Event Recap: YALLWEST 2016!

This past weekend was the second annual YallWest weekend. YallWest is a weekend all about young adult books. There are dozens of authors who do panels and signings, drug and free books and sing-a-longs and all sorts of things.

I had an absolutely blast! I was able to meet a ton of authors, this web some that I’ve already met in the past but was excited to see again, more about and some new ones. I got my hands on some new books and some incredible swag and hung out with my awesome friends. Hands down, it was an incredible weekend. I had such a blast. I can’t wait for next year.

What I think makes YALLWest so great is that its an event all about YA, which is my passion in reading and writing, and its organized by those who are just as passionate about it…YA authors and booksellers and bloggers and librarians and all of that and it all adds up to an incredible event. The YA community is amazing and I’m always so glad to be a part of it and I’m definitely reminded of that every single time I’m there. I hope very very much to make the transition from reader/blogger to author next year and we’ll see both The Awakened and The Sanctuary in hands of readers.

I’m exhausted but I have so many pictures to share so let’s do that! Because the pictures are the best way to share my weekend!

DAY ONE

Day one was intense! It was hot and I sprained my ankle last week and I was ready for a crazy day. But even with the running around like a crazy person for most of the day…I got all the authors I wanted to meet and got my hands on a lot of swag and ARCs and it was awesome. I missed some opportunities with some ARCs but it was no big loss :) I figure my TBR pile is so large it doesn’t need to be any larger!

I loved that this year’s setup was much different than last year’s! Last year, all the signings were in a super awkward area and there wasn’t a whole lot of room. I loved that the signing area was much larger this year and there was a sort of…staging area for future signings. It made more sense and was way more organized and it made things go by much quicker and cleaner than the year before. I did especially like that some authors were wristbanded. The authors didn’t seem to be as rushed and I was able to chat and take pictures with everyone that I met that day.

I also liked that there seemed to be more booths this year…or that it just maybe seemed that way because of how spread out it was. There were a lot of vendors to visit and swag to grab and it was a ton of fun. I loved everyone that was there and I hope they all return next year. I was also super glad to see that Mysterious Galaxy had been the book vendor this year; I adore them and think they did an amazing job with book sales.

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I was so excited to meet debut author, Evelyn Skye, whose debut novel, The Crown Game, comes out this May. It sounds absolutely amazing and she was SUCH a doll. We talked about how surreal the reality is of being debut authors, and she was just so cool. I’m glad to add her book to my pile!

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Always an absolute wonderful time to see one of my absolute FAVORITE authors, Rainbow Rowell. Her novel, Fangirl, is easily in my top five favorite books and she remembered me from Festival of Books a couple years ago!

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Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman were so totally awesome! I am sad to say that I have yet to read Illuminae yet but I’ve heard nothing but good things AND I got my hands on the sequel so I can’t wait to read it. Plus we took a pretty epic selfie so there you go.

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It was totally wonderful to see Richelle Mead again! Somehow, between meeting her at YALLWest last year and RT last year, I’d not gotten my copy of The Fiery Heart signed! But now I do so my vampire set is complete ;)

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Oh you know, just Veronica Roth, walking by casually, looking fabulous as always. I kept considering getting a wristband to meet her but…I have all her books signed and have met her several times so I left those wristbands to those who haven’t!

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Me with author Adam Silvera, who wrote More Happy Than Not, which was so fantastic. He was such a blast to meet, and I’m not saying that just because he indulged my total Hamilton obsession!

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Libba Bray! I adore her so much and even though I already have all her books signed, I definitely needed her to sign my copy of The Awakened, since I’m having all the authors that have been an influence for me sign it. She was so sweet and congratulated me. Such an awesome lady.

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So excited that I finally got to meet Alexandra Bracken! I feel so bad that I have never read her The Darkest Minds trilogy but after devouring Passenger this past winter, I needed to meet her. That book is just so so so good!

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Me and the totally darling Marie Rutkowski, who wrote The Winner’s Curse. I loved the first book and I can’t wait to eventually hopefully finally read the rest of the trilogy!

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So while I was waiting in line to grab an ARC from Epic Reads, my friend Carmen showed me that she got her hands on Shadowhunter tarot cards and I knew I NEEDED them. I went to the booth and after, maybe, possibly, flashing my two Shadowhunters tattoos, I managed to get my hands on them. It was my big score of the weekend; they’re absolutely gorgeous!

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It was amazing to be able to take my own book to YALLWest! I had several people come up to me and talk to me and I signed some books and bookmarks and got to talk about my book and it was fantastic. I can’t wait to hopefully share more of The Awakened world next year!

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Hanging out with my sisters all weekend at YALLWest was easily one of the best parts. My sister Jessica (right) has been a book reader like me for quite some time but my sister Dink (left) hasn’t and so it was great to bring her along and see her meet the handful of authors that she does love!

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From left to right: my sister, Jessica, my sister, Dink, me, and my friends Jade and Logan. The weekend would not have been nearly as fun as it was without them, and my friends Nicole, Erin and Mina as well!

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I got to go up on stage during the Smackdown and play Hollywood Squares with some pretty cool authors and I won! So that was super fun :)

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Last but certainly not least of day one at YALLWest, was Libba Bray’s band Tiger Beat playing some songs. My favorite was their incredible “Purple Rain” cover and the Time Warp with all the authors at the end!

DAY TWO 

Day two was so much more relaxed than day two, but in a good way. I had already gotten most authors the day before and I only needed a handful for day two. I spent most of the day wandering around and getting my hands on ARCs and swag and all that :)

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Up and ready to go for day two of YALLWest! I’m rocking a Doctor Who and Harold and the Purple Crayon crossover shirt by Karen Hallion and feeling good about that day.

