The Arizona Road Trip of Awesome Recap!

Hi again! If you’re familiar around these parts, you probably know that I went to Arizona last week for the Tucson Festival of Books and in doing so, participated in the ARIZONA ROAD TRIP OF AWESOME (ARTOA), but you may not have known about all the hijinks I got up to. So in the interest of entertaining you, here’s a little recap post with some fun pictures. It was an AMAZING trip and if you’re at all able to go to the festival next year, I highly recommend it, although hopefully the weather will be a bit nicer. Arizona owes me some sunshine-we Canadians don’t get near enough, especially in March, so I’m a bit sad that I didn’t get my fair share on this trip. That said, it was still a great time, as you can see below.

First, as on every good road trip, we had a great driver, the lovely and safety-conscious Lisa McMann. She’s a very good driver and not just on the driveway. After she picked me up, we also collected fellow road-trippers, A.S. King (referred to hereafter as ‘Amy’) and Heather Brewer.

Lisa driving

All road trips require food and this one was no exception-we had a great dinner with some Phoenix area friends.

Dinner
L to R – Heather, Faith, Amy, Robyn, Me, Amy Dominy, Jim, Lisa

After the dinner, we headed over to Changing Hands where we sat with a full crowd for Amy’s event. She engaged the audience with her readings and great stories.

Amy Reading

Then we tried on hats.

She's a good egg.
She’s a good egg. Get it? She’s got a chicken…never mind.
Heather with something on her head
Never before has a flamingo been so regal!
Is that a shark on my head
Is there something on my head?

And as it turns out, someone was celebrating a birthday during the ARTOA

It’s the birthday girl!

On Friday, it was off to Tucson, but first, we made a stop at Casa Grande for some school visits. Lisa, Amy and Heather headed to the high school and I had the extreme pleasure of meeting up with the wonderful Jennifer Nielsen and we did two school visits together. For this newb, it was a high honor indeed to get to present with such a funny, engaging professional.

Jennifer presenting to a riveted crowd
Jennifer presenting to a riveted crowd, while I sweat it out, waiting for my turn.
Reading from THE FALSE PRINCE
Hiding behind my book. Kids are scary! I’m just kidding. Kind of.
Don’t those books look good together?

And then we were off to Tucson. While Amy, Lisa and Heather jetted off to a swanky dinner, where I heard they had steamed burgers (that can’t be right?) Jennifer and I were joined by the lovely and hilarious Elizabeth Eulberg. We ate at this place that served the biggest bowls of food I have ever seen. Seriously, that was A LOT OF FOOD. Then we got freaky weird fortunes. I would share them with you, but I have since lost them, and anyway, what happens at Pei Wei, stays at Pei Wei.

Saturday was all about the Tucson Festival of Books. It was a cold, drizzly day, but that didn’t dampen the spirits of the many book lovers who came out.

Teen & Author Meeting Place

“This here itinerary I’m reading from is so awesomely detailed and helpful. Whoever put this together is clearly a genius.”
“Tomorrow’s my birthday and I hope to have a cake THIS BIG.”

I started my scheduled part of the day off with a signing at the Mostly Books booth with Lisa. Jody, Tricia and the other staff were great – thanks for hosting us! While there, I sat next to Hilary Davidson and through chatting, we realized we’re both from Canada – only an hour apart. Hilary now lives in New York, but still, how cool is that?

DSC07426

Yes, it’s dorky, but seeing my name up there on a cool sign got me all emotional. You know you’re special when someone puts your name on a sign that isn’t just a scrawled whiteboard. Anyway, the 1pm panel was great and very well attended. Somehow, Lisa got me to tell one of my most embarrassing high school stories. I’m not going to tell you what it was, because what happens in the Kiva Auditorium, stays in the Kiva Auditorium (thankfully). Our moderator, Gail, kept the questions coming and engaged the audience in Q&A-thanks, Gail!

