This Week: Dayton Book Expo!

I just wanted to remind everyone that the Dayton Book Expo is this Saturday, April 29th!

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Come on Saturday to check out this amazing event for book lovers. There’s going to be almost a hundred authors there signing books. There’s also going to be panel discussions and a Kidz Zone, and local author Sharon Short is this year’s featured author. You can learn more on their website.

I’ll be there signing copies of Somewhere Only We Know and selling my Hope Bracelets. The first 12 people to buy a book will receive a goody bag. And I’ll be giving away bookmarks, stickers, and pens. I’m so excited to participate in this awesome event for my first book signing!

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See you this Saturday from 11am to 4pm at the David H. Pointz Conference Center at Sinclair Community College in Dayton Ohio for the 8th Annual Dayton Book Expo!

Upcoming Event: Dayton Book Expo

I’m so excited to announce that I will be appearing at the Dayton Book Expo on April 29th!

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This is going to be an amazing event for book lovers, featuring over 85 authors. It will take place at the David H. Pointz Conference Center at Sinclair Community College in Dayton, Ohio, from 11am-4pm on April 29th. Hundreds of book lovers will come together for a day full of book signings, panel discussions for aspiring writers, and a Kidz Zone with lots of fun activities. And local author Sharon Short is going to be this year’s featured author.

I am thrilled to be one of the many authors participating in this event. This is going to be my first public book signing, and I’m so happy I get to do this event alongside so many other awesome authors. Come out and find some new authors and titles to read!

Somewhere Only We Know Launch Party

I debated for a long time what I should do to celebrate the release of my debut novel, Somewhere Only We Know. I’m so introverted and have so much trouble speaking in front of people that I knew doing an event in a bookstore would not be ideal for my very first book-signing experience. I decided instead to host a party at my house so that all of my friends and family could come get the book and celebrate with me. I’m really glad I chose to do this.

Twenty people attended my open house. I got to catch up with old friends and my favorite fiction teacher. I had so much fun celebrating the book release with all of my friends and family. And the cake was so fun! I got an edible image of my book cover.

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A big thank you to everyone who was able to make it to the party. It meant so much to me that you were all there. I hope everyone enjoys reading the book and has a fantastic Thanksgiving! I’ll be enjoying turkey with my family and giving thanks for my first published book.

Laurie Halse Anderson at Books & Co

On Friday I got the chance to meet one of my favorite authors and one of the biggest inspirations on my own writing – Laurie Halse Anderson. She came to Books & Co in Dayton as part of her tour for Ashes, the final book in the Seeds of America trilogy.

I only started reading Anderson’s books a year ago, but I find each one that I read incredible. You can read my posts about them here and here. Her books feel so true to life and have a way of putting a real face and heart-wrenching story on the sometimes undefinable problems that teenagers face today.

I have read seven of her books: Wintergirls; Speak; Catalyst; The Impossible Knife of Memory; Fever, 1793; Twisted; and Prom. Sadly I started reading her books after I became a poor college graduate and newlywed, so I only own two of her books and was only able to get those two signed. But I look forward to owning them all one day and also reading the Seeds of America trilogy. It was awesome hearing her discuss history and how she went about writing these books.

Anderson also shared her writing process and gave one of the best writing tips I’ve heard. When she’s almost done working on a book, she records herself reading it. Then she takes a printed copy to a coffee shop or just someplace different to get a new perspective and she listens to her recording while following along in her printed copy. As I find my ear to work better than my eyes when proofreading and often end up reading aloud anyway, I can’t wait to try this method with my next book.

I was sad that my bookmarks for Somewhere Only We Know haven’t arrived yet because I really wanted to give one to Anderson and thank her for inspiring me. I still thanked her and told her that I used a quote from Speak as the epigraph for my novel. She was so encouraging to both me and my husband (telling him how her husband supports her work) and I am so glad I got to meet her.

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Lastly, I just want to announce that my book is now available for pre-order! You can now pre-order the e-book version from Amazon. Check it out!

Kristen Simmons, Natalie D. Richards, and Mindee Arnett at Books & Co

Last night I got to see three authors at Books & Co in Dayton: Kristen Simmons, Natalie D. Richards, and Mindee Arnett. Simmons and Richards were there to talk about their new books, Metaltown and One Was Lost respectively, and Arnett led the panel. She asked them lots of questions, from what two sticks inspired their stories (like the two sticks necessary to build a fire) to what labels they think their characters would have.

I was interested in reading Metaltown ever since I saw its cover a few weeks ago, but after hearing Simmons describe how Les Miserables was one of her inspirations, I am so excited to read it. Richards’s book sounded interesting and creepy as well, about a group of campers who wake up with words on their arms.

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Bookmarks, Buttons, and a Tattoo!

I asked them if they had any advice for authors about to publish their first book, and they gave me lots of great guidance:

  • It’s easy to get discouraged, but don’t give up—keep writing.
  • The reality of publishing is never as good as the dream, so remember why you are doing this in the first place. Only your story is going to come close to the dream.
  • Publishing is brutal and hard, like becoming a parent. But you have to let it roll off you and get back up again.

I love going to these author events, and Books & Co has so many of them. There’s even three groups of YA authors this week alone, with Lorie Langdon and Carey Corp last Saturday and Laurie Halse Anderson this Friday. My favorite part of last night was listening to the panel and all of their fellow local authors in the audience talk before the event started, and getting to go up and have a conversation with the panel afterwards. Dayton has such a friendly and supportive local author community, and I know I am in the right city to kick off my writing career.

Margaret Peterson Haddix at Books & Co

Last night I got the chance to see one of my favorite writers. Margaret Peterson Haddix was at Books & Co in Dayton last night to launch her new book, Children of Exile, which is the first in a new trilogy and her 38th book.

Children of Exile sounded so interesting as she described how she got the idea for it and read the first chapter. She said the idea came to her when she was at a publishing conference at a Disney property and there was a contrast between the very happy workers saying “Have a magical day!” and impatient hotel guests and a very sad book she had been reading at the time. The book is about a group of children that have been raised in an idyllic community, but not by their real parents. They are just told that it wasn’t safe for them with their parents. But now that the two oldest children have turned twelve, they’re all going back home. I can’t wait to get a chance to read this.

Haddix was my first favorite author. Her first novel, Running Out of Time, was the first book I remember truly loving and reading over and over. When I was in eighth grade, she came and spoke at my school and talked about how cool it is that she gets to tell stories for a job. And that was when I decided that that’s what I wanted to do with my life too. I walked up to her after her presentation and shyly told her that she was my favorite author and asked her to sign my books.

And last night I got to go up to her and I asked her to sign the dozen other of her books I’ve collected since then. And I got to tell her that she made me want to write, and now, ten years later, my first novel is about to come out.

Haddix is one of the friendliest authors I’ve met, and I highly recommend all of her books! Also, her advice for writers: read a lot because it’s like cheating to become a better writer, don’t put too much pressure on yourself, and make time in your day just to think.

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