Thursday, November 2, 2017

Book Events, Life, and Nano

*Squints at time of last post* Oops. It's been a while, hasn't it? Since March life has been a bit busy. Instead of doing individual posts, I figured I'd do a glorified info dump recap of the year thus far before I post my accomplishments (if any) and goals for next year later on.

On April 10th I went to a book signing for Adam Silvera, Rhoda Belleza, and Lexa Hillyer at Trident Books & Cafe.

It was such a fun event. There's something about authors who know each other and obviously feel comfortable with one another  that really make a great book event dynamic.

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Next up, June 27th Mackenzi Lee's Launch party of The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue! (Also at Trident.)



There were gumball centerpieces with fun straws, themed cocktails, and a champagne toast! Mackenzi also did a reading, and it was glorious.

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July and August I took a trip to Japan via Affordable Asia! It was intense in how quickly we went through so many places, and fun, and I wish I could go back and just be able to take my time. More time! I need more time!

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Then after that there was the Boston Teen Author Fest! This year I was a contributor, so I had helped do some behind the scene stuff, and then help with traffic control, clean up and other things that you wouldn't think to come up at a book fest :P This year there was over 500 attendees and so many incredible authors! I was so busy that I didn't take ANY pictures of my own! Oops! Hopefully they're will be some pictures posted in the future ◦°˚(´•̛ᴗ•̛`)/˚°◦


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On October 2nd Trident had Ryan Graudin, Sasha Alsberg, and Kendall Kulper!

They talked about weird researches they did in their writing travels and how alike their characters are to themselves. So interesting to hear about the research rabbit holes authors fall down!

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October 12th  was Julie Dao's Launch party for Forest of a Thousand Lanterns at Porter Square Books! And omg, did her and her family go all out! The decorations, the food, everything was fantastic!


Julie shared her publishing journey story. It was a long one, and so important. I feel like all we hear are the unicorns. The overnight success stories of books that go to auction within a week. Also, Julie's family is the cutest, most supportive ever.♥

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 Also in October, my school had a faculty/ staff gallery up for our new president's inauguration, so my paintings were up in a gallery! I don't do a lot of traditional media, but I'm really proud of my nebula paintings. I hope I can get more time in the future to work on more traditional pieces.

A post shared by EllieM (@byelliem) on

  Also, I bought a bookshelf! My little desk bookshelf combo was getting over crowded, and even the cool snowboard shelves the BF put up were full. I can't wait to add more pretty things to it!


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Lastly... IT'S NANO TIME! Again.... lol. I've tried so many times to win nano, and I've never won a single year. But this year I'm really going to try my hardest! I even bought a brand new notebook and pen for it. (And, yes, a book as well, how could I not??)

I finished a really crappy first draft of a contemporary YA that will probably never see the light of day, so it's my goal to finish this new Nautical YA by year end so I have two trash drafts to revise in 2018! Can I do it? Maybe! :D 
Are you doing Nano? Click the banner to go to my author page and add me as a buddy! 

Friday, March 3, 2017

Susan Dennard and V.E Schwab Signing Re-Cap

Brookline Booksmith is one of my favorite local indie bookstores. They're right in Coolidge corner and I used to walk by them every day when I worked in Brookline and lived in Allston way back when. the first book event I went to there was for Erin Morgenstern for her Night Circus book launch way back in the day. I'm still bummed I never took a picture with her. Whomp.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29939230-a-conjuring-of-lighthttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29939390-windwitch?ac=1&from_search=true

THIS event was something I've been looking forward to FOREVER (or at least it seems like forever.) I'm a huge fan of Sooz, her writing and her writing references. She has some amazing resources for aspiring writers on her website, and she even does some live chats on youtube!
It's the first time Susan has come to Boston so it was the very first time I got to meet her in person, so I was overly obnoxiously excited.

I was super lucky that Claire got to the event early because at 5:30, there was already a line! The event didn't even start till 7pm! So thanks Claire! ♥

V.E Schwab had been at the Boston Teen Author Fest in September, so I got to see her before, but because I volunteered, I didn't get to see any of her panels. So it was great to finally hear her speak.

Instead of talking about set topics, they straight away opened the floor for Q&A.

But before they took any questions, Schwab took her usual pic of the audience holding up there books! You can see me in the second row in the mustard yellow shirt with Melissa and Claire on either side of me :) And I also got to see Carlyn again, who handed out cute book plates and bookmarks. one of my favorite parts of book events is seeing the people you only see there.