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Tahereh Mafi looking fabulous as always. She’s another author that I’ve met many many many times and so I didn’t feel bad skipping her, and I’m glad my spot could be taken by someone that perhaps has never met her before. But seriously, those outfits are always SO on point!

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Holly Black is just one of the coolest authors and people I know. I was so glad to get her signature in my copy of The Awakened and to talk books and being published. Such an awesome awesome author.

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I was so glad that I finally got to meet my dear friend Kevin, who I have known on instagram for quite a few years now. Its so nice to meet your internet friends in real life; its one of the best parts about coming to events like this. Hanging out with book friends, meeting internet friends in real life and making new friends!

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This was the moment that I decided that Sara Raasch and I would be best friends forever. Not only do we spell our first names the same way, but we also have the same middle name! We bonded hardcore over this and I’ve now decided we are besties.

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Me and the epic Sara Raasch. I’m so glad to share a first and middle name with such an awesome author.

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It was so awesome to finally meet my dear friend Valerie Tejeda, the author of Hollywood Witch Hunter. She has been such an inspiration and friend and mentor the past couple of years and it was amazing to finally meet her in person!


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YALLWest tradition: a mac and cheese grilled cheese with tots from Grilled Cheese truck. Yum!

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It was so awesome to see David Peterson again! I met him a few years ago with my friend Erin (who is friends with him) at Leigh Bardugo’s release party for Siege and Storm. David is a linguist and literally comes up with languages for TV shows like Game of Thrones and Defiance and The 100. So. Freakin. Cool.


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My haul for the entire weekend. All but about five books were mine but everything else was given to me FREE this weekend, all the swag and posters and tote bags and ARCs and all of it. It was such an epic weekend and I love every single thing in this picture!

I love YALLWest and I loved it this year just as much as last year. I love the new things they brought in this year and I love the small changes they made, with the signing lines, the book vendor and the other vendors there. It made all the difference. I also super loved that both days were in the same location; that was SO much easier than two different ones last year.

All in all, another great year. I’m already counting down the days until next year!

Ontario Teen Book Fest is THIS Saturday!

Its finally nearly here and I’m so excited! This is my favorite event of the year, this and I’ve spent a lot of time promoting the hell out of it, and I hope to see you guys there! Come and say hi if you see me!

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When: March 21st, 9 am to 5 pm

Where: Colony High School
3850 E. Riverside Drive
Ontario, CA 91761

This event is a completely free and un-ticketed event! Priority seating WILL be given to teens, but come one, come all! There will also be giveaways and raffles at the Fest, also free! Also, keep scrolling to find a giveaway held by us bloggers!

You can visit the website, to see the full schedule of the day by visiting the official Ontario Teen Book Fest website.

Books WILL be available for purchase at the event, available from Once Upon a Time Bookstore :) They are an amazing company so definitely bring your books from home, but try and support Once Upon a Time by purchasing a book!

AND the official blog tour for the event has concluded and there are a TON of amazing spotlights and interviews with these fantastic authors. Make sure to check out each stop below to read all about these authors and to check out the exclusive interviews!

February 28th: Spotlight on Kasie West — Adventures of a Book Junkie

March 1st: Spotlight on Melissa Landers — What A Nerd Girl Says

March 2nd: Spotlight on Brad Gottfred — Recently Acquired Obsessions

March 3rd: Spotlight on Catherine Linka — Read Now Sleep Later

March 4th: Spotlight on Debra Driza — Read Now Sleep Later

March 5th: Spotlight on Katie Finn — Fearless Kurt Reads YA

March 6th: Spotlight on Claudia Gray — A Bookish Escape

March 7th: Spotlight on Shannon Messenger — People Like Books

March 8th: Spotlight on Lauren Miller — The Thousand Lives

March 9th: Spotlight on Mary Elizabeth Summer — What A Nerd Girl Says

March 10th: Spotlight on Anna Carey — The Reader’s Antidote

March 11th: Spotlight on Sherri Smith — Movies, Shows and Books

March 12th: Spotlight on Elizabeth Ross — Kid Lit Frenzy

March 13th: Spotlight on Jessica Khoury — The Consummate Reader

March 14th: Spotlight on Maurene Goo — The Windy Pages

March 15th: Spotlight on Cecil Castellucci — Nite Lite Book Reviews

March 16th: Spotlight on Jessica Brody — The Romance Bookie

March 17th: Spotlight on Gretchen McNeil — Movies, Shows and Books

March 18th: Spotlight on Aaron Hartzler — Fangirl Feeels

March 19th: Spotlight on Michelle Levy — The Consummate Reader

AND DON’T FORGET YOU HAVE A COUPLE MORE DAYS TO ENTER TO OUR GIVEAWAY!

You have the chance to win one of TWO posters signed by all of the authors above!

Sounds pretty awesome, right? ;)

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GoFundMe: Help What A Nerd Girl Says Get to RT Book Lover’s Convention!

I’ve been thinking for awhile now on whether or not to actually make a GoFundMe for this. I felt kind of weird actually asking people for money. But I sat, salve talked to a ton of people who have used it, and decided I would use it. Its used for such a great variety of things and I thought, you know what, why not?

In May, my friends and I will be embarking a road trip to Texas to attend the RT BookLovers Convention. Its an absolutely incredible convention, that changes location every year, and focuses completely on books, the love of reading and the love of writing. I wish I had the funds to do the entire convention but that’s just not in the cards. However, they have a Teen Day, which is focused ALL on YA authors. It is literally heaven on earth for me. Literally. Authors like Meg Cabot, Richelle Mead, Jennifer Armentrout, Susan Ee, Lindsey Cummings, Sara Raasch, Victoria Scott, Cora Carmack, Tammara Webber, Kiera Cass, Bethan Hagen, Tonya Kuper, Marie Lu, Stephanie Perkins, I could literally go on for ages…its an incredible line-up.

