Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Six.

Make that six starred reviews for EVERYBODY SEES THE ANTS. Six. As in one more than five and one less than seven.
Six.
This morning, I heard that the wonderful journal The Horn Book had raved and given ANTS another star. I was in an airport trying to eat a dry tasteless muffin when this news came in and needless to say, I scrapped the muffin. I am so grateful and so honored and most of all, SO HAPPY that people are getting Lucky Linderman's message. 

Here's a quote:
"King’s themes of torture, physical and emotional imprisonment, and bullying connect in satisfying ways in this improbably witty and heartwarming story." --The Horn Book (Starred)
Now...seriously. Stay tuned for the mega giveaway. I will post it tonight or tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Two Things

Okay, three things, really.

First: stay tuned for the Mega Holiday Giveaway Contest. I will post it in the next day or two.

Second: EVERYBODY SEES THE ANTS got its FIFTH starred review in the December issue of The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books.  It's a great review and for some reason, this line jumped out at me:
"Compelling food for thought about the things we can control and the things we can’t."--BCCB (starred)
This has been an incredibly awesome year for Lucky Linderman and EVERYBODY SEES THE ANTS and I can't thank readers enough for the support. Thank you!

Third: If you're in Westborough, Mass. then tonight is when the fun begins. The Westborough town-wide reading program, featuring PLEASE IGNORE VERA DIETZ will kick off with a dessert social and book giveaway tonight at 6:30pm. More info here!

I'm off to Omaha! Will post the contest when I'm safe inside my hotel room.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Chicago ALAN Workshop in Pictures

So, you know I love the ALAN Workshop, right? I've been a member of ALAN (Assembly on Literature for Adolescents of the NCTE) since I knew about it thanks to the awesome Jim Blasingame. I try to go to the ALAN Workshop every year and this year was especially cool because I got to do a breakout session with Heather Brewer and Jackie Morse Kessler about teens who experience bullying, eating disorders and self harm and teens who need help navigating safe relationships. I love Jackie and Heather--we are all dedicated to talking about tough things with teens because a lot of times, adults in their lives don't know how or don't think it's appropriate.

When one in ten kids today are self harming, isn't it okay to talk about it?
When one in three girls is assaulted before they're out of college (16-23 being the high risk age group) isn't it okay to talk about it?
When ONE MILLION kids PER WEEK are bullied, isn't it okay to talk about it?

I'm not going to get into the dark/not dark/honest/who needs honesty question. I'm a writer. It's an art thing. I don't set out to send some dark, heavy message. (And I quite think I send a hopeful, positive message, and so do Heather and Jackie, but anyway.) I just write the stories that come to me. The kids I write about (and for) are smart and they happen to know that, you know, death, abuse and, say, bulimia exist...even if some adults have a beef with them knowing it.

The question that I get a lot that I do want to talk about is this one: Did you write a bullying book because bullying is a hot topic these days?


Here's my answer:

  • No.
  • When I wrote ANTS, bullying was not a "hot topic." In fact, I was asked by one editor to take the bullying out of the book.
  • Books take quite a while to go from my computer to the shelf. What's a hot topic today is not going to be a hot topic in three years.
  • Sad to think that only three years ago, bullying was not a "hot topic."
  • I sure bet it was for those million kids a week.
  • It sure was for me twenty years ago.
  • And long after this "hot topic" goes away and is replaced with another, those million a week will be suffering in silence, just like they/we always did.

This is why Heather, Jackie and I (and many other YA authors) go to schools and talk about this stuff. We have our own stories and we like to talk honestly with teenagers who appreciate honesty. This time, at ALAN, we got to talk with a room full of educators who also like to talk honestly, and that was a particularly awesome hour of my life. Sometimes, as YA writers, we get so boxed and labeled and banned and shushed by adults that we forget that there are many others on the front lines with us.
To them: THANK YOU.
Long after the news shows move on to another "hot topic" and the masses follow them, we will  still be on the front line with other honest people who are fighting a good fight. Kindness ninjas unite!