A post shared by Victoria Schwab (@veschwab) on

The first person asked Schwab in particular, why she writes at all. 
Schwab explained how she went to school for astrophysics and actually wanted to be an interrogator. Then she kept changing interests in school. Then she liked writing because you're always learning something new all the time. Also she fails at every other normal job.
She started telling stories when she was 8 about the angel of life and death. The death angel got jealous ans killed his brother and the world ended.
Likes writing about the lines between things. Life and death, monster and human, hero and villain ect. 
Sooz always daydreamed and told stories. The writing part is the hardest. She wished she could just give people stories straight out of her brain. 

Sooz asked Schwab if its easier to write or revise.
Schwab likes having already written. The in-between time of being finished and before revisions. (Don't we all! lol)
Sooz likes revisions, problem solving and fixing things. She calls herself a storyteller instead of writer because she doesn't want to be limited. 

A story or book you wish you wrote?
Sooz: Jonathan Strange and Mr Norell By Susanna Clarke
Shwab: The Graveyard Book By Neil Gaiman 

How to name characters?
Schwab knows how her books end before she even writes anything. She works backwards. She's in full control of everything in her world- except names. The names must come to her.
She was unnamed for two weeks after her parents brought her home after she was born. They wanted to live with her to see what name fit best.
She knew the end of the first and third book of A darker shade before she began writing.
(Sooz is about to tackle her for her writing style at this point; she is so intrigued. lol)

Sooz names her characters after the linguistics of the cultures she has created for her world.
She had to change Iseult's name from Sorsha(sp?) because her editor didn't want two S names for main characters because people could get them confused. Then she had another name that fit...but not well enough. Then she came up with Iseult's after going through another name change. 

World building balancing between civil and savage.
Schwab: Her setting is the first thing she comes up with- the world. A lot of authors use short cut methods to world build. Some uses food, clothes ect. She uses languages to differentiate between the inner circle and outer circle. Insider, Outsider and Hierarchy.
Sooz: Your character dictates what the readers sees. And each character will notice different things. Use that.
How did you come up with language?
Schwab: Her editor is a linguist person, while she is the poetic one who likes looking into hard consonants and softer vowels ect. 
She had to figure out how to use the language. in the book because different characters notice different language things. Like Lila would notice it more since she's learning it. 

Who would you hang out of your characters?
Sooz: Safi maybe? Thought shed be too impulsive
Schwab: Prince Rhy because he would be fun and hes a sweet summer child. Delilah and the main guy from vicious would be amusing to see together. 

What kinda witch would Sooz be?
Shes a water bender so shed be a water witch. She was also a marine biologist as well so makes sense! 

First thing you do after finishing a draft?
Schwab: I cry. Lay on the floor. The floor is quite grounding
Sooz: catalogue all the scenes. On note card summaries. Then stops 20% into the process. Then starts over. Then takes a break.. She has an online tutorial for revision for beginners

Schwab red flags things that doesn't feel quite right. She crashes word a LOT. She uses Scrivner because you can restructure everything more easily. 

Sooz loves to draw maps. She draws them for every location in the Witchlands. Also good for procrastination. It helps what you write feel more real. You can also discover story nuggets. Like rivers...hint hint.
Covers talk!
Susan had a lot of say in her new Witchlanders series. At Harper Teen, her previous books' publishers, she had no say. She didn't agree with strange and deadly design.
Tor is much smaller and more able to listen to what they want. She loves people on covers. She also thinks it shows whats inside the book.

Schwab: Historically she, and most authors, haven't had a say in designs. The first book she had a little say. They asked if she wanted to have covers like Brandan Sanderson (Mistborn)? She wanted something that looks like a poster. Something that catches the eye.  With Gathering she had four options and she picked the up reaching. She got to pic A Conjuring of Light title and cover. She had twenty options and could pic every detail. Savage song had a better original cover. It was too close to an adult literary cover. Shes happy with the end but is very sad about the original lost.
 She tells her editors that she will be so easy going with revisions. She will gut the whole thing ...until they get to the cover.

How to balance your life?
Schwab has like three books in 2018. Also graphic novels and the script for her series that was just bought. She writes slow and only one book at a time. But she can revise and plot one at the same time. Like Alex bracken. She writes by 'propping the door open' and continuously writes. 
She loves being busy.

