Thursday, November 29, 2012

Brantome, France

... resuming France posts, a bit after the fact. This is from the September trip, still. No, we haven't gone again! We only wish :-)

Picking up from the last trip post, we had driven west across the Loire Valley from Paris, veered south to the Puy du Fou theme park. From there we came further south a fair stretch to the Perigord region. Our first stop, for just a few hours to break up the drive to Sarlat, was Brantome, a town of postcard loveliness, circumscribed entirely by a canal. It's just so pretty.


Oh, France. Sigh.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Random quote day

"You must read dreadful dumb books and glorious books, and let them wrestle in beautiful fights inside your head, vulgar one moment, brilliant the next. You must lurk in libraries and climb the stacks like ladders and sniff books like perfume and wear books upon your crazy heads."

      -Ray Bradbury

body painting by Phillis Cohen

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Kansas City tour finale

Belatedly, some pics from my [almost-] last tour stop (as I have one more hometown event this week) in Kansas City. I had been through the airport once on my way to Topeka for a library event, but had never seen KC itself, and it is a lovely city. Here, through the screen of my hotel window (the Raphael, highly recommended): Country Club Plaza, this outdoor shopping district built in the '20s in the Spanish style. It's all tile and towers and fountains, truly lovely, and I was there just a few days before the thousands of Christmas lights were going to be turned on. I bet it's a sight.

First order of business in Kansas City was ... 

BBQ. With Gennifer Albin, author of CREWEL (which I have begun to read and is a fascinating dystopian involving girls who weave the tapestry of the world), and her husband Josh, at Oklahoma Joe's, which is in a gas station ...

... and was named, according to Gennifer, one of twelve places to eat before you die by Anthony Bourdain. Josh ordered us a tableful of meats, and of my goodness, it was very delicious.

Hi Gennifer and Josh!

From there it was to Rainy Day Books for a lovely event, and dang it, I don't have any pictures of the event itself! But here I am with Gennifer ...

And below with the owner Vivien Jennings and her partner Roger, really warm people and true bookfolk -- this store is very much the kind of place I was talking about in that blog post a couple of weeks ago. It's not a big space in square footage, but in terms of what Rainy Day provides for Kansas City, it is huge. Their roster of author events is massive, and includes many off-site events for large (and very large) crowds. And the selection of books on display gave me that tingly candy shop feeling that happens in a gorgeous bookstore. You know what I mean :-)

The next morning I did my first ever TV spot, a couple of minutes on Fox 4 Kansas City. I don't have the clip, but I think it went well! 

And then I went to a few high schools: Platte County and North Kansas City. I *believe* that in both cases this was the first author event they had had. Thanks to Sherry at B&N Zona Rosa for setting those up!

About school visits. You may not know how this works. It was new to me last year and I'm still no expert. When Little Brown (and, I assume, other publishers) tour a YA author, they like to get us into schools during the day to maximize our exposure on the road, to get in front of our target readers and hopefully begin to build a word-of-mouth fan base. These visits are offered for free to schools, whereas if schools try to book an author on their own, they would likely pay a several thousand dollar honorarium plus travel expenses, so it's a good deal. Nevertheless, publishers still have a hard time finding schools to participate, because their schedules are so full, it's hard for them to fit it in, and in some cases, they lack the will I suppose. The school visits I've done that were successful, invariably the common factor was: a strong librarian who cares. This is critical, and I've met a bunch of amazing high school librarians. YAY LIBRARIANS! 

The other piece that seems to be critical is: a local bookseller willing to work as intermediary between the publisher and the schools to set these up. Some of the schools I've been to have expressed astonishment that the publishers have a hard time finding schools for their authors to go to, and to those schools who would love to be "on the list" for visiting authors, I don't know exactly what to counsel: possibly to be in contact with local bookstores to find out who in their area (if anyone) provides this service? 

There was never an author event when I was in high school. I would have loved it! 

Anyway, a peek out the airplane window over Oregon. I was cursing not having my "real" camera because the phone snap in no way convey the absurd fantasia of the sky these several westward minutes of sunset. It was a surreal landscape of layers and layers of shadow-casting clouds, grey and velvet and rose and, on the horizon, shocking orange. It was like being suspended in water as pigment is stirred from watercolor brushes into it, making big diffuse pools of color. Ah. Well. It was purdy. And now I'm home. Yay!

Thank you Little Brown for a great tour!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Miami Book Fair & VOYA Review

Hi guys! I LOVE this new review from VOYA (Voice of Youth Advocates) Magazine:

Having remembered the events of her former life as a chimera, Karou returns to Eretz only to discover that the chimeran city of Loramendi has been reduced to ashes, its citizens dead. Grieving and heart-sick, Karou joins forces with the White Wolf and his surviving band of rebels. In the war between angel and chimera, shades of grey abound and Karou must discover the truth if there is to be any chance of peace, or redemption.

