Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Going Back to School

Great news! I'll be visiting Otwell Middle School in GA on October 22-23. I'm really looking forward to talking with the students and meeting everyone, so it should be a lot of fun.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

SIBA Was Super

I was at the SIBA trade show this past Sunday, and boy what a great event. I had so much fun, met so many great writers and booksellers, and smiled so much my cheeks hurt all the way home. (A small price to pay if I do say so myself).

SIBA puts authors and independent booksellers together so they know what books are out there and how to tell their customers about them. A huge thanks to all the SIBA folks for inviting me to this terrific event. My day in a nutshell was like this:

6am: Get up, shower, get dressed, drive the 2.5 hours to Greenville, SC. The hubby went with me, so it was a fun trip there.

10am: Arrive early, drive around for something to do to kill time. Checked out the local Barnes & Noble to see if my fellow B&B Babe Amy Huntley's book "The Everafter" was in the stores yet (It wasn't, but it releases today, so go check it out).

10:45am: Arrive at event. Try to find registration desk and where I'm supposed to go for the meet and greet brunch. Wish I'd skipped the driving around part and arrived earlier.

11am: Found brunch and got there on time after all. Met nice authors, Beth Hoffman, Gigi Amateau, and Beverly Barton. (Also snagged their books later so I'm looking forward to reading them). Ate some yummy pot roast and cheesecake.

12pm: Went to a Moveable Feast. This was fun, and a little like speed dating (I think, as I've never actually done speed dating). 21 tables will booksellers were set up, and we (the authors) were the entertainment. We each got a table number, sat down, and talked about our books for ten minutes. Then we went to the next table in line and did it again. For two hours. (Future writers out there...this is a great way to practice boiling down your story to a few quick sentences when you get ready to query/pitch. Make your friends randomly stop you and pitch your book) Everyone was so nice and asked lots of great questions. Even better, most of them were pretty excited about the book (Yay!)

2pm: Book signing! They sat us down in a big room with a stack of our books next to us, and the booksellers came in and took home the books they were interested in. I had a huge stack of books and I wish I'd had the clarity of mind to take a photo of the Wall-O-Books, but I was too excited. I only had four books left at the end (out of 100, I think) so I feel it was a great success. Here's me and my SIBA helper Jim Veatch. He made sure the dust jackets were on the page I needed to sign, which was a HUGE help when you have a bunch of people waiting on you and have to flip through pages every book.

3pm: Drive home. We did take one detour to go see the Georgia Guiding Stones, which are pretty funky and I'll talk about them later this week. The hubby took the photos and I need to get them off his camera.

7pm: Got home. Made food, curled up and watched TV until bed.

Ah, such is the exciting life of an author.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Something Trivial

I love trivia. Games, quizzes, cards, it doesn't matter. Useless facts are terribly interesting to me. That's why I was delighted to participate in Kay Cassidy's Great Scavenger Hunt. It's a brilliant idea that lets readers hunt for trivia in their favorite books. Here's how it works:

"To participate, readers (called hunters) simply read a participating book, complete the author trivia challenge, and turn it in to you (librarians). If they get 8 out of 10 answers correct, you get to enter them in the monthly contest. Easy, right?

Every month, I’ll choose one lucky hunter as the winner. The winning hunter will receive a $50 Barnes & Noble gift card (good in stores or online) to use for whatever their heart desires. Even better, when they win, YOU win too… a library prize tote filled with more terrific Great Scavenger Hunt ContestTM books for your library collection." --(from her website)

Sounds great doesn't it? Books for you and for your favorite library. You can even get the challenges online, for both Middle Grade and Young Adult titles. More challenges are added every month, and the one for The Shifter is due out in November. (Yay!)

I had fun picking things to hunt for, so I hope ya'll have fun hunting them down.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Attack of the Truffles

We've had rain and more rain the last few weeks, which means there are mushrooms popping up all over the neighborhood. Everyone else has the traditional round-top white ones, or the white wide and flat, but us? We have freakish rose-shaped mushrooms like this:

They're kinda neat, aren't they?

Hopefully they won't take over the yard. Or the neighborhood, venturing out into the land, claiming patches of grass for themselves...

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Road Trip!

I'm hitting the road this weekend and heading to Greenville, SC for the SIBA (Southern Independent Booksellers Association) trade show. I'll be there Sunday, talking to booksellers in a Moveable Feast, which sounds a little like speed dating. Twenty authors, twenty tables of booksellers, and authors go table to table and get to know folks. Should be fun!

This is my first trade show, andI'm a little nervous, but in an excited way. I think it'l be a great warmup for my first book singing a week later (ya'll are coming, right?) I can always talk about books, so at least I won't have to worry about being stuck for conversation!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Time to Hit the (YA) Highway

I got to chat with one of the gals over at YA Highway this week, and the interview is up today. She asked some really interesting questions, so it was a lot of fun to do. Even better, she gave me a few ideas for book two's revisions.

She's also giving away the ARC I gave her for review, so pop on over and stay awhile. Tons of good stuff on the blog to explore.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

I Had a Hard Time Writing Today...

I wonder if it had anything at all to do with this weird growth in my lap?

In other news, I'm having fun with the new camera :)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

They're Here! They're Here!

Major excitement day for sure. I just got final books for The Shifter in all their dust-jacketed hardcover glory. Don't they look beautiful?

