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2013 Teen Author Festival!

It’s here! This week is the annual Teen Author Festival in NYC, consisting of author panels, readings, signings, and performances. I’m thrilled to be participating in one panel this year, on a topic I know a little something about:

“Alternate World vs. Imaginary World”:
Of these authors, some have written stories involving alternate or parallel versions of our world, some have made up imaginary worlds for their characters, and still others have written books that do each.  We’ll discuss the decision to either connect the world of a book to our world, or to take it out of the historical context of our world.  How do these strategies help in telling story and developing character?  Is one easier than the other? Is the stepping off point always reality, or can it sometimes be another fictional world? With authors:

Sarah Beth Durst
Jeff Hirsch
Emmy Laybourne
Lauren Miller
E. C. Myers (that’s me!)
Diana Peterfreund
Mary Thompson
Moderator:  
Chris Shoemaker

Friday, March 22, 2013 | 4:40 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

New York Public Library
Steven A. Schwarzman Building (the one with the lions)
Fifth Avenue at 42nd Street
Bergen Forum, 2nd Floor

While I won’t be in this year’s big group signing at Books of Wonder on Sunday, the store still has signed copies of Quantum Coin, so just ask if you don’t see it on the shelves. And if you’re hoping to get something signed or just say hi or want a bookmark or some gummi bears (really!), I’ll be lurking around the Festival from Thursday to Saturday, either attending panels and events or writing in the beautiful Rose Main Reading Room. I hope you’ll drop by!

The full Festival schedule is below and you also can join the Facebook page for the latest information:

http://www.facebook.com/NYCTeenAuthorFestival

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the signings of the apocalypsies

Jim Freund and me on Hour of the Wolf

Last week, I returned to my old home base, New York City, for the annual NYC Teen Author Festival. I had to miss the first few days of panels and readings, but I got in late Wednesday night so Jim Freund could interview me and Eddie Schneider on his weekly radio program, Hour of the Wolf (Thursday mornings from 1:30 a.m. to 3:00 a.m. on WBAI 99.5 FM). As usual, the time passed far too quickly! I read two short selections from Fair Coin on the air and we discussed YA fiction and publishing. You can listen to a recording of the broadcast online for the next week.

Making coffee out of lemons: Mark Schulman (SCRAWL), Jess Rothenberg (THE CATASTROPHIC HISTORY OF YOU AND ME), Arlaina Tibensky (AND THEN THINGS FALL APART), Léna Roy (EDGES), and me at Beans and Vines

Roughly seven hours later, I staggered to a library in Manhattan where I was scheduled to read to a high school class with four other authors. Unfortunately, the chain locking the doors suggested they weren’t expecting us. As my friend Matt London recounted on his blog, we adjourned to a nearby coffee shop to hang out instead, which worked out really well because a) I needed a lot of coffee after only 3 hours of sleep, and b) they are all really fun people and I happen to like talking with other writers.

Autographed copies face out on a table at B&N Tribeca. (Thanks, Kara!)

My agent, Eddie, and I then toured many Barnes & Noble bookstores throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn, so I could sign their stock of Fair Coin. It was my first time seeing my book in stores in person, and it was as thrilling as you’d expect. It was even more exciting to see it prominently displayed face out in the new Teen Fantasy & Adventure sections and on several tables. It was also fun to meet and chat with several store employees who clearly love books, including Elizabeth, Donna, Ashley, Taina, Meredith, and Kara. (Hi!) Once I signed the books, the store staff slapped nifty “Autographed” stickers on them, the better to entice people to pick them up. If you’re looking to grab a signed copy of your own from Barnes & Noble, last week they had them at 82nd & Broadway, 86th & Lexington, 46th Street and 5th Ave, Tribeca, Court Street in Brooklyn, and Park Slope.

If you would like to support independent booksellers, and I always think that’s worth doing, you can also snag a signed copy from Books of Wonder on 18 W. 18th Street, the preeminent children’s bookstore in Manhattan. I was there on Sunday with around 65 other YA authors (including a bunch of Apocalypsies!) for the mega signing. It was great to see many friends show up to have their copies of Fair Coin signed, and meet some readers and book bloggers. The swag I made for the book seemed to be a big hit, too. It was definitely a wish come true to see my book in the store, since I’ve been going to readings and signings there for years. My only “problem” with Books of Wonder is I can’t leave without purchasing some books, and indeed I left with a bag of cherished autographed books by other Apocalypsies. (Many thanks to David Levithan for coordinating the signing and working so hard on the rest of the Author Festival, and to Peter Glassman and everyone at Books of Wonder who were so welcoming to a bunch of new authors.)

Getting to meet and hang out with other members of the Apocalypsies was a big highlight of the trip, and we even had a small gathering at one of my favorite restaurants, Chat n’ Chew, before the signing, with Zoraida Córdova (THE VICIOUS DEEP), Gina Damico (CROAK), K.M. Walton (CRACKED), Emily M. Danforth (THE MISEDUCATION OF CAMERON POST), Elisa Ludwig (PRETTY CROOKED), and Lizzie K. Foley (REMARKABLE), and assorted significant others. Apocalypsies were also well represented on various panels throughout Teen Author Week–already reading and talking about their books like pros.

Last weekend, I also joined many people (including some of my writing group, Altered Fluid), to usher in Alaya Dawn Johnson’s 30th birthday and her fourth novel, WICKED CITY, at a genuine NYC speakeasy, The Back Room. If you see Alaya tonight, be sure to congratulate her on both milestones; she and I will be reading and signing our new books at the Soho Gallery for Digital Art (138 Sullivan Street) at 7 p.m. I hope you can make it!

