Monday, September 26, 2016

Boston Teen Author Fest 2015

It's that time of the year again! Boston Teen Author Fest Time!
Every year the BTAF comes up in September, and every year it gets bigger and bigger. This year they had 35 Authors on panel, and that's not including the moderators and local authors that came for funsies and support.

It's gotten so big that they had to expand to the neighboring school building to fit everything!
This year I volunteered as a glorified hall monitor/ traffic person, and it was very interesting seeing things from the other side of the event.

A photo posted by EllieM (@byelliem) on

The planning and stressful behind the curtain type of thing. Renee is crazy amazing and takes on SO much work, she deserves such a huge round of applause. 

Because I was volunteering most of the time, I didn't actually get to attend any of the panels. (Which were all pretty epic.) Here's a list of the Panels, and authors on those Panels, that they had:

Who Run the World? (Flawed) GIRLS!
Panelists: Rahul Kanakia, Emily Martin, Kate McGovern, Lauren Morrill

Facts to Fiction: Playing With History
Panelists: Erin Bowman, Nicole Castroman, Lee Kelly

Identity Crisis
Panelists: Martina Boone, Lori Goldstein, I.W. Gregorio, Nicola Yoon

Female Friendships: Does Growing Up Mean Growing Apart?
Panelists: Lauren Gibaldi, Cindy Pon, Marie Rutkoski, Destiny Soria

The Journey Toward Mental Health
Panelists: Kathryn Holmes, Emery Lord, Natasha Sinel, Francisco X. Stork

OMG There's a Body in My Book: Writing Killer Mysteries
Panelists: Brittany Cavallaro, Rebecca Podos, Kim Savage

Speculative Fiction Reflecting Our World
Panelists: Michael Buckley, Malinda Lo, Victoria Schwab

Magic Beyond the Grave
Panelists: Roshani Chokshi, Zoraida Cordova, Daniel Jose Older

Choose-Your-Own-Family Adventure
Panelists: Amelia Atwater-Rhodes, Melissa Landers, Kate Scelsa, Jeff Zentner

Advice from the Pros(e)
Panelists: Beth Revis, Eric Smith, Laurie Faria Stolarz

I peeked in on a few to check out the turn out and WOW. Just wow. The amount of people that came, and kept coming throughout the day blew my mind.
Carolyn, who I had met at Sabaa Tahir's signing came all the was from NH at 3 o clock in the morning! Such dedication! 

I already can't wait for next year! I wonder what authors will come then!
But in the mean time. I will be moderating a panel at the Boston Book Fest Ocotber 15th. It has some amazing authors on it and we'll be discussing Complicated Relationships of all kinds!

Monday, September 19, 2016

Sabaa Tahir Signing Recap

I've been such a big fan of Sabaa Tahir's books and so I was incredibly excited that she came to MA at An Unlikely Story bookstore & Cafe for her Torch Against the Night book tour!

I met up with Melissa and we headed down really early so we could buy our copies of the book and check out the Wrentham outlet stores, which are literally right down the street. We did some shopping, got lunch and then headed back to the bookstore like two and a half hours early!
And we weren't the only ones. We met up with Carolyn, who showed us some awesomely cool charms she made for Sabaa and she also commuted all the way from NH! She has an etsy account with some very cool stuff there ;)

And then Janella showed up and we angsted together about writing hahaha it was so great catching up. I can't wait for Boston Teen Author Fest this year! Sarah (from What Sarah Read) also showed up and we all chatted about BTAF and the panels and who was coming. And also the Boston Book Fest coming up in October. (I'll be recapping both, so stay tuned for those!)

At about 6:45 they let us all line up, took down our names, and released us upstairs to sit. An unlikely Story has an incredible upstairs event room. It's so big and open and just perfect for big name authors! They even had a stage!
Sabaa is not only an incredible author and writer, but a champ speaker as well. She came in wearing her Ravenclaw quidditch team captain jersey shirt and just jumped right into being awesome.

Sabaa got the call about being on the NYTs list while in the hotel room with Renee who was doing her own make up and she asked if Sabaa wanted her to do her make-up. Sabaa said "No, I'll just sit here and be nervous." (because she knew the list was going live that day and she might be on it)

Then Sabaa's agent's assistant called and had her publisher and agent all on the phone to tell her.
Renee asked "glitter?"
"Yes glitter!" She replied.
And so there was celebratory glitter eye shadow!

When she wrote her second book she thought she knew how to write a book. And plotted it. Then thought "this plot is dumb" so she rewrote the plot and thought "this plot is dub too" and then she did a half plot half meander through and that worked, so she plans to let that flow for the third book.

She also wanted to show more through point of views that Helene wasn't just a broken heart; that she had a duty and an empire. Her character was inspired by an interview Sabaa did with a police bad ass women. She asked what the hardest thing she went through was and the women told her it was a custody battle. And that's when Sabaa saw her as a person and knew how Helene was going to be.

She enjoyed writing the character Harper. (She was going to choose someone else but said it was a spoiler and changed her answer!)

When asked about her strong female characters, she said she doesn't like the term strong female character.

"When I say the word female that entails the word strong." When she wrote characters she wanted to make them real.

She also talked about how she cannot write without chocolate, and that she and Renee had to force themselves NOT to talk about food, and how she wakes her kids up with animal sounds, which she's pretty good at!

She had a few tips for writers too!
Sabaa's tips for writers:

Never give up
Read. A lot
Write. Don't make excuses for yourself. If you want to be a writer, and you're not writing, you want to ask yourself why. She wishes she was told this when she was younger. And it may seem harsh, but it's so true.

I wrote so much notes, If I could, I'd just write everything she said within the hour long panel, but I won't make you read all that :P But if you have the opportunity to see her in person, I highly suggest you do!

☆*・゜゚・*:.。. .。.:*・゜゚・*☆・*:.。. .。.:*・゜゚・*☆・*:.。. .。.:*・゜゚・*☆

By: Sabaa Tahir
Publication: August 30th 2016 by Razorbil
Add to Goodreads | Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Summary: Elias and Laia are running for their lives. After the events of the Fourth Trial, Martial soldiers hunt the two fugitives as they flee the city of Serra and undertake a perilous journey through the heart of the Empire.

Laia is determined to break into Kauf—the Empire’s most secure and dangerous prison—to save her brother, who is the key to the Scholars’ survival. And Elias is determined to help Laia succeed, even if it means giving up his last chance at freedom.

But dark forces, human and otherworldly, work against Laia and Elias. The pair must fight every step of the way to outsmart their enemies: the bloodthirsty Emperor Marcus, the merciless Commandant, the sadistic Warden of Kauf, and, most heartbreaking of all, Helene—Elias’s former friend and the Empire’s newest Blood Shrike.

Bound to Marcus’s will, Helene faces a torturous mission of her own—one that might destroy her: find the traitor Elias Veturius and the Scholar slave who helped him escape…and kill them both.

☆*・゜゚・*:.。. .。.:*・゜゚・*☆・*:.。. .。.:*・゜゚・*☆・*:.。. .。.:*・゜゚・*☆