Event Recap: Ontario Teen Book Fest 2015!

Whew! This girl is exhausted! I have a slight headache and I’m ready to sit in bed all day and watch the Disney movie marathon on ABC Family and talk all about the super fantastic amazing day I had once again at the Ontario Teen Book Fest.

19 authors, abortion both guests and moderators, cost came together to celebrate the love of books and writing.

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I was so very very very excited about this event. I spend pretty much all year waiting for it to happen. As the official blogger, see I get excited waiting for the author list and all of that, and I work really hard on promoting the heck out of this thing and making sure the blog tour runs as smoothly as possible.

I arrived early in the morning, ready to start my day, an absolutely necessary coffee in hand. I immediately ran into Courtney, who runs the fest as her literal third child. She said she had something for me, for all the hard work that I do for the fest. She let me into the author “backstage area”. I noticed there was a spot for each author, and each author had their own name bag and their own bag with their book splashed on the side. She walked me to a table…and I was gifted with my own name badge and a bag with my logo on the side!

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I’m not going to lie…I nearly cried. It was just such a small gesture but it was awesome. I seriously want everything with my logo on it haha, I want a travel mug, and a phone case and everything and having this bag is SO SO super cool.

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All the authors sat down for breakfast and I intermingled, talking and making sure the giveaway posters got signed (which they did, congrats to Kerry and Amy!) It was super great seeing all the familiar faces like Jessica Brody and Catherine Linka and Lauren Miller and all of those guys and it was even more awesome to make new friends in Melissa Landers and Mary Elizabeth Summer and more.

I really SUPER loved talking to Jessica Brody about the ending to her trilogy. I haven’t talked to anyone who has read it yet and I’m just bursting to talk about it because it was so so good and it was nice to hear that she really loved my review of it. I also nearly started crying again (I swear, I’m not THAT emotional) when both Catherine and Lauren asked about my books. Lauren even told me to keep going, that it’ll happen because she likes my little snippets and that they’re written well. I fangirled only slightly.

First off were the keynote speeches, which were done by Claudia Gray, Aaron Hartzler and Shannon Messenger.

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Claudia Gray did a speech on How NOT to Become a Writer which was super fun, fresh, hilarious and actually really helpful. She told in order to not become a writer, you don’t read, you don’t write, you don’t try. I think my favorite part was her saying that writer’s block is not a thing (because that’s what I believe). She paraphrased Dan Wells, and I’m paraphrasing her right now, saying writing is the only job where people stop and say, “nope, I just can’t do my job today.” Which made me laugh a lot. 

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Next was Aaron Hartzler, talking about growing up in a conservative Christian household as a closet gay boy and having a hard time figuring out who he was. It was incredible and very moving. Suddenly I wasn’t the only one crying that day. He said a particular line that I tweeted out and I kind of want to make my motto on this blog now: “Be the weird you want to see in the world.”

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Then was Shannon Messenger. She was SO sweet and funny. She talked about she sort of accidentally fell into writing YA, since she wrote Let the Sky Fall as a way to distract her from the ups and downs of publishing her first novel (which is her middle grade series). She also talked about her film making at USC and I’m just saying, I can’t be the only one that wants to watch Tumble of Love.

Then it was time for the first panel. I went to the Promise Not to Tell: Secret Lies panel where the lovely Gretchen McNeil was moderating with Jessica Brody, Jessica Khoury, Anna Carey, Kasie West and Katie Finn.

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The one thing I really loved about this panel was the time they took to talk about writing! They talked about their methods, how they outline or don’t outline or do both (Katie is my girl!) and the kind of research they do and all of that. I didn’t know that Jessica Khoury had actually gone to the Kalahari in order to do some research for Kalahari but that’s super cool. I’m really jealous!

Then we all had lunch, courtesy of one of the sponsors, Panera Bread, and then continued to the Author Speed Dating. I think this is the BEST part of the event. There are tables set up and the authors move from table to table, for a period of five minutes, and talk about…well, whatever, they want. I got to talk to a bunch of great authors, and I’m glad I was able to talk to ones I’m not hugely familiar with like Sherri Smith and Brad Gottfred, both who were fabulous. I loved talking about periods and characters getting their periods in books with Sherri Smith. It was actually a really great conversation haha.

After the speed dating were the second panels. I knew I HAD to go see the Girls Gone Sci-Fi panel with Gretchen McNeil as a moderator to Jessica Brody, Jessica Khoury, Melissa Landers, Lauren Miller and Claudia Gray. I knew some hilarity would ensue and I was DEFINITELY right. All such fabulous ladies and all of them inspirational in my own journey as a YA sci-fi writer. I’m sad because I got hit with a TERRIBLE coughing fit during the panel and had to leave, but I could hear laughter so I’m sure it continued to be super fun and awesome.

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Then it was time for the book signing! I don’t have a lot of money right now so I only got a few books that I already owned signed. But I talked to all the authors and took pictures and got them to sign my writing advice poster #2. They all were absolutely fabulous.

