Event Recap: Ontario Teen Book Fest 2015!

Whew! This girl is exhausted! I have a slight headache and I’m ready to sit in bed all day and watch the Disney movie marathon on ABC Family and talk all about the super fantastic amazing day I had once again at the Ontario Teen Book Fest.

19 authors, abortion both guests and moderators, cost came together to celebrate the love of books and writing.

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I was so very very very excited about this event. I spend pretty much all year waiting for it to happen. As the official blogger, see I get excited waiting for the author list and all of that, and I work really hard on promoting the heck out of this thing and making sure the blog tour runs as smoothly as possible.

I arrived early in the morning, ready to start my day, an absolutely necessary coffee in hand. I immediately ran into Courtney, who runs the fest as her literal third child. She said she had something for me, for all the hard work that I do for the fest. She let me into the author “backstage area”. I noticed there was a spot for each author, and each author had their own name bag and their own bag with their book splashed on the side. She walked me to a table…and I was gifted with my own name badge and a bag with my logo on the side!

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I’m not going to lie…I nearly cried. It was just such a small gesture but it was awesome. I seriously want everything with my logo on it haha, I want a travel mug, and a phone case and everything and having this bag is SO SO super cool.

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All the authors sat down for breakfast and I intermingled, talking and making sure the giveaway posters got signed (which they did, congrats to Kerry and Amy!) It was super great seeing all the familiar faces like Jessica Brody and Catherine Linka and Lauren Miller and all of those guys and it was even more awesome to make new friends in Melissa Landers and Mary Elizabeth Summer and more.

I really SUPER loved talking to Jessica Brody about the ending to her trilogy. I haven’t talked to anyone who has read it yet and I’m just bursting to talk about it because it was so so good and it was nice to hear that she really loved my review of it. I also nearly started crying again (I swear, I’m not THAT emotional) when both Catherine and Lauren asked about my books. Lauren even told me to keep going, that it’ll happen because she likes my little snippets and that they’re written well. I fangirled only slightly.

First off were the keynote speeches, which were done by Claudia Gray, Aaron Hartzler and Shannon Messenger.

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Claudia Gray did a speech on How NOT to Become a Writer which was super fun, fresh, hilarious and actually really helpful. She told in order to not become a writer, you don’t read, you don’t write, you don’t try. I think my favorite part was her saying that writer’s block is not a thing (because that’s what I believe). She paraphrased Dan Wells, and I’m paraphrasing her right now, saying writing is the only job where people stop and say, “nope, I just can’t do my job today.” Which made me laugh a lot. 

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Next was Aaron Hartzler, talking about growing up in a conservative Christian household as a closet gay boy and having a hard time figuring out who he was. It was incredible and very moving. Suddenly I wasn’t the only one crying that day. He said a particular line that I tweeted out and I kind of want to make my motto on this blog now: “Be the weird you want to see in the world.”

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Then was Shannon Messenger. She was SO sweet and funny. She talked about she sort of accidentally fell into writing YA, since she wrote Let the Sky Fall as a way to distract her from the ups and downs of publishing her first novel (which is her middle grade series). She also talked about her film making at USC and I’m just saying, I can’t be the only one that wants to watch Tumble of Love.

Then it was time for the first panel. I went to the Promise Not to Tell: Secret Lies panel where the lovely Gretchen McNeil was moderating with Jessica Brody, Jessica Khoury, Anna Carey, Kasie West and Katie Finn.

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The one thing I really loved about this panel was the time they took to talk about writing! They talked about their methods, how they outline or don’t outline or do both (Katie is my girl!) and the kind of research they do and all of that. I didn’t know that Jessica Khoury had actually gone to the Kalahari in order to do some research for Kalahari but that’s super cool. I’m really jealous!

Then we all had lunch, courtesy of one of the sponsors, Panera Bread, and then continued to the Author Speed Dating. I think this is the BEST part of the event. There are tables set up and the authors move from table to table, for a period of five minutes, and talk about…well, whatever, they want. I got to talk to a bunch of great authors, and I’m glad I was able to talk to ones I’m not hugely familiar with like Sherri Smith and Brad Gottfred, both who were fabulous. I loved talking about periods and characters getting their periods in books with Sherri Smith. It was actually a really great conversation haha.

