I’ve never hidden the fact that my local indie is awesome. Besides the fact that they know me by name and joke I should be a part time bookseller (I could never do it. I would never have a paycheck), they get amazing authors to come to town. Because of them I’ve met more authors than I can count and have the shelves to show for it. However, it’s always a surprise to see what YA authors will come to town. There is a reason I go to book festivals on the other side of the USA. We don’t get everyone! It’s shocking I know! I was pleasantly surprised when Bloomsbury announced Sarah’s tour and said she would be stopping here. Turnout is always a game my friend, another Sarah, and I joke about. Some events everyone shows up, some events no one shows up.
I’m proud to say the YA community came out. We showed up and had standing room only. It was so bad when my friend Sarah and I showed up we thought the talk was canceled because there were so many people. We’ve gone to (only) signings and that’s what we thought this was because there was such a turn out.
Because I was in the middle of the crowd, I’ve stolen a photo from Maas’ publicist. I know where I am in that photo and can barely find myself. It was an awesome group to be part of because the vibe was amazing. What was even more amazing was local author, Rae Carson, was the moderator. I could not pick a more perfect moderator for the event. They worked well off of each other, they both geeked out and flailed over each other. There was also talk about my favorite thing: kick ass females.
Some highlights of the night include:
- Maas calling her husband Dobby.
- Maas admitting that maybe just maybe she’s Slytherin.
- Maas saying more than once “I just really love Disney.”
- Maas discussing her friendship with Susan Dennard and Alexandra Bracken and you could feel why she wrote strong female friendships, because she had those of her own.
- The question “Where does ship come from?” And without missing a beat Maas goes “Jesus?”
I also loved that Carson asked her how to pronounce her characters names, because as someone with a midwest accent, lets be real I tend to give up.
This event was by far one of my favorite that I’ve gone to. The vibe was amazing. The questions were amazing. It wasn’t awkward. You could tell both of these authors love their jobs, love geeky things, and love their readers. Thanks to the publisher, authors, and Changing Hands for making an unforgettable night.
Photos include: me with Rae, me with Lizzy (who happens to be a friend, hence the selfie) and playing the pronounce the character names.
For years now, while I’ve been going to Changing Hands for signings, I’ve seen Amy Nichols but we’ve never really talked. Last month at the A.S. King signing we had a discussion about how the other seemed familiar BUT WHERE HAVE WE MET. It was a lovely, weird moment. But then I found out she was having a book signing and I knew I had to go.
The event did not disappoint. Amy is so personable and hugged everyone she met, which was impressive as it was a full packed house which involved getting more and more chairs out AND selling out of the stock! Her kids and husband were on point and her father was the hilarious proud dad throughout the night. Amy started off, understandably, nervous. It was her first signing and she’s used to being where I was, sitting in the audience knitting. (Just kidding, she’s not the knitter in the audience, that would be me. But usually she is right by me). Being on stage is completely different but she did amazing!
Amy discussed her book with us, of course. But she also showed us her book trailer and then read from the book. What’s awesome about Now That You’re Here is the fact that it takes place in Phoenix, and Amy actually lives in Phoenix. I know that seems like a duh moment, but I’ve read a lot of books lately that take place in Phoenix, and you can tell the author has never stepped foot in Phoenix, or used google maps to look at Phoenix. That’s the stuff that quickly takes me out of the story so that is one less, silly, thing for me to worry about.
Then Amy opened the floor to questions and answered things from how to get ideas, to working with an editor and why she writes for teens. It was a great signing and if you have a chance to see Amy in person I highly recommend it. She’s lovely and amazing.
Last week, my dear friend Anna and I hit up our local indie in Phoenix, which side note. Thanks Changing Hands for coming to downtown Phoenix! Hearts in my eyes for you! Although Anna and I go to this place once a month for book talk and booze, we came this time for Alexandra Bracken’s Phoenix signing. While she’s from Phoenix, she now lives in New York City and has not had a signing in Phoenix. I have the pleasure of meeting her last year at ALA in Chicago, and the next ALAs as she worked for a publisher, but it was enjoyable to see her as an author this time.
For the whole signing I felt like I was in Alex’s living room discussing books and publishing.I mean a giant living room with about 50 to 75 people, but it still stayed intimate and cozy. She answered any and all questions which ranged from “where did this idea come from?” to “what is the process for creating a cover?” I was enrapt listening to all of her answers. As someone who goes to…
a few a lot of book signings, I’ve heard a lot of the same questions over and over again, with very little enthusiasm for them. But with Alex, I was fascinated and wanted to hear more.
