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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: events, Most Recent at Top [Help]
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1. professional news and thank yous

future - digital divide images

This title sounds fancy but mostly I needed to play catch-up and this seems like the best way to do that. Hi. In the past month I’ve done two public speaking type things that went well and some other stuff. I’ve been remiss in sharing them in a timely fashion. So now I’m sharing them in a list fashion.

  • I went to Mississippi for the MLA Conference which was a great time. I led a facilitated discussion pre=conference which is the first real time I’ve done something like that. You can read the slides here: The Digital Divide and You which includes input from the discussion part of the afternoon. I stuck around for the conference and was very glad I did. I put some photos up here. Thank you MLA, the Mississippi Library Commission and especially MLA President Amanda Clay Powers for showing me a good time.
  • VLA hosted a table at VT’s first annual ComicCon. This was a hugely fun event and terrific for library outreach. We had free stickers and reading lists, a display of banned graphic novels and people could get their photos taken in our “Vermont Comic Reader’s License” booth which netted a ton of delightful photographs (more on facebook). We also sponsored one of the special guests — Dave Newell, Mr. McFeely from Mister Roger’s Neighborhood) and he did storytime at the booth with puppets. I staffed the table one of the days. Such a good time. Huge shout-outs to other planners: Helen Linda, Sam Maskell and Hannah Tracy.
  • Another MLA! This time the Massachusetts Small Libraries Conference (also the “first annual”) and I was the keynote speaker talking about how to Future-proof libraries. A combination of talking about what the challenges and unique positions small and rural libraries are in as well as some ways to nudge people towards getting interested in the online world. Notes and slides here. Big thanks to the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners & the Massachusetts Library System.
  • I started writing for The Open Standard, Mozilla’s new online-writing thing. My first article, After Some Victories, the Time Has Come to Legally Define ‘Fair Use’, has been up for a while now. I’d love to know what you think.
  • Also I’m not sure if I was explicit in my “I’m moving on” post about MetaFilter but I’m still at least somewhat looking for work. I love Open Library and my local teaching but I’ve got a few more hours in my schedule and would be happy to do some more speaking, some consulting or some writing. I have a one-pager website that summarizes my skillset. Feel free to pass it along to people.

I gave a really quick “How to do an elevator speech” talk after lunch at MLA (the one in MA, not the one in MS) and it was really fun. All librarians should practice their elevator speeches. Here’s my one slide from that talk. You can probably get the gist of it.

how do to an elevator speech in one slide

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2. On the Scene: Reception at Society of Illustrators for Heroes of the Comics

by Nicky Wheeler-Nicholson

Just before the mad crush of New York Comic Con a crowd of comic book royalty gathered at the Society of Illustrators in Manhattan to hear a stellar panel talk about Heroes of the Comics, Drew Friedman’s wonderful book featuring some of the best and least known artists, publishers and writers who brought the comics alive.

 On the Scene: Reception at Society of Illustrators for Heroes of the Comics

Heroes of the Comics by Drew Friedman. Cover portrait of Jack Kirby.

The Society of Illustrators was established in 1901 to promote the art of illustration. From the very beginning the monthly dinners were attended by some of the most well-known artists of the time like N.C. Wyeth, Charles Dana Gibson and Maxfield Parrish. The Society also includes the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art in a beautiful old building on the upper eastside that was originally a carriage house for J.P. Morgan’s secretary. Since New York is the birthplace of American comic books what could be more perfect?

Every single person who attended had some connection large or small to the event and there is no way to name all the prominent illustrators and comic book people who came out to celebrate this event. A few of the cognoscenti spotted were Carl and Nancy Gropper of the Will and Anne Eisner Family Foundation and Will Eisner Studios, Jim Salicrup of Papercutz, Paul Levitz, past president of DC Comics and comic book scholar and author and David Kasakove who co-wrote the article on Feldstein and Krigstein’s Master Race. The crowd was enthusiastic and there was a palpable sense of excitement. This is a credit to Drew’s beautiful portraits and the care he took with his biographies of each person. Heroes of the Comics is published by Fantagraphics and features a large full page drawing of each person with a one-page biography. The portraits are a genuine insight and reflection of the person and their contribution. Special kudos to Drew for his careful research so that the bios are accurate and help to add to the ongoing study of how it all began in comics.

panelSoI 300x225 On the Scene: Reception at Society of Illustrators for Heroes of the Comics

Drew Friedman, Al Jaffee, Sean Howe and Karen Green, Society of Illustrators.

Danny Fingeroth did the honors as Master of Ceremonies and in his usual cheerful and astute manner kept things moving along. Danny introduced the comic book royalty in audience including the artist Will Elder’s family—daughter Nancy Vanderbergh and her husband Gary and their children. Gary is the instigator of Drew’s book as he commissioned a portrait of Will Elder for Nancy and the whole project took off from there. Publisher Max Gaines and his son Bill who took over the business were represented by Cathy Gaines Misfud and her sister Wendy Gaines Bucci with some of their children. Chelle Meyer represented her grandfather Sheldon Meyer, a long time editor at DC and comic book artist and me, Nicky Wheeler-Nicholson representing my grandfather, “the Major” Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson, the first publisher of comics with original art and scripts were all part of the comic book families present.

