Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Book Trailer

I'm sure many of you remember the really cool trailer for The Dust of 100 Dogs. It was a gift from a friend who worked his ass off out of kindness and a want to make something cool.
As much as I loved that first one, I have to say this one he made for Please Ignore Vera Dietz is pretty kickass.

Friday, December 17, 2010

I AM A CHICKEN.

No seriously. I am. Check it out.

And stay tuned for a contest. I just cleaned out my office and found so many weird goodies. I think you should have them, don't you?

Monday, December 13, 2010

Hi. How Are You? I'm fine.

Do you remember starting letters like that? I do.
Hi. How are you? I'm fine. 
Then I'd totally blank out on what to say next. Which is how I feel about writing a blog right now. I'm just here to generally update you that I am alive and well.

Last weekend, I lived through being interviewed by zombies for a cool TV show called Zombie Etiquette.
I wore a sweater that make me look pudgy, but I think I'll live. I eventually changed into a t-shirt because those lights are hot! And here's me talking Indiebound to the undead.

"But dude, even the undead can shop indie."
I also have some very cool Darth Vader boots on, but you can't see those so you'll have to take my word for it. If you're wondering how I outsmarted the zombies, I did it with yo-yos. Pagoda yo-yos.

ZOMG Zombies.
The show was so much fun, I will be back. Maybe as a zombie. Maybe as an innocent victim. (p.s. Dear Route 1 in NJ, I dislike you roughly.)

The next day, I headed up to New Hope, PA where I signed books at one of my favorite indie bookstores, Farley's Bookshop.  I've been taking a series of pictures from behind the signing table/behind the podium, and I really love this one from Farley's.

Signing at Farley's Dec 4th, 2010
Many thanks to all the cool people who dropped by to see me! Tim and Carley and Jamie and Carrie and also to Nicole, my new fan who took a chance on buying VERA DIETZ that day and who has since written to say she loved it! Woot! Thank you all at Farley's for a great event, as always, and for putting up that awesome sign outside! You guys ROCK.

Then yesterday, I went to another favorite indie bookstore of mine, Chester County Book and Music Company. This is a dangerous place because it is too wonderful for words. And ENORMOUS. Also, their art section is so good I actually have to cover my eyes when I walk past it. (Ask Josh Berk. I do cover my eyes.) (Here's Josh Berk. Doesn't he look like someone you could trust?)

The Awesome Josh Berk. Or J-Wo, as I like to call him.
Josh Berk (The Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin--READ THIS BOOK!) and I were there to do our Dorks Rock! Writing for Young Adults workshop and we were met with all sorts of awesome bookseller love.

Sweet table

Snazzy photograph of our reflections
This brings me to: Dear booksellers,
Bookseller love is the nicest thing ever and authors really appreciate it. One sign is cool. Two is awesome. A table display is fantastic. Window space? Uh. Wow. So, Joanne & Co at CCBMC, THANK YOU for everything you did for me and Josh. That was wonderful. And those who came out on that yucky rainy day, thank you so much!

Bullet-pointed list of stuff that proves I'm alive:
  • I am hard at work finishing the copy edits for EVERYBODY SEES THE ANTS. 
  • I might  have seen some close-to-final cover art on that and let's just say I have now won the cover lottery three times. 
  • I also have German cover art for VERA to show you once I get the nod from Germany. (Release there is Feb 2011.)
  • I have started the next two YA books and you're going to dig them. 
  • I have a super secret project too, which we will never speak of again. This sentence will self-destruct in ten seconds.
  • VERA got a KILLER AWESOME review in the Cleveland Plain Dealer this weekend which was pure awesome. Here's a link.
  • The weekend before, VERA could also be found in The Buffalo News. Linkage here.
  • And a huge, ginormous thank you to all bloggers, librarians, teachers and readers who are spreading the word. It's been an amazing ride and it's so sweet to see Vera doing so well! (Especially without the in-store support of chains.)
  • Oh! And I saw one of the new printings this weekend! Different back cover with three of those starred reviews, thank you very much...
 
My last in-person event for 2010 is this Saturday 12/18 at Doylestown Bookshop from 4-6pm, so if you live nearby and have anyone in your life over the age of 14 who likes to read, come in and I'll sign a book for them and it will be the best present ever!

Hey. That was pretty good for a blog that started Hi. How are you? I'm fine.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Boys! Boys! Boys!

I KNOW I'm supposed to be working and taking my blog break (I might just pull that get out of BLOG free card and use it another time.) But I just got the most amazing letter. It's the kind of letter that makes me write books. It said:
Finished Vera Dietz and loved it but here's the really exciting thing. I handed it to my 14 year old son and he can't put it down. Says it's one of the best books he's ever read.
Do you know how hard it is to find books that boys will read? As a mom, a book lover, and an owner of boys, just wanted to say thank you.
You've heard me talk about this subject before...how books are often genderized like Happy Meals at McDonalds. (For the record, I always answer, "I don't know. Surprise me." when they ask. Bleh.) Yes, I know some books are "better" for girls than they might be for boys and I know some are "better" for boys than for girls. And YES, I took shop class all three years of Jr. High. And YES, I can wire your house. So, WHAT-EVER with these boxes! What matters is there books that grab a reader's attention and those same books mightn't grab another reader's attention. Why not just look for the good books that will grab readers rather than putting genders on them, right?

So--in case anyone out there thinks that my books are "for girls" because I own a uterus, please, open your mind. In case you think books with a protagonist who has a uterus can't be recommended to boys, PLEASE rethink this. 96.7% of my favorite books are written by men or have male protags. *shrug* I can't help this. It's just the truth. And my books can bake a pie OR wire your house. Just like me.

Thank you, letter writer for passing PLEASE IGNORE VERA DIETZ to your son. Please ask him to spread the word to his friends. And thank you for letting me know he is loving it!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A Pirate's Dare Redux -- You Thought I Had Balls?

!
So, I got this letter back in October.

