Friday, April 24, 2015

Book Me, Catching Up. . . with lots of links!

CAKE!! Because, CAKE!!!

Me, recently, posing for the webcam before a Skype visit
(It's how I check my hair ;))


Been a busy few weeks, with the paperback release of THE SUMMER OF LETTING GO.

Seems the paperback has made its way to many Barnes & Noble shelves around the country which is a great thing.

Hoping it finds its way to some reading lists as well. And a reminder that if it finds its way to YOUR summer book club list, I will happily Skype in to your book club meeting of five readers or more. You can contact me through my website if you want more information.



Anyway, to celebrate the paperback release, I threw an awesome (if I do say so myself!) Palooza at the Huntington Public Library.

Despite it being one of the first sunny and warm weekend days of the year, we had a pretty full house and an extraordinary group of kids who stayed for the WHOLE event, from 90-Second Read Aloud through the book sale & signing, through the tween & teen only Writers Workshop!

It was a four-hour day -- not sure I'd ever make it that long again, though it flew! -- and the kids all seemed to have a good time.

This awesome animoto video was made by teacher extraordinaire Kristen Picone who brought so many enthusiastic students to the event, it truly blew all us authors away!

https://animoto.com/play/bVwluaELhTTuxLYm20l00w

Those are some lucky kids in HER class!!!

That's Kristen with some of her students!

Here are a few photos from the event. If you want to see more, you can find the link to the whole album on my Facebook author page HERE.



Matt Blackstone, reading from SORRY YOU'RE LOST
a perennial favorite of mine


A student, ready with the bell! All those other hands up,
waiting for their turn with the Power of the Bell!


Listening to readings. . . 



Tracey Baptiste, THE JUMBIES


Charlotte Bennardo, BLONDE OPS




me, reading from SUMMER about kissing. . . 



Me, with the extraordinary Lynda Mullaly Hunt of
ONE FOR THE MURPHY's and FISH IN A TREE...
who drove 6-hrs round trip to be with us for the day!!!
Huge thanks again to the eight wonderful authors who shared the day with me including those pictured above and: Henry Clark, THE BOOK THAT PROVES TIME TRAVEL HAPPENS; Sarah Darer Littman, BACKLASH; Selene Castrovilla, MELT; Kat Yeh, THE TRUTH ABOUT TWINKIE PIE!

I've got a few more events planned and some more writing workshops I'm teaching both locally and not so locally, but maybe local for you! 

First, TOMORROW, I will be at the Fourth Annual AUTHORS UNLIMITED Festival at St. Joseph's college in Patchogue, NY. Promises to be a fun day with lots of awesome authors, so if you're local, PLEASE join us!



Then, coming up in July, I will be teaching a one-night Novel Writing Workshop at the Walt Whitman Birthplace. Please pre-register. The cost is subsidized and a mere $15. 

Also, coming up in October (and I'm super excited about this . . . though I still hope the time passes slowly as I need my summer and my open water swim season to last!!), I will be one of three instructors, along with the incredible Amy Ferris (!! Who I'm going to finally get to meet in person!) and Beverly Donofrio at the PEEC Women of Our Words Writing Retreat. I think if you register before June 1st, there's an early bird special!! So call soon!

Working on some other summer book plans, including to return to the amazing EIGHT COUSINS bookstore in Falmouth, MA. 



Me, showing my section in 59 Reasons. . . !
And, of course, our fourth (!?!?) summer of Teachers Write! Is that possible? Word about start dates should be coming soon! In the meantime, if you haven't heard, Kate Messner's amazing book, 59 Reasons to Write, based on the virtual summer camp program is out now! And if you're thinking about joining this summer, do make sure to join our Facebook page. . . lots of information gets shared there!

So many good things. 

Braved the water on April 18th with two other hardy pals!!!
Anyway, that's all the book catching up to do for now. In the meantime, if you need me, you know where to find me. Some harbor off the Long Island Sound. Already been in... it was freezing, but grand!!!



Thanks for reading here and there any everywhere!



xox gae




















Wednesday, April 8, 2015

#TSOLG Paperback Palooza: Five Random Questions with Sarah Darer Littman

Sarah Darer Littman, 
strumming about Summer...
Less than two weeks to our Author Palooza on April 19th at the Huntington Public Library. YOU CAN CLICK THIS LINK TO REGISTER!

Several amazing MG and YA authors
 will be joining me for the fun and hands-on writers workshop, and I thought it would be nice to get to know them -- and me -- a little in the weeks leading up to the event. 

