Category Archives: Current Events

Cavalcade of Authors West

I’m so excited to help my longtime friend, middle school teacher Kari Bradley, spread the word about a fantastic literary event: Cavalcade of Authors West.

COA West’s Mission: The Cavalcade of Authors West (COA West) is dedicated to providing the secondary students of our region access to some of the best YA authors of our modern era. Our special interest is to celebrate Pacific Northwest authors while introducing students to a variety of genres and subject matter and to promote reading and writing within our community. We provide for our participants an authentic writing conference experience where students can learn from the ultimate mentors: the authors of the books they are reading.  We work in conjunction with the sister organization located in the Tri-Cities area of Washington called Cavalcade of Authors.

Some of April 30, 2016’s Authors/Workshops: S.A. Bodeen and Quelching the Quit, Martha Brockenbrough and Help! I Can’t Finish This Story, Royce Buckingham and Writing Your Second Book, Justina Chen and You Had Me At Halo (and Hello),Carl Deuker and Fast Writing is Good Writing, Kevin Emerson and How To Plot Like a Pro,Colleen Houck and The Hero’s Journey, Lish McBride and Let’s Make Something Monstrous, Heidi Sschulz and Raise Your [Authorial] Voice!, Tamara Ireland Stone and Applying Screenwriting Structure To Your Novel or Short Story, plus more!

How you can help: To operate a program of this magnitude, COA West is looking to raise nearly $18,000. To reach as many students and schools as possible, donations of any value are welcome and appreciated. Funds will go directly to pay author honorariums, travel and lodging expenses, and meals, as well as for marketing and school outreach. COA West has worked hard to negotiate discounts and donations when possible; for instance, conference fees have been donated by PLU and many authors are donating travel expenses and autographed books. Whether you can contribute financially or not, please help COA West spread the word about this very worthwhile cause. They can be found on Twitter and Instagram (@cavalcadewest), and on Facebook (Cavalcade of Authors West). Please refer to their website for updates and information about this campaign and this project that are so important.

Donate to Cavalcade of Authors West

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Currently…

(I plan to do a “Currently” post every other Tuesday, and I think y’all should join me… Find the origins of the idea HERE.)

Currently

Loving

This (incredibly easy) Chocolate Cake recipe. My favorite (free!) yoga videos: Yoga With Adriene. Washi tape — I am officially obsessed. Pura Vida bracelets. This fantastic “beYOUtiful raglan t-shirt,” of which 1/4 of the price is donated to First Descents, providing free adventure experiences for cancer fighters and survivors. And a recent Pub(lishing) Crawl post by Erin Bowman, all about how to support authors before, during, and after release day.

Reading

Jessica Park’s Flat-Out Love (NA at its most adorable), and Laura Ruby’s Bone Gap (one of the weirdest, most beautifully written books I’ve read in a long time). These two stories couldn’t be more different, but I loved them both, particularly Bone Gap — pure magic. Now, I’ve started All the Rage by one of my favorite authors, Courtney Summers. More about this recent release soon!

   

Watching

Guys, I finished Gossip Girl! I thought the series finale was quite satisfying — though I wanted more Chuck and Blair (always). I’ve just finished watching the first season of The CW’s The 100 which, as promised by many, has drastically improved since its fist few episodes. It definitely has its cheese-tastic moments, but it also has enough twists and romance to hold my attention. So far, so good. Hurry up and make season 2 available, Netflix!

Listening To

Echosmith‘s Bright, which is so damn cute. It’s the perfect theme song for my WiP, Stars Like Dust, too.

Thinking About

My Shiny New Idea! It’s in its very earliest brainstorming stages, but I’m *really* excited about it. I was at the dentist a few weeks ago and during my cleaning, two songs from the same movie soundtrack played — one of my favorite movies. I was suddenly super inspired, and I’ve been stewing over plot-ish things ever since. I’ve named my main characters, and I’ve made a mood board that’s now my computer’s desktop –> progress!