ANYWAY! Some pictures.

First, my brief visit to the floor of the NCTE conference where everyone was packing up. I got there just in time to hug Sara Zarr and get my picture taken with the starry book.

Love the starry book.
Sara Zarr, dude, our lunch conversation was pretty much life-changing. Thank you.
The ALAN Workshop starts with a great cocktail reception where everyone gets to mix and talk and it's always a blast. I got to chill with a bunch of cool ALAN folks (you all know who you are) and some groovy authors like Jennifer Donnelly, Matt de la Pena, Coe Booth, David Levithan, Laurie Halse Anderson, Lauren Myracle and of course, Heather Brewer and Jackie Morse Kessler. I got to meet some new authors, too...like my complete author fangirl moment with MT Anderson and Andrew Smith.

Dudes! Me with Andrew Smith of Marbury Lens fame.
After the cocktail party, I was treated to an AMAZING Little, Brown dinner alongside Sara Zarr and Matthew Quick and 30 librarians and teachers and teacher trainers. There are no words to describe how much I loved that dinner. But here's a picture of me afterward that proves that I do wear a skirt from time to time. (If only vaguely, considering you can only see my knee.)

Photo credit: Viklets and ginger ale
So, then everything became a whirlwind. Monday I had an AWESOME visit at Niles West High School where I found these two awesome signs:

Why do I find this awesome? Because I've never seen one before. Spot the easterner.

I left this image huge if you want to read it. It's about bullying. And it quotes MLK.
And yes, its on the back of a bathroom stall.
Which means I take pictures while peeing. So?

And then there was the awesome Anderson's Bookshop event with nine other amazing authors.


The rest is a blur, guys. Tuesday we had our breakout panel and it was really great to share our resources and our concern and talk about ways to combat the bad that touches millions of kids every single week. I then had to run out the door to catch my car to the airport...which got stuck in two hours of traffic but only by luck was my plane late, which means I MADE MY FLIGHT. It was a miracle. An O'Hare Airport Miracle.

Thanksgiving was nice. I really missed my family.
Then on Friday, my daughters and I pieced the triangles into squares and then we pieced the squares into blocks on our tinfoil hat book quilt.

I'm digging it.
ONE MORE TRIP...to my favorite high school in Omaha (That's you Bryan HS) and then I am home for three and a half months. Woot. Writing. Writing. And more writing.

Stay tuned for a super holiday mega giveaway contest in the next week. Fun contest. Books to win. You want to enter. Trust me.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Newsflash!

Matthew Quick did an awesome interview with me and is giving away two copies of EVERYBODY SEES THE ANTS. If you click on this link you will be magically transported to his blog. You only have to comment to enter. 

Next public A.S. King sighting will be at Anderson's Bookshop, Naperville, IL on Monday the 21st of Nov. at 7pm. I'll be on a really cool YA panel with Heather Brewer, David Levithan, Jackie Morse Kessler, Coe Booth. CJ Hill and Jeff Hirsch.

Monday, November 7, 2011

A.S. King: Badass Quilting Lady + Bonus Material

This was one of my first quilts.
I never told you this before, but in my former life, I was a [badass] quilter. I used to make a quilt for every book I was writing. It was what I'd do when my brain wasn't working on task or just to get my head clear and my hands moving. (I'm one of those people who has to be doing something all the time. I bet you know that already.) Anyway, I saw quilting as a way to get away from my desk and listen to great music and do something with my hands. I'd just mong out and sew straight lines and iron the little pieces and then sew them up again to make big pieces and then sew more little pieces onto the bigger pieces to make a bigger piece and then quilt the whole thing together for a few weeks and then, pow. . . I'd have a [badass] quilt.

In a lot of ways, it's just like writing a [badass] book.
Here are some of my old quilts.

My very first. While I wrote my first two novels.
Probably my favorite quilt of all time. It's on my bed right now.
I made these quilts (and about 5 more) while I wrote the seven books that you will never read. By the time I was writing The Dust of 100 Dogs during 2000-2002, I wasn't quilting to keep my hands busy. I was hanging out with my first baby and building this house.