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I love how personalized this is :) Most of my books from Morgan (Katie) say its great seeing me. I’m also stoked because this is an ARC with the original cover, but when the book actually releases, it’ll be a totally different cover, so that’s kind of cool!

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Now my collection is complete! And again with the awesome personalization. You’re extraordinary too Jess! And she signed a super cool poster with the Unremembered trilogy on one side and a map of the Diotech compound on the other.

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Aw thanks Melissa :) It was fabulous to see you too! I fangirled only *slightly* at meeting her. I absolutely LOVE this series and I can’t wait for her next one!

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Finally! I only owned an e-copy so I’m stoked to have this finally!

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Michelle Levy is a debut author whose debut novel will be releasing THIS August and I’m so INCREDIBLY excited for it, and I’m so happy for her as well. I was super surprised when she gave me an ARC, and I can’t wait to dive in!

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All of the authors! There’s a picture with me somewhere and I hope I will find it eventually. All such awesome, great authors.

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Me and Elizabeth Ross

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Me and my new bestie (I don’t think she knows it yet) Mary Elizabeth Summer. Read her book Trust Me, I’m Lying. Seriously. Do it.

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Me and Michelle Levy and her beautiful ARC for her debut book. I can’t wait til August and I’m so excited to read it!

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Me and Kasie West :) I was relieved to meet another author that is a pantser and not a plotter. I’m kind of a plotter. Kind of. But mostly a pantser.

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Me and Anna Carey. I seriously adore her and want to be like her because any author that can write not one, but TWO books, in second person is seriously amazing.

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One of my favorite authors of all time. I absolutely adore her. She writes amazing books as both Morgan Matson and Katie Finn.

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Me and Shannon Messenger. She is absolutely adorable. I really enjoyed her keynote and I’m really hoping that I can read her middle grade series soon!

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Me and Jessica Khoury. I cannot stress enough how much influence she has had on The Awakened. She is a fantastic writer, balancing nature and science fiction and romance and all sorts of things. I adore her. Plus she’s a Doctor Who and Harry Potter fan and has a cute husky! She also gave me a super cool Corpus trilogy poster that could potentially be a giveaway soon ;)

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Me and Aaron Hartzler. I was seriously bummed because I had thought he had left before I had the chance to get a picture with him and have him sign my writing advice picture but he reappeared and I managed to grab him. He is amazing and I can’t WAIT for his new book!

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*flails* I am so glad I met Melissa Landers! I fell in love with her books last summer and I just love her. Great writing advice, and she really seemed to appreciate the fact that I throw her books in everyone’s faces haha. And she gave me a cool poster for my wall.

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Me and Claudia Gray. I have to admit, I have yet to read her books but you better bet that I’ll be reading A Thousand Pieces of You soon. Not only does it sound amazing but Claudia is just a badass lady in general!

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After the event, I was invited out to dinner with some readers, some authors and some of the booksellers, and of course, Courtney, as well. I literally had to stop in the middle of dinner and just look around. I am so happy and grateful to be a part of such an awesome community and to be surrounded by such amazing people that I can genuinely call friends. Its incredible and I feel so lucky.

At the end of the day, I headed home and I just felt SO happy. I had such a great day. I was surrounded by readers and librarians and booksellers and bloggers that enjoy the same kind of books that I do and get why they are so incredibly important to me. I was surrounded by fellow writers, both published and unpublished, and got to share in that. I was around all these authors that I admire and that inspire me.

I also am grateful for every single person who came up to me, said hi and was awesome. My little ol blog just keeps getting bigger and bigger and I appreciate when you all say hi to me, whether you’re a reader or a fellow blogger. I love meeting all of you!

And a huge shoutout, hugs and kisses, tears and mountains of gratitude to each and every single author. You are all so incredible and I worship you all. You are all doing what I work hard every single day to accomplish and I appreciate all that you do for your readers. You donate your time and you take pictures and sign books and answer the same questions over and over again and we all appreciate it so much. I also appreciate how wonderful you’ve all been to me. You’ve become my friends, shown me a ton of respect, and have encouraged me and supported me in my own journey to become a published author. I cannot begin to express my gratitude to all of you. I feel incredibly lucky!

And lastly, thanks to Courtney Saldana. You are such a fantastic person and I’m glad that the Ontario TBF brought us together and that I get to work with you every year on such an awesome event. I’m so grateful for you letting me have this event because it has done so much for me as a reader, writer and a blogger. You are the absolute best and I can’t wait for many years to come, especially since one year I WILL be a guest!

Awesome event again and I can’t wait for 2016. Check out some of the guests already confirmed!

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Andrew Smith

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Marissa Meyer

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Leigh Bardugo

Ontario Teen Book Fest Blog Tour: Spotlight on Mary Elizabeth Summer

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I am so pleased to be bringing you the Ontario Teen Book Fest blog tour once again! This is one of my absolute favorite events of the year and I’m honored to help promote it as much as I possibly can. There are a ton of wonderful authors this year and an equally wonderful batch of bloggers to help me spotlight them.