After the speed dating were the second panels. I knew I HAD to go see the Girls Gone Sci-Fi panel with Gretchen McNeil as a moderator to Jessica Brody, Jessica Khoury, Melissa Landers, Lauren Miller and Claudia Gray. I knew some hilarity would ensue and I was DEFINITELY right. All such fabulous ladies and all of them inspirational in my own journey as a YA sci-fi writer. I’m sad because I got hit with a TERRIBLE coughing fit during the panel and had to leave, but I could hear laughter so I’m sure it continued to be super fun and awesome.

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Then it was time for the book signing! I don’t have a lot of money right now so I only got a few books that I already owned signed. But I talked to all the authors and took pictures and got them to sign my writing advice poster #2. They all were absolutely fabulous.

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I love how personalized this is :) Most of my books from Morgan (Katie) say its great seeing me. I’m also stoked because this is an ARC with the original cover, but when the book actually releases, it’ll be a totally different cover, so that’s kind of cool!

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Now my collection is complete! And again with the awesome personalization. You’re extraordinary too Jess! And she signed a super cool poster with the Unremembered trilogy on one side and a map of the Diotech compound on the other.

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Aw thanks Melissa :) It was fabulous to see you too! I fangirled only *slightly* at meeting her. I absolutely LOVE this series and I can’t wait for her next one!

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Finally! I only owned an e-copy so I’m stoked to have this finally!

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Michelle Levy is a debut author whose debut novel will be releasing THIS August and I’m so INCREDIBLY excited for it, and I’m so happy for her as well. I was super surprised when she gave me an ARC, and I can’t wait to dive in!

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All of the authors! There’s a picture with me somewhere and I hope I will find it eventually. All such awesome, great authors.

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Me and Elizabeth Ross

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Me and my new bestie (I don’t think she knows it yet) Mary Elizabeth Summer. Read her book Trust Me, I’m Lying. Seriously. Do it.

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Me and Michelle Levy and her beautiful ARC for her debut book. I can’t wait til August and I’m so excited to read it!

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Me and Kasie West :) I was relieved to meet another author that is a pantser and not a plotter. I’m kind of a plotter. Kind of. But mostly a pantser.

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Me and Anna Carey. I seriously adore her and want to be like her because any author that can write not one, but TWO books, in second person is seriously amazing.

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One of my favorite authors of all time. I absolutely adore her. She writes amazing books as both Morgan Matson and Katie Finn.

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Me and Shannon Messenger. She is absolutely adorable. I really enjoyed her keynote and I’m really hoping that I can read her middle grade series soon!

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Me and Jessica Khoury. I cannot stress enough how much influence she has had on The Awakened. She is a fantastic writer, balancing nature and science fiction and romance and all sorts of things. I adore her. Plus she’s a Doctor Who and Harry Potter fan and has a cute husky! She also gave me a super cool Corpus trilogy poster that could potentially be a giveaway soon ;)

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Me and Aaron Hartzler. I was seriously bummed because I had thought he had left before I had the chance to get a picture with him and have him sign my writing advice picture but he reappeared and I managed to grab him. He is amazing and I can’t WAIT for his new book!

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*flails* I am so glad I met Melissa Landers! I fell in love with her books last summer and I just love her. Great writing advice, and she really seemed to appreciate the fact that I throw her books in everyone’s faces haha. And she gave me a cool poster for my wall.

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Me and Claudia Gray. I have to admit, I have yet to read her books but you better bet that I’ll be reading A Thousand Pieces of You soon. Not only does it sound amazing but Claudia is just a badass lady in general!

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After the event, I was invited out to dinner with some readers, some authors and some of the booksellers, and of course, Courtney, as well. I literally had to stop in the middle of dinner and just look around. I am so happy and grateful to be a part of such an awesome community and to be surrounded by such amazing people that I can genuinely call friends. Its incredible and I feel so lucky.

