Thursday, February 28, 2013

San Francisco Writers Conference 2013

My top ten moments from the 2013 San Francisco Writers Conference - the good and the
U G L Y, in random order.

1. Good: My husband came along to pre-celebrate our twenty year wedding anniversary, which is in July.

That's Alcatraz in the background.
2. Good: The SFWC was held at the stunning Mark Hopkins Intercontinental Hotel. Everything about it was lovely - our room, the lobby, the Top of the Mark restaurant (the 360 degree views of San Francisco were perfection up there).

The entrance. 
3. Good: I was able to spend some quality time with my brilliant editor, Annette Pollert from Simon Pulse, and my Apocalypsie bud, the talented and wonderful Corrine Jackson (IF I LIE & TOUCHED).

From the left, Corrine, Annette, and me

4. U G L Y: On day two in San Francisco I ended up in the Emergency Room, at 4 AM, because I was wickedly nauseous and unable to keep anything in my stomach. I hadn't felt that hideous in years. The nausea was evil. Turns out I was having a reaction to the antibiotic I had been prescribed before I left for San Francisco. A little more  U G L Y to add: six days before this trip I was so  damn  sick. Fever, sinus infection, and upper respiratory infection, and I was put on the antibiotic.

5. Good: I somehow made it through my panel discussion with Corrine, Annette, literary agent Mandy Hubbard (with literary agent Andrea Brown moderating). My body cooperated, and I was able to keep it together and not vomit all over the people in the front row. Yay, body.

6. U G L Y: Day three had me back in the ER. The medicine prescribed from the first ER doctor wasn't touching the nausea, because she insisted I finish my antibiotic, saying the anti-nausea med would stop the nausea. It. So. Didn't. My angel of a husband got me in another cab and schlepped me to the ER, this time on a Friday night - in a major city - with lots and lots of  *ahem* interesting people. That experience took us six hours. After I was re-hydrated via IV and given a new anti-nausea drug, and told to STOP taking the stupid antibiotic, they let me go. I woke up the next morning and cried. Tears of happiness. The nausea was gone.

7. Good: We presenters had the luxury of heading up to the Hospitality Suite any time during our stay at the hotel (the food! the drinks! the views!). Because of numbers 4 and 6 above, I didn't go until my last night. But the experience was quite memorable. I introduced myself to Michael Larson--one of the founders of the conference--and thanked him for everything. He was a delightful man - so personable and genuine. And after much prompting and many "You have to's" from my husband, I also introduced myself to R. L. Stine and his lovely wife. We shook hands and I gave him his rightful praise, and then he asked me about my books. I swear. He congratulated me. I swear.

That's me nervously talking to R. L. Stine.
8. Good: The day after my panel discussion, I was in a packed hotel elevator, heading down to listen in on a YA talk, when a woman squeezed on, did a double take when she saw me, and said, "Oh my God, I saw you speak yesterday. I wrote down all of those query websites you shared. You were so helpful! I can't wait to read your books!" I thanked her. Everyone on the elevator turned to stare at me. Then the doors opened again, and another woman got on. A near repeat comment. I thanked her too. I'm sure my face was purple, but it felt so good to know that I was helpful to the audience and I shared useful information.

9. Good: Meeting and hanging out with literary agents, Mandy Hubbard and Taylor Martindale in the Hospitality Suite and sharing how much we all adore my agent, Sarah LaPolla. It was a lovefest. It made me feel so proud that these successful agents had such respect and admiration for my agent. I am a lucky author.

10. Good: Having THE Bookaliscious Pam, literary agent and blogger extraordinaire, come up to my signing table while I was explaining CRACKED to a conference goer, and tell the woman how much she liked CRACKED. And then I got to meet her. She was wonderful and complimentary and, yeah, it was a great moment.

Despite my sickness, I had an amazing time in San Francisco. The conference was stellar. My husband and I visited Alcatraz, Haight-Ashbury, Fisherman's Wharf, Union Square, Muir Woods, and the most crooked street. We rode a cable car, ate at The Crab House, and extended our trip into Sonoma. All good.

We had the most ginormous Dungeness crabs here.

Fisherman's Wharf


The most crooked street.

Inside Alcatraz. The audio tour was incredible - so well done.

Muir Woods. The walk was breathtaking.

A winery we visited in Sonoma. 

Friday, February 8, 2013

Monday, March 18th through Sunday, March 24th

Visit the festival's facebook page:

I will be participating in the NYC Teen Author Festival, organized by the multi-talented David Levithan. Last year's festival was a highlight from my debut year. The 2013 lineup is INSANE. 

