Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Arizona's Third Annual Teachers-and-Librarians Appreciation Party

What?  Who hasn't posted a blog since September of 2013?

Sorry. :(

For what it's worth, if I'm not writing blogs it's probably because I'm writing books!  And Tweeting, I guess, somehow it's easier to cram 140 characters into bits of my day than to draft a coherent, adequately picture-laden blog.

But some things are worth blogging anyway!  For the past few years, the YA authors in the Phoenix metropolitan area have been putting on an appreciation party for our local teachers and librarians, and this year it was AT MY HOUSE!  Yay!

The point of these parties is simple: to give us local YA authors a chance to thank teachers and librarians for everything they do for our community.  They get a chance to network a bit, get their books signed, and of course pick up some free books and swag for their classrooms and library shelves--courtesy of our many fabulous publishers and local booksellers!

As I said to one of my editors, I know that we can't just fill every library and classroom with books for free (though Kids Need to Read is making some wonderful steps in that direction!).  But that didn't stop us from trying. :)

Of course my husband wanted everyone to be very aware that all the books on this table were by authors in attendance and forced us to carry pens around all night. :)


Does the table look a little bendy to anyone else? ;)  We actually filled that spot in the middle with books once all our latecomers arrived, but we weren't able to get a good picture of the final arrangement because, well, teachers and librarians... really like books!


In all we had about 150 of them stop by for swag...


And food...


And just all-around good company.  It was a fun chance to see new and familiar faces from all over Arizona, every one of them excited to share their passion for promoting literacy among our youth.  So thanks to everyone who attended and contributed to our little event--all told we got about a thousand new books into Arizona's libraries and classrooms for the New Year, and we couldn't have done it without you.


Aprilynne Pike (Sleep No More)
Shelley Coriell (Good Bye, Rebel Blue)
James A. Owen (The First Dragon)
Janni Lee Simner (Faerie Winter)
Bill Konigsberg (Openly Straight)
Lisa McMann (The Unwanteds: Island of Fire)
Angela Morrison (Sing Me to Sleep)
Tom Leveen (Sick) (not pictured)

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

#AuthorInGlass

So, many of you may have noticed that in June, I got Google Glass. Beta--they're not actually available. In fact, I will confess, I am SO undeserving!! Earlier this year, Google offered a contest for people who wanted to Beta-test Glass and to enter you had to Tweet or post on Google+ the line "If I had Glass . . ." and then what you would do.

Ya'all, my husband entered me. HE is the one who had been watching Glass develop and been super-interested in them, and he entered me in order to double HIS chances. I kid you not.

So the first I heard about this contest at all, was in a crazy stream of texts that I got all at the same time (because I was flying, so when I landed they all burst out at me!) from my husband, explaining what Glass was, what the contest was, and that I had been selected to be in the Glass Explorer program. It all ended with a text that essentially said, "So . . . can I, er, you, er, WE do it? Itsokayifyousayno."

Like I was going to say no to THAT.

Fast forward a couple months, we got a date to go pick them up at a Google headquarters and figured it was a fabulous time to take our kids to the beach.:D It was a fast trip because we had a zillion things going on, but we got in a lovely visit with my hubby's grandmother, a long morning at the beach, and went straight from the beach to Google headquarters. Yes, I was wearing my bathing suit under a sundress and still had sand in my crotch, which they never point out in beachy movies. The essentially "bouncers" standing in front of the building with clipboards clearly thought I was in the wrong place.

I went in and got one-on-one training with a Google guy and he was able to break down the basics for me in 30 minutes flat. An hour after arriving at Google, I walked out in these:



See? Swimsuit straps and sundress ties. Just like I said.:D Also, no sunburn. Wear sunscreen people. And reapply every two hours.:D

So thus began my life with Google Glass. So what do I think? They're fun. I like them.

Here are the main questions I get asked by strangers in public:

#1 SOOOOOO #1 How do you like them?:

Which, I'm sorry to everyone who asks, is a very silly question. Either, I work for Google and I'd better tell you I love them even if I hate them with the passion of a thousand suns, or I'm a complete moron and am wearing them around even though I hate them, in which case, do you really want my opinion? So when I always, always, answer that question with, "They're fun. I like them," I haven't actually shared any pertinent information.:D

#2 What is that?: This one takes time and the answer depends on how long I have. If I'm in a hurry you just get the, "It's a computer you wear," answer. I do *try* to take the time to explain what they are, but I have a very busy life.