Maylan and Me
Thank you to my author host, Maylan!

My second panel was all about writing humor. My co-panelists were Linda Urban and Elise Broach, two fine ladies I’d never met before. I do know Linda from Twitter, but it was especially nice to meet her and Elise in person. It was kind of weird meeting my co-panelists just minutes before our session, but very quickly, I realized they were professionals and we’d be great. We got many thoughtful questions from the audience and it went very well. Thank you to moderator Jennifer for the excellent questions and keeping everything running smoothly.

Linda Urban, Elise Broach and Me.

I also got to meet Tom Leveen again (we met very briefly at NCTE in November) and the lovely Erin Lange, a fellow Apocalypsie. We share the same publisher and even editor, so it was great to meet up. We didn’t have a lot of time to chat, which was a bit sad, but means I just need to return to Arizona again.

All in all, it was a great trip. I love author events where I get to meet colleagues and other book lovers and if you throw in some travel, well, I’m in. Thanks to everyone who made the ARTOA truly awesome.

The Arizona Road Trip of Awesome Giveaway!

Hi. I hope you’re doing great! I’m heading out for a ROAD TRIP OF AWESOME this week. What makes a road trip awesome, you ask? Well, let me share some cool stuff I’ll be doing:

  1. Going to A.S. King‘s event at Changing Hands in Tempe Arizona on Thursday (if you’re in the area, you should absolutely come!)
  2. Meeting my online friend, Amy Dominy
  3. School visits with the amazing Jennifer Nielsen* (meep! I’ve never done school visits before – hold me!)
  4. Going to the Tucson Festival of Books on Saturday – have you been to this? It’s AMAZING and while I’m there, I’m on panels with Lisa McMann, Heather Brewer, Jennifer Nielsen (hopefully she’s not sick of me by then) and my other online friend, Linda Urban. If you’re in Tucson and coming to the festival, make sure you find me and say hello – here’s the schedule.
  5. This is just the busy, writer related stuff – I’ll also be doing some serious R&R and of course, book buying.

THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED – Congrats to Melissa Roske!

But before I go, I have to pack for the trip. Of course I only have so much room, but I have like a zillion Sharpies! How to choose? YOU are going to help me. Pick from the colors below and tell me why I should take that color of Sharpie to sign books with. Just leave a comment below and you’re entered to win a copy of YOUR CHOICE of SIGNED/PERSONALIZED book by one of any of the authors listed above (or you could get some extra brownie points and pick a signed personalized copy of my book, but if you don’t I understand. I mean, look at those other authors!).

Sound like the easiest thing ever? Yeah, pretty much. And if you tweet, Facebook or otherwise tell your friends about it, I’ll give you an extra entry, just make sure you let me know in your comment what you’ve done. Because I’m not rich, this will have to be a North America only contest (sorry friends from Norway and other lovely places abroad!). AND you only have until this Wednesday, March 6 at 23:59 EST to enter so I can pick a winner and organize the prize.

Here’s what you’re choosing from?

Left to right: bronze, Kermit green, black, teal, sky blue, purple, red, orange, indigo, pink, forest green. Don’t forget to tell me WHY you picked that color.

Sharpies

Okay, ready? GO!

*Jennifer also has an event at Changing Hands on Wednesday, which I will unfortunately not be able to attend, but if you’re in the area, go and say hi for me. Tell her I’ll see her Thursday.

Happy Valentine’s Day! Love = Books Contest

Hi everyone! I know it’s been a while, but I’ve been working hard AND enjoying a bit of down time, but I’m back today with a ONE DAY ONLY contest. It’s easy, though, so you don’t need to study or do much other than tell me about what you love.

UPDATE: This contest is now CLOSED. The three winners are Coreynascenzi, Marlene Moss and Heidi Grange – watch your inbox for a message from me. CONGRATULATIONS to you and everyone who received a book for International Book Giving Day!