And I want to see each and every single one of those authors. But what sold me, what broke my heart about not being able to go last year, was the my favorite author in the entire world (besides good ol JK Rowling), Tamora Pierce, is going to be there. Tamora is a goddess. She has been writing teen fantasy since the early 80s and she’s just absolutely incredible. The mere thought of meeting literally sends tears to my eyes. Literally.

So I knew I had to get there. I had to be there. And I’ve been planning with my friends for awhile now. But we finally made a solid move in our planning: we booked our hotel. We’re doing this. We’re going to drive to Dallas and go to Teen Day at RT and meet a ton of authors and MEET TAMORA PIERCE.

I’m dying.

And here’s the thing: I will make this happen. No matter what I have to do, I will make this happen. One, I’m not bailing out on my friends. Two, I’m not bailing out on such an awesome event.

But life happens, guys. I’m 27 years old and only just about a year and a half ago, I made the decision on exactly what I wanted to do with my life. I dropped out of school to put 100% of my focus on my blog and on writing a novel and getting published. In the process, I’ve also gotten a job at Disneyland, one that I’ve wanted for SO long, and one where I am totally happy. But the thing is, while I’m seriously happy with WHAT I’m doing in my life, it doesn’t pay the bills. It just doesn’t. And it sucks. Its stressful and it makes my anxiety shoot through the roof. But I don’t want to give up the happiness I’ve had so I push forward each and every day to try and make this work because I believe in chasing after my dreams.

So I’m asking for your help. I’m asking for donations from all of you, to help get me to RT. This money will go towards my hotel, my food, books, gas money to get there, etc. It will ALSO go to extra books and stuff for an EPIC giveaway for this blog’s THIRD birthday, which will be celebrated when I return from the trip. You guys like that idea, right?

I hope that you can help out :) Even the smallest bit helps, and I would appreciate it more than you even know. Click the picture below to head to my GoFundMe.

And if you’re heading to RT, make sure to say hi to me :) I’ll be the one in a puddle of tears in front of Tamora Pierce’s table. Legit.

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Thanks guys :)

March California YA and MG Book Events!

Some of you may have noticed that I no longer do Book Events Listings for the entire country. I used to but it just honestly got to be way too much work for me. I know it was really cool for you guys but it really was a ton of work. If any of you need help on finding book events in your area, illness I will be more than happy to help, stomach but for now, ailment I will be sticking with California (mostly Southern) events!

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March 10th:

Penguin Teen on Tour

Morgan Rhodes, Rachel Hawkins, Seth Fishman, Maggie Hall, and and Jessica Khoury

Vroman’s Bookstore

Pasadena, CA

6:30 pm

Not Wristbanded

Those wishing to get books signed will be asked to purchase at least one copy of the author’s most recent title from Vroman’s. For each purchased copy of the newest title, customers may bring up to three copies from home to be signed. This policy applies to all Vroman’s Bookstore events unless otherwise noted. Save your Vroman’s receipt; it will be checked when you enter the signing line.

March 10th: 

Andrew Smith

Book Passage

Corte Madera, CA

6:30 pm

Once again blending multiple story strands that transcend time and place, The Alex Crow author Andrew Smith tells the story of 15-year-old Ariel, a refugee from the Middle East who is the sole survivor of an attack on his small village. Now living with an adoptive family in Sunday, West Virginia, his story (beginning with a misplaced summer at a boys’ camp for tech detox) is juxtaposed against those of a schizophrenic bomber and the diaries of a failed arctic expedition from the late nineteenth century. Oh, and there’s also a robotic, reincarnated crow.

Andrew Smith knew ever since his days as editor of his high school newspaper that he wanted to be a writer. His books include Grasshopper Jungle and Winger.

March 11th: 

Lauren Oliver and John Corey Whaley

Barnes and Noble at the Bella Terra

Huntington Beach, CA

7 pm

Bestselling YA author Lauren Oliver will discuss her anticipated new novel Vanishing Girls. Lauren will be joined by Printz medalist and SoCal local favorite John Corey Whaley, author of Noggin.

March 20th: 

Girls Gone Sci-Fi Tour

Jessica Brody, Debra Driza, Claudia Gray, Melissa Landers and Jessica Khoury

Mysterious Galaxy

San Diego, CA

7:30 pm

Blast off for adventure with young adult authors Jesssica Brody (Unchanged), Claudia Gray (A Thousand Pieces of You), Jessica Khoury (Kalahari), Melissa Landers (Invaded), and Debra Driza (MILA 2.0: Renegade). Unchanged completes the thrilling SF trilogy started in Jessica’sUnremembered; fans are encouraged to check out the ebook short, “Unleashed,” as wel, for more insights into the mysterious Diotech Compound. Bestseller Claudia’s A Thousand Pieces of You is blurbed as “Orphan Black meets Cloud Atlas in the first book of this epic dimension–bending trilogy about a girl who must chase her father’s killer through multiple dimensions.”  The Corpus Files that Jessica began with Origin in the depths of the Amazon rainforest and continued with Vitro in the South Pacific islands now takes readers to the wilds of Botswana with Kalahari. Linda’s review of Melissa’s Alienated reads, “Appealing to science fiction and YA readers, a plot with a forbidden love theme involving intergalactic exchange students allows Landers to discuss important issues such as teen romance, peer pressure, trust and acceptance of those a little bit different from ourselves.” The story continues in Invaded. The 2015 version of San Diego author Debra will captain the ride!

March 21st: 

Ontario Teen Book Fest: Where Books and Teens Meet

Click this link to find out ALL the authors, panels and more information!

Colony High School

Ontario, CA

9 am – 5 pm

March 21st: 

Authors Under the Lights

Hilton Universal City

Los Angeles, CA

11 am to 6 pm

This multi-author/genre signing event will take place in sunny Southern California at Universal City Walk Hilton in Universal City on March 21, 2015.

