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So much has happened. So much goodness and craziness. I hardly know how to organize my thoughts. I have a bunch of crappy phone photos so maybe I'll just paste those in.
On the "red carpet." When I first arrived I was the only one. I posed for photos. Awkwardly. Such a relief when the actors came and took the attention.
I have a photo of the three of us almost exactly like this from four years ago, the first time we three got together to talk about the movie. (I don't have a photo cred for this one but it's not mine, couldn't find the source, sorry.)
Jerusha Hess (Austenland director) and I backstage before the premiere in Park City. I love her.
The audience as I came up on stage after the screening with the cast, director, and Stephenie.Watching the film with a huge, sold out crowd, hearing their honest and constant laughter (and sometimes gasps) gave me goosebumps and made me cry. Surreal, beautiful experience.
On stage for the Q&A. The entire cast flew out for Sundance (Georgia King and Jennifer Coolidge didn't arrive till after the premiere due to filming their respective TV series) You can watch the video of that Q&A here.
With Jane Seymour (Mrs. Wattlesbrook) and her real life sister Annie (Patience the maid). These two were dear friends of mine on set and it was a joyous reunion when I saw them again. Annie flew in from England!
I got Ricky Whittle to eat a vegetable.
My agent Barry with Lady Jane.
More Ricky! With some amazing nachos. I love this boy.
And even more Ricky! Given some of the photos I had with me and Ricky on set, I thought it only fair that I get one with my husband and Ricky embracing, just to be fair.
The fabulous Jennifer Coolidge and Jerusha's assistant and my friend Erica. Great ladies. Hours of excellent convo.
How about some crappy, self-shot iphone photos?
With Ricky and Jared Hess (Jerusha's husband, Napoleon Dynamite director, and as you can see, ultra-serious and highbrow.)
Jerusha and JJ Feild (Mr. Nobley). He even looks good in this crappy photo. We think Jeru and JJ look like siblings.
Ricky, Steph, Annie, and part of Jane's face. Everyone was so happy to be together again! Lovely, lovely crew.
Jerusha and I after the Odgen screening last night (thanks for the photo, Rachel). So awesome to hear people laugh at lines I wrote, really enjoy something we worked so hard on. Truly a gift. When people read my books, they're alone. It is special to be present when people are enjoying something I've worked on.
After the Ogden screening, I ran into my former high school Drama teacher Cindy Hunt! So excited to see her. And when I got on my phone to show her a photo of my husband, I found a text informing me that Austenland sold to Sony for distribution! WAHOO!
From last post, many of you were curious what I do for a school assembly. It just so happens that I can show you. In the fall I did an assembly at the Brooklyn Friends School in New York City that was live webcast to 100+ other schools through School Library Journal. SLJ has the webcast archived, and you can view it for free. You need to register to view it. If you see it let me know what you think, 'cause I will not be watching it. 'Cause it's my own voice and face.
(Friday is the premiere of Austenland at the Sundance Film Festival. I will report back to you on Monday. Excited and nervous, excited and nervous...)
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy New Year and hello! We're snowed in here and feeling cozy. About to go write for a couple of hours and thought I'd drop a few lines to say what I've got in store in 2013 (since the world isn't ending...yet).
No new book in 2013. Prepare yourself for a shocker: toddler twins have slowed me down a bit. I outlined my current novel in 2005, finished the first draft in 2009, and hope to finish the final in January 2013, pubbing in early 2014. It's been a doozy of a book. I've cut about 300 pages overall. But I like it! I really, really hope you will too. I've worked SO hard on this. Promise me you will love it? Cross your heart?
Well, I sort of have a new book in 2013. I wrote a short story for the new GUYS READ anthology, edited by the marvelous Jon Scieszka, theme: fantasy and science fiction. I believe that will pub in the fall.
See my events page for stuff. So far:
AUSTENLAND premieres at the Sundance Film Festival January 18.
I'll be speaking at the Family Literacy Symposium in Provo, Utah.
I'll be in La Verne, San Diego, and Los Angeles doing events in February.
Teens, come join me at the Teen Author Boot Camp in March.
In May we'll do our annual fab 1-day writers' workshop Writing for Charity, TBA.
Check here for ongoing news about the AUSTENLAND movie, title and jacket of my new book, some teasers for the first book of THE PRINCESS IN BLACK series (book 1 pubbing fall '14), and other such niceties. Thanks for stopping by squeetus.
The Princess Academy: Palace of Stone tour is over! My first book tour in about three years. I took a good deal of time off, 'cause:
It was so great to get out and chat with readers, revisiting old haunts and discovering new ones. I'm terrible at taking photos. Here are a few I was able to scrounge from my camera and others. In no particular order, because that would require too much effort.
In Baltimore with Tiffany Trent (Hallowmere, The Unnaturalists). We were MFA bffs in Montana. She read the first (horrible) draft of The Goose Girl. We had a dream back then of one day being published authors and meeting up at conferences...
Also in Baltimore, Mr. Hale himself! Nathan Hale, that is, in spiffy hat, promoting his fab graphic novel historicals One Dead Spy and Big Bad Ironclad.
Baltimore Book Fest's author hospitality suite is in this awesome old house. I appreciated this statue.
Traveling from Baltimore to NYC. I texted my hubbie, "I'm riding with Ellen Datlow on the train." (superstar editor) He texted "Does she know you're there?" So I took this photo and sent it to him. (She did know. We shared licorice.)
Oh my! How did I get on this panel? Avi, Ann M. Martin, Richard Peck, Rebecca Stead, and myself at Books of Wonder in NYC. SO great to be back in NYC again! I love that town. I'm claiming Reb Stead as a new best friend. And I pretty much want a transcript of everything Richard Peck says.