Did you know that today is International Book Giving Day? It’s true!

Book Giving Day

And it’s Valentine’s Day. AND I’m going to see Lemony Snicket tonight! A VERY BIG DAY for me and full of love. So to celebrate, I’m going to give away THREE prizes today. All you need to do is leave a comment here, or Tweet @ me (@joannelevy) telling me your favorite Valentine’s treat. It could be anything, from a book to chocolates or hugs – whatever you love to receive. I will choose three winners at random to get:

1. A Lemony Snicket book of your choice AND

2. My book, SMALL MEDIUM AT LARGE

That’s two books you could win, just for telling me about what you like to receive for Valentine’s. Not bad, huh? The only catch is, I need you to respond by 11:59 Eastern tonight – February 14, 2013. Winners will be announced tomorrow. This contest is open internationally (Canada/US/or wherever Book Depository ships).

Also, get extra entries for sharing (just let me know what you’ve done in your comment, so I can keep track).

Got it? GO!

(Also, in the spirit of International Book Giving Day – please pay it forward and give someone a book.)

What’s Up With Joanne Now?

Hi everyone!

*whew*

It’s been a busy few weeks, to say the least. If you don’t know why, um, where have you been?

In addition to doing some signing events and going to NCTE in Las Vegas, Kate Messner and I headed up a fundraiser for Superstorm Sandy relief, for which we raised ***drumroll*** over $60,000! Round 2 alone raised $23,282. Pretty awesome, right?

I’m SO thankful for Kate and the rest of the people who made the auction amazing. We had a ton of donors who offered up their time, services and great stuff to help us reach this goal. Please check out the auctions (please note – the auctions are all now closed) to see who our donors were—SO MUCH talent and generosity—I’m honored that they all came forward to help out.

If you did miss the auctions or didn’t win one of the awesome prizes donated by publishing industry rockstars, the Red Cross is still collecting donations and the money is much needed, so please donate if you can*.

So now that’s over, I’m going to take a bit of a break to get back to writing. Hopefully I remember how to do that, because it feels like it’s been a loooooong time.

Wishing you all the best for your holiday season and remember, nothing makes a better gift than a book. Like one about ghosts. And bras and first kisses. If you agree, you can find SMALL MEDIUM AT LARGE at your favorite book retailer (see my main page for handy links) or if you want a personalized copy, get in touch with my SMALL MEDIUM AT LARGE Indie Bookstore Headquarters, Bryan Prince Books and they’ll set you up with a signed, personalized copy (they’ll ship anywhere, because they’re awesome like that).

AND it is the season for giving, so consider giving a book, ANY book to a children’s toy drive so we can all spread the joy of reading.

Joanne Levy Author PhotoAll my very best,

Joanne

 

*Or you can check out YA for NJ (http://www.facebook.com/YaForNj) and Publishing Gives Back (http://publishinggivesback.blogspot.ca/) for ongoing fundraisers.

Auction #81 – MEGA Signed Copy of Eye of the Storm by Kate Messner and Small Medium at Large by Joanne Levy

Welcome to KidLit Cares, an online talent auction to benefit the Red Cross relief effort to help communities recover from Superstorm Sandy. KidLit Cares was started by the very awesome Kate Messner, but I’m taking over Round 2. Agents, editors, authors, illustrators and other generous people have donated various services to be auctioned off to the highest bidder, with donations being made directly to the Red Cross disaster relief fund. You can read more about KidLit Cares here.

Now, on to the auction!

Kate Messner started these auctions, but I have the honor of closing them, so for this, the final auction, I wanted to do something a little special. Okay, a lot special.  So I got a copy of her Eye of the Storm and got as many authors as I could to sign it.

I kind of want to keep this myself, but I will do the right thing and give it up as originally intended. And then I thought, what’s better than 1 mega signed book. Yep, 2 mega signed books. So I’m throwing in a copy of Small Medium at Large, too and it’s also signed.