DannyatSOI 300x291 On the Scene: Reception at Society of Illustrators for Heroes of the Comics

Danny Fingeroth at Society of Illustrators panel on Heroes of the Comics.


Several of the portraits from the book were shown on a large screen and commented upon by Drew, Al Jaffee, Sean Howe who recently published Marvel Comics the Untold Story and Karen Green, fresh from her triumph as the instigator for the new Comics at Columbia exhibition and collection opening from the evening before. We could have stayed all night listening to the group talk about the people involved in comic book history. It was a special treat to have Al Jaffee speak about so many of the people he knew and had worked with.

AlJatSOI 225x300 On the Scene: Reception at Society of Illustrators for Heroes of the Comics

Al Jaffee holds forth with Drew Friedman in foreground and Sean Howe in background

Afterwards we enjoyed a lovely meal out on the terrace and were able to talk and catch up with old friends on a beautiful fall evening in New York. What more do you want for comic book heaven?

[Nicky Wheeler-Nicholson is writing a biography of her grandfather, Major Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson, military intelligence officer, prolific pulp writer, inventor and founder of DC Comics, with Gerard Jones (Men of Tomorrow) entitled Lost Hero. Her most recent publication is co-editing and writing an Introduction to a reprint of some of the Major’s adventure tales from the pulps entitled The Texas-Siberia Trail published by Off-Trail Publications. Nicky is a writer, editor and audio publisher and holds a Master’s in Classical Greek Mythology. She was featured in Women’s Enews with an article on Wonder Woman and San Diego Comic Con and appears frequently at Comics Conventions throughout the US speaking about early comic book history.]

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3. Off to the Highlights Foundation, then Denver!

Thursday I leave for Honesdale, Pennsylvania where I'll be a guest speaker at Highlights Foundation's "From Prose to Picture to Published: Writing a Marketable Picture Book 2014" from October 31st - November 2nd, with fellow picture book creators Candace Fleming, Eric Rohmann, and David Wiesner!!!!
     Then, for the first time in my career, I will leave immediately from Honesdale and fly to Denver, Colorado (back-to-back visits!), where I'll be a guest of the Denver Public Library, speaking to six elementary schools and one teen group about creating my books. Wowsa - I can't wait! Wish me good health and lovely weather!

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4. The Brooklyn Public Library Hosts the ‘Mixing It Up with Hervé Tullet’ Exhibit

We Need a TitleThe Brooklyn Public Library is hosting the “Mixing It Up with Hervé Tullet” exhibit. It explores all of the different sources of inspiration for Tullet’s books.

This art show opened in conjunction with the release of Tullet’s latest title, Help! We Need a Title!. Follow this link to watch a video of him reading from the book.

Visitors will find this exhibition in the grand lobby of the Central Library branch. A closing date has been scheduled for February 01, 2015.

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5. Museum of London Hosts Exhibit On Sherlock Holmes

Sherlock HolmesAre you a fan of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous sleuth? The Museum of London is hosting the “Sherlock Holmes: The Man Who Never Lived And Will Never Die” exhibit.

Here’s more about the show: “Asking searching questions such as who is Sherlock Holmes, and why does he still conjure up such enduring fascination, this major exhibition – London’s first on the detective since 1951 – will explore how Sherlock Holmes has transcended literature onto stage and screen and continues to attract huge audiences to this day.”

Some of the items on display include notebooks, film clips, photos, and paintings. A closing date for this exhibit has been set for April 12, 2015. Follow this link to download a free digital copy of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. (via The Huffington Post)

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6. Walter Isaacson Named Keynote Speaker at the Digital Book World Conference + Expo

isaacsonw-100-sqrThe Innovators author Walter Isaacson will deliver the keynote speech at the Digital Book World Conference + Expo. Isaacson’s presentation will focus on “”Innovators, Collaborators and Change Agents of the Digital Revolution.”

More than 100 speakers will give talks throughout the event. It is set to take place from January 13th to 15th in New York City.

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7. Top Tips for Tip Top Events - by Nicola Morgan

Lots of hard work goes into producing the best school/library* events - hard work from the author/illustrator* and hard work from the organiser. Based on hundreds of different sorts of events over the years, and after learning more from my mistakes than successes, I thought I'd put together my top tips for each side.

(*I'll just say "school" from now on but I'll mean "school or library etc" and "author" will mean "author, illustrator or storyteller" - btw, see Sarah McIntyre's excellent post about authors/illustrators.)