Newsflash: Francisco X. Stork is awesome. So lovely, smart, and kind. Just in case you needed any other reason to read his fab books.
A school visit in Memphis. That's a photo of my 10-year-old self on the screen behind me.
On stage at the Decatur book fest in Georgia with my young helpers. So hot. So worth it. Great fest.
Book event at Alamosa Books in Albequerque. Fab store!
Stop it! These girls in Phoenix stenciled their shirts. I'm certain "SH" stands for "smoked ham."
Fun assembly in Jackson, MS, organized by Lemuria Books, another fab store. These kids helped me do some storytelling, so we posed after for a photo op.
I show off my roll of rejection letters to St. George's School in Memphis. Great kids.
St. Georges gave me BBQ at a special lunch after. Serious. Take me back to Memphis.
Back at home, my daughter Dinah playing hide-and-go-seek.
Palace cake at the book launch at The King's English! I don't think I've ever partaken of food at my book events. But it's sure pretty! Great launch. My editor and I co-presented, and I just loved talking with her.
Clearly awesome gals in Phoenix showing off their "Mutual understanding is sexy" t-shirts. (from The Actor and the Housewife)
Congratulatory best seller flowers.
In Decatur, it wasn't hard to distinguish the children's writers from the elite crowd. At the authors' hot and humid reception, Rebecca Stead, David Levithan and I plopped our butts down on the ground in front of the one fan. It was an excellent plan. We were shortly joined by all the other present children's writers. There are definite benefits to having no dignity.
My daughter covered a doll's face in masking tape and drew her face on. Creepy. And an excellent story starter!
These were restaurant bathrooms in NYC. Yes, the doors are clear glass. When you go in, the door presumably clouds up so no one can see in. But I could still see out, so I had to wonder, as I frantically rushed through my business. There is such a thing as too fancy. I have a reoccuring dream that I have to go to the bathroom and the only public bathroom has no walls, so this experience was so surreal!
Thanks to all the great bookstores: King's English, Deseret Book, Changing Hands, Alamosa, Booksellers at Laurelwood, Lemuria, Little Shop of Stories, Andersen's, The Children's Bookstore, Books of Wonder, and Barnes & Noble! And thanks to School Library Journal for hosting the webcast, and Scholastic Book Orders for the wonderful day. Utahns, don't miss my event with Libba Bray this Saturday. I'll be in Southern California in February, and I hope to see more of you next book launch! Whenever that might be...
Whew! The first day of our virtual Literacy Day Conference was absolutely incredibly amazing! Yes, that’s a lot of adjectives for a professional writer to be tossing around, but hey, it really was a day to write in the history books. Why, you ask? What could possibly be that exciting to a seasoned conference organizer [...]
Inspired by Shannon Hale's Mortification Monday (thanks Wendy!) this week some of the Buzz Girls are sharing book event fiascoes with the world. Now, hopefully I'm not jinxing myself (*throws salt over shoulder*) but I've never had a true book event fiasco. I've had some near misses, though, so I'll dish on those...
- For my debut launch party at Houston's Blue Willow Bookshop, my parents were planning on flying down from Oklahoma City to join the party. It was their only child's first book and they wanted to be there to celebrate. They packed their overnight bag, went to the airport, and... realized that they had misread the landing time as the departure time. They had missed their flight! Luckily, they caught the next one (it's only a hour long flight, thank goodness) and, despite cutting it quite close, made it just in time!
- My next signing was at Katy Budget Books, also in Houston. Unfortunately, that was the time when my mother was in the hospital and I was up in Oklahoma City to be with her and my dad. She was still in the hospital, but stable, and I didn't want to flake out on the booksigning. So I bought a ticket down and back on the same day, leaving myself plenty of time to get to the signing. Three hours extra, in fact. Guess how late my plane took off? Yep, three hours! I made it, though... barely. However, it was summer vacation, and apparently everyone who had been in the store the week before had been buying books for their trips because, literally, two people showed up. And I knew one of them. It was a very emotionally draining day, but meeting the one fan who came in already having read my book and asking me to sign the cover with silver marker, to take pictures with her for her blog, that made it all worthwhile.
All of my other events have been pretty smooth (*knocks on wood*) with only the typical no-one-shows-up dramas and do-I-have-to-read-pages worries. If those are the worst things that ever happen in my booksigning career, then I'll county myself lucky. (*goes in search of four-leaf clovers*)
We've been talking about blips in our booksignings this week. Fortunately, I've had a good run with my signings, but I do have two stories to share.
First off, when my SORORITY 101 series debuted, I had a launch party in Boston with all of my work friends, a ton of writer friends, my agent, my sister, brother, nieces, and cousins. It was a huge blowout and I was hot, sweaty, nervous wreck. As I gave my speech toward the end of the night, I looked around the room to thank certain people. When I saw the person's face, I thanked them, and proceeded around the room. However, I pulled a Hilary Swank. I forgot to thank my then husband! It wasn't totally my fault because he was standing behind a pillar and I couldn't see him. I did correct the mistake, but I was horrendously embarassed!
The other oopsies was when my book THE OTHER SIDE: A TEEN'S GUIDE TO GHOST HUNTING AND THE PARANORMAL was released, my co-authors (my now fiance, Patrick Burns, and Dave Schrader) and I were having our launch party at Dave's Darkness Radio event at the Queen Mary. Only problem was, the books arrived a week after the event. Talk about egg on the face! We had 200 people there who wanted to buy our books. So, our amazing publisher got the attendee list and addresses and mailed them all a FREE copy of it. That was incredibly generous!
Let's hope neither of those things happen again!
Last week, I put up a giveaway for C.C. Hunter's BORN AT MIDNIGHT...and the winner is...