Taylor casts a spell with her writing, drawing readers into a world of angels and chimera, heroes and monsters, where nothing is as simple as black and white, and the fates of two universes are in peril. Taylor's world is lush, sensual, and wonderfully original, featuring flawed characters and emotionally fraught decisions sure to resonate with readers. Karou is a strong, passionate main character driven by her own convictions even in the face of great loss and hardship, while Akiva is a warrior with a bloody past seeking redemption. Secondary characters are given personalities just as complex and serve as interesting alternative perspectives for readers. Issues of redemption, salvation, love, war, and morality make this novel perfect for classroom or book club discussion. Taylor manages to make a five-hundred-page epic read at a breakneck speed that will have readers struggling to finish in one sitting. This sequel to Daughter of Smoke and Bone (Little, Brown, 2011/VOYA October 2011) will paradoxically satisfy readers' desire for more of Karou's story while leaving them begging for the third installment.

Thank you, VOYA!

Meanwhile, I've been in Miami for the Miami Book Fair, the largest & oldest book fair in the country. 

It was my first time in Florida, and in usual book tour fashion, I didn't have time to see much of it, but I did take a cab to South Beach in the evening and roll up my jeans to walk in the dark warm ocean. It was very lovely. I am deeply a beach person, though it has been years since I have spent the kind of time at the beach that I did in my youth, but being at a shore just does something to me. I feel my senses open like a flower. So, to the actual shoreline part of Miami Beach: yay. The rest, I can't say. Miami is TOO BIG to see at a glance. 

Here's the view from my hotel balcony:

I could see no fewer than six hotel pools from here! Also, this colorful beast:

Had dinner the first night at the hotel restaurant, Area 31 at the Epic, with lovely Little Brown folk, including Margaret Stohl and Kami Garcia, authors of the Beautiful Creatures series, very soon to be a major motion picture!!!!!

Area 31 has the funkiest dessert menu. Check it out. What would you get? 

To carry the dessert theme over, check out this "macaron bicycle" at the book fair:

At the fair, I had a few interviews and a panel: with Tonya Hurley (left), author the Ghost Girl books and the start to her new series, Blessed, and Gennifer Albin, author of the new novel Crewel. Both of these books I am very excited to read!

Our panel was really a delight. Tonya and Gennifer were both so smart and funny and generous with advice and insight, and we got great questions from the audience. Thank you so much for coming!

The fair's Author Hospitality Suite was bustling (I saw Andrew McCarthy there!), and at various tables authors introduced themselves and chatted. In one case, I was speaking to a lovely woman who had written a memoir about Paris, when I realized (and squealed): I read that! Here is Eloisa James, author of Paris in Love, a memoir of her sabbatical year in Paris with her family. 

The story got even better (for me), when she in turned declared: You wrote Smoke & Bone? I read that! Ha. It was delightful :-)

Oh. Also, I attended Molly Ringwald's reading of her new book, When It Happens To You, and was quite impressed with her. It was unexpectedly emotional. The passage that she read was about a single mother at the moment that her beautiful young child is identifying as being transgender, and after the reading, a woman got up to the microphone to let Molly know that she was the mother of a young transgender man Molly had met at a previous event. They both got choked up, and the mom handed her an article her son had written about how much it means to him to have the author's advocacy. It was pretty cool. Ms. Ringwald was civil but not inviting to comments about Sixteen Candles and Breakfast Club, however heartfelt. Which I get. That was a long time ago. 

All right, guys. One last Miami picture. Hoochie shoes! Saw a lot of these in my very short time there!

I'm in Kansas City right now. If you're in the area, come say hi at Rainy Day Books tonight, and Barnes & Noble Zona Rosa tomorrow. Also, I'm going to be on TV on Fox 4 News at 9:15. EEP! This is my first ever TV appearance! What to wear ... ? :-)

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Greetings from Los Angeles!

Greetings from Los Angeles! Above is a view of downtown from my hotel window on the Sunset Strip. This has been such an amazingly fun two days, and I am in torment that I don't have the full spectrum of pictures I would like to show on account of not bringing my "real camera". Photos exist and will be gathered (thank you Katie for photographing the event last night!!!!) but I wanted to put up a post before leaving for the airport (see you soon, Miami!), so here. 

Thanks, first, to the Santa Monica Public Library for the great event on Thursday. Thank you to Robert for the interview format, and for wearing SUCH A GREAT SHIRT!!!

Thank you to awesome media escort Karen Hebert for helping with everything.

Thank you Taft High School for a really fun morning. I have no pictures of you except these murals! 

One whole hallway: huge murals of famous area sites, done by students. They're GREAT.

Thank you Barnes & Noble in Glendale for possibly the best (and biggest) event yet. It was phenomenally fun. Thank you to all the readers who came (from as far away as San Diego! And also Germany, ha, Lenore Appelhans, though *possibly* you didn't come all this way for me). And thank you to Leigh Bardugo for coming by! It was so good to meet you!!!! There were hamsas and blue hair and fun shwag and a looooong signing line (yay yay yay!!!). You guys really made me feel special.

I really can't wait to show more pics from this event, because there were so many wonderful people, including the young woman who had made herself one of Zuzana's I-saw-an-angel T-shirts, and also 10-year-old Lindsay, attending her first ever author event (hi Lindsay! photo forthcoming!) It was stupendous.

And it's possible I arrived in Glendale in a really good mood from a certain place not so far away ...

tra la la, what's that place? Hm. *shrug* :-)

I'm off to Miami this morning for the Miami Book Festival. I've never been there, so I'm really keen to see the city. I hope you'll come out my panel tomorrow at 3:30, rm 1164, where I'll be with authors Gennifer Albin and Tonya Hurley. Can't wait!

Oh, one last thing:


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