Wednesday, June 27, 2012

What are You Reading Wednesday and Other Stuff

Been squeezing in some reading the past few weeks. Started on the second book in Holly Black's wonderful CurseWorkers series. Doing some fairy tale research for a project that I may possibly want to attempt down the road. Finally got to Inside Out and Back Again by Thannha Lai, which is a beautifully written novel in verse about a girl and her family who immigrate to America after the fall of Saigon. It's a quick read, but one I'll probably come back to more than once.

And two arcs that I was lucky to get at BEA, both by authors that I had the pleasure to meet and chat with.
The first one that I read last week is
Oh how I love this book. Rebecca Stead in the same distinct style as her Newbery winner When You Reach Me, has written a story whose mystery unfolds in steady, tiny increments. It is a short, spare book but one that is a true delight, and I fell in love with Georges.

Here's what Amazon says:
When seventh grader Georges (the S is silent) moves into a Brooklyn apartment building, he meets Safer, a twelve-year-old coffee-drinking loner and self-appointed spy. Georges becomes Safer's first spy recruit. His assignment? Tracking the mysterious Mr. X, who lives in the apartment upstairs. But as Safer becomes more demanding, Georges starts to wonder: how far is too far to go for your only friend?

Liar & Spy is an inspired, often-funny story about destiny, goofy brilliance, and courage. Like Stead's Newbery Medal-winning When You Reach Me, it will keep readers guessing until the end.

LIAR AND SPY will be out on August 7th, the same day as ANASTASIA FOREVER, which somehow makes me happy.

And now I'm reading this:
Libba Bray has done it again. She has set a story of magic and mystery against the workings of a very distinct time and place-- in this case the 1920's. I'm going to want to talk about this book more when I've finished it, but for now let me say that I'm in awe. I'm in love. THE DIVINERS is dense with period details and that takes a bit of getting used to, but I love it and as you read you begin to feel the cumulative and genius effect of what Libba is doing. Not only is she working her mystery story: a series of grisly occult murders in NYC, but she is also developing her characters: main character Evie O'Neill, kicked out of Zenith OH to stay with her Uncle Will who runs an occult museum (nicknamed the Museum of Creepy Crawlies) in an old mansion in NYC; and others, a lot of others, all of whom will most likely turn out to be Diviners -- to have special powers that can read objects or see beyond the pale in some way and hopefully foil the great evil brewing in NYC. But the story has a growing subtext as well, made personal by the loss of Evie's brother James in WWI, the brother she dreams about and longs for. Bray has created a book that tangibly works the dark side of the 20's -- the loss and longing and emptiness after the disillusionment of the Great War. The rebellion and the rule-tossing and all-in desire of the young to burn the old and embrace the new. But she also touches on the emptiness of that as well. All new with no old is a scary place. And Libba Bray brings every bit of it to play: art and music and dance and language and booze and clothing.

THE DIVINERS -- and I'm about 300 pages in of a 600 page book which is only the 1st in a series!-- is like being wonderfully swallowed into the 1920's. It is Gatsby on steroids in the best of ways. With more hopeful romance, a truly frightening killer, and an actual hero or two. Love. Love. Love. Will report more soon.

In other news: 
1. It is just over a month until ANASTASIA FOREVER on 8/7/2012!
Mark your calendars for the launch party at Blue Willow Bookshop in Houston on 8/11 at 2 PM.
 I am so excited that they are hosting the event. I heart Blue Willow. A million times over.

2. The fabulous SOHO PRESS was promoting THE SWEET DEAD LIFE at ALA in Annaheim. More arcs were given away! I am so excited that sometimes I think my head is going to fly off my shoulders and launch into orbit. TSDL is coming out May 14, 2013, btw. An exact date!
Here are some pictures that my intrepid cowgirl agent, Jen Rofe took for me:

Above is agent Jen with my Soho Press editor, the brilliant Daniel Ehrenhaft.
And here is TDSL, sitting in amazingly good company at the Soho booth at ALA!