It started out mentioning my Pirate's Dare blog from a few months ago--you know, the one where I called digital pirates cowards and dared them to grow a pair and steal things old style, off shelves rather than act like five-year-old chickenshits? Remember that one? Yeah. So, some of the replies I got in relation to that blog were hater mail. (Nice contribution, guys! The world thanks you. Great job.)

But the letter I'm talking about today wasn't hater mail. To my relief, it was pure awesome. In fact, it was so awesome I have to share parts of it with you because this piracy battle seems pointless to a lot of us who lose our children's lunch money through it, so it can really bum us out. But this letter gave me hope, and I want to spread the hope.

Earlier this month you wrote a couple of posts about e-pirating. . . I'm writing [to you] about this line:

"I wrote this weekend's blog because of the millions and millions of people out there who are stealing right this very minute and either don't know it or don't care. I didn't write it because I think it will make them stop."

Particularly the last sentence. Your posts, they did make me stop. I feel like you should know that because maybe someone else who read it also stopped. And maybe if you authors and bloggers who are shedding light on this subject know that, even in small part, you are making a difference the battle won't seem so futile.

So there I was, after the hater mail, hateful tweets, and "copying isn't theft" propaganda tossed at me via the comment trail thinking: Amy why the hell did you write that post? YES, you don't have any money and it SUCKS to get robbed all the time and have people not give a shit about it, but you're a freaking hippy and you hate arguing and dude, you are too old for the drama and the bullshit. Go back to contests that involve pizza. Cute vlogs. Juggling. I was praying the hits on that blog would just go away. Seriously. I am not a lover of conflict. I have too much to do to have my brain all messed up with petty arguments about why stealing is okay. I grew out of that a long time ago.

So I vowed to never write about piracy or theft or stealing again. Oh sure, I'll write about rape and domestic violence. I do that all the time. No haters write me mail with intellectually stimulating reasons why these things are acceptable and really not illegal at all. Nope. Not one. But go off about stealing my kids' college educations? A lot of people want to argue with me about that because they have talked themselves into why it's okay. Which is exactly how all those other criminals talk themselves into doing what they do, too.

More from the letter:

When I read your post I thought really hard about what you said. Would I have the balls to walk into a bookstore and snag a book off the shelf? Would I rationalize that because I was only taking one book now and that I'd buy more books later it was acceptable? Would I be able to tell myself that there are people walking into stores everyday swiping things off the shelves and that I was just a speck of paint in the big picture? No, of course not. Because I know better. My mother raised me better. So why, then, would I ever think it was acceptable to do the same thing with the same material simply because it is online? What gives me that right? Nothing. Nothing gives me that right. I wouldn't steal from a store. I shouldn't steal online. Stealing is stealing no matter how you do it.

I have never downloaded any of your books illegally - If I had, I think I'd be feeling really guilty right now over the possibility of depriving your daughter of an opportunity to walk out of her college experience without the weight of giant student loan debts. But I have downloaded books by [other authors]. Obviously, I am an adult now so my mother isn't marching me to my inbox and making me apologize to these authors for violating their copyrights and stealing their work. But, yes, there is a little bit of her in this apology, a little bit of that day when she taught me that stealing has consequences in this apology. To all of these authors whose hard work I have cheapened by my ignorance, I humbly apologize.

I have deleted all of the illegal files from my computer and plan to, when I can, buy those books to make up for taking them illegally.

Well, Letter Writer. Damn you. You had balls to write me this letter and tell me that people who highlight this issue can help, and now I have to ante up and have balls to keep writing and talking about it.
So.
Last week, I was at a school career fair and I looked deep into the eyes of every kid in the room and explained quite clearly to them and their teachers that stealing books or videos or music off the internet is no different than shoving it down their pants in Target. I asked them to raise their hands if they wanted to go to college. They raised their hands higher when I asked if they hoped their parents could afford to help them pay for it. And when I explained to them that stealing books off the internet meant that their favorite authors' kids maybe couldn't get that sort of help from their parents because people stole their books all the time? That a last year's illegal downloads alone stole the equivalent of the first semester of my kid's college tuition? Their eyes got SO BIG! But what surprised me most was that SO MANY teachers didn't know about this. They were very happy to learn about it so they can spread the word to parents and students. Fellow authors, I urge you to mention this at your school visits. A lot of people do not know this is going on!

I will also tell you about my last bit of correspondence with the "safehouse" where I found NINE more copies of my book (ooh. Make that 11. I just found two more) last month. When I went through the now-usual process to remove all the files, they wrote back to say:
Hello,

Thank you for letting us know. We have deactivated the links to the illegal files mentioned in your e-mails.

If you know any other illegal use of our service, please let us know. We will do
our best to remove the files as soon as possible.

Thank you!

In the interest of full disclosure, I replied with this:

"If you know any other illegal use of our service, please let us know. We will do our best to remove the files as soon as possible."

If I know of any other illegal use of your service?

Are you kidding?
Your site is used for illegal use 99% of the time! Nearly all the files up there are of copyrighted material!
But seriously. Thanks for taking care of mine again.
I'm sure you'll hear from me again next week...and the week after and the week after. Infinity.

Amy
I then found the page of one of the pirates who'd had my book and scrolled down her page. She had every popular YA book--all up-to-date. HUNDREDS of them. Since they asked me to report "any other illegal use of their service" I wrote back to the kind customer service rep and provided the member's screen name and link and said that I'd read the site's rules and this member had 100% illegal copyrighted material on her page and that by the site's rules, she should be booted immediately. The reply?

Please provide a link to each illegal file that you own the copyright to.

I won't lie. It feels pointless and futile. If I showed you my sales numbers vs. my illegal download numbers from last statement time, you'd throw up a a little, I bet. I've had to stop caring because even people in my own business [who are no longer feeding their children soup for dinner] are coming up with great reasons for why piracy is GREAT for authors. I can't argue with them. Seriously. I'm not arguing at all. I don't have the time or energy to argue. I just wanted to stop and share this hope with fellow authors, bloggers and people who care about copyright laws and how they protect artists and their future careers.

