antonio. (There’s nothing like a rousing chorus of “If You Wanna Catch a Fish You Gotta Wiggle Your Bait” to hook a man for a lifetime.)

Like IN A FIX’s globetrotting main character, aura adaptor Ciel Halligan, Linda has spent her fair share of time overseas, though fortunately under less stressful circumstances. Kidnapping and daring rescues are all well and good in fiction, but she prefers sanity in her real life.

Oh, and I forgot to mention that Linda is one of my Wolf Pack Sistahs–we share the same fabulous agent–Michelle Wolfson of Wolfson Literary. <3 That’s how I scored an ARC of THE BIG FIX. And even though it’s mine and I pet it lovingly, I am willing to share my copy with one lucky winner because I love you. All I ask is that the winner review THE BIG FIX and help to spread the word about how awesome it is. (Yes, I’m pretty confident you’re going to love it.) Here’s how you enter…

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Want to learn more about Linda Grimes, Ciel Halligan and THE BIG FIX? Check out Linda’s Website/blog. My blog question for the day is in the Rafflecopter giveaway. :o)

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Feb

10

2015

The 2015 SCBWI NY Winter Conference Part 1

Filed under: Conferences, SCBWI, Touching the Surface

I dropped the boys at school.

I brought the puppy to Canine Kindergarten.

And then I made the great escape…

I was off to the 2015 SCBWI NY Winter Conference. I was giddy by the time I sat my butt on the train, because with the holidays, and the puppy and the boys and the snow, I was ready to get away. I needed a weekend where I focused on friends, writing and inspiration. Not to mention about 48 hours where the only person I have to clean up after was ME.

Settling into my seat on the train, I glanced out the window, saw a gorgeous American Bald Eagle in the tree, and then cracked open a book. You can all give a pleasurable sigh right along with me. *sigh* And then, as if good karma was touching me on the head with her magic finger, my hotel room was ready and I was off to meet my fabulous agent, Michelle Wolfson of Wolfson Literary for lunch. (In case you’re wondering, Michelle is currently opened to queries, but be sure to follow the guidelines on her website.)

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My favorite picture of us <3

And here are some of the treats she brought for me…

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Illusions of Fate by Kirsten White.

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Two of The Maggie Malone Books by Jenna McCarthy and Carolyn Evans.

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The Fire Artist by Daisy Whitney.

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And a coveted ARC of The Big Fix by Linda Grimes!!!!

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And here’s the new cover in case you’re wondering. OMG! I love it.

*does a happy dance* I can not wait to read them all!!!

Toting my cache, warm from Michelle Wolfson hugs, it was back to the hotel in time to meet up with all my friends. Some had done the Intensives and some were just arriving in NYC.

*Drum roll please* because it’s time to get to the stuff you really want to hear about…

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It isn’t a conference if we don’t have Lin Oliver‘s conference statistics:

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* 1,032 attendees

* From 47 states. Kansas, Wyoming, Oklahoma and North Dakota were missing–come on people–we need you there!

* There were people in attendance from 16 different countries *fist pump* With NY being the largest chunk of the pie followed by CA, MA and then NJ. Lin called the NJ folks out on their driving skills LOL!

* 32% of attendees are published and 375 folks were our talented illustrators.

* Start planning now so you can be in one of those seats next year!

The first Keynote of the conference was by Anthony Horowitz–Grabbing Young Readers From First Line to Last

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Just so you know, Anthony had an amazing British accent, so if I’m going to be truthful, the whole audience would have let him read the phone book and still enjoyed his keynote LOL! But he WAS an amazing speaker. His rapid fire jokes and insights had everyone listening and laughing. Here are some highlights…

* He spent lots of time in the boarding school library because that was the only place he felt safe and secure.

*The end of a chapter should never be an excuse to stop reading.

*At one point in his career he was worried his grave stone would read BIG in Belgium LOL!

*Harry Potter changed EVERYTHING!

*Writers are arsonists–setting the world on fire is their natural default.

*Children don’t just read books–they devour them.

*The first line is the thing the kids will read in the store.

