La Jolla Writer’s Conference 2015 Wrap up


A really great year at the LJWC! Here’s bestselling author Andrew Peterson and I team teaching “The Villain Drives the Story.” This was so much fun. I’ve never done a PowerPoint presentation with another author like this before, but it was a big success with a lot of positive feedback.  The students loved hearing a male and female point of view on this topic and it was fun for us presenting with another teacher.

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I also loved teaching a writing workshop. I believe this is the first time I’ve done it with adults, and I was thrilled that everyone was fully committed. Our students come from a variety of backgrounds and experiences and they were all eager to learn. I was impressed with the bravery of many; some rewrote their work and chose to share it — each time, it was so much better.


My Query workshop is always packed and popular. Over a little less than two hours, I teach them what a query really should look like. I asked my friend and author Jeff Garvin to find me some very recent queries because looking at one from ten years ago is not always as helpful. After they saw how queries should be written, some of them wrote theirs in class. Others volunteered to project theirs for the class to comment on.

What I love about this workshop is that everyone walks out with a better query than they had before. And sometimes we can find weak spots in their story that needs to be addressed. It’s so valuable to have a roomful of minds all focused on your work in a safe, supportive atmosphere. As I always tell them, you want to make your mistakes in this room, not out there in the publishing world.

LJWC 2015 My college students

My college crew. Some of them did a private read and critique with me and they are all writing SFF. I suggested they form their own email critique group because they’re around the same level and I thought their personalities would click — and they’re all very tall! Can’t wait to see them next year and see their growth.

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CLA Conference

LissaCLAPasadena2015I enjoyed meeting librarians and seeing my fellow YA and MG authors at the CLA signing last week. I was sitting next to two terrific writers, Sherri Smith and Catherine Linka. 

The poster below me is the Thai version of Starters next to Enders in the poster. Don’t you love those covers? They just published in Thailand.




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La Jolla Writer’s Conference 2015

Immediately after the CLA conference signing, I am heading down to the 15th annual LJWC. You may remember I gave a keynote there last year. I love seeing many of the returning students and meeting new ones. This year I’m teaching my Query 911 again, where I discuss recent successful queries that some wonderful debut authors have generously shared with me and then everyone writes and discusses their own queries. The entire class helps them rewrite so everyone walks out with a query that’s professional and not boring!


I’ll also do a YA lecture and this year I’ll share my Power Point presentation that I give to schools. For the first time I’m doing a 2 hour writing workshop – very excited about that. I always make sharing optional because I want to make the space for the introverted writer.


And I’m team-teaching a presentation on The Villain Drives the Story with bestselling adult fiction author Andrew Peterson. This is going to be a great year.

There will be agents, publicists, authors at this intimate conference with a nice low faculty-to-student ratio. You can do a one-day registration, or come for the weekend in beautiful La Jolla, by the sea. Scott McEwen is one of the keynoters this year (American Sniper) and all genres are represented by top authors.

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California Library Association Conference 2015

I’ll be signing at the CLA Conference at the Pasadena Convention Center Exhibit Hall, this Friday from 12:30 to 1:30pm only. I’ll be there with a select group of amazing YA authors and friends. If you’re attending, stop by to say hi and take any swag for your readers.

This is the 117th Annual Conference and as per their site, “the leading event for the professional library community,” from November 5 until November 8, 2015.  The theme this year is Reimagine/Reinvent.

I’ll be happy to bring complementary foreign copies to any librarian who may have non-English readers. You can view all the foreign prints here.  Please email me your selections so I’ll know what you need. See you there!

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Thrillerfest and McNalley Jackson Bookstore NYC


If you’re in NYC next week, come say hi. I’ll be at Thrillerfest from Wednesday to early Sunday. On Friday night, July 10, at 7pm, I’ll be on The Thrill of YA Panel at McNalley Jackson Books with Elle Cosimano, Megan Miranda and Victoria Schwab, three wonderful YA authors who write books that make you sit on the edge of your seat. It should be fun and we’d love to see you there. 