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When: March 21st, advice 9 am to 5 pm

Where: Colony High School
3850 E. Riverside Drive
Ontario, CA 91761

This event is a completely free and un-ticketed event! Priority seating WILL be given to teens, but come one, come all! There will also be giveaways and raffles at the Fest, also free! Also, keep scrolling to find a giveaway held by us bloggers!

You can visit the website, to see the full schedule of the day by visiting the official Ontario Teen Book Fest website.

Books WILL be available for purchase at the event, available from Once Upon a Time Bookstore :) They are an amazing company so definitely bring your books from home, but try and support Once Upon a Time by purchasing a book!

Its going to be an incredible event and I’m honestly counting down the days! I hope you can come along for the ride, in the days leading up to the event.  Check out the full blog tour here!

Official Blog Tour Schedule

February 28th: Spotlight on Kasie West — Adventures of a Book Junkie

March 1st: Spotlight on Melissa Landers — What A Nerd Girl Says

March 2nd: Spotlight on Brad Gottfred — Recently Acquired Obsessions

March 3rd: Spotlight on Catherine Linka — Read Now Sleep Later

March 4th: Spotlight on Debra Driza — Read Now Sleep Later

March 5th: Spotlight on Katie Finn — Fearless Kurt Reads YA

March 6th: Spotlight on Claudia Gray — A Bookish Escape

March 7th: Spotlight on Shannon Messenger — People Like Books

March 8th: Spotlight on Lauren Miller — The Thousand Lives

March 9th: Spotlight on Mary Elizabeth Summer — What A Nerd Girl Says

March 10th: Spotlight on Anna Carey — The Reader’s Antidote

March 11th: Spotlight on Sherri Smith — Movies, Shows and Books

March 12th: Spotlight on Elizabeth Ross — Kid Lit Frenzy

March 13th: Spotlight on Jessica Khoury — The Consummate Reader

March 14th: Spotlight on Maurene Goo — The Windy Pages

March 15th: Spotlight on Cecil Castellucci — Nite Lite Book Reviews

March 16th: Spotlight on Jessica Brody — The Romance Bookie

March 17th: Spotlight on Gretchen McNeil — Movies, Shows and Books

March 18th: Spotlight on Aaron Hartzler — Fangirl Feeels

March 19th: Spotlight on Michelle Levy — The Consummate Reader

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Today’s spotlight is on:

Mary Elizabeth Summer

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Taken from her Website:

Mary Elizabeth Summer contributes to the delinquency of minors by writing books about unruly teenagers with criminal leanings. She has a BA in creative writing from Wells College, and her philosophy on life is “you can never go wrong with sriracha sauce.” She lives in Portland Oregon with her wife, their daughter, and their evil overlor—er, cat.

Her Website / Her Facebook / Her GoodReads / Her Twitter / Her Instagram / Her Tumblr

Her Book

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Julep Dupree tells lies. A lot of them. She’s a con artist, a master of disguise, and a sophomore at Chicago’s swanky St. Agatha High, where her father, an old-school grifter with a weakness for the ponies, sends her to so she can learn to mingle with the upper crust. For extra spending money Julep doesn’t rely on her dad—she runs petty scams for her classmates while dodging the dean of students and maintaining an A+ (okay, A-) average.

But when she comes home one day to a ransacked apartment and her father gone, Julep’s carefully laid plans for an expenses-paid golden ticket to Yale start to unravel. Even with help from St. Agatha’s resident Prince Charming, Tyler Richland, and her loyal hacker sidekick, Sam, Julep struggles to trace her dad’s trail of clues through a maze of creepy stalkers, hit attempts, family secrets, and worse, the threat of foster care. With everything she has at stake, Julep’s in way over her head . . . but that’s not going to stop her from using every trick in the book to find her dad before his mark finds her. Because that would be criminal.

Find Her Books at Your Local Bookstore of the Following Links:

Amazon / Barnes and Noble / iBooks / Book Depository

The Interview

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Nerd Girl: Trust Me, I’m Lying is your debut novel. Talk about what it was like to find out your novel was going to be published? 

Mary: I believe the first words I said when my agent called to tell me about my first offer were: “I think I’m going to puke”. She very calmly told me to not do that until after we finished discussing the details. As it turned out, I had a couple additional offers after that initial one, so there was a whirlwind of editor calls and figuring things out. When the dust finally settled, and I had officially accepted an offer, I walked around with wings on my feet for weeks. The only thing that gave me an equivalent feeling was seeing the finished book on a shelf in my favorite bookstore. Its euphoric. And slightly frightening. But mostly euphoric.

Nerd Girl: Where did the idea for Trust Me, I’m Lying come from? 

Mary: I got the idea for the Trust Me series one night while watching back-to-back episodes of White Collar and Leverage. I thought, “Man, I’d love to read a book about a teenage con artist, but I don’t think there are any.” (It turns out there are several, I just didn’t know about any of them.) Then I didn’t think any more about it till I woke up the next morning with Julep’s snarky voice in my head, demanding to be written. As you’ll discover reading the book, Julep doesn’t take no for an answer. So I spent the next year with her poking me until I finished.

Nerd Girl: Julep is a unique character in her own, a little more anti-hero than straight up hero. Is there a reason(s) that you created a character like this and can we expect more characters like this in your future?

