The 2016 PNWA Conference is over (for me at least, events continue Sunday, but alas, I will not be there).
The highlight of the weekend for me was being on a YA / Middle Grade / SF / Fantasy – “Ask a Pro” panel with Royce Buckingham, Ethan Reid, Brian Mercer, Kisa Whipley, Cait Spivey, Patricia Nelson and Jeff Ayers. I hope we dispensed some wisdom that helped those who attended, and I know we had a ton of fun. I could talk writing and publishing with these people all day long!
I spent a good chunk of the conference in the Pitch-Block room, trying to keep smiles on the faces of nervous authors pitching to an incredible collection of agents and editors, while also trying to keep the room quiet. Not everyone appreciates the bad cop we volunteers sometimes need to be, but most at least understand how important it is to keep the noise level down while other pitches are going on. I did three of these 90 minute sessions, and by the end of the third one, my feet were killing me. But it’s fun too, and a great way to meet all the agents and editors. If you’re planning on going to the PNWA Conference next year and want to volunteer, working the Pitch-Blocks is absolutely the way to go.
But the best part of the weekend is spending time with old friends and meeting new ones. Pam Binder, as always, puts a smile on my face every time I see her. Jason Black and I spent a lot of time talking writing. Hanging out with C.C. Humphreys is always a blast. Kevin O’Brien was awesome (as usual). Chris Patchell, Sean Fletcher, and the whole crew from the Andrea Hurst Agency and I had a great time at the bar before dinner on Friday. I had great talks with so many other folks, my voice was shot by the end of Friday night, but I soldiered on to participate in my first PNWA signing party! I wish I had remembered to take more pictures!
I did get this shot (thanks Pam!) of Bob Dugoni signing a couple of books for me after his heartwarming keynote speech on Thursday night. Bob is a fantastic guy, and so generous with his time and advice. We’re incredibly lucky to have him in the PNWA.
Of course, I restocked my bookshelf with a few (okay a bunch) of new, signed books. I really wanted to get my hands on CC’s new books Plague and Fire, but am still waiting for those to be available in the US. I may have to drive up to Canada to get them if all else fails.
Overall, a fantastic, and exhausting time. My writing batteries are fully recharged, and I will be digging in hard to get my next book out soon.
But now, I must go to bed. I need sleep.
My author’s copies of the paperback edition of NOWHERE WILD arrived in the mail today! Many thanks to Suzanne Sutherland and Maria Golikova at HarperCollins for getting this one out for summer readers. I’d also like to thank (again) Sally Harding and Rachel Letofsky at the Cooke Agency for everything they do to keep my publishing career on track. I couldn’t have done this without you.
And to all of you readers who have already bought the hardcover edition, thank you so much. I hope to have more for you to read in the near future. If you liked the book, please put a review and rating up on Amazon or Goodreads, or wherever you bought the book. It really does help!
The paperback goes on sale August 9th, 2016 in USA and Canada.
I’ve finally gotten around to updating my events page, and have two confirmed events between not and early May:
I had such a fantastic time at A Book For All Seasons in Leavenworth, WA last weekend, that I’m going back on April 30th for Indie Bookstore Day here in the US. I’ll be there from 3-6 PM, signing books and chatting it up with customers. It really is a fantastic store. Can’t wait to go back!
Also, on May 8th, I’ll be signing book in the Issaquah, WA Barnes & Noble from 1 PM to 3 PM. This is my first local appearance in sing last fall, so I’m hoping there is pent-up demand for signed copies of NOWHERE WILD. Hope to see lots of my local peeps out for that one.
Of course, July is also approaching, and that mean the PNWA Convention—my first as a published author. !!!Goosebumps!!!
If you are local bookstore owner, or librarian, and want me to come out for a reading or a signing, please feel free to contact me, and we’ll see what we can get done!
Just a quick heads up that I’ve got another giveaway going on over on my Goodreads page. Enter today for a chance to win a signed hardcover copy of NOWHERE WILD!
Contest ends April 10th, so by my count, you’ve got just 11 days left to enter. Hurry!
Welcome to the 2016 – Spring Scavenger Hunt!
Yes, a scavenger hunt.
What are you hunting for, you may ask?
Fun! Excitement! Bonus Content for Nowhere Wild! PRIZES!