To the people who talk about piracy, we are reaching people. Or maybe just one person every once in a while. But that's a start.

And Letter Writer? Thank you for writing to me. It was nice to see a mature, logical person understand my point. What you did by writing that letter to me was a true act of kindness and I really appreciate it. And quitting the habit of illegal downloading ? Is awesome. Thank you. I know how hard it is for me some days to drive by gas stations full of cigarettes, but I do it. Just because they're there doesn't mean I have to smoke them. And a special thank you to Ms. Jupiter, considering Letter Writer mentioned both blogs, that means you helped too, and I sincerely thank you for that. You are AWESOME.

Here's a great vlog author Jackson Pearce made about three weeks after my Pirate's Dare post went up. Enjoy it.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The ALAN Workshop 2010

I love ALAN. (Assembly on Literature for Adolescents of the National Council of Teachers of English) I've been a member for about four years, I think. I will try to never miss an annual workshop because The ALAN Workshop is my home planet. And it's nice to visit for three days every year and feel at home.

Building #3 and behind it, the conference center.
This year it was in Orlando--in Disney--or at Disney or on Disney or however one would say it was at a resort that was so big, it took me over 15 minutes to actually walk to my room. I'm not complaining, just wowed. The resort, one of many, was far bigger than the town where I live, so it was a little overwhelming at first. But I was very close to the small quiet pool, which, of course, made me very happy, and guaranteed I got my 20 laps in every day.

The conference was great--the speakers were amazing and the opportunity to do the Lisa McMann/Robin Brande/A.S. King teen-mortification show one last time on Tuesday morning was great fun. And it's always good to run into author friends, too, of course. (Or make new ones!) Most especially the teachers, educators, librarians and youth advocates make the entire show for me. Bumping into people I spoke to last year, and having the chance to meet new people is always the best part. ALAN in pictures to follow.

The 132-foot "jaguar-inspired" water slide.
Self portrait in elevator. Three is the magic number.
The Random House booth at NCTE on Sunday. Vera has 3 or 4 little stars sticking out of her. Cute.

Lisa McMann, 2010 ALAN Pres & awesome guy Jim Blasingame, Me & Robin Brande.
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. I am really thankful for all the people who have truly supported PLEASE IGNORE VERA DIETZ. My Independent Book Store peeps, my RH sales reps, my fans, book bloggers, fellow authors who have spread the word and librarians and teachers who have written to tell me just how much the book means to them and who have told OTHER librarians and teachers...and anyone else I missed in my post-Orlando fuzz, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Look on the Book Tour widget on the right for upcoming tour dates ------>

Now--don't hate me. There is one more picture. It's an important one. You'll still see me on Facebook and Twitter but you won't see me here for a month or so. I've got to finish the next book, ASK THE PASSENGERS. So, unless there is HUGE NEWS I am playing the card:


Have a great holiday season whatever you celebrate. May the force be with you.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Okay just one more thing.

Carla has been digging around, getting herself acquainted with the world of being an author's assistant and she just sent me this link to a Publisher's Weekly article from the end of September about NAIBA. The reason this geeks me out isn't because there's a picture of me there, and mention of the panel I did with the awesome Rob Dougherty of Clinton Books. The reason this geeks me out is that my picture is like INCHES away from a picture of Patti Smith.

Swoon.

While I'm here, I want to let you know that the Coronado Resort in Disney, AKA where I'm headed, has a pool that is 82 degrees all the time and is open until midnight. 

And no, I still haven't packed.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Before I Jet South...

Two more days and I will be jetting to Orlando where the universe has aimed its cross hairs of awesome for the ALAN Workshop. Hundreds of authors. Hundreds of amazing teachers and librarians and other people dedicated to the advancement of adolescent literature. It's a little like being on my home planet for two days every year. Of course, this means there will be, for me anyway, some pool time. *omglookatthatpool* Can't visit my home planet and not swim, right?

So before I set off, I wanted to say a huge thank you to everyone who participated in the Pizza Delivery Blog Tour. Whether you hosted me or commented or visited to read, thank you for being a part of it! For anyone who would like a full list of stops, here's where your dream comes true:


LINKAGE:
Very Cool Interview here: You should check out this great interview at The Drinking Diaries. I was really thrilled the ladies asked me to come around because with the drinking themes in Please Ignore Vera Dietz, it seemed like the perfect place to talk openly about drinking, the "drinking genes" and how I talk to teens about not-so-great decisions in life and how to overcome those.

And DO NOT MISS...
The Cover Story for Please Ignore Vera Dietz at the awesome Melissa Walker's Blog.
You can win a copy of the book if you comment on the post, so GO TO IT!

And here's another chance to win from Jamie at The Perpetual Page Turner. Ends 12/1.
 
I'm afraid I don't have much more in me this week to get to review links. I do know the awesome Karoline enjoyed Vera and wrote about it on her blog and I believe my trusty assistant Carla raved to me about a great review written by The Book Smugglers. I thank you all out in the blogosphere who are writing about VERA DIETZ.

You will see Carla around more often now. She's helping me a lot with this side of things because I have to, upon returning from Orlando, go deep underground and WRITE MORE BOOKS. So, brief introductions: Carla, this is everyone. Everyone, this is Carla. (No, my Carla is not Rhea Perlman, but she's spunky like Carla on Cheers so I hum the theme song when I see her and it really annoys her and she often looks at me just like that.)

See you next week! Until then, join the Kindness Ninja Squad and go out of your way to be nice just for an hour this week. To people. To a book. To yourself.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Holy Freakin' Goat Cheese, man.

So okay. Today was supposed to be a BIG work day for me. Trying to get to the end of part one in WIP. Trying to balance all this event madness coming at me (which I love every minute of because it means I am heading to indie bookstores far and wide to spread the word of Vera.) Trying to get all my little stuff done before I leave for ALAN Workshop on Saturday. A little hectic.