*Write up for kids.

*I am a camera-kids are bombarded with images, your words need to create strong images that keep their attention.

*Writing is telepathy-if you’re excited about what you’re writing, chances are that you’ll have readers excited too.

*NEVER GIVE UP

Next up was the Keynote Editor’s Panel: Children’s Books 2015–Report From the Front Lines

JC–Justin Chanda (VP and Publisher, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers)

BH–Beverly Horowitz (VP and Publisher, Delacorte Press)

LG–Laura Goodwin (VP and Publisher, Henry Holt Books for Young Readers)

SOL–Stephanie Owens Lurie (Associate Publisher, Disney-Hyperion)

MODERATOR LO–Lin OLiver

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Just some highlights from the discussion…

JC–Adult sales are flat and children’s are up! *fist pump* BUT…teen sales are up on a handful of authors, but not the majority. And FYI the movie industry has a lot to do with that.

Ummm anyone want to make a blockbuster movie about TOUCHING THE SURFACE?

JC–Contemporary is not the only thing kids want to read.

JC–The picture book is NOT dead!

JC–Continued upswing in MG.

JC–reminder that the business is cyclical.

JC–Common Core has not killed fiction.

JC–We write and publish good books and let everyone else, especially the media, take care of themselves.

BH–Write a great book and people will talk about it.

LG–There is an ongoing battle with piracy.

LG–Social media has allowed our mouths to reach more people and allowed authors to be advocates for each other’s books. <3

SOL–A Nielsen’s survey says kids prefer physical books.

SOL–Smaller books can easily get elbowed out.

SOL–It’s difficult to break out new authors.

SOL–The biggest disruption to a writer (trying to write) is from the fans seeking their time and attention on social media.

SOL–There is a correlation between and author’s tweets and sales (but that doesn’t mean annoying buy my book tweets. Talking about fan interaction style tweets)

SOL–Think about more than “how do I get my book published” and focus on “how I can get my work to an audience.”

JC–Social media is great, but you have nothing if you don’t have a strong story. Focus on that.

JC–YA and MG have very different social media.

JC–When you’re looking for a publisher, they should be a home–a partnership. They should be someone who shares your vision but isn’t telling you what your vision is.

JC–I don’t really like publishing books–I like publishing authors and illustrators. <3

Time for the AM Workshop! Writing Young Adult Fiction with Liz Tingue (Editor, Razorbill, Penguin Young Readers Group)

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Some highlights from the Workshop…

*Read a lot and not just in YA.

*Have a social media presence that’s comfortable for you, but does not interfere with you getting your writing done.

*KNOW your characters inside and out.

*If you’re writing in 1st person it should come to you in a strong and organic way.

*Utilize maps and outlines for plot and  structure but don’t be afraid to stray from them.

*Get a supportive critique group and get comfortable with tough love.

*Persevere when the going gets tough, but don’t be afraid to walk away from a project if it’s just not working.

After a yummy break for lunch, it was time for my afternoon Workshop with Emily Clement (Associate Editor, Arthur A. Levine Books, Scholastic Inc.) Writing Literary Ficiton.

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This was a fabulous workshop. Best I’ve been to for explaining what literary fiction really means. In truth it has different connotations for different people. If you think literary fiction is dense, slow and boring, you’re probably reading writing that is UNSUCCESSFULLY trying to be literary.

Literary fiction is not about content–it’s about quality. It’s entertaining, but it’s also something more.

*Literary fiction needs to be about something that readers want to talk about because it engages them on an intellectual and emotional level.

*Readers of literary fiction crave authentic and original voice.

*Good writing without a plot is BORING not literary.

*YOU WANT YOUR LITERARY NOVEL TO ALSO BE COMMERCIAL!!!!!!

*Literary books are stories that break the rules and do not fit neatly inside their genres.

Time for another Keynote. This one Beyond Language: Creating Picture Books That are Read and Played by Herve Tullet

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I’m going to be honest–it’s hard to explain Herve Tullet. He is not your typical keynote speaker. His favorite word is HA! Which is the reaction he wants from his readers when they explore his books. He believes it’s the most exciting thing when he can illicit that word from someone else.

