Friday, March 27, 2009

A Blunder at a Book Signing

Thursday night I was lucky enough to attend the Lisa McMann and Cassandra Clare book signing at Mysterious Galaxy, an indie book store in the San Diego area. I was excited for several reasons. First off, I had yet to visit Mysterious Galaxy in the 4 years I've lived in San Diego, but always wanted to. The obvious reason, meeting two great YA authors. Before the signing, I knew about Cassandra's books, but hadn't read them. It was a perfect excuse to purchase the whole series! I read Wake awhile ago and LOVED it. I ordered Fade online and hadn't read it, but it was at the top of my TBR pile. The last reason, I love generally going to author events and sitting in the audience thinking, "Could I do this if my books ever get published?" (Let me tell you, the last signing I was at before Thursday night was Stephenie Meyer and the moment I walked into the screaming room of 400 people, I knew there was no way in hell I wanted to be in Stephenie's shoes.)

Anyway, back to Thursday night. I was able to persuade my husband to come with me to the signing. My only fear was of him having a melt down due to hundreds of screaming teen girls (which I'm happy to say didn't happen). We left work early (yes, we work together) to make sure we arrived on time, found the store and a place to park. In the end, we were there about 45 minutes early. It worked out great. We had time to buy the books and even run out to the car to get my previously purchased copy of Fade. I didn't bring it in at first, not knowing the situation in the store. I didn't want them to think I was trying to steal it. So, after getting permission to get a previously purchased copy signed, I was set. We still had a few minutes and the crowd wasn't huge, so I suggested a coffee. Starbucks was right next door and what a way to make an already amazing evening even better! Just add a little Chai Latte with Soy to your life.

Now, at this point, you're probably wondering why I'm giving you a play by play of my evening before the signing. Trust me, the Chai Latte is important to the story.

I enjoyed my Chai Latte as I sat and listened to Cassandra Clare and Lisa McMann read from their books (Cassandra read from unpublished work in a new series, Lisa read from Wake). Then they took questions and answers. It was perfect. There was great questions asked (and some funny ones, like if Cassandra really knew Holly Black). I happily finished my latte, taking the hot sleeve thing off and sticking it into my now empty cup. After the Q&A, the employees of the store informed us that if we were sitting in seats up front, the chairs needed to be moved in order to start the signing portion of the evening. I had to get up and move the folding chair to the right or left. How hard is that, right? I had all the books in a bag (the bag was too small for that many books and a bit awkward), my purse, my "empty" coffee cup and now the metal folding chair.

Now, this is where it goes ALL wrong. Instead of getting my husband's attention to help with everything I was holding, I tried to move my chair with my hands full. There was hustle and bustle and what did I do? Tilted my "empty" coffee cup a little bit to fold and lift the chair as I held the bag of books...proceeding to dump what I thought was an empty cup onto the books. CHAI WITH SOY EVERYWHERE ON THE BOOKS!!!!!!! The new books I bought 30 minutes before. Can you freaking believe it?

Not the best pic, but you get the idea

So my husband was in front of me and he was like "OH NO" when he saw the damage, and then proceeded to give me the look. The look that tells me he can't believe I actually did what I just did. The look that tells me he's wondering how I managed to accomplish my level of stupidity. After he's done with the head shake and the look, he asked if I was going to buy other copies to replace the ones I had just ruined. Well, you see, I spent almost $50 on the books and so I was just going to have them sign the ruined copies. Two of the books, (of course one of them was a paperback and not the hardback) just had one small drip on it. No biggie. The others had huge light brown spots, on the top or bottom of the binding and pages. Here are a few pics of the ruined books.

Because I have the most amazing husband in the world, he went and replaced the copies of Cassandra's books (it was City of Ashes and City of Glass that were ruined), spending another $30.

So, after a total of $75 spent, I have a signed copy of Fade and all three signed of Cassandra's books...and two damaged brand new copies of book 2 and 3 of the Mortal Instruments series that are now my "reading" copies. Lovely, huh? Anyway, overall I had a fabulous time, and the crowd was great (just the perfect size). Both authors were extremely nice, funny and were really down to earth. Just what I like to see.

A few of the signed books.

I can't wait to read Fade and the Mortal Instruments series! Thanks Lisa and Cassandra for a great night!

What did I learn out of my stupid blunder? Always make sure to drink every last drop of your Soy Chai Latte before turning it upside down with books in your hands. LOL.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Final Evermore Discussion!

This week on YAedge Book Club, we're discussing Evermore for the last time! Please stop by and let us know what you thought of the book. The Final Discussion comments may contain spoilers, so please do not click unless you've finished the book. I look forward to reading your final thoughts on Evermore!

The April book selection poll is now closed! Check the poll to see if the book you voted for won!

Monday, March 23, 2009

The Published Author Spell

I’ve been talking magic with my critique group lately as a few of us work on paranormal projects with magical elements. And I think I’ve come up with one hum-dinger of a spell to make your writing (and mine) get published licky-split.

The Published Author Spell
(After completion of first book-first draft.)

- Rejoice – you’ve crossed a writing milestone!
- Now get a grip. Put draft through critique group.
- Recover from critique group gutting, pick up your heart, shove it back in your chest and start to edit your book.
- Repeat as many times as necessary.

If you follow this spell, you’re likely to get published WAY faster because when you actually are ready to send out submissions, you’ll be taken seriously and have greater results.

How to tell if you need the spell? You’ve finished your first draft, maybe had a few close friends read it and they tell you it’s wonderful. If you’re lucky, they’ll point out grammar issues, which you fix – and then you ask yourself….what am I waiting for? Let’s get this baby published.

Stop at this point, my friends. It is officially the cart before the horse. You’re spell-worthy.

The first draft of your first book is (for most of us) equivalent to a four-year-old’s crayon portrait of the family dog posted on the fridge. Sure, that kid might be a future Picasso, but for right now the dog appears to have seven legs and an elephant’s trunk for a nose.

And that’s how your book might read to an agent or editor - disjointed, incomplete, despite moments of brilliance.

Avoid the seductive, time-wasting trap of searching for agents and publishers (you could be writing/editing/revising instead!) until your book has gone through several revisions and a bevy of hard-hitting critiques by fellow authors. When you’ve polished your tale, and you think it’s done, put it away for a few weeks. Start another project. Then return to read your book from start to finish and see if it still wows.

Yes? Then, and only then, is it time to shop it around. And once you get requests for your manuscript – then the true magic happens.