Sooz struggles. She doesn't accomplish as much. Shes not a fast writer either. And it takes her a long time to find the RIGHT story. She stopped counting at 200,000 words she tossed in Windwitch.

Incubation is super important. Schwab has a lot of ideas on her back burner and adds ingredients bit by bit over time. She has something incubating for six years. Shes still not ready for it.

Both Susan and VE had amazing things to say and amazing chemistry with each other. They bonded over their writing and revision methods and it was adorable. 

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After the chat, everyone got into 'line.' lol I jumped in to get my Conjuring of Light book signed, but then got confused if there were two lines or one and got out and... ended up having to go to the way way back.
(Me being a creep as I wait...)
I The signing lasted until almost 11pm! It ended up being Melissa, Katelyn, and I last with Sooz. I had all of her books and Melissa had them all, plus additional editions. We chatted while Sooz signed all our books and posed with us for pictures.
(Me with Sooz! Aaaah!♥♥♥)
I finally got home after 11pm thanks to Melissa for the ride! 
All my pretties signed ♥


Monday, February 20, 2017

All YA Need is Love Event Recap

The Boston Teen Author Fest had a mini panel event for February titled "All YA Need is Love" featuring Kim Savage, Sarah Fine, and Rebecca Maizel in a conversation about love in YA novels - from platonic to familial to romantic - and how they go about creating meaningful relationships in their work.

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The event started with the authors introducing their books and reading a short excerpt from them-

Kim started off telling us she writes thrillers with romance in them. And ... romantic thrillers. Lol After The Woods is more about two friends' love more than romantic.
Beautiful Broken Girls is more about romance love and how one touch can lead to a butterfly effect.
She read a part of her book where the male lead gets a note from the female lead that initiates the rest of the book.

Rebecca has written many different books, but her book is contemporary romance about a girl who lies. She started to read out loud a romantic scene and then stopped short. "Can I say this in front of your kids?" She asked Sarah, who has brought her whole family along. "I'll just skip." She skipped the part and continued reading. 

Sarah's Impostor Queen is about the 'chosen one' who inst the chosen one. And the Cursed Queen is about the chosen one who is miserable being the chosen one and has no idea what's happening to her as she inherits the powers of said chosen one.
She read a part of the second book, Cursed Queen.

When asked: How do you go about coming up with relationship types?

Kim starts her novels with concepts or notions. What kind of girl would risk her friends life?  Beautiful Broken Girls idea of touch came into play. If a touch can heal can it also break someone whose fragile? 

Rebecca is intrigued by the idea of the emotional place of the character. What they lack and what they need. She knew her character was going to lie and didn't see her self worth. She was tired of seeing men doing women wrong and wanted to do something different with that.

Sarah's novels are usually plot driven. But she would need characters that would suit the need of the plot and would plausibly do the things needed. She figures more of the relationships while writing scenes between people. Both books are about female relationships of all kinds. Romantic sisterly, ect. Most she didn't anticipate but they definitely made the books better.

They agree that they don't have it all planned out. They discover as they write and things fall into place.


When asked about writing character relationships with themselves-Self-Love:

Rebecca: Writes a lot of characters who have self doubt and have a journey to figure themselves out by the end.

Kim: Even with suspense there is a journey to--and maybe running from--somewhere. Characters need to grow and look for something.

Sarah: Your character should change by the end of the book somehow or the arc isn't complete.

YA has a focus on romance. But other types have emerges more. Whats your fave?

Kim loves the relationship in Brokeback Mountain and also loves romantic relationships that have to go through obstacles to be together.

Rebecca loves mother daughter. Notes from a liar and Her Dog is one book she really loved. Especially in MG books. Fictions shes Buffy/Angel all the way and does NOT like Spike/Buffy. 


When asked about writing different kinds of relationships:

Rebecca said her mentor told her that characters must earn everything. (Like kisses and emotional growth.)

Parental relationships are hard for all of them all to write. Also familial love.

Kim said unrequited love is hard for her. That's hard. She didn't want the character to come off desperate and for readers to ask why shes still on him.

When asked what their favorite kind of relationships are:

Kim loves best girl friends that could possibly turn into romance

Rebecca loves Han and Leia type relationships. Witty dialogue and fighting!

Sarah loves romantic relationships where there is a lot of respect like in Graceling.


