Thursday, February 28, 2013

The time it was a teen panel

The LA public library has been having teen panels for a while and I never had a chance to actually attend one. Somehow I saw the post about the one year anniversary and was interested in going after seeing that it would be Amy Spalding, Michelle Gagnon, Jessica Brody and Sarah Skilton.

I checked with the authors [and the library] to see if there would be a signing afterwards. While there wouldn't be anything formal, I was told that the authors were usually more than happy to sign anything after the panel.

We got up to the library around 5pm and wandered around. And there was definitely a lot to see.

Ceilings like this...


Or this....

And Getty exhibits of old Hollywood movie memorabilia.


The doors opened at 6:30 and we headed right in. Three of the 4 authors were already in the room and I got caught eavesdropping on Amy Spalding's conversation. *facepalm* The YA librarian, Mary, [who scared the crap out of me when I opened the meeting room door before the event started] said that there would be mingling until 7pm and the panel would start afterwards.

They even had some arcs they were giving away.

Mary started things right before 7pm. She gave a brief introduction about the LA public library teen panel and how it was the one year anniversary. And then she handed it over to Cecil. Cecil gave a brief bio of each author and then each of the ladies read a couple of pages from their book.


And then the questions started...

How did you come up with your mystery/thriller:

M: First book thought to be a college coming of age and ended up being a thriller. Had serious meltdown with both drafts: a hard drive crash and a Southwest flight attendant spilled wine on computer keyboard.

J: Was told all books have mystery to it. Big twist in UNREMEMBERED was in the middle and she moved it, tends to have a reveal of sorts every 10 pages.

Other books deal with grief, talk about writing contemp with grief:

S: loves Buffy and shadow cat from xmen. Wanted to write a girl who was strong because she trained everyday, not because she had special powers. At the moment you're tested, you fail, so if you're not who you think you are, who are you?

She took martial arts classes in high school and college - she is a black belt. Took out her journals from her own classes as a refresher/research.

A: Main character is trying to learn about who she is within her mothers world. Contemp is heightening everyday emotions. Like the morning after kissing someone you didn't expect to is like being in a prison of your own mind.

Research for hacking:

M: Most of the research was for her fictional disease. Had endocrinologist friend help with symptoms and such for PEMA. A worker with White hat hacker helped with the hacking info, gave a "top 10 signs you've been hacked" list.

Most importantly, the research can't overwhelm the reader. Michelle writes from beginning to end without stopping, places bracket indicator for where she needs research.

What is the trick for setting up a series?

J: Sold Unremembered as a trilogy, so she had to have some idea. Main trick is to finish off the main story, but leave some questions.

M: Adult series was reoccurring character with four different plots. With YA trilogy, she feels like she's fumbling through it, due to a much larger arc to work with.

How do you keep it fresh?

A: Desperately clinging to what is cool. Had flip phones in copy edits and finds it very hard to keep current.

S: Wants tv shows to stay on longer because they're referenced in the book. Amazing race, csi Miami, Oprah.

What came first: character or concept?

A M J: concept

J: Concept. She took a failed idea and set it up in Unremembered. Actually became the main twist of the series.

M: Concept, It was an idea that editor and Michelle came up with over lunch. Just needs one idea: a sentence or paragraph and can run with it.

A: Concept. Loves long lost family stories and didn't find one she wanted to read so she wrote one.

S: Character.

First person or third?

M: Always writes in third person. Just read a book in multiple 1st person POV and was very confused, they seemed to all have the same voice.

Thoughts on romance being so important in YA:

J: MC is dealing with a boy who claims they were in love before the accident. Wanted to explore the idea of are all memories erasable.

M: Has a hard time with romance, especially when on the run. Didn't seem natural to have them hook up.

S: Has a romance subplot, didn't want it to take over the story.

A: Romance is not focus, but there's definite romance. Also hates when there's something serious, but let's make room or kissing.

Around 7:45, they wrapped it up. I quickly went to Amy and asked if she would sign. I had a book for Tonya as well as myself. She signed Tonya's first and then as she was signing my copy, I explained who Tonya was. Amy recognized her Twitter handle and asked for the book back to "not be so generic".

Jennifer Bosworth was hogging Michelle, so I went to talk to Jessica. I got a signed sample of Unremembered and she commented on my Doctor Who shirt. From there, we started talking about tattoos and she asked me some questions about healing time.

Cecil snuck in and I asked her to sign my Dear Bully. That prompted the conversation about getting everyone to sign and how many authors I already had.