Monday, March 18  (Mulberry Street Branch of the NYPL, 10 Jersey Street b/w Mulberry and Lafayette, 6-8):   

I’ll Take You There:  A Change of Scenery, A Change of Self

Description:  In their recent books, each of these authors have plunged their teen characters into new places as a way of revealing their true selves.  We’ll talk about this YA journey narrative – where it comes from, and what it can lead to.

Gayle Forman
Kristen-Paige Madonia
Bennett Madison
Jennifer E. Smith
Melissa Walker

moderator: David Levithan

Tuesday, March 19  (WORD Bookstore,  7-8:30, 126 Franklin St, Greenpoint):

The Only Way Out is Through:  Engaging Truth through YA

Description:  Pain. Confusion. Loss. Mistakes. Revelation. More mistakes. Recovery.  One of the things that makes YA work is its desire to engage the messy truths of both adolescence and life in general.  Here we talk about what it’s like to engage this messy truth, and how to craft it into a story with some kind of form. 

Crissa Chappell
Tim Decker
Ellen Hopkins
Amy McNamara
Jessica Verdi

moderator: David Levithan

Wednesday. March 20 (42nd St NYPL, South Court room, 6-8): 

Imagination: A Conversation

Description:  It’s a given that authors’ minds are very strange, wonderful, twisted, illogical, inventive places.  Here we talk to five rather imaginative authors about how they conjure the worlds in their books and the stories that they tell, along with glimpses of the strange and wonderful worlds they are creating at the present.

Holly Black
Lev Grossman
Michelle Hodkin
Alaya Johnson
Robin Wasserman

moderators:  David Levithan and Chris Shoemaker

Thursday, March 21:
SOHO Teen night, 6-9pm (Books of Wonder, 18 W18th St)

Celebrate the launch of SOHO Teen, featuring readings by Jacquelyn Mitchard, Joy Preble, Margaux Froley, Elizabeth Kiem, Heather Terrell & Ricardo Cortés, and Lisa & Laura Roecker.

Friday March 22, Symposium (42nd Street NYPL, Berger Forum, 2nd floor, 2-6)

2:00 – Introduction

2:10-3:00: He Said, She Said

Description:  Not to be too mysterious, but I will email these authors separately about what I’m thinking for this.

Ted Goeglein
Gordon Korman
Lucas Klauss
Michael Northrop

Susane Colasanti
E. Lockhart
Carolyn Mackler
Sarah Mlynowski
Leila Sales

moderator:  David Levithan

3:00-4:00:  Taking a Turn: YA Characters Dealing with Bad and Unexpected Choices

Description:  In each of these authors’ novels, the main character’s life takes an unexpected twist.  Sometimes this is because of a bad choice.  Sometimes this is because of a secret revealed.  And sometimes it doesn’t feel like a choice at all, but rather a reaction.  We’ll talk about following these characters as they make these choices – both good and bad. Will include brief readings illuminating these choices.

Caela Carter
Eireann Corrigan
Alissa Grosso
Terra Elan McVoy
Jacquelyn Mitchard
Elizabeth Scott
K. M. Walton

moderator:  Aaron Hartzler

4:00-4:10:  Break

4:10-4:40:  That’s So Nineteenth Century

Description:  A Conversation About Playing with 19th Century Archetypes in the 21st Century

Sharon Cameron
Leanna Renee Hieber
Stephanie Strohm
Suzanne Weyn

Moderator:  Sarah Beth Durst

4:40-5:30:  Alternate World vs. Imaginary World

Description:  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 each 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?

Sarah Beth Durst
Jeff Hirsch
Emmy Laybourne
Lauren Miller
E. C. Myers
Diana Peterfreund
Mary Thompson

Moderator:  Chris Shoemaker

Friday March 22, Barnes & Noble Reader’s Theater/Signing (Union Square B&N, 33 E 17th St, 7-8:30)

Eireann Corrigan
Elizabeth Eulberg
Jeff Hirsch
David Levithan
Rainbow Rowell
Nova Ren Suma

Saturday March 23, Symposium (42nd Street NYPL,  Bergen Forum, 2nd Floor, 1-5)

1:00 – Introduction

1:10-2:10 – Defying Description:  Tackling the Many Facets of Identity in YA

Description:  As YA literature evolves, there is more of an acknowledgment of the many facets that go into a teenager’s identity, and even categories that once seemed absolute now have more nuance.  Focusing particularly, but not exclusively, on LGBTQ characters and their depiction, we’ll discuss the complexities about writing about such a complex experience.

Marissa Calin
Emily Danforth
Aaron Hartzler
A.S. King
Jacqueline Woodson

moderator:  David Levithan

2:10-2:40 -- New Voices Spotlight

Description:  Each debut author will share a five-minute reading from her or his work

J. J. Howard
Kimberly Sabatini
Tiffany Schmidt
Greg Takoudes

2:40-3:30 – Under Many Influences: Shaping Identity When You’re a Teen Girl

Description: Being a teen girl is to be under many influences – friends, parents, siblings, teachers, favorite bands, favorite boys, favorite web sites.  These authors will talk about the influences that each of their main characters tap into – and then talk about what influences them as writers when they shape these characters.