Top Tips for Organisers

  1. Before sending the invitation: choose your author because you genuinely want that author, not just any bod with a pen; investigate their website so you know what they do; work out your budget; get relevant staff on-side.
  2. In your invitation, say you'd really love to invite them and what for; ask about fees and expenses; say what you are hoping for during the day (eg two workshops for Y4 and Y5 and a ten-minute assembly slot). 
  3. During the conversation, make sure you are clear about year groups, audience size, timings, etc, but be as flexible as you can. The author will know what works for her/him and you'll do no one any favours by making an author jump through hoops if that authors doesn't jump through hoops. 
  4. Discuss bookselling. Some authors prefer to bring their own books to sell; others prefer you to use your normal supplier. (Note that authors earn very little per book, so this does not make much difference to income, but we like to foster bookselling, for many reasons.) Don't forget to build time into the day for this.
  5. Ask the author in advance what support they need on the day: Being collected from station? Or directions. Lift/taxi back to station? //  Coffee etc on arrival? Other food during the day? Time-out?  //  Technical equipment. (Powerpoint presentations are always best sent in advance and set up ready.) Any other equipment?
  6. Well before the event, brief all relevant staff and generate excitement. Relevant subject-teachers should know about the author and have read some of their works, and class or subject-teachers should brief pupils, get them excited and have them prepare interesting questions.
  7. If you're having bookselling, make sure every child who wants to buy a book can. In practice this means sending a letter home and somehow making sure it gets there. There is little more upsetting for an author than carting dozens of books around, or expecting a bookseller to, and then no one buying one because a) time was not set aside b) book-selling was not advertised and c) money did not appear.
  8. Always introduce the author to each audience in a positive and upbeat way. "Today we have a famous author..." is a great way to boost the spirits of an author facing a class of kids who really don't know who he/she is. It boosts the audience's spirits, too.
  9. Make sure the author's books are in the libraray. It's fantastic to arrive in a school and see a display about us: could you get selected pupils to make one?
  10. Follow up: for the event to have the most effect on the pupils, the following equation is the only one to go for: preparation + good event + follow-up = great event + long effect. So, get pupils to write about or respond to the event in some way. What did thy like about it? What did they learn?
In short: positivity, clarity, professionalism, preparation, detail and excitement.

Top tips for authors
  1. Make sure your website is very clear about what you do and don't do.
  2. When the invitation arrives, wave your crystal ball and listen to the twitchings of your finger-tips. The forewarnings of a good/bad experience are usually there. The following are good signs: the organiser has obviously read your website; the organiser knows fairly clearly what she/he wants; your fee will be adequate; they really do want you. These may be bad signs: the invitation is to "Dear Sandra," when that's not your name; they try to beat your fee down to an amount you don't feel happy with or tell you what a good promotional opportunity it will be. I don't blame a school for trying, but it suggests a lack of understanding of what we do and how we (don't) earn a living. Some great events can be run on a shoestring but enthusiasm, efficiency and respect have to be 100%.
  3. Be very clear at the start exactly what you are agreeing to do and for what fee+expenses. Create a T&C document, which organisers must agree to. (Mine is on this page here - scroll down to "What to do next".) 
  4. Learn from each event what you need and what makes you work most effectively. If you need a break between each event, say so. If you need to have lunch-time on your own or go for a walk, say so. If you need a ball of candy floss, don't say so - that's just annoying. 
  5. Prepare perfectly and be über-organised. But always have a Plan B.
  6. If you're having book-selling, check that the organiser has done the requisite sending home of letters about bringing in money. And check again. 
  7. I find that the "geography" of the room makes a huge difference to how comfortable I feel and therefore how well I perform: the distance from the audience, the lectern or table, the acoustics, the position of my laptop if I'm using Powerpoint, whether teachers are pacing up and down the edges like security guards. Some of these you can't control but two things help: seeing the room beforehand, so you can adjust your table as required and stand there absorbing the vibe and imagining the event; and recognising what things make you tense and learning to breathe through them when they happen.
  8. Take easy snack foods with you - my preferred ones are nuts and dried fruit. They keep for ages and are easy to snack on when blood sugar drops, either just before or just after your talk. Ideally not in the middle, as pistachio nut in teeth is not a professional look.
  9. Remember that the organiser will very likely be stressed and nervous. Usually, they want everything to go well and a lot rides on it for them. A warm smile and a kind remark go a long way. 
  10. If something goes wrong, whoever's fault it is, keep smiling and always be professional. Learn from it, if necessary. If it goes right, be proud - and say thank you. When an event goes well, everyone gains.
In short: positivity, clarity, professionalism, preparation, detail and excitement.

I think a lot of it comes from trying to put ourselves in each other's shoes. We need to understand what schools want and they need to understand what we can give and how to help us give it.

I love the mutual buzziness of a good school event, one where they wanted me and they knew what they wanted from me, and I worked my posterior off to give it to them. 

Thinking of asking me to come and do an event on the brain/stress for your pupils? I have a better and much cheaper idea: buy a Brain Stick™ :)

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8. Two New Exciting Books!!! Rookie Yearbook Three and This is Your Afterlife!!!

I love October. October 3 (my wedding anniversary) and October 31st (the best holiday of all!) are my favorite days, but today, October 21st, is really giving them a run for their money because not one, but TWO books that I've been eagerly awaiting are coming out. I seriously couldn't be more excited about these books if they were my own: ROOKIE YEARBOOK THREE, edited by Tavi Gevinson, and THIS IS YOUR AFTERLIFE, the YA debut by my hilarious, brilliant, amazing, simply-not-enough-cool-adjectives-exist-to-fully-describe-her critique partner, Vanessa Barneveld!

Let's talk about the amazing Vanessa and her book first. My books would basically not exist if not for Vanessa--well, they definitely would not be as good. We became online critique partners (Vanessa lives in Australia where I really hope to visit her one day!) shortly after I WANNA BE YOUR JOEY RAMONE sold in 2007. She's read multiple versions of both of my books (and some not-published manuscripts as well) and was a total lifesaver during the revisions of BALLADS OF SUBURBIA in particular, reading and immediately responding to the changes I was making at 3 am (this was where it was very convenient to have an Australian CP). She's got an eye for character and an ear for voice, which have helped me a ton, but those plus her incredible sense of humor have made her manuscripts a blast for me to read over the years and I AM SO FREAKIN' EXCITED that readers EVERYWHERE get to be swept into one of Vanessa's worlds.