#3 Are you recording me right now?: Okay, let's put this silly rumor to rest, shall we? When you are facing someone who is wearing Glass and it's awake (which it has to be to either take a picture or record) you can see it. As far as I know, (and I'm sure there will be apps that will do this later) you cannot take a picture or record someone without them seeing that you are doing *something.* The guy with the camera that looks like it's just sitting idly in his hand, but the lens happens to be facing you? The girl who looks like she's texting, but it holding her camera at a pretty upright angle? Both of those people WAY more likely to be recording you than someone wearing Glass. (Unrelated, at the store the other day this teen took a picture of my adorable daughter with her phone and was clearly trying to disguise it but left the sound on. My 2yo, VERY familiar with that sound says, "Mommy, you take my picture?" I LOL'ed on the inside.)

#4 No question, just the blank look.: I never leave the house without at least lipstick on if I'm wearing my Glass. Because if you look like you're put together and dressed decently, folks are much less likely to think that perhaps you simply left your tin-foil hat at home. This is such new tech that so many people literally have no clue what it is and you get looked at SO funny. Which is actually kind of fun.:) But I get more looks of "Oh cool!" when my hair is styled and I'm wearing make-up, and more looks of "OMG look at the freak!" when I don't. Which is why, when I wore them to ComicCon is San Diego, even though I knew 90%+ of that particular demographic would know exactly what I was wearing, I still made sure I looked like this:



(ComicCon was the one place where I literally got multiple cat calls of something along the lines of, "Hey! Google Glass! Lookin' good!" I loved it, personally!)

#5 How much did you pay for that?: People, do I NEED to explain why this is a tacky question? I paid more than it's going to eventually be sold for because it's a limited run, not mass-produced, came with extra goodies and personal hands-on training, etc. But what *I* paid for my early edition Glass is not only none of your business, it's not useful information whatsoever. Because it doesn't tell you what you're going to have to pay for yours.:) Let's all wash our hands and move on.

Personal tips:

*This is NOT a tech that you can use while driving. I've heard it bandied about that it will save the world from driving and texting. No. No, no, no, no, no and also, no. It is absolutely no less distracting than texting. HOWEVER, it is a better tech for red light usage because there's no glancing up and down at a phone and then getting honked at when it turns green because you inevitably don't see it. The traffic light is in your line of sight, right next to your screen. When it turns green, you swipe down (turn it off) and drive on your merry way. (I have NO idea the legality of this, do at your own ticketing risk!!!)

*Bring it to social activities and let your friends try it! They have fun! Here's Beth Revis the amazing trying mine out (Sorry for the lighting):

And when they're done, consider laying your Glass down on the table. If you are in a crowd where you wouldn't surf on your phone or answer your email, etc. there's no reason to be wearing glass and I feel like it can be a bit intrusive. At least until everyone has them.;)

*Related, do NOT take naughty pictures with your Glass! Not only does it save all pics to the Cloud, but if you let anyone try them on (yes, I know there is a guest mode, but that is a huge hassle, IMO) they are going to flip through some of your history. And um, they don't want to see nekkid bits. Trust. Me. (Carrie Ryan was flipping through mine, saw the tagline to an email and said, "Oh, hey, congrats on your Italian deal.:D LOL! )

*Remember that you look a little funny while you're using them. While after a while you stop going cross-eyed as my lovely SIL Brittany is demonstrating here...


...at best, you look a little spaced out when you are actively doing something on them. So quickly checking an alert when you are supposed to be listening to your boss? Yeah, don't do it. If there is one thing Glass lacks, it's subtlety. I'm not even saying it NEEDS subtlety. But, yeah . . . it doesn't have it.:D (See the, OMG SEEKRIT PICTURES section.)

So, along with my hashtag, #AuthorInGlass, how does Glass help me in particular as an author? It doesn't, really. I don't wear it at home in front of my computer. I rarely email with it, and when I do, it's to friends or family. The voice dictation works pretty well, but has little to no capitalization or punctuation, and that's not how I want to present myself as an author to my professional associates. However, it is nice to have the little ding in my ear that lets me know I have an email, to glance at it on my screen, and see if it's worth digging my phone out and actually responding to an email. (And in many ways I like the alerts better than simply Push on my iPhone because I can hear it, but no one else can.)