But we interupt this Pennsylvania Dutch work ethic to bring you two BIG-ASSED THINGS.
First, THE FINAL STOP on my Pizza Delivery Blog Tour has come and it's not your regular every day blog tour stop. It's a TRIPLE WHAMMY CRAZY INTERVIEW with the awesomeshizztastic ladies from Forever Young Adult so DO NOT MISS THIS.

Then there's this: PLEASE IGNORE VERA DIETZ IS A KIRKUS BEST BOOK FOR TEENS IN 2010. I am not kidding. This discovery has given me a slap-across-the-face Laverne and Shirley moment and if I was to be honest, I poured myself a drink to wrap my little head around it. (And yes, editor Michelle, I DO BELIEVE this means dos enchiladas por favor!)

HERE'S THE LINK. I'm in some great company and very proud.

*bows in gratitude to all who made this happen.*


Now go read that interview. Seriously. I talk about getting to second base and my childhood fears. And it's my last stop ever, so it's kinda sentimental. Or just mental.

If you want to see the full list of Pizza Deliveries I've made in the last two months, here's the link to them.

Back to Pennsylvania Dutch work ethic. Tomorrow a school visit. Then, if I can finish this part one before I take off for Florida, I will be one happy little Dutchy.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Let's Do It!

Keith in Hollywood, Florida with Vera
A quickie blog today--am writing.

But after getting this awesome picture yesterday from my friend and fellow author and ninja Keith Cronin I have a challenge for you. If you have a copy of Vera Dietz can you go out and take a cool picture of her to show me just how far she's traveled?

Send your pictures to: asking (at) as-king.com

You know, you can't buy PLEASE IGNORE VERA DIETZ in most chain stores, and I think that's a bummer considering just how many people are talking about the book, how many great reviews it's seen (and how many people write to me asking "Where can I get your book!! My B&N didn't have it!") I can't do anything  about what they stock in those stores, and from what I hear, their stock is becoming more and more limited by the day. But what's really cool is: Vera has traveled so far WITHOUT THEM thanks to wonderful Independent Bookstores and the few awesome YA booksellers in chain stores around the country who have made sure to stock the VERA because they think it's a great book and they know it will sell well. Combine that with online ordering options and those of you who ROCKED enough to actually order it when your local store didn't have it, Vera has already found herself in a second printing. Thank you!

So, no matter where you bought it, if you've got it, take a shot of Vera near a local landmark, or say, in the parking lot of your local McDoanlds...and send it to me!

The awesome Barb Annino sent me this from the Chicago area!

Back tomorrow for the FINAL STOP on the Pizza Delivery Blog Tour at Forever Young Adult.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Indie Next, Other News & Friday Giveaway!

As the title suggests, there is Indie Next news.
Please Ignore Vera Dietz has been chosen for the Winter 2010-2011 Kids' Indie Next List
As a lover of Independent bookstores, this makes me really happy. Thank you so much to those who nominated and voted!

And wow. I just skimmed the blog and I realize I forgot to tell you blog readers that VERA has already gone back for a second printing. A HUGE thank you to all who made that possible. (That's you.)


Second-to-last stop on the Pizza Deliver Blog Tour! 
I managed to roll myself off Heather Brewer's couch and get back to work. Today I deliver pizza to the Story Siren, who read, loved and reviewed Please Ignore Vera Dietz a week or two ago. I share my final embarrassing picture. WOAH. Check out the perks of growing up in the early 70s. Let's hear it for fluorescent floral fabric. Also, learn a little more about the Pagoda. BONUS. If you enter, YOU CAN WIN A SIGNED COPY OF PLEASE IGNORE VERA DIETZ.

Linkage: 
I've been super busy this week, so if I missed your awesome review of the book, my apologies. (Always feel free to send me links. I don't check reviews and my filter uses Google alerts, which aren't great.) I did see this quote from katie the librarian, on the ACPL Mock Printz blog and nearly cried.
This is a book that will endure. Like Perks of Being a Wallflower it speaks to the universal truths of being young. No, not everyone loses their best friend to a mysterious death, but everyone knows what it is like to feel helpless, to feel alone, abandoned and utterly betrayed. While Please Ignore Vera Dietz definitely has a mystery element about it, ultimately this is a story about what it takes to save oneself.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Pizza Stop and a Moment of Thought and Thanks

Today's Pizza Delivery Blog Tour stop is at Heather Brewer's awesome blog. I show off my only ever perm and also talk about the grossest thing I've ever done. Definitely worth a look! (Plus you get to see the hideous wallpaper that probably made me insane enough to write books.)

Today is Veterans Day. So, while I'm here, I need to ask you to take a minute to think about and thank our country's veterans. If you know me and have read interviews about me, you know I'm a pacifist, yes. You know I want world peace as much as the next guy. But you'd also know I read a lot about war (especially the Vietnam War), and that my favorite writers wrote about war (Happy Birthday Kurt Vonnegut! I miss you!) and that I am very open about my support for the National League of POW/MIA Families and that my next book touches a bit on that subject.

<------------ Please scroll and check out the link in my left-hand sidebar to the League's page.

Monday, November 8, 2010

FUN!

Quick linkage before I get to work.

 First...today PLEASE IGNORE VERA DIETZ comes out in Spanish in Mexico/Latin America. It's called Ignoren a Vera Dietz por favor and the cover is over there to the left. I think Vera's bobo sneakers are cute. No comment on the rest. :)

The Story Siren reviewed VERA today over at her awesome blog. (Thank you!) VERA seems to leave a lot of people at a loss for words. Kristi had this to say:
"King is such a talented writer, and it couldn’t be more apparent than in this novel. I dare you to not be riveted by Vera’s story"
Also, for huge hair fun, go check out Melissa Walker's Before You Were Hot blog for a picture of me with  enormous glasses and hair. Can't beat it for a laugh.



Sunday, November 7, 2010

Winner!

Thank you to all who entered the 2+2=4 Redux contest. You are all gutsy and awesome. My hearty crew of seasoned judges and I sat around today and argued over which was best. We had some great finalists.