Awesome people who signed these books (besides Kate & myself):

R.J. Palacio, David Levithan, Lisa McMann, Eileen Cook, Libba Bray, Marla Frazee, Shannon Hale, Terry Trueman, Maggie Stiefvater, Megan Miranda, Matt de la Pena  and others (books will come with a full listing of signatures).

Opening Bid: $30

This auction closes at 10pm Eastern Standard Time on November 28. Any bids placed after that time will be void.

If you’d like to bid on this auction, check the current high bid and place a higher bid by leaving your name and bid amount in the comments, along with some way to contact you (email, FB or Twitter…I’m not fussy.) Winners will be notified when the auction ends and should be prepared to make an online donation to the Red Cross Disaster Relief fund in the amount of the high bid at that time.  After you’ve made your donation, you’ll forward your receipt to me, and I’ll put you in touch with the person who donated the service you won so that the two of you can work out the details about how and when.   All services will be provided at the convenience of both the person making the donation and the auction winner, but this should happen within three months of the auction’s end unless something else is agreed upon by both parties.

Good luck and thanks for your help!

Tip: if you’re bidding, you may want to subscribe to the follow-up comments, so you can get notice of future bids. Subscribe via RSS on the right. —>

Auction #80 – Original Artwork from Author/Illustrator Matt Faulkner

Welcome to KidLit Cares, an online talent auction to benefit the Red Cross relief effort to help communities recover from Superstorm Sandy. KidLit Cares was started by the very awesome Kate Messner, but I’m taking over Round 2. Agents, editors, authors, illustrators and other generous people have donated various services to be auctioned off to the highest bidder, with donations being made directly to the Red Cross disaster relief fund. You can read more about KidLit Cares here.

Now, on to the auction!

From Matt Faulkner‘s website: A graduate of Rhode Island School of Design, Matt Faulkner has written and illustrated a number of children’s books. His work has won wide praise for its humor, exuberance and sensitivity. In addition, he is a contributing illustrator to such national periodicals as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and Forbes.

The winner of this auction will receive an original illustration from Thank You Sarah, The Woman Who Saved Thanksgiving, written by Laurie Halse Anderson and illustrated by Matt Faulkner.

Opening Bid: $50

This auction closes at 10pm Eastern Standard Time on November 28. Any bids placed after that time will be void.

If you’d like to bid on this auction, check the current high bid and place a higher bid by leaving your name and bid amount in the comments, along with some way to contact you (email, FB or Twitter…I’m not fussy.) Winners will be notified when the auction ends and should be prepared to make an online donation to the Red Cross Disaster Relief fund in the amount of the high bid at that time.  After you’ve made your donation, you’ll forward your receipt to me, and I’ll put you in touch with the person who donated the service you won so that the two of you can work out the details about how and when.   All services will be provided at the convenience of both the person making the donation and the auction winner, but this should happen within three months of the auction’s end unless something else is agreed upon by both parties.

Good luck and thanks for your help!

Tip: if you’re bidding, you may want to subscribe to the follow-up comments, so you can get notice of future bids. Subscribe via RSS on the right. —>

Auction #79 – Registration to SCBWI Conference in New York City, February 1-3, 2013

Welcome to KidLit Cares, an online talent auction to benefit the Red Cross relief effort to help communities recover from Superstorm Sandy. KidLit Cares was started by the very awesome Kate Messner, but I’m taking over Round 2. Agents, editors, authors, illustrators and other generous people have donated various services to be auctioned off to the highest bidder, with donations being made directly to the Red Cross disaster relief fund. You can read more about KidLit Cares here.

Now, on to the auction!

Founded in 1971, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators is one of the largest existing writers’ and illustrators’ organizations, with over 22,000 members worldwide. It is the only organization specifically for those working in the fields of children’s listerature, magazines, film, television and multimedia. The organization was founded by Stephen Mooser (President) and Lin Oliver (Executive Director), both of whom are well-published children’s book authors and leaders in the world of children’s literature.