Please e-mail me offline with your name and address at marley_gibson AT yahoo dot com. Congrats!
Next week...the launch of my new book GHOST HUNTRESS: THE DISCOVERY!
Marley = )
This is my birthday week, so on my birthday yesterday, I rode 55 miles -- Eeek. That's a mile for every year. Muddy, wet, rainy, windy, puddles, grit, but I did it.
Wrote all morning, then rode, then met my writing group for a birthday party/goodbye party for dear friend Jann who is moving to Fargo-Moorhead this weekend. Then Tom took me out. What a great birthday.
Now: back to writing.
Tonight at 8 pm EST (6 pm MST) I'll be doing a live chat with uber-fabulous authors E. Lockhart (The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks) and Elizabeth Eulberg (Prom & Prejudice) on figment.com. We'll be talking about that bottomless topic "why does everyone love Austen so much?" and answering your burning questions (but not your itching questions--keep those ones to yourself). You should be able to follow along here on my blog as well. Come harass us!
<a href="http://www.coveritlive.com/mobile.php/option=com_mobile/task=viewaltcast/altcast_code=f0411f3f0d" _mce_href="http://www.coveritlive.com/mobile.php/option=com_mobile/task=viewaltcast/altcast_code=f0411f3f0d" >After Austen</a>
The past couple of weeks have been even crazier than normal. My email inbox has activated an automatic self-destruct command. Just no extra brains for blogging right now. So many interesting things to talk about. I'll have to deal with later. Just know three things:
1. Writing for Charity is going to be awesome this Saturday. You can sign up at the door, but those who preregister are guaranteed lunch and get preference in choice of authors for their critique session. The book signing at 4 pm is open to the public. The silent auction has some drool-worthy offerings, so if you can't make the conference, come at the end!
2.I'm emceeing Brandon Mull's launch party for Beyonders: Seeds of Rebellion tomorrow (Tuesday) again, Cottonwood High Auditorium in Salt Lake. Comedy, music, books, a great family event, so much fun. This year, I'll be signing books after as well. Show starts at 7 pm, but get there early if you want a seat. FREE!
3. I have another super secret project...no, not a movie. But I love it so much. I can't wait to talk about it.
*My friend and writer Tiffany Trent lived in Hong Kong for a time. She told me about how a restaurant translated each menu item into English, and one item translated as simply "Soup with three things." I love that. That would make a great book title! Or blog post title...
I spent the last couple of days in Houston for TLA (Texas Library Assoc annual conference). I love Texans and love librarians, so obviously this is an excellent conference. (and they gave us cowboy hats and fake mustaches!) I kept meeting people there who said, "I met you last time you were here two years ago." And I thought, I was here two years ago?
And then I did the math--I would have been preggo. With twins. Nauseated to my eyeballs. And I have no memory of attending TLA. Nothing. I couldn't drag up a single image. Someone said there was a dinner I was supposed to attend but didn't go (probably vomiting in the hotel) where I would have shared a table with those librarians and Suzanne Collins.
Yesterday I was on a panel about graphic novels with an excellent group of lads: Gareth Hinds (The Odyssey, King Lear...), Ben Hatke (Zita the Space Girl), Orson Scott Card (Ender's Game, Laddertop...). Near the end, we were asked a question about something, Gareth answered, it was my turn, and I started to pontificate on how important GNs are for kids and especially certain kinds of readers, and how difficult it would be to find or even publish GNs for young readers without the awesome support of libraries. And I started to cry. Blubber, really, getting embarrassingly emotional, because as much as I yearn to be in total control of my face at all moments, I do that. Mom thing? Me thing?
When I was done, I think there was an awkward silence, and the moderator went to the next person down the line, OSC, repeating what had apparently been the question: "What are you working on now?"
Yep. That had been the question. Not, "Can you sum up why GNs matter, who is to thank for their existence, and why you want to mouth kiss every librarian you meet, and toss in some tears while you're at it?" Nope, I was just supposed to talk about my current project.
OSC said gamely, "I'm not following that."
Afterward, it all started to feel awfully familiar. I looked back on my blog and found my post after last TLA. You guys, I did it there too! The very same speech probably, oozing very similar and equally damp emotions!
I wonder if I'm getting a reputation. If when I show up to conferences, my fellow panelists look at each other and think, oh great, we got the blubberer.
Awkward tears aside, let me just say again, THANK YOU, LIBRARIANS. Thank you.
This is a cool thing I'm doing in early October. I'll be presenting an author assembly in New York City, and School Library Journal is broadcasting it live into other schools. Educators, you can sign up your class or school to participate remotely. I'll be taking questions and comments from kids both live and digitally. I know Jeff Kinney did this recently and it turned out super awesome.
See my events page for upcoming appearances in Utah, Illinois, Baltimore Book Festival, and NYC.
Thanks for your support of my new book! Here's a snippet, one of the songs that start off the chapters:
Once there was a queen in a palace of bread.
Sing blue, sing white, stay up all night.
She nibbled on the walls and gobbled up her bed.
Sing white, sing blue, sing ballyhoo.
The people begged a crumb from their robust queen.
Sing blue, sing white, she ate all night.
She would not share a thing until it turned green.
So white, so blue, the mold it grew.
On April 4, I'm taking part in a really miraculous event. Faith Hochhalter, former book buyer for Changing Hands books and all around book babe, was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. A flurry of authors surrounded her and declared war in her favor. I'm honored to be a part of Save the Book Babe project, a fundraiser to earn money for Faith so she can sit back and fight that nasty cancer in peace. You think you can intimidate our friend? HA! You ain't seen nothing yet!