One of my favorites, at 8 words, was from David, with: I saw seven pirates ingesting decomposing Chateaubriand unceremoniously. First: Ew. And seriously, who else can fit the word Chateaubriand into a sentence?

The longest sentence, at 9 words, was from Lindsi: I eat eight cookies (chocolate) deliciously, independently, instantaneously, choreographically. We loved the effort and give kudos to Lindsi for this entry, but in the end, after much arguing over just how many adverbs really worked on their own (like, say, I eat deliciously or I eat choreographically) and in a row, we realized that this one wasn't the winner. Sorry Lindsi. I hope you'll enter again in our next contest.

The winner, then, is Em. This was not simply due to personal reasons (those being that I recently took my kid to the ER for x-rays due to the actions described by Em's sentence): I was often running backwards haphazardly, imaginatively procrastinating. The judges agreed: it a smashing example of a coherent AND excellent 2+2=4 sentence.

Em, I have sent you an email!
Now, if you DIDN'T win? GO HERE AND LEAVE A COMMENT for another chance to win!


Linkage:
Alison, over at Alison's Book Marks wrote this really great review last week...and before I ever saw it, I got to meet her at Clinton Book Shop which was awesome. How cool to come home to find this: 
Grabbed me by the hair, grabbed me by the heart and wouldn't let go. Vera Dietz is the most original YA I have read in a long time...through changing up the narrative, Vera's smart humor, and never ever becoming cliche', A.S. King puts her stamp on her very own brand of genius. 
Thank you Alison! I am so glad you enjoyed it!
And holy cattle, my trusty Mr. King internet filter found this on Book Page:
Ignore this book at your peril; it’s a keeper.
 We like that!

Okay--off I go into a week of insanity. Three stops on the blog tour this week...and some very embarrassing pictures. And a giveaway. So stay tuned!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Popping by to Say CLINTON BOOKS ROCKS

Oh, you already know how I feel about independent bookstores.

And if you know me, you know how I feel about Clinton Book Shop and Rob and Harvey (and you too, Biz!) I love love love it and I always feel welcome and even with Friday night football games to compete with on a quiet Friday night, we sold nearly all copies of VERA DIETZ and had a great time. Thank you to all who came out! Great to meet you MJ & Alison & great to see new faces!

Here are some pictures...
Here's me with Alissa Grosso, author of the forthcoming Popular, coming from Flux in May 2011.


Here's a great shot of the Clinton Book Shop Crew. (Rob, the alternative to this was the one where you put bunny ears on me and Mr. King said you'd prefer to not look belligerent on my blog. I think he needs to get you know you better, because you'd probably disagree, but I'm using this one.) That's Rob, Me, Harvey & Biz.


And the night was made extra special because my sister Robyn and sister-in-law Lori always come down to Clinton to see me when I'm there!!


(The night was also made special by Sara J. Henry's presence. You guys NEED TO READ Learning to Swim her debut, coming February 2001...but we got no pictures of ourselves together at the event. Boo.)

Okay--TODAY IS READING, PA--the hometown crowd! Come out to Borders on Woodland Road (across from the Berkshire Mall) to see me! I'll be there from 2-4pm.

Oh hey. And today is now the deadline for the 2+2=4 contest. Winner announced tomorrow.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Pizza Delivery to Lenore & Linkage

Today's Pizza Delivery Blog Tour stop is over at Presenting Lenore, where we talk about kissing and I share my most embarrassing picture yet and an very interesting story to go along with it. If you're only catching up, here's a list of all the past Pizza Delivery blog tour stops.

I would like to say: I am almost done with EVERYBODY SEES THE ANTS. Which means I get to finally start working on finishing the next book. Which is a wonderful thing. I love the next book. I mean, always--I love "the next book" no matter what it is.

OH! HEY! And I've extended my2+2=4 contest until Saturday because I can't believe you guys are not up for that challenge. Seriously. Where are the fun people? Have you all grown too busy to construct mathematically pleasing sentences?

Linkage!

Please Ignore Vera Dietz was reviewed yesterday by none other than The Book Lady Rebecca and she really loved it. 
"Please Ignore Vera Dietz is a fine example of why good young adult literature is so important, and it offers much to be enjoyed by adult readers as well (as evidenced by the fact that I don’t tend to love YA and I can’t stop talking about this book). King is a powerful storyteller with a keen ear for how people really speak and a strong grasp of the challenges adults and teens face in contemporary life. She writes tension and struggle without being melodramatic and comedy without kitsch"
 I am expecting a visit today from Sara J Henry, and I am so EXCITED! I am loving Sara's book LEARNING TO SWIM, and I am going to make my famous chicken and black bean enchilada/burrito thingies. (It's a mix of both. What can I say?)

So, I am skipping additional linkage until I have more time. For now, enjoy Lenore's awesome interview and Rebecca's panty-tossing.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

How many Oreos can I eat in a minute?

Today's Pizza Delivery Tour blog stop is special for me. Steph is someone I knew since I was a geeky little dork and she was really smart and awesome. And I kinda wanted to be her. And now she's this awesome professor/novelist and I want you to come and see our interview because she asks me some really great questions...especially relating to our old town. Also, there's a vlog that answers the question: How many Oreos can I eat in a minute.

Monday, November 1, 2010

2+2=4 Contest Redux



This is the first time in weeks there hasn't been a free signed copy of PLEASE IGNORE VERA DIETZ available anywhere online...so here's one of my favorite writing contests with a chance to win a signed book AND a cool VOG. (VOG = Very Odd Gift.)



Here's the challenge:
Write a sentence made of words that increase by two letters. (Each word has to be two letters longer than the word before it.)
Example: We have twelve exercise assistants.
Word length: 2, 4 ,6, 8, 10

Example: I had seven pickles yesterday.
Word length: 1, 3, 5, 7, 9
How long can you make yours...and still make sense?
(Coherent sentences only, please. Excellent sentences encouraged.)

Winner chosen by 4 anonymous judges and announced here on the blog Thursday, November 4th.

Please leave your sentence in the comment area.
Don't forget to leave your email address!

