Tag Archive for 'conventions'

confessions of a male YA author

y-the-last-man-movie_222When my first YA novel, Fair Coin, was published in 2012, and I started participating in author panels, library visits, and book store events, it seemed that I was usually the only guy on the program. This wasn’t too surprising — I know that more YA books are written by women than men, so statistically speaking, it made perfect sense. For my first few panels, I even introduced myself as the “Y chromosome,” which got some laughs. But I’ve stopped using that line, because a) I don’t want to keep using the same old material, and more importantly, b) I realized it might imply that I thought my inclusion was an act of tokenism, and it wasn’t that. (It also probably isn’t as funny as I thought it was, and people were just laughing to be polite. “There’s only one guy up there, let’s take pity on him.” So, thanks for that.)

Granted, I’m aware that I do get invited to more YA panels because I’m a male YA author, and hey, it’s nice to be welcomed whatever the reason. My author friends are often asked if they know any male authors to invite to participate in programs with them, and I’m happy that they think of me. Perhaps by virtue of my geographic location and the events and conventions that I attend, there generally aren’t that many guy YA authors to choose from. Sorry, I’ll at least try to be a good one for you!

But we aren’t exactly as rare as unicorns. We aren’t an endangered species. And we certainly don’t need the attention.

Continue reading at The League of Extraordinary Writers

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the hunt for read october

I've "borrowed" a TARDIS for October so I can make it to all these events. It's the only way to travel.

I’ve “borrowed” a TARDIS for October so I can make it to all these events. It’s the only way to travel! Don’t worry, I’ll bring it back before anyone even notices it’s gone…

I’ve just updated my events page with some of my upcoming signings, conventions, and other appearances. Next month marks the one-year anniversary of Quantum Coin being published(!), and it looks like I may be even busier this October than I was for the book launch! I also expect to be busy working on various new writing projects while all that’s going on, plus there’s always the day job, so I’m thinking I’ll probably need to go into hibernation after this for the rest of the winter.

My next appearance is this Saturday, Sept. 28, at the Woodbury Fall Arts Festival in Woodbury, N.J. I’ll be reading excerpts from my books and/or from my recent YA fantasy short story, “The Grimoire Girls”, in two 15-minute blocks, as well as selling and signing books nearby. So stop by for my readings at 11:45 a.m. (at the Broad Street Stage) and 1:15 p.m. (at the Railroad Avenue Stage), and catch other authors this weekend, including YA authors Jennifer Walkup, Kristine Bowe, and Phoebe North and middle grade author Rita Williams-Garcia.

Do check my schedule for details on all my other appearances; I’ll be all over the place, including the PA, NY, and DC areas. Here’s a short list:

Be seeing you!

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my neighbor totoro toronto

At the beginning of November, I went to Canada for a couple of events in Toronto, Ontario. The original reason for my trip was to attend the World Fantasy Convention, which supposedly was in Toronto but was really in Richmond Hills, inconveniently located “near” Toronto Pearson International Airport and various downtown restaurants. False advertising, much?

But I actually skipped most of the first two days of the con, as I also wanted to spend time with close friends in the area, who showed me interesting sites like the National Air Force Museum of Canada and made sure I sampled as much of the local cuisine as possible. No complaints!

Photo by Al Bogdan

World Fantasy is one of my favorite conventions, though I don’t get to attend every year; once I got there, it was great to catch up with many authors, editors, and friends in the SFF community, though there’s never enough time to see everyone. Two highlights of World Fantasy for me were the mass autographing session on Friday night—where some people actually turned up to talk to me and get their copies of Fair Coin and Quantum Coin signed!—and a panel on diversity in young adult fiction, my one official program for the con.

Photo by Al Bogdan

I’m still a little nervous on panels, even though all I’m doing is expressing my opinion on various topics (which I often do without any prompting), but it went really well, thanks to my fellow panelists (Cindy Williams Chima, Cheryl Rainfield, Megan Crewe, and Kathleen Sullivan), as well as a terrific audience–the intelligent, well-read, and passionate audience you hope for at events like this. Everyone contributed to a lively and respectful discussion of the importance of representing protagonists of different cultures, abilities, genders, and sexual orientations in young adult fiction. Cheryl wrote a detailed summary of the panel along with some book recommendations collected from panelists and readers in the audience. So yeah, I think I did all right on this one, and some people were kind enough to tell me so afterward.

Some Altered Fluid: (Clockwise) Mercurio D. Rivera, Rajan Khanna, E.C. Myers, K. Tempest Bradford, Matthew Kressel, Alaya Dawn Johnson. (Photo by Chris Cevasco)

Of course, there were many other memorable moments at WFC: an impromptu fiction reading by members of my writing group, Altered Fluid, in the soda room of the con suite (really); breakfast dim sum; a 3am expedition to get hot pot and tea; hallway conversations about Sleep No More; hanging out at the hotel bar with friends from Clarion West; the Clarion West party (featuring the class of 2012′s anthem, “Ready to Launch”); and every stolen moment with folks in the dealer room, halls, parties, and hotel rooms. And as always, it was great to meet online friends in person for the first time and make a lot of new friends at the con.