Any and all pertinent information pertaining to attendance, including a list of featured authors, party with the authors & models, blogger/author brunch, hotel information, and sponsorship opportunities can be found on this site.

March 22nd: 

Girls Gone Sci-Fi

Jessica Brody, Melissa Landers, Jessica Khoury, Lauren Miller

Once Upon a Time Bookstore

Montrose, CA

2 pm

Jessica Brody, Jessica Khoury, Lauren Miller and Melissa Landers all write terrific SCI-FI adventures for young adults.  Join this gaggle of writers to discuss current trends in writing, YA, new science discoveries and more!

Sweet treats will be offered as well as booksignings for all authors’ books.

March 24th: 

Jennifer A Neilsen

Kepler’s Books

Menlo Park, CA

7 pm

Jennifer A. Nielsen, author of the NYT and USA TODAY bestselling Ascendance Trilogy (The False Prince, The Runaway King, and The Shadow Throne), has woven an electrifying tale of greed and power, magic and destiny, and one boy’s courage at the heart of it all.

March 27th: 

Cecil Castellucci and Rachel Searles

Mysterious Galaxy

San Diego, CA

6 pm

The Galaxy includes Speculative Fiction for readers of all ages – our event with Cecil Castellucci and Rachel Searles is focused on SF for teens, and middle grade readers, but of interest to readers of all ages. In Stone in the Sky, Cecil’s thrilling follow-up to Tin Star, Tula will need to rely on more than just her wits to save her only home in the sky, as she faces possible death and romantic complications. The Stolen Moon, second in Rachel’s Lost Planet series, offers hero Chase an opportunity to save the world, maybe, with the help of hacker BFF Parker and the assistance / hindrance of his younger sister.

March 28th: 

Ridley Pearson

Barnes and Noble at the Americana

Glendale, CA

7 pm

Check store for details. 

March 29th: 

Ridley Pearson

Mysterious Galaxy

San Diego, CA

2:30 pm

Ridley Pearson is known to many readers as the award-winning author of multiple adventure series for (young-ish) readers, including The Kingdom Keepers, Steel Trapp, and with Dave Barry, Peter and the Starcatchers. Ridley is also a best-selling crime novelist of more than two dozen titles. The adventure of the Kingdom Keepers, a group of young people responsible for battling magical villains in Disneyland afterhours, continues in The Return, as they discover defeating the Overtakers is not their only challenge. The Red Room, a Risk Agent novel, is Ridley’s most recent adult suspense novel.

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2014: A What a Nerd Girl Says Recap of the Year!

Aw, here yes. The year has come to an end. It is officially 2015. What a crazy year its been.

I’ve always prided myself in the closeness that I’ve had with all of you. I share with you. I could just write about books and events and all of that and leave it at that. But I share with you all and I know that you guys know that its been a rough year for me. Its one of the hardest years I’ve had to deal with. Trying to figure who I am and what I want, help dropping out of school, approved finding a new job, losing the person I thought I was going to spend the rest of my life with, all of that. It was a hard year. There are times when I have to stop, take a deep breath and tell myself, Sara, its going to be okay. Its going to be okay.

But despite that, or perhaps because of it, I’m trying to find the good in all things. Not everything this year was terrible. In fact, there were many, many great things about this year, and that’s what this post is for, to remember all the amazing things I was able to experience this year.

And here’s to hoping that 2015 is even better.

JANUARY 

 

Met Ransom Riggs and Tahereh Mafi…Officially

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I had unofficially met them while at the City of Bones premiere, when I kind of attacked them in excitement. I officially met them at Ransom’s release of Hollow City and I’m so glad I did :)

Got My Divergent Tattoo

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I had been wanting to get a Divergent tattoo for quite some time and I thought, now would be the time to do it, before the movie releases and it gets even bigger than it already is. So I did. And I love it.

I Met Penguins for the First Time

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Possibly one of the most amazing days in my entire life. I am massively obsessed with penguins and I spent the entire day giggling and smiling and just being all around happy. It was such an amazing day.

FEBRUARY 

 

Attended the Vampire Academy Meet and Greet, Music Party and Red Carpet Premiere

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Zoey Deutch is one of my absolute biggest celebrity crushes and Rose Hathaway and the Vampire Academy books are some of my absolute favorites so this was an absolute fun time. Especially since I met both Zoey and Danila Kozlovsky.

Got My Vampire Academy Tattoo

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I was so inspired by being around the Vampire Academy cast and fellow VA fans that I knew it was time to get my newest tattoo. Another addition to my body that I am so happy with. I know, its in the “wrong” spot. I couldn’t put it on the back of my neck because I already have something there!

Attended my Second Gallifrey One Convention

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Best. Convention. Ever. I will continue to go to this convention as long as I can get a badge to that thing. I met Arthur Darvill and Billie Piper, which was just straight up mind blowing, and I partied all night and I was even on my first ever convention panel. All in all, GREAT weekend.

Attended Jessica Brody’s ‘Unforgotten’ Release Party

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Always a good time to go and see Jessica Brody :) I was DYING to get my hands on this book and I went home and basically finished it that night.

Had an Amazing 26th Birthday Party

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I got a year older, and celebrated some of my absolute favorite people in the entire world. I’m lucky to have such incredible friends.

MARCH 

 

Met Willow Shields at the Catching Fire DVD Release!

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A friend told me this was going on, I had the day off and I thought, hey, why not meet Willow Shields again :) A super ton of fun and now my Catching Fire blu-ray is signed and pretty.

Saw Set It Off in Concert, Met Them, Fell in Love with Them Even More

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I saw these guys live when they opened for Story of the Year at the end of 2013. They were INCREDIBLE and a huge inspiration for the start, middle and end of me writing The Awakened. Seeing them play after falling so much in love with them was super awesome.