DEADLINE: Wednesday, Nov 3rd 11PM EST   Extended until Nov. 6th at 11:59EST for any lily-livered sissies who haven't entered yet.

PRIZE: A signed copy of Please Ignore Vera Dietz and a bonus pagoda magnet!

Good Luck and Thanks For Playing!


Bonus Linkage!

Before you go: check out this awesome review of PIVD at Amy K. Nichols's blog, AMY WRITES. I think it's especially awesome because of this point:

"But what I loved most about this book –as a writer –is that it breaks so many of the YA genre rules. You know the rules, don’t you?
“Kids don’t want to read about adults.”
“Juggling too many points of view can be confusing.”
“No prologues.”
Yeah. Please Ignore Vera Dietz thumbs its nose at rules.
 Look. When I write those Writer's Middle Finger posts, I'm not messing around. When I say that I love writing more than the business of publishing, I'm not just saying it. I'm serious.

It's NaNoWriMo. A perfect time to remind yourself to WRITE WHAT YOU WANT. Have fun.

Now...start by entering my contest. You've only got two days and eight hours to go.

Friday, October 29, 2010

I Have So Much to Tell You (Part Two)


    Welcome back for Part Two of the I Have So Much to Tell You blog!
    I took a shower yesterday AND today! Big deal during this crazy edit time! Yay for showers.
    And during the day, my Table of Contents got longer...which is why it took me until today to get this done...so let's just do this thing.


    6. We're going to start by finishing up in Arizona.
    I arrived home safely from Barnes & Noble with my spare tire still in tact and used my hotel free drink token because it seemed like the perfect time to do it. Two guys at the bar asked me after about five minutes of chatting if I was a comedian. I have been asked this before and I do not get it. I'm this heavy babe, right? Stop trying to tell me I'm funny.

    So Saturday, I got up really early and I returned my rental car and I used the Jedi Mind Trick on the lady at the counter AND IT WORKED. "The gentleman I spoke to on the phone last night said that since you gave me a a car with a soft tire that went flat after I drove a whopping 12 miles on it, that you would waive the early return fee." And seriously. Early return fee. Pppfffttt.

    Then I ate breakfast with one of my favorite people on the planet, Lisa McMann. I had French Toast, if you're curious. She had something very Southwestern-looking and used utensils. I mean, as opposed to eating with her hands. So, to sum that up, we ate, we talked and neither of us ate with our hands. Well done us.

    Then, Lisa had to go do an event across town and the awesome Book Babe (AKA Faith, which personally, I think is a fitting-as-hell name) came and picked me up so we'd be in time for James A. Owen's talk at Changing Hands Bookstore, which is one of my favorite bookstores. James was mesmerizing and I will forever be completely envious of two things about him: A. His ability to draw so magnificently and B. His ability to keep his hair in total control. The man has amazing hair--something I've never had. I've had crazy hair, yes--that may have seemed amazing, but James has the hair thing going on.

    I did my thing--blah blah blah--you know, read from VERA, talked about Vera, Charlie and destiny and answered questions. We had a lot of pagoda fans in the audience. This picture is for you guys. The real deal. Photo credit goes to my teenage sweetheart, Matt Smith.

    Then, after everyone got their books signed and we gabbed, I got a picture with Brandi, the awesome Changing Hands event coordinator, and also a great one I stole from Amy K. Nichols of Amy, Faith and me. I love that shot, ladies!
    Again--a HUGE thank you to the supportive people who came out to see me. You all know who you are and you all rock like crazy. And Jim, I will see you next month. Your support means so much to me!

    Then, I went to this dinner that had so many awesome authors I nearly died. I got to meet some wicked-cool author spousal units too, which I love doing because Mr. King is so cool, so I know all writers must be married to equally groovy people because who else would put up with writers? I have no pictures of this night, but I can namedrop and you can picture it. James A. Owen, John Lewis, Janette Rallison, Aprilynn Pike, Tom Leveen, Lisa McMann and the Book Babe and Jim Blasingame, who is too awesome for words and wore his Philadelphia Harley shirt just for me. :) Add to this to writer spouses and two awesome booksellers and you've got a party.

    About those booksellers...
    I want to toss this out there because I thought it was so so so so awesome. At this same table sat an indie bookseller (the awesome Brandi from Changing Hands) and a chain bookseller (the awesome Missy from B&N) and better YET? They share ARCs with each other. THAT, as an indie supporter who also has some amazing chain bookseller friends around the country, made my heart soar.

    And here are two random pictures I took on my way out of town. First, a sign from my hotel room that has to be a COMPLETE LIE. Flooding WHERE? I was on the 4th floor. In PHOENIX. ARIZONA. Seriously. FLOODING?


    And then the awesome carpet in Sky Harbor airport. I want this carpet.


    7. More good book news...PLEASE IGNORE VERA DIETZ got a splendid Recommended review from the Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books  which is really amazing. Here's a snippet of that one.
     King offers a perceptive exploration of a particular kind of friendship, one where one friend is undergoing agonies beyond the power of the other to help. Vera’s own troubles—her abandonment by her mother, the strictness and emotional evasion of her recovering-alcoholic father—get sympathetic treatment, but it’s clear that Vera is loved and cared for in a way that Charlie, stuck in a poisonous, abusive home, simply wasn’t. Yet it’s Vera’s life even more than Charlie’s that’s under scrutiny here, especially since Vera still has the possibility of making changes, both in her dealing with Charlie’s memory and in her ongoing relationships. The writing is emotional yet unfussy, and Vera’s tendency to see and perceive Charlie in every place and every thing is both effective and affecting. It’s not uncommon for the dysfunction in one friend’s life to start sowing seeds of doom for a friendship, and Vera’s poignant take on her double loss will resonate with many readers.
    8. Come and SEE ME!

    I will be at Exton Square Mall Borders Express THIS SATURDAY, October 30th from 1-3pm
    Here's a link!