Jen Calonita
Deborah Heiligman
Hilary Weisman Graham
Kody Keplinger
Amy Spalding
Katie Sise
Kathryn Williams

moderator:  Terra Elan McVoy

3:30-3:40 – Break

3:40-4:20 – Born This Way: Nature, Nurture, and Paranormalcy

Description:  Paranormal and supernatural fiction for teens constantly wrestles with issues of identity and the origin of identity.  Whether their characters are born “different” or come into their powers over time, each of these authors uses the supernatural as a way to explore the nature of self.  

Jessica Brody
Gina Damico
Maya Gold
Alexandra Monir
Lindsay Ribar
Jeri Smith-Ready
Jessica Spotswood

moderator:  Adrienne Maria Vrettos

4:20-5:00 – The Next Big Thing

Description:  Again, not to be too mysterious, but I will email these authors separately about what I’m thinking for this.

Jocelyn Davies
Leanna Renee Hieber
Barry Lyga
Maryrose Wood

Saturday March 23:  Mutual Admiration Society reading at McNally Jackson (McNally Jackson, Prince Street, 7-8:30): 

Sharon Cameron
A.S. King
Michael Northrop
Diana Peterfreund
Victoria Schwab
Nova Ren Suma

hosted by David Levithan

Sunday March 24:  Our No-Foolin’ Mega-Signing at Books of Wonder (Books of Wonder, 1-4): 

Jessica Brody  (Unremembered, Macmillan)                         
Marisa Calin  (Between You and Me, Bloomsbury)             
Jen Calonita  (The Grass is Always Greener, LB)                 
Sharon Cameron  (The Dark Unwinding, Scholastic)                       
Caela Carter  (Me, Him, Them, and It, Bloomsbury)            
Crissa Chappell  (Narc, Flux)             
Susane Colasanti  (Keep Holding On, Penguin)                                
Zoraida Cordova  (The Vicious Deep, Sourcebooks)                        
Gina Damico   (Scorch, HMH)                                  
Jocelyn Davies  (A Fractured Light, HC)                  
Sarah Beth Durst  (Vessel, S&S)                               
Gayle Forman (Just One Day, Penguin)
Elizabeth Scott  (Miracle, S&S)         

T. M. Goeglein (Cold Fury, Penguin)                                    
Hilary Weisman Graham (Reunited, S&S)                                                                            
Alissa Grosso  (Ferocity Summer, Flux)                                
Aaron Hartzler  (Rapture Practice, LB)         
Deborah Heiligman  (Intentions, RH)                       
Leanna Renee Hieber  (The Twisted Tragedy of Miss Natalie Stewart, Sourcebooks)         
Jeff Hirsch  (Magisterium, Scholastic)                       
J. J. Howard  (That Time I Joined the Circus, Scholastic)                 
Alaya Johnson   (The Summer Prince, Scholastic)     
Beth Kephart (Small Damages, Penguin)                              
Kody Keplinger  (A Midsummer’s Nightmare, LB)

A.S. King  (Ask the Passengers, LB)                                    
Emmy Laybourne  (Monument 14, Macmillan)                                 
David Levithan  (Every Day, RH)    
Barry Lyga  (Yesterday Again, Scholastic)                           
Brian Meehl  (Suck it Up and Die, RH)                                
Alexandra Monir (Timekeeper, RH)  
Michael Northrop  (Rotten, Scholastic)                     
Diana Peterfreund  (For Darkness Shows the Stars, HC)                 
Lindsay Ribar (The Art of Wishing, Penguin)                      
Rainbow Rowell  (Eleanor & Park, St. Martin’s)                  
Kimberly Sabatini  (Touching the Surface, S&S)                  
Tiffany Schmidt  (Send Me a Sign, Bloomsbury)

Victoria Schwab  (The Archived, Hyperion) 
Jeri Smith-Ready  (Shine, S&S)
Amy Spalding (The Reece Malcolm List, Entangled)                      
Stephanie Strohm  (Pilgrims Don’t Wear Pink, HMH)                     
Nova Ren Suma  (17 & Gone, Penguin)                    
Greg Takoudes  (When We Wuz Famous, Macmillan)         
Mary Thompson  (Wuftoom, HMH) 
Jess Verdi  (My Life After Now, Sourcebooks)                                            
K.M. Walton  (Empty, S&S) 
Suzanne Weyn  (Dr. Frankenstein’s Daughters, Scholastic)                         
Kathryn Williams  (Pizza, Love, and Other Stuff That Made Me Famous, Macmillan)