See the Book Babe website for details. The event will be in Phoenix. Tickets and auction items are not yet up, but I imagine they will be any day, and I wanted to give my Arizona readers a head start, because these tickets will go quickly. Like within hours, I imagine. So keep an eye out, and I'll post when I know more.
And in other updates: Today Nathan Hale completed the 144 full color pages for the rapunzel's revenge sequel, calamity jack. Go Nate! Go go go! You rock, baby. You hear me? You ROCK!
Also today, I got the first ARC for forest born. (squee!) I'll see some of you at UVU on Thursday. At my keynote I'll be giving out prizes. (no, not the ARC. Sorry, I only have one. For now...)
Registration for the Project Book Babe event on April 4 in Phoenix will open today at 9 am. A few more details:
- Many of you have asked if you could donate even if you can't attend. There is a donate button on the site.
- The auction will be online! And there's going to be some amazing stuff. Some is listed, but much more to come. I've got an ARC of the actor and the housewife, among other things. Stephenie has some uber-cool stuff, including her dress from the Eclipse prom that I so want.
- You've been kind to praise me for being involved in this, but I want to clarify that I was invited to come and can't claim credit. Several of the other authors hatched the plan and have been working hard to carry it out. I know J.S. Lewis has done loads.
- Given the size of the event, this is not a signing event. Everyone who attends will walk away with at least one signed book, but we won't be able to sign books brought in. Only those buying the Platinum tickets will attend a reception after with the authors and get personalized books.
- I was asked to emcee the event. Which means I've begun to hatch plans...(oh, those poor, poor authors)
Hope to see some of you there!
Guess what? There are still tickets available to the Book Babe Event in Mesa, Arizona on April 4. When the platinum level seats sold out the first hour, it appears many people thought the whole event was sold out. But fear not! There are tickets still available. This is going to be three hours of music, comedy, and art, including an author panel with eleven really cool authors (including very cool yours truly). We have a ton of amazing prizes to raffle (books, art, memorabilia), and Stephenie Meyer is going to auction some jaw-dropping stuff at the event only. All the proceeds go to help our friend and all around book babe, Faith Hochhalter, in her fight with cancer. Everybody who attends the event will walk away with, at the very least, a signed book from someone on the author panel. Some of you will walk away with much more.
There will also be an online auction separate from the event, which will open any day. I've added an item that I will be auctioning: an ARC of forest born. Yes, I now have more than one copy in my hot little hands and I intend to use them well. So in celebration I'm going to give away TWO copies to my blog readers. You heard right! What do you have to do to enter? Just post a comment on this blog post. In four days, again I'll have Dean randomly give me two numbers, and those commenters will win the book, which of course I'll sign to you. No age limit for participants, but if you're a minor, I will need to get your mailing address from your parent/guardian.
To give you something to talk about, I'll reveal for the first time the cover for forest born. (In the US anyway, I haven't seen the UK cover yet.) There will be no Alison Jay cover. I am very sorry about that. I know that many of you collect the books in hardcover and this one won't match. Fingers crossed that you still like this cover for what it is. Ta-da!
Prepare yourselves for long post, many photos, little sense.
My awesome helper Debbie. The event had over 70 volunteers helping behind the scenes. Debbie was assigned to me. I gave her my camera and she saved the day, snapping some awesome photos. Thanks to Debbie and her cute sister Connie!
We had a lot of signing to do. Each of us signed about 150 books for giveaways and 1000 posters. (Stephenie signed 600 books). Here are Janette Rallison, James Owen, and Dean Lorey hard at work. Huge thanks to Bloomsbury and Walker who donated all of Janette's and my books for the event! BLOOMSBURY ROCKS!
I emceed with J.S. Lewis. We managed to keep each other laughing, which felt good.
Back stage, the goddess Megan and I help Dean Lorey into Stephenie's Eclipse prom dress...
...so he could model it on stage for the audience. PJ Haarsma is his handsome escort. Can I tell you how seriously awesome these guys are? Everyone was awesome. I'd say, "Hey guys, how about we do ___" and they'd say, "Sure, why not?" I was in heaven.
Here I read a poem written for the event by Laura Middleton, limericist extraordinaire. She made references to all the attending authors in there.
Twelve authors, reclusively hiding,
Were quietly doing their writing,
But when cancer messed
With their Book Babe's breast,
They emerged from their caves to go fighting.
They unsheathe their pens for this battle,
And cages of monsters they rattle.
So, cancer beware,
You haven't a prayer
Against Janette's cheerleader's prattle.
The robot dog's up for a scuffle,
The playing card soldiers, a shuffle.
Even Morgan LaFey
Gets into the fray.
And what could survive this kerfuffle?
Oh, cancer, the West Wind is blowing.
The dragons and gorgons are lowing.
You cannot unhinge
And that rascal Edward is glowing.
The cancer has got to be shrinking
In fear that a Softwire is linking.
Mull and his ilk
Sip magical milk,
And guess what the vampire's drinking.
Then after this awesome poem, Brandon Mull added:
Roses are red
Violets are blue
Backstage, we found ourselves huddled in a perfect circle, circle, so why not do an Eight is Enough shot? Clockwise from the pink: Laini Taylor, Brandon Mull, Chris Gall, Janette Rallison, Stephenie Meyer, Shannon Hale, Dean Lorey, PJ Haarsma, & Jon Lewis. Hey, we make nostrils look good!
After hearing Adam Kump's wonderful set, Jon and I felt inspired to serenade Faith, aka the Book Babe. We chose Islands in the Stream. It wasn't going well, so we called in backup...
James Owen on lead, we did Aretha Franklin's "Baby I Love You," with Laini, Janette, and Brandon joining Jon and I on back up. Let me preface by saying, we had never rehearsed all together, the backup dancers had never heard that version of the music before, and we couldn't hear the music for most of the dance. It rocked.
Can you shimmy? Oh baby.
Hey, who's back there dancing across the stage?
James Owen, first runner-up in Finland's 2008 Aretha Franklin look-alike contest.
Jon totally gave his all with the low dip followed by slow up slide. Look at the concentration on his face. A true professional.
Here Brandon thinks we've reached the end and our "free dance" portion too early. He was going wild then after a moment said, "Isn't this the free dance?" We shook our heads. It was awesome.
NOW is the free dance. For Bailey, Jon Lewis's little girl, I go down into my Joan Jett.
I scraped up my knees. All for you, Faith!
Check out my dance mates! They trip the light fantastic, baby. Hats off to Brandon, Janette, and Jon, and especially Laini who was shaking it up five months pregnant.
These are the beautiful posters we signed for many of the attendees. Frank Beddor didn't make it from California as his kids were very sick, but Dean Lorey, not pictured, came.
After the Adam Watts Band and their amazing set, I introduced the authors. Apparently they all called each other and said, "What are you wearing? Jeans and a dark shirt? Okay, I will too." Here I believe Brandon and Jon are doing a chest butt? Probably?
I'd introduced everyone and we were moving on, getting ready to start the authors' panel, when Jon said, "Haven't you forgotten someone?" I looked at my list--no, I was sure I'd announced everyone. He pointed at the empty spot at the table and the name STEPHENIE MEYER. Oh. Whoops. Yeah...so, I'd forgotten Stephenie, who was waiting patiently in the wings to hear her name. I could not stop laughing, as you can see. She had to wait a while longer.
Chris, PJ, me, Jon, and the top of Dean's head.
And the rest of the panel, as named. I think this may have been my favorite authors' panel I've ever done. We all agreed beforehand, "No long rambling stories, keep it quick and light and fun." And we sincerely had fun. No obnoxious self-promoters here. Every single author was a sincerely nice, generous person. We laughed a lot. What fun.
Jim Blasingame, YA lit titan, was our wonderful moderator. Behind him, you can see one of our lovely interpreters for the deaf.
And on to the raffle. All the authors had donated at least two signed items. Lots of books, some prints. Dean Lorey blew me away by raffling Nightmare Academy 3 manuscripts, an early draft and a final draft. The book isn't published yet. Talk about a sneak peek! At one point (I can't remember why) I mentioned how difficult it was for Stephenie to have to go to the New Moon set and observe the wolf pack, who occasionally do push-ups before going on camera.
Without hesitation, Jon dropped and gave us 20. Or two. Who's counting?
Stephenie gives him the thumb's up. Surely Jon will be considered for the understudy for Taylor Lautner.
I'm holding an early manuscript of Eclipse, one of the items auctioned. I had a pin-on mic, so Stephenie was talking to my collar bone.
I breathe on the Host skateboard deck to increase its value. Jon's looking around, trying to figure out what was going. The audience had started to laugh hysterically and with some alarm. We finally found out that Adam Kump and his bandmate were helping to throw Hoto Skate t-shirts into the audience, and one had pelted a baby in the head. I guess you had to be there.
Jon was the auctioneer, and he was so overwhelmed by the generosity of the winners, he just had to give them hugs. The auction blew us away. Here was the going price for the fantastic items Stephenie donated:
Twilight ARC - $1500 (I think)
The Host skateboard deck - $1200 (I think)
I can't remember how much the marked early ms of The Host and Eclispe went for
Forever Dawn epilogue - $5100
Eclipse prom dress - $5500
Lunch with Stephenie (not at Taco Time) - $6500 (two winners)
At the end, we wanted to leave the audience with a story, so we improvised one, each of the authors taking one sentence (most definitely unrehearsed, if there was any doubt). The audience gave us the title "Stephenie's Dress" and the genre "horror." Let's just say that story will never be published, but we made ourselves laugh anyway. Here Brandon finishes it off with aplomb.
We are somewhat aghast at the direction of the story. I just love this woman.
Group photo! All the authors gather around the person that brought us together--the book babe, Faith Hochhalter. Here we are instructed to look right.
Look straight. We're good at following directions apparently...except Laini. Look at her in each photo. This is a woman with her own agenda. Beware the seemingly sweet pink-haired one! Beware!
I gave Faith a rare Shannon Hale lipstick kiss. We should have auctioned that!
Laini poses with Janette's book My Fair Godmother, as she and the cover model both sport rosy locks. Laini really is a darling, kind, sweet, wonderful person. I was kidding about the caution earlier. (No, really...BEWARE!)
Thank you a TON to everyone who pulled off this feat! As emcee, I was up in front and it might have looked like I was leading the pack, but that was not the case. I was honored to be included, and there were dozens of people off-stage contributing tons of time and talent. And it paid off. We raised a significant sum of money for our friend. The online auction is in full force. New items are put up every few days. I have four items that will make an appearance, so keep watch. Thanks all!
I can't believe the wait is almost up! Next Saturday, June 13, at 5 pm, is the release party for the actor and the housewife! The King's English, of course, is hosting here in Salt Lake City, Utah. There will be karaoke and pie. And books. What more could anyone desire? I'll speak at 5 and stay until all books are signed. I'm starting to get reports that the books are out there in some places, though the official release is next Tuesday. Here's a piece of dialog from early in the book my mom just read aloud to me (she's rereading the book now):
“Hmm. So.” He paused. “My wife Celeste and I are taking a skiing holiday out your way, spending the third weekend in February in Park City. We thought we might…” he cleared his throat, “we might meet up with you. And your husband. For dinner.”
Becky didn’t say anything for some time.
“I think you’re still there,” he said. “I think you’re shocked.”
“Sort of. Sort of still here. Sort of shocked.”
“Dinner is always a shocking proposition.”
“That’s the truth. Lunch, supper, after school snack--all respectable and appropriate sessions of nutritional intake--”
“Whilst dinner is practically neanderthal.”
“I couldn’t agree more.”
Yesterday in the mail someone sent me a copy of a new book of Jane Austen quotes, Remarkably Jane, edited by Jennifer Adams. I was expecting a book of her quotes, which is always fun, but this was quotes about her by other writers and notables. First let me say that the book is gorgeous. Small, compact, in black and green, with leafy prints on each page. The beauty got me to open it up and then I kept reading. It's sort of marvelous to see a couple centuries of thinkers try to reason out why we love Jane Austen and how she does what she does. I kept coming across quotes that I wanted to quote on the blog, finally deciding just to recommend it here so you can see it all. Most surprising and interesting to me was the section at the end filled with quotes from her critics. Yes, even Austen had haters. I found it so encouraging just now! Truly. And imagine my surprise to come across my own self quoted there. Don't I feel all scholarly and important? (I'm in my pajamas, my son snuggled up next to me, leaning on my typing arm, my little girl has just started to call to me from her crib, and today I'm in charge of a church activity for 220 kids, so fortunately I have a few things to keep me from letting it go to my head.)
It's clearly designed as a gift book, but buy it and read it first before passing it along.
Also, I've had some inquiries about our rapunzel's revenge book trailer contest. We decided to postpone the deadline to coincide with the release of the sequel, calamity jack, in January '10. So there's plenty of time! More on that later, but I promise to make the box o' books prize mouthwatering.
Also, also, Catching Fire is just as captivating and un-put-downable as The Hunger Games.
I just peeked at Libba Bray's blog and saw a video link she posted that is so fabulous and is giving me wonderful flashbacks to our tour together. If you have 5 minutes to waste...and especially if you are a child of the 80s...it's worth checking out. (rated PG) Hysterical. I love you, Libba Bray! With a passionate love that will only end in ruin. And perhaps brownies.
To answer a couple of questions from the last blog post: This Saturday at the King's English (or really, at any book signing), will I sign books that people bring in?
The answer, for me, is always yes. I will sign any books you bring. But if you bring books from home to a signing at a book store, it's good manners to buy at least one book from the store. They're hosting the event, putting money into it, and their only take from it is book sales. It doesn't have to be one of my books, but I do ask that if you bring outside books, you support the book store by making a purchase. No one's going to check up on you, but I highly encourage it. Books don't have a high profit margin. A book store has to sell a lot of books to stay in business, and we NEED them to stay in business.
Another question: does this event have a theme? YES! Aprons and pies. You heard right. Wear an apron in solidarity to housewives everywhere and come eat pie. I'll give a book to the awesome person who dons the most fabulous apron. The King's English in Salt Lake City, Utah, 5 pm on June 13.
And now for news that's so exciting to me but probably won't really matter to anyone else (except my mom...hi Mom!)...the actor and the housewife is an Indie Next Pick for July! Indie Bound (formerly BookSense) is basically the United Federation of Independent Booksellers in the US (and Canada? I'm not sure about that...) Each month the booksellers select stand out titles to recommend to customers. This is a huge hug for the book and I'm so thrilled.
Photos from the actor and the housewife release party at The King's English! My brother-in-law kindly took a bunch. Here's a random handful.
Three sexy ladies pose in their aprons next to Colin Firth, duly outfitted. Sexy lady on left gave me one of the aprons she made. It reads "Cullenary Expert" and has a black apple.
My cute mom and cute sister #3 (6-months prego). During the Q&A when someone asked me if I ever considered a second career as a stand-up comic, sister #3 shouted out, "Don't give her a big head." I assure you, my family will prevent that. Isn't that what families are for?
The illustrious Anne Holman from The King's English made me teary-eyed with her kind introduction. Love her. Love that store.
Look at the little cuties in their aprons! LOVE it.
Look how rapt and entertained they all look! I must be a fantastic speaker!
There's my cute hubbie. I'm glad we got a photo of his dalliance with chops. His razor broke when he was shaving, and we said, "Why not?" A couple weeks with chops can only improve the world.
Blah, blah, blah.
Some more apron-wearers in the back. I'm sad we didn't get a photo of all the apron contest winners. Some stayed up all night making an apron especially for the event, and they were darling.
Yay, karaoke ladies!
At the signing, with a cutie Rapunzel fan. Look at that smile. (hers, not mine)
These ladies are feeling the music. You go, girls. The sisters on the right drove up from Arizona. They were also volunteers at the Book Babe event. Awesome aprons.
The audience bears witness to the soulful karaoke performance.
These girls sport stylish aprons all their own.
Thanks to the King's English and everyone who made the event so fun. I had a blast and am so honored to have such kind, loving, intelligent, sporting fans. You guys rock!
...Coraline! Ah, well. We feel very loved that rapunzel's revenge was nominated at all. And it reinforces two very important life rules to live by: 1. Never get involved in a land war in Asia, and 2. Never go up for an Eisner against Neil Gaiman.
Comic-con was huge and loud and crowed and hot and cool and crazy and fun too. I'm sorry I wasn't clear--I see from the comments that people were looking for me there! The truth is, I'm nobody at Comic-con. At bookseller conventions like BEA or librarian conventions like ALA I might be asked to do signings, talk on panels, be represented in a booth. But at Comic-con, I'm tiny potatoes. I was just there as a participant like everyone else, then attending the Eisner Awards Friday night.
At the Eisner gala, some of the tables were labeled "Nominees," but ours said "Eisner Staff." It was also the farthest one from the stage. We took it as an ill omen--we were not going to win. And we didn't, but then others from our table did win, so our paranoia was completely inaccurate. It was such an honor to be there with so many great writers and artists and comics folks. Amazing.
Ran into Jennifer Holm and Brandon Mull, and got to hang with Nathan and Mindy Hale. We didn't plan very well, so I didn't get to any writer panels. Got to see Holly Black and Tony DiTerrlizzi, but missed their talks. But got to a few others:
Batman: The Brave and the Bold - our favorite cartoon on TV now. Awesome! And they showed an episode that'll be on next season. It was so funny, so great. Imagine watching it in a room with thousands of fervent fans who laughed and cheered and at the end gave a spontaneous standing ovation. Awesome. The director, producer, and some of the voice talent were there.
Dollhouse - Joss Whedon is one of my favorite living writers, and he's so funny and witty live. Eliza Dushku joined him, and they showed an amazing and totally different unaired episode of Dollhouse.
Cartoon Voice Talent - This was so fun. Six professional voice actors told anecdotes and did voices for us. Gave me an appreciation of that industry. I was laughing so hard at some of the stories. I wish I could retell them all. Chuck McCann is my new hero. Their stories reminded me that what it takes to succeed in any creative profession is a lot of perseverance, constantly working to improve your talent, willingness to make a fool of yourself and just go for it, and basic kindness and civility to others. Do what you love, people! Follow your passion! And be nice about it.
Quick draw - Several professional artists drew for us, their papers showing on big video screens. The host asked them questions like, "Draw what would be torture for you" or "Draw what you would be doing instead of hiking the Appalachian trail." They were so fast, clever, and talented. Loved this. Sergio Aragones is another new hero.
One-liners overheard at Comic-con:
"So, if anyone asks, I'm dressed as Rainbow Bright."
"What if you gave Darth Vader a basket of kittens and a basket of puppies? He wouldn't know what to do!"
"Star Trek fans and Star Wars fans can get along."
At the Batman panel, they introduced some of the voice talent. They said, "And now, Batman himself!" A regular guy came out on stage and everyone cheered, but a six-year-old girl behind us began to shout, "That's not Batman! That's not Batman!" She was so the girl that would have declared that the Emperor had no clothes.
This week (and probably into next) I'm being interviewed on The Yellowbelly Show. Nathan Hale (no relation) does his fabulous weekday webcomics, and this week Yellowbelly has his own show. The cartoon version of me really is saying the lines I gave him. I have to say, it's not easy to respond to Yellowbelly's questions. The stutters and pauses are quite real. (And the "poo" line is a nod to Dean and my appearance on The Today Show.) Nate continues to astound. We got high res proffs of calamity jack this week and they are GORGEOUS! He is an artist to be reckoned with.
I have new events up on my events page. The tour dates and locations are missing times--more info to come. Two upcoming events I want to pimp: Writing for Charity, round 2! Those who went last year can attest, it was pretty cool. And we've learned stuff from last year's, so it should be smoother. Northern Utahns rejoice, it will be in Ogden this year at the Treehouse Museum. Come for a halfday writing workshop with some pretty amazing authors, and know your money all goes to the Treehouse Museum's awesome community outreach and literacy programs. Register here.
Also, I'll be at the Orem B&N on August 26, 7pm. Come throw breadcrumbs at me and laugh. Okay, I have to go to the airport now and pick up Holly Black, Cassandra Clare, Robin Wasserman, and Jo Knowles. Was there a reason to say that? No, just wanted you to think I'm cool.
Here are some (shocking!) photos from our (alarming!) King's English launch party for (earth shattering!) calamity jack. Intrigued...? I thought so.
Dean, Nate, and I talked about making the book. Blah, blah, blah. Why does my husband's shirt have a bloody hand print? Because it's his Intermural Zombie Hunting League team shirt. Obviously.
Nate's awesome presentation on the making of a graphic novel. The cutie kids sat on the floor. Where they could better put their hands in front of the projector. Obviously. Nate made a graphical homage to this moment on his blog.
More talking. Questions answered. Two super secret projects revealed. Does Nate look like he's keeping his distance? Almost as if...he doesn't trust us, for some reason? Weird.
Through Interpretive Movement, Dean and I explain the process of Collaboration.
With a big finish!
Look at these cutie kids! Rapunzel is decked out from head to foot. Awesome! And cowboy little brother was definitely smiling on the inside.
Two Rapunzels show the world how to whip evil! A shout out to Mindy Hale who knit this unbelievable wig for me at the Rapunzel launch. It appeared on the Today Show even, the most famous wig in America! I should have just worn this wig the entire time. My other hair looked awful. Just texted my hair dresser: emergency!
Support Your Fellow Kidlit Authors and Illustrators! Event, readings, and signings in Southern California for the month of September are as follows:
SEPTEMBER KIDLIT EVENTS:
Thursday, Sept 9th
7 pm: Kathy Charles presents and signs John Belushi is Dead at Book Soup 8818 Sunset Blvd. West Hollywood, CA 90096 Phone: (310) 659 3110
Friday, Sept 1oth
4 pm: Nancy Holder presents and signs her new YA Fantasy Crusade at Mrs. Nelson’s Toy and Book Shop located at 1030 Bonita Avenue, La Verne, CA 91750.
Saturday, Sept 11th
10:30 am: Naomi Howland reads from and signs Princess Says Goodnight at Vroman’s Bookstore, 695 E. Colorado Blvd, Pasadena, California 91101
11 am: Lee Wind, M.Ed. present SMASHING STEREOTYPES! Writing Workshop with author Francesca Lia Block at Book Soup 8818 Sunset Blvd. West Hollywood, CA 90096 Phone: (310) 659 3110.