Anticipating

I can’t wait to randomly select the winner of my 5 Year Blog-iversary Giveaway! I’ve got YA books, notecards, a travel mug and Jelly Bellies up for grabs. If you haven’t already, enter HERE. The giveaway closes this Thursday, April 23rd at midnight, and is open internationally. Good luck!

Wishing

That the people who picked up the novels my daughter and I left around our community during last week’s Rock the Drop will love the stories they scored!

Making Me Happy

My family, always. ❤

What’s currently making YOU happy?

#RockTheDrop

I participated in Rock the Drop, a celebration of Support Teen Literature Day sponsored by ReaderGirlz, in 2012, 2013, and 2014. It’s been so much fun in the past, I couldn’t wait to drop books around my community this year, too.

This time around, I chose first books in dystopian and/or fantastical series — Strands of Bronze and Gold, Starters, Red Queen, and Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea. My little book elf and I dropped them at eateries around our town, and consumed a lot of calories in the process. 🙂 Hopefully the teens who picked these stories up will love them, and won’t be able to resist tracking down subsequent novels in these series.

Did you #RockTheDrop? 

Cavalcade of Authors West

I’m so excited to help my longtime friend, middle school teacher Kari Bradley, spread the word about a fantastic literary event: Cavalcade of Authors West.

COA West’s Mission: The Cavalcade of Authors West (COA West) is dedicated to providing the secondary students of our region access to some of the best Young Adult authors of our era. Our special interest is to celebrate Pacific Northwest Authors while introducing students to a variety of genres and subject matter and to furthermore, promote reading and writing within our community. We provide for our participants an authentic writing conference experience where students can learn from the ultimate mentors: the authors of the books they are reading.  We work in conjunction with the sister organization located in the Tri-Cities area of Washington called Cavalcade of Authors.

The basics: Who? Secondary students in Pierce County and their teachers and librarians. What? A literary/writing conference. The program is comprised of two components: 1) students reading novels by 15 featured authors and 2) a writer’s conference led by these featured authors. When? Saturday, May 2nd, 2015 Where? Pacific Lutheran University (PLU) in Tacoma, Washington

This year’s author line-up: Royce Buckingham, Kimberly Derting, Peggy Eddleman, Kevin Emerson, Kristin Halbrook, Kazu Kibuishi, Lish McBride, Mindy McGinnis, Richelle Mead, Marissa Meyer, Alyson Noel, Lisa Schroeder, Liesl Shurtliff, Terry Trueman, Leslye Walton, Staia Ward Kehoe, Jim Whiting

How you can help: While PLU is generously donating the facility and many of the authors are donating part or all of their appearance, there are still significant costs associated with running this conference for 450 students and their teachers. Please considering lending financial support to this fantastic event by visiting the Indie GoGo site below.

Cavalcade of Authors West

Visit COA West’s Website, Twitter, Instagram

What’s Up Wednesday

“What’s Up Wednesday” is a fun weekly meme started by my friends Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk. From Jaime: It’s similar in some respects to the Currently… post, but it’s been whittled down to only four headings to make it quicker and more manageable on a weekly basis. You’re invited to join us if you’re looking for something to blog about, or a way to let your blog friends know what’s been going on with you. If you’re participating, make sure to link your What’s Up Wednesday posts to the list on Jaime’s blog each week. That way, others can visit your post and check out what you’ve been up to. And now, here’s what’s up with me this week…

What I’m Reading: Well… I finished Ashes to Ashesthe final book in the  Burn for Burn trilogy by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian. I can’t comment on it yet. Let’s just say… It’s been a long, long time since I’ve had such a visceral reaction to a novel, and I’m still kind of traumatized. I also read Unlit Star by Lindy Zart, which came highly recommended and turned out to be a super emotional romance. Such a pretty cover, right? Now, I’m reading Cristin Terrill’s All Our Yesterdays and it is aMaZiNg. Totally twisty and romantic and unputdownable. I can’t wait to see how it wraps up!

  

What I’m Writing: Nothing! Where Poppies Bloom (which I finally wrote a summary for and posted HERE) is all revised and beautiful. It’s in my agent’s hands. I’m hoping she loves it! I’m celebrating by beta reading for some buddies, and musing my next WiP.