Met the awesome guys of Green Light Theory

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These guys are the best. They played outside the Set it Off show to bring attention to their band, and they completely sold me on it. Plus they’re a great group of guys and I’m proud to call them my friends!

Was First in Line for the Divergent World Premiere

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I got no sleep, was freezing, had more than a few frustrating moments but I had a ton of fun and met Theo James, Ansel Elgort, Kate Winslet, amongst a lot more and I got to show Veronica Roth my Divergent tattoo. I call that a win.

APRIL 

 

Met Stephen Chbosky and debut author Ava Dellaira

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I absolutely LOVED being able to meet Stephen again, who is just such an awesome person, besides just being a great author. Ava is a great addition to my ever growing list of authors that I love. She’s sweet, and totally talented and if you haven’t read Love Letters to the Dead yet, you’re crazy!

Attended Festival of Books, as a Member of the Press!

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Was SO excited to be press, and all that it entails, and being able to meet such fantastic authors. I always have such a blast at this weekend event and this year was no different, especially since I was able to meet John Green, Rainbow Rowell, Deb Caletti, Marissa Meyer and so many more. A GREAT year at the fest.

 Attended WonderCon 2014

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My second year at WonderCon 2014 and I had a fantastic time. I absolutely love this con and I love how close it is to my own home. I met the cast of The 100, a show I didnt’ watch until recently but one that I totally love. And I got to hang out with a ton of great friends and meet authors like James Dashner, Kiera Cass and Frank Beddor.

Attended the FIRST Pasadena Teen Book Fest

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Such an awesome new teen fest in Pasadena :) I had a blast meeting a ton of authors I’d never met before and being a part of the blog tour and blog team for this fest. Thanks to everyone who put this on and let me be a part of it. Andrew Smith was the honored guest of it and he’s so funny and I discovered a few new authors from this as well.

MAY

 

Saw Jamie Campbell Bower Live on Venice Beach

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In the past year, Jamie has spent a lot of time with his band, The Darling Buds, writing new songs and playing them for everyone. He had done a pop up acoustic show in the UK and I was mean green with jealousy until he announced he would do one in NYC AND LA. I was SO excited and of course I made sure to be there!

Finally Met One of my Favorite Authors, Tammara Webber!

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Immediately after I saw JCB on Venice Beach, my friends and I RACED to Glendale to meet Tammara Webber and Abbi Glines. I LOVE Tammara so so so much and I’m so glad to have made it to her signing. She’s a doll, and I use her as an inspiration a LOT.

Met Morgan Matson again and Met Jenny Han for the first time!

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On Mother’s Day, both Morgan Matson and Jenny Han were doing a signing that I just couldn’t miss. So what did I do? I took my mom with me! Seeing Morgan again was fun, of course, and I fell absolutely in love with Jenny Han and immediately went home to read her new book, all in a matter of hours!

The All-Around Amazingness of Ontario Teen Book Fest 2014

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I loved everything about this year’s Ontario Teen Book Fest just as I did last year. I loved being the blogger for it again and getting to know a bunch of absolutely fantastic authors. I loved the addition of the author speed dating and I loved being a part of this community. This fest means the world to me, and I will continue to be a part of it as long as I can! Also, I was in the program and that was awesome.

Rainbow Rowell Sends me a Postcard

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YES! When I went to the Festival of Books, I wrote letters to John Green, Veronica Roth and Rainbow Rowell. I never ever expected anything back from them, but I wanted to know how much their books meant to me. When I received a postcard in the mail from Rainbow, I literally burst into tears. This was so sweet of her to answer me back, and I have this hanging on my wall as a reminder of the amazing authors that I admire.

Met Kiera Cass!

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I had met Kiera Cass briefly at WonderCon but I was super excited to see her again, where I could spend more time with her and tell her how AWESOME The One was. Because seriously that book was incredible.

Read City of Heavenly Fire in 6 Hours

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I was insanely anxious to see the end of this series that I love so much, so much that I rushed down to Walmart when my friend informed me that they had released it early and rushed home to read it as quickly as I could. Of course, I was massively disappointed in the ending but that’s a whole ‘nother story. At least I read fast ;)

Finished The Awakened!

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I finished my novel. This was my number one goal of the year and I literally cried my eyes out when I did it. I was so proud of myself. I still am proud of myself. This novel took so much out of me, time and sacrifice and blood, sweat and tears. I worked HARD on this one and I continue to do so.

JUNE

 

Met Morgan Matson…Again…

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I like to stalk Morgan Matson or something. Nah ;) I just absolutely love her and I’ll take any opportunity to meet her. Plus I hadn’t been able to get my copy of her Katie Finn book signed so I brought that along with me!

Saw The Darling Buds in Concert

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After seeing JCB on the beach about a month earlier, his band announced they’d be playing a 21 and over show and I immediately got tickets for it, as did my friends. We had a blast going to it and we were able to meet all four members as well. AND I was finally able to get that picture will Lily Collins!

Girls Gone Sci-Fi Hits Mysterious Galaxy on Its Last Day

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Hung out with some of my favorite people and favorite authors AND spent a tearful last day at one of my favorite bookstores in the entire world, Mysterious Galaxy. The store reigns on in San Diego but its Redondo store closed its doors and I’m glad I spent one last time there with some seriously awesome people.

Saw The Darling Buds…Again

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Just a few days after the 21+ Darling Buds show, they held a free all ages show at the Gibson 90210 studios. We of course had to go to this as well and had a blast again. This time was especially fun as Jamie came over to my friends and I and sang part of the song with us. That pretty much made my entire life.

Went to the Ruin and Rising Release Party!