Here's the lowdown on THIS IS YOUR AFTERLIFE!

When the one boy you crushed on in life can't seem to stay away in death, it's hard to be a normal teen when you're a teen paranormal.

Sixteen-year-old Keira Nolan has finally got what she wanted—the captain of the football team in her bedroom. Problem is he’s not in the flesh. He’s a ghost and she’s the only one who can see him.

Keira's determined to do anything to find Jimmy's killer. Even it if means teaming up with his prickly-yet-dangerously-attractive brother, Dan, also Keira's ex-best-friend. Keira finds that her childish crush is fading, but her feelings for Dan are just starting to heat up, and as the story of Jimmy’s murder unfolds, anyone could be a suspect.

This thrilling debut from Vanessa Barneveld crosses over from our world to the next, and brings a whole delightful new meaning to "teen spirit".

Here's the book trailer:

I devoured THIS IS YOUR AFTERLIFE. It was funny, it was sad, it kept me turning pages, and best of all, it reminded me of my own teenage years when I was obsessed with the Ouija Board and longing for the psychic abilities that Keira has. If you are looking for great ghost story with laugh-out-loud moments and more thrills than chills, this is it.

To celebrate her launch, Vanessa is throwing a big, online bash on her blog from tomorrow, October 22nd through October 31st. It will be filled with guests, including me! I'm doing a post and a giveaway (of an anthology featuring a ghost story I've written) on October 30th. I hope to see you there!

And now.... (drum roll)... on to ROOKIE!!!!

I've had the privilege of being a part of Rookie magazine since it launched in September of 2011. (Remember this super-excited blog post when it debuted?) I'm still in awe of everything that we do. The Yearbooks feature the best of the best of our online pieces for each year as well as some cool added bonuses. This is our first Yearbook with Razorbill and since I'm a Penguin/Random House author too now, I'm think that's pretty awesome. I also have two essays in this one, which feels like a huge accomplishment.

Here's the lowdown on ROOKIE YEARBOOK THREE!

Rookiemag.com is a website created by and for young women to make the best of the beauty, pain and awkwardness of being a teenager. When it becomes tough to appreciate such things, we have good plain fun and visual pleasure. When you're sick of having to be happy all the time, we have lots of rants, too. Every school year, we compile the best from the site into a print yearbook. Behold: our Junior year!

In Rookie Yearbook Three, we explore cures for love, girl-on-girl crime, open relationships, standing for something, embracing our inner posers, and so much more. Featuring interviews with Rookie role models like Sofia Coppola, Amandla Stenberg, Greta Gerwig, and Kim Gordon, and a bonus section chock-full of exclusive content including a pizza pennant, sticker sheet, valentines, plus advice and contributions from Lorde, Shailene Woodley, Dakota and Elle Fanning, Grimes, Kelis, Sia, Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer of Broad City, Haim, and more!

I know!!!! Amazing, right? Can't wait to go home and pore over my copy!

And if you are in the New York or Toronto areas, there are events celebrating the release TOMORROW, October 22. There is also an event in Brooklyn on November 5th. All of the details are on the Rookie Events page. Go if you can and tell me how fabulous it was!

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9. Glen Keane, Nora Twomey, Roger Allers, Robert Kondo, Graham Annable Will Present at Spark Conference

This week in Vancouver, the Spark CG Society will hold its annual Spark Animation conference and festival with an impressive group of presenters including Glen Keane, Nora Twomey, Roger Allers, Robert Kondo, and Graham Annable.

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10. Emily St. John Mandel & George R.R. Martin Get Booked

The World of Ice & Fire.jpg 200Here are some literary events to pencil in your calendar this week.

To get your event posted on our calendar, visit our Facebook Your Literary Event page. Please post your event at least one week prior to its date.

Emily St. John Mandel will read from her new book, Station Eleven, and sit for an interview with Lev Grossman. Hear her on Thursday, October 23rd at Macaulay Honors College starting 7 p.m. (New York, NY)


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11. Auburn Writers Conference Wrap-up!

I'm exhausted but smiling after spending three days at the Auburn Writers Conference hosted by the amazing Chantel Acevedo and her supportive crew.
     Thursday morning, I drove over early from Atlanta to spend time with two classes at Loachapoka Middle School (7th and 8th graders).
They made some sweet signs to welcome me:

The first class had received a group set of copies of A BIRD ON WATER STREET from Auburn University's University Outreach program - how cool! And their English teacher (I'm sorry, I forgot her name) had them all fired up for my visit - fun!

     Here I am with LaDerrial, one of the students who wants to be a writer herself someday:

     The teachers were so kind to present me with a certificate of appreciation - how nice! Having teacher support means SO much!

Here I am with the English teacher and the Principal, Mrs. Kitt, who I saw at the writers conference later.

Friday I awoke early and walked the Auburn campus - so pretty. Then Mark Wilson, my schools escort and PhD Coordinator of community and civic engagement in the College of Liberal Arts at Auburn University, picked me up to head to Duke Middle School. I met with two classes there as well.

Mark's son was in one of them - HI! The kids asked fantastic questions and I wish I could have spent more time with them. Here I am with another budding writer.

