Can you believe in just about TWO weeks, this blog, this little ol’ engine that could blog will be turning eight years old? Honestly, I hardly believe it myself most days. I’m SO excited for it though – trends kind of come and go and while I know that book blogging and blogging in general aren’t really cool anymore since Instagram and YouTube are where a lot of people get their content nowadays, I’m glad that I’ve stuck with this blog as long as I have. It makes me happy and its a place to go to share my love for books and all things nerdy.
I am so insanely excited to bring the announcement of the 2020 Ontario Teen Book Fest author and moderator list! I say it every year, and its with great sadness that I say it for the last time this year – this is my favorite event of the year, hands down, and its right smack at the beginning of a crazy book season and its still always my favorite. It’ll be hard to say goodbye this year BUT there are a ton of GREAT authors this year that’ll make a great one to go out on.
A blog tour and giveaway will be coming in the weeks before the event, as per usual!
For now, mark your calendars for Saturday, April 4th for an amazing event that brings readers and authors (and bloggers and writers and booksellers and librarians and teachers) together in a place full of love for books and acceptance for others :)
Let’s do this! Here are your 2020 Authors and Moderators!
The epic conclusion to Marissa Meyer’s thrilling Renegades Trilogy finds Nova and Adrian struggling to keep their secret identities concealed while the battle rages on between their alter egos, their allies, and their greatest fears come to life. Secrets, lies, and betrayals are revealed as anarchy once again threatens to reclaim Gatlon City.
I used to be really obsessed with going to book events – signings, release parties, festivals, red carpet premieres for the movies and so on. I would take entire days off, get in line early and all of that. I loved being one of the first people in line and being in the front seat. I loved collecting signed books, taking pictures with authors, making friends with people at events. And its not that I don’t love any of those things but I do infinitely less events than I used to. Just this week alone – there was a Leigh Bardugo event in Glendale on Tuesday, a Marie Lu event on Wednesday in Los Angeles and a Jennifer L Armentrout event in San Diego tomorrow. A few years ago, I would have been at every single one, no problem. Now, I skipped every single one of them. Here’s why.Continue reading
Hello everyone! This past Saturday was the sixth annual Ontario Teen Book Fest and my fourth year in a row attending. I say every single year that it is my favorite event of the year to attend, patient and I completely mean that. When I first discovered this fest back in 2013, I was chasing down Jessica Brody, Stephen Chbosky and Marie Lu. I was a brand new blogger, still sort of getting my experience with it, and I bravely asked my dear friend Courtney, librarian extraordinaire and brain child of TBF, if I could come and interview the authors attending.
The rest is sort of history. That fest completely changed my life! I met authors like Andrew Smith and Leigh Bardugo and Gretchen McNeil and made connections, and sort of bonded myself to this event. I’d like to think I’m a part of the team, like the rest. Check out my recaps from 2013, 2014, and 2015.
But this year was something bigger, and different. Last year, Courtney asked me if I could come back and be a moderator for a couple panels, and I accepted immediately. At the time, I had no idea that I would be published by this point, that The Awakened would be a real and tangible thing! So not only did I attend this event as Sara, the official TBF blogger, but also as Sara, the moderator, and Sara Elizabeth Santana, the author of The Awakened.
Which made it an entirely new but amazing experience for me.
I showed up early for the event, as per usual, ready for a very busy day. I’ve been attending the author breakfast portion of the event every single year that I’ve attended, but this year definitely felt different. I wasn’t just the blogger anymore, I had made it, I was an author, and I definitely felt that. And let me tell you something, guys, it felt AMAZING. These authors have become friends to me over the years and it felt so good to have Andrew and Jessica and Brad and Michelle coming up to me, hugging me, saying hello, congratulating me on the release of The Awakened. And it felt good, as always, to make new friends, and be treated as a colleague with the authors I wasn’t as familiar with.
I even got my own special guide for the day, and she was SUCH a rock star.
