The time there was a photo booth

Posted May 13, 2015 by Stacee in Signings | 1 Comment

When the Fierce Reads events were announced, I nearly lost my mind to find that both legs were going to be stopping in SoCal. And of course we were going. 

Sadly, Michelle wasn’t able to make it, so I forced Hubs to come with me. We got up to Vroman’s around 4 {because we got to Pasadena and tried finding the BBT apartment}. The event space was already set up, so I bought the books I wanted {so disappointed to find out they weren’t stocking hardcover copies of The Winner’s Curse} and set up camp in the front row.

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Around 5:30, they started setting up a swag section…


and the table with the raffle giveaway prizes.


They also had a set up and props for a photo shoot, complete with Fierce Reads backdrop.

I ran into Karen {the publicist/handler/I’m still not sure what she does} and Mary from Macmillan. I promised Mary that I would be the first person to line up for the photo booth to get everything started.

Karen and Mary introduced me to all of the authors and when I said my Twitter name, Marie held her hand out and said it was so nice to meet me.  I said that I needed to carry a photo of my Twitter avitar with me when at events.

After about 10 minutes of chatting with the authors, there was a good line and I was able to sneak away without having to put on a sparkly mini purple cowboy hat.


The event started at 6:30 with the raffle and the explanation of how the bingo game was going to be played. The moderator then introduced the authors. Each of the ladies then talked about their books before the moderator started asking questions.

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What character in your book most relate to?

M: I do identify with kestrel. She’s super analytic. I can analyze things to death, but she’s quicker than I am.

K: I’m not like Gemma, but I can sympathize with her.

LM: I’m not like Charlie because that girl can read a map and I can get lost in my backyard. Skye is like a survivalist. I’ll go with Jillian.

LS: I do sort of identify with Yulia. Not because I’m psychic, but because she’s stubborn. She wants to always be right and she has to learn that it doesn’t work like that.

What was one of  your favorite and hardest scenes to write?

K: I can’t say too much about the scene, but there was something I was so looking forward to writing. It was a revenge scheme that  it was a lot of fun to set up. The hardest was the last scene. Both books end on a twist and a cliffhanger and it was a challenge to not say too much.

M: For Winner’s Crime, I think my favorite was when Kestrel and Arin end up meeting. I teach fiction writing and my students ignore setting and I think it makes such a difference. In this scene, I had them talk on a palace balcony. It felt like it would be a wonderful place for them to have a private conversation. The pleasure I took in the setting influenced what they said.

The hardest has been all of book 3. But for book 1, it was the ending. I had planned and hoped that it was going to be a stand alone. I realized that I was trying to write an ending that didn’t fit my characters. And once I realized that it became easier.

LM: In NIL Unlocked, my favorite scene was when Rives and Skye meet. He didn’t know that she was coming, but she knew about him. The worst was when I killed off one of my favorite characters. It was really hard, but I knew it had to happen.

LS: In Skandal, it was set in a jazz club in DC. I got to hang out for “research”.  The hardest was killing a character.

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Did you find it hard writing in a teen voice?

M: To be honest, for this trilogy, I wasn’t trying to write a teen voice. This is a different world and teens become older. By the time they’re 20, they have to marry or join the military. Kestrel is a mature character, so in some ways I don’t think I was trying to capture a teen voice from our world.

K: Some people think that my books are so teen and that’s cool, but that’s just me. That’s just how I think.

LM: The teens have to grow up pretty quickly. They’re not the same person when they leave — if they leave. There’s no grown ups and they have to make a lot of decisions. It’s a slice of reality to see how people would respond. It wasn’t necessarily a teen voice, but a character voice.

LS: In fantasy books, it’s different. Yulia’s life changes. She matured quickly, but knows that she’s not mature yet, but striving to get there. I tried to incorporate an all American teen girl from California in the character Donna.

What makes you fierce?

M: I’m not very fierce. Maybe I’ve done some things that are fierce. I once rappelled 1000 feet in France and then climbed back up. I learned to pay violin 2 years ago and I had my first performance and I was terrified. When I was in college, I decided to move to Russia and I did. I moved to Moscow.

K: I’m not fierce in life, but I am in books. It was fun letting my mind come up with things to ruin some one’s life.

LM: I don’t think I’m a fierce person. I apply my fierceness. If there’s something I want to do, I’ll give it 110%. I’m not scared of failing, but I’m scare of not trying. That’s what I tell my boys. I guess that could make me fierce, I have 4 boys. I’m pretty boss with a Nerf gun.

LS: I think a big part of being fierce is being a writer. We put our hearts on the page. Going on tour and doing things like this for your book when you’re maybe a bit introverted.

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Any advice for aspiring YA authors?

M: There’s all sorts of kinds of writing. It’s all practice. Whether it’s a tweet or a journal entry.

K: Read a lot and write a lot. I think writing is a skill that you can practice at and get better at. I think we all have a draft in a drawer that no one will ever see. Pay attention to what you should write. Don’t write what you think is popular or the trend.

LM: Write what you love. The reader will see it come through. Persevere. Keep going. Even when you get rejection letters. Stephen King’s book about writing is very helpful.