     Thanks to Mrs. Laura Hardy, the Librarian for making me feel so welcome.

And thanks to Michelle Hopf, their teacher who was actually at the conference (we caught up later after years of talking online). She has some great students and they obviously love her! Here I am with Michelle and Angela Jordan (we talked Appalachia and could have gone on for hours if everybody wasn't so tired from the great weekend!).

     Saturday I once again walked around campus - what a nice way to start the day. Then I got ready for my workshop, "What to Do When the Story Finds You," this time with adults! I didn't get pictures this time, but several people thanked me afterwards saying how much they got out of my workshop. LOVE to hear that!
     All said, it was a fabulous time. I caught up with writer friends and met several new ones. I also got to reconnect with the kind folks in Alabama. Along with conferences and festivals, I do quite a few school visits over there and I'm sure they have a lot to do with that. So, THANK YOU to all for a lovely time! I hope I can return soon!

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12. Photos from my SCBWI talk on middle-grade and chapter books

Photo by Roxyanne Young, used with permission

The talented Roxyanne Young took these photos of my talk on Middle-Grade and Chapter Books at SCBWI-San Diego last weekend and kindly gave me permission to use them. My school visit/speaker page needs a massive updating and I’m so grateful to have some recent images to include.

Apparently I talk with my hands a lot? What’s funniest to me is that this Boston Bay slide was onscreen for barely a minute. That’s an awful lot of glasses-waving going on there.

Photo by Roxyanne Young, used with permission

Photo by Roxyanne Young, used with permission

Photo by Roxyanne Young, used with permission

Photo by Roxyanne Young, used with permission

The rest of my slides were all about other people’s books—my favorite things to talk about, as you know. Here’s a taste:

Melissa Wiley SCBWI presentation slide 09 Melissa Wiley SCBWI presentation slide 10

Melissa Wiley SCBWI presentation slide 12

Melissa Wiley SCBWI presentation slide 15

(Just a sampling from the Chapter Books part of the talk.)


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13. The Kubert School is having a open house tomorrow

kubert school open house The Kubert School is having a open house tomorrow

The longest running stand alone school to teach cartoonist is having an open house tomorrow from 1-4. Prospective students will meet faculty and get a tour.

Open houses at The Kubert School are a great way to learn about the school and program. Any prospective student and their family is welcome to attend. A tour of the school, teacher demonstrations, and meetings with our faculty are a part of the Open House experience. Scheduling a time is not necessary.

Founded by the great Joe Kubert, the school is currently run by his family, including Andy and Adam Kubert. Grads include Amanda Connor, Shane Davis, Skot Collins, and many more.


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14. Abrams Publishes a Cookbook Inspired by ‘Orange is the New Black’

HNA7366r1+OITNB_interior_7_24.inddAbrams has released an Orange is the New Black-inspired cookbook. The Cookbook: Bites, Booze, Secrets, and Stories from Inside the Big House contains 60 photos and 65 recipes.

Some of the dishes featured in this book include “prison punch” and “Red’s chicken kiev.”The Root has posted a recipe for “Pennsatucky’s Family Beer Can Bird.”

This project was a collaboration between Jenji Kohan (the creator of the Netflix series), Tara Hermann, Hartley Voss, and Alex RegneryThe Daily News reports that fans can meet two stars from the show, Taylor Schilling and Uzo Aduba, at a Barnes & Noble signing event (the Fifth Avenue branch in New York City) on October 17th.

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15. Auburn Writers Conference!

Thursday morning I head out to speak at the Auburn Writers Conference in Alabama and to speak at two schools. It's been several years since I last spoke at this event. Chantel Acevedo puts on a class act, so I'm really looking forward to it!
     Here's a peek at one of the classes I'll be visiting: Students at Loachapoka High School in Lee County, Alabama received a classroom set of A Bird on Water Street, courtesy of Auburn University’s Office of the Vice President of University Outreach and the Auburn Writers Conference. I can't wait! (Click the image to see a larger version.)

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16. So Fest of Books - Wrap-up!

Hubbie and I scooted on up to Nashville for the Southern Festival of Books on Saturday. I've spoken at this festival several times now, and it's one of my faves. Happily, we got there early enough to say 'hi' to Betsy Bird and Julie Danielson who were there to talk about their new book, WILD THINGS (I featured them recently on my blog). And we were there on time to see Susan Eaddy and Julie Hedlund talk about their latest creation, MY LOVE FOR YOU IS THE SUN. (I featured them when they started their journey on Kickstarter HERE.)

I also saw John Rocco and Kristy Valiant speak! I'm a huge fan of John's work - interviewed him HERE and HERE. And I've been rooting for Kristi since before she was published - so nice to finally meet her in person! I interviewed her HERE and HERE.

     The weather was horrible and I didn't pack well for it - pah! So, it was nice to see there were still large crowds and my peeps at the SCBWI Midsouth tent were all smiles. I LOVE my Nashville peeps!!!
     That evening there was a lovely party for all the invited authors and illustrators to mingle and chat. Here was my gang: Susan Eaddy, Julie Hedlund, Eugene Yelchin, John Rocco, and moi:

Afterwards, several of us met up at Susan's house for a casual barbecue among children's book peeps. Her hubbie, David (also an artist) even broke out the champagne to help celebrate all our latest successes (book sales, awards, new releases)! Here we are having one of those magical, wish it could go on forever, sort of evenings: (in front) Casey and Kristi Valiant, (in back from left) Susan, David, Julie Hedlund, Me, Mary Uhles, and Jessica Young.

