NYC Teen Author Festival

It's the NYC Teen Author Festival!

Welcome to one of my favorite weeks of the year: the NYC Teen Author Festival! Every March, a ton of YA authors from all over the country come together to celebrate our books and talk about things that are important to our readers—and this year, it's the festival's 10th anniversary, which makes it extra special. I've been going to these events since I was in graduate school, aka several years before I was published. The fact that what was once inspiration and aspiration is now part of my professional life makes NYCTAF all the more sweet. 

I will admit, I haven't been as active this week as I have in years past. Pregnancy and a busy schedule have slowed me down a bit. But! Yesterday, I had my first formal event, as part of the annual Big Read. Groups of authors go to schools and libraries all over the city to read from their work and talk to students. My team was sent to Murry Bergtraum High School, which is in lower Manhattan. We spent an hour presenting our books and answering questions from a few different high school English classes—and the kids were fantastic! They listened attentively and had great questions. A few came up to talk to us afterward, and I ended up giving away my author copy of HOW IT FEELS TO FLY to a sophomore who said she'd enjoyed the excerpt I read. Fingers crossed she enjoys the whole book! 

Our Big Read team went out to lunch after leaving the high school. From l-r: Michael Northrop, me, J.J. Howard, Stephanie Kate Strohm, and Tara Crowl. (Not pictured, but also on our team: Sara Mlynowski.)

Our Big Read team went out to lunch after leaving the high school. From l-r: Michael Northrop, me, J.J. Howard, Stephanie Kate Strohm, and Tara Crowl. (Not pictured, but also on our team: Sara Mlynowski.)

Tomorrow, I'll be paneling at the New York Public Library on 42nd Street in Manhattan—yes, that's the one with the stone lions. The entire afternoon is filled with author panels; come from 1-5pm to catch them all! I'm on at 4:10, and my group will be sharing snippets from our childhood/teen writings as well as our newest publications, to show how far we've come. 

Then, on Sunday, I'll be at the festival's mega-signing at Books of Wonder! You can catch me from 1-1:30pm, but authors will be at the bookstore until 4pm. 

Check out the full NYCTAF schedule HERE! And if you end up coming to one of the events, please say hello! 


Friday Five: WIP Goals, Author Events, Music, and More

I think I jinxed us when I gushed about the weather last week. I just checked the 10-day forecast to discover that NYC is supposed to get SNOW on Sunday. It's 60 degrees right now (Thursday evening). Bah. 

But with that gripe out of the way, it's been a pretty cool week. Here's my Friday Five! 

1) I passed 75,000 words on my manuscript-in-progress! Given that the book was hovering around 55K when I wrote "The End" on the first draft in January, I'm pretty pleased with my forward momentum. Can I get to the end in the next month or so? How many more words do I need? Stay tuned... 

2) It's been a fantastic NYC Teen Author Festival so far! I went to an author event at the New York Public Library on Monday evening and another at Dixon Place last night, and participated in a group author visit with GED students yesterday morning. That presentation was definitely a highlight of the whole week. The students asked wonderful questions about writing and publishing and inspiration...and our favorite movie stars and films. I love interacting with readers! 

3) It hasn't all been book-stuff this week. I also managed to squeeze in my friend Kohli Calhoun's latest performance. She's a talented singer-songwriter who's releasing a new album this spring, and trust me—you will be hearing more about her from me once that comes out. For now, you can access a free EP on her website, which I linked to above. 

4) The sprained ankle is on the mend. Still a little sore, but nothing I can't handle. 

5) HOW IT FEELS TO FLY got its first trade review this week! This particular reviewing outlet, Kirkus, is notoriously snarky, so I'm relieved to have had two books make it through the Kirkus gauntlet unscathed. Here's a spoiler-free snippet of the review: 

"Holmes concentrates on demonstrating the benefits of therapy, dissecting Samantha’s emotions, and depicting her increasing strength in overcoming her traumas and her difficult relationship with her obsessive mother. The book winds up as almost a paean to clinical psychology, but it should resonate with driven readers and those with their own body issues."

Less than three months until HOW IT FEELS TO FLY hits bookshelves. Eek! That's a scary/good thing for another post... 

Did you have a good week?