On Saturday, July 11, at 9:30am, I’ll be PanelMaster for the YA panel at Thrillerfest with this stellar group: R.L. Stine, Elle Cosimano, Megan Miranda, C.J. Lyons, John Dixon, and Kelley Armstrong. They include NYT and USA Today bestsellers, Edgar nominee, and a Stoker winner! Our signing at 12:30-1pm is open to the general public on the 2nd floor of the Grand Hyatt New York (42nd). You do not need a badge to enter this Barnes and Noble pop-up conference bookstore – if there is any question, tell them you are there to see me.

So if you’re in the area, please come and tell your NY friends! 

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RT Convention 2015, Dallas

Went to my first RT Convention earlier this month and got to meet one of my YA author heroes, Scott Westerfeld. I love his Uglies series which is long overdue to be a film. He’s just remarkably talented. Here we are, with his spouse, Justine Larbalestier, the author of many novels and editor of some important non-fiction and fiction. Zombies Vs. Unicorns is hers, my favorite YA anthology.


But first, I had an evening adventure getting lost in downtown Dallas on the way to dinner with this wonderful trio below:


Jodi Meadows, Cynthia Hand and Brodi Ashton, three amazing YA authors who are now also writing together (My Lady Jane).  They are so much fun because they’re like a married trio who finishes each other’s sentences.


My first panel was “The Writing Life,” moderated by Lea Nolan. This is where I got to meet Justine, who was so warm and friendly and funny — I liked her immediately. And it turned out we were both RT virgins.

Beside her is the wonderful Christina Lauren, who I’d met at WonderCon back in 2012, Zoraida Cordova, a sister Apocolypsie and one of my buddy authors on the French tour we did last month, and Lorraine Heath (aka Rachel Hawthorne). Mari Mancusi, the last author, was not in this photo. If anyone has a complete photo, please send it.

My takeaway from this panel was the story Justine told of one author who burns her manuscript when she finishes the first draft and deletes the file. And then starts all over again. That’s brave!


The next day I did a school visit (that will be a separate post). Then I met some of the top thriller writers writing in the adult market today – Andrew Peterson, Kathy Reichs, Sandra Brown and Anderson Harp — a terrific, generous bunch.


At the YA author-only offsite private party, our fabulous group came early to eat dinner in case they ran out of food (not really, but you never know). In the magic booth are my roomie, Tamara Ireland Stone, Gretchen McNeil, JR Johansson, Zoraida Cordova, Bree Despain, Amalie Howard, me, Page Morgan (dead ringer for a younger Maggie Gyllenhaal), Kady Cross, and Victoria Scott, who organized the party.


Then a few more YA authors showed up. This is a good chunk of the YA track at RT. Scott Westerfeld taught me all about tonic water — I was clueless about it before, but now I know that Fever Tree is one of the delicious ones. This was a fun party.

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The next day I moderated the YA Thriller Panel: Welcome to the Dark Side with an incredible group of best-selling authors: Susan Ee, Brendan Reichs, Kimberly Derting, Kami Garcia, and Melissa Marr. Becca Fitzpatrick had flight problems and Kim graciously stepped in for her. There was much laughter on this panel.


Saturday is the BIG signing day at RT. Our YA rows were on the left. First in my line were three librarians/teachers who said they always look for me – but this was my first time in Texas! It was great meeting all the readers and fans in this four-hour signing.


A montage someone created of authors in the YA rows, with Melissa Marr at the top.


And here’s my wonderful roomie! You can see her upcoming YA book, EVERY LAST WORD — oh, can’t wait for it to come out on June 16th.


This lovely French reader missed seeing me in Paris but came to RT!


And the last event for me (and many of us) was The Match Game, hosted by the always vivacious Gretchen McNeil (standing, 5th from left). The only guy, Brendan Reichs, just barely in this photo (look far left) kept us — and the audience — laughing.