It was also a lot of fun because her family was there. From her mom, to her older sister, to her younger brother and his friends cosplaying the characters. I really hate being like “this book signing was just a lot of fun” but you know what? It was. It was one of the better book signings I’ve ever been to, and not just because I sat next to this lovely bowl of candy the whole night (of course that helped). What was most interesting to me though was Alex’s road to publication. While it’s considered normal, she just recently quit her job, where should worked at a different publishing house and she worked her ass off so now she can write full time. Something she said is hard for her because she is used to writing int he wee hours of the morning. Not writing at 3AM, is this something she can do? Spoiler: she told us it is different, but she is working on it and she gets to see her friends again! Brunch! (No. I’m not into foods why’d you ask?)
I highly recommend seeing Alex if you have the shot. Her and her books are worth it.
This past Saturday, October 10, I had the pleasure of going to my local Barnes and Noble and seeing the Epic Reads Fall tour come through town. Going to Barnes and Noble book signings are very weird for me because I am very loyal to my local indies and I never know how they work. Actually all of my Barnes and Noble signings that I have gone to have been out of state (Oceanside, CA and Las Vegas, NV). This is a long winded way to say I had no idea what to expect. Because it was on the other side of town, my BFFSarah and I got there about 45 minutes before it was to begin and noticed this set up. The event was going to be held in the fiction rotunda, by the cactus (it’s Phoenix, OF COURSE THERE WAS CACTUS) and by the 50 Shades display. Or as I called it, what was once twilight fanfiction. Closer to the store started to set up chairs, and people slowly started to file in. Sarah and I began to worry when there weren’t many people there, because we love YA and we want everyone to! Thankfully as the event started it became a packed house and was ultimately a lot of fun!
The authors were introduced and gave a short blurb about what their book is/means to them. Then the moderator asked them a handful of questions and then opened it up to the floor. What I found most fascinating was, from the outside, it seemed that these books didn’t have much in common: fantasy, contemporary, guns, abuse of women, etc. But as the authors discussed more and more about their books the more I realized there are common themes and putting them together was actually genius. Plus, them being put together made me want to read of of these authors books. The five panelists were:
- Amy Ewing, who wrote The Jewel
- Andrea Portes, who wrote Anatomy of a Misfit (and more importantly enjoys the greatest football team ever: The Packers)
- Anna Carey, who wrote Blackbird (and who I’ve met 3 times now and remembers me! And gave me a hug!)
- Heather Demetrios, who wrote Exquisite Captive
- Madeline Roux, who wrote Asylum
As you see, even the titles make it hard to believe that these books have anything in common, but really: THEY DO! And they answered my question during the Q & A. I say this because I ask, what I consider to be a very entertaining question “what book have you read, purely based on the cover?” I need to state that I have stolen this question from a bookseller at Changing Hands, but we’re friends, so I believe it to be okay. I find this question to be interesting for various reasons. One, I find new books with pretty covers, and two, some authors very quickly state they don’t judge books by their cover and always give a very valid reason. All five of these lovely authors gave answers quickly and brought new books to my attention that I am now excited to look into.
Yes, even a librarian judges books by their cover, sorry to spoil that for you.
Also, it was clear throughout this panel that not only do these authors all enjoy the company of each other, but they love what they do. I am a huge reader with no interest in writing and they were happy to discuss not only their craft, but also the reading aspect of their books. Anytime these ladies come back to town I would be more than happy to go to another one of their signings.
Lastly, shout out to the authors that took selfies with me, without even second guessing it.
If you have yet to go to a book sign, I cannot recommend going to one more. Just ask BFFSarah, as I constantly drag her to them.
I’m a wee bit OCD (I can think of two people reading that who just laughed really hard). I have a way I do things every day. One of those things is the events page at my local indie. They update about once a month en masse, but I check everyday. WHAT IF I DON’T AND I MISS AN EVENT? Ignoring the fact I’m also Facebook friends with them and follow their twitter, I still do this ritual.
One day I checked and noticed that the “Openly YA tour” was coming through Phoenix. I proceeded to send the following text message to my bff who I drag to book events with me, “David Levithan, Aaron Hartzler, and Bill Konigsberg are coming. WE. ARE. GOING.” And then I felt bad and said something like “or I AM.” While Bill is a local author and I have seen him a few times, I have not had the pleasure of seeing the other two.
THRILLED, I went. Thrilled I live in a community that embraces it. And loved it with me. Because here’s the thing, these are three passionate authors. They love what they do and were open to any and all questions. I asked what Aaron’s extremely religious parents thought of his book since it was the only memoir and I refuse to give the answer, because Aaron and I also shared a lovely awkward eye contact moment as my friend and I were the only two people in the front row.