All the authors we so nice and fun. Renee, the moderator had guess-the-quote game and Rebecca killed it! There were quotes from books, movies, and even Hamilton! 
Also, Kim and Renee brought candy! So there was a lot of yummy treats to much on. :D
And now... the book haul! 


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Friday, January 13, 2017

Alex Bracken Signing Recap

I've been a huge fan of Alex since she was a member of PublishingCrawl back in the day. I remember when her first book, Brightly Woven came out and how much I loved it--and still do to this day! one of my biggest regrets was getting it for my kindle and not a hard copy now that it's out of print.
Harvard Bookstore always has a pretty good set up when it comes to book events. I love how much space they have in their store to accommodate a good amount of people.
Alex was a very good speaker. She was so friendly and bubbly and sweet.
She told us that  Passenger was inspired by her time in college in Virginia. There's is a colonial place (like Plymouth plantation) where people won't break character. 
She wanted to capture the feeling of being a time traveler, and be able to compare the old with the new, like Outlander for example. 
She picked New York for Etta to be from because, while she doesn't love New York city, she loves new yorkers and the way they can just go about their business and deal with weird things and people and happenings around them easily. Lol
When asked why she chose certain times and locations, she said she wanted to push herself to be not euro-centric and do more world history. 
Wayfarer was her problem book. It taught her a lot about herself as a writer. 

She made Etta play the violin because she always admired musicians since they work so hard and are very single minded in their practice and determined. 
Ettas single minded determination is like Alex in that she was very single mindedly obsessed with getting published while in college.
She read biographies by young concert musicians as research for Etta. 
When asked about her writing schedule, she explained how her original writing schedule when she used to work in editorial and then Marketing. (Something they tell you is that editorial isn't a career its a lifestyle you bring home with you. )
She'd come home every Friday. Buy Chipotle and mountain dew (she's back on coffee now and tryign to kick the habit of mountain dew, but I totally get that addiction. I was a mountain dew fiend in college too! So much so that people got me cases of it for Christmas!) and work from like 7pm till 4 am then wake up at 10am and work again  till 4am on Saturday and Sunday and then go back to work on Monday with a dew hangover.

That's how she worked on writing and school work while she went to college. She did it all in long solitary blocks of time.
Now that shes a full time writer she can have a more healthy time frame.
Wakes up around 8 walks the dog. Check emails. Turn on her app to turn internet off
She usually works on three books at a time!
Marketing for one
Editing for another
Drafting another
A biiiit of a workaholic. So she's glad she has her dog that makes her get up and do stuff.
She keeps a notebook by her bed to write some lines in and get into a groove for her next writing  time.
When asked about her cover, she broke it down in what she imagined the meanings to be.
The City crumbling on the bottom= the unbalance of what could happen if you mess up the time line.
The Tree= the characters--they all have tree names.
The Glass case= the rules of time traveling that's been broken.
She said she felt lucky that she works with Disney since they are very good at working with the authors with the covers.

Some other things she mentioned:
She wrote a lot of fanfiction in high school.
Just need the confidence to take the plunge into original fiction.
Finished her first book for nonowrimo her first year of college. It was a cliche dump of tropes from fantasies that she loved. She queried it to every single agent in existence and got rejected by all.
Sold her second book she wrote though!

Publishing Path Advice:
Read everything. Even genres you don't think you would like. Cause you learn different things from each of them.

Write everyday. Doesn't matter what. Journal entries. Notes. Dreams. Anything.

Believe in yourself in the face of life. Push through it. 

Studied History and English in college.
After spiraling into depression between junior and senior year because she really didn't want to be a lawyer or teacher. She went to the career center. They said why not check out publishing jobs.
She doesn't like NY but thought she could transfer. But then the 2008 year crashed and there were only pub jobs in NY and Boston. Her mom in Lowell said she wouldn't survive a Boston winter. So she went to NY.

Publishing is definitely about who you know. Even still.

She had a dragon lady boss and would passive aggressively leave notes at her.

Passenger and Wayfarer were always planned to be a duology.

Phew! Alex had so much fun insider information, the hour flew by too quickly!! She was so nice during the signing line. So talkative and hugged for pictures! ♥ She really is so sweet. I hope she comes back again!