3. Also, if you look at that last picture, at the book on the left, the one titled WHO DONE IT? See it? Well guess what? It's a mystery anthology and it's the February book for Soho Teen in 2013 and I have a short little story in there, too! Yes, in a book created by Jon Scieszka!! With contributors including John Green, Lauren Oliver, Libba Bray, Rebecca Stead, Lauren Myracle, Mo Willems, Dave Eggers and more. Plus tiny nobody me. And all proceeds will be going to 826nyc, the fabulous literacy non-profit founded by Dave Eggers.  Yeah, I think I peed myself about this one.

I think that's enough for one day!
til next time...

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Presenting the ANASTASIA FOREVER Book Trailer

Mostly I'm about to let my brand spanking new ANASTASIA FOREVER book trailer speak for itself! But let's give a round of virtual applause for Marianne Nowicki, introduced to me a few years ago by author friend Jen Dutton (Freaked, Stranded). Marianne has now created trailers for all three of the DREAMING ANASTASIA novels. This one was particularly fun because I got to write the script! I know you will agree with me that Marianne has this amazing sense of how to visually convey the emotions of a novel. You can find out more about her and her NoWicki Productions here.

And special surprise! Want to read the first 3 chapters? Click HERE.

And now let's watch the trailer! And if you like it, let me know. Post a link if the mood strikes you. Tell a friend. Put your laptop down in Sbux and press play. Or just enjoy. :)

Monday, June 18, 2012

Of Mondays, Retreats, and New Book Trailers

So where do Texas writers go when 12 of us gather for a retreat? A cabin the woods. A cabin decorated by someone who really really likes to hunt and kill animals and stuff them and put them on display like this:
and like this:
But it was okay because we all wrote and wrote and wrote and ate and then wrote and wrote some more without that pesky internet to distract us.

See how happy we look about our productivity?
So now I'm wallowing happily in the honeymoon phase of a spanking brand new project. Yay! So thank you to my cohorts in cabin in the woods crime: Jessica Anderson, PJ Hoover, Jo Whittemore, Nikki Loftin, Corey Oakes, Bethany Hegedus, Jenny Moss, Kari Anne Holt, Stephanie Pellegrin, Emma Virjan, Salima Alikhan and Jenny's daughter Christine!

And tomorrow -- huge excitement -- the ANASTASIA FOREVER book trailer! Some super sekrit special bloggers and some of my ANASTASIA FOREVER street team will be helping me kick off the countdown to August by 'touring' the trailer! So wonderful. So come back Tuesday!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Me and BEA or Next Time I Won't Spill Wine on Emily Lockhart's Shoes

Yeah, the title is your teaser. Yeah, I'm going to make you read a bit first.

I thought I knew publishing trade shows. I'd been to ALA and TLA, after all. I knew there would be lines and arcs and a lot of people doing business. But I had no idea of size and intensity of Book Expo of America, otherwise known as BEA. If what I saw this past week is any indication, the publishing business is alive and well in its many different forms and incarnations and optimism abounds. Good news for us all.

Now to the fun stuff.

I had two main reasons for going to BEA for the first time this year. The main one is that I was signing arcs of my YA novel THE SWEET DEAD LIFE, which comes out May 2013 from Soho Press's new Soho Teen imprint! This was hugely exciting. Here are some pictures so you can feel like you were there with me:
Here I am signing arcs at the Soho Press booth. Thank you to everybody who stopped by. We ran out of arcs, which totally thrilled me! If you can't tell by my smile, I LOVE this book.

 Here you can see the cover behind me!
And this is Daniel Ehrenhaft, my intrepid and brilliant Soho Press editor.
Not pictured is the Soho's truly amazing publisher, Bronwen Hruska.
Did you know that both Dan and Bronwen are also authors? Very cool.
This is Dan again, in his Soho Teen lair, plotting Soho domination. And possibly decorating ideas for that wall behind him.