Ideally I would have videotaped Herve interacting with the audience, as he guided us through his brilliant books, the way he does when he meets with children. But that’s not allowed, so this is the best I can do to capture the magic.

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You must go out and buy his books and share them with children. <3

 

The last Keynote of the day was Kami Garcia talking about The Truth About Writing.

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Unfortunately, I didn’t take a lot of notes because I was so caught up in Kami’s speech.. Suffice it to say she’s a hard working, funny lady with a big heart. I adored how her and her writing partner Margaret Stohl filled a void, empowered girls, set a fabulous standard for boys and the whole time stayed super connected to the teens they were writing for. One of the most fascinating parts of the story was their journey to publication. Kami doubts they would have been brave enough to do it the same way if they’d been purposefully trying to publish. And it was also “good” to hear, that despite her incredible success, Kami gets as nervous and insecure as we do every time she’s writing something new.

Kami was also nice enough to sign a copy of her book and make a video message for my friend Jeannie who’s a HUGE fan and couldn’t make the conference. How cool is that?IMG_0299

The rest of the evening included an Art Browse, where everyone had a chance to check out the gorgeous portfolios of the illustrators attending the conference. This was followed by the Gala Dinner where you could find me in my favorite spot…

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THE MASHED POTATOE BAR!!!!!

After the Gala there was also several socials for LGBTQ, illustrators, new members/first time conference attendees and international attendees. And of course there is always the unofficial group of “Lobby Rats” that hangs out and talks half the night away. This wasn’t all the rats, we’re a large and transitory group, but this pic captured a bunch of us.

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The wonderful part of this is that some of the Lobby Rats have been doing this for years and some we just met for the first time that very evening.

If you’re thinking about coming to next year’s conference and you’re worried about not knowing anyone, know you can always contact me and we’ll make sure you have friends to eat with and buddies to hang out with. Worrying about being alone should NEVER be a reason not to come to the NY conference!!!  

I’m kind of thinking we should get Lobby Rats T-shirts. What do you think? SCBWI Lobby Rat? 

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And we now have the unofficial and very weird NY SCBWI Lobby Rats mascot, which was dressed up as Harry Potter this year. The costume kind of make it less creepy–but not much ROTFL!

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And some Lobby Rats are RA’s who have work to do and missed the photo. Love you, Stacy Mozer and thanks for all you do for the SCBWI. (((((hugs)))))

I’ll be back on Thursday with the second half of the 2015 NY SCBWI Winter Conference recap. But in the mean time, I desperately need to know your favorite toppings on your mashed potatoes. Mine are mushrooms, bacon, cheddar cheese and chives. *grin*

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May

22

2014

Bookanistas Review: THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US by Kasie West

Filed under: Book Reviews, Bookanistas, Wolf Pack, Wolfson Literary, YA Books, Young Adult (YA)

I get so excited when things I love collide. Today, for my Bookanistas review, I have a mash-up of awesomeness that I can’t wait to share with you.

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It’s a contemporary novel that hits my sweet spot–not so serious it’s dark, but deep enough to make me fall in love with the characters. Just an all around awesome read.

AND it was written by my fabulous Wolf Pack Sistah Kasie West!!!

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Seventeen-year-old Caymen Meyers studies the rich like her own personal science experiment, and after years of observation she’s pretty sure they’re only good for one thing—spending money on useless stuff, like the porcelain dolls in her mother’s shop.

So when Xander Spence walks into the store to pick up a doll for his grandmother, it only takes one glance for Caymen to figure out he’s oozing rich. Despite his charming ways and that he’s one of the first people who actually gets her, she’s smart enough to know his interest won’t last. Because if there’s one thing she’s learned from her mother’s warnings, it’s that the rich have a short attention span. But Xander keeps coming around, despite her best efforts to scare him off. And much to her dismay, she’s beginning to enjoy his company.

