Saturday, October 24, 2009

Life, NaNo, and Post-Apocalyptic Author Signings

Hey all! My favorite season (and month, except for that cold spell last week--ick to the thousandth degree) has been chugging along, and I've been finding myself horrendously behind on reading blog posts and reading review books. The following is a "Friday Fabulous"-like (but also sort of unlike) post in which I endeavour to explor what I've been up to and to justify my reason for not being able to be around on the blogosphere so much.

1. First things first: SCHOOL WORK. There' much of it! I'm trying to read four different novels for three classes right now, along with the usual number of shorter articles and small weekly assignments. I mean, it's all well and good that I'm actually enjoying the books I'm reading for my classes right now (thank God the Dickens phase was over), but it means very little time for non-school reading, and I know I am behind on review books. And then there is that tiny little devil inside of me that keeps on seeing interesting new books and going, "Ooh! *buys*" Very bad for my TBR mountain range.

2. Who else is doing NaNoWriMo? My username is stephxsu: click on it to go to my page and make me a buddy! (I have yet to find a way to better identify my NaNo profile's URL other than with the number they assigned me; if anyone else can find a helpful search feature on the website, let me know!). I have my novel idea decently fleshed out in my head right now, and hope to get it down into a decently detailed plot summary or outline by the end of this weekend. Actually, it has to be done by next Wednesday, because my Nano project is doubling as my final project in my Children's Lit class. (Yes! I get to write a children's book for my final project!!) Of course, what that ends up meaning is that I will have even LESS time to read non-school books and hang out in the blogosphere. *sigh* Multitasking is not my strong point.

Here's a sentence to describe my Nano project: middle-grade contemporary fiction on racial prejudice... with a paranormal twist. Intrigued? Excited? Absolutely friggin' horrified? Stay tuned for possibly more info as the days go along. It might be fun for me to write a post about what encouraged me to write this story.

3. On a far happier note, last Thursday, during my school's October break, I got the wonderful opportunity to attend a B&N Post-Apocalyptic Teen Fiction Panel in NYC that featured the spectacular Scott Westerfeld (Leviathan), James Dashner (The Maze Runner - AWESOME AWESOME AWESOMENESS. You haven't read it yet? WHY haven't you read it yet?), Carrie Ryan (The Forest of Hands and Teeth), and Michael Grant (Gone, Book 2: Hunger). It was definitely the best author event that I've been to in months, and I was really happy that one of my brothers got to go with me, even though it was a school night. (The other brother was at college and was really bummed that he couldn't go see Scott with us - we're a trio of Scott fans.)

After Scott's awesome slideshow, a nice Q&A session with lots of intriguing--and occasionally slightly disturbing--questions, and presentations of two incredible took trailers, it was time for the signing. I was really happy to have the chance to talk with James Dashner, as we had exchanged emails a few times in August/September and I wanted to tell him how amazing I thought The Maze Runner was. So I was completely flabbergasted when I told him who I was, and he knew me!! We chatted about my blog and his book (which has a 100,000-copy initial print run and is now moving into Walmarts, Targets, and Costcos everywhere--that's powerful stuff!). James told me a little more news about the Taiwanese translation of The Maze Runner, which I'm looking forward to seeing since that's my "mother country," if you so please, and we made plans for an interview on my blog in the near future. It was absolutely incredible to meet a brilliant author destined for bestseller-dom and find that he is completely down-to-earth. Definitely one of the highlights of the evening for me.

That is a picture of James talking about his book, with Scott and Carrie looking on. Immediately after this my camera died, so that was the only picture I got. Sigh.

Then, my brother and I got to speak to Scott Westerfeld, who, when I introduced myself, said something along the lines of, "Oh yes! I know you from Twitter." Talk about my jaw wanting to hit the floor. (In case any of the aforementioned authors are reading this--dear God this is one of those moments when I'm not sure if I want them to read this or not--I... well, I'm not sure. You tell me. Moving on.) Scott is one of those authors whose books basically marked important passages in my high school years, and I get extremely shy and tongue-tied around people I respect, admire, and want to get to know, so you can imagine what I--and my brother, who was standing mutely next to me--was like. But he was a great guy, and signed all of our books happily. (When I told my away-at-college brother that I had gotten his first Midnighters book signed and personalized to him by Scott, he freaked out. In a happy way. It was cute. But pretend you didn't read that so he won't come down to PA and try to kill me.)