Photo by Joanne Levy

However, one of my favorite moments in Toronto didn’t occur at the con at all: a reading and signing at !ndigo Yorkdale. This event was as amazing as the circumstances that brought it about; Ross Armstrong, one of the booksellers at Yorkdale, decided to participate in the company’s “CEO 100″ challenge by handselling 100 copies of Fair Coin. And he succeeded!

What. (Photo by Jessie Cammack)

When I found out about it, I was flattered, impressed, and grateful, so I knew I had to visit the store while I was in town to thank the staff in person. I was honored to be invited there for an event–especially considering the guests they usually attract, authors like James Dashner, Cassandra Clare, and Libba Bray–and fortunately everyone’s schedules worked out to make it happen on relatively short notice. One of the best parts of being a published author is meeting teens who enjoyed Fair Coin, not to mention adult readers, parents, and booksellers. It was the perfect note to end my “book tour” on!

So if you happen to be in or around Toronto, Ontario, you can pick up signed copies of Fair Coin and Quantum Coin at !ndigo Yorkdale–the only book store offering them in all of Canada, which is a pretty big country. If you do stop by, say hi to Ross for me.

Ross and me. (Photo by Jessie Cammack)

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you never forget your first Dragon*Con (especially if you blog about it)

Miss Star Trek Universe 2011, Drexy the Tribble, wandered by while I was signing at the Pyr booth. In last year's competition, she performed a Star Trek cover of Lennon's "Imagine".

I’ve been to conventions before. My very first was a Star Trek Creation Convention during high school, and you can probably guess what that was like. In college, my best friend and roommate talked me into going to what I think was the first Xena: The Warrior Princess convention ever, where I was in the minority because I’m actually more of a fan of Hercules. Our university science fiction club and games club hosted the con suite at Lunacon for a couple of years, and since then I’ve been to Readercons (my favorite), Worldcons, World Fantasy conventions, and Wiscons. But none of them are anything like Dragon*Con.

I’m really glad my editor, Lou Anders, convinced me to skip seeing all my friends at Worldcon and attend Dragon*Con instead, as they both overlapped Labor Day weekend (along with PAX). Pyr Books had a large booth at Dragon*Con–the only science fiction and fantasy publisher in the massive, three-ballroom dealer room. It’s a decision that paid off for them, and for me, because there are a lot of enthusiastic readers at the convention who have both the desire to spend large quantities of money and a passion for discovering new books and new authors. So many times I heard someone announce, “Give me a book recommendation!” “I am looking for something new to read!” “I would like to give you cash for your books!” Music to a debut author’s ears.

Continue reading ‘you never forget your first Dragon*Con (especially if you blog about it)’

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enter the Dragon*Con

Right now I’m in beautiful Wisconsin for a novel writers’ workshop/retreat, where I’m workshopping the contemporary YA novel I didn’t quite finish revising in this summer’s Clarion West Write-a-thon. I’m getting a lot of terrific feedback and suggestions from amazing writers that will make it a much better, and probably very different book.

I’m disappointed I can’t go to Worldcon with the rest of these fine folks at the end of the week, but it’s for a very good reason: I will be at Dragon*Con in Atlanta, GA from Friday, August 31 through Monday, September 3. If you’re in or near Atlanta, I hope we can meet up over the weekend. If you’re at the con, this is where you will find me:

Day/Time Location Event
Fri 8/31
1:00–2:00p Marriott Atrium: Marriott A707 Panel: Whitewashing of YA
(YA Lit Track)
2:30–3:30p Hyatt Ballroom: Hyatt Regency V Panel: Pyr Rising
Sat 9/1
11:30–12:30p Marriott Atrium: Marriott A707 Panel: Under the Covers
(YA Lit Track)
1:00–3:00p Hyatt: SFWA Table Hanging out
4:00–5:00p Booth 709 (Pyr Books)
Marriott Marquis Ballroom
Signing
Sun 9/2
1:00–2:00p Booth 709 (Pyr Books)
Marriott Marquis Ballroom
Signing
4:00–5:00p Larry Smith Books Booth Signing (SFWA)

There’s a good chance that whenever I am not otherwise scheduled for an event, I will be hanging out in the Pyr Booth, Booth 709 in the Marriott Marquis Ballroom, so swing by to chat or get a book signed. You can also pick up shiny Fair Coin/Quantum Coin bookmarks there for free, which will be available at Dragon*Con for the first time anywhere. I’ll be happy to sign those for you too.

In the comments below, please let me know if you’ll be at the con and where I can find you!

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