     Truly, that was a special night!
     The next day Stan was able to catch Vicky Alvear Shecter talk about her latest books, POMPEII and HADES SPEAKS right after Kimberly Cross Teter talked about her fascinating book ISABELLA'S LIBRETTO. (I had to meet with Sharon Cameron, author and moderator for my panel, which was right after.)

     I had the distinct honor of being paired with National Book Award Winner (and friend) Deborah Wiles (author of REVOLUTION, which is getting lots of Newbery buzz). She's supported me since the early days of my career, so it was so humbling and flattering to sit beside her and talk about A BIRD ON WATER STREET:

     Even the signing wasn't too painful this year - I had some very nice, interested readers ask me to sign books. One was a young boy, right about Jack's age. Gads, do I wish I could be a fly on his wall to see how he reacts to the book!

     It was late when we finally left, late when we stopped for dinner in Chattanooga (my old stomping grounds), and even later when we got home waaaay after dark. But it was all worth it.
     I love Nashville, I love my creative friends and my Midsouth family (I haven't even named half of them), and I ADORE finally meeting people in person who I've emailed with for years (there were a lot of them at this event). SUCH a treat!
     Thank you to Lacey Cook, Serenity Gerbman and all the volunteers for making this such a fantastic event, rain or shine! I'm always thrilled to come visit your neck o' the woods!

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17. Cory Doctorow, Oliver Jeffers, & Jodi Picoult Get Booked

IRLHere are some literary events to pencil in your calendar this week.

To get your event posted on our calendar, visit our Facebook Your Literary Event page. Please post your event at least one week prior to its date.

Writer Cory Doctorow will talk about his new graphic novel, In Real Life. Hear him on Monday, October 13th at The Strand starting 7 p.m. (New York, NY)


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18. Anthony Horowitz at The Museum of London on 27/10/14

Anthony Horowitz
  • Date:
  • 27/10/14
  • Time:
  • 7:00pm
  • Venue:
  • The Museum of London
  • City:
  • London
  • Address:
  • 150 London Wall
  • Country:
  • UK
  • Admission:
  • £10 /£8
  • Buy Tickets
  • More information
  • Notes:
  • MONDAY 27 OCTOBER LONDONIN CONVERSATION at The MUSEUM OF LONDONTime: 7-8.30pmLocation: Museum of London, London Wall.In conversation with Professor of Victorian Literature and Culture, Clare Pettitt (Kings College, London) and Sherlock exhibition curator, Alex Werner.
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    19. NYPL Celebrates Ntozake Shange Play With a Schomburg Center Exhibit

    Ntozake ShangeThe New York Public Library is hosting the “i found god in myself” exhibit in honor of Ntozake Shange’s play, for colored girls who have considered suicide / when the rainbow is enuf. This exhibit was organized to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the piece’s premiere performance.

    It opened on September 19, 2014 and will run until January 03, 2015. Patrons will be able to find it at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. Shange herself (pictured, via) will give a talk at the Schomburg Center on October 15, 2014.


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    20. Read You Should: Celebrate National Star Wars Reads Day!

    star wars reads day 3 logo Read You Should: Celebrate National Star Wars Reads Day! Not at New York Comic Con?  Want to get your geek on, or earn some cool cred from younger relatives?

    This Saturday, nationwide, is Star Wars Read Day!

    The many publishing partners of Disney/Lucasfilm are collaborating for the third year, encouraging children of all ages to celebrate the myriad stories and cool books in the Star Wars universe!

    Find out more, at their Facebook page! Barnes & Noble and Books-A-Million stores are hosting events, and if you’re in New York, head down to the Scholastic store in SoHo! They’ve got Kazu Kibuishi at Noon, and then Star Wars from 2-4!

    The PR:

    Star Wars Reads Day Strikes Back October 11, 2014
    Bookstores and libraries will once again feel the power of the Force.

    Disney Publishing Worldwide and its publishing partners announced today the third annual Star Wars Reads Day, to be held October 11, 2014. Last year, Star Wars authors and costumed volunteers participated in over 2,000 Star Wars Reads Day events across North America and, for the first time, around the world. On October 11 of this year, Star Wars fans, authors, and artists will again come together in this multi-publisher initiative that celebrates reading and Star Wars. Participating publishing partners include Abrams, Chronicle Books, Dark Horse, Del Rey, Disney Book Group, DK, Klutz, Quirk Books, Random House Audio, Scholastic, and Workman Publishing.

    “With the debut of our new animated series Star Wars Rebels launching on Disney XD this Fall, and the upcoming theatrical release of Episode VII in 2015, our third Star Wars Reads Day comes at an exciting time,” says Carol Roeder, Director of Lucasfilm Franchise Publishing, Disney Publishing Worldwide.

