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

GraphicOne

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.

Graphic Two

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

*      *      *      *      *

Today’s Spotlight is on the one and only:

Melissa Landers

Melissa_Author_Photo

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

Untitled-1

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!

******

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…

Screen Shot 2015-02-26 at 2.09.30 PM

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!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*      *      *      *      *      *

L.A. Times Festival of Books 2014: Day One and Day Two Recap Vlogs!

Guys, doctor I just had SUCH an amazing weekend. This weekend was the annual Los Angeles Times Festival of Books at U.S.C., where the entire weekend is dedicated to the amazing culture of reading. It’s one of my favorite weekends of this year, and this year was no disappointment.

There was a team of five us: me, Sylvia from Fangirl Feeels, our friends Cassandra and Alexandra and my sister, Jessica. We had our game plans, and despite minor hiccups along the way, we managed to do everything that we wanted to do.

I met (and met again, for some) amazing authors this weekend: John Green (OHMYGOD), Rainbow Rowell, Lauren Oliver, Marissa Meyer, Sarah J Maas, Robin Benway, Veronica Roth, Lauren Myracle, Leigh Bardugo, Deb Caletti, Kiersten White, Andrew Smith and Stephanie Perkins.

But I won’t keep you from seeing my awesome vlogs. I vlogged while at the Fest so you get some pretty awkward and hilarious moments from me, a short video of my conversation with John Green and…lots of awkwardness haha.

Check it out!

Day One!

Day Two!

Yay! I hope you enjoyed seeing the awesomeness that was my weekend!

I managed to grab extra copies of Cinder, Anna and the French Kiss and Fangirl for a giveaway. There will NOT be a giveaway for the month of April (as of now), but there is a HUGE giveaway coming for my Blog Birthday in May so keep an eye out to see how you can get your hands on these books!

Oh! And don’t forget you can check out ALL the pictures on the What A Nerd Girl Says Facebook page here!

Happy Reading Everyone!

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

Meeting John and Carole Barrowman!

While I was moping and generally feeling sorry for myself last week for missing out on Comic Con, viagra and the chances to meet some of my favorite celebrities and see new trailers for movies like Divergent and all that, unhealthy I was pretty much doing anything and everything possible to keep myself busy and happy.

Luckily enough, viagra approved and a huge reason why I was NOT at Comic Con this year, my best friend got married to her boyfriend of 7 years, and myself and my boyfriend were part of the wedding party. I spent Thursday preparing and Friday at a seriously awesome wedding. I had an amazing good time, and I even caught the bouquet, much to my boyfriend’s dismay. It was a great weekend.

But amongst my adventures in distracting myself, I discovered that there would be a book signing at Once Upon a Time Bookstore in Montrose, a city not too far from me. I try to stay as on top of book signings as I possibly can, which is why I get to a bunch of them.

But this one I was particularly excited about, because it was a signing with the one and only, John Barrowman, and his sister, Carole. 

Now, John Barrowman, for those of you who don’t know, is most well known for portraying Captain Jack Harkness, a companion of the Doctor on Doctor Who, and one of the main characters in the spin off show, Torchwood. He also is currently acting on the CW adaptation of Green Arrow called Arrow.

url

I just learned very recently, because of this event, that John and his sister Carole, who is (or formerly was) an English professor, had written a middle grade adventure novel, and the sequel had just been released.

The books are called the Hollow Earth series, which so far include the debut novel, Hollow Earth and the sequel, Bone Quill. According to the authors, the series is planned as a trilogy. The series follows twins, Em and Matt, who have a deeper connection than most twins. They have a powerful imagination and when they draw, they can make things come to life and they can transport themselves into paintings. They think nothing of it, until their mom whisks them away to meet their grandfather, to be trained, and to be protected against those who mean them harm.

Sounds super awesome, right? I’m a little over halfway done with the book (at post time), and I am seriously enjoying it. Its very Harry Potter-Percy Jacksonish. Definitely meant for the middle grade age group, 8 to 12ish but that doesn’t mean you won’t enjoy them because I’m 25 and totally loving it so far.

So Monday night, my boyfriend and I trekked down to Once Upon a Time Bookstore (notably the oldest children’s bookstore in the USA, 47 years strong!) to meet the authors. I met up with my dear friend Jackie, who runs Seeking Bazinga, who had gotten there a bit earlier than us, and saved us a spot in line. The presentation was first come, first serve; we already had tickets for the signing.

photo-1

photo-2

The presentation was REALLY fantastic. John Barrowman has the same sort of humor that he shows when he is acting, and is like a big kid up there on stage. Carole is hilarious as well, and they really have an awesome sibling dynamic that had the entire audience cracking up the entire time. They talked a little bit about Comic Con, which they had both just attended, and where the idea of Hollow Earth came and took a couple questions from the audience. They then proceeded to read two different short parts from Bone Quill, and then there was the signing.

The signing was really great. When you purchased a book, which guaranteed you a ticket for the signing, it came numbered so you simply lined up in numerical order, which worked a lot better than I thought it would. The line also moved SUPER quickly, which I love. They told us that pictures could only be taken from the line, but when I reached the front, they were stopping to take a picture with each person who was meeting them.

1014464_406033306184204_122168779_n

They both were SO super nice, and funny. I swear, John Barrowman really embodies the character of Captain Jack Harkness, who is a HUGE flirt in Doctor Who, and flirts with women, men, aliens. He’s also a major flirt in real life as well :) But they were SO amazing to meet, and I fangirled a bit meeting one of my fave characters from DW. They signed my book, let me take a picture and sent me on my way. I was SUPER excited to meet them and it made for a great experience, and it really helped make up for missing out on Comic Con!

One last thing that was really cool: Carole talked about making time for their partners, and John interuppted her, saying “Husbands”. In the recent Supreme Court decision, both DOMA (the Defense of Marriage Act) and Prop 8 in California were overturned, therefore making gay marriage legal in California. John is very recently married to his long time partner, Scott. Every one cheered for this, especially when John pretended to crumple up DOMA in a ball and threw it aside. Perfection.

photo

My beautiful signed book. My signed book collection seems to be growing and growing!

Now, of course I didn’t forget about all my awesome followers! I bought two books, in order to get two tickets for both myself and my boyfriend and I knew EXACTLY what to do with that extra copy of Hollow Earth. So stay tuned in TOMORROW, when I announce a giveaway for this extra signed copy. 

*     *     *     *

Have any of you met John or Carole Barrowman before? How was it? Was it AWESOME? Have you read Hollow Earth yet? As always, share in the comments!