Jennifer was STILL talking to Michelle and while I hovered, started petting my arm. She graciously stopped her conversation so I could jump in and get my copy of Don't Turn Around signed. I told Michelle that I had loved it and had finished it while driving up.

As we left, I thanked Mary for a great event. And it definitely was. The authors were friendly and charming and the library staff were informative. I know I'll be checking for future events to attend.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The time it was all about Ben Michaels

Have we all learned by now about my love for all things Elizabeth Norris and Ben Michaels? After countless posts about both of them, I feel like this is information that is well known.
After I won the arc for Unbreakable, I really wanted to do something with Elizabeth.  She's always so so so nice and so so so amazing.  Somehow I got it in my head *cough*Ava*cough* to ask for an interview and she said yes!!
But, before we get to that, did you know there is going to be a novella?
I've been waiting forever to use this gif
It's called Undone, it comes out on March 5th.  Did I mention that it's all Ben POV?

Before the accident. Before their universes collided. Before they fell in love.

Riveting and romantic, Undone: An Unraveling Novella contains three short stories set in the world of Unraveling, the first book in the gripping sci-fi duology by Elizabeth Norris.

Before Ben Michaels saved Janelle Tenner’s life, Janelle saved Ben when he stumbled through an interuniverse portal into a completely new world. That day, he fell in love with the girl of his dreams. And he never forgot her.

Through three stories told from Ben’s point of view, learn how Ben and his friends discovered their ability to travel between worlds, how Ben first met Janelle, and how he pined for her for years before he actually got the chance to meet her, save her life, and capture her heart. And find out what happens to Ben between the cliff-hanger conclusion to Unraveling and the beginning of its heart-stopping sequel, Unbreakable.

Doesn't that sound amazing?

Okay.  Let's get to Elizabeth now....

1. Was it easier or harder to write in Ben's POV?
It was definitely a little harder. I think Janelle's voice is a little closer to my voice (apparently I swear a lot) so I had to really make sure I thought about the differences in their character and the differences in his voice through out the whole process, and especially when editing. I also had my boyfriend read through the short stories and answer questions to make sure Ben didn't sound to girlie. At one point, I even believe we had a conversation that started with me saying, "Hey so if I died and you found me dead and all messed up, what would you be feeling?"
2. Did you see Ben as a character right away or did he grow in response to Janelle?
Ben was always a character in his own right. I think in my head, neither one of them could have existed without the other. Janelle was who I wanted to be when I was 17 and Ben was the guy I wanted to find in high school (but didn't), and then of course there's some sci-fi in there as well... 
3. When you started writing Unbreakable, did you know the ending right away?
Yes. I almost always know the ending when I start writing. It's the middle and the opening scene that sometimes take a little longer for me to figure out. (I rewrote the beginning to Unbreakable four or five times). When I started writing I of course knew where I had left all the characters at the end of Unraveling and I knew a little of what I was going to put them through in this one--but I knew where I wanted them to end. Even when I was contemplating whether to write a third book in this series or write something new for my third book, this is still where this story would have ended.
4. When you're writing the swoony lines, do you sit back and laugh at the flails you know you're responsible for making happen? :D

[I had planned to post an amazing swoony flail quote from Ben in Unbreakable, but I decided to let you find it all on your own. Also, I couldn't pick just one.]
Haha, no! I have no idea. A lot of the time when I'm writing, I think I'm in some kind of weird trance where I'm just typing away. Sometimes a scene just sort of comes together in my mind and I have to write it--I do a lot of typing in the notepad of my iphone, sometimes in the most random places, like bathrooms, the subway, department stores. And a lot of the time, I think those tend to be some of my best scenes.
I actually wrote part of that scene while I was walking down 6th avenue (I am that person that uses my phone and tries to walk at the same time. Once I walked into a street sign because I was checking my email and I hit my head so hard I ended up with a concussion, but it hasn't stopped me).
5. Who are your favorite swoony boys?
Jonah from Jellicoe Road, Po from Graceling, Adam from Where She Went, Adrian from the Vampire Academy books. And admittedly I was Team Edward and really wanted Hermione to end up with Harry instead of Ron.
Speed round:
1. You're in San Diego for one meal. Where do you go and what do you order?
It depends on how much money I have. If I don't have much, I go to Roberto's in Del Mar and get a carne asada burrito and guacamole with chips. Or I'd go to Miso Harney's in Old Town and ask Mike (he's an amazing sushi chef) to make me something spicy. He's like a wizard.
2. If you could wake up one day, just knowing how to do something, what would it be?
Dance. And I mean like So You Think You Can Dance dance.
3. What are you reading right now?
I just finished Pretty Little Liars which I had never read before, and I'm about to start Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn.
4. Are there any authors out there that you fangirl over?
So many. I met JK Rowling at her signing for Casual Vacancy in NY and I was so in awe of her. I also totally fan-girled Melina Marchetta, Gayle Forman, and Kristin Cashore when they did a signing together, and I think I probably always will.