Mary: Oh, yes. I have always loved the villains-turned-sort-of-heroes trope. There was a storyline in the original animated Voltron where the son of the Big Bad had a thing for the Princess, and he would often mess up his father’s plans (against his own best interest) to save her. And in He-Man, my favorite episodes were always the ones where Skeletor and He-Man had to team up to defeat a common foe. And then Firefly happened, which just had my villain/hero-loving heart all in a pile of mush for every episode. There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for a tender-hearted villain. So the answer to your second question is a resounding YES — all of my protagonists in every book I write will be at least half evil.

Nerd Girl: What are some of your own favorite books to read? 

Mary: I love sci-fi. I could read sci-fi every day of the week. My favorite sci-fis I’ve read recently are Alienated by Melissa Landers, Illusive by Emily Lloyd-Jones, Run to You by Clara Kensie and Beyond Our Stars by Marie Langager. I also like paranormal and fantasy — Cracked by Eliza Crewe was one of my favorite books I read last year. And of course, myster: Nearly Gone by Elle Cosimano, Far From You by Tess Sharpe, The Conspiracy of Us by Maggie E. Hall and Tabula Rasa by Kristsen Lippert-Martin are all amazing.

Nerd Girl: What made you want to write for teens as opposed for adults? 

Mary: I like writing for teens, because I like writing about teens. I like how cagey they have to be, how observant and opportunistic, just to get a ride to the mall. I like how vulnerable they have to stay in order to keep their lives in order and their loved ones happy. They’re the ultimate martyrs, really, and oh, how I love to sacrifice them on the alter of…er, *cough*, I mean, bring to light the inner depths they’re capable of when their lives get turned upside down.

All joking aside, YA is a powerful genre. It challenges us to grow up before our time and yet be strong enough to hold onto our innocence and belief in magic. No other genre can say that.

Nerd Girl: Have you ever had a fangirl moment and who was it with?

Mary: I’ve had a lot of fangirl moments at book signings (because authors! :-D) But my favorite story is when I had Margaret Stohl sign my copy of Beautiful Creatures. I told her how my wife read it to me aloud while I was in labor with our daughter, and she jumped out of her seat and asked one of the other authors there to take our picture with her camera, as if were the celebrity. LOL I loved it.

Nerd Girl: Because this is for the Ontario Teen Book Fest, all about the teens, what is one of your favorite memories from when you were a teen? 

Mary: Several good moments come to mind — musical solos, murder mystery parties, a popular senior guy (who didn’t know me) asking me if I went to the Starfleet Academy because I had the sticker on my car (there was much laughter and an ‘I wish’ on my part). But if I’m being honest, my favorite memories all happened in books. I was a book addict, and every story was another set of best friends and another opportunity to save the world.

Nerd Girl: Last question, who is your fictional crush? 

Mary: This is a tough one for me because I like girls, but not the kind of girls that usually get written about. So I’m going to plead lack of options to choose from here. If I were into boys, though, I’d say my fictional crush would be Chuck from Chuck. He’s such a woobie. Or maybe Seth from The O.C. (for the same reason). I prefer smart, sensitive dudes.

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The Giveaway 

Two Prizes, Two Winners!

Each winner will receive an official Ontario Teen Book Fest poster signed by ALL attending authors!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Ontario Teen Book Fest 2015 Blog Tour: Spotlight on Melissa Landers

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I am so pleased to be bringing you the Ontario Teen Book Fest blog tour once again! This is one of my absolute favorite events of the year and I’m honored to help promote it as much as I possibly can. There are a ton of wonderful authors this year and an equally wonderful batch of bloggers to help me spotlight them.

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When: March 21st, treat 9 am to 5 pm

Where: Colony High School
3850 E. Riverside Drive
Ontario, buy CA 91761

This event is a completely free and un-ticketed event! Priority seating WILL be given to teens, but come one, come all! There will also be giveaways and raffles at the Fest, also free! Also, keep scrolling to find a giveaway held by us bloggers!

You can visit the website, to see the full schedule of the day by visiting the official Ontario Teen Book Fest website.

Books WILL be available for purchase at the event, available from Once Upon a Time Bookstore :) They are an amazing company so definitely bring your books from home, but try and support Once Upon a Time by purchasing a book!

Its going to be an incredible event and I’m honestly counting down the days! I hope you can come along for the ride, in the days leading up to the event.  Check out the full blog tour here!

