Monday, February 28, 2011

DFWCon and more

This past weekend, basically one day after returning from Paris, I joined my crit buddies on a road trip to Texas for the DFW Writers' Conference.


Our "paparazzi" photo -- Brandi, Lisa and me. There's a hero journey photo on Lisa's camera, but I wasn't patient enough to wait for it before posting this recap!

Conference highlights:

-- Colleen Lindsay explaining high concept (& saying yay or nay to the audience examples -- very helpful)

-- Rusty Shelton sharing tips on building our digital platform

-- Candy Havens heroically stepping in for Rosemary Clement-Moore (hope you're all better now, Rosemary!) to tell us about the YA hero journey.

-- Kristen Lamb giving us a wakeup call about blogging your brand.

-- Meeting Jim McCarthy of Dystel and Goderich. I'd heard from Jessica Spotswood, Saundra Mitchell, and Carrie Ryan how wonderful he is, and I must agree that he is a total charmer. I just wish I could find his theater blog because I want to follow it!

-- Meeting other YA authors -- so many cool people!

-- Hanging out with my writing buddies, Brandi Barnett and Lisa Marotta, laughing, brainstorming, and experiencing various revelations. I am very inspired to get back to work after all my travels.

Now, looking ahead . . .

Coming up this week on the blog: recap of my girly trip to Paris. There will be TEA and FRENCH SOLDIERS, plus much more.

Next week on the blog: a giveaway of my only remaining ARC for The Revenant + other amazing books and fantastic swag.

Stay tuned!

[Cross-posted from Livejournal]

Monday, February 14, 2011

This and that

Happy Valentine's Day, my friends!

Just a few updates -- I will be giving away an ARC of The Revenant at the end of this month. The hardcover doesn't come out until June 14, so this is your chance to read it early, and in convenient paperback form! Oh, and I'll throw in lots of swag -- and maybe even another book or two -- to sweeten the pot. So please stay tuned.

Speaking of The Revenant, I got my first 1-star rating at Goodreads the other day. Yes, Goodreads is the devil and I should stop going there -- I will stop eventually -- but this seemed like a rite of passage I needed to face. It was a 1-star rating with no review, so I looked the reader up to get some "context." No personal info, no Goodreads friends, but lots of books listed. In particular, lots of Stephen King. I thought "well obviously my book is going to seem disappointing to a Stephen King fan" and brushed it off, feeling very proud of myself for being so mature and unruffled.

It didn't end there, of course. I was noodling around on Goodreads again and decided to look at more of this reviewer's reads. After the long list of positively rated Stephen King titles came a slew of 1-star rated books, including several Philip Pullman books, The Diary of Anne Frank, and more books that I really love. At that point I felt a little smug -- I was in good company!

The next day, the rating for The Revenant disappeared altogether. (???) Not sure what happened there. I was a little sad.

Lesson learned -- stop effing around with Goodreads. Eventually I will get legit 1-star ratings with scathing reviews attached. Best to just stay away, right?

Okay, what else . . .

Today I am fighting off The Sick as I get myself sorted and packed for a big trip with my stepmother. She and I are going to Paris together! We've had this dream for years, and darling Steve made it possible by getting us tickets with frequent flyer miles. We're staying a full week in an apartment near the Eiffel Tower. I'm sure we will be very silly and get lost at least three times a day, but it'll be lovely to have a girl's week in Paris. I've only been once, and it was a whirlwind trip, so please let me know if you have any "must-see" things/places to recommend.

À Bientôt, mes amis!

[Cross-posted from Livejournal]

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Branson Retreat photo recap!

I am home safe and mostly sound, but apparently those remaining at the Branson Retreat are now stranded by snow. Seemed like a good time to share some photos before they go all Stephen King on each other. It could get ugly . . .

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Our strong but silent host, Freddy the Moose.

He stared. A LOT.

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The view from the balcony.

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Victoria Schwab and Myra McEntire.