I find Glass most helpful on weekdays when I am out of my house. It's a "busy person" piece of tech.

I like to refer to them as my professional attention-getter. People often want to know how I got them and I can say, well, guess what I do for a living? (Because the fact that I have 10K+ followers on Twitter is almost certain why I was selected and not my husband.;)) Business cards have been handed out; that's all I'm saying.;)

As an author I frequently use them to take pictures while I am traveling and to post them on Twitter. I generally find myself using a hybrid of Glass and my phone because even thought they're supposed to, I have never managed to get the captions to work on my Glass. So I have to add context. Also, adding captions means talking to myself in public. (Voice dictation.) So yes, I use it in my capacity as an author, but I don't think I get any particularly special kind of use out of them because I am an author. Does that makes sense?

*OH!!* And when I'm flying, because without fail, it drives the TSA agents NUTS! Either they want to ask about it and know they can't waste your or their time, or they are like, OMG WHAT IS THE POLICY ON THIS?!?!? And goodness knows, I like to mess with the TSA. (Seriously, the TSA people go crazy.;) In San Diego I went through security during a really dead time and they FLOCKED. I had like six guys surrounding me asking questions. And then a lady on a platform kept shouting down, "What did she say?" It was hilarious.)


If you see someone in public wearing Glass and want to approach them, please keep in mind:

1.) They get stopped a minimum of once every five minutes. After ComicCon followed by a week of tour, I had to put them away for a week because I needed a break from people stopping me in public.

2.) So please be polite. If the person is on their computer, talking on the phone, engaged in a conversation with someone else, eating, or simply look frazzled, let it go. Come ask ME questions. I'll answer them! (Twitter is great for that!!!) Very few of us work for Google (you are way more likely to see an Exporer in them than a Google employee) and because we all purchased our Glass outright, we don't owe Google time, or reviews, or canned good opinions, etc. So I mean this in the nicest way possible, we don't owe *you* anything. If we are clearly busy, find someone online to ask.

3.) I know you're excited, but please don't lose your head. The single bad experience I had was with a man in a Costco where I was shopping with my 2yo. I really, really try to give this man the benefit of the doubt because 1.) he obviously was super-excited and 2.) as he talked it became clear English was not his first language. But still. I was in a corner and all I know is I turn around with my tortillas, try to get out, and am blocked in by a man and the woman with him. And I try to get by and he points a finger in my face and says, "How do you like it?" I'm totally stunned; I've forgotten I'm even wearing Glass (yes, I do totally forget--they're surprisingly unobtrusive) and he repeats, again with a finger in my face, "How do you like it?" I'm there with my child, physically blocked from removing myself from the situation, with someone who, until I remembered my Glass, I literally thought was purposely sexually harassing me. Once I remembered my Glass, (Oh, right, see FAQ #1.) that did NOT make everything okay! I was still physically blocked in with my kid, and felt extremely uncomfortable. Hello, Mama Bear. I gave mono-syllable answers and got myself the heck out of there!! I recommend simply using "Hello," or "Excuse me,"to begin a convo about Glass. Call me crazy.

4.) If you are polite and they're not busy, don't be surprised if they let you put them on. Literally dozens of complete strangers have put on my Glass. Because as an observer, it's super fun to see people's faces light up when they see how it works for themselves! Then again, don't be surprised if they don't, but when I'm not busy, I totally let people try mine.

YMMV:

*I think it's hilarious when people call me a cyborg. Some people won't think so.

*I thought the Glass cat-calls at CC were super fun and not sexual at all. Some people will disagree.

*I hate walking around in public talking to my Glass, so I rarely do the voice-dictation thing outside of my home. I can see some people thinking that is super-fun.

*I think my Glass were easier to get used to because I wore glasses most of my life. Both in terms of having something in my periphery that I mostly ignore and the weight of the earpiece. (The one that holds the screen took me a couple weeks to stop hurting my ear after several hours.)



So yeah, I guess that's my report. I will say, what I'm really looking forward to is the apps that are going to flood in when Glass is actually released. Because while it is fun, and performs its (limited) functions very well, I think its usefulness is going to skyrocket when developers get their hands on it. Right now, it's still a toy to me. Fun. Functional. Not pushing aside my beloved iPhone anytime soon.

So yeah, to answer the #1 question . . . They're fun. I like them.:D

Ciao!


Saturday, July 27, 2013

Tour Spotlight! Cincinnati, OH!!