At the end of the talk, which included questions, they were open to signing any and all books. During this time Aaron and I discussed UofArizona (we both went for our Masters, he forced his ACT-100 student to find the library!) and how I currently work at a Christian university as a fairly flaming liberal (with his background he noted what I am doing is important. Which is nice to hear). David and I discussed how many books I brought and how I love his writing and what it means to me. And, as always, Bill and I discussed food. We always discuss food.
Over all an extremely good time had by all (I think. Hope!)
Tina and I joke that she gets all the concerts that I want and that I get all the book signings. And it’s kind of true. I luck out, I live by a really good neighborhood indie that loves to host signings and Tina lives in the 3rd biggest city in the United States and I only live in the 5th/6th (we fight it out every year) so I get NO GOOD CONCERTS. But I’m not bitter.
Anyhoo, I am here to cover another book tour that came to my lovely city.
This time we hosted Cynthia Hand, Veronica Rossi, Tahereh Mafi and Anna Carey. It was extremely informal and full of jokes and questions. Every author introduced another author and pretty much professed their love of each other while still being factual and hilarious and even shocking each other! They answered any and all questions from the audience, including mine “So clearly you all hate each other, how did you all meet?” Thankfully they enjoyed my snarky question. They even found out things from each other that they didn’t know. Tahereh was a big Cynthia fangirl and Cynthia had no idea. They also answered questions that ranged from “what was the first book you wrote?” to “How do you get through the tough times?”
They were all also extremely nice and so thankful that people came out to visit and spend time with them. I had to hang at the end of the line because I brought a few too many books (what? I have a problem!) and they were still extremely happy and enthusiastic, even after I had camera issues and had to take another photo with Cynthia and Veronica they were more than happy, too. Tahereh was nice enough to doodle on the cover of my book for me and Anna was just as nice and lovely from the last time I saw her.
It was awesome. I bonded with Cynthia Hand about ships in books, Veronica Rossi remembered me from my twitter photo (I’m in a ball pit) and Tahereh Mafi and Anna Carey and I discussed nail polish. It was a lovely night.
Thanks to my lovely side kick Laurel for taking the photos of me. Of course she had no choice. As I reminded her “I AM YOUR RIDE LAUREL.” You’re a good photographer and friend (for putting up with me.)
I joke that authors are my rockstars, but no really they are. When they tweet back I tend to flail to Tina and I have planned vacations around tours. Although to be fair I recently planned a vacation and then found out about the tour. But still. Ashley loves her some authors. Sadly my work schedule makes it extremely hard for me to go to said book signings. My BFFSarah and I however make it work that when we can, we head to our local indie and hit up the signings. Thankfully the awesome changing hands does them a lot, which has helped me become mayor of Changing Hands on foursquare (yes. I’m proud.)
When I found out that one of my favorite authors Shannon and her friend Debra were coming to town I pretty much told Sarah we were going, and then I felt bad and I actually asked her if she was up to it. This was one of the best book signings I have gone to. You can tell that these two are extremely good friends and treated all of us like we were just hanging out in their living room talking to them, with them throwing candy at us. It was comfortable, completely informal, full of fun, belly laughs and mocking. I wish more book signings were like that because it was just so..right. They read from each others books, they asked each other questions, they allowed us to ask questions, they made fun of each-other but made clear the mocking was out of love. I really felt like I was hanging out with old friends I hadn’t seen in a year.
They also had a giveaway in which there was In-N-Out gift cards, which is a plot point in Let the Sky Fall and Debra gave out a Changing Hands gift card, which I was lucky enough to win. Because in the words of my friend “Yes, exactly what you needed. Another excuse to spend money here.” Thank you Debra, I didn’t thank you enough in person!
I’m sure I’ve made it clear, but I love and adore Shannon (and her writing) I’m pretty sure so far I’ve come to all of her Arizona events and not once has she looked at me like “Oh. The crazy one is back.” Here’s the thing, I ramble to Shannon a lot, which is hilarious because she rambles a lot, too but she never once treated me like a bother, or a pester. Even though I send far too many tweets that I usually get really embarrassed about. Every time I see her, it’s like hanging out with an old friend for an hour, it’s awesome and lovely. And Debra and I discussed nail polish, it was equally awesome. Thank you Shannon and Debra for coming to Arizona, we really do love you here.
If you haven’t been to a book signing I can’t recommend it enough! Who do you wish you could meet? Who have you met?
Review for Let the Sky Fall here.
Review for MILA 2.0 coming soon.