You may read all about the event HERE on the facebook event page, and even if you can't come to the event live, please join the event page and follow along in the fun.

So, over the past few weeks, I've been asking the guest authors to share their favorite piece of writing advice (or quotes that have helped or inspired them) as well as to answer five random questions from a big list I provided and I've been sharing  their answers (and chiming in with a few of my own in pink ...)



Up today with her five random answers to Five Random Questions is guest author Sarah Darer Littman

author of WANT TO GO PRIVATE? 

and the forthcoming BACKLASH 

and several other amazing novels for tweens and teens. Sarah is also a smart and eloquent journalist, and you should follow and read her everywhere possible!

You can read all about Sarah HERE. 



Before we get started with Sarah's five answers, here's a favorite writing quote of hers that helps her stay motivated and focused: 

“The main rule of the writer is never to pity your manuscript. If you see something you know is no good, throw it away and begin again. A lot of writers have failed because they have too much pity. They have already worked so much that they cannot just throw it away. But I say the wastepaper basket is the writer’s best friend.” -Isaac Bashevis Singer



Now on to Five Random Questions with Sarah Darer Littman... 



1. What's one of your silliest memories from childhood? 

My late father was involved with espionage (although we didn’t know it at the time) so we had all sorts of code words and phrases. One particularly silly one was if our Pekinese, Ming (the Merciless) had pooped on a walk, the phrase was “Mr. Brown left a parcel.”
  
              
2.  What's the dumbest thing you ever did?

There isn’t enough space on this blog to list all the dumb things I have done. It’s really amazing that *I* survived to adulthood - or, quite frankly, that I am still surviving as an adult.  But the important thing is to keep learning from your dumb mistakes.


3. Okay, we can't milk specifics there, so... what's the cruelest/funniest thing you ever did to a sibling?

I put my younger sister in my doll carriage and started pushing her down our long and graded driveway. And then, oops, I let go of the handle. IT WAS AN ACCIDENT, I SWEAR! And then there was a pothole and the end of the driveway, and the carriage wheel hit the pothole and…yep, my younger sister went flying. 

But I wasn’t as bad as my older brother, who tricked my younger sister into the washing basket at the top of the stairs pretending it was a roller coaster - and then pushed her down. 

Frankly, it’s amazing my younger sister survived to adulthood. But she did - and she’s amazing and smart and funny and has two amazing smart and funny kids of her own!


4. What unique skill do you possess?

This isn’t a unique skill, but I have an extremely ANNOYING skill of having a song for every occasion, and an extremely awful tuneless voice to sing it in. This is the cross my children must bear, and they bear it with loud and frequent complaints. 


5. What did you want to be when you grew up?

The first thing I ever remember wanting to be was an airline stewardess. That’s what they were called then, because I’m old. It’s funny because now I hate flying, but I think my desire was more about the fact that I love going to new places and experiencing different cultures and meeting people who might live and think differently than I do, but looking for our common experiences. I thought about a career in the State Department when I was in college. 

In high school, I knew I wanted to be a writer but Dad said “You’ll never make a living as an English major.” 

It took me 38 years and hospitalization for a breakdown before I finally found the courage to listen to high school me and follow my dream. 

Sarah, what a brave, honest answer to share. Thank you. As for the stewardess part, me too (and me too on the ix-nay on the eyeing-flay now...) except for me, I think it was more about the outfits they wore back then. So glamorous! (I'm old too!)

So, there you have it. . . some advice and a few random things about author Sarah Darer Littman. Hope you'll check out all of her books, and if you're anywhere local, that you'll join us at the Huntington Public Library on April 19th for the reading, book signing and, if you're a tween or teen writer, the hands-on writers workshop with all these fabulous authors! 


And don't forget to order a paperback copy of THE SUMMER OF LETTING GO if you can't come to the Palooza to get a signed one!

xox gae

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

#TSOLG Paperback Palooza: Five Random Questions with Matt Blackstone

Matt Blackstone, toeing it. . . 
To celebrate the paperback release of THE SUMMER OF LETTING GO -- now out on shelves everywhere!!! -- I'll be hosting a reading and writing (!!) Author Palooza on April 19th at the Huntington Public Library. That's less than three weeks away!

Several amazing kidlit, MG and YA book authors 
will be joining me for the fun and hands-on writers workshop, and I thought it would be nice to get to know them -- and me -- a little in the weeks leading up to the event. 