And in a delightful surprise, I discovered when I arrived that my other publisher, Sourcebooks, had also included my upcoming YA novel, ANASTASIA FOREVER (which you all know as book 3 of the DREAMING ANASTASIA series and which will be out on August 7th), in their display! So when I popped over to the truly gorgeous Sourcebooks booth, here is what I found:
Yes! Look at that pretty red ANASTASIA FOREVER cover, next to THE LIES THAT BIND, which is book 2 of the LIAR SOCIETY by my Sourcebooks' pals, Lisa and Laura Roecker!
And then I found one of the nicest people on the planet, my Sourcebooks' editor, Leah Hultenschmidt
And Leah showed me this ginormous blow up of the cover of WHO I KISSED, the upcoming fall YA by the delightful Janet Gurtler

Do you have any idea how lucky I feel about all this and how grateful? Words cannot express. Truly. 
Also a HUGE THANKS to all the bloggers (including the Girls in the Stacks and Galleysmith Michelle who I finally got to meet!) and readers and librarians and booksellers and publishing folks who came to see me at the Soho booth. It's all about you, this book writing thing. Really, it is.

Yes, I know you're still waiting for me to explain the title! Be patient. I'm almost there.

One of the other totally rocking things about BEA, is that you get to meet all sorts of really famous and medium famous and fascinating people. And occasionally just the strange guy on the bench waiting for the E train. But that's another story.

So you discover that signing books along with you (well, in the same convention center, and that counts, right?) are celebs like Molly Ringwald and Rachael Ray and that psychic John Edward (not the politician, who if he was a psychic might have been able to avoid a lot of trauma) and even Teresa from the NJ Housewives and Kirstie Alley and Kristi Yamaguchi and even Steven Colbert and folks like that. And also this guy here:
Yes, Chris Colfer from Glee! MCing the Children's Author Breakfast, along with Walter Dean Meyer and John Green and Lois Lowey and Kadir Nelson

And at that breakfast, Lois Lowry (yes, she wrote THE GIVER) gave a speech that made me cry. And John Green observed that we already know how to write novels and that as much fun as all those apps are, to him, reading books is not something that we should be able to do while doing something else. Meaning that while the hypertext imbedded in the e book might be interesting, it is distracting us from our personal and intimate and individual engagement with the text. Food for thought, gentle reader!

And books! Oh the books that I was lucky enough to get and the authors I was lucky enough to meet or hear at panels: Jennifer Weiner, Rebecca Stead, Justin Cronin, Libba Bray, Melissa Marr and so many more that I can't list all the names or I'd be typing til next Tuesday! Luckily I was able to ship books home. 

Even got to go to a couple of cool parties. Yes, me!

At the Sourcebooks party, I got to hang with two other Sbooks amazing authors: Zoraida Cordova (Vicious Blue series) and Leanna Renee Hieber (Darker Still and the upcoming The Twisted Tragedy of Miss Natalie Stewart) Plus more time with editor Leah and publicity guru Derry Wilkens, who has some fun plans for ANASTASIA FOREVER up her fashionable Manhattan sleeves.

And we had cool cookies and cake pops!

And the Soho Press party was in this wonderful bookstore cafe in yes, Soho, called Housingworks. The kind of party where everyone is pretty darn well known and then there I am -- slightly known. Known to a few, like my editor and the publicist and author Michael Northrup because he was my YART speed dating partner at TLA where we both had to wear cowboy hats. And yes, when in the crowd of very well known people and the excitement and the meeting of people whose books I love (people like Maureen Johnson and Mo Willems among others) I clutched my flimsy plastic wine glass too tightly. And when it cracked and ultimately fell, spilling wine on my cowboy boots and splashing author Emily Lockhart's toes, she simply took the napkin from editor Dan and wiped the floor. 

Yes, Emily Lockhart. You were that gracious. And I am your fangirl for life.

There was sightseeing too.
Here I am in Times Square

And I hung out a lot with my fellow YA Outside the Lines author Wendy Delsol, who also has a new book (FLOCK) coming out soon.
This is Wendy signing arcs at the Candlewick booth

And we all ate a lot of good food, like this:

Pasta, pasta, pasta at Becco

And I saw a bunch of New York and had coffee with a former student who now works for TOR books in marketing and I went to the top of the Empire State Building even though I've done that already and also decided that it was finally time to go back to the World Trade Center which I did early Thursday morning so that I could see the Memorial and also this:
And as much as I had wondered how I felt about it, it turned out that I felt really proud and good and hushed inside. On a personal level, I know what it's like to pull yourself out of the ashes of bad stuff up to good and although I had thought that I didn't want another tall building built at Ground Zero, I think I was very wrong about that after all.

In short: I want to go back to BEA next year. I hope that I do!