This is the picture of what the title page of my copy of Uglies now looks like. Cool-ified, isn't it?

It was an unforgettable night overall, and I was definitely on a cloud for, like, a day and a half afterwards. I look forward to hopefully having more positive experiences at author signings in the future!


Okay, that was, uh, all I wanted to say for now, I think. I should probably go back to doing some more work before I potentially go out tonight, even though it's pouring and I'd just rather stay home and do some more happy work. So if by any freaky chance of nature you were wondering what I've been up to, now you now. I'm excited for NaNo!


  1. Ooooo, goody. I just bought THE MAZE RUNNER and will be starting it probably next week (got my head deep in THE HELP, and it's making me read funny, Marueen-Johnsonish stuff to alleviate the mood).

    I'm not doing NaNo, but I kinda wish I was because it looks like all the cool kids are doing it.

  2. I think it's absolutely amazing that you attend Swarthmore and still have time to maintain such a great blog! :D

    Good luck at Nano!

    And that is so cool that you got to meet Scott Westerfield in person :D

  3. OMG! That's so cool that Scott Westerfeld knows you from twitter, and that you actually got to talk to him.

    Good luck with NaNo. This will be my second year doing it, hopefully I'm alive by the end of November! haha

  4. I've been interested in doing NaNo but the inner critic in me is like, "No way you could write a novel! Ever!" @___@; that's awesome that an author recognized you! that must be such a great feeling :)

    there was an event in the city that I wasn't aware of!? Grrr... another thing that I could've attended and missed! Fail...

    "middle-grade contemporary fiction on racial prejudice... with a paranormal twist." <--intrigued. VERY intrigued.

  5. Great post...there were so many bits where I smiled... :)

    I'm doing NaNo (at least that's the plan), but it's going to be a little last minute. I'm going to try and get myself organized (read, signed up) tomorrow.

    Also, I went to a Westerfeld event last week and had a marvelous time - glad you enjoyed yours!

    Aaaand....I can't wait to read The Maze Runner! It looks so very cool. :) I think that's it for now. Have a good rest of the weekend!

  6. You are a marvel. I'm glad to hear it's all gOOD stuff keeping you so occupied and Im looking forward to seeing how you get on with your book. Ill be rooting for you. So, I imagine, will Scott w! xL

  7. Your life is so hectic. But I like it because everything seems to revolve around books and the likes. Will befriend you for NaNoWriMo ^^

  8. That sounds like the best event ever! Why didn't I know about this? I would've flown over from Germany for that ;)

  9. That event sounds (and looks) absolutely amazing! Wow! I need to read The Maze Runner soon. I really do.

  10. I'm so excited for NaNo, too! This is my third year participating and, for the first time, I actually sat down this weekend to do a brief plot outline. Usually I just wander around for 10,000 words or so until I get my footing, but I really wanted to try something different this year! And hopefully cut down on the editing phase :) I added you as a buddy -- I'm megan_lynn :)

  11. oh god you're doing NaNo AND you're in school? I can't possibly imagine doing both. it'd just be more things for me to procrastinate on. then again you are doing it for an assignment, which sounds awesome.

  12. That photo with Scott Westerfeld's sig is made of pure awesome.

  13. Hey Steph!
    Just added you on NaNo!

    Good Luck!

  14. Holy smokes you have a lot going on! Sounds like the panel event was awesome, I'm super jealous! What a great opportunity to get to meet some awesome authors.

    Good luck with Nano sounds like you have a good idea on what exactly it is you're planning to achieve there!

  15. Yay another NaNo blogger -- I'm so glad that you're doing NaNo!

    I just went to add you (the site is being wonky), but I'll get there eventually.

    Also, Scott Westerfeld rocks my socks and I'm so happy that you got to meet him. :D


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