Official Blog Tour Schedule

February 28th: Spotlight on Kasie West — Adventures of a Book Junkie

March 1st: Spotlight on Melissa Landers — What A Nerd Girl Says

March 2nd: Spotlight on Anna Carey — The Reader’s Antidote

March 3rd: Spotlight on Cecil Castellucci — Nite Lite Book Reviews

March 4th: Spotlight on Debra Driza — Read Now Sleep Later

March 5th: Spotlight on Katie Finn — Fearless Kurt Reads YA

March 6th: Spotlight on Claudia Gray — A Bookish Escape

March 7th: Spotlight on Shannon Messenger — People Like Books

March 8th: Spotlight on Lauren Miller — The Thousand Lives

March 9th: Spotlight on Elizabeth Ross — Kid Lit Frenzy

March 10th: Spotlight on Brad Gottfred — Recently Acquired Obsessions

March 11th: Spotlight on Sherri Smith — Movies, Shows and Books

March 12th: Spotlight on Mary Elizabeth Summer — What A Nerd Girl Says

March 13th: Spotlight on Jessica Khoury — The Consummate Reader

March 14th: Spotlight on Maurene Goo — The Windy Pages

March 15th: Spotlight on Catherine Linka — Read Now Sleep Later

March 16th: Spotlight on Jessica Brody — The Romance Bookie

March 17th: Spotlight on Gretchen McNeil — Movies, Shows and Books

March 18th: Spotlight on Aaron Hartzler — Fangirl Feeels

March 19th: Spotlight on Michelle Levy — The Consummate Reader

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Today’s Spotlight is on the one and only:

Melissa Landers

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Melissa Landers is a former teacher who left the classroom to pursue other worlds. A proud sci-fi geek, she isn’t afraid to wear her Princess Leia costume in public—just ask her husband and three kids. She lives just outside Cincinnati and writes adult contemporary romance as Macy Beckett.

Her Website / Her Facebook / Her GoodReads / Her Twitter / Her Instagram

Her Books

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Two years ago, the aliens made contact. Now Cara Sweeney is going to be sharing a bathroom with one of them.

Handpicked to host the first-ever L’eihr exchange student, Cara thinks her future is set. Not only does she get a free ride to her dream college, she’ll have inside information about the mysterious L’eihrs that every journalist would kill for. Cara’s blog following is about to skyrocket.

Still, Cara isn’t sure what to think when she meets Aelyx. Humans and L’eihrs have nearly identical DNA, but cold, infuriatingly brilliant Aelyx couldn’t seem more alien. She’s certain about one thing, though: no human boy is this good-looking.

But when Cara’s classmates get swept up by anti-L’eihr paranoia, Midtown High School suddenly isn’t safe anymore. Threatening notes appear in Cara’s locker, and a police officer has to escort her and Aelyx to class.

Cara finds support in the last person she expected. She realizes that Aelyx isn’t just her only friend; she’s fallen hard for him. But Aelyx has been hiding the truth about the purpose of his exchange, and its potentially deadly consequences. Soon Cara will be in for the fight of her life—not just for herself and the boy she loves, but for the future of her planet.

Find Her Books at Your Local Bookstore of the Following Links:

Amazon / Barnes and Noble / iBooks / Book Depository

The Interview!

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Nerd Girl: This first one is kind of typical: where did the idea for Alienated and Invaded come from? Why THIS story? 

Melissa: Right before NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) in 2009, I was driving down the interstate thinking, “If I’m going to do this whole NaNo thing, I need a plot. What am I going to write about?” Several ideas came to mind, but I dismissed them because they were boring or cliched. Then – out of nowhere – I thought, “What if a high school senior had to host an alien exchange student?” Boom! I fell in love with the concept, and the rest is history.

Nerd Girl: Congrats on Invaded being published recently! What can we expect from you in the future?

Melissa: Right now, I’m wrapping up STARFLIGHT, a new stand-alone sci-fi romance that should release in 2016.

Just announced as well…

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Nerd Girl: What are some of the things that you strive for when you’re writing, knowing that teens are going to be reading it? 

Melissa: My process is pretty organic, meaning I don’t have any ulterior motives or anything I “strive for” while writing. I just let the story unfold.

Nerd Girl: Cara and Aelyx have easily become one of my favorite book couples! Did you have any inspiration from other fictional couples or even real life couples when creating their relationship?

Melissa: Thank you! I love their relationship, especially the way it gradually evolved from reluctant acquaintances to friends to more-than-friends. No, I didn’t find inspiration from any other couples. Aelyx and Cara are one of a kind.

Nerd Girl: What made you want to write for teens as opposed to adults? 

Melissa: Actually, I never made the choice. As stated above, my process is very organic. I had an idea to write about a teenage girl hosting an alien exchange student, and the story unfolded from there. The second book I wrote (under a pen name) was for adults. Again, not an active choice. The story ideas come to me, I write them, and then figure out who the audience is.

Nerd Girl: Because this is for the Ontario Teen Book Fest, all about the teens, what is one of your favorite memories from when you were a teen? 

Melissa: My favorite teen memory is probably my first date, which didn’t happen until I was sixteen. (My parents were strict.) The night was incredibly special, and as a bonus, it led to my first kiss and my first love. I dated that boy on and off for almost a year.

Nerd Girl: Last question, who is your fictional crush?

Melissa: I have a fickle heart when it comes to literary crushes. With so many amazing book boyfriends out there, who can choose just one? Not this gal!

Giveaway!

Two Prizes, Two Winners!

Each winner will receive an official Ontario Teen Book Fest poster signed by ALL attending authors!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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WonderCon 2014 Vlog Recap!