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Title: Wayfarer
By: Alexandra Bracken
Publication:  January 3rd 2017 by Disney-Hyperion
Add to Goodreads | Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Summary: All Etta Spencer wanted was to make her violin debut when she was thrust into a treacherous world where the struggle for power could alter history. After losing the one thing that would have allowed her to protect the Timeline, and the one person worth fighting for, Etta awakens alone in an unknown place and time, exposed to the threat of the two groups who would rather see her dead than succeed. When help arrives, it comes from the last person Etta ever expected—Julian Ironwood, the Grand Master’s heir who has long been presumed dead, and whose dangerous alliance with a man from Etta’s past could put them both at risk.

Meanwhile, Nicholas and Sophia are racing through time in order to locate Etta and the missing astrolabe with Ironwood travelers hot on their trail. They cross paths with a mercenary-for-hire, a cheeky girl named Li Min who quickly develops a flirtation with Sophia. But as the three of them attempt to evade their pursuers, Nicholas soon realizes that one of his companions may have ulterior motives.

As Etta and Nicholas fight to make their way back to one another, from Imperial Russia to the Vatican catacombs, time is rapidly shifting and changing into something unrecognizable… and might just run out on both of them.


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Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Wintersong By S. Jae-Jones Talk-Up

 This isn't much a review but more of a talk-up. Where I talk up and hype (hopefully)books that I love! 

So I've been a huge fan of JJ ever since I started following PublishingCrawl YEARS ago. I though it was so cool that she was an artist too, and when she got her book deal announcement, I was ecstatic that it was a Labyrinth retelling. I loved that movie. I followed her newsletter and kept up with all the changes, from NA to YA it made (I'm still hoping those NA scenes will be available sometime to the public ;] ) and my most favorite thing, the art! I thought it was so cool that JJ was able to implement her art in the book! As an artist and author, it really inspired me into hoping maybe I could do the same in the future.

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Title: Wintersong
By:
Expected publication:  February 7th 2017 by Thomas Dunne
Add to Goodreads  |  Buy on Amazon Barnes & Noble 

Summary: Beware the goblin men and the wares they sell.

All her life, nineteen-year-old Liesl has heard tales of the beautiful, mysterious Goblin King. He is the Lord of Mischief, the Ruler Underground, and the muse around which her music is composed. Yet, as Liesl helps shoulder the burden of running her family’s inn, her dreams of composition and childish fancies about the Goblin King must be set aside in favor of more practical concerns.

But when her sister Käthe is taken by the goblins, Liesl journeys to their realm to rescue her sister and return her to the world above. The Goblin King agrees to let Käthe go—for a price. The life of a maiden must be given to the land, in accordance with the old laws. A life for a life, he says. Without sacrifice, nothing good can grow. Without death, there can be no rebirth. In exchange for her sister’s freedom, Liesl offers her hand in marriage to the Goblin King. He accepts.

Down in the Underground, Liesl discovers that the Goblin King still inspires her—musically, physically, emotionally. Yet even as her talent blossoms, Liesl’s life is slowly fading away, the price she paid for becoming the Goblin King’s bride. As the two of them grow closer, they must learn just what it is they are each willing to sacrifice: her life, her music, or the end of the world.

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The first thing I noticed about this book is that it's long! Over 400 pages long!
Already in the beginning you can see how different the retelling is from the Labyrinth movie. Instead of the main character loving fairy tales and books, she loves music. The whole family is a musical family, except for the younger sister, Kathe, who is an added character. Instead of a younger being wished away, Kathe is stolen.
There are some scenes that are similar to the movie, but they end there, with small similarities. The goblin's dance, the games. Everything is darker, grittier and sexier. I had read that this book had originated as an adult book--a really adulty adult book, and then was cut down to YA in JJ's newsletter. Since I had this in mind while reading, I could definitely see where certain scenes would have escalated and had been embellished on before the edits. ;)
And the Goblin King is a much deeper character than the mysterious and elusive goblin king of the movie. I would say that the movie is a good touchstone for some things, but Wintersong is something completely on its own.
With it's combination of folklore, fantasy, arts, and music, Wintersong is like dreamy read. The pacing was a bit slow for me-whimsical really, which other readers would probably like a lot more. If you liked The Star-Touched Queen, then you'd probably like the dream-like motions of this book.
One last thing that I found interesting, after my read, was that JJ posted in her newsletter that Liesl is actually Bipolar. After reading that it made me re-analyze the book and the character.
If you haven't already, you should definitely sign up for her newsletter because she gives such interesting inside information to the writing and publishing process. 
Also, her and Kelly do a Podcast all about publishing and books and all the things. So you should check those out as well!  
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