You may read all about the event HERE on the facebook event page, and even if you can't come to the event live, please  join the page and follow the fun.

So, on to the getting-to-know-them part of the festivities... 

I've asked each guest author to answer five random questions from a big list I provided. Many of their answers are quite entertaining! (Sometimes I chime in with my own answer to the occasional question in pink ...)



Up today, guest author Matt Blackstone.

author of SORRY YOU'RE LOST  

and A SCARY SCENE IN A SCARY MOVIE

I invite Matt (beg him to come)  to ALL of my 90-Second Read events because he's one of my all-time favorite guys to listen to read aloud.

Seriously, I'm telling you, Matt alone is worth the price of (the totally free)  admission. You are getting way more than your money's worth.


You can read all about Matt HERE. 



Now on to Five Random Questions with Matt Blackstone... 



1. What did you want to be when you grew up? 

No brainer: professional athlete.  It's why I practiced my signature day in and day out in middle school.  What, we were supposed to be learning something in middle school?  Oh.  Well, I learned how to make a professional-looking signature for the day when the Phillies drafted me.  That big day, when after years of hard work on the JV team, varsity team, and college team paid off.  Wait, what?  I didn't make the JV or varsity or college team?  Well then what did I practice my signature for?  (Yes, signing books is cool, but somehow not as cool as being Derek Jeter).

              
2.  What's the most embarrassing thing that ever happened to you? 



Anything embarrassing is good writing material.  When I was in elementary school, my dad used to walk down the stairs in his underwear the morning after a sleepover.  It was humiliating.  So I wrote about it in A SCARY SCENE IN A SCARY MOVIE: 


Even though I am firecracker mad at my mom for bringing Phil back, it’s not my mission to make her late today.  No, today’s mission is to ask Gio what to do about Phil.  I unlock my door and walk to the kitchen for breakfast. 
somewhere in these pages,
Matt's father roams...
And lose my appetite immediately. 
Phil, in his large white underwear, with his large stomach drooping over the elastic strip, is flipping pancakes. His hairy chest and hairy back and hairy stomach and hairy legs and hairy feet have gotten—hairier. 
The sizzling batter is bubbling.  It smells like burnt butter. 
Phil, with all of his red chest and back and stomach hair, is standing over the griddle, manning my breakfast, and I don’t know scares me the most: Phil being in my house, Phil being in his underwear, or all Phil’s hairs falling in the pancake batter and hiding in all of my pancakes and then burying themselves in my stomach until I choke on them and Mr. Head has to give me the Heimlich maneuver which won’t work because he doesn’t know the Heimlich maneuver so the nurse will have to rush me to the hospital in a screaming red and white ambulance until the doctor reaches down my throat and says, “There we go, kiddo, I got it.  You swallowed a hair, probably belonging to a large man, most likely from the large man’s back, and this large man, as confirmed by DNA testing, is your father.”     
“Good morning, sport,” Phil says, licking pancake batter with his right index finger.  “Don’t forget your breakfast.


3. What's the cruelest/funniest thing you ever did to a sibling?

I poured applesauce on his head for a very good reason: Because.


4. What unique skill do you possess?

I can't help but think of Liam Neeson in this clip from TAKEN talking about his unique set of skills.  Liam and I don't share the same skills.  My skills are more in the writing, reading, and making funny noises categories.  They are a lot less intimidating than Liam's skills. 


5. Do you appear in any of your books? If so, which character is most like you?

If you liked my books, then I am the likable characters.  If you didn't like my books, I don't appear in any of my books.


So, there you have it. . .  a few random things about author Matt Blackstone. 

Hope you'll check out all his books, and if you're anywhere local, that you'll join us at the Huntington Public Library on April 19th for the reading, book signing and, if you're a tween or teen writer, the hands-on writers workshop with all these fabulous authors! 

Registration begins April 6th! 

And don't forget to order a paperback copy of THE SUMMER OF LETTING GO

xox gae

Thursday, March 26, 2015

#TSOLG Paperback Palooza: Five Random Questions with Charlotte Bennardo

Charlotte Bennardo kicks up some Summer...

We're getting closer and closer to the THE SUMMER OF LETTING GO paperback release Author Palooza on April 19th at the Huntington Public Library!!!

Several amazing MG and young adult authors 
will be joining me to help celebrate, first in a 90-Second Read Aloud Event, and then for a hands-on writers workshop. I thought it would be nice to get to know them -- and me -- a little bit in the weeks leading up to the event. 