So if you don’t follow me on Twitter, information pills Facebook or Instagram, cure you may not have seen all of the awesome pictures that I posted over this past weekend, cure because I was attending WonderCon 2014 in Anaheim, CA!

For those who don’t know, WonderCon is basically a small version of the very well known San Diego Comic Con! WonderCon is actually put together by the same organization that puts Comic Con together. I LOVE WonderCon because its smaller, and Anaheim is SO close to me, and I always have an absolute blast.

This year was NO different :)

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I went and picked up my badge early on Thursday in order to enjoy the awesomeness all weekend without having to wait in line to get my badge. I met amazing people like Melissa de la Cruz and Margaret Stohl and James Dashner, the cast of the CW show, The 100, and SO much more.

But I’ll stop writing now so that you can enjoy my vlog post all about it! I managed to squeeze all 3 days of the convention into ONE 15 minutes vlog! That’s not bad for me HAHA!

Don’t forget you can also check out all the pictures from the weekend on Facebook here.

ALSO! I got my hands on lots of swag, which will be part of my blog birthday giveaway next month in May so watch out for that!

Until then, enjoy!

Can’t wait until next year!

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WonderCon Day One Highlights

   I had an awesome awesome awesome day today at WonderCon.

Today was my working day, malady and by working, I mean hanging out with my friends, Adrienne and Little Wolf (yes, that’s her name) and my brother Robby while hanging out at the Los Angeles Dumbledore’s Army table, recruiting members and encouraging all you Southern California Harry Potters to come out to Harry Potter Skate Night. Here is the flyer for that:

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It was a SUPER fun day. I met a ton of really awesome people, and hopefully we were able to recruit more members and hopefully people will come to Skate Night. This year is our second annual Skate Night, and I am SO insanely excited about it. There’s Harry Potter soundtrack, Wizard Wrock, and top 40 music playing, free raffles going on, handmade Harry Potter merchandise, butterbeer and just so much more. If you live in the Southern California area, you should definitely check it out!

Moving on though, it was a good day.

The lines to get in and all that: really good. The line/wait time to get badges was SUPER short, and moved really quickly, I was amazed. At Comic Con, Anime Expo, Comikaze, its always such an ordeal to pick up your badges but this was easy cheesy. Even the line to actually get into the convention? It was super long, and yeah it was warm, but we were constantly moving and it didn’t take that long to get in. It was pretty awesome. I always like fast moving lines.

There seem to be a lot of cool people, great artists and vendors there. I didn’t get much time to check it out yet, because I spent most of my day at the LADA table, but I have tomorrow and Sunday to check it all out.

I did, however, get SUPER great news. I got this tweet sent to my phone from Ms. Cassandra Clare herself. And I freaked!

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All I could think was, thank GOD I get Cassie’s tweets sent directly to my phone in text messages. I got that and as soon as I read it, I replied as FAST as I could. I sent my email so fast, I’m surprised I didn’t misspell.

A few minutes later, Cassie said she had the emails she needed and that you’d get an email if you got it. I didn’t get anything right away; man, I didn’t get anything for HOURS. But I eventually did get an email…

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Yay! I don’t know how I keep getting SO lucky but I was really so so so very excited and I can’t WAIT until tomorrow. I will have lots and lots of fun stuff for you tomorrow, including some panel reviews, what it was like to meet Cassandra Clare (again) and Lily, Jamie and Kevin AND what I think of the NEW trailer!

Can’t wait!

Happy WonderCon everyone!

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Convention Navigation!

Okay, advice so this started off as a blog post…and it remains a blog post but I also think I’m going to make it a new section on the actual blog. It got way longer than I meant it to but that’s okay.

Because a nerd’s heaven is the convention…its a place where you can go to finally be YOU, pilule and nerd out and see all those fabulous celebrities that you worship from home. Its the place where people won’t roll their eyes at your geek tattoos or your cosplay outfit. Its home.

But it takes some navigation to make it through a con successfully and that’s where this blog came in. With the help of some of my nerdy friends, ampoule I came up with this list of do’s and don’t’s for conventions and with it, you can have the confidence to go to ANY con and rock it :D

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DO: Dress to Impress

Cosplay, cosplay, cosplay! Dress up! Don’t be afraid to dress up because so many people do and its fun! If you show up in regular ol’ Joe Shmoe clothes, you’re going to be sad that you left your super badass Black Widow costume back at home. Be creative, get crazy!

And don’t feel like you need to dress as Spiderman or Batman, just because its a comic convention. Throw on a Marty McFly (shout out to the badass The Nerdy Girlie for that one), or a Disney princess, or an old school cartoon cartoon. Again, be creative and have fun.

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DON’T: Be Unrealistic

Keep in mind that when you’re wearing a cosplay outfit that you’re going to be walking ALL day. You’re going to be waiting in lines, and navigating through crowds. You may want to wear a crazy awesome costume, but do remember that half way through the day, you may be sweaty and incredibly uncomfortable. Be aware that those sexy stilettos that you’re wearing for your Emma Frost costume will look super cute until you’ve been walking in them alllll day.