She knows her mom can’t find out—she wouldn’t approve. She’d much rather Caymen hang out with the local rocker who hasn’t been raised by money. But just when Xander’s attention and loyalty are about to convince Caymen that being rich isn’t a character flaw, she finds out that money is a much bigger part of their relationship than she’d ever realized. And that Xander’s not the only one she should’ve been worried about.

Kimberly’s Review of THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US:

Some times you read a book that’s dark, heavy and serious and it feel like a punch in the gut in a weird, but wonderful way. Other times you might read a book that’s so light and fluffy, it floats in one ear and out the other after you’ve breezed through it’s pages. It’s delightful cotton candy, so perfect in the moment, but doesn’t have a lot of sticking power. Fun but frivolous.

Then there’s a book like THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US. It’s the perfect pairing. It’s peanut butter and chocolate. It’s mozzarella and tomato. It’s warm chocolate chip cookies and cold milk. (I’m noticing I have a lot of chocolate and_________ comparisons I could use but I’m trying not to go there LOL!) One more…It’s chocolate and caramel. Yum!

Anyway, back to the real sweet stuff. West has a talent for finding the balance between light and dark, funny and serious, familiar and unique. If you like really great contemporary–particularly the awesome reads of Sarah Dessen, you’re going to want to pick up THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US by Kasie West. You don’t want there to be any distance between you and this book. <3

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You can find THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US here…

*Amazon

*Barnes & Noble

*IndieBound

 

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I write YA. I eat Junior Mints. Sometimes I go crazy and do both at the same time. My novels, published through Harper Teen are: PIVOT POINT, its sequel SPLIT SECOND (Feb 2014), and THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US (a contemporary novel). I also have two more contemporaries, ON THE FENCE coming out July 1, 2014, and THE FILL-IN BOYFRIEND coming out the summer of 2015. My agent is the talented and funny Michelle Wolfson.

You can find out more about Kasie West, THE DISTANCE BETWEEN us and her other totally awesome books here:

*Blog/Website

*twitter

*Facebook

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And you can find more perfect reads by the Bookanistas here…

Jessica Love adores WISH YOU WERE ITALIAN by Kristin Rae

Katy Upperman raves about PUSH GIRL by Jessica Love and Chelsie Hill

 

 

What other books do you recommend that have the perfect balance? And what else should I pair with my chocolate? LOL!

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Oct

1

2013

TOUCHING THE SURFACE is out in Paperback TODAY! Enter to Win a Copy

Filed under: Apocalypsies, Author Events, Book Signings, Booksellers, Check-it-out, Class of 2k12, Community, Conferences, Contests, Dancing, Family, In the Wild, Publishing, SCBWI, The Class of 2k12, Touching the Surface, Wolfson Literary, Writing, YA Books, Young Adult (YA)

 

 

HOLY GUACAMOLE!!!!!

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TOUCHING THE SURFACE is out in paperback TODAY!!!!!

Where you can find it:

*Amazon

*Barnes & Noble

*IndieBound

Can you believe it’s been almost a year since I became an author? And even longer since I sold my first book and got an agent. Here’s a little walk down memory lane. Humor me–I’m nostalgic today. So in no particular order because that would add a layer of organization I’m not capable of, here’s just a few of my most fabulous moments between finding my agent and birthing a paperback…

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Standing outside the Simon & Schuster offices.

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Apocalypsies at the LA SCBWI Conference!!!

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Meeting my agent (Michelle Wolfson) and editor (Anica Rissi) for the first time. <3

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The Class of 2k12!!!!!

The day I got my ARC of TOUCHING THE SURFACE!!!!

Came home from a run to find my ARC’s had finally arrived!!! Such a squee moment!!!

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The ARC!

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Authors, Simon & Pulse friends and Writer Buds at the NY SCBWI Conference. <3

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Bookmarks!!! Thanks Jeff Fielder.

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Bringing my book to the Golf Bag Holder (Eastern PA Poconos Mountain Retreat with Jodi Moore.)

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First book I ever signed went to Laurie Halse Anderson. Love her.

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This made it feel so real.

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Loved participating in the YAmazing Race with my Apocalypsies!!!

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First author event, even before my book was out. LOL! With my buds from the Class of 2k12. <3

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Making friends at BEA!!! Lisa and Kim.

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First BEA was even sweeter because I got to spend time with my fabulous agent. <3

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Blogger love <3  Finally got to meet Erica!!!!

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Joining YA Outside the Lines. 

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It was a BEA Apocalypsie event of awesome.

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Ummmm I got to hear JOHN GREEN!!!!!!!!!!!

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Made amazing new blogger friends. Kim and Grace. <3

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Hanging with Jay Asher at LA SCBWI–Dude, it was awesome.

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Joining the Bookanistas!

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Kimmiepoppins met Mary Poppins!!!! I met Julie Andrews!!!!

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Signing my contract!!!!!! I AM GOING TO BE AN AUTHOR!!!

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My book was at Bologna. Takes my breath away.

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Wow!

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My Yanni dance girls wearing TOUCHING THE SURFACE T-shirts. <3

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Signing books at my book launch.

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Good friends drove in from far away despite all the trouble with Hurricane Sandy.

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Just an amazing experience.

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Unable to thank my friends and family enough for their love and support on that special day.

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More book launch at Oblong Books. I LOVE that bookstore and everyone in it. <3

Kim and Dad at Powell Point-Grand Canyon July 1998

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Dad–there–even when he couldn’t be. The dedication.

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On bookshelves in bookstores.

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Kimmiepoppins finally gets a book launch in NYC after Hurricane Sandy delayed it. Mean Hurricane–awesome party.

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Woo hoo!!! I got to speak at the NY Public Library.

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I’m a fangirl–it’s A.S. King people!!!!!

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I’m a fangirl–it’s Sharon Creech people!!!!

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My first SCBWI faculty gig at the Eastern NY SCBWI Conference–where I got paid to talk with my hands about things I love.

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Connecting with teen readers and making hedgehogs. *grin*

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Loving on my writer mama, K.L. Going. <3 Wouldn’t be here without her.

And because you made it to the end of my reminiscing…you shall be rewarded with a chance to win a signed copy of the brand spanking new TOUCHING THE SURFACE paperback!!!!

 

 
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Aug

13

2013

Win an ARC of STARRY NIGHTS by Daisy Whitney

Filed under: Book Reviews, Check-it-out, Contests, Reading, Wolf Pack, Wolfson Literary, YA Books, Young Adult (YA)

I just finished another amazing book by my fellow Wolf Pack Sistah, Daisy Whitney. Check this out…

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Available: September 3rd 2013 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens

Seventeen-year-old Julien is a romantic—he loves spending his free time at the museum poring over the great works of the Impressionists. But one night, a peach falls out of a Cezanne, Degas ballerinas dance across the floor, and Julien is not hallucinating.

The art is reacting to a curse that trapped a beautiful girl, Clio, in a painting forever. Julien has a chance to free Clio and he can’t help but fall in love with her. But love is a curse in its own right. And soon paintings begin to bleed and disappear. Together Julien and Clio must save the world’s greatest art . . . at the expense of the greatest love they’ve ever known.

Like a master painter herself, Daisy Whitney brings inordinate talent and ingenuity to this romantic, suspenseful, and sophisticated new novel.A beautifully decorated package makes it a must-own in print.

Kimberly’s Review of STARRY NIGHTS:

One of the biggest things that I love about Daisy Whitney’s writing (and I love a lot) is just when I think I know who she is as a writer, she redefines herself. Often, for authors, this kind of an evolution is a by-product of an ever changing market. I don’t feel that’s true for Daisy. I think she is a sponge in her own life, soaking up a million people, places and things that are interesting. And then she writes about the things she loves and the things that fascinate her. She writes about the questions she has and the things that must be witnessed. She writes what she knows and what she needs to know. And then luckily, she shares it with us.

It is obvious that STARRY NIGHTS was born from Daisy’s love of art and her desire to share the magic she feels, not only for paintings, but for artistic expression in general. Her passion for her topic was infectious and it raised my curiosity about some pieces that weren’t in my vocabulary before. This book could be used, to great collaborative effect, with art and english teachers.

