Planes, books, and automobiles

It's that time of year again... not only is there a lot of eggnog, gingerbread cookies, and spiced wine, but there's also a lot of holiday cards and newsletters going around too. It's a good time to reflect back on the past year, and of course what sticks out for me the most is the release of my debut in October. That day of all days was followed by traveling around the States for events (with my 10--month-old in tow!). I had so much fun that I thought I'd do a recap here, limiting it to pictures and bite-sized captions, because, well, we all have so many holiday cards to read this time of year. :)

First off was Milwaukee, Wisconsin, at the Oak Creek Library, with none other than Karen McManus (One of Us Is Lying) and Kara Thomas (The Darkest Corners, Little Monsters, and The Cheerleaders). If you haven't checked out their thrillers, you should! Preferably with the light on!

Then we went to St. Paul, Minnesota, to the lovely Red Balloon Bookshop, where some of my friends from college surprised me by showing up for the event. It was one of those out-of-the-blue surprises, so I was truly shocked, but in a good way ;). Later that night, Karen McManus, Kara Thomas and I talked about shocking audiences and writing spooky mysteries and thrillers (just in time for Halloween).

After that, I headed out to Los Angeles to talk at Writers Blok LA, a writing group that an old friend of mine, fellow author Paul Shirley, heads for people who want a space to write with others, to get into a creative atmosphere and to have a little more accountability when writing. (And if you're into nonfiction about sports and well, life, check out Paul's books: Can I Keep My Jersey and Stories I Tell On Dates.)

Other LA stops included the infamous Skylight Books, Vroman's Books, and The Last Bookstore (all amazing shops, if you haven't been in them!).

From there I headed North with my little entourage (and by little, I mean my 10-month-old daughter). We stopped in Monterey, CA, where I used to live, and I gave a talk to a full house at Monterey Peninsula College as part of their author series (run by the inimitable Henry Marchand).

A few days later I was at Kepler's Books in Menlo Park for an event with SJ Kincaid (author of the Insignia series and The Diabolic series) and Krystal Sutherland (author of Our Chemical Hearts (currently in production for the big screen for all of you movie lovers out there) and A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares). We all had a blast trying on the pair of enormous Diabolic wings that SJ brought. Unfortunately I don't have pictures of said wings, so you'll have to find them on Instagram ;)

Then there was Hicklebee's in San Jose, where Christy aka @diamondxgirl (find her lovely book reviews at her Tales of the Ravenous Reader blog) interviewed SJ Kincaid and I, after we were introduced to the crowd via a speed reading game by the Teen Advisory Board (best intros ever!).

Another plane flight took us to Naperville, Illinois, for Anderson's YA Lit Conference, where other young adult authors, booksellers, librarians, and teens got to hang out and talk books for the weekend. It was absolutely a blast, and I was able to meet up with some of my 2017 debut mates there as well. Here we are, just before the immense game of book trivia that everyone played. (Featured below from left to right is me, Julie C. Dao, author of Forest of a Thousand Lanterns; Marit Weisenberg, author of Select; Peternelle van Arsdale, author of The Beast is an Animal; Elly Blake, author of the Frostblood Saga; Margeret Rogersen, author of An Enchantment of Ravens; and Heather Maclean, author of Toward a Secret Sky). Add them to your TBR lists!

After that, I made it to Ames, Iowa, and then all the way South to Tuscaloosa, Alabama, to talk about publishing The Breathless, and then out to Wisconsin. I think my daughter definitely earned her set of plastic airline wings, and now we're all the way back to our home in Guam, reading some of her favorites, like Llama Llama Red Pajama.

I hope that your year was full of good times with friends, good books, and more good books (did I say books?). If you have any reading recommendations, please let me know, so I can order them in time for the holidays. :) I'm already looking forward to what 2018 brings!

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