Attention Maine book enthusiasts! This weekend I’ll be at the Cape Elizabeth Author Fest with more than 80 other fellow authors, meeting educators and librarians and book fans of all ages. The details:
This weekend I got to go to ALA Midwinter–aka where librarians, educators, authors, publishers, bloggers, readers, and general fans of books and media come to learn and engage and share Girl Scout cookies. (Seriously, bringing Girl Scout cookies to a conference is a way to ensure people love you.) I’d never been to an ALA event before, and I only got an exhibit hall pass, but it was such a fantastic weekend. Some highlights:
Meeting librarian and writer and blogger friends from the Internet in real life–you get to hug them in real life!–and seeing lovely librarian and writer friends from the Boston area.
Seeing adorable baby pictures of aforementioned friends. (Or adorable pictures of their babies or their nieces/nephews.)
Having writer friends in from out of town meant an awesome panel at Brookline Booksmith, one of my favorite places to both meet readers and buy books. Awesome questions, thoughtful/hilarious discussion, fantastic audience.
Listening to thoughtful discussions at the We Need Diverse Books panel and the Class of 2K16 Debuts panel.
Seeing ARCs for friends books and getting excited about all the future readers who will love these books.
Sharing Thin Mints with friends old and new.
Talking about reading, writing, publishing, teen readers, feminism, graphic novels and more with people who get it.
This is the kind of weekend that reminds me why I love being part of the book community. People are so enthusiastic and smart and talented and kind and thoughtful and funny. They’re pushing the boundaries in all sorts of fields and making a difference for readers everywhere. I cheered along with the webcast of the ALA Youth Media Awards this morning, and was so proud to be part of this larger community.
Thanks to all who helped make this such a fun and inspiring weekend. Here’s to another awesome year of our bookish community!
I’m so excited for ALA Midwinter this weekend–so many awesome librarians and writers in town? Aw yeah! And what better way to kick off the weekend than with a great YA panel featuring some wonderful contemp YA authors? The details
Real Teen Lives Young Adult Panel
Friday, January 8th, 7pm at Brookline Booksmith YA authors who are keeping it real–Marieke Nijkamp, Laurie Elizabeth Flynn, Emily Martin, Jen Malone, and I talk about crafting real stories for teen readers. Also book signing and hilarity.
Come say hi and chat with us about writing, books, and being real. Looking forward to an awesome start to a bookish weekend!
Real Teen Lives Young Adult Panel
Friday, January 8th, 7pm at Brookline Booksmith YA authors who are keeping it real. Come see Marieke Nijkamp, Laurie Elizabeth Flynn, Emily Martin, Jen Malone, and me, as we talk about crafting real stories for teen readers.
Librarians in town for ALA, please join us and share some high fives for contemp goodness!
One of my favorite parts of being an debut author was getting to know other authors who have had books published in the last few years or have books coming out soon. So I’m way psyched to get together with a bunch of other debut authors as part of Susan Adrian’s Tunnel Tour. Get ready for a great conversation about books and publishing and writing and inspiration and more! The details:
I’m so psyched to join several other awesome YA/MG authors for tonight’s special Boston Teen Author Festival sneak preview! In addition to great conversation about the literary life, you’ll have the chance to win books and other swag by showing off all your bookish trivia knowledge. Between the trivia and the cupcakes, you cannot miss this.
BTAF Sneak Preview
Cambridge Public Library Teen Room
449 Broadway, Cambridge, MA 02138
Thursday, May 7
7pm, followed by book signing
Come say hi, snag a cupcake, and win awesome book swag. See you tonight!
Last weekend, I got up at 5:30am, bought a giant coffee, and drove to Springfield, MA for the annual NESCBWI conference. Since my first time a few years ago, when I knew absolutely no one and spent breakfast thinking, Maybe if I tweet enough I’ll look popular, I’ve gotten to know so many wonderful writers and illustrators from the New England area, including my very own critique group. This year was a great combination of seeing friends, having thoughtful conversations, getting new ideas, learning about new resources, and generally feeling inspired.
Some favorite moments from the conference:
Being back together with the full critique group, including twomembers who have moved to other time zones over the last year. (Guys, anytime you want to move back to New England, you’ve got a spot in group.)
Wearing t-shirts to promote crit group member AC Gaughen’s upcoming book, Lion Heart, and getting major props from other conference members. (We even got a shoutout during Jen Malone’s marketing workshop as an example of cool, alternative marketing.)
Great conversations about writing diversity, including an excellent workshop with Mitali Perkins about writing diverse lives and asking the important questions, another with Ellen Wittlinger about LGBTQ YA books, and a dynamic panel including 2015 author Cindy L. Rodriguez. Favorite panel quote by Justina Ireland: “How good are the characters on your page already if you can’t write a diverse character?”
Learning about picture book structure and how to use line breaks and page turns to build tension/build a joke.
Listening to Newbery winner Kwame Alexander talk about the power of poetry.
A powerful keynote from Jo Knowles about a quote from “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,” books that can shed light on darkness, and her journey to writing YA novels about tough topics.
Seeing old friends, making new ones, and reminding myself of the awesomeness of the children’s literature community.
Major thanks to the NESCBWI conference organizers, volunteers, and faculty for their hard work in making this such a successful and inspiring weekend. See you all in Springfield in 2016!
The whole group, from L to R–Cara, Kim, me, Gina, and AC!
There are few things that can get me out of the house on a rainy Saturday. One of them: an awesome event at a local bookstore with a few other fantastic YA authors. Blue Bunny Books & Toys hosted us and, if you haven’t been before, it is the cutest store. Seriously, even if you’re not in Dedham, make the trip.
Our panel consisted of Kim Harrington, Cara Bertrand, AC Gaughen, Gina Damico, and me. We ended up having a great mix of genres represented, from paranormal romance to historical adventure to mystery to dark comedy to contemporary. It was cool to learn about how everyone approaches the writing process (we all understand the importance of showers as a place for creative thought) and creatingcharacters that feel real. We talked about powering through rejection, because every writer faces rejection in all stages of their careers; and as hard as rejection is, I always appreciate when I hear about how hard other writers have worked to get an agent/get published/sell their ninth book/etc. We answered questions from the audience and signed books and chatted with fellow book lovers about the importance of colorful nail polish.
Our very own book cupcakes!
Thanks so much to the Blue Bunny team, my fellow panelists, and everyone who came out to see us. What an awesome way to spend a rainy Saturday afternoon!
This Saturday (March 14, aka 3/14, aka Pi Day) at 4pm, I’ll be at Blue Bunny Books & Toys with four other awesome YA authors for a conversation about writing books for teens, the YA community, and (hopefully) our favorite kinds of pie. The details: