Barnes & Noble put on its first teen book festival this weekend, the largest national teen fest in the nation, and yours truly was truly honored to be a part of it. At Barnes & Noble Southland (Racine, WI), I got to talk with B&N’s great staff, area teens, and fellow authors. And at Barnes & Noble Bayshore (Glendale, WI), I met new friends and found some of the most enthusiastic readers in the area. What a fantastic event! Thanks, B&N! 🙂
Okay, we know kids are awesome. And presenting to kids is awesome. And hanging out with them to talk casually is even more awesome. Well, let me tell you, the young adults of Carmel (Indiana) High School are extra awesome.
I just got back from their school’s Creative Writing Con, where I joined 20 other authors talking to nearly 1,000 teens. Those young adults were tuned in and really wanting to learn the craft of writing. I had the BEST time being with them and the group pictured above in particular. Shoutout to Ms. Trachtman’s Honors English Class! So glad to have met them. 🙂
Following that, I spent the evening at Barnes & Noble Carmel with some truly gifted writers (What a treat!) while I signed copies of God Awful Loser. Such a great time! Thank you, Carmel, IN, Carmel High, and Liza at Barnes & Noble.
Okay, it’s one thing to have an awesome time at Barnes & Noble‘s Author Open House, which I totally did. It’s another thing to have a kid put down the book of a major franchise in favor of yours, which he totally did!
There we were, nine authors at B&N Village Crossing in Skokie, Illinois, mingling with the great crowd and talking about books. We’re in a place with thousands of books, so many titles, just a plethora of choices, and THIS young man puts down his Star Wars novel to get mine. I was flabbergasted and so, so honored! Thanks, Collin, my new little buddy. 🙂
And thanks to Cathy Athans at Barnes & Noble Village Crossing for organizing this great event!
GOD AWFUL THIEF, the sequel to God Awful Loser, is looking great. Earlier this week I signed off on the signatures (the page bundles)…
…checked out the matte and glossy finishes and the embossing for the book jacket…
…and approved on the color check…
… for the final okay of the big print run, which will speed across the same presses used for the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. Let’s hope some of that good karma rubs off.
You can pre-order GOD AWFUL THIEF here.
I hope you’re excited to read more of Cupid’s adventures. And as a reminder, if you liked God Awful Loser, please do the kindest thing you can do for a writer: leave a review at Amazon, Goodreads, or your favorite website.
It’s amazing how certain events in your life harbor so much meaning.
I remember as a child spending many, many, MANY enchanted hours reading on the bean bags at the kids’ corner of the South Milwaukee Public Library. I used to ride my bike the half hour to get there to happily satisfy my demanding reading habit, delighting in Peanuts and Moby Dick alike.
This Wednesday, December 2nd, I will cherish the immense honor of presenting there, my hometown library. Starting at 6:30, I’ll present an excerpt and talk with readers about my fantasy novel, God Awful Loser, a signed copy of which is on the library shelves.
I will admit that my childhood self never imagined presenting as an author in the building in which I traipsed so often. I loved reading; books were, to me, worldly educators, understanding friends, and foolhardy daredevils. As a child, I never imagined writing books. As an adult writing a part of my novel at the SM library, I had to smile at going full circle from reader to writer.
Thank you, South Milwaukee Public Library, for welcoming me — at any age.
I had a great time this week meeting the most dedicated book lovers and readers around. Thursday, I was honored to speak about writing and publishing at the Wisconsin Library Association’s Annual Conference. Here we are, left to right: Columbus (WI) Library Director and Panel Moderator Cindy Fesemyer and Authors Valerie Biel, me, and Zachary Howe.
Saturday, I was one of a host of authors at the Edgerton (WI) Sterling North Book & Film Festival celebrating its tenth year. And what a reunion — I got to see former TV anchor Patty Loew, with whom I worked as an intern in my college days at WKOW-TV in Madison! I helped on a documentary that later earned an Associated Press award. We hadn’t seen each other in 25 years! Now she’s an accomplished author, and I was so happy to see her. 🙂
Thanks to all the librarians out there, to readers, and the many other book lovers that make this journey so wonderful.
I am incredibly honored to be the very first author featured on the newly created WISCONSIN WRITES AUTHOR VIDEO SERIES. This interview chat was created by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction for students to hear directly from authors about how they do what they do, providing a glimpse into both their current works and their creative minds.
I have two segments, which you can see above or at the WI DPI website. The first segment is on my writing process, and the second covers many topics, including my approach to subject matter, the role of research, editing, feedback from other writers, and advice to students.
Many thanks go the educators behind this series! I hope you enjoy it, too, and please feel free to share it widely with the writers (young and old) in your life!
A few of the questions had to do with taboo topics and whether we censor our writing for the sake of our audience. The answer was a universal no to censorship but that, of course, a writer’s presentation is tweaked depending on age range and relevancy to the story. We all agreed that stories are a safe place to explore new worlds and perspectives. Besides, those readers who don’t enjoy a book will self-censor, that is, decide a particular book isn’t for them and put it down. It comes down to choices, which is an integral part of growing up.
Not every book covers deep, heavy topics, but most offer a window to emotional growth. My God Awful Loser is a light read and yet doesn’t gloss over the protagonist’s womanizing. He and other characters eventually learn, with the readers riding their wave, to value those around them.
Do kids need books to teach them such lessons? Perhaps another question is in order: Who remembers reading a book at just the right time and having it profoundly affected their worldview?
Soon Wisconsin students engaged in writing will have video proof that, yeah, sometimes you just have to scrap what doesn’t work. And who got to teach them that? Why, yes, you guessed right. It was me.
It was part of an interesting video project being put on by the Wisconsin Department of Public Schools, the state agency that runs public schools. The “Wisconsin Writes” project aims to catch Wisconsin authors wherever they happen to be in their work-in-progress to talk to students about how they’re advancing their work and to answer a few tough questions. My work-in-progress is the sequel to God Awful Loser.
It so happens that I was at a point in which I’d explored a certain path only to find it didn’t work, and so I was on the cusp of scrapping a full chapter. That turned into a talk about how sometimes you just have to try something out, see how it goes, get messy, be willing to change it or let it go if it’s not your vision, and embrace picking it up again where you left off. I hope hearing that is helpful to students.
Here I am signing God Awful Loser for the program’s host. Thanks, Marci, for inviting me. 🙂
What an honor it is to be interviewed about your work, but it’s especially wonderful when the interviewer is Tim Knox, author, entrepreneur, and host of the hugely popular “Interviewing Authors” podcast.
Tim Knox has interviewed many fascinating and talented publishing professionals. His podcasts are endlessly entertaining and a treasure trove of insight. I’ve enjoyed them, each and every one, for a long time now.
Tim and I had a fun talk about my newly released fantasy novel, God Awful Loser, my TV life, and just how interfering Venus is, really. And Tim is so complimentary, calling God Awful Loser “one of my favorite books of the year, and I don’t say that lightly.” Here’s a link to our talk. Enjoy!