I was able to talk SO much about The Awakened, and I loved every minute of it. The Awakened has been sort of the center of my life the past 2 1/2 years, so its sort of like my baby and I love bragging about her. I thought it was SO awesome that Courtney gave the moderators (myself, Robin Reul, and E. Katherine Kottaras) the opportunity to stand up in front of everyone, during the opening keynotes, and talk about our books.
I was SO incredibly nervous getting up in front of everyone to talk about my book, and I hadn’t really prepared anything because I figured I would just wing it, but it went really well! I felt so supported up stage, after Courtney introduced me, saying she was proud of me, and gave me a big hug. AND I got a fair amount of cheers, both from the audience and the authors in the front row. I made a few people laugh too, which always is a good thing, right?
So much sass in one picture. Thanks Kathy Kottaras for the picture haha.
After that were the keynote speakers: Jay Asher, Marissa Meyer and Andrew Smith, all who had SUCH great speeches, made us laugh and made us think. Seriously, jus tbeing in the same room as them, felt so so so cool.
After that, was my first panel. The first panel ever that I’d be moderating. OH, I was so nervous. I have never moderated a panel before and I am not the biggest fan of public speaking, but I was excited and hopeful that it would go super well. My first panel was all about sci-fi and fantasy books and the world building that went into it, and it included Andrew Smith, Stephanie Diaz, Nicole Maggi and Mary Weber.
And it went really well! I think. I hope. The authors were all super supportive and encouraging and had such great answers, and it was awesome discussing all of the fun of world building with them, and people in the audience were SO engaged and asked great questions and I felt SO much more confident after this panel.
After this, we had our lunch break, and you know, when authors get together and eat Panera, silly stuff tends to happen…
Love these guys haha.
After lunch was the Author Speed Dating. After Courtney introduced it a couple years ago, its become my favorite part of the fest. It gives everyone a chance to mingle with an author for five minutes…and you really get the chance to mingle with most of them! This year I was one of the table hopping authors and let me tell you: it is both incredibly fun and incredibly intense. I thought I would lose my voice by the end of it! But it was also so much to be able to talk to so many readers and answer their questions about The Awakened and about writing and all of that. I handed out about a million bookmarks and I think some of them really were excited about my book!
Then came my second panel. I honestly thought I was going to be more nervous for this one because Marissa Meyer was on the panel and she wrote the Lunar Chronicles, which I LOVE, but it was just so much fun. The panel was all about writing series, and myself, Jessica Brody, Marissa Meyer, Stephanie Diaz and Nicole Maggi, talked and laughed and our room was full to the max and it was SO great. I really enjoyed it and several people came up to me to tell me that it had went well and I did a good job!
Eek, they’re all looking at me!
Lastly, there was the signing for the day. I was so lucky to be able to attend the signing as an AUTHOR this year. I intended to have WAY more books available but due to shipping issues (isn’t that the way…), I only had SIX books available for sale and they went SO SO fast. According to all the awesome people at Once Upon A Time, people kept coming up and asking for The Awakened and I really have to credit being able to talk about it during the opening stuff, and during speed dating for that happening. I felt so so bad that I didn’t have any books for anyone but I ran out of bookmarks, signed books for some people, and talked to a TON of other people about my book and it was SO awesome. It felt surreal and bizarre and WONDERFUL.
Even better…I walked into the room, and was looking for my table. Each table had two authors, and when I spotted mine, I was so surprised and slightly intimidated by the fact that I was at the same table as my idol, Andrew Smith. We are good friends, so it was awesome, but I really felt like I made it, sandwiched in between Andrew and Jay Asher!
I seriously love everything about this picture. Not just that we all look like we’re having a great time, but also that I am a part of it.
Afterwards, I enjoyed dinner and drinks with some of the authors and volunteers and it was a perfect end to such a great day.
Me and my awesome friend Mina
With my awesome friend Krystal, who was also a beta for The Awakened!