How? Why? Where? Did I say Bonus Content for Nowhere Wild? Why yes, yes I did. Somewhere out there in the hunt, you will find a previously unpublished short story about Jake and Amos. Yes, really. And what are these prizes of which I write? Ah, for that, you must first read, and follow the rules:
SCAVENGER HUNT PUZZLE RULES
Directions: Somewhere below, you’ll notice that I’ve listed my favorite number. Collect the favorite numbers of all the authors on TEAM PURPLE, and then add them up (don’t worry, you can use a calculator!)
HINT: THE SECRET NUMBER IS HIGHLIGHTED IN PURPLE!
Entry Form: Once you’ve added up all the numbers, make sure you fill out the form here to officially qualify for the grand prize. Only entries that have the correct number will qualify.
Rules: Open internationally, anyone below the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian’s permission to enter. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the completed entry form by SUNDAY, APRIL 3rd, at noon Pacific Time. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.
On this hunt, you not only get access to exclusive content from each participating YA author, you also get a secret number. Add up the numbers, and enter it for a chance to win a major prize–one lucky winner will receive at least one signed book from each author on my team in the hunt! But play fast. This contest (and all the exclusive bonus material) will only be online until noon PST on Sunday, April 3rd!
There are NINE contests going on simultaneously, and you can enter one or all! I am a part of the PURPLE TEAM, but there is also a RED TEAM, BLUE TEAM, GOLD TEAM, ORANGE TEAM, PINK TEAM, SILVER TEAM, TEAL TEAM, & GREEN TEAM! Check out each team for a chance to win eight different sets of signed books!
If you’d like to find out more about the hunt, see links to all the authors participating, and see the full list of prizes up for grabs, go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page.
Quite the collection of books there.
Meredith writes YA contemporary gothic thrillers about girls who are trying to figure out who they are and who they want to be. She loves lattes, road trips, 19th century British novels, rainy days with cozy blankets and hot mugs of tea, early modern history, unwieldy stacks of books, the Scottish Highlands, and London.
She grew up in Houston, Texas, where she lives now, but spent several years in the Northeast, earning a degree in history at Harvard and working in publishing in New York.
Music plays a large part in my new book, FIONA. Fee is a pianist, like her Scottish mother before her. Her mother commits suicide when Fee is twelve, and playing the piano becomes Fee’s emotional release. It’s how she expresses herself, how she finds comfort.
After her mother’s death, Fee moves to a dusty West Texas town with an aunt who doesn’t want her. She’s about to graduate high school, desperate to find a way out, when her mother’s best friend from childhood invites her to work as an au pair for her eleven-year-old daughter, Poppy, at their castle in the Scottish Highlands. Fee jumps at the chance, but before she arrives, Poppy’s parents both die in a car crash.
When Fee arrives at the castle, she begins to fall for Charlie, the older brother of her orphaned charge. He discovers her talent at the piano and suggests an exchange: for every song that she plays for him, he’ll tell her a secret. The two of them grow closer as Fiona plays him songs that remind her of her mother, and he reveals his doubts and fears now that he’s taken over his father’s business and Poppy’s care.
I took piano lessons when I was in elementary school, but I was never drawn to music the way Fiona is, and I happily quit after a few years. Writing has always been my preferred emotional conduit. So it was fascinating to explore the world through the view of someone so attached to music, to figure out what songs would be meaningful to her, both classical and contemporary. I listened to a lot of music while writing this book, and I’ve created a playlist of my favorites. Some of these are songs that Fiona actually plays for Charlie in the book, and some are songs that I listened to while writing to help me get inside her head. Hope you enjoy!
I can think of 98121 reasons PURPLE is the best, but I’m sure that’s coming up short, and likely to make the other teams jealous. It’s now up to you, dear reader, to prove me right!
To continue your Scavenger Hunt, please take a trip over to author Erin E. Moulton’s site! Have a Wild time!
Go TEAM PURPLE!
Just a quick word of thanks to Theresa and the folks at A Book For All Seasons in Leavenworth, WA yesterday for hosting me for a signing. Met so many fascinating people (and sold a bunch of books!). Enjoyed it so much that I will be back on April 30th for Independent Bookstore Day!