Marie Lu and I couldn’t resist jumping in the photo booth — this is the wacky, Texas-style result.


Tamara had this dream of getting a bunch of us together to see Pitch Perfect 2 which opened that weekend. She managed to pull it off, and even got us a reservation at the best Thai restaurant I’ve ever eaten in, and that includes Thailand.

RT is an amazing conference and many people volunteered their time to make it work: Diane Stacy, Cindy Walker, Becky and Pete Anderson of Anderson’s Book Shops, Kami Garcia and Melissa Marr to name just a few. Thanks so much to all of you!

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RT Booklovers Convention 2015

Next week, this is where I’ll be. If you are attending, come and see me. It’s my first time there and I’m going to listen to some panels from people like Mark Coker and Neil Thompson. They get the best of the best for this convention. And it is going to be massive, non-stop fun.


 For more information on the convention, visit the website here.

YA: The Writing Life

For our first YA panel of the conference, we’ve assembled experts from various subgenres to provide Writing Life info for you. Join these experts — whose fields span from Sci-Fi to Horror, Fantasy to Contemporary — as they give you valuable tips on everything from hitting your deadlines to the day-to-day business of being a professional writer.

Event Date: Wednesday, May 13, 2015 – 12:00pm to 1:00pm

Moderator: Lea Nolan

Panelist(s): Zoraida Cordove, Lorrain Heath (aka Rachel Hawthorne), Justine Larbalestier, Christina Lauren, Mari Mancusi, Lissa Price

YA: Welcome to the Dark Side – YA Thrillers and Romantic Suspense

Romantic suspense and mystery are mainstays in adult fiction, but YA publishers and readers are catching on to what adult fiction readers have known for years: fear can be just as exciting as kisses, and sometimes the two go together in unexpected (and intoxicating) ways. Join us as we discuss how to bring this adult standard to teen readers and debate the inevitable YA question — how far should we go?

Event Date: Friday, May 15, 2015 – 2:45pm to 3:45pm

Moderator: Lissa Price

Panelist(s): Susan Ee, Becca Fitzpatrick, Kami Garcia, Melissa Marr (aka Ronnie Douglas), Brendan Reichs

The Match Game: YA Author Edition

Authors and readers team up and answer a host of YA lit questions like: Which district hid Katniss after she left the arena for the last time in The Hunger Games? InDivergent, what are Four’s fears? How many books are in Sara Shepard series Pretty Little Liars? Watch as participants they race to beat the clock — and the other team. Volunteer to join a team or play along from the audience!

Event Date: Saturday, May 16, 2015 – 4:30pm to 5:45pm

Host(s): Ann Aguirre, Brodi Ashton, Susane Colasanti, Andrea Cremer, Kady Cross, Colleen Houck, C.C. Hunter (aka Christie Craig), Marie Lu, Jodi Meadows, Danielle Page, Lissa Price, Brendan Reichs, Kristen Simmons, Rachel Vincent (aka Katy West)

Moderator: Gretchen McNeil

Signing in YA Alley for Teen Day

Event Date: Saturday, May 16, 2015 – 11:00am to 2:00pm

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Group photo of our YA Panel at Pasadena LitFest today

PasLitFestYAPanelallcropErika Jelinek, our outstanding moderator with our humble superstar Francesca Lia Block, Nicole Maggi, Lisa Gail Green and me. Really smart women, all. A lively, fun panel with a great audience at the fabulous Vromans Bookstore.

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Pasadena LitFest – this weekend

YA-changing-face (1)LitFest-2015-FLYER-w--books

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The Polish Video Trailer!

A couple of screen grabs from the new STARTERS trailer from Poland (because it publishes there today).

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Screen Shot 2015-04-08 at 3.59.31 PMI have a page on this site with some of the Starters trailers from my various publishers. To see the new live-action one by my newish publisher, Albatros Media, go here to see the trailer.

It’s the second one in the list.

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