I went to Cincinnati a couple of times when the Wings series was young, but I haven't been in a few years. I'm excited to go back!!

THE CITY: Cincinnati, OH

THE STORE: Joseph-Beth Book Sellers


Thevent is the YA Beach Blast, an annual event sponsored by Joseph-Beth's!!



What I remember most about the one time I have been to this store is that I was really tired, but we were an hour's drive away from my hotel and I assured my media escort that I would be fine. And I wandered off and found a bench with a padded seat and took a nap.:D I was fine.;) Nonetheless, I am excited to go back and to remember something other than a secret nap in a strange corner.



THE AUTHORS:

This is the only event for next week that I did not organize and invite all the authors. So several of them I've never met. So excuse the sparse bios below--I'm sure I will be able to write much more about them after I meet them!

Mindee Arnett:





Mindee is the author of The Nightmare Affair and she has pretty blue streaks!!!

Liz Coley:




Liz is the author of Pretty Girl 13 which I SO can't wait to read!!!

Julie Kagawa:




Julie is one of my fellow faerie authors!!!!! She is the creator of the hugely popular Iron Fey series and though I have had several close brushes, I haven't yet managed to meet her and I am super-excited to finally get that chance!

Kristina McBride:




Okay, I admit, I had a funny moment when I Googled for a picture of Kristina. I was like, um, there are a couple pf people here. I finally realized the other frequent face was Martina McBride. So let's be very clear on which one we have here. This is KRIStina McBride and she is the author of The Tension of Opposites, and One Moment. I don't know if she sings at all.;)

Saundra Mitchell:




Saundra is one of my bestest author friend ever and the main reason I was invited to do Beachy Reads at Jo Beth. So, yeah, it's her fault that I'm there. Saundra is the author of Shadowed Summer, The Elementals Trilogy, the upcoming Mistwalker, and the fab editor of the anthology Defy The Dark (which I have a story in!:D)

THE CUPCAKES:

Ooooh-kay, I am totally going to bunt on this one. This tour stop is not of my making, and is not part of the Girls' Night Out Tour. But IF there are leftover cupcakes from the Charlotte, NC stop, and IF I have room for them in my carry-on bag, I will bring a few cupcakes from The Polka Dot Bakeshop with me to Cincinnati. And IF you mention having seen this news here on my blog, tell me at the signing and IF I have any cupcakes leftover, I will give you one. (I know that sounds like a lot of IF's, but I do intend to have about five.)

THE DETAILS:

YA Beach Blast!
Saturday, August 3rd, 1:00 PM (NOTE THIS TIME!)
Joseph-Beth Booksellers
2692 Madison Road
Cincinnati OH 45208


Here is a link to Jo-Beth's Kids' Events including this one. 

I so hope to see you there!!! (And after five days in a row of events I hope I can still speak coherently.:D)

Ciao!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Tour Spotlight! Charlotte, NC!!

I've never been to Charlotte. I've never been to North Carolina. (I think.)

THE CITY: Huntersville, NC (Just outside of Charlotte.)

THE STORE: Birkdale Village Barnes and Noble




I SO hope this store is this pretty IRL! Do you see that white trim? Gorgeous!!! The only thing I know about this store is that it's close to where Carrie Ryan and Beth Revis live. I mean, do I NEED to know more than that? *wink* Also that it is run by a very nice woman named Judy. *nods*

THE AUTHORS:

Carrie Ryan:




Okay, so Carrie and I got to know each other about a year and a half before either of our books came out! She is one of the few authors who has been to my house (not that I mind, it just doesn't happen that often), and I seriously adore her like whoa. One of my favorite things to do when describing her Forest of Hands and Teeth series is to say, "Literary Zombie Novel. I kid you not." While best-known for that New York Times Bestselling series, Carrie is most recently the editor of the anthology Foretold and the MG Infinity Ring novel, Divide and Conquer.

Beth Revis:





Who has longer hair than me? Well, actually, a lot of people since I cut it two days ago . . . But even before! Yes! Beth Revis!!! New York Times Bestselling author, Beth, is the creator of the Across the Universe series!!Sci-fi fans, unite!!! I actually heard about how awesome Beth was as a person before I read her books and guess what!?!? She's a good writer too.;) Not only did Beth agree to come up and sign with Carrie and me, when I said, "What store should I go to? Who should I contact?" She said, "Oh, I'll do that." And that was pretty much the theme for this stop. I flailed about details and said, "What do I do?" and Beth replied, "Let me handle it." This tour stop is brought to you by Beth.