I also want to thank Jessica and the folks at the Wenatchee Public Library for hosting me there as well. Turnout was hampered by the first truly nice Saturday they’ve had in quite a while, but the people who were there were great, and, as I’ve said before, I can talk about about writing for hours if you let me. I think everyone enjoyed it! I’ll have to remember to go back when the snow in blowing next time!
I’d never been to Leavenworth before, and I don’t know that this picture truly does the town justice, but it’s an amazing, quaint piece of Bavaria tucked into the Cascades. Had great weather too, which really helped. Definitely can’t wait to go back and explore more of the town.
Just a quick, final reminder that I will be doing readings / signings of NOWHERE WILD in Leavenworth and Wenatchee today.
Let your friends know I’m coming… more of an informational note than a warning, really. I think they’ll have a good time.
I finally did it. After seven and a half years of iPhones, I took the leap today and bought myself a new Samsung Galaxy S7 Android phone. For the last 3+ years, I’ve been using an iPhone 5, and I liked it, but I absolutely hated iTunes, and I just didn’t want to have another device tied to that horrible piece of software. When the battery on my iPhone started flaking out (lasting less than 2 hours, and would go from 50% charge to dead battery in 30 seconds), I knew I had to have something new.
I narrowed down my choices to the Galaxy S7 running Android, and the Lumia 950 running Windows 10. I really, really wanted to like the Lumia 950. The specs on the phone itself are pretty amazing—especially the image stabilization for the camera. For someone with shaky hands, that seemed like a killer feature. Unfortunately, from everything I’ve heard, the software on the phone just isn’t there yet. I’m not just talking about the apps in the app store. From what I’ve heard from people I’ve talked to, the OS itself is glitchy, will suddenly kill apps or restart, and has BlueTooth issues. I don’t mind being a beta tester on an app or a platform I’m building, but I can’t justify spending $600 on a phone only to be frustrated by it. (Note, yes I do work for Microsoft, but I have no connection to anyone on the Windows Phone or Windows 10 team. I speak for myself here, and not for Microsoft).
The Galaxy S7 is brand new, but it’s a beefed up version of the S6, and solves a few of the problems its predecessor. It’s water resistant, has expandable memory, and very good resolution on the screen. I actually said ‘Wow!’ when I started viewing pictures people have posted in Facebook with my phone. Compared to the iPhone 5, its like night and day. Screens have come a long way in 4 years.
I also like the virtual keyboard a lot better on the Galaxy than the iPhone. Numbers and letters on the same screen! Incredible! Results in much faster typing for me, especially when entering those dreaded complicated passwords.
The only downside I’ve seen for the S7 itself is that the battery can’t be replaced. Hopefully it lasts 3-4 years before I have to buy a new phone. I use my phone all the time, so if you amortize the cost over time used, it’s probably a better deal than my car.
The S7 did present another problem for me. The case is incredibly slippery, and I could see dropping it a dozen times a day. I bought an Otter Box case to go over it for $45 to solve that issue.
Moving to Android from iOS does have a couple of pitfalls for me and my family. We use iMessage a lot. My daughter has a iTouch she can use to text us when she’s at a friend’s house or after school care (via wifi). My wife and I text each other often as well—who’s picking up the kids, what’s for dinner, etc. With iMessage, that has never cut into our text message quota for our cell phone service. Now, my daughter can’t send me iMessages, and any my wife sends to me will count against our quota. I’m thinking of trying an app like TextPlus or kik to see if that keeps the monthly costs down and all of us in touch. We’ll see how it goes.
I’ve only had the phone for a few hours now, but I’ve already got all the essential apps installed and working, my email accounts set up, and my music ported to Google Play (though I’m not sure I can reach all that music when I’m offline). I was worried that it would take me days to get up and running, but it didn’t. In a couple of days, I’m sure I’ll have everything I ever need. I do have a message on my screen from DirecTv that I can’t get rid of, but hopefully I fix that soon.
I did have the fear that Android would be too difficult to learn to get going. I’m one of the least technical software developers I know. I normally don’t care about hardware. I care about productivity and ease of use. For years, Apple was the gold standard. But getting apps installed on Android was incredibly easy. Maybe even easier than on iPhone.
For those of you into pictures of hardware, here’s a shot of my phones history (minus the old brick phones from the late 90’s). Screens have gotten a lot bigger (and need to be cleaned often as well), and at $600, my phone is now nearly as expensive as my last laptop. Hopefully this new one lasts as long as the previous ones did.