Book Events

A Halloween giveaway spectacular!

Halloween is just around the corner… and what’s even better than candy? How about winning $220 to spend on books? My Sixteen To Read sis Jennifer Bardsley has teamed up with nine authors to stir up a pretty sweet giveaway. In the cauldron is a $220 USD e-gift card to spend on Amazon.

Abby isn't what you'd call an avid Halloween fan...

Abby isn’t what you’d call an avid Halloween fan…

Click on the Rafflecopter giveawayhttp://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/bc26dd6f9/ to enter!

Want to find out more about the awesome authors involved with this giveaway? You can learn about each author at her website!

Amy Allgeyer http://www.amyallgeyer.com/
Jennifer Bardsley http://jenniferbardsley.net/
Jennifer DeGiovanni http://jenniferdigiovanni.com/
Laurie Elizabeth Flynn http://www.laurieelizabethflynn.com/
Donna Galanti http://www.donnagalanti.com/
Shaila Patel http://www.shailapatelauthor.com/
Caroline T. Patti http://carolinetpatti.com/
Meghan Rogers http://meghanrogersbooks.com/
Liza Wiemer http://lizawiemer.com/

September, briefly

The beautiful view from the Harbourfront Centre in Toronto at the Word on the Street festival!

The beautiful view from the Harbourfront Centre in Toronto at the Word on the Street festival!

September has always been one of my favorite months. I love the changing leaves, the crispness in the air, and the electric sensation that anything can happen. Summer clung on a little longer this year (which I wasn’t complaining about… I would wear flip flops year round if I could), but now I feel like we’re firmly into fall. The month was capped off by a fantastic trip to Toronto for the Word on the Street festival, where I spoke on a panel and got to hang out with some awesome writer friends!

This month, I have been…

Working on: The first half of the month was challenging… I felt creatively blocked and my attention was scattered, leaving me a lot less productive than usual. But instead of forcing myself to work on something I wasn’t passionate about, I wrote some short stories, which motivated me to take chances and explore. I finally hit a groove with the new YA contemporary thriller that has been percolating in my mind for awhile now. I managed to get a decent amount of words down in the last couple weeks and am looking forward to more fast-drafting in October!

Reading: September has been a huge reading month for me! I started with Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta, which my CP has been telling me to read for ages. I finally got a copy for my Kobo and understood exactly why it’s her favorite book. It’s deep and intense and so different from any YA book I have read. Next, I was lucky enough to read my agent-sis Samantha Joyce’s sophomore novel, Dealing in Deception, before its November release date! I literally could not put this one down… it has everything a reader could possibly want! Plot twists, humor, realistic relationships, drama, and healthy doses of romance. Next, I read the highly anticipated The Girls by Emma Cline, which deserves every bit of amazing praise it has received. The writing totally blew my mind and seriously inspired me. I followed up The Girls with another eagerly awaited 2016 debut, Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler. I loved this one too… such a true-to-live glimpse of working in the restaurant industry with incredibly sensory writing that made me hungry for gourmet food more than once. I then read Not That Kind of Girl, the memoir by Lena Dunham, which I really enjoyed since I’m a huge fan of her TV show Girls. I finished the month with two excellent YA contemporaries, Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway and The Promise of Amazing by Robin Constantine.

(I guess it’s pretty obvious how I spend my time when I have writer’s block!)

Watching: I was totally sucked in by Empire, a show I have been meaning to start for awhile now. I’m a big fan of Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson (they have such great chemistry on screen together!), and I sped through the first season. I love the family dynamics and watching the lies, drama, and betrayal play out. Plus, the music is amazing!

I have a feeling October will be a really fantastic month. I’m looking forward to walks in the woods, crunching leaves underfoot, and lots of writing!

June, briefly

With my lovely agent-sis Samantha Joyce and the #TeamKrush books we found at Chapters!

Overall, June was a pretty fantastic (and busy) month. It started with a YALSA BFYA nomination, which was such a surprise and an incredible honor! The weather has been hot and sunny (my favorite!), and a truly wonderful celebration took place– my sister’s wedding. It was a very special and unforgettable day! Later in the month, I went to Toronto for a book signing event at Chapters with fellow authors Jenny Manzer and Catherine Lo, and a panel at the Canadian Writer’s Summit conference with Jenny, Catherine, Jen DiGiovanni, and Wendy McLeod MacKnight. Both events were so much fun. I felt so energized being able to talk about my path to publication with readers and writers at varying stages of the process, and I was grateful to be able to meet up with so many writer friends while I was in the city. (Erika David, Samantha Joyce, and Tanaz Bhathena, I adore you all!) The weekend was exactly what I needed to recharge and recenter myself going into the summer.