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Leigh Bardugo is one of my favorite people in the entire world so I was VERY excited to be a part of her launch party once more, especially since I went home and read the book and was just blown away at how incredible a conclusion it was. There were drinks and goodies and a photo booth and a great great time.

Got my First Shout Out in a Book

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I was browsing around instagram when a fellow blogger of mine posted that she was thanked in Siege and Storm, which had just been rereleased in paperback. I had a feeling so I rushed out to the bookstore (which I think was about to close) and grabbed a copy. I nearly cried when I saw that, yes, What A Nerd Girl Says had made the list. It was an honor to be amongst so many awesome blogs and to be in there, period.

Went to My First Ever ALA Conference in Las Vegas

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For months, Courtney, my librarian friend, had encouraged me to attend the ALA Conference in Las Vegas. I went back and forth, especially since I knew I’d probably have to go alone. Eventually I convinced myself that a solo trip would be fun and I’m SO SO SO glad that I did. I met new people, made great connections and met a ton of new authors. DEFINITELY glad at.

JULY

 

Saw Hank Green in Concert

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I had bought tickets to the concert months before I finally decided to go to ALA and this landed on the day I would be leaving Vegas. There was SO much drama on my way home and I nearly skipped the concert. My friends, however, convinced me to go and I’m glad I did. The concert was a total blast and I got to meet the other Green brother, Hank. Both Vlogbrothers in one year? That’s success.

Fangirl Day at Disneyland

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My friends and I spent the entire day at Disneyland. I hadn’t started work there, so my parabatai, Sylvia, signed me in because she did. We brought our books and had a blast going on rides and taking pictures with our books. This is one of my favorite pictures of all time.

Saw James Dashner again 

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I was missing out on Comic Con again, because, let’s face it, I’m too poor for CC but I decided to go down to San Diego to meet James Dashner. It was a crazy day, one where my tire exploded on the way down and there was drama in trying to get it fixed, but, all in all, a great day.

AUGUST 

 

Saw Set it Off…Again

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Set It Off became a little bit of an obsession with me, but I don’t mind too much ;) They’ve been an incredible inspiration to me this year and I’m glad that I keep getting to see them and meet them. Their music makes me happy!

Fangirl Beach Day 

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Like fangirl day at Disneyland, I gathered a few friends and had a long, but awesome day at the beach with some books. It was a blast and as you can see, we had way too much fun taking pictures. Definitely something I will have to do every single summer.

Meeting Gayle Forman and If I Stay director Ray Cutler

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Honestly, in all complete and total honesty, this event SUCKED. The Barnes and Noble it was held at was disorganized and unprofessional and just straight up terrible. BUT I’m glad to have met Gayle and RJ and Gayle’s parents were sitting in front of us, and were SO incredibly sweet as well. And we got cupcakes after the event so that’s always good.

Saw Fall Out Boy and Paramore

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I had tickets for MONTHS to see Fall Out Boy and Paramore. I was sitting a million miles away but that’s okay. That is, until my good friend Jade snuck me to the front with her and I got see Fall Out Boy up close for the first time since I was in high school. It was also my first time seeing Paramore, and they are INSANELY good live.

Went to the If I Stay Red Carpet Premiere

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This was such a dramatic and irritating day at a premiere. I was there all day and things weren’t going the way I wanted them to but then I was determined to make things work, and they eventually did. My one goal was to meet Jamie and Liana and I did so that was fantastic!

Got My Very First Rejection

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This was one of the roughest moments of my year. This has been a rough year and hearing this sucked. But I keep trying to remind myself that this was the beginning of the right path for The Awakened. Some people don’t even make it to the querying agents stage so the fact that I’m doing it means I’m on the right path to becoming a published author.

SEPTEMBER

 

Met Josephine Angelini for Release of Trial by Fire

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Josie is a total doll. I had just seen her at ALA and gotten my hands on Trial by Fire, which I totally loved, so I was excited to meet up with her and celebrate the actual release of the novel. Plus she brought cupcakes, which is always fantastic.

Celebrated New Releases with Natalie Whipple, Kiersten White and Stephanie Perkins

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I was able to attend this event down in Oceanside just days after I ended my relationship. And I’ll just say this, I’m grateful for each and every single one of these authors for putting on SUCH a great event and keeping my mind off of such a terrible thing in my life. All of the authors were funny and helpful and I’m glad to have met them all.

Got a Job at Disneyland!

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This is easily one of the best things to happen this year. I have wanted to work at Disneyland for most of my life and I’ve been told many times that I could not, because of my visible tattoos. I decided to try one more time, because my parabatai encouraged me to, and so I did and I finally became a cast member. I have been there nearly three months now and I’m in love with my job. I’m so grateful for this job and how its kept my head above water the past few months.

Met Sarah J Maas Again!

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This was SUCH a fun day. I have met Sarah a few times before and she was doing a full signing at the Barnes and Noble in Glendale with a panel but after the terrible time I had there for Gayle Forman’s panel, I decided I would just go to this quick signing at Costco. She remembered me and signed my Heir of Fire, and I also was able to meet a fan of my blog that day, which was fantastic as well.

Got My 13th Tattoo, Calcifer from Howl’s Moving Castle!

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I had wanted this tattoo for quite some time, and I had planned on getting it soon. It was something that I really needed because of the terrible month that September had been, so this tattoo means a lot to me. Its beautiful, I’m very proud of it, and it was the perfect moment for it to become a part of me. And let’s face it, its damn cute too.

Met Misha Collins!

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Not only did I get to meet Matthew Thomas, who is still getting so much buzz and accolade for his debut novel, but I got to meet its champion, Misha Collins who plays my absolute favorite character on Supernatural, Castiel. Pretty much one of the best days of my life.

Met and Interviewed Drew Daywalt

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Normally I don’t tend to do children’s books on this blog. Its not my thing. But this book was read to us at the Matthew Thomas event and I FELL in love with it and knew I had to be at this event. It was a ton of fun, and I was able to interview Drew, who was fantastic, and a great person to meet. I’m glad that I decided to go to this.

Celebrated the Release of Kami Garcia’s Unmarked

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Immediately after the Day the Crayons Quit event, Kami Garcia had her event for Unmarked. Such a fun a time, I had never met Kami before! Plus a ton of other authors joined in on the fun, including Christopher Rice. An epic day for sure.

OCTOBER

 

Met Becca Fitzpatrick and the duo of Christina Lauren

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I’m not a massive fan of Becca’s Hush Hush series but I loved her new novel, Black Ice, so I definitely wanted to get it signed by the author. She was super sweet and I also discovered the duo of Christina Lauren, whose book Sublime is now definitely on my TBR list.

Saw Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness and Met Him

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Andrew McMahon and the many incarnations he’s been a part of (Something Corporate, Jacks Mannequin, etc) is the most important musician in my life. Every song, every note, is beautiful to me and important to me. I had bought tickets to see him at the end of November, at the very end of his tour, but when I saw there were still tickets left for his second show in Los Angeles and I decided, why the hell not, and I’m so glad. I met new friends and saw an absolutely incredible show.

NOVEMBER

 

Celebrated the Last Harry Potter Day at Disneyland

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It was a sad day for the very last day of Harry Potter Day at Disneyland. The word day was also used way too much in that one sentence…but anyway. I spent most of the day with my team, answering trivia questions correctly, as I do, before Disneyland basically shut down the entire event. Sadness. BUT I had a great day with my friends, so there’s always that.

Met Jessica Brody…Again

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I don’t know that I can say I “met” Jessica Brody. Its more like…I hung out with her again. At this point, I feel lucky enough to call her friend.

Went to the Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 Red Carpet Premiere

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Another tiring and stressful day, we waited in line all day, waiting to be on the red carpet for this thing. We were pissed at the set up and the way they did the line but eventually we got on the carpet and ended up right on the barricade and I ended up meeting Jennifer Lawrence, Liam Hemsworth, Josh Hutcherson, Suzanne Collins (!!!), and so so so many more. And we got to see the movie too, which I always count a win in my book.

Saw Circa Survive in Concert!

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I was never a huge Circa Survive fan but they are my parabatai’s favorite band and I went with her to this concert. I somehow magically ended up on the barricade and had SUCH a blast. They’re so good, and Anthony Green is just an incredible musician, and I love him from his short time with Saosin. I can’t wait to see him play with them next month!

Saw Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness Again

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Longest. Day. Ever. But worth every moment. I worked, tried to find Karen Gillan at Disneyland (and failed) and then got in line to see Andrew. I was SO far back, which pissed me off to no end but somehow, magically, ended up right in front at the barricade. It was SUCH a great show. He played more songs than he had at the last show, because he’s an Orange County boy AND it was the last show. I stayed after, of course, flirted with a cute boy ;) and got to say hello to my favorite musician again.

Went to The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies Premiere

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I had been hoping to get to the premiere for the Hobbit and I’m so glad I was able to do so. It was a little disappointing because Benedict, Martin and Ian weren’t there, BUT I got to meet PETER JACKSON and Orlando Bloom and more, so I was quite satisfied. And I was able to see the movie as well, and I think its a fitting end to a very nerdtastic year for me.

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How was YOUR year? What were your favorite moments? Share them in the comments!

December YA and Middle Grade Book Events!

Some of you may have noticed that I no longer do Book Events Listings for the entire country. I used to but it just honestly got to be way too much work for me. I know it was really cool for you guys but it really was a ton of work. If any of you need help on finding book events in your area, sickness I will be more than happy to help, but for now, I will be sticking with California (mostly Southern) events!

If there are any events missing, please inform me so I can keep this list as updated as possible!

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December 4th

Robin LaFevers

Vroman’s Bookstore

Pasadena, CA

7 pm

Those wishing to get books signed will be asked to purchase at least one copy of the author’s most recent title from Vroman’s. For each purchased copy of the newest title, customers may bring up to three copies from home to be signed. This policy applies to all Vroman’s Bookstore events unless otherwise noted. Save your Vroman’s receipt; it will be checked when you enter the signing line.

December 5th

Marie Lu

Mysterious Galaxy

San Diego, CA

7:30 pm

Marie Lu, a staff and reader favorite for her Legend series, introduces readers to a new world with The Young Elites. Teen Adelina Amou­teru is among the persecuted malfettos of this world, about to be burned at the stake for the murder of her father, when she is rescued by the Dagger Society, a group of her super-powered peers. In her New York Timesreview, fellow author Maureen Johnson writes: “Lu is presenting a large-world fantasy that will involve multiple kingdoms. She hints that we will learn about the background of the Young Elites. There is clearly more to know, and I look forward to it. This is a world worth revisiting.” Adult and young adult readers are invited to visit Adelina’s world with us and Marie.

December 11th

Alexandra Monir

Barnes and Noble

Santa Monica, CA

7 pm

Combining spine-tingling mystery, romance and unforgettable characters, Suspicion is an action-packed thrill ride. Join us for the launch of this fantastic adventure! Remember that signed and personalized books make wonderful gifts!

December 12th

Shannon Messenger

Barnes and Noble

Oceanside, CA

6 pm

Call Store for More Details 

 

Book Event: “The Day the Crayons Quit” by Drew Daywalt + Interview!

I am SOOOOOO behind in recapping events but I’m here now and I can’t wait to recap this incredible event that I attended last week at the Barnes and Noble, store The Grove.