LS: Self editing while you’re writing is great. Push past whatever fear or anxiety you’re feeling. Staring at a blank word doc or the anticipation of a rejection letter is so scary, but find something that will make you get through that.

What is your process like?

M: I don’t write to music. Sometimes there will be a song I like and maybe it will make me think of something. A scene or atmosphere. I’ll listen to it on repeat while at the gym. I have two small sons, so I write when I can.

K: I love making playlists and hearing songs. Then I’ll go to write and can’t listen to music while writing. I rent an office with some other authors. I can’t stay home because I’ll do laundry. I need a big chunk of time.

LM: I write when I can. My youngest is in 1st grade, so when they’re all in school is when I write. I try to carve out some time.

LS: I am a reformed pantser. I’ve found that when I do that, it becomes way too tangled. I also have a day job, so whenever I’m not actively working, I’ll be thinking about things. When I get home, I’ll be able to bust it out.

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How do you describe your writing style?

K: I’ve only ever written in 1st person past tense. You can try things out, but it’s like trying on shoes that don’t fit.

M: I wrote one book in 1st person and I really enjoyed it. 3rd person is my favorite. Maybe because it’s the narrative of fairy tales and I feel at home like that. I like close 3rd. It’s narrative, but with a flavor of the character. There’s something a little dreamy about it.

LM: I write in 1st person. With NIL, I thought it should be first person present, so I went back and changed about 3 chapters. It really was like putting on a dress that didn’t work. It’s not bad, there’s nothing wrong with it, but it’s not for me. I changed it all back. It became more about the writing than letting the story take over.  In my books there aren’t any overlapping scenes. In the third book, the island gets a point of view and it’s creepy.

Reading genres that you don’t normally read, you’ll develop things that you wouldn’t have normally.

LS: I’m working on a collaborative spy story and it’s in third person. I like that the characters can keep secrets. In first person, the characters can’t really keep secrets or it seems disingenuous.

Is there someone who reads your things that is not your legal editor?

M: I’ve been with the same writing group for about 6 years. We used to spend a lot of time praising each other and now we’ve done away with the niceties.

K: I don’t have a writing group. I like to just have my editor weigh in. I don’t like to have a lot of voices and then trying to figure out what works best. I trust my editor.

LM: I have close writer friends who I trust, but I don’t send it out to six people. That’s the greatest thing about books. If we polled everyone here, everyone’s favorite book would different. That’s why there can be so many books in the world. If everyone liked the same thing, it would be boring. That even extends to the critique world.

LS: I started with a close critique group. They still read my stuff, but I’ve found success in an entirely different genre. When I have a problem or I need to turn it to 11, I’ll give it to my husband. He’ll think about it and will say “what about this?” It’s never fixed that way, but he’ll always give me an idea and then I’m off.

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Do you have a writing or editing technique that helps?

K: I wrote an e-short from Hallie’s point of view. It was super fun and now I think I want to do it for a lot of books. It was hugely helpful to see how the other side felt about how it all went down.

M: Kisses and Curses came out and the story I wrote is called Bridge of Snow. It’s about Arin as a child before the war. I didn’t want to write it, but it was so helpful.

LM: I wrote a bit of a NIL novella and it’s the few days of Thad’s days before he got to the island. It’s about 10k words. It’s just enough. I needed to get things on paper and let my mind wander.

LS: I’m a quick writer, but a slow editor. In Skandal, there are so many things happening, I had break down all of the arcs and figure out what my character was doing and feeling. Every book is different.

I think there were one or two more questions, but I was trying to get final photos, etc.  After that, the signing part started. I had grabbed a few posters for everyone to sign. I got to Lindsay first and we chatted about her new book cover and how gorgeous it was.

When I got to Lynne, she thanked me for driving up. She gave me some bookmarks and I don’t know why I didn’t get a photo.

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Katie so nicely signed my poster and we talked about how pretty and compact they were.

And then I got to Marie. Thankfully, I didn’t make a huge fool of myself. She signed my books {still SO SO SO sad that I couldn’t get a hardcover of The Winner’s Curse} and said it was nice to meet me. Then we took a photo.

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Before I left, I thanked Mary for everything and we hugged.

As always, the Fierce Reads tours are fun and this one was one of the best. Macmillan really knows how to throw an event. Definitely check these ladies out if you get a chance to see them!

After the event was over, I had a sort of sekrit rendezvous with Renee Adhieh.  She was in LA for the day doing various things for her launch of The Wrath and the Dawn and had told me a few weeks ago that there may be a chance we could meet up.  We ended up meeting in her hotel lobby and hanging out for about an hour or so.  She so nicely took us up to the rooftop pool so Hubs could take a photo in the area where scenes from Get Him to the Greek was filmed.

We had some excellent conversation on topics ranging from yoga pants to food to Twilight to The Rose and the Dagger {Wrath #2} and everything in between. She is charming and hilarious and seriously beyond fabulous. She signed some books for me and then we took photos and hugged before we headed back home.


I feel like there’s a real chance she thought we were lunatics, but she hid it fairly well. If you haven’t picked up her new book, you need to stop reading this and go start it immediately.

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