I had a blast presenting to the campers at Anderson's Bookshop's YA All Access Camp at the Naper Settlement on Friday. I'd never been there before, and it's like stepping back in time, the kind of place where women in long skirts and bonnets walk around and show you how to churn butter and shear sheep. At least, I think that was part of the Settlement. It's also possible that a back-to-basics cult has set up shop there and I narrowly escaped brainwashing.
As I expected, the campers were fantastic. What's not to love about preteens who choose to spend summer at a literature camp talking about YA books? We did some writing exercises, and the author potential ... Let's just say I should have been collecting autographs.
While I do love talking to young people, like most writers I'm a bit of an introvert, and it takes a lot of energy. So I made sure to refuel immediately.
My friend Zoe Schwartz invited me to present at Camp CEO, a program for Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and NW Indiana. This amazing sign greeted me at the lodge where I'd be speaking. As a kid, I participated in Brownies, but my troupe broke apart before we had the chance to cross that bridge to become Girl Scouts, so I jumped at the chance to pretend for a day!
Each of the girls was assigned a female CEO as a mentor for the week, and they received talks on all aspects of career goals and development. We enjoyed some writing exercises and a great talk about publishing.
After the talk, I took a stroll down to the lake to soak up some atmosphere because I just so happen to be writing scenes set at a summer camp at the moment.
It's past time I posted about Vegas Valley, where I had an amazing time meeting so many authors and readers!
I got in Thursday night, just in time for a reception in honor of opening speaker B.J. Novak. I took no good pictures, but the official festival page has some great ones. I did take some good writing advice. Novak says, "Write for the kid sitting next to you," meaning, write what's going to be fun for the kid who sits next to you in class to read.
Friday, I teamed up with Maurene Goo, author of Since You Asked ... for a visit to the Nevada dessert and Indian Springs School. We were apparently very close to AREA 51! Probably we've been replaced by aliens!
We were given amazing armchairs to sit in for our presentation . . .
Maurene and I were both really enamored of the school mascot, the Thunderbirds!
Friday night, we had a YA author hangout at the pool at the Golden Nugget, where there is a literal shark tank. Luckily YA authors are way nicer than sharks, and I got to meet many of my fellow 2014 debuting authors face to face for the first time.
On Saturday, the Festival proper took place with author panels and signings all day. I was on the "More Than a Love Story" panel with Kelly Fiore, Carrie Mesrobian, Lisa Schroeder, Angie Stanton, and Sarah Tregay.
Then we had a signing in the bright, bright sun.
This pic was taken by Stacee, aka @book_junkee, who wrote a great roundup of the festival. The day ended with a great talk from Aimee Bender and an actual rainbow at the historic 5th Street School.
I did not gamble, but I did walk all over Vegas taking in the craziness of Fremont Street and the Strip, and checking out the interiors of the Bellagio, Caesar's Palace, The Paris, The Venetian ... basically all the Europey ones.
News, events, fun stuff, serious stuff, and online doings. I kept a personal blog for years at The Storybook Girl, and I'll slowly be migrating some of those posts to this blog.