In the past month or so, hospital Barnes and Noble has been promoting a children’s book titled “The Day the Crayons Quit.” See, here’s the thing. Some of the crayons feel a bit overworked, and some feel a little underworked. White crayon feels left out, and peach crayon is afraid to leave the box because his wrapper was peeled off. Pink crayon wants to be used more and orange and yellow keep fighting over who is the real color of the sun. The crayons were ready to quit.

So Barnes and Noble asked people all over to write letters to the crayons, asking them to not quit! And of course, I wrote my own letter to the crayons just a few days before they were to release their decision.

The Event

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Now I was heading out to the Barnes and Noble that day to meet Kami Garcia, for her released of Unmarked, the second of her series, and I learned that this event was going on the same day. Since I have a pretty hefty drive out to Los Angeles, I figured I’d leave a little earlier and enjoy this event. I knew I would probably be the only solo adult there but this is a totally cute book and I was looking forward to it.

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Crayons Don’t Quit! The sign, the balloons and the letters all working together to convince the crayons not to quit!

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Lita, who is the events manager at this particular Barnes and Noble, getting her face painted for the event. Lita is SO awesome and always puts together the best events.

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I decided to join in on the fun and get my own crayon painted on me. I sided with pink crayon, because poor Duncan thinks pink is a girl color and never used it. Pink Crayon is totally awesome and I’m always on its side!

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Here we have Lita introducing the author of the book, Drew Daywalt, and making one last plea to the crayons NOT to quit!

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Here we have Drew Daywalt reading from the book, reading all the letters the crayons have written to their owner, Duncan, explaining the reasons why they’re so upset!

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Myself with the author :) He was SO awesome, did voices, interacted so well with all the kids, and wrote a really fantastic children’s book.

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My autographed copy of the book :) He even drew a little Tardis for me since I was wearing my Tardis shirt!

The Interview 

Sara: Why kids books? 

Drew: I grew up in one of Ohio’s most haunted houses. That does not answer your question, however, part two of that is when I was a kid, i was just entrenched in fantasy and escapism and horror movies, and my brothers were older and let me stay up late and watch horror movies with them. I had this weird diet of old 60s black and white Jack Arnold movies, like Tarantula and Creature from the Black Lagoon. And also, when Mom got home, she read me Maurice Sendak, Dr. Seuss and Roald Dahl. So that sort of accounts for my doing monster movies and kids’ books. Also, in college I was a dual major, I studied screen writing and I was also a children’s lit major.

Sara: So what gave you the inspiration for “The Day the Crayons Quit”? 

Drew: Uh, let’s see, ten years after film school and ten years ago, now, I had an instructor who has won a Newbury award, he always encouraged me in college to write kids books and to get into children’s publishing and I was always like, “No, I’m going to Hollywood”. I got really frustrated when working on a movie and wrote a story focused on a box of crayons that looked like that; peach was unwrapped, blue was a little short. Black was kind of used, pink wasn’t used at all, and I thought, I’ll personify them and since I was and still am, to a degree, screenwriter, my strength is dialogue. Ah, I can give these crayons a voice, and what I said apparently resonated with a lot of people because everyone had that same box with the same problems.

Sara: What is your favorite crayon? 

Drew: My favorite crayon is brown but he’s not in this book, that’s all I will say.

Sara: Well, a little mystery! Awesome! What are some of your favorite children’s books?

Drew: I am Seuss, Sendak and Dahl disciple, because these guys wrote stuff for us as children but never talked down to us, never placated, never seemed to sweeten anything. They took very serious subjects, and dark subjects, and made them funny. You know, in this case, I tried a subject that was discontent, a group disagreement, conflict resolution and I wanted to make it funny, and it ended up being about teamwork. So I wanted to take a somewhat dark, and conflict-y subject and that’s why I love these guys. Dr Seuss did war, class issues, consumerism. Sendak tackled social issues and fears. You know, you look closely at Where the Wild Things Are and you’ll find sixteen different interpretations.

Sara: What are some of the best reactions you’ve gotten so far (to The Day the Crayons Quit)?

Drew: Let’s see, one of my favorites was a crazy woman who was convinced I was a racist, for not including brown crayon and for implying that pink was the color of flesh and the only color of flesh. And, what she didnt’ know was that I’m in an interracial marriage and that myself, my wife, my kids, none of us are the same color, and nor do I have a problem with anyone of a different color. So that was fun.

My favorite reaction probably to the book, on a positive note, is teachers, special teachers are using it for autism, because they have trouble identifying the emotion by just describing it, but when you put a color to it, it makes an easy label. Red is all worked, blue is exhausted and happy, which is different from gray, who is exhausted and desperate. So they are able to teach emotions to those who have a problem recognizing them, so that was really awesome to hear.

Sara: Anybody who wants to write books: what advice do you have for them? 

Drew: For anyone who wants to be a writer, keep writing, and in eleventh grade, I tried to get into AP english, and I had a teacher who was the snooty, mean teacher, not the nice one, not the cool one, not the Dead Poet’s society teacher. She said, you are not ready for the AP class and I told her, I want to be a writer, I want to be challenged. And she said, she took me outside, took me to the front stoop, and told me, “Drew, not everyone is meant to be writer, and even if you have that desire, its better for you to find out now that you don’t have it.” I like to say the opposite of that, forget everyone else, do your thing, write everyday. Sometimes its crap, sometimes you know it, sometimes you don’t, I still write crap every day. Keep writing, and you’ll do it. Keep writing and you will find that gem. You will, everyone does, for those who stick around with it.

******

Thank you Lita for being on such an amazing fun event. I loved the confetti, and the trumpet player and the dancing children and the crayons painting on everyone’s faces and arms. I loved Drew reading the book and I really loved being able to talk to such a great author and an inspiring guy. What was just a convenience to a girl driving kind of far ended up being a truly fun event and I am glad I went.

And thanks to Drew for taking the time to sit down with me and do this interview. I hope to see more fun kids books from you in the future!