Now I’m not saying to ditch those things but I am saying that you need to think of these things. Be realistic about your day. Bring a separate change of clothes, bring a second pair of shoes. Be comfortable while you’re at the conventions because there are a lot of lines and a lot of walking. Wear comfy shoes, and if you’re cosplaying, BRING comfy shoes. Your feet will thank you!

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DO: Plan your Day Well! 

There are SO many things to do while you are at a convention and sometimes its hard to hit them all. However, you can manage to get a lot done if you plan ahead. A lot of conventions put up their panel schedule before the actual convention. Print out the schedule or keep the program handy, take a look at some of the things you want to do and plan your day from there. Some conventions even have a feature where you can create YOUR schedule, which is super handy.

Also make sure to plan some time to hit the floor of a convention, and some time to hit the vendor area of the convention. There’s always A LOT going on, and it takes a good chunk of time to get a good fill of the convention floor and the vendor area.

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DON’T: Be One A Line/Seat Hogger 

Like I said before, there is A LOT of things to do at a convention, and its sometimes hard managing to do everything that you want. That being said, be respectful when it comes to lines and saving spots. I’m not saying don’t save spots in lines, or seats in panels. That’s okay, but be respectful about it. Don’t save spots in line for more than a few people. Don’t block out an entire row of seats at a panel. Its just plain disrespectful, and you’re not going to win points with anyone. Most panel rooms do NOT clear out inbetween panels so saving seats for that many people, when someone really wants to see this particular panel…its just not right.

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DO: Take Care of Yourself

This means eating, staying hydrated and sleeping well enough the night before. I’m not saying don’t party hard, because that’s fun. But there’s a time and a place for that. Gallifrey One is a party con, but its also a convention held in a hotel, so if the party gets too much, or you need a nap during the day, you can hop in an elevator and hit the hotel room for a nap. Not all conventions have that convenience so make sure to get a good night’s sleep. You don’t want to be too tired when you have a whole day of awesomeness ahead of you, and you don’t want to yawn in front of that hot actor you’ve been waiting two hours in line to see’s face, now do you?

Make sure to drink LOTS of water, bring a water bottle, or canteen! You can usually find water fountains in the convention centers and you’ll be able to refill it. Drinks, even water, are usually VERY expensive. The same goes for food. Food at the conventions is not cheap and you don’t want to be spending ten to fifteen dollars on food when you could be spending that on a new Star Wars poster or that Star Trek box set that you’ve been eyeing for years.

Pack snacks, protein bars work really well to curb your appetite. If you are staying in a hotel room, keep snacks and fixings to make a meal, especially if you have a fridge. Bring fixings for sandwiches and stuff. The weekend is NOT about eating fantastic food; its about enjoying the convention and sometimes eating sandwiches three times a day is part of that. If you do eat, eat outside the convention center. See if there are any fast food or cheap restaurants within walking distance and hit those up. Your tummy will be happy and your money can be spent on way better things.

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DON’T: Not Shower!

Comic conventions have a distinct smell…and that is the smell of BAD ODOR. I know we’re geeks and nerds and that not all of us spend a lot of time in front of the mirror, or in front of the closet, figuring out our look for the day. That’s fine, I get that. And I know that you want to spend as much as you can at the actual convention. That being said, DO NOT avoid personal hygiene. Please, please, please SHOWER and if for some reason you just don’t want to waste your time showering, then please wear deodorant. Keep your fellower con goers in mind, and keep the body odor to yourself. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone to talk to a really cool person but they’re just stinking up the room like Pig Pen on Charlie Brown.

A good note as well is to bring hand sanitizer. You shake a LOT of hands through out the day, whether you’re shaking the hands of a celebrity or just shaking the hands of someone who you meet while waiting in line for a panel. Everyone’s germs are being spread like crazy and the last thing you want to do is catch a cold on the first day of a convention. Hand sanitizer is a GREAT idea.

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DO: Think Preemptively 

Buy your badges WELL in advance. I don’t know how many times I tell people, tickets for such-and-such conventions are going on sale, and when they don’t get tickets, there’s all this anger and disappointment! Buy the badges as soon as you can! Keep in mind when badges go on sale, and plan head. Also keep in mind when badges go up in price! Buy them early and you’ll save yourself from having to pay double for a badge than what someone else paid.

With that, book your hotel well in advance too; sometimes even BEFORE the badges go on sale. Keep on top of when hotels will be releasing the rooms for that particular weekend. If you don’t stay on top of those things, the hotels will fill up fast, and you end up paying for a hotel that’s either a hefty walking distance away, or requires you to drive your car to the center. While this doesn’t sound too bad, the parking at conventions can be anywhere from ten dollars to THIRTY dollars a day, and do you really want to waste that much money on parking because your hotel is too far away? I don’t think so.

One more thing: if there is a badge pick-up the night before the convention starts, try and get there for that! Usually you can get it pretty quickly and you won’t have to wait in the LONG lines that can exist on the very first day of the convention.