Although you can't see it in the photo, the dust jackets are a lovely matt finish, with the yellow name spot varnished so it shines. (Can you tell I have a background in printing and graphic design?) The yellow and black on the spine is really eye catching and just jumps right out at you.

Just three more weeks, I'll get to see these guys on actual bookstore shelves instead of the bookshelf in my office.

Color me all kinds of happy.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Lights, Camera...Ready for Action

I got a brand-new camera today and I'm all excited. My husband is a major camera buff and takes gorgeous photos, but I've haven't had my own camera since college. (and even then it was just for photography class)

I've been wanting one for a while, so I finally broke down and got one. I think it'll be great to have for events so I can share fun things with everyone (like upcoming book signings and World Fantasy next month).

I find it ironic that I can't take a picture of it to show you, but it's tiny and adorable, and brushed metallic pink. Better matches my laptop perfectly! Oh wait! (Googles the name of her camera)...Here it is!
Of course this also means you might be subjected to random photos as I figure out how to use it and how to transfer photos to my computer.

Ya'll like cats, right?

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Are We Really a Month Out?

I'm going to get all mushy here for a sec, so please forgive me.

I can't remember a time when I didn't write, and when I didn't want to be a writer. Friends dreamed of singing on stage, being a movie star, flying to the moon, but I imagined seeing my name on a shelf with all my favorite authors.

In 27 days, that dream comes true.

It's still hard to believe it's real, even though I've seen the pages, read the ARC, talked to the folks at Barnes & Noble and had them tell me they have the posters for my book singing all ready. I've never been a gal for tears, but I might cry when I see my book on the shelves. I know for sure I'll squeal, grab one, hold it to my chest and jump up and down while giggling like a madwoman. My husband should probably hide in the corner and pretend not to know me, but I know he won't. He'll stand there and smile and let me be a lunatic. (There's a strong possibility he'll take pictures, so you'll see for yourselves how silly I can be)

I'm guessing a lot of you out there have this same dream. Some of you may have even had moments when you thought of giving it up. I know I did, but I always fought through it and went back to write, because I could never give that part up.

I'm living proof that dreams do come true. If I can do it, you can do it. Whatever your dream may be.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Best. Day. Evah.

The most amazing thing happened to me Saturday.

I went to Ally Carter's book signing, as I took my place in the crowd, a woman walks up to me and asks, "Are you Janice Hardy?"

That's right, I was recognized. By a FAN! (insert excited squeal and happy dancing)

That's me, Nicole, and her daughter at Barnes & Noble.

This was a first for me, and I think Nicole must have attended the Gallagher Academy herself to have recognized me at all from my photo on my website. How she picked me out of a crowd I have no idea, but it's a thrill I'll keep with me always. I'm still smiling over it.

She was really nice and I had a great time talking with her. She promised to come back for my book signing next month, which is great. It'll be my first one, so knowing I'll have at least one friendly face in the crowd will help take some of the scary out of it. I also got to talk to some of the folks at B&N, and everyone was so friendly I think the signing is going to go just fine and be as much fun as Ally and Lauren's was. (I hope!)

Of course, hearing Ally Carter and Lauren Myracle speak was awesome too. I've read all of Ally's stuff, but I just bought Lauren's book, Bliss, and I'm looking forward to reading it.

Me and Ally Carter. (more excited squeals). She was as nice and funny as she sounds on her blog.

What a great day. Thanks, Nicole, for giving me a fantastic memory.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

A Festival of Books

I don't know about you guys, but I'm always looking for an excuse to buy books. If you happen to live near Decatur, GA, this weekend is the Decatur Book Festival. Tons of great authors will be there, like Sara Shepherd, Lee Child, Diana Gabaldon, Charlaine Harris, Kathy Reichs, and my personal favorite, Ally Carter. And of course, there will be books. Tables and tables of books. Plus street food. You can't beat that combo. (Well, if they added cotton candy maybe you could)

The festival is spread out over several blocks, so there are great events mixed with music and even shopping. There's also a fantastic children's bookstore there, too. With stages set up for adults, teens, and kids, there's something for everyone -- I have several events I'm looking forward to myself, and I'm not even embarrassed that most of them are on the teen stage!

Last year, I attended a session by author Sara Shepherd and was so hooked by her reading from her Pretty Little Liars series I just had to buy the book. (Cryptic threats from a dead girl? I'm so there) And the of course rest of them after that! There are a bunch of names I don't recognize on the schedule, so I'm looking forward to discovering a new book or series this year too. The hardest part will be lugging it all home.

Now, where did I put that backpack...

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Talk Amongst Yourselves

Comments are turned back on now, so any posts will show up immediately. I still have some winners who haven't sent me their e-mails yet so I can mail their book, so just e-mail me through the website.

There's a new contest starting today over at The Other Side of the Story (my writing blog), so if you want another chance to win a signed ARC of The Shifter or The Pain Merchants, stop on by.

Chicken Jokes

If anyone is curious about the jokes I received for the contest, I've published the comments. Please note that anyone who also sent in their e-mail address (or told a funny, yet off-color joke) did NOT get posted, as I didn't think everyone wanted their e-mails out there for all to see. But there's a good sampling of all the great jokes, and it should be easy to see why it was so hard to pick!