Electrics, paint, ladders and baby. 
This was my quilt for D100D.
And I wrote the 2nd half of D100D at that table.

So the book I'm working on now, lovingly called the tinfoil hat book, needed a quilt. I needed some head space while I got it down. And due to touring and working my little buns off, I've been spending less time with those babies of mine...who are no longer babies. So, I decided that the awesomest solution to this situation was: we should make a [badass] quilt together. And they liked that idea. So, I had the fat quarters already. (Click on this is you don't know what a fat quarter is.) I had the girls pick out their favorite colors and a design that they liked.

We took a break from Wii bowling to pick colors. I suck at Wii bowling.
And yesterday was cutting day.

My back hurts from this.
Next weekend is all about buying a hamster for Mini-Me's birthday. Then, I'll be in Chicago for ALAN, so I'm guessing we'll piece those triangles over Thanksgiving break. I'll keep you informed. There will be [badass] show and tell.

But know that quilting is awesome. In case you are shocked that a woman who might fit the word boner into a few sentences in a novel also makes quilts, let it be known that we only quilt to either punk rock or hard funk. Today is was hard funk.



OTHER NEWS:

First, a CONTEST to win a signed copy of EVERYBODY SEES THE ANTS over at My Brain on Books. You have until the 9th. All you have to do is comment. Go to it.

Next, an AWESOMECHUTNEY review in today's Fredericksburg Free Star-Lancer that happens to include a quote from my favorite author, Kurt Vonnegut. That made my badass quilting day, let me tell you.
"Lucky's path to relative normalcy and a return to smiling is not an easy one, but then few are. King captures the journey without the need for a moral soapbox. In fact, her message in all of her novels is reminiscent of one written by the late Kurt Vonnegut: "Many people need desperately to receive this message: 'I feel and think much as you do, care about many things you care about, although most people do not care about them. You are not alone.'""
COME SEE ME at Children's Book World (Who says about ANTS: Our staff is calling this the MUST READ book of the season.) this Wednesday, November 9th. We'll have pizza and you get a prize pack with your copy of ANTS.

And DO NOT FORGET the Lititz Kid Lit Festival on Saturday November 12th. Dudes, there will be Stormtroopers. And look at that list of awesome authors. I'll be doing a few things, including a panel about being a dork with Josh Berk who is not really a dork, even though he might play one on TV.

And, under THIS JUST IN, here's a really boss review by Jen over at Reading Rants.
"This darkly humorous book may be one of the best I’ve ever read about how it feels to be relentlessly, aggressively bullied and how adults don’t do nearly enough to protect teens who are being targeted. Lucky’s story is raw, ragged, honest and true and quite possibly happening to you or someone you know."
Now...off to find my tinfoil hat and write more. Cutting 160 [badass] triangles has a way of making my brain work. Ideas? I got em.

In the meantime, bonus material. I call this one "I totally had to cheat to get out of this maze."

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

We Interrupt This Fine Week For. . .

. . . A freak snow storm which knocked power out all over the place.

I planned on posting a blog about being a badass quilter this weekend, but then the storm came and we've been doing the whole generator living since. The price we pay for living here, and I'm happy to pay it.

The view...from pretty much every window. 
Some quick links and news while I have a router...

THURSDAY NOVEMBER 3rd I will be at Clinton Book Shop in Clinton, NJ. I'll be talking to fellow writers in the audience about writing first drafts in a month (a la NaNoWriMo, which I've never done, but I write books in a month a lot) and and I'll answer any question tossed at me. PRIZE PACKS for anyone who purchases a book at the shop on the night. See you there.

Here's a chance to WIN a signed copy of ANTS from a very cool bookseller.

Cool News: EVERYBODY SEES THE ANTS made the American Booksellers Association's ABC Best Books for Teens catalog. Thank you to the ABA and ABC and Indiebound for that!

Now. . . more when I have power. Which might not be until Friday.
By which time I hope to have a shower.