Posts Tagged ‘indie bookstores’

The Writer Next Door

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013

I haven’t done any author events in awhile, but I’m excited about the event that’s coming up next weekend, an evening of readings, panels and book sales called “The Writer Next Door.”


ballard writers poster 2013-1

What I love about this event is that it’s local, put on by a talented and industrious group called Ballard Writers Collective. This is our fourth annual pre-Christmas event, and what makes this one special is that guests will be able to purchase a $15 book sampler, giving them the opportunity to go home with two or three books at a great bargain price.

In addition to the sampler, the evening features readings by a dozen Collective members, myself included. I’m particularly excited to be reading from an essay I wrote about my brother with autism, Mark Rimland, who illustrated my 1998 picture book THE SECRET NIGHT WORLD OF CATS.


Guests who want to learn more about the writing and publishing process are sure to enjoy the Ask-an-Author Panel, and hopefully everyone will have love the gift basket raffle, the delicious wine and goodies, the book sales by Secret Garden Books, and the chance to interact with the authors who live right in their own neighborhood. And best of all, admission is free!

So if you’re in the Ballard area next Friday, November 1st, come on down to the Sunset Hill Community Club at 7 pm and meet the writers next door.

Rubbing shoulders with a giant

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

As you’ve probably noticed, I’ve done a lot of book events in the past year. There are a number of different reasons I choose to do an event. Sometimes it’s because the event gives me an opportunity to spend time in a wonderful place, as was the case when I did a signing with Amber Kizer last February at Moonraker Books on beautiful Whidbey Island.

with author Amber Kizer at Moonraker Books in Langley

Sometimes a particular event gives me a chance to hang out with fellow writers, like the readings and signings I’ve done with Elevensies pals Megan Bostic, Carole Estby Dagg, Kiki Hamilton, and Kendare Blake, among others.

with Kendare Blake, Kiki Hamilton, Megan Bostic, and Kathy McCullough at Third Place Books Lake Forest Park

Sometimes I’ll do an event just to support a bookstore that I love, like Secret Garden Books in Ballard, where I held my launch party.

Me checking out books in the YA section of Secret Garden Bookshop in Ballard

But this Saturday, I’ll be participating in an event for all those reasons, and more. Young Adult Book Day at Finally Found Books in Black Diamond will not only give me a chance to support an indie bookstore but also to explore a cool little town I haven’t spent much time in. On top of that, I’ll get to hang out with fellow authors Kendare Blake, Joni Sensel, and Jennifer Shaw Wolfe. But the icing on the proverbial cake is that I’ll get to meet bestselling children’s author Peg Kehret!

I’ve long admired Peg Kehret from afar. I love it that she’s a supporter of animal rescue – which I am, as well – and often includes animals in her books. While I admire her Middle Grade mystery/adventure stories, I was blown away by her autobiographical book “Small Steps,” about her childhood experience with polio. In some way, I’ve always felt a kinship with her because of my early experience with cancer.

And this Saturday, I’ll get to meet her! If you’re in Western Washington, you can meet her, too. She, along with a number of other YA authors, myself included, will be at Finally Found Books in Black Diamond from 11-2. If you have a chance, I hope you’ll consider coming. It’s not often that you get to rub shoulders with a giant of children’s literature.

Odds and Ends

Friday, June 8th, 2012

Today is a red letter day for me, because this afternoon my critique group is meeting to give me feedback on my WIP. I’m so nervous and excited that I’m having trouble focusing, so I thought it would be a perfect day to catch you up on a couple of odds and ends.

First of all, I wanted to share a photo from the Teen Author Reading Night at the L.A. Central library a few weeks ago.

As you can see, I’m reading a scene from FLYAWAY. I tried a different scene than I usually read at events, and it has now become my favorite. On my right is Ron Koertge, author of STONER AND SPAZ II, ¬†and on my left is Cecile Castelluci, author of THE YEAR OF THE BEASTS, who is also the organizer of the reading series.

Second, I wanted to share a couple of highlights from my visit to Garfield High School this Wednesday. It was the largest crowd I’ve ever spoken to – 90 students! – and the school’s black box theater is the coolest space I’ve ever presented in. It’s also the first time a bookstore has sponsored my visit – I was happy to have someone from the University Book Store in attendance.