    9. Don't forget! There's a signed copy of PLEASE IGNORE VERA DIETZ up for grabs over at Steph Bowe's Pizza Delivery Tour Post. Go here and comment to enter. It's international. Ends 10-29-10 at midnight EST.

    10. And Finally...More Great Linkage!

    Steph Wardrop, awesome literature professor and old friend of the family had this to say on her blog Smells Like T(w)een Spirit:   
    "[The book] presents a very real world and the very real problems of young adults, especially those inherited, legacies of violence, alcoholism, poverty, and pain.  But it also shows how all of this can be overcome and, in the end, a kind of peace, even justice, can be found."
     Joanne over at My Brain on Books wrote a really great post called Ten Reasons to Pay Attention to Vera Dietz. I'll quote from #1:
    "The voice of the 18-year-old narrator is spot-on.  She's sardonic, smart, sarcastic and very real.  By turns hilarious and heartbreaking, this is a story about a girl desperately trying to survive her senior year in high school by flying under the radar as she always has."
    And finally, Cade from Braintasia Books wrote a really awesome review too.I LOVE the way she starts her review. In fact, I should have a t-shirt with this printed on it. Becasue I'm kinda like that in real life too.
    "Please Ignore Vera Dietz is one of those books that makes you think. If you're looking for something light and fluffy where everyone rides away into the sunset on fluffy white unicorns, blissfully oblivious to everything around them, then you should probably just stop now."

    11. Oops...added last minute...A Bidding War!  
    This is pure bragging right here. Don't say I didn't warn you. But Sara Zarr, Sara J. Henry and Heather Brewer have started a bidding war over a personalized signed copy of PLEASE IGNORE VERA DIETZ here at Swati Avasthi's charity event to benefit organizations that help stop family violence. Here's a link in case you want to join in the fun.

    And better yet! Teachers, librarians and book clubs don't forget you can get a $150 hour-long Skype visit from me for cheap at the same auction! Here's the link to that one...only 3 more days on both of these items and all for a great great cause.

    WOW!! I got to the end of all that news! Holy Late nights, Batman. Now...I must scurry back into the cave. ANTS edits are due next week and I've got some writing to do on the new book after that...I will keep you posted. Next week's stops on the Pizza Blog Tour are awesome and I plan to FINALLY start running some more writing contests.

    Thursday, October 28, 2010

    I Have So Much to Tell You (Part One)

    Okay. I have so much to tell you I feel like I have to have a table of contents to keep me on track.
    1. Part One: Pizza Delivery Blog Tour stop with Jen Blom
    2. Great news from Voya & Quick Picks
    3. VERA in Arizona Part one
    4. Cool Links
    5. INTERMISSION (Breathe. Have Lunch. Stretch. AMY: Take a shower. This deadline is making you smell.)
    6. Vera in Arizona Part two
    7. Great news from The Bulletin
    8. Exton Square Mall Signing reminder 
    9. More great links
    1. Today's Pizza Delivery Blog Tour stop is over in Berlin at Jen Blom's blog. I adore Jen. She's a fellow Independent book store lover, she's got a great MG book coming out in April next year, POSSUM SUMMER, and she's just pure awesome. If you want to know if I was weird in high school, do stop by and see our interview. If you want to see past stops on the Pizza Delivery Blog Tour click here.

    2. PLEASE IGNORE VERA DIETZ got a downright AMAZING highlighted review in October's issue of VOYA. Here's a snippet:
    It is hard to describe how deeply affecting this story is. Vera and Charlie are both the victims of extremely bad parenting, but that only scratches the surface of the novel. The writing is phenomenal, the characters unforgettable. The narrative weaves through the past and present, mostly from Vera's viewpoint but with telling asides from other characters. There is so much in here for young people to think about, presented authentically and without filters: drinking and its consequences; the social hierarchy of high school; civic responsibilities; and teens' decisions to accept or reject what their parents pass down to them. It is a gut-wrenching tale about family, friendship, destiny, the meaning of words, and self-discovery. It will glow in the reader for a long time after the reading, just like the neon red pagoda that watches over Vera and her world. 
    Yes, I know that's a long snippet, but man is that one nice review. *a bow of gratitude for your patience*

    More cool book news: VERA DIETZ was nominated for ALA's Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers, which is is just too awesome for words. (Especially for this former literacy teacher. A big WOOT there.) We wish her luck on making the list and thank whoever is responsible for that nomination.

    3. VERA in Arizona...Part One
    So where did we leave off?
    Hamilton High School in Chandler?
    How cool Tom Leveen is?
    Right...so I need to tell you about my awesome night at Barnes and Noble in Chandler and my Saturday at Changing Hands where I met James Owen (yes! That James Owen!) and met up with all sorts of awesome people who support me so much, I wish I could by them all cars. Or pay off their mortgages or build them their own skyscraper. (I guess I'd better start writing back to those people who write to me every day from Nigeria about those lottery winnings so I can one day do these things.) Seriously. People are so nice to me in Arizona, I have never wanted to move anywhere more in my life. Except for Ireland, and well...look what happened with that.
    ANYWAY. Here's a picture of the type of thing that awaited me at Chandler B&N:


    Holy crap, right? That's a BANNER.
    WITH MY HEAD ON IT.

    But before I got there, I discovered, in my hotel parking lot (thank the gods), that my rental car had a flat tire. And in my extreme luck, there was a guy named Cisco outside having a smoke when I discovered this, who said, as I walked around the back of the car to inspect the front passenger tire, "Oh that's flat, man. Don't worry. I'll fix it for you." Then he rolled up his sleeves and he changed my tire for me while I called the rental company (who told me to put the spare on and return the car right then. Uh dudes. I have things to do, you know?)
    Anyway, Cisco changed my tire in like 5 minutes and became my new hero.