This auction consists of registration to the SCBWI conference in New York City (February 1-3, 2013) for a SCBWI member or non-member (conference only – winner will be responsible for their own travel and lodging). Approximate value is $400.

Opening Bid: $50

This auction closes at 10pm Eastern Standard Time on November 28. Any bids placed after that time will be void.

If you’d like to bid on this auction, check the current high bid and place a higher bid by leaving your name and bid amount in the comments, along with some way to contact you (email, FB or Twitter…I’m not fussy.) Winners will be notified when the auction ends and should be prepared to make an online donation to the Red Cross Disaster Relief fund in the amount of the high bid at that time.  After you’ve made your donation, you’ll forward your receipt to me, and I’ll put you in touch with the person who donated the service you won so that the two of you can work out the details about how and when.   All services will be provided at the convenience of both the person making the donation and the auction winner, but this should happen within three months of the auction’s end unless something else is agreed upon by both parties.

Good luck and thanks for your help!

Tip: if you’re bidding, you may want to subscribe to the follow-up comments, so you can get notice of future bids. Subscribe via RSS on the right. —>

Auction #78 – Manuscript Critique from Editor Molly Kempf Hodgin

Welcome to KidLit Cares, an online talent auction to benefit the Red Cross relief effort to help communities recover from Superstorm Sandy. KidLit Cares was started by the very awesome Kate Messner, but I’m taking over Round 2. Agents, editors, authors, illustrators and other generous people have donated various services to be auctioned off to the highest bidder, with donations being made directly to the Red Cross disaster relief fund. You can read more about KidLit Cares here.

Now, on to the auction!

Molly Kempf Hodgin is currently the Director of New Media/Editorial Director for Thomas Nelson’s children’s division. They publish inspirational fiction and non-fiction for kids up to age 12 and non-fiction for teens from a Christian worldview. Molly specializes in middle grade fiction, but also works on picture books and Bible storybooks. She has been at Thomas Nelson for over two years, but lived in New York for years, where she worked at Penguin’s Grosset & Dunlap/PSS! and Scholastic.

This auction is for a two round manuscript critique. Molly will read a first draft, provide feedback, and then read the revision and provide feedback.

Opening Bid: $30

This auction closes at 10pm Eastern Standard Time on November 28. Any bids placed after that time will be void.

If you’d like to bid on this auction, check the current high bid and place a higher bid by leaving your name and bid amount in the comments, along with some way to contact you (email, FB or Twitter…I’m not fussy.) Winners will be notified when the auction ends and should be prepared to make an online donation to the Red Cross Disaster Relief fund in the amount of the high bid at that time.  After you’ve made your donation, you’ll forward your receipt to me, and I’ll put you in touch with the person who donated the service you won so that the two of you can work out the details about how and when.   All services will be provided at the convenience of both the person making the donation and the auction winner, but this should happen within three months of the auction’s end unless something else is agreed upon by both parties.

Good luck and thanks for your help!

Tip: if you’re bidding, you may want to subscribe to the follow-up comments, so you can get notice of future bids. Subscribe via RSS on the right. —>

Auction #77 – Signed Copy of Writing Irresstible Kidlit by Agent and Editor Mary Kole

Welcome to KidLit Cares, an online talent auction to benefit the Red Cross relief effort to help communities recover from Superstorm Sandy. KidLit Cares was started by the very awesome Kate Messner, but I’m taking over Round 2. Agents, editors, authors, illustrators and other generous people have donated various services to be auctioned off to the highest bidder, with donations being made directly to the Red Cross disaster relief fund. You can read more about KidLit Cares here.

Now, on to the auction!

Mary Kole has worked at Chronicle Books, the Andrea Brown Literary Agency, and now spends her days as a Senior Literary Manager at Movable Type. She holds her MFA in creative writing from the University of San Francisco, which is where she cemented her love of learning and teaching the crafts of writing and storytelling. Mary blogs at Kidlit.com, named one of the “101 Best Websites for Writers” by Writer’s Digest Magazine for three years running, and lives–and explores the vibrant food scene!–in Brooklyn.

The winner of this auction will receive a signed copy of Mary’s book, Writing Irresistible Kidlit.

Opening Bid: $20

This auction closes at 10pm Eastern Standard Time on November 28. Any bids placed after that time will be void.

If you’d like to bid on this auction, check the current high bid and place a higher bid by leaving your name and bid amount in the comments, along with some way to contact you (email, FB or Twitter…I’m not fussy.) Winners will be notified when the auction ends and should be prepared to make an online donation to the Red Cross Disaster Relief fund in the amount of the high bid at that time.  After you’ve made your donation, you’ll forward your receipt to me, and I’ll put you in touch with the person who donated the service you won so that the two of you can work out the details about how and when.   All services will be provided at the convenience of both the person making the donation and the auction winner, but this should happen within three months of the auction’s end unless something else is agreed upon by both parties.

Good luck and thanks for your help!

Tip: if you’re bidding, you may want to subscribe to the follow-up comments, so you can get notice of future bids. Subscribe via RSS on the right. —>

Auction #76 – Three Month Rhyming Picture Book Mentorship from Author Corey Rosen Schwartz

Welcome to KidLit Cares, an online talent auction to benefit the Red Cross relief effort to help communities recover from Superstorm Sandy. KidLit Cares was started by the very awesome Kate Messner, but I’m taking over Round 2. Agents, editors, authors, illustrators and other generous people have donated various services to be auctioned off to the highest bidder, with donations being made directly to the Red Cross disaster relief fund. You can read more about KidLit Cares here.

Now, on to the auction!

Corey Rosen Schwartz is the author of HOP! PLOP! (Walker, 2006), THE THREE NINJA PIGS (Putnam, 2012) GOLDI ROCKS AND THE THREE BEARS (Putnam, forthcoming) and NINJA RED (Putnam, forthcoming). Corey has no formal ninja training, but she sure can kick butt in Scrabble. She lives with three Knuckleheads in Warren, NJ. Website: coreyrosenschwartz.com Twitter: @CoreyPBNinja Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CoreyPBNinja

The winner of this auction will receive a Three Month Rhyming Picture Book Mentorship. From Corey: I will mentor an aspiring picture book author for three months (preferably Jan-March, but somewhat flexible) I will answer all of your questions by phone or email about my road to publication (i.e. how I got an agent) I’ll look at your PiBoIdMo list if you participated and let you know which ideas seem the most marketable to me. And, I will give you feedback on up to 6 PB manuscripts, plus review any revisions on those manuscripts. Please note: I will comment on all aspects of your story (character, story arc, etc) but my real strength is rhythm and rhyme. It is okay if not all six manuscripts are in rhyme, but if you write exclusively in prose, I am probably not the best choice for you.

Opening Bid: $30

This auction closes at 10pm Eastern Standard Time on November 28. Any bids placed after that time will be void.

If you’d like to bid on this auction, check the current high bid and place a higher bid by leaving your name and bid amount in the comments, along with some way to contact you (email, FB or Twitter…I’m not fussy.) Winners will be notified when the auction ends and should be prepared to make an online donation to the Red Cross Disaster Relief fund in the amount of the high bid at that time.  After you’ve made your donation, you’ll forward your receipt to me, and I’ll put you in touch with the person who donated the service you won so that the two of you can work out the details about how and when.   All services will be provided at the convenience of both the person making the donation and the auction winner, but this should happen within three months of the auction’s end unless something else is agreed upon by both parties.

Good luck and thanks for your help!

Tip: if you’re bidding, you may want to subscribe to the follow-up comments, so you can get notice of future bids. Subscribe via RSS on the right. —>

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