    The following authors are confirmed to participate in official Star Wars Reads Day events: Chris Alexander (Star Wars Origami), Tom Angleberger (Origami Yoda series), Jeffrey Brown (Goodnight Darth Vader, Star Wars: Jedi Academy), Troy Denning (Star Wars: Crucible), Ian Doescher (William Shakespeare’s Star Wars, William Shakespeare’s Empire Striketh Back, William Shakespeare’s The Jedi Doth Return), Jason Fry (LEGO Star Wars: The Visual Dictionary: Updated and Expanded, Star Wars in 100 Scenes), Daniel Lipkowitz (LEGO Star Wars: The Yoda Chronicles), John Jackson Miller (Star Wars: Kenobi), Chris Reiff and Chris Trevas (Star Wars: Death Star Owner’s Technical Manual), Daniel Wallace (The Bounty Hunter Code, The Jedi Path), and Ryder Windham (Star Wars: The Ultimate Visual Guide, Star Wars Rebels Junior Novel).

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    21. NYCC ’14: Teasers, terror and a few tears: Inside AMC’s Walking Dead Season 5 panel

    by Edie Nugent

    photo 4 NYCC 14: Teasers, terror and a few tears: Inside AMCs Walking Dead Season 5 panel

    AMC’s The Walking Dead panel was packed nearly past capacity on Saturday afternoon at NYCC. When the 3500 floor seats of the main stage hall were filled, fans stood along the sides of the room-shunning available balcony seating to be that much closer to their favorite TV stars. The panel was moderated by Talking Dead host and perennial fanboy Chris Hardwick who was red-faced with excitement as he introduced an exclusive clip showing the first few minutes of the season five premiere. Hardwick was joined by Greg Nicotero, director of the season five premiere, showrunner Scott Gimple,  executive producer Gale Anne Hurd and executive producer and series creator Robert Kirkman.

    Season five picked up right where season four left off, with Rick and the remaining survivors of his group being held prisoner in a boxcar inside the Terminus compound. They are ripping their clothes apart, fashioning weapons out of belt buckles and shoe laces. The group hears movement outside of the container, and all assume defensive positions near its entrance. Suddenly, the boxcar opens from above and a cannister is dropped inside leaking knockout gas. After succumbing to the fumes, the group awakens to find themselves bound and are made to kneel before a draining sink used for livestock slaughter. Terminus, it seems, is indeed a colony of cannibals.

    The clip ended abruptly, and Hardwick remarked how much fun is was to listen to the shocked audience reaction live, joking: “we should get together as a group and watch it every week.” Director Greg Nicotero remarked that, as someone who has directed several premiere episodes of Walking Dead, it was nice to continue the momentum of the end of last season into the beginning of season five. He also mentioned he wanted to make the season opener “super intense…I’ve seen it ten times, and I still get chills.”

    Hardwick asked Gimple if season five might unlock more of the backstories of the group- finding out more about who they were before the zombie apocalypse. Gimple said to expect to discover about the more recent past of the characters, “in some very deep ways, we’re also going to play with time a bit.”

    Kirkman teased that there are “a lot of big moments from the comic book series that will be pulled into the show this season…we’re still going to be changing things up a bit…I think it’s safe to say this season is going to follow the comics much closer than we have in the past.”

    When asked to describe the season in a few words, Hurd replied: “Kick-ass, utterly relentless, and totally heart-breaking.” She went on to announce that the second half of season five will premiere on February 8th, 2015.

    Hardwick then brought out the cast one by one. The applause, screams and cheers that went up throughout the main stage hall were deafening. Present for the panel were: Andrew Lincoln (Rick), Steven Yeun (Glenn), Lauren Cohan (Maggie), Michael Cudlitz (Abraham), Danai Gurira (Michonne), Melissa McBride (Carol), Chad Coleman (Tyrese), Sonequa Martin-Green (Sasha) and Norman Reedus (Daryl).

    photo 15 NYCC 14: Teasers, terror and a few tears: Inside AMCs Walking Dead Season 5 panel

    Hardwick began his series of cast questions by addressing Lincoln: “We finally at the end of last season saw the transformative moment when Rick came back.” Lincoln agreed, saying “I think you meet a man very much at the peak of his powers. I mean, he just bit a guys’ throat out. I think it’s safe to say I’ve been listening to a lot of Prodigy and death metal.”

    When Hardwick asked Yuen where his character was emotionally following the events of season four, Yuen explained that Glenn “woke up in a prison with all his loved ones gone. He has a moment to himself and says: ‘eff this-I’m going to go find everybody’ and he treks out and finds everybody.” Co-star Lauren Cohan added: “the amazing thing at the end of season four is that we found each other,” looking at Yuen, “ I felt like he was a soldier coming back from war.” Yuen asserted that he felt Cohan’s Maggie was “equally a soldier.” She went on to say that the next step for Maggie would be to find her sister Beth, and “keep everyone fortified.”

    photo 16 NYCC 14: Teasers, terror and a few tears: Inside AMCs Walking Dead Season 5 panel

    Michael Cudlitz emphasized that every character in the world of The Walking Dead has suffered massive loss: “so what we’re dealing with day after day is dealing with loss on top of loss” and that the supportive, safe environment the cast and crew create is essential to making those performances “ring true.”

    Gurira thanked Kirkman and Gimple for imbuing her character Michonne with an “unapologetic strength to her, and you see that with a lot of the women characters on this show, which is really exciting.” She added that she felt Michonne’s strength hadn’t shifted through the events of the show, but rather but had gone through a transition because of her relationships with the group.