Isn't she just awesome?

Huge thanks to Elizabeth for taking the time to deal with my fangirling answer my questions!!


Remember when I mentioned winning an arc of Unbreakable? I actually won the grand prize in Elizabeth's contest and the chance to name a character in Undone. [There is actually a hilarious story that goes with this, but I'm far too lazy to go into the specifics.  Just know that it was funny.]

Let's all take a guess as to what name I picked.

And this last part is just bragging, but I'm gonna tell you about it. 

Ben was the very first boy that was given to me, thanks to Kassiah.  After winning the arc of Unbreakable, I was on a quest to get an arc of Unraveling to complete the collection. I posted it on Twitter and Ava told me that she was working on it, to give her some time.  Less than a day later, she told me that she had found a copy, but wouldn't give me the details via text.

Turns out, she got me an arc straight from Elizabeth.  From her personal collection.

                                                               Yah, I kept the post-it.


To celebrate the release of Undone, I'm giving away stuff! There will be three winners.  The grand prize winner will win a hardcover copy of Unraveling, an e-book of Undone and a hardcover copy of Unbreakable [when it is released on 4/23/13]. Two winners will get an e-book of Undone.

The grand prize winner will get books from The Book Depository. Winners of the e-book copies will choose between Barnes & Noble or Amazon for delivery.

Rules for the giveaway are listed under the "terms and conditions" on the Raffelcopter widget.

Good luck!!
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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The time I did a swoony blog hop

Here we are again for another blog hop.  The lovely ladies at The Book Hookup and I Am a Reader, Not a Writer set this one up too!

When the topic of swoony boys came up, it was the hardest decision I had to make.  Which boy did I think was the swooniest? The first boy who comes to mind will always be Noah, but I wanted to give out a signed book. 
So.  Adam Kent from Shatter Me it is!

Haven't "met" Adam yet? Check out some of the things he's said...

“You have no idea how much I’ve thought about you. How many times I’ve dreamt”-he takes a tight breath- “how many times I’ve dreamt about being this close to you.” He moves to run a hand through his hair before he changes his mind. Looks down. Looks up. “God, Juliette, I’d follow you anywhere. You’re the only good thing left in this world.”


“Juliette,” he whispers, and I realize just how close he is. I’m not sure why I haven’t evaporated into nothingness. “It’s been me and you against the world forever,” he says. “It’s always been that way. It’s my fault I took so long to do something about it.”

Still alive?

Not enough for you to want to read? Click the book cover above to be taken to the GoodReads page and look at the summary and all of the awesome reviews.

Rules for the giveaway are listed under the "terms and conditions" on the Rafflecopter widget.

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Now that you've entered here, check out all of the other blogs on the hop [listed below] for a bazillion chances to win other phenomenal books! You can also check out the host blogs at: The Book Hookup and I Am a Reader, Not a Writer.

Good luck!!

Monday, February 11, 2013

The time I didn't recap the event

Mrs. Nelson's always puts together an excellent event.  I feel like they always go above and beyond to do something special for the authors, as well as the people who attend.  And the staff are consistently some of the nicest I've ever encountered.

The Breathless Reads tour was no exception.

They had a trivia game with a giveaway as well as a "survival kit" that was full of candy.  As well as some pretty awesome Breathless Reads posters that were of the "if you liked this, read that" variety.

The authors got to the store early and came out with the moderator right at 7pm.

Normally, I would go into as much detail as I could remember [or if I actually took notes]. This time, I'm not going to recap at all. There were several bloggers there [so many, one of the ladies from Mrs. Nelson's actually introduced some of them].  I believe there is going to be a recap post at Read Now, Sleep Later, so go check it out.

Instead of my recap, I'm going to brag a little about the books I got signed.  Because really, when you get right down to it, that's what this blog is about.  :D

I got to meet the lovely Brenna Yovanoff and get The Space Between and Paper Valentine signed.


And I got to meet Andrea Cremer [again], but this time I had my arc of Invisibility and we flailed over it together.


Jessica Khoury and Marie Lu were also there, but I already have signed copies of their books.  Both of them are amazingly sweet. 