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fair coin readings

Last Friday, I gave my first reading of Fair Coin to a small crowd at the Philadelphia Fantastic reading, hosted by Oz Fontecchio at Robin’s Bookstore & Moonstone Arts Center. It’s a little known fact that I don’t throw parties often because I’m paranoid that no one will come; I don’t know many people in Philadelphia and even fewer have heard of me, so I expected only a handful of guests, but I was pleasantly surprised to see many dear friends at the event, and I even made some new ones. (The usual way, not out of clay, or anything like that.) I read three short excerpts, which were well received, and sold and signed more books than I expected. Many thanks to Oz and Robin’s for such a shiny welcome to this new author and his book.

You might be wondering how you can hear me read from Fair Coin. It just so happens there are a few opportunities coming up in the next week:

I will be interviewed tonight/early tomorrow morning on Jim Freund’s radio program, Hour of the Wolf on WBAI 99.5 FM, from 1:30 a.m. to 3:00 a.m. I’ve been on the show lots of times with my writing group, but this is my first not-quite-solo appearance; agent extraordinaire Eddie Schneider from JABberwocky Literary will join me. If you’re awake, you can listen on the radio (if you still have one of those) or stream the station live at http://www.wbai.org. If you’re asleep by then, the episode will be available in the archive for two weeks.

The show may be a terrible tactical error, because tomorrow morning I’m reading at 10:00 a.m. at the Inwood branch of the NYPL with authors Jessica Rothenberg, Léna Roy, Mark Schulman, and Arlaina Tibensky, in the NYC Big Read, part of the NYC Teen Author Festival. The word of the day will be COFFEE. (I’ll also be signing books with fifteen other authors at Books of Wonder on Sunday, April 1, from 2:30 – 3:15.)

Finally, next Tuesday, April 3, at 7:00 p.m., I’ll be reading at the NYRSF Readings series at the Soho Gallery for Digital Art with Alaya Dawn Johnson, who has a great new book out called Wicked City. There will also be a guest appearance by Sam Weber, one of my favorite artists, who made the awesome cover for Fair Coin!

I’ll have some Fair Coin swag at all the readings and signings, if you need a little more incentive to attend. I look forward to seeing lots of friends and meeting other readers!

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2012 NYC Teen Author Festival

Some kind folks have been asking me about my “book tour” for Fair Coin, which so far consists of as many readings and signings as I can arrange on the East Coast within reasonable reach of Philadelphia. I’m working on scheduling more where and when I can, within the constraints of distance, budget, and available vacation time from my day job. Check my Events page to see if I’ll be coming to a venue near you, and I always appreciate recommendations for and to other stores, events, conventions, and activities, including library, school, and Skype visits.

I’m especially pleased and honored to be participating in the annual Teen Author Festival in NYC, an epic week of author panels, readings, signings, and mayhem. I’ve long attended as a spectator, but this is the first year that I’m one of the authors, with my shiny new book! (I’ll also be a spectator.) Most notably, I’ll be in a group signing at Books of Wonder on Sunday, April 1 from 2:45 p.m. to 3:15 p.m., my first public signing in NYC. I hope you’ll drop by, and attend the other events in the Festival. I’ll likely be in the audience from Thursday on. Full schedule below and you can join the Facebook page for the latest information:

http://www.facebook.com/NYCTeenAuthorFestival

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children’s literary salon

This afternoon I joined some friends at the New York Public Library Children’s Literary Salon, a monthly gathering of adults who love children’s fiction of all age groups and genres. I used to frequent this series when it was the Children’s Lit Cafe at the now-defunct Donnell branch of the NYPL, but despite my best intentions, this is the first event I’ve attended since the Children’s Room moved to the Main Branch. (You know, the one with the lions.)

The room was mostly full, which is encouraging when the media keeps trying to convince us that no one reads anymore. It’s also wonderful that so many grownups are interested in children’s literature. (There actually were some kids there too, though this seems to be frowned upon.) Betsy Bird moderated a panel on the topic of “Blood, Bones, and Gore: Horror and the Modern Children’s Book,” which featured authors Kate Milford (The Boneshaker), Adam Gidwitz (A Tale Dark & Grimm), and Michael Teitelbaum (The Scary States of America). The Boneshaker and Dark & Grimm were already on my to-read list, now joined by Teitelbaum’s short story collection of 50 scary “true” stories from across America. The authors preferred to classify their books as scary/creepy rather than horror, which they defined as the uncanny–a twisting of the familiar into the unfamiliar–and an exploration of the things that frighten us in real life.

I was glad that the “ARC cart” is still a feature of the Salon: a library cart full of advance reading copies up for grabs. Have you ever seen a group of avid readers descend on a pile of free books? Watch out! Actually, everyone is polite and orderly–even when someone takes the last copy of a book you really want just before you can get to it. (Not that this has ever happened to me, mind.) I made out pretty well though, which is good since I have three new books to buy.


I love getting early release copies of books, partly because I’m impatient to read an upcoming book I’m excited about, and partly because it makes me feel special to have something before most other people and I’m needy that way. I’m not alone in this, right? Unfortunately, I’m also usually way behind on my reading, so I may not read an ARC until long after the actual book has been published (eg. Fire by Kristin Cashore). I’ve been hearing about Cindy Pon’s Fury of the Phoenix for a while though, so that moves pretty high on my list of next reads, even though it’s on the bottom in this picture for structural integrity. What’s next on your reading pile?

The Salon is generally held on the first Saturday of the month at 2pm at the NYPL Children’s Center at 42nd Street and 5th Avenue. Next month they’re going to discuss children’s poetry on February 5.

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