I’m Alive! Or: Fall for Anything! Or: Festival of Trees!

courtneycracked up to be, fall for anything, omg, some girls are (your mom)

So yesterday night, I was sitting at my computer when a daddy long-legs descended from the ceiling and landed DIRECTLY ON MY KEYBOARD, wandered off my desk and crawled under my bed.

It was pretty exciting.

But it was not the most exciting thing that happened to me in the last month (I don’t like those things so much anymore, though). I have missed you, Internet! Thank you for being patient with me while I scrabbled to meet an incredibly intense deadline, fell drastically behind in emailing and blogs and thank you in advance for your continued patience as I scrabble to catch up.

I have to say, the best thing about my absence was some stuff happened so I’ve got blog entry material. I HAVE THINGS TO TELL YOU! That doesn’t happen often as we all know.

So the first exciting thing is that Fall For Anything is DONE. Done, done, done! Okay, copy-edits and first pass pages are all on the horizon but it’s pretty much done. When I can share more–plot summary, cover, release date and whatnot, I will. But the main thing is that it’s finished and that is a very nice thing to type. I got chills.

The second exciting thing is I’m thrilled to report Some Girls Are has been nominated for YALSA’s Best Fiction for Young Adults and it is a nominee for their Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers. So cool! And it’s in very good company. And speaking of Some Girls Are, it’s now available for a few e-readers, so if you’ve been waiting for it to come out on the Kindle or the Nook, it’s here…

When I wasn’t working on Fall for Anything (or ‘Eddie’ as I call it 99% of the time, for it’s main character), I was preparing for the OLA’s (Ontario Library Association) Forest of Reading/Festival of Trees. Last October (LAST OCTOBER! Where is time going?) I announced that Cracked Up to Be was nominated for the White Pine Award. On May 12th, the nominees gathered for the Festival of Trees at the Toronto Harbourfront Centre. It’s a HUGE event that takes place over two days and thousands of readers visit and interact with authors.

It was an incredible day. I was up at four AM and on the road shortly thereafter so I could arrive in Toronto by 9:30. When I arrived, I got a badge with my name on it and a green ribbon and I had to note that because I <3 green. I met Pam Bustin first, (the author of Mostly Happy, which went on to win the White Pine–congratulations, Pam!) who is lovely and energetic and then directly after breakfast in the green room, I went to my signing tent which I shared with Susan Juby and Tim Wynne Jones, who were both very friendly and engaging and very cool and looked like they knew what they were doing at all times (which I envied!).

We spent about an hour autographing. I met some amazing teen readers who were just so into every single nominated title, it warmed my heart. Which was good because did I mention it was very, very cold? It was a VERY COLD DAY. After autographing, it was time for lunch! And I got to meet Erin Walker, who was my rockin’ liaison for the event. You should all follow her blog, Erin Explores YA, because it’s definitely worth reading. Erin was great–also the first person I have ever met from Twitter!–and she made the hour before I went onstage fly by. There was a button making tent. WE MADE BUTTONS. Then we swapped buttons. And the button tent was really popular which I have to say was kind of unexpected. That might have been the biggest surprise of the day or maybe not because BUTTONS RULE.

And then it was time to go onstage! Sabrina Jalees MCed the event and she was so hilarious we (mostly) forgot about the cold. And then the authors were paraded (literally!) onstage. Each author was accompanied by two people. One person holding a sign with the authors’ name on it (my sign holder’s name escapes me but she was a really nice girl–thank you!) and your speaker, who introduces you very kindly (thank you, Mel!) and then oh my goodness, the author has to speak. Which I did. And I didn’t fall down or nothin’ so that was awesome.

(Any day I don’t fall on my face is awesome.)

I do not know how many teens were in the audience because every time I stared directly at the audience I went AH OMG SO MANY PEOPLE, but they were INCREDIBLE! They were screaming for books! For authors! That was so neat. After every author went up and talked a bit about their book, the award was given to Pam and her speech was fantastic. And then we went outside where there were so many enthusiastic teen readers waiting for autographs and can I just say my penmanship is terrible. Oh my goodness, I need to work on that.

So, in short: a GREAT day. I want to thank everyone who worked hard to make it all possible and to make it run so smoothly. I can only imagine how much planning goes into an event that huge, but from where I was sitting it was flawless. I got to meet so many wonderful librarians and volunteers and readers and authors and I feel truly grateful to be in such a wonderful community.

And then the four hour drive home!

The next day, I gave three talks to teen readers about writing and publishing at a Voices of the Forest event at a local (for me!) education center, along with the wonderful Lesley Livingston, Pam Bustin and Susan Juby. I was incredibly fortunate to have my talks attended by awesome readers and writers who asked great questions and were just–I know I’m using a lot of positive adjectives in this post but they all apply! They were great, cool, awesome, nice. And now I must make use of this space to thank Pearl H., who tirelessly organized the event, but was unable to attend it. THANK YOU, PEARL! I’m sorry we didn’t get to meet.

So that was also a great day. And after the talks, we got the keys locked in the car and had to get a man with a coat hanger to fish them out so that was pretty exciting too.


Andddd that is what has happened in my neck of the woods since I cruelly abandoned this blog to uhm, do those things (I can’t emphasize enough that if you want up-to-the-minute news, you can get it if you follow me on Twitter). I am so going to spend June reading, relaxing and getting caught up on, well, everything and thinking hard about what book I will write next after Fall For Anything. Also maybe blogging more regularly? (Ha ha ha!)

Basically, I’m briefly deadline and outside-obligations free, so THE WORLD IS MY OYSTER.

And what I would really like to know is–

How are YOU?