    The deep, emotional connections the actors had with their characters was especially clear as McBride spoke of her experience playing Carol, saying “it’s something I’m so proud of, and for the character it’s been something I never saw coming, and I think I’m going to cry-because I love her.” Her eyes filled with tears, prompting Reedus to walk down the panel to hand her a tissue.

    photo 11 NYCC 14: Teasers, terror and a few tears: Inside AMCs Walking Dead Season 5 panel

    “Without the children, where is our future?” Coleman asked, explaining how his character Tyrese and Carol had gone through such a terrible experience in attempting to protect Lizzie, Micah and baby Judith in season four. “He’s hurting tremendously,” he added, saying that he felt Tyrese had forgive Carol for her decision to kill Lizzie after she murdered Mika-but that Carol was “on shaky ground.”

    Martin-Green was proud of what she felt were “the prevailing messages being taught on a show like this, of hope and survival and family and love-making it through adversity.” These themes were especially resonant to her now, she said, as she is pregnant with her first child-due in January.

    “A lot of times when Daryl has been killing things, he’s been crying while he’s doing it,” Reedus said, speaking to Hardwick about how his character had opened up over the previous season. “We really feel connected to these characters and feel connected to each other-we really care about each other-so teetering on that line of being ferocious and being vulnerable-it’s a real teeter-totter. Everything feels really real.”

    photo 21 NYCC 14: Teasers, terror and a few tears: Inside AMCs Walking Dead Season 5 panel

    It was clearly also “really real” to the thousands of fans in attendance-some of whom were moved to share their feelings with the cast during the fan Q&A portion of the panel. One such fan, Michael, told the of how he was badly injured while coming to the aid of a neighbor who was being attacked. He told the panel that the strength of the shows characters had helped him to have the courage to move forward in his life and recovery. Cohan was visibly moved hearing his story as was Guira who addressed the fan directly, saying: “to know that there’s any sort of message we’re conveying that gives you hope and courage-it makes it unbearable how wonderful it is to do what we do-to know that it resonates to you and emboldens you is really a blessing to us. You are the true survivor.”

    2 Comments on NYCC ’14: Teasers, terror and a few tears: Inside AMC’s Walking Dead Season 5 panel, last added: 10/12/2014
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    22. Southern Festival of Books - "All About the Books, No Trouble"

    Today I head out to speak at the Southern Festival of Books in Nashville, Tennessee (always a blast). But unlike previous years where I visited the children's stage, this year I'll be on a mid-grade novelists panel for A BIRD ON WATER STREET! No costume! I can't wait! I'll be on Sunday at 2:00 with the illustrious Deborah Wiles, "Gonna Build A Better World: Coming of Age and Taking Action." Hope to see you there!
         To get fired up about the festival, Librarians at the Nashville Public Library came up with their own version of "All About the Bass" (one of my favorite walking songs). Brilliant! Click the image to go watch on YouTube:

    And maybe I'll get to congratulate them on their great job since I'm in their town!

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    23. 2015: The Year Ahead in Youth Literature

    2015: The Year Ahead In Youth Literature
    Tuesday 2 December, 6pm – 8:30pm
    The Courtyard, State Library of Victoria
    Cost: $18 per person
    Bookings: Book online or (03) 8664 7099

    Are teen memoirs really the next big thing?  Will old favourites shock us with something terrifically new?

    The world of youth literature is an ever evolution place with many stories to be told.  Join a fabulous roster of publishers, literary organisations, and teen fiction fans for a fast-paced, sneak peek at the year ahead. Upcoming trends and interests for youth readers, projects, and programs will be shared from the people in the know!

    This is a community space that will enable you to build relationships between publishers, librarians, teachers, event programmers and literary festivals.

    Presented by the Centre for Youth Literature, this program is a revitalised Publishers’ Showcase– connect about news, projects and forthcoming titles.

    Light snacks and refreshment provided.

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    24. Playpublik Krakow

    Ellan and I went to run a cardboard maze building workshop at Playpublik Krakow. The festival was awesome, we met so many lovely people, played games, marvelled at things... and Krakow itself was very cosy indeed. I ate more dumplings than anyone could believe.

    Rules for Secret City - the main game we ended up playing in this maze. It was a quieter, gentler maze than usual, somehow. more of a castle than a burrow or an ocean.

    Ellan, building

    The Mighty Hamster (or The Funny Beaver, as it came to be known somehow)

    Treasure changing hands

    I loved the giant hopscotch games that appeared in town (by Agustina Woodgate)

    All the organisers and designers. WHEE

    I'm so glad we got invited to do this, and I hope we will build many more mazes and fill them with people next year!

    All these photos are copyright Playpublik, here's the whole album

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    25. Anthony Horowitz at The Great Hall on 18/11/14

    Anthony Horowitz
  • Date:
  • 18/11/14
  • Time:
  • 7:00pm
  • Venue:
  • The Great Hall
  • City:
  • Belfast
  • Address:
  • Queens University Belfast, University Rd
  • Country:
  • UK
  • Buy Tickets
  • More information
  • Notes:
  • Tuesday 18 November BELFASTAnthony Horowitz in Conversation (in association with No Alibis Bookshop)Time: 7-8.30pmLocation: The Great Hall, Queens University Belfast In conversation with Alex KaneTickets are available at No Alibis, Botanic Avenue Belfast http://www.noalibis.com
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