I was also fascinated by Daisy’s take on Renoir. I think that in our society, we often have a tendency to confuse the artist with the art. When we have a big name Hollywood star, an athlete, artist or politician we love, it’s hard to look past our adoration for their craft or skill when their private life raises red flags. What to do about such real life discrepancies is a topic for another day, but what I loved was that Daisy subtly raised the question.

Additionally, I’m a big fan of books that step outside the typical take on the paranormal. I believe there’s a lot more magic in the world than we open ourselves up to. STARRY NIGHTS is different than anything else that’s out there and that is a wonderful thing. It creatively crafts elements of paranormal intrigue with something that in today’s day in age, could literally become a lost art. STARRY NIGHTS makes reading and learning about art history really cool. I’m also a huge fan of Daisy’s funny bits. If you read STARRY NIGHTS, one of the best payoffs is finding out what the Mona Lisa has been thinking all this time. It’s hysterical and adorable.

And on a little side note, I loved that every night when I curled up in bed, I got to go to Paris for a little while. I walked the streets, saw the sights, smelled the coffee and tasted the food. I can not wait until I get to revisit Paris and bring my kids. And I know, when I go and walk into the Musee d’Orsay and the Louvre, thanks to Daisy Whitney and her STARRY NIGHTS, I’ll be waiting for the art to come alive.

 

You can PRe-order STARRY NIGHTS here…

*Barnes & Noble

*Amazon

*IndieBound

 

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By day, Daisy Whitney is a reporter and ghostwriter. At night, she writes novels for teens and is the author of THE MOCKINGBIRDS and its sequel THE RIVALS (Little, Brown). Her third novel WHEN YOU WERE HERE released in June 2013 (Little, Brown), and her fourth novel STARRY NIGHTS (Bloomsbury) hits shelves in September 2013. When Daisy’s not inventing fictional high school worlds, she can be found somewhere north of San Francisco walking her adorable dog, watching online TV with her fabulous husband or playing with her fantastic kids.  A graduate of Brown University, she believes in shoes, chocolate chip cookies and karma.  You can follow her writing blog and new media adventures at DaisyWhitney.com. (I don’t rate books on GoodReads, nor do I check the site so please friend me on Facebook instead.)

Enter to win my ARC of STARRY NIGHTS by Daisy Whitney!!!!!

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Check out the Rafflecopter’s Leave a Comment (above) for bonus entries!!! I want to hear about what piece of art you’d like to hang out with.

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Jul

3

2013

Some Wolf Pack Love: GAME. SET. MATCH by Jennifer Iacopelli

Filed under: Book Reviews, Wolf Pack, Wolfson Literary

I’m a sporty girl. I’ve played and coached soccer. I run and dance. And I usually enjoy myself at sporting events. I even own a tennis racket.  But the truth is, I don’t really know a darn thing about tennis. Seriously–I’m clueless. But that did not matter one, tiny, iota when I was reading GAME. SET. MATCH. I LOVED IT!!!! In fact, in addition to feeling like I read a great book about friendship and romance, there was a secret side effect. I now feel like I know tennis a little better.

And as if GAME. SET. MATCH, being a great read isn’t enough to make me love it, debut author Jennifer Iacopelli, is one of my Wolf Pack Sistahs and I love her to pieces.

 

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But we’re not here to talk about the pups. Let me fill you in on GAME. SET. MATCH. (Outer Banks Tennis Academy, #1)

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Nestled along the North Carolina coast, the Outer Banks Tennis Academy is the world’s most elite training facility. In this pressure-cooker environment, futures are forged in blood and sweat, and dreams are shattered in an instant.

Penny Harrison, a rising female star, is determined to win the French Open and beat her archrival, Zina Lutrova. But when her coach imports British bad boy Alex Russell as her new training partner, will Penny be able to keep her laser-like focus?

Tennis is all Jasmine Randazzo has ever known. The daughter of two Grand Slam champions, she’s hell-bent on extending her family’s legacy and writing her own happily-ever-after…until her chosen Prince Charming gives her the just-friends speech right before the biggest junior tournament of the year, the Outer Banks Classic.