My favorite question of the day was, “If you become a super-famous author, would you consider writing your autobiography?” A close second was, “Have you thought about making a movie of your book?” All of the questions the students asked were heartfelt. I loved their enthusiasm and thoughtfulness.

Last of all, I want to remind those of you who live in Seattle that I’ll be performing on Tuesday, June 12 at 7 p.m. with my husband, Steven Bishofsky, as part of the Ballard Writer’s Collective live storytelling event, Ballard Jam, at Egan’s Ballard Jamhouse. We’ll be telling the story of how cancer brought us together, with musical interludes by Steven. It’s going to be sweet and inspiring – I hope you can make it!

New Kids on the YA Block Northwest Tour

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

Now that the dust has settled, I can’t wait to share the slice of awesomeness that was the New Kids on the YA Block Northwest Tour!

New Kids on the YA Block (not pictured: Carole Estby Dagg)

Megan Bostic (NEVER EIGHTEEN), Kendare Blake (ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD), Kiki Hamilton (THE FAERIE RING), Carole Estby Dagg (THE YEAR WE WERE FAMOUS), Kathy McCullough (DON’T EXPECT MAGIC), and I started the tour last Wednesday night at Third Place Books in Seattle. After we each introduced our book and read a short selection, moderator William Kenower of Author magazine plied us with questions. Then we answered questions from the audience and ended with a book signing.

The sweetest moment for me was being approached by a girl who had already read FLYAWAY and had written me a fan letter. She came to the event specifically so I could sign her book.


The next morning, we headed for Olympia, where our first stop was a visit to Capital High School. We had expected to speak to several classes, but because of a schedule change due to testing, we only had half an hour with a small group of students who had signed up to see us. But what a treat they were! Most of them were writers themselves, and we were impressed by their impassioned questions about everything from dialogue to writer’s block.

We met more writers that evening at the Olympia Timberland Library. A sizable group gathered to hear us speak, read from our books, and answer questions. Most of the attendees were adults, so we fielded a lot of questions about how to land an agent and get published. The local Barnes and Noble sold books for us after the event.

Our final event took place on Friday evening at Garfield Book Company near the Pacific Lutheran University campus in Tacoma. This event was especially lively because our moderator, Daniel Marks, author of the upcoming YA novel VELVETEEN, kept everyone laughing by asking questions such as, “If your main character were an ice cream flavor, what flavor would they be?”

But for me, the best part of the whole tour was spending time with my fellow 2011/2012 debuts and sharing perspectives on the ups and downs of this crazy business. We had such a great time together that we’re already busy dreaming up our next event.



Write global, promote local: Ballard Writer’s Collective

Friday, March 9th, 2012

Anyone who reads this blog at all regularly knows that I’m a member of The Elevensies, a national online group of YA authors who debuted in 2011. (Yes, our books have all released now, but we’re still staying in touch to support each other in the next phases of our writing careers.) I love being part of this group, but I’ve also yearned to be involved in a local writing community. So several weeks ago, I became a member of the Ballard Writer’s Collective.

The BWC is an eclectic group of writers who have one thing in common: we all live in or near the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle. The collective includes authors of books ranging from mysteries to memoirs, cookbooks to children’s books, zines to poetry collections. The goal of the group is not only to provide mutual support, but to help each other promote our books on a local level.

Writers need bookstores, and BWC is lucky enough to be in partnership with the wonderful Secret Garden Books.

This supportive indie bookstore has agreed to always have signed copies of our books in stock, to display them on a special “local authors” table, and to promote our titles in their booth in the Ballard Sunday Market, a popular outdoor farmers market.

In addition to our visibility at Secret Garden Books, the BWC is committed to increasing our exposure through neighborhood events such as the “It’s About Time” reading series at the Ballard library and the brand new “Ballard Out Loud” live storytelling series at Egan’s Ballard Jam House. Since I’m a brand new member, I haven’t participated in any of these events yet, but I plan to in the future.

Through The Elevensies, I’ve made wonderful writing friends all over the country. The Ballard Writer’s Collective, I hope, will help me make friends with the writers in my own neighborhood.

What do you do to promote your books locally?