THE CUPCAKES: Polka Dot Bake Shop

This is the only bakery where I have not tasted the cupcakes. Yet. So we'll be adventurous together! I was really impressed by TPBS's daily offerings and I always like to support local businesses--even in someone else's locale! (And even though I decided not to order a dozen of them, I am going to pick up and try and Elephant Ear cupcake when I pick up the others! Wish I was there on Tuesday for the Caramel Apple cupcake!!!)


Friday Night's stop will feature Vanilla, Peanut Butter Cup, and Chocolate Raspberry Swirl.



THE DETAILS:
Friday, August 2, 7:00 PM
Birkdale Village Barnes and Noble
8725 Townley Road
Huntersville, NC 28078

Here is a link to their event page.

So come see us!!! Because, well, Beth worked really hard.:D


Ciao!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Tour Spotlight! Idaho Falls, ID!!

Now, don't knock it just because it's small and out of the way. I seriously blame this city for the week Wings hit #1 on the New York Times Bestseller List.

THE CITY: Idaho Falls, Idaho

THE STORE: Grand Teton Mall Barnes and Noble





This is one of the most Indie-like B&N's I've ever been too. Run locally by a manager and staff who really put their customers first! My parents used to live here and when Wings came out this B&N got behind it in a huge way! I am pretty sure no store has ever sold more copies of any of my titles as this store did of Wings. They seriously rock!

THE AUTHORS: A few familiar faces.

Natalie Whipple:




Author of Transparent and the upcoming House of Ivy and Sorrow, Natalie has agreed to road trip with me from Salt Lake City to Idaho Falls! (Crazy girl!!) Super-pleased to have the pleasure of her company two nights in a row!

Jessica Day George:






The most prolific of us all, Jessica writes for both the YA and MG markets and has NINE books to her credit. Her most recent YA is the incredible Princess of the Silver Woods, and her latest (*ahem* New York Times bestselling) MG is Wednesdays in the Tower. So honored to have booked her at all, much less for two days.:)

Wendy Toliver:




(I thought this pic was so super cute!) Wendy is my friend of awesomeness who once got me into a group signing in Tooele, UT. Such favors take years to repay. *wink* Wendy is the author of the romantic comedies, Miss Match and The Secret Life of a Teenage Siren, as well as the novel Lifted which is super awesome and has a quote from an amazing author on the front of it. *Ahem* I have not managed to see Wendy in about two years now, so believe you me, I'll be even more excited to see her than you! Although you should be freaking over the moon.:D

THE CUPCAKES: The Cocoa Bean





Okay, brace yourself. Gushing is about to commence. This is my FAVORITE cupcake bakery on the face of the earth. Of. The. Earth. I love these cupcakes the way good mothers wished they loved their kids. If someone offered me a Cocoa Bean cupcake for my child, I might trade. (Depends on the kid and the day. *wink*)

I am one of those people who loves flavors and fillings. So, for example, if I have a choice of vanilla ice cream and chocolate that has more things in it than they have room to list on the menu, I am SO going to choose the latter. So I want you to understand how serious I am when I say that the Cocoa Bean's Madagascar Vanilla-Vanilla cupcake may be the greatest cupcake every created.

Plus, it's pretty.

Yes, this bakery gets TWO pictures. It is that wonderful.

Thursday night's signing will feature Madagascar Vanilla-Vanilla, Fluffer Nutter, and Better Than Whatever cupcakes.

I am having a vanilla one.:D Maybe a Fluffer Nutter as well . . . Okay fine, I'm probably having one of each.:D (And then I will be very sick that night since I generally don't eat wheat. . . It will be worth it! Plus, sugar buzz for the late night drive back to SLC. See? Everyone wins!)

THE DETAILS:

Thursday, August 1, 6:30 PM (NOTE THIS TIME!!!)
Grand Teton Mall B&N
2300 East 17th Street Suite #1101
Idaho Falls, ID 83404

Here is a link to their event page. 

I am actually worried that I may not have ordered enough cupcakes . . . so get there on time! Cupcakes for the first 72 people! (Yes, this little town in Idaho does, in fact, bring out that many people. That is why they rock!!! Last time I was there I signed until 15 minutes after closing . . . thus the earlier time.:)) 

Ciao!