You may read all about the event HERE on the facebook event page, and even if you can't come to the event live, please join the event page and follow along in the fun.

So, on to the getting-to-know-them part of the festivities... 

I've asked the guest authors to share their favorite piece of writing advice (or quotes that have helped or inspired them) as well as to answer five random questions from a big list I provided. Many of their answers are quite entertaining! You'll see! 


Over the past weeks, I've been sharing their answers (and may even chime in with my own answer to the occasional question in pink ...).



Add caption

Up today, guest author Charlotte Bennardo,

co-author of the SIRENZ series and BLONDE OPS, which Publisher's Weekly called,  "...a light mystery with entertaining dialogue, an energized pace, ever shifting suspects and a glimpse into the benefits and drawbacks of art and fame..."

You can read more about Charlotte HERE and HERE.



Okay, before we get started with Charlotte's five questions, here's a clear bit of writing advice from her: 

“Be persistent and consistent!"

Voila! Only Nike's motto is shorter and more concise. 


Now on to Five Random Questions with Charlotte... 



1. What's the cruelest/funniest thing you ever did to a sibling? 

*giggles. I held my sister for ransom - 2 Ring Dings. I actually tied her up, gagged her, put her in my toy box, then locked the closet door where the toybox was. Man did I get in trouble for that! (But I got my Ring Dings....)
  
              
2.  Do you appear in any of your own books?

Part of me appears in the Sirenz series - Sharisse is blonde and tall like me, and can be snarky (ok, bitchy) like me, but I don't have her fashion sense.


3. What's the most embarrassing thing that ever happened to you?

Sitting in the front row during a comedy show. When the comedian found out I was part Swedish, he asked me if I wore Viking breastplates. And proceeded to embarrass me all night long...


4. What unique skill do you possess?

I can talk like Elmo. And Carol Kane (from Scrooged). I can audition for the right price.


5. Tell us about your first kiss?

Ahh. I was 16, had a mouthful of braces, and it was a boy down the street. Holy smokes, I never knew a kiss could be like that...


So, there you have it. . . some advice and a few random things about author Charlotte Bennardo. Hope you'll check out all of her books, and if you're anywhere local, that you'll join us at the Huntington Public Library on April 19th for the reading, book signing and, if you're a tween or teen writer, the hands-on writers workshop with all these fabulous authors! 

Registration begins April 6th! 

And don't forget to order a paperback copy of THE SUMMER OF LETTING GO.  You can watch the new trailer HERE

xox gae

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

SUMMER turns one. . .

B&N Carle Place Long Island
Good lord but time flies.


Noting today's date for some other reason this morning,
I just realized that it's the one-year anniversary of the official release of my second novel, THE SUMMER OF LETTING GO 

which also nearly coincides with its official paperback release March 31st, 

though the paperback has already begun popping up on shelves everywhere.






video



It's been a wonderful book year.


I've gotten some amazing critical reviews from the likes of the New York Times Book Review (!!!), School Library Journal and Kirkus Reviews, I won another Nerdy Book Club Award for best Young Adult fiction (!!! -- that's two gold statuettes on my mantle) and, most importantly, received some truly lovely and moving emails and tweets from tween and teen readers who have connected deeply with the Frankies. 





















And, why YES! Boys do love THE SUMMER OF LETTING GO!


I even have more than one photo to prove it:



I've also visited with some amazing schools and book clubs both via Skype and in person and done some really awesome events where it's hard to decide the best part: the readers or the other amazing authors I have the privilege to meet and read with!   

Like reader Francesca who was super excited to read a book with a main character named after her!




Like new pal, Alan Katz, author of the Take Me Out to the Bathtub books 
and the forthcoming, The Day the Mustache Took Over...




Seriously, I love the look on his face there. . . and the admiration is mutual. . . 


and like the extraordinary Léna Roy, Wendy Corsi Staub, Barbara Dee, Nora Raleigh Baskin and many others!




... and I must say, seeing that New York Times Book Review quote on the back of the paperback is pretty darn amazing!


I'm super hopeful with the release of the paperback this week that my book will find its way into the hands of even more readers. If you have read it and loved it, I remind you again how helpful on line reviews are to an author and to keeping their book in the public eye.

As for the coming months, my calendar is chockfull of events and appearances, including my paperback release PALOOZA & writers workshop (join the page even if you can't join us in person!) and the AUTHORS UNLIMITED BOOK FESTIVAL.




I hope you'll join me when you can, and share my titles with your friends.

With gratitude,

xox

gae