What Else I’ve Been Up To: Watching movies… My family and I saw Dolphin Tale 2 (cute but cheesy — not as good as the first) and The Maze Runner (exciting and unpredictable — we really liked it!). Plus, my husband and I watched 12 Years a Slave, which was brutal. To be honest, I’m not sure I’ll recover. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it, but prepare yourself for heartbreak.


I’m keeping up with yoga, and I’m learning how to do inversions! I have never in my life tried to hold myself upside down, but I’m getting it. Don’t judge my form — I’m still practicing. Yay for progress! 🙂


I made my first pumpkin-y recipe of the season, Melt-in-Your-Mouth Pumpkin Cookies. My husband: “These really do melt in your mouth.” 🙂

What Works For Me: This week I’m inspired by all of the excitement regarding intellectual freedom, diverse books, and Banned Books Week. I did a post on the topic HERE. Some of my favorite challenged/banned books? To Kill a Mockingbird, Speak, Looking for Alaska, Twenty Boy SummerThe Hunger Games, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and the Harry Potter series. What are some of your favorite challenged/banned books?

Tell me… What’s up with you today? 

Banned Books Week

From BannedBooksWeek.orgBanned Books Week is the national book community’s annual celebration of the freedom to read. Hundreds of libraries and bookstores around the country draw attention to the problem of censorship by mounting displays of challenged books and hosting a variety of events. Banned Books Week was launched in 1982 in response to a sudden surge in the number of challenges to books in schools, bookstores and libraries. More than 11,300 books have been challenged since 1982. 

As a writer of young adult fiction that’s intended for an older teen audience, book censorship is an issue that hits close to home. Books are most often challenged by people and groups who, at their core, have the best of intentions: To protect children from explicit and/or difficult material. Still, censorship in any form is wrong. Parents have every right and responsibility to educate their children as they see fit, and to keep them from material they deem inappropriate. Librarians, teachers, religious organizations, and politicians should not.

Still, year after year, people and groups continue to challenge books, most often for the following reasons*:

1. The material is considered to be “sexually explicit.”

2. The material contains “offensive language.”

3. The material is “unsuited to any age group.”

Vague and subjective, right? 

Most Challenged Books of 2013*:

  1. Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey – Reasons: Offensive language, unsuited for age group, violence.
  2. The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison – Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, violence.
  3. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie – Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, offensive language, racism, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group.
  4. Fifty Shades of Grey, by E.L. James – Reasons: Nudity, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, unsuited to age.
  5. The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins – Reasons: Religious viewpoint, unsuited to age group.
  6. A Bad Boy Can Be Good for A Girl, by Tanya Lee Stone – Reasons: Drugs/alcohol, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit.
  7. Looking for Alaska, by John Green – Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group.
  8. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky – Reasons: drugs/alcohol, homosexuality, sexually explicit, unsuited to age.
  9. Bless Me Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya – Reasons: Occult/Satanism, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit.
  10. Bone (series), by Jeff Smith – Reasons: Political viewpoint, racism, violence.

And, a few Classics that have been challenged at one time or another*: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck, The Color Purple by Alice Walker, Ulysses by James Joyce, Beloved by Toni Morrison, The Lord of the Flies by William Golding, and 1984 by George Orwell.

How can we stand up to book challengers?

1. By defending our right to intellectual freedom — the freedom to access information and express ideas, even if the information and ideas might be considered unorthodox or unpopular. We can talk about the danger of restraining the availability of information in our free society.

2. We can voice the importance of the First Amendment and the power of literature.

3. We can support librarians, teachers, booksellers, and members of the community to who fight to keep “inappropriate” books in library and school collections.

4. We can continue to buy, borrow, loan, read, talk about, and recommend banned and challenged books.

Tell me: What’s your favorite banned book?
And, how will you celebrate Banned Books Week?

*Statistics and lists borrowed from the American Library Association’s Banned and Challenged Books page, as well as BannedBooksWeek.org. Please do visit these sites for more information.

What’s Up Wednesday

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“What’s Up Wednesday” is a fun weekly meme started by my friends <a Continue reading