At the end of the day, I headed home and I just felt SO happy. I had such a great day. I was surrounded by readers and librarians and booksellers and bloggers that enjoy the same kind of books that I do and get why they are so incredibly important to me. I was surrounded by fellow writers, both published and unpublished, and got to share in that. I was around all these authors that I admire and that inspire me.

I also am grateful for every single person who came up to me, said hi and was awesome. My little ol blog just keeps getting bigger and bigger and I appreciate when you all say hi to me, whether you’re a reader or a fellow blogger. I love meeting all of you!

And a huge shoutout, hugs and kisses, tears and mountains of gratitude to each and every single author. You are all so incredible and I worship you all. You are all doing what I work hard every single day to accomplish and I appreciate all that you do for your readers. You donate your time and you take pictures and sign books and answer the same questions over and over again and we all appreciate it so much. I also appreciate how wonderful you’ve all been to me. You’ve become my friends, shown me a ton of respect, and have encouraged me and supported me in my own journey to become a published author. I cannot begin to express my gratitude to all of you. I feel incredibly lucky!

And lastly, thanks to Courtney Saldana. You are such a fantastic person and I’m glad that the Ontario TBF brought us together and that I get to work with you every year on such an awesome event. I’m so grateful for you letting me have this event because it has done so much for me as a reader, writer and a blogger. You are the absolute best and I can’t wait for many years to come, especially since one year I WILL be a guest!

Awesome event again and I can’t wait for 2016. Check out some of the guests already confirmed!

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Andrew Smith

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Marissa Meyer

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Leigh Bardugo

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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Ontario Teen Book Fest 2015 Blog Tour: Spotlight on Melissa Landers

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I am so pleased to be bringing you the Ontario Teen Book Fest blog tour once again! This is one of my absolute favorite events of the year and I’m honored to help promote it as much as I possibly can. There are a ton of wonderful authors this year and an equally wonderful batch of bloggers to help me spotlight them.

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When: March 21st, treat 9 am to 5 pm

Where: Colony High School
3850 E. Riverside Drive
Ontario, buy 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!

Its going to be an incredible event and I’m honestly counting down the days! I hope you can come along for the ride, in the days leading up to the event.  Check out the full blog tour here!

Official Blog Tour Schedule

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 Anna Carey — The Reader’s Antidote

March 3rd: Spotlight on Cecil Castellucci — Nite Lite Book Reviews

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 Elizabeth Ross — Kid Lit Frenzy

March 10th: Spotlight on Brad Gottfred — Recently Acquired Obsessions

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

March 12th: Spotlight on Mary Elizabeth Summer — What A Nerd Girl Says

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

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

March 15th: Spotlight on Catherine Linka — Read Now Sleep Later

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

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Today’s Spotlight is on the one and only:

Melissa Landers

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Melissa Landers is a former teacher who left the classroom to pursue other worlds. A proud sci-fi geek, she isn’t afraid to wear her Princess Leia costume in public—just ask her husband and three kids. She lives just outside Cincinnati and writes adult contemporary romance as Macy Beckett.

Her Website / Her Facebook / Her GoodReads / Her Twitter / Her Instagram

Her Books

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Two years ago, the aliens made contact. Now Cara Sweeney is going to be sharing a bathroom with one of them.

Handpicked to host the first-ever L’eihr exchange student, Cara thinks her future is set. Not only does she get a free ride to her dream college, she’ll have inside information about the mysterious L’eihrs that every journalist would kill for. Cara’s blog following is about to skyrocket.

Still, Cara isn’t sure what to think when she meets Aelyx. Humans and L’eihrs have nearly identical DNA, but cold, infuriatingly brilliant Aelyx couldn’t seem more alien. She’s certain about one thing, though: no human boy is this good-looking.

But when Cara’s classmates get swept up by anti-L’eihr paranoia, Midtown High School suddenly isn’t safe anymore. Threatening notes appear in Cara’s locker, and a police officer has to escort her and Aelyx to class.

Cara finds support in the last person she expected. She realizes that Aelyx isn’t just her only friend; she’s fallen hard for him. But Aelyx has been hiding the truth about the purpose of his exchange, and its potentially deadly consequences. Soon Cara will be in for the fight of her life—not just for herself and the boy she loves, but for the future of her planet.

Find Her Books at Your Local Bookstore of the Following Links:

Amazon / Barnes and Noble / iBooks / Book Depository

The Interview!

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Nerd Girl: This first one is kind of typical: where did the idea for Alienated and Invaded come from? Why THIS story? 

Melissa: Right before NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) in 2009, I was driving down the interstate thinking, “If I’m going to do this whole NaNo thing, I need a plot. What am I going to write about?” Several ideas came to mind, but I dismissed them because they were boring or cliched. Then – out of nowhere – I thought, “What if a high school senior had to host an alien exchange student?” Boom! I fell in love with the concept, and the rest is history.

Nerd Girl: Congrats on Invaded being published recently! What can we expect from you in the future?

Melissa: Right now, I’m wrapping up STARFLIGHT, a new stand-alone sci-fi romance that should release in 2016.

Just announced as well…

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Nerd Girl: What are some of the things that you strive for when you’re writing, knowing that teens are going to be reading it? 

Melissa: My process is pretty organic, meaning I don’t have any ulterior motives or anything I “strive for” while writing. I just let the story unfold.

Nerd Girl: Cara and Aelyx have easily become one of my favorite book couples! Did you have any inspiration from other fictional couples or even real life couples when creating their relationship?

Melissa: Thank you! I love their relationship, especially the way it gradually evolved from reluctant acquaintances to friends to more-than-friends. No, I didn’t find inspiration from any other couples. Aelyx and Cara are one of a kind.

Nerd Girl: What made you want to write for teens as opposed to adults? 

Melissa: Actually, I never made the choice. As stated above, my process is very organic. I had an idea to write about a teenage girl hosting an alien exchange student, and the story unfolded from there. The second book I wrote (under a pen name) was for adults. Again, not an active choice. The story ideas come to me, I write them, and then figure out who the audience is.

Nerd Girl: Because this is for the Ontario Teen Book Fest, all about the teens, what is one of your favorite memories from when you were a teen? 

Melissa: My favorite teen memory is probably my first date, which didn’t happen until I was sixteen. (My parents were strict.) The night was incredibly special, and as a bonus, it led to my first kiss and my first love. I dated that boy on and off for almost a year.

Nerd Girl: Last question, who is your fictional crush?

Melissa: I have a fickle heart when it comes to literary crushes. With so many amazing book boyfriends out there, who can choose just one? Not this gal!

Giveaway!

Two Prizes, Two Winners!

Each winner will receive an official Ontario Teen Book Fest poster signed by ALL attending authors!

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Ontario Teen Book Fest 2015 Authors Revealed!

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My favorite event is JUST around the corner and I am bursting with excitement to finally release the list of authors that will attending.

The Ontario Teen Book Fest will be taking place Saturday, viagra March 21st from 9:30 am to 5 pm at Colony High School. More details of events, information pills and all of that will come in February as I host the Ontario TBF blog tour! Yay!

Check out their official website here.

For now, viagra its time to announce all the AMAZING authors that will be in attendance this year. Brace yourselves!

Make sure to click their names to head to their website, to find out more about the authors and their books!

Jessica Brody

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Anna Carey

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Cecil Castellucci 

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Debra Driza

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Katie Finn (Morgan Matson)

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Maurene Goo

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Claudia Gray 

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Aaron Hartzler 

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Jessica Khoury

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Melissa Landers

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Shannon Messenger

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Lauren Miller

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Elizabeth Ross

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Sherri Smith 

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Mary Elizabeth Summer

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Kasie West

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Also included in this WONDERFUL list of attending authors are the three moderator/authors that will be in attendance as well:

Gretchen McNeil

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Catherine Linka

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Brad Gottfred 

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I’m SO excited about this year’s list of authors and I canNOT wait for this event. I hope you all can join me in March! Stay tuned for more as the blog tour, and giveaways and all sorts of fun stuff comes in the future!