With a powerful serve and killer forehand, newcomer Indiana Gaffney is turning heads. She’s thrilled by all of the attention, especially from Jack Harrison, Penny’s agent and hot older brother, except he keeps backing off every time things start heating up.

With so much at stake, dreams—and hearts—are bound to break. Welcome to OBX: Where LOVE is a four-letter word, on and off the court.

Kimberly’s Review of GAME. SET. MATCH.

I’m going to jump right in and say, my favorite part of GAME. SET. MATCH, is how much I liked ALL of the GSM characters–even when they were behaving badly. Iacapelli has built an academy of players that I enjoy the way I love the cast of the television show Friday Night Lights. Just like FNL, there was so much going on at any given time, yet it was NEVER confusing. These flawed and fabulous characters were dropped right in the middle of the fast-paced life at OBX Tennis Academy, where romance, heartache, friendship and disappointment gets volleyed back and forth almost as much as the tennis balls do, making this a fast and fun read.

Although I know very little about tennis myself, I was quickly pulled into the story and never once felt lost. In fact, I think I now know more about tennis than I ever have. Even so, I consider myself athletic, and as a soccer player in high school, I groaned in sympathy every time someone at OBX had to do Einsteins. (One of the adorable details found in GSM that made it so entertaining and believable.) Iacopelli knows and loves her sports and her audience, making me more than willing to invest in all things OBX.

I’m also a big fan of the tasteful, but hot and steamy way that the romance was done. GSM walks the line and it does it brilliantly, leaving plenty of room for a YA audience to transition into NA. So, if you’re a fan of Miranda Kenneally’s very addictive, contemporary, sports related, romances–I know you’re going to love Iacapelli’s writing too. I absolutely can not wait to see what happens next at OBX!

You can get your own copy of GAME. SET. MATCH. here…

*Amazon for Kindle

*Barnes & Noble for Nook

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Jennifer Iacopelli was born in New York and has no plans to leave…ever. Growing up, she read everything she could get her hands on, but her favorite authors were Laura Ingalls Wilder, L.M. Montgomery and Frances Hodgson Burnett all of whom wrote about kick-ass girls before it was cool for girls to be kick-ass. She got a Bachelor’s degree in Adolescence Education and English Literature quickly followed up by a Master’s in Library Science, which lets her frolic all day with her books and computers, leaving plenty of time in the evenings to write and yell at the Yankees, Giants and her favorite tennis players through the TV.

GAME SET MATCH was released on 5/1/13 by Coliloquy! Check out the official GSM Facebook Page and a teaser trailer for the series!

Talk to me about female athletes in the Kidlit world? What are you favorite books in the space? What do you want to see more of?

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Jun

3

2013

BEA– Fast and Furious

Filed under: Booksellers, Check-it-out, Conferences, Publishing, Wolf Pack, Wolfson Literary, YA Books, Young Adult (YA)

Last year I spent several days at BEA but this year I was only able to go down for the day. A day which started with my 8yo home from school. And if you know anything about me–that makes me crazy. Maybe I do have a little bit of a control freak streak that comes out from time to time. But my sitter (practically a big sister to my boys) was already lined up to hang with the 12 you for the day (he graduated to middle school the day before) so I decided to put on my fancy shoes and go anyway.

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I’m so glad I wore those comfy puppies on my feet and stashed my fancy shoes and top in my bag for the Simon & Schuster Pulse/Aladdin happy hour. Because the first thing I had to do when I hit NYC was wait in about a 20 person taxi line in the sweltering heat. OMG! Liked the Wicked Witch of the West–I was melting!

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This was when I only had 3 or 4 people in front of me and I was getting excited. LOL!

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A sweaty but very happy me in the cab with air conditioning until….

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My driver stopped at a red light, pulled out a book and started reading. It was pointed out to me how cool it was that I was going to Book Expo America and my cab driver was reading. NO! Sorry, not cool. Even with air conditioning–not cool! Unless a new Harry Potter book comes out–then I’ll totally let you do it. But that’s it.