With the awesome, Kathy Kottaras
The lovely Marissa Meyer
The super awesome Nicole Maggi, who I’m so stoked to have as a new friend!
Two of my favorite people in the entire world: Jessica Brody and Brad Gottfred. Two incredibly awesome people, and two big supporters of mine. LOVE them both so much.
At the end of the day, it was another amazing TBF. I loved being there, surrounded by people as passionate about reading and writing as I am. I loved being a moderator for the first time, and being able to do so with old friends and new friends. And I loved being able to talk to people about my book. I’m so proud of it, and it felt good to have people talk about it and wanting to buy it and asking me about it and telling me that it sounded so good. Things like that will literally keep me happy for days on end.
Thank you to everyone who makes this such a great event…all the authors and volunteers and Once Upon a Time and all the bloggers that helped on the tour…everyone for making this another great year. This still remains my favorite event of the year and I already can’t wait for next year!
Hello all! I hope you are all enjoying the awesome blog tour that’s been going on for the Ontario Teen Book Fest, dosage which is going on THIS Saturday! Don’t forget to head on down because its going to be amazing. And if you can’t make it to the event, case stick around, learn a little about the amazing Kristin Halbrook, and enter our giveaway!
But first, some reminders of the details of this epic event.
Saturday, March 12th, 2016
9:30 am to 5 pm
Colony High School Branch Library
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!
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 22nd – Spotlight on Andrew Smith – What A Nerd Girl Says
February 23rd – Spotlight on Alexandra Monir – The Consummate Reader
February 24th – Spotlight on April Tucholke – Adventures of a Book Junkie
February 25th – Spotlight on Alexis Bass – A Traveling Book
February 26th – Spotlight on Marissa Meyer – Read Now Sleep Later
February 27th – Spotlight on Sara Elizabeth Santana – Movies, Shows and Books
February 28th – Spotlight on Robin Reul – Recently Acquired Obsessions
February 29th – Spotlight on Katherine Kottaras – iFandoms Collide
March 1st – Spotlight on Stephanie Diaz – My Fangirl Chronicles
March 2nd – Spotlight on Virginia Boecker – The Reader’s Antidote
March 3rd – Spotlight on Mary McCoy – Book You Very Much
March 4th – Spotlight on Brad Gottfred – Seeking Bazinga
March 5th – Spotlight on Michelle Levy – My Fangirl Chronicles
March 6th – Spotlight on Elana K Arnold – Read Now Sleep Later
March 7th – Spotlight on Kristin Halbrook – What A Nerd Girl Says
March 8th – Spotlight on Jessica Brody – The Windy Pages
March 9th – Spotlight on Nicole Maggi – Nite Lite Book Reviews
March 10th – Spotlight on Jay Asher – A Bookish Escape
Today’s Spotlight Features:
Taken from her website: When I was little, I wanted to be a writer, the President of the USA or the first female NFL quarterback. Despite being able to throw a wicked spiral, I didn’t really grow to the size needed for the NFL. Then, as I got older and studied more, I came to realize there were better ways to effect positive change than becoming president. The first one, however, stuck. Even when I was pursuing other dreams, I always took time to write here and there.
When I’m not writing or reading (which is what I do all day, in all of my work), I’m spending time with three pixies, my Mad Scot soulmate, and one grumpy cocker spaniel; traveling across oceans and time; cooking and baking up a storm; and watching waves crash and suns set on the beach. I currently live, love and explore in The Emerald City, though I occasionally make wispy, dream-like plans to move to Paris or a Scottish castle one day (if just temporarily).
Kristin is the author of a couple amazing contemporary YA novels, but her most recent release, Every Last Promise, will be featured today!
Kayla saw something at the party that she wasn’t supposed to. But she hasn’t told anyone. No one knows the real story about what happened that night—about why Kayla was driving the car that ran into a ditch after the party, about what she saw in the hours leading up to the accident, and about the promise she made to her friend Bean before she left for the summer.