11 am: Jamie Lee Curtis signs her newest book My Mommy Hung the Moon at A Whale of a Tale Bookstore at 4199 Campus Drive Suite A, Irvine, CA 92612.
Thursday, Sept 16th
4 pm: Brian Lies shares his children’s book Bats at the Ballgame at Mrs. Nelson’s Toy and Book Shop located at 1030 Bonita Avenue, La Verne, CA 91750.
Friday, Sept 17th
6:30 pm: Vroman’s Young Adult Book Group discusses The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor at Vroman’s Hastings Ranch 3729 E. Foothill Blvd, Pasadena, California 91107
Monday, Sept 20th
4 pm: Adam Jay Epstine and Andrew Jacobson share their book The Familiars at A Whale of a Tale Bookstore at 4199 Campus Drive Suite A, Irvine, CA 92612.
4 pm: Jennifer Fosberry reads and signs her picture book My Name is Not Isabella at Mrs. Nelson’s Toy and Book Shop located at 1030 Bonita Avenue, La Verne, CA 91750.
Thursday, Sept 23rd
10:30 am: Sara Penny Packer and Marla Frazee read and sign the new book in the Clementine Series at Children’s Book World at 10580 ½ W. Pico Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90064.
4:30 pm: Sara Penny Packer and Marla Frazee read and sign the new book in the Clementine Series at A Whale of a Tale Bookstore at 4199 Campus Drive Suite A, Irvine, CA 92612.
Saturday, Sept 25th
11 am: Jamie Lee Curt
Now that it's September, I'm officially back in NYC full-time! Though I miss the quiet of 90 open acres and no one around but my fam, it's nice to be back with friends, and back into the book scene. Last night I attended the B&N Back to School Bast, where I heard readings from new releases and heard a rockin' performance from TIger Beat, the best (and to my knowledge only) YA-author rock band around.
Tiger Beat (pictured above) is Daniel Ehrenhaft, Natalie Standiford, Barnabus Miller, and Libba Bray. And if you like their books, you'll love their music.
Read more about the night and other recent goings-on about the town in my readergirlz NYC host post from earlier today.
For those of you who don't know, I've been hosting for readergirlz since March 2009, writing up the various literary events that happen in and around my fine city. As of November, I'll be taking on a new role at the site, coordinating content from featured authors. My first author will be Lauren Oliver, whose novel, BEFORE I FALL, blew me away.
What else? Oh! While I was upstate, I fell MADLY in love with my Kindle. Too bad I only began this affair AFTER I returned from my 5-week honeymoon - it would have been great for traveling. Well, maybe on the next marriage.
(I kid, I kid...)
But yeah, Kindle. Didn't think I'd be into it, now I can't put it down. Back in January, I joined up with some other authors in a challenge to read
100 books this year. I'm now somewhere in the 80's, and I think I have the convenience of the kindle to thank for that.
What about the rest of you? Where do you come down on the subject of e-books?
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Fantastic Kidlit events are happening all over Southern California this October! If you can, come out for some spooky literary adventures and support your fellow writers and illustrators!
Friday, Oct 1st
4 pm: Gitty Daneshvari shares the second book in her book series School of Fear: Class Not Dismissed! at Mrs. Nelson’s Toy and Book Shop located at 1030 Bonita Avenue, La Verne, CA 91750.
Tuesday, Oct 5th
10 am: David Wiesner signs Art and Max at Mrs. Nelson’s Toy and Book Shop located at 1030 Bonita Avenue, La Verne, CA 91750.
Wednesday, Oct 6th
1:30 pm: David Wiesner signs Art and Max at Children’s Book World at 10580 ½ W. Pico Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90064.
7pm: Kiersten White shares her debut YA novel Paranormalcy at The Yellow Book Road at 7200 Parkway Dr., Suite 118
La Mesa, CA 91942.
Saturday, Oct 9th
10:30 am: Ann Redisch Stampler and Eugene Yelchin sign The Rooster Princess of Brestov at Children’s Book World at 10580 ½ W. Pico Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90064.
2pm: Cecil Castellucci discusses and signs Rose Sees Red at Book Soup located at 8818 Sunset Blvd. West Hollywood, CA 90096.
5 pm: Lauren Strasnick reads and signs her young adult novel Her and Me and You at Skylight Books on 1818 Vermont Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90027.
Sunday, Oct 10th
10:30 am: Antoinette Portis signs her book Kindergarden Diary at Children’s Book World at 10580 ½ W. Pico Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90064.
Thursday, Oct 14th
4 pm: Antoinette Portis signs her book Kindergarden Diary at Mrs. Nelson’s Toy and Book Shop located at 1030 Bonita Avenue, La Verne, CA 91750.
Saturday, Oct 16th
10:30 am: Antoinette Portis signs her book Kindergarden Diary at Vroman’s bookstore at 695 E. Colorodo Blvd. Pasadena, CA 91101
12:30 pm: Cecil Castelluci bestselling author of The Queen of Cool and The Plain Janes signs her first picture book, Grandma’s Gloves at Every Picture Tells A Story located at 1311-C Montana Ave. Santa Monica, CA 90403.
4:30 pm: Jamie Lee Curtis signs her newest book My Mommy Hung the Moon at Every Picture Tells A Story located at 1311-C Montana Ave. Santa Monica, CA 90403. Preceding the book signing, the Aero Theater (across the street) screens the family favorite Freaky Friday followed by a Q and A with Jamie Lee Curtis.
Sunday, Oct 17th
5 pm: Francesca Lia Block discusses and signs The Frenzy at Vroman’s bookstore at 695 E. Colorodo Blvd. Pasadena, CA 91101
2 pm: Laura Numeroff autho