This month, I have been…

Working on: I am officially project-hopping. While the revision of one YA contemporary manuscript has most of my full attention, I’m cheating on it with two other WIPs. One is a draft of a NaNoWriMo project from 2014, which just goes to show that sometimes distance and time away really do make the heart grow fonder (and give you the space you need to figure out what wasn’t working). The other is still in the magical early stages where anything is possible, but since there’s a mystery element and things are getting twisty, I think some plotting will be required in the near future.

Reading: It was another slow reading month for me. I’m usually a very fast reader, but lately I’m not turning pages at my regular rate. I’m chalking it up to the humidity, which makes me extra sleepy! But I was able to finish The Cresswell Plot by Eliza Wass, which came out at the beginning of the month. It’s dark, haunting, and feels completely unique in voice and theme. I also read Girls in the Moon by Janet McNally, which is arguably one of the most beautifully written books I’ve read, and a fantastic fusion of music and love and identity. It doesn’t come out until November, but I highly recommend preordering a copy!

Watching: Besides Game of Thrones, which I’m full-on obsessed with (helloooo, Jon Snow!), my husband and I started watching Billions, which is smart, dynamic, and very interesting. I’m a big fan of Damian Lewis, who plays one of the leading roles. There’s only one season out so far, but I look forward to watching more!

That’s my world in June! Looking forward to what July brings (including a book event in Traverse City with my amazing CP, Emily Martin). And stay tuned for something fun happening next week!

February, briefly

Well, it’s safe to say February was a whirlwind month. Between my launch party, my first official book signing, and lots of reading and writing, I didn’t have much free time for anything else. But I feel as though I have finally achieved that elusive work-life balance that was missing since Firsts came out, and I’m in a good mental place coming into March. Plus, I finally get to reveal something I’ve been bursting to share with all of you: A series of ten short stories from the perspectives of the first ten virgins Mercedes hooks up with in Firsts. These have been in the works for awhile, and I really hope fans of Firsts love getting into the guys’ brains! I’ll be sharing one story per week starting March 1st on my Tumblr and Wattpad accounts, so I hope you’ll tune in!

At my first book signing at the Chapters Indigo in Erin Mills. What a fun day!

At my first book signing at the Chapters Indigo in Erin Mills. What a fun day!

This month, I have been…

Working on: Two different YA contemporaries have been preoccupying my head. One, I’ve been able to write quickly ,but the other has put up some resistance. I’m a firm believer that working on more than one project at a time can help you get unstuck if you’re not sure where one of the projects is going. Next up for both projects is revision-land, and I’m confident I know the changes that need to be made.

There’s also an extremely shiny idea percolating in my head, but I’m not letting myself touch it until I revise both of the aforementioned projects! It’ll be the ultimate reward for surviving the revision trenches. (That, and champagne, of course.)

Reading: February has been a seriously stellar reading month. I read eight books, all of which I absolutely adored! I started the month with Unscripted Joss Byrd by Lygia Day Peñaflor. It’s an amazing story about a child actress struggling to find her place in Hollywood, and both the internal and external obstacles she faces. Next, I read Genesis Girl by Jennifer Bardsley– it’s a fast-paced, action-packed look at a future where the lack of an Internet footprint is the most valuable form of currency. Then I read Flirting with Fame by my agent-sister Samantha Joyce (which just so happens to be out TODAY!). It’s a gorgeous New Adult book about nineteen-year-old Elise, who has written a successful book series… but because she’s so self-conscious about her appearance, she put another girl’s photo on her book jacket, and nobody knows about her secret career.

Next up was Gemini by Sonya Mukherjee, a debut with one of the most gorgeous covers I’ve ever seen (and the words inside are even more beautiful). It’s the story of conjoined twins Clara and Hailey and how they learn to live and dream both together and apart. Then I read Jerkbait by Mia Siegert, wherein twins Robbie and Tristan are skilled high school hockey players– but it’s Robbie, who everyone thinks is destined for hockey stardom, who is hiding a huge secret.

I’d heard so many amazing things about Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli. Well, this book more than exceeded them. It’s a brilliant story about friendship, sexuality, secrets, and, well, plenty of Oreos.

Another debut novel that seriously impressed me was Please Don’t Tell by Laura Tims. It’s dark and twisty and complicated and the language is so gorgeous and original. This is the kind of book where you dog-ear every second page because you want to revisit the words later. Similarly powerful was Seven Ways We Lie by Riley Redgate, Told from seven different perspectives, each embodying one of the deadly sins, this story was ambitious and bold and I loved every page of it.

Watching: My husband and I discovered the new show Love on Netflix. I promptly fell in, well, love with it. It’s hilarious and actually made me laugh out loud, which is rare when I’m watching TV. I only wish there were more episodes!

I’m looking forward to what March has in store… hopefully some warmer weather and more great reads!