Now Kayla’s coming home for her senior year. If Kayla keeps quiet, she might be able to get her old life back. If she tells the truth, she risks losing everything—and everyone—she ever cared about.
Find His Books at Your Local Bookstore of the Following Links:
Nerd Girl: Give us a short pitch of your most recent novel
Kristin: At a party, Kayla Martin saw something terrible she wasn’t supposed to see. Now, she needs to decide to either stay silent, and be able to remain in the home she loves, or speak up and lose everything she has.
Nerd Girl: What is something you’ve learned about writing since becoming a published author?
Kristin: Everything takes times. A lot of time. Writing a novel, editing a novel, the whole publishing process. But that time isn’t a bad thing; novels become better when they’ve had time to rest, when the author has had time to rest. Coming back to a project after a period away brings freshness and clarity that can be lost when focus in incessant. The book will wait while you live your life!
Nerd Girl: What is the best writing advice you’ve ever received?
Kristin: “Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.” That’s a (summarized) quote by Anton Chekhov. I didn’t receive it personally, of course, but it’s been a guide to me throughout my entire career as a writer. I think the quote holds a double punch; it’s phrased beautifully, showing the power of each word in a sentence, and it’s giving great show-don’t-tell advice.
Nerd Girl: What is one of your favorite memories from when you were a teenager?
Kristin: Sitting in a garage at night with friends, listening to someone strumming the guitar against the sound of rain on the rooftop, arguing about nothing in particular or cuddling with partners, or eating and drinking. Or all of the above.
Nerd Girl: Your book Every Last Promise tackles the very serious and very relevant issue of sexual assault and speaking up about it. Why did you write about this?
Kristin: All of my fiction tackles topics that are personally important to me, whether because I or someone dear to me experienced them, or because they are (unfortunately, too) prominent in the various segments of our national and/or world culture. A large number of small town sexual assaults were in the headlines as I was writing and revising Every Last Promise, and I started to wonder about the people in those towns: what they were thinking and feeling, whether they supported the victim, how hard it must have been for the victim to stand up against their very small, local culture. That last question, especially, was one I wanted to explore. Victims are silent for a variety of reasons, and understanding those reasons makes us all better advocates for those who need us.
Nerd Girl: Who have been some of your biggest influences?
Kristin: Melina Marchetta, Stephanie Kuehnert, and Meg Rosoff were three of the YA authors I read early in my writing career who taught me that yes, I can write YA. I have a story to tell. I can tell this contemporary, realistic tale with literary language and it will find a home. But all the influences that led up to me becoming a writer and writing the way I do would fill a book on their own! I’ve been a ready pretty much forever, and every book influenced me, somehow.
Nerd Girl: Who are some of your favorite authors to read?
Kristin: Again, there are so many! I’m currently on an adult women’s upmarket fiction kick, so I’m really into Paula Hawkins and Ruth Ware and Gillian Flynn. But I also love coming across a gorgeous YA contemporary, or a sweeping YA fantasy, especially if it’s based in an ethnically diverse setting. I recently enjoyed The Smell of Other People’s Houses and I’m really looking forward to reading The Star-Touched Queen, out next month.
Nerd Girl: Have you ever had a fangirl moment with an author or celebrity?
Kristin: Not really, but I recently dreamed that James McAvoy bought all my daughters’ Girl Scout cookies and I was fangirling on him pretty hard, there. Both for just being James McAvoy, but also for taking all those boxes of cookies off my hands.
Nerd Girl: Who is your fictional crush?
Kristin: Lately, I’ve been devouring books about terrible people, hee, so haven’t crushed on anyone in a long time, but I’ve always loved Gilbert Blythe. Oh, and Jonah from Jellicoe Road.
Nerd Girl: Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions!
Kristin: Thanks so much for having me. I’m really looking forward to the Ontario Teen Book Fest; it will be a blast!
One winner will receive an official Ontario Teen Book Fest poster signed by ALL attending authors!