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Made it to BEA alive and who was waiting for me? Lisa Lueddecke from The Young Adult Connection. <3 We were roomies for BEA last year and this was our 1 year Friendaversary. It was so awesome to see her, but I’m going to straight up say that between her evil, painful shoes, my lunch with my agent and the poor cell phone service, I didn’t see her nearly as much as I wanted to. Such a tease. We are totally going to have to Skype or something. Soon. If I could figure out how to Skype. I seriously have SDD Skype Deficit Disorder. *le sigh*

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But just like old times, Lisa and I went ARC hunting and we found OMG!!!! LAUREN MYRACLE!!!!!!! AND I HUGGED HER!!!!!! AND SHE IS MORE AWESOME IN REAL LIFE THAN ALL CAPS CAN REALLY EXPLAIN.

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And of course I had lunch and hung out with the agent of awesome…MICHELLE WOLFSON!!!! One of my favorite things in the whole world. <3 I also got to finally meet my Wolf Pack Sistah, Jennifer Iacopelli, debut author of GAME. SET. MATCH. Which I started reading on the train ride home and LOVE!!!!! And I also ran into my local book buddy and friend Emily.

There was more, a hazy hot blur of more. I actually ran into a lot more friends and met a bunch of amazing new people between BEA and the Pulse/Aladdin Happy Hour, but my phone battery!!!! The Javits Center eats battery bars for snacks, but on the bright side I met old and new friends while hanging at the charging station. LOL!

So, what have I decided about BEA? I need less than three and a half days and just a little bit more than one. And on the bucket list…I plan on signing there at some point. And on that note–it’s back to work.

PS I’d just like to add that I REALLY REALLY WANTED an ARC of FANGIRL by Rainbow Rowell. And I may have threatened to mug a young book blogger at the charging station, when she whipped out her copy. But I didn’t. So–there was that. What book from BEA would you have almost mugged a book blogger for?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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May

15

2013

I Can’t Believe People Do That for Fun? Riding the Wave

Filed under: Drafting, Pondering, Running, Wolfson Literary, Writing, Writing Style

This week, my agent Michelle Wolfson, accidentally went for a jog. LOL! Her littlest decided to scoot to school and Michelle had to run to keep up with her. This tweet followed…

 

 

I had to smile because I’m one of those nuts that *enjoys it* (Most of the time.) Like anything else, it can have it’s moments. *pant, gasp, fall over* But yeah, I do it voluntarily and usually with a smile on my face.

I’ve been running a lot since the weather’s gotten nice, but that’s not the only thing I’ve been doing. This week in particular, I’ve wanted to do nothing more than write. I’ve been hit by a tsunami of writingness. I love/hate when this happens. It’s great because I’m doing something I’m so into. Even if I’m not super productive by a word count standard (I am ME after all) I’m still making all kinds of break throughs and I AM getting new words, better words, on the page. And I don’t want to mess with the flow of the universe, because it’s smiling on me and raining creativity. But it’s bad because I don’t want to do any of the other important things in my life and honestly I’ve got tons, heaping tons on my to-do list. So how have I been handling it? Of course I’ve been writing–riding the wave. LOL!

You know my motto–BUY MORE CLEAN UNDERWEAR!!!!

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But, being “in the zone” with my writing has gotten me thinking about Michelle’s examination about running. There are certain things in are lives that can be very challenging, but when we are riding their wave, they’re amazing. We are drawn to them like a thirsty desert dweller to an oasis. But the things that fulfill us are different for everyone. There are people out there that would rather do anything else than run and/or write. There are folks who would run a marathon before writing a sentence, of a tome before heading out around the block. There are also people who like to do crafts and cook for fun. Now those people are like a foreign species to me! You made cupcakes for fun? Hello! I EAT cupcakes for fun. And that helps explain why  I run. Full circle. ROTFL!

So, tell me. Do you get hit with writing tsunamis? What activity do you love that other people might like to poke their eyes out before doing? Does it pay to ride the wave when it come your way? Or is it really just avoidance of less fun things?

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