Don’t miss the first short story, which will be live on Tumblr and Wattpad at 10am tomorrow!

Firsts Launch Party Recap!

I had been looking forward to the Firsts launch party for what felt like a very long time. I’m a huge fan of planning parties, and I wanted this one to be extra-special. After all, an author only gets one debut launch party!

My amazing publicist at Raincoast Books arranged for the party to be hosted by the Oxford Book Shop and held at the Landon Branch of the London Public Library, which was the perfect venue. I wanted the party to be interactive and fun for everyone, and it was definitely all that and more!

I had the idea early on to have a candy bar and sparkling cider, and one of my very talented friends made cupcakes with icing colors to match the Firsts cover. (This same friend, incidentally, ruined me in terms of cake frosting. Now I’m completely obsessed with hers!) I tried to color-coordinate the candy bar as well, and luckily for me, Valentine’s Day fell the same week as my launch party. I spent way too much time in the Bulk Barn picking out candy. The biggest challenge was not eating it before the party started!

When we arrived at the venue, Hilary from the Oxford Book Shop was already set up to sell books, and Carolyn and Nicole from the library helped me set up and get started. A reporter from Our London who had previously interviewed me took some photos for a local story that will run soon.

When people started filing in, it was incredible to see so many friends and family members who came out to the event. Two of my Sweet Sixteen friends, Catherine Lo (author of How It Ends) and Casey Lyall (author of Howard Wallace, P.I) both drove from out of town in bad weather to support me. I also got to meet two book bloggers in person who have been so wonderful—Jamie Victoria from Books and Ladders and Suzann from Alice’s Book Vault. It means so much to me that they drove all the way to London to attend the event! Overall, there was a great turnout, especially considering the fact that Mother Nature and I have a tumultuous relationship (she tends to wreak havoc on any events I try to plan)!

Choosing a reading was the most difficult part. I wanted to read something that wouldn’t make me giggle or blush too badly, and at the same time, something non-spoilery that would hopefully entice people.( I settled on Chapter Four.) I was very nervous to read in front of people (I always hated giving presentations back in high school), but I think despite reading too fast at the start, it went well overall!

12697046_10156733478570105_301672623667568802_o

After the reading, there was a Q&A session. People asked such great questions, and it was so much fun sharing my thoughts and parts of my writing process with the audience. The Q&A was followed by a raffle draw for some books by my writer friends, then I signed copies of Firsts for everyone.

I really couldn’t have asked for a better night with better people. I feel like the luckiest author to have such a great support network behind me. I gave out a lot of hugs, but I could give a thousand more. Thank you to everyone who made this very special first so memorable!

And extra-special thanks to my friend Shirley Vander Heide for taking photos during the event. Thanks to her, I have a whole album I can look at every time I want to relive the memories!

 

 

Here are some more photos from the night! If you want to view the whole album, click here.

 

My OLA Experience

As a proud Canadian, I was more than a bit excited when my publicist at Raincoast Books reached out to see if I could do a book signing at the Ontario Library Association Super-Conference in Toronto. The signing took place last Friday, and the best part is that my lovely friend Catherine Lo, author of How It Ends, was signing her ARCs at the same time! It was so great to meet teachers, librarians, and bloggers who are so passionate about books and education. Getting to sign and dedicate books to students and libraries was so cool—I hope the teens enjoy reading Firsts!

After my signing (we went through all the boxes of books!), I experienced a serious fangirl moment when I got to meet the one and only Courtney Summers, who was signing copies of her most recent book, All The Rage (aka my favorite read of 2015). Courtney is one of my writing idols, and her YA inspires me endlessly—when I go back and reread pages from her books, I’m always left in awe of how honest and unflinching her voice is. She’s incredibly sweet in person and now I adore her even more!

Later in the day, I got to meet up with two fabulous writer friends. I had the best hot chocolate and great conversation with Erika David. Erika and I first got to know each other during a writing contest a few years ago, and kept in touch after the contest was over. Erika is one of the most thoughtful writers I know, and such a kind person. We later went into a Chapters Indigo to see if Firsts was there… it wasn’t, but it was still great to talk books with a fellow author!

Before my train departed, I met up with Samantha Joyce, one of my agent-sisters! I felt like I knew Sam already since we’ve been talking online for awhile now. It was so wonderful to chat in person about books, hobbies, our amazing agent Kathleen Rushall, supportive husbands, and our paths to publication. Sam’s debut, Flirting With Fame, comes out February 29… you can preorder it here!

Overall, my first OLA experience couldn’t have been more fantastic. The Raincoast Books team is utterly amazing– I’m so lucky to be working with them! The day went by so fast, and I feel so lucky to be part of a truly wonderful community of smart, funny, talented book people. Next up is my launch party on February 10 (details are here!), and I hope to see some of you there!

%d bloggers like this: