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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Spring Fever...literally

Sorry it's been quiet around here - 16 days without a post.  The short version is I caught a nasty head cold/sinus infection, went to Texas, had a blast, worked too hard, came home still sick, and spent the next week napping...er...recovering. 

The long story is down below (warning - it's very long - but there are some pictures!), but first I need to anounce the winners of the Australian Give Away!  Thanks for all who posted reviews for INSIDE OUT and OUTSIDE IN all over the Internet - it is most appreciated!  I picked four winners by using a random number generator, and from those four, the person with the highest score won his/her choice of Study books or Glass books.  Second highest received the other set and the next two won Australian editions of INSIDE OUT  (I hope - I haven't heard from my AU editor yet!).

The winners are:
1st place - Nicole - who picked the Glass books!
2nd place - Ashley - gets the Study books!
3rd place - Sophia - the AU edition of INSIDE OUT!
4th place - Jennifer - the same as Sophia!

Congratulations to them all!

So...my Texas trip was super fun despite feeling like 200 tissues had been stuffed inside my head.  I flew to El Paso on the 11th and my friend, Danielle picked me up.  I spent a lovely afternoon on her back porch talking books with her son, Cory (why is this notable? My son's roughly the same age but I talked more with Cory in one afternoon than a whole month with Luke!  Danielle wouldn't let me swap sons ;).  El Paso is a beautiful city and the lights at night are amazing.  I forgot to take my camera (still kicking myself) and when Danielle sends me pics, I'll post them.  There are a few on my Facebook page.

Tuesday I spent the entire day at El Paso Community College - talking to Danielle's English classes (she requires all her students to read POISON STUDY as part of the class - so fun to say my book is required reading - and even better is when the response is so positive (take THAT Charles Dickens!) Flying to El Paso was an easy decision :).  I also taught workshops for aspiring writers and I did a reading and Q&A session at night.  Her students were so enthusiastic - they all brought in food, drinks, cakes, cookies, punch, etc... for the reception part of the reading - so sweet!  It was a well attended event (best way to get college students to attend is to offer free food ;) and I met some loyal readers.  I'm glad my voice held out that long as I started the day already sounding hoarse because of the cold (so bad timing!).

On Wednesday I flew to Austin - another lovely city yet so different from El Paso.  Thursday morning I visited Harmony Science Academy to talk with the students.  I've been to their school before - the PTA  had a spaghetti dinner to raise money for my travel expenses back in 2009.  This time, they didn't need to raise money as the Texas Library Association invited me down for their annual conference - but I couldn't go to Austin without stopping at Harmony!  They are super sweet and as you can see from the picture to the left - they gave me a beautiful glass statue in appreciation (the words under my name say, In recognition of the inspiration you give to the students of Harmony Science Academy North Austin).  I also received a stuff sheep - which I call Texas Sheepy - seems Sheepy is a very popular character in Austin :)

I'm glad the statue made it home in one piece and TSA didn't freak out when I took it through security - which was interesting now that they have those X-ray machines - I half expected the agents to tell me I had spots on my lungs or something medical - but the lady only patted me down - guess I shouldn't have tried to smuggle Texas Sheepy under my shirt ;>

Lunch was at the Salt Lick (love this name) for some BBQ - I also loved their claim that they have the best smelling pits in town.  For those unfamiliar with Texas BBQ - go google it - it's a culture onto itself and very delicious.

Thursday night I did a book signing at the Barnes & Noble in Round Rock, Texas.  Yee haw!  Lots of readers stopped by from all over Texas.  You would think I would be very blase about readers driving four, five, six hours - ho hum and all that.  But you'd be wrong - I'm still amazed and thrilled and honored that they would drive so far (of course in Texas, far is anything over 10 hours - under 10 is just around the corner ;) to see me.  And I hope I will always feel this way - I never want to take it for granted or become jaded.  One reader even sent me a tub full of whoopie pies (google it - although ignore any reference that they were created in Maine - they're from Lancaster County, PA.  Yes, I live in Lancaster Co - what about it?)  The pies were an early birthday present - thanks so much Amy!

Did I say birthday?  Yes - Friday April 15 was my birthday.  I spent the morning at the Texas Librarian's Conference - a huge con that was amazing - they had wonderful speakers and authors and the workshops... I wished I spent more time there.  I was on a Science Fiction panel with an incredible line up of authors (who I shared my whoopie pies with).  I was with Patrick Rothfuss, Elizabeth Moon, John Scalzi, Jonathan Maberry,  and Ryan Brown. the discussion was top notch and  I would have happily stayed all day and talked genre and books with them, but we only had 2 hours.

I left for the airport that afternoon and.....sat and sat and sat.  A bad thunderstorm/rainstorm had closed the Chicago airport for a few hours so our flight was delayed.  Normally, I wouldn't mind - I expect delays when traveling and figure the day is shot and try not to stress over it.  However, I worried I would miss my flight to Harrisburg - I was scheduled to teach a workshop and be the keynote speaker (my first) for a writer's con in PA and I HAD to get home that night! 

Delays followed more delays, but we made it to Chicago and the flight to Harrisburg hadn't left either - except we didn't have a gate!  So we sat on the tarmac for another hour.  The very nice man who sat next to me kept checking my Harrisburg flight status on his iPhone, and it kept getting delayed, too.  The funny thing - I got a call from United that my flight to Chicago was delayed - this call came in as we were sitting on the tarmac in Chicago six hours after the original flight time!  I shared the story with my seatmates - we all had a laugh.

I landed in Harrisburg at 3:00 a.m.  Thank goodness the shuttle to the parking lot was still running - I schlepped my bags to my car, exhausted and I found a surprise.  My dear husband had stopped by my car earlier and put a bouquet of flowers and a balloon inside for my birthday -  isn't he sweet ;>  A nice ending to the story - isn't it?  Here's pictures - and I took some up-close shots of flowers, I added those below just for fun.

After 3 hours of sleep, I was on the road, and I taught my workshop, did the Keynote, drove home and slept for 14 hours!



Sunday, April 10, 2011

Going Down!

That's down south to Texas, y'all ;>  I'm leaving at OMG-early tomorrow morning and will be there until late Friday night...my birthday :)  Yeah, I was born on Tax day here in the USA - well, I think this year it's the 18th to give everyone the weekend to panic....I mean...prepare their tax forms.

I wanted to post this last week, but a nasty head cold/sinus infection took me out for four days!  Here's my schedule for those who live in the great state of Texas!

April 12, 2011 Reading, Reception, Q&A, and Book Signing at El Paso Community College, Valle Verde branch in the Cafeteria Annex (919 Hunter Drive, El Paso, Texas, 79915) 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

April 14, 2011 Book Signing at Barnes & Noble (La Frontera Village, 2701 Parker Road Bldg A Suite 700, Round Rock, Texas, 78681, 512-600-0088) 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

And it's 116 days until I arrive in Australia!!!  Further south than Texas and also a heck of a lot bigger :)April is also the release of the Australian INSIDE OUT.  So to celebrate I'm giving away a set of Australian Study books,  a set of Australian Glass books, and two copies of the Australian INSIDE OUT (if I can get them - if not, then the plain old USA ones).  OF course all will be signed, personalized and doodled in....well, maybe not doodled....depends on my mood and how full the moon is :)  So FOUR chances to win!

Details - One point for posting a comment here by midnight EDT April 18th, one point for including your email address in the comment, ten points for posting a good review of INSIDE OUT online (could be anywhere, Goodreads, Amazon, Facebook, your blog.  Each post = 10 points!), one point for liking the Harlequin TEEN facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/harlequinTEEN), one point for becoming a fan of the Harlequin Teen page, and one point for adding up all your points :)  I'll pick four winners at random, BUT the person with the highest points of the four gets his/her choice Study or Glass books, next highest gets the other set. 


Monday, April 4, 2011

A Weekend in Dayton


Books & Co in Beavercreek, Ohio
I'm home after spending a very fun weekend in Dayton, Ohio.  The weekend started off on a crazy note. I had an email in the morning saying my flight was delayed from 2:10 pm to 3:04 pm so I arrive at the airport around 1:45 pm and there's no one at the baggage desk and ALL the monitors say the flight is on time at 2:10 pm!  So I race through security (small airport - otherwise I would have been stuck). I was going to check a bag but no time and then I run through the airport only to see the flight is really delayed...grrrr.... except then they boarded us soon after I arrived and we left around 2:30 pm - so I'm not trusting Continental emails anymore!


L to R: Mara Purnhagen, Lisa Roecker, Julia Karr (standing),
Sara Bennett Wealer (standing), Julie Kagawa, and Me.

Good thing that was the only snafu :)  On Friday night, Books & Co. hosted six YA authors.  They have a lovely store - two story with iron railings and big open spaces.  They had chairs set up and I was told I was going to introduce everyone....hmmm.....guess I shouldn't have gone to the ladies room and left the others to decide ;>  After we all talked about our books, we opened the floor to Q&A and had lots of questions.  Then we signed books.  The event was well attended and I met a bunch of readers who lived nearby and beyond!  Jessica, a loyal reader since the original hardcover of Poison Study hit the shelves, drove over 6 hours one way with her mother to see me!  She's so sweet, and we went out and had a drink after the signing.  She looks young, but she's legal (her mom was with us! ;) 


Jessica & Me

On day two, only the three Harlequin Teen authors had a signing at the New and Olde Pages Book Shoppe.  This book store was tucked in the middle of a little strip mall - it was narrow and filled with books from floor to ceiling.  At first, I was like, there's no room for us to sit, but then we made a right turn all the way at the back of the store and walked through more shelves before entering the secret room!  This was a nice big space, they had a table for each of us, cookies and punch.  And waiting for us was Rosio, who had flown in from Florida and who had arrived at 10:00 am that morning for a 1:00 pm signing! (the store owner adopted her for the day, feeding her cookies :)  Rosio lives in Chicago, but was returning from vacation.  Her friends from Chicago drove down (about 5 hours, I think) to meet up with her and take her home (another mother doing the driving!).  They were a fun group and when they left, it was so quiet!!


L to R: Julie Kagawa, Mara Purnhagen
and Me sitting :)
 I'm always amazed when my readers go out of their way or drive long distances for a signing.  I have the best readers in the world!  The weekend was wonderful and I enjoyed meeting everyone!  I wish I could go everywhere, but time and money are always an issue.  My publisher pays for some events, but not all. 

Next stop for me is TEXAS next week!  I'll be in El Paso on Tuesday, April 12th for an event at the El Paso Community College from 6 to 8 p.m., and I'll be at the Barnes & Noble in Round Rock, Texas (near Austin) on Thursday, April 14th from 7 to 9 pm (details can be found here: http://www.mariavsnyder.com/appearances.php)