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DO: Meet New People

This is one of the BEST parts about hitting up a convention. Finally, a place where you’re surrounded by people who finally UNDERSTAND you. They totally get your references and your excitement over a new movie or book or whatever. They get it! So meet up with people, get your nerd on, have different discussions about your fandom, make FRIENDS. Share your etsy page, or your blog, or geek group. I’m looking into getting some business cards for this blog to hand out to people when I meet them.

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DON’T: Be RUDE! 

Please don’t be disrespectful of those who like fandoms that are opposite of yours, or are of fandoms that you are particularly fandoms of. There’s just nothing more disrespectful than making fun of someone because of the fandom that they like. Everyone is there to have a good time and to represent the things they like and there’s nothing worse than having that guy in the Batman costume making fun of you because you’re wearing a Twilight shirt. Just don’t do it.

Also, its okay to get into discussions with people, I do that all the time! Its friendly and its fun to debate back and forth, but again, respect. Don’t criticize people for their ideas or beliefs, don’t get in their face and don’t be MEAN! I’ve seen actual arguments and fights at conventions and that just shouldn’t be happening.

One last thing: I know you’re there to have a good time, and see all the panels you’ve been looking forward to, and meet your favorite celebrities, but if you’re in a badass cosplay outfit, keep in mind that people are going to LOVE it and APPRECIATE it and that they’ll want to take a picture of it. Its always really disappointing when someone in a real cool costume refuses to take pictures. Stop and take a picture; it only takes a minute. If you’re on your way somewhere, all you have to say is “I’m on my way to a panel but find me later and I’ll be happy to take a picture!” Don’t wear a cosplay outfit if you don’t want people to notice and appreciate it.

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DO: Show Your Appreciation

Tell those celebrities you love them! They want to hear that they did a great job, they like to hear that their performance, or writing, or whatever, meant something to you. When you see them walking around, say hi, tell them they rock, etc. They want to hear these things. However, this leads me to my next DON’T.

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DON’T: Bug Celebrities 

Seriously. Don’t do it. Don’t be “that guy” or “that girl”. I’m not saying that celebrities are in the own little bubble and we should completely ignore them. No way. A lot of times, celebrities and con guests are roaming the con floor just like you, and they want to enjoy it the same. Use your best judgement, there are some guests that don’t mind people coming up to them and asking for a picture or an autograph. There are some celebrities that will say no because they have a set autograph/picture slot sometime during the convention weekend or they are charging for photos/autographs at their booth. It would be very rude of a guest to take a picture with you on the con floor and then turn around and charge another fan at their booth. Use your best judgement when it comes to the guests. They’re as happy to see you as you are to see them, but you wouldn’t want random strangers getting in your face all the time so be respectful and keep your distance when necessary.

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Lastly:

DO: Bring a Backpack

Seriously, you’ll be thankful you did! Maybe it sounds terrible because you’re going to have to carry it all day but its better than some alternatives. Some cons provide you with bags but not all do. So bring a backpack. You can carry the things you’ll need during the day AND you can stash all the things that are constantly being handed to you in there. Things you should bring in your backpack:

your phone charger! Don’t forget this!!! You use your phone to keep time, keep track of the people you came with and to take pictures! you don’t want it dying!

chapstick! suncreen! possibly a hat/sunglasses! IBUPROFEN! At some of the bigger conventions, especially San Diego Comic Con, lines will be outside, and FOR HOURS. Be prepared. It gets hot, it gets sunny and you don’t want to get sunburnt. And always keep some Advil with you, the worst is getting a massive headache when you’re trying to have a good time!

laptop. Okay this isn’t a MUST but if you’re a blogger like me, it could be a good idea for up to date blog posts and twitter updates and things like that. I can do everything from my phone, so that’s why, back to number one, I bring my cell charger!

food/drink. Keep snacks and water bottles with you at all times! Trust me, you’ll love that you did!

CASH, CASH, CASH! I preach cash! Yes, more and more vendors are taking cards because of those new little devices that you can attach to your phones and tablets but cash is so much better. One, you’ll be less likely to spend money that you DON’T HAVE and sometimes, you can haggle the vendors for a lower price because you’re giving them straight up cash.

a sharpie. I always carry a sharpie with me. You never know when you’re going to randomly run into someone and you’re going to be SUPER bummed that you didn’t have a pen or a sharpie for them to sign your program

business cards for your blog, etsy/merch store or your geek group/club. Carry those babies around with you so you can hand them out to people!

mints/hand sanitizer: you’re going to be meeting people all day. Self-explanatory, yes?

jacket: it gets cold!

-for girls: a hairbrush/little makeup kit. Sometimes you need this to help you feel not so frazzled and alien.

ipod/book: I’ve only needed these two things a couple times but bring them anyway. You never know when you’ll be stuck in line by yourself, with no one to talk to (though this is SERIOUSLY rare), and you’ll have nothing to do. The Ipod is a must

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So that’s my super long blog post of how to navigate your first con! Its super long, and I apologize for it but if you’ve made it to the end, congrats!

I will be adding this as a new “section” on the blog so that it’ll always be available and easy to find!

Can’t wait to see you all on the convention floor :)

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What are some of your do’s and don’t’s of conventions? Share them in the comments! I’ll add them to the list!