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Jackson Pearce and Beth Revis during our first live chat.

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Maggie Stiefvater looking mischievous with Werewolf wine and Kraken rum.

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Sunday night's live chat with Jackson and Kiersten White.

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Live chat with Sarah Darer Littman

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The gang during chat -- during a non-rowdy lull. I'm sure you recognize lots of faces!

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Julia Karr's live chat. Poor Julia got stuck in a multi-semi truck accident on the way in and didn't arrive until Sunday. Like me, she left on Tuesday to avoid the snow.

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Victoria, Myra, Julie Kagawa, and Carrie Ryan.

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A productive Monday morning. (Okay, Natalie Parker might be checking her Twitter page, but really -- we Word Warred and everything.)

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Monday night Tarot reading for Frankie Diane Mallis.

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The not-quite-official Elevensies photo. (We're missing Julia Karr, who left early Tuesday, and Beth Revis, who was still sleeping!) Tessa Gratton, Dawn Metcalf, Sonia Gensler (me), Myra McEntire, and Victoria Schwab.

Tonight in Branson . . .

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REDRUM!

[Cross-posted from Livejournal]

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

NY SCBWI

SNOW DAY!

Everything is shut down. Husband and cat are sleeping in. Seems the perfect opportunity to ramble on about my weekend at NY SCBWI.

Despite the earlier snow storm in NYC, our Friday flights were all on time and we made it to the hotel quickly enough, but there were no cabs available once I'd freshened up. So I had a 25 minute walk through the slush (& the craziness of Broadway) to see my editor. It's always a bit mind-boggling to walk into the Random House building. (I wish I'd had the guts to take a photo, but I'm so afraid of getting yelled at.) Anyway, I chatted with Michelle and lots of cool people in the Knopf office AND snagged an ARC of the The Penderwicks at Point Mouette (Eeeee!). After that, Michelle and I went for tea and a snack. Lovely!

That night I met up with Agent Jenn and two more clients, Tiffany Trent and Margie Gelbwasser, for dinner at Metrazur in Grand Central Station. There was so much gabbing and laughing that I forgot to take photos. Good times! Later we went to Kidlit Drinks night, where I got to catch up a bit with the wonderful Shana Silver.

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On Saturday it was so nice to hang out with Tiffany Trent, Kathleen Foucart, and Jessica Spotswood -- they are such charming and lovely ladies!

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Not sure why this photo turned out so red, but this is Mary Kole, Sara Zarr, and me. I am such a fangirl for National Book Award finalist and generally awesome Sara Zarr! Really, I was quivering with glee to meet her (and this was before her amazing keynote speech.) As I was standing next to her for the photo I said "You are so tiny!" Now, in Southern girl speech, this means "you are so slim and fit!" but I realize she might have interpreted it as "you are a little gnome!" or "you are too skinny!" She is a petite woman, but not miniscule by any means. I really wish I could control my blurts. :(

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JC Geiger, Bryan Bliss and Mary Kole before the Saturday luncheon. RL Stine was the keynote speaker and he had us howling!

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Saturday night was date night with Steve. Here we are looking over the Rockefeller Center Ice Rink. Love to see the pairs holding hands.

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Me, sprinkled with snow. I got several fat flakes right in the eye that night.

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Tea at The Morgan Library on Sunday. We saw Jane Austen's letters last year, and this year I had to go again to see the Diary Exhibit -- in particular, this portion from one of Charlotte Bronte's journals. As it turned out, my favorite piece within the exhibit was a page from Kingsley Amis's journal in which he 1) writes a poem, 2) comes back later and rants about how terrible the poem is, 3) adds a later note in which he's glad he doesn't feel so negative anymore, and 4) if I remember correctly, yet another note about how he quite likes the poem now. It was charming.

Okay, so that's about it! It was a great trip, I must say.

Now to breakfast . . .

[Cross-posted from Livejournal]