Los Angeles Times Festival of Books Young Adult Author Schedule

The official schedule for the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books has been posted, visit this site and you can check that out here!

I’ve taken the liberty and fun job of compiling a list of the YA authors in attendance and what time they will be on panels. Keep in mind that most autograph sessions take place directly after the panel, try and will usually be about an hour after the panel.

Quite a few of these authors are also moderating other panels as well, and usually they’ll sign books at that time too. You’ll have to double check on those because I didn’t include which panels they were moderating below.

Also! Occasionally there will be booths, like indie bookstores and such, that will have other signings as well. The best for that is to keep up with certain authors you’d wish to see and check out their booths, because they’ll post schedules!

Lastly, check the authors’ websites! Sometimes they’ll do signings at local bookstores after the Festival is over for the day, or on the days before or after, because they are already in town. So if you can’t hit them at the Festival, you’ll still be able to see them!

Good luck! Hopefully I’ll see you all there!

Katie Alender

YA Stage: Young Adult Fiction: Putting the Story in History at 12:00 pm on Saturday

Laurie Halse Anderson

Norris Theater: In Conversation with Susan Carpenter at 3:00 pm on Sunday 

Carrie Arcos

Norris Theater: YA Fic: Outside Looking In at 1:30 pm on Sunday

Kelley Armstrong

YA Stage: Fantasy Worlds Beyond Imagination at 1:30 pm on Saturday

Leigh Bardugo

YA Stage: YA Sci-Fi: Fantastical Tales at 1:30 pm on Sunday

Robin Benway

YA Stage: YA Fic: A Little Help from My Friends at 12:00 pm on Sunday

Francesca Lia Block

Ya Stage: Young Adult Fiction: Haunted at 10:30 AM on Saturday 

Ann Brashares

Norris Theater: YA Fic: Somewhere in Time at 10:30 am on Sunday

Deb Caletti

Norris Theater: YA Fic: Outside Looking In at 1:30 pm on Sunday

Cecil Castellucci

 YA Stage: YA Sci-Fi: Fantastical Tales at 1:30 pm on Sunday

Stephen Chbosky 

Norris Theater: In Conversation with Stephen Chbosky at 12:00 pm on Sunday

Heather Cocks

YA Stage: YA Fic: A Little Help from My Friends at 12:00 pm on Sunday

Eoin Colfer

Norris Theater: YA Fic: Somewhere in Time at 10:30 am on Sunday 

Andrea Cremer

YA Stage: Young Adult Fiction: Putting the Story in HISTORY at 12:00 pm on Saturday 

Melissa de la Cruz

I’ve looked a million times. It says she’s there but I can’t find her panel. I’ll post with more details if I can find them. 

Ava Dellaira 

Norris Theater: In Conversation with Stephen Chbosky at 12:00 pm on Sunday

Maurene Goo

Norris Theater: YA Fic: Writing Culture and Identity at 3:00 pm on Saturday  

John Green

Bovard Auditorium: In Conversation with David L. Ulin at 12:30 pm on Saturday

Aaron Hartzler

YA Stage: Where the Truth Lies at 3:00 pm on Saturday 

Bill Konigsberg

YA Stage: Young Adult Fiction: Square Peg, Round Role at 10:30 am on Sunday

E. Lockhart 

Norris Theater: YA Fic: Testing the Boundaries at 12:30 pm on Saturday 

Sarah J. Maas

YA Stage: YA Sci-Fi: Fantastical Tales at 1:30 pm on Sunday

DJ MacHale

Salvatori Computer Science Center: Middle Grade Fiction: Stories in Series at 12:00 pm on Saturday

Tahereh Mafi

Salvatori Computer Science Center: YA Fic: It’s the End of the World as We Know It at 4:30 pm on Saturday 

Abby McDonald

YA Stage: Adrenaline Rush at 4:30 pm on Saturday

Marissa Meyer

YA Stage: YA Sci-Fi: Fantastical Tales at 1:30 pm on Sunday

Jessica Morgan

YA Stage: YA Fic: A Little Help from My Friends at 12:00 pm on Sunday

Lauren Myracle

YA Stage: YA Fic: A Little Help from My Friends at 12:00 pm on Sunday

Lauren Oliver

YA Stage: Adrenaline Rush at 4:30 pm on Saturday 

Ridley Pearson

Salvatori Computer Science Center: Middle Grade Fic: Stories in Series at 12:00 pm on Saturday

Stephanie Perkins

YA Stage: YA Fic: Told from the Heart at 3:00 pm on Sunday

Joanna Philbin 

YA Stage: YA Fic: Told from the Heart at 3:00 pm on Sunday

Ransom Riggs

YA Stage: Young Adult Fiction: Haunted at 10:30 am on Saturday 

Veronica Roth

Bovard Auditorium: In Conversation with Leigh Bardugo at 11:00 am on Sunday

Rainbow Rowell

Norris Theater: YA Fic: Testing the Boundaries at 12:30 pm on Saturday 

Rachel Shukert 

YA Stage: Putting the Story in History at 12:00 pm on Saturday

Neal Shusterman

YA Stage: Young Adult Fantasy Worlds Beyond Imagination at 1:30 pm on Saturday

Sarah Skilton

YA Stage: Adrenaline Rush at 4:30 pm on Saturday 

Andrew Smith

Norris Theater: YA Fic: Testing the Boundaries at 12:30 pm on Saturday 

Amy Spalding 

YA Stage: Young Adult Fiction: Square Peg, Round Hole at 10:30 am on Sunday

Ann Stampler

Norris Theater: YA Fic: Outside Looking In at 1:30 pm on Sunday 

Margaret Stohl

Norris Theater: YA Fic: Fantasy: The Real and the Unreal at 4:30 pm on Saturday 

Tamara Ireland Stone

Norris Theater: YA Fic: Somewhere in Time at 10:30 am on Sunday

Jonathan Stroud

Salvatori Computer Science Center: Middle Grade Fiction: Stories in Series at 12:00 pm on Saturday

Laini Taylor

Norris Theater: YA Fic: Fantasy: The Real and the Unreal at 4:30 pm on Saturday 

John Corey Whaley

Norris Theater: YA Fic: Testing the Boundaries at 12:30 pm on Saturday 

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Who are you most excited to see? Share in the comments!

Los Angeles Teen Book Fest Recap!

On Saturday, no rx I had an absolutely fantastic day at the Los Angeles Public Library, page for their Teen Book Fest.

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About a dozen young adult authors, and a handful of book bloggers, descended upon the library for a day full of discussion, book giveaways, and signings. It was pretty much heaven for me.

I went to the Ontario Teen Book Fest, my first teen book fest, back in May and honestly had an amazing time, discovering new authors and discussing books and writing with all of them. I was eager to attend this one in the hopes that I would have just as much fun as I did last time.

And I definitely did.

There were a TON of amazing authors in attendance, and I was super excited when I found out there was a blogging panel. I’ve been doing this for about a year and a half now, but I’m still new to the whole experience, when there are others who’ve been blogging for years.

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Gretchen McNeil, Francesca Lia Block, Josephine Angelini and Cornelia Funke

I attended three panels. The first panel was Classically Inspired, and it was with authors that I’ve all read and enjoyed: Gretchen McNeil, Francesca Lia Block, Josephine Angelini and Cornelia Funke. All of these authors have used old tales, or classic novels or stories, either as inspiration to their stories or have retold those stories. Francesca’s newer release, Love in the Time of Global Warming, parallels Homer’s the Odyssey, while Josephine’s Starcrossed trilogy is a retelling of his tale, The Iliad. Cornelia talks about the various folk tales and mythologies that she uses in her own stories.

They spent a lot of time discussing the way they go about their research, and the way they connect their stories and the stories told before. I got so much writing advice from it, and I’m in such a slump right now, so I was eagerly listening for all advice. Cornelia is a very seasoned author, and she says that she now handwrites all of her books. I used to do that, once upon a time, before my boyfriend bought me my first laptop a few years ago. I really took that advice to heart, because I’ve been struggling SO much, and I hand wrote last night, and I wrote about 1000 words, so good advice, Cornelia.