    So when I got to B&N I bought him a mug. Because all heroes need mugs to remind them that they rock:


    Anyway, after I was done shopping for Cisco, the amazing Sibley and Missy of B&N were there and they treated me like a queen and made me feel so welcome, as they always do. I got to read to a great bunch of people and we engaged in a cool conversation for quite some time, which was really different and fun. Then, I signed, and though I wanted to hang out for a drink with the ladies, that damn spare tire had me concerned and I just wanted to get back to the hotel in case it was soft, too. Chandler Barnes and Noble ROCKS. Missy and Sibley ROCK. (Bonus of my trip: I got to see Missy 3 times because she came to my Changing Hands event and the awesome Book Babe-arranged dinner afterward! And we have companion tattoos, you know. So, we're like, blood sisters. And check out her t-shirt, man.)



    Next installment of Arizona with pictures, more good news, more links and more fun to come later this afternoon in Part Two of this blog.

    Until then, in case you're wondering if you'd like VERA DIETZ or not, have a look at these cool reviews:


    4. Linkage!

    Here's a really cool review of VERA over at Ranging Bibliomania. A snippet:
     "After reading this book I think I've decided to take more of a chance with YA literature. It was very different from the types of books I usually read, but the story and characters were no less resonant and important and it had the added bonus of being a very creatively crafted book"
     And yesterday, I found this one on Twitter thank to K.M. Walton over at her blog, Some Things I Think. 
    "I finished the book in two days. It's that good. Get your hands on a copy and meet Vera (you're going to absolutely love her personality - her depth - her vulnerability...her)"


    INTERMISSION
     Please feel free to grab a snack.
    We will be back later this afternoon...evening...
    tomorrow.

    Tuesday, October 26, 2010

    Win a Signed Copy

    Popping my head out of the cave to say:
    Go check out Steph Bowe's blog today for a chance to win a signed copy of Please Ignore Vera Dietz. Also, you get to see my cave. And me with a real-live typewriter.
    I still have good news to share and the whole Arizona wrap-up where I declare my love to Changing Hands bookstore (again) but I have to get this work done first. For now, go and enter the contest! Open to residents of EARTH. No restrictions apply.

    Monday, October 25, 2010

    VERA is going to college!

    I AM SO STOKED!
    Today is PLEASE IGNORE VERA DIETZ's first day as a college textbook. The book is part of the University of Delaware's English Language Institute curriculum which is using contemporary fiction to teach English as a second language to students. As well as discussing the novel, the class will complete projects based on the book's themes and later in the semester, I will be talking to them via Skype to talk about how I wrote the book and answer any questions they might have.

     Now don't be cross with me, but I can't update you on all sorts of great news and the recap of my Arizona trip just quite yet. I have final edits to do on EVERYBODY SEES THE ANTS and a girl has to have priorities, you know? So, expect me to come back later this week to give you all sorts of coolness. Pictures--even a wee bit of video...and the flat tire story.

    It will be fun.

    Until then, I just wanted you to know that Vera got to college. :) We're very proud parents.

    Friday, October 22, 2010

    Mid-Arizona Awesome

    Wow. I have a lot of links to share to a lot of cool blogs and reviews and interviews and pictures.

    But first, hello from Arizona, where it is considerably cool for Arizona. But lovely! Yesterday I did an ALA Teen Reads event at ARIZONA'S LARGEST HIGH SCHOOL, Hamilton High School. I have to say, coming from a small high school--WOW. It was HUGE. Just really really enormous. Which makes sense, I guess, but I've seen hospitals smaller than this high school. The library is gorgeous and Tim Loge, the organizer and  head librarian is just too groovy for words. Also, Tom Leveen? Author of PARTY? Is. Amazing. Holy. Cow. What a speaker and what a character.

    Here's Tom, me and Tim thanks to THE AWESOME Shannon Bailey:



    The event went really well--the saxophone quintet was amazing, the awesome Nick Granum ROCKED us out with some killer acoustic tracks and we all had a smashing time. Great book club, great students who asked GREAT questions. My favorite question of the day relating to D100D:

    THEM: Why, if Emer wanted to come back so much, didn't she purposely kill herself as fast as possible during her dog lives?
    ME: Some did.
    THEM: But why not every time?
    ME: How would she do that?
    THEM: Like, jump in front of a truck.
    ME: Trucks only showed up in the early 20th century.
    THEM: Well, other ways, then.
    ME: Like how?
    THEM: Like jumping off a cliff.
    ME: Jumping off a cliff? A dog would know where to find a cliff? Where is your nearest cliff? Seriously. Show me to your nearest cliff.

    Missy from B&N then joined the conversation to explain that the 300 year long journey Emer takes as an assortment of dogs was necessary for her to become a Saffron that was capable of doing what Saffron does...and we moved on. It was so much fun! And a huge shout out to all Hamilton HS students who came to the library yesterday to participate!

    OH! And then at the end,  I saw an Arizona double rainbow! Proof:


    After that, I went out to dinner with a huge group of awesome people--teachers, librarians, readers, booksellers, and we had a lovely outdoor meal. So a HUGE THANK YOU to Tim Loge for setting the whole event up, and to Tom Leveen who taught me a lot about how to pace and talk and look really cool by doing so, and to EVERYONE who came out last night for the meal. I'm not all that good at feeling famous, but you all made me feel famous.

    Now to the AWESOME LINKAGE:

    INTERVIEWS & OTHER COOL STUFF:

    REVIEWS:
    First, a newspaper review in the Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star.
    "King's voice and gift for capturing the delusions of high school are impeccable and timeless"
    Over at Library Lounge Lizard, there an amazing review I found thanks to Twitter:
    "Love it, love it love it! Seriously, a must read ages 15 and up! Read. It. NOW."
     You'll find a sweet review from The Book Scout here.
    "Please Ignore Vera Dietz was one of the most original and well written books I've read in awhile and I definitely recommend picking this up!"
    Today, I am writing new material. I have a few hours and I haven't been able to work on the next book in a while, and nothing will stop me! Just got room service breakfast ordered because this blog took entirely too long to write! Then...writing!

    And I will be at BARNES & NOBLE at the Chandler fashion Mall tonight from 7-9 signing books and talking and generally being me! Come around and see me!

    Then TOMORROW at CHANGING HANDS at 4pm!

    Can't wait!