So.... yah.  That's all.

Even though I am was disappointed that the tour was broken up into two coasts, I'm so thrilled Penguin chose not to go back to the Bookstore-Which-Will-Not-Be-Named. 

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The time we were last

As soon as I posted that I was going to the Dark Days tour with Tahereh Mafi, Cynthia Hand, Veronica Rossi and Brodi Ashton, friends started asking if I could pick up books for them.  At first count, I was going to have 36 books for the four ladies.  It ended up being 19 to bring, with 11 to pick up.

We started up to Huntington Beach early, stopping to pick up Ava. She had already talked to Jeanne about holding seats and books for us, so we didn't have to rush.  But, we all know how hateful the 405 can be...


We got Ava and hit the store around 4. We had front row AND Jeanne was super awesome and set aside the books we needed to purchase day off.


We went to buy the books we needed and headed back upstairs to flap everything. While we waited, we met up with Kristin and chatted about everything and anything book related. It was also good to see Crystal and finally meet Beverly

The authors got there just after 7. There was a moderator from Harper Collins and a designated blogger who would also have questions.

The first question of the night had the authors explaining their books as if they were texting their best friends. So there were some BRBs, a LOL and an OMFG.

During questions, Brodi said that she "didn't like reading", but actually meant that she didn't like reading educational materials. She then implored everyone to NOT tweet that she hated reading.

Tahereh fell over in her very tall shoes when she learned that she could have a "pants optional" job.

And now the questions:

Explain the most exciting part of your book:

V: that she got to play with opposites. Two protagonists, two societies, and an Amazing Race of two worlds, who will survive.

T: Chapter 62

C: the question of destiny versus free How Clara has to face that over and over and decide what she believes in.

B: Nikki and Cole both so certain in their reasons and so morally upright. She loves exploring their relationship.

What kept you going from book 1 to book 2?

B: Candy

C: Deadlines

V: Wine

T: Coffee

How did you come up with your villain?

C: Didn't do a lot of research until the end. Knew she wanted a complicated villain and while reading the Book of Enoch, found the name Samjeeza.

T: Thinks its important to create someone who isn't easy to hate. She wants to ask "wait. What are your motivations".

B: At first Cole was the love interest. And that's it.

V: Would second everything already said and then added that she thinks Kelly Slater [the professional surfer] is Sable.


After publishing, is there anything you would want to change?

V: The opposite. Finds that it's exciting to go back and the story inspires itself.

T: Exactly what Veronica said

C: Loves revising. She sees that things should have changed [mostly the language]. Sometimes a reader will point something out that will make her imagination go.

B: Once the story is in book form, it's over. But it still lives in her head. There's a specific scene that she hates and when she relives it, Nikki says and does the right thing and its frustrating.


After about 30 minutes, the signing started. Ava and I stood off to the side to be last since we had so many books to get signed.

As the lines started dwindling, the handler came over to me and said that I could head over to Brodi to start.

First off, Brodi is adorable and absolutely hilarious. She asked if I was a blogger. When I said yes, she asked if I had included the comment about her reading. I said that I did, but would gladly take it out if she wanted me to. She laughed and said no.


Cynthia was next. I had the most books for her -- 11. I didn't have them organized very well, so it took a minute for me to realize that it would be easier for Cynthia to sign the same books together, since different colored markers were used.

After that was figured out, it ran smoothly and I was able to get them all taken care of.


Up next was Tahereh. I had asked if she was ready and she opened her arms and said "My body is ready!" I had quite a few for Tahereh as well. When she got to my copy, I asked if she would deface it. She said because it was for me, of course.

I had a book for my HBIC and asked for a special inscription. Not only did Christina get the special inscription, but Tahereh also used my phone to text Christina.


We took pictures and hugged many times. And she told me that she expects to see me at every LA event that she does. I happily said that I would be her stalker if she was okay with it.


And last but not least was Veronica. We also hugged many times. We started out with the books and then it morphed into a serious discussion about Kelly Slater and Snarkles who was there with the HC woman [and I didn't catch her name].


She mentioned how many books I had and asked if someone had recorded how many it had because it had to be a record.

We were the absolute last people there and said goodbye to all four ladies a few times as we left the store. Huge thanks to Brodi, Cynthia, Tahereh and Veronica for making the trip out. And extra special thanks to Jeanne at BN for being so amazing.


Want a signed copy of the first book from each author? I've got 'em. Just enter below to win!!

Rules are listed on the "terms and conditions" section of the Rafflecopter widget!  Good luck!

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