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The moderator, and bloggers Thuy, Maggie, Lee, Alyson and Alethea!

The next panel that I attended was all about blogging, and it featured Alethea Allarey from Read Now, Sleep Later, Alyson Beecher from Kid Lit Frenzy, Lee Wind from I’m Here, I’m Queer, What the Hell Do I Read?, Thuy Lam from Nite Lite Book Reviews, and Maggie Park from Young Adult Anonymous. I follow all of these blogs now, and you should DEFINITELY check them out.

This panel was AWESOME. Not only did I feel like I left with more insight on the world of blogging, but I also felt really…supported too. These are all adults, probably most of them older than me, though not necessarily, who have full time jobs, and they spend a lot of time and effort on this, and they don’t get paid for it. But they still do it because its fun, and its a hobby and a passion for them. Which is EXACTLY how I feel. I know that I spend SO many hours on this, and work my butt off on it, but its because I love it so much.

I also was stoked to meet them, and talk to them. Alyson gave me free books, which was super cool of her, and Alethea told me about a TEEN BOOK SWAP that is going on next weekend, which sounds superb. I also am really excited to check out all their blogs!

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Andrew Smith, Bill Konigsberg, Moderator, Ned Vizzini, Patricia McCormick and Maurene Goo

The next panel I went to was Keepin’ It Real with Ned Vizzini, Patrick McCormick, Maurene Goo, Andrew Smith, and Bill Konigsberg. I really was interested in this panel, because I’ve read books by Andrew and Ned, and because contemporary YA is what I tend to write. I am dabbling into zombie fiction right now but for the most part, its all contemporary. And all the authors really keep it real. They write fantastic realistic fiction about mental illness, and self harm, kids in Cambodia during Khmer Rouge, sexual identity and more. Such an inspiring panel, and also full of incredibly useful writing advice. Oh and I apologize for the not-so-good pictures. Poor Maurene was bending over when I took the picture. Oops! I will get better at the whole photography thing, I promise!

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Elana K. Arnold, Bill Konigsberg, and Josephine Angelini

The last panel I went to do was “What We Talk About When We Talk Love” with Elana K. Arnold, Josephine Angelini and Bill Konigsberg. This was was SUPER helpful because they talked about structuring romance, and how to write a good romance. I sometimes find that my romance starts to take over the story, and I lose my story so the panel was really great for that, and I got a TON of great advice there. I felt so much better about my characters, Katy and Lucas, and being able to tell their romance without ruining the whole awesome zombie part of my novel. And I also feel a little more confident to return to Evie and Alex in my baseball novel.

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After the panels, they had the signings and I was SO excited. I had been dying to meet Andrew Smith again. I met him back in May but I hadn’t read Winger yet, and now that I’ve read it, I NEEDED to get it signed and I need to tell him how amazing it is. So I did, so that was awesome :) I also was able to meet Francesca Lia Block and Cornelia Funke and tell them thank you SO much for doing interviews for this blog, along with Ned Vizzini, who was SO awesome. I was incredibly nervous doing his interview, so it felt AWESOME that he told me I did a great job :) I was also happy to meet Josephine Angelini, whose third book is right next to me, and I’m almost done with.

I am also excited to dive into the other authors like Bill Konigsberg, Patricia McCormick, Elana K. Arnold, Maurene Goo and more. I’m pretty sure my to-read list increased by at least 20 books. Easily.

So yeah, I had an AMAZING time, and I will definitely coming to this event in the future. I was able to meet some seriously cool authors, AND I feel like I gained a ton of writing advice from some talented and inspiring authors. It must have worked because I came home last night, and wrote 1000 words for my zombie novel, so that felt great!

One last thank you to Mary McCoy for putting on an awesome event, and helping to get me interviews for my blog. That was absolutely incredible and awesome. And thanks for the LA Public Library for bringing a great collection of authors together!

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