YA Event

UPDATED June 7, 2016:
On the afternoon of June 11 at 1:00pm , I’ll be the featured young adult author at the Spanish Fort (Alabama) Barnes & Noble for a book signing during their NATIONAL TEEN BOOK FESTIVAL. They will have copies of Fortitude and Corroded for sale, which I’d be happy to sign, and lots of other cool things.

For details about this store’s B-Fest events, check out their Facebook event page.

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For the run-down of “B-Fest”, happening at all Barnes & Noble stores nation wide June 10-12, 2016, check out their Teen Blog. http://www.barnesandnoble.com/blog/teen/join-us-in-store-for-b-fest-our-first-ever-national-teen-book-festival/

Fortitude square

Goodie Package

This past weekend I got a surprise in the mail. A REALLY good surprise, like fangirl/geek-out-time fabulous. It might not look like much to you, but for this Book Nerd, it was like striking the mother lode. 000_0382 What is it? That’s a personally addressed and signed form letter, postcard for a new release, and signed book plate from one of my favorite authors, AVI. Why was this envelope of awesome such a big deal? For one thing, it was unexpected. I didn’t write to him or ask for anything. What I did do was enter to win one of ten copies of an ARC (advance reader copy) for his 2015 release, CATCH YOU LATER, TRAITOR, from his website. When he posted the winners on the blog a few weeks ago, I immediately forgot about it because I wasn’t listed. But Avi, being the awesome writer that he is, sent these thank-you-for-reading packets to everyone who entered but did not win a book. He didn’t tell those who entered, didn’t blog about, he just did it. Awesome way to pay-it-forward, and it’s fantabutitus. And now my second favorite novel of all time proudly wears a signed bookplate. Maybe I’ll get it personalized one day. 000_0384 Which book do you own that you’d like to see autographed, or is it already signed?

Ain’t No Cure but Hard Work

If you know me or have been reading this blog for more than a season, you know that summer is my least favorite time of the year. Yes, I know that it isn’t technically summer, but it’s in full swing on the Gulf Coast. The thermostat has reached ninety degrees and the humidity is at sauna conditions.

Fortunately, I think I reached my yearly low last month (notice there were only two blog posts in the past thirty-one days.) But, never fear, I’ve slowly been on the upswing. The final shove came gently from my critique buddies at our meeting this weekend. Thanks, MeLeesa and Joyce! For me it’s now baby steps to the blog. Baby steps to the Scrivener file. But at least I’m moving.

May was rough, though. The month started with adding another year to my life chart, but ended with a great concert at the Hard Rock in Biloxi. Power metal, country, classical, world, folk, pop, oldies, classic rock, opera, R&B, rap… my music knows no genre boundaries, but I’m very selective about music groups/singers.

Last week, Diamond Rio played at the Hard Rock. They’re my favorite country group—I’ve been listening to them since I first heard “Meet in the Middle” during my freshman year in high school. (Of course, I was also listening to Firehouse, J.S. Bach, and Enya. Like I said, no musical borders in Wonderland.)

Besides the great show, all six band members did a meet and greet next to the merchandise table after the show. Naturally, I bought the band’s autobiography and gushed over the twenty-three years of music fandom while they all signed the book. (Here’s another bunch to add to the Fantabutius roster.) The experience of participating in the creating (composing music), sharing (concert), and spending time with fans (autographing) reminded me of my own goals as a writer. I need to work on my craft to have something for people to read, so I can hopefully inspire others to do the same. 100_5591

The Diamond Rio concert was a great way to end the moody month and start me thinking about creativity and positive vibes. This past week I finally started a mood music file for my current project and started thinking more about characters and less about the literary rejections. Here’s to a summer of magic and memories in the making. What do you have in mind?

Bonus, I’m going back to the venue for a BOSTON concert on Friday. Rock on!

Autism Conference

Yesterday I attended my first autism conference. I’ve gone to workshops and support group meetings, but never a large event. It was three days, but I could only make it to one. I chose the final day because John Elder Robison was a presenter. Yes, that means I missed the iconic Temple Grandin, but I was not disappointed. Not in Mr. Robison anyway. He redeemed the emotions and interest that the first speaker lacked/lost.
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Back to the beginning… I started off early and drove to The University of West Florida, just me and my iPod with the “Wonder Rock” playlist on shuffle. (Translation: lots of Europe, Boston, and Mitch Malloy with a sprinkling of other assorted rockers prominently from the 1970s-1990s.) The campus—sprawling with space between buildings and acres of natural landscape left in tack—was lovely and the fact that their logo has a nautilus was, in my mind, a nod of serendipity to my adventure.

Mr. Robison was hilarious and thought provoking. His passion for sharing his stories (Hello, three books!) shined as well as his social quirks—like pacing around the stage when his family was doing their Q&A. And his family was great, too! Lots of insight and they answered a question for me: What’s the value of getting an Asperger’s diagnosis as an adult? (Which now, with the new DSM-V manual, would be “autism” since the Asperger’s label was removed and it doesn’t differentiate between the levels on the spectrum.)
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I’m leaning toward Mr. Robison’ practical response, though greater peer acceptance and an official credential would be nice. The liability/cost of medical/life insurance when you are diagnosed is greater. Let’s hear it for logical thinkers!

One tool that Mr. Robison recommended was an Autism-Spectrum Quotient test that was posted by Wired magazine many years back. I took it and tested forty-two. No surprise to me. My husband scored seventeen—we’re a case study in opposites attract.

The conference was educational/life affirming. Lots of Aspies to hear from and several things were reinforced to me about what I can do to encourage my ASD son in his growth. What, you ask? Never give up because learning and development continues into adulthood and let him follow his passions/obsessions. Plus, I got two books autographed but I was too shy to ask for a photo.

I’ll diffidently go to another event where any of the Robisons are featured speakers. The day was well spent but I’m curious to see how my friends score on the AQ test. Leave your number in the comments if you’re feeling brave.

More R-N-R

Last night I was able to catch another Ricky Nelson Remembered concert. This time it was with two of my friends, Lee Ann Ward and Meleesa Swann. We drove more than two hours each way to Ft. Walton Beach, Florida, but it was well worth the time and expense.

Gunnar, Lee Ann, me, and Matthew

Gunnar, Lee Ann, me, and Matthew. Thanks, Meleesa!


When I caught the show last year in New Jersey, Matthew and Gunnar had a full band. The current leg of their tour was just the two of them—but they sounded great. Gunnar took lead/electric guitar and Matthew switched between bass and rhythm guitars. And man, the bass lines were smokin’ hot!
My favorite song presentation of the night was “Fools Rush In.” Love the song as it is, but their rendition was flawless.

As I bask in the memories of the good times and fabulous music, I’m still waiting to hear back about the fate of my Rick Nelson inspired novel, CORRODED. If you’re new to the blog, check out the category postings under Corroded and Rick Nelson on the sidebar. And don’t miss the soundtrack!

FANTABUTITUS

I suffer from fantabutitus (fan-tab-you-tie-tus). That’s Wonderlonian (One-der-lone-e-an) for being a fan of fabulous people! As of today, I have not had a bad encounter with someone I’m a fan of who I’ve been able to meet in person or have contact with online. My eldest sister pointed out, over a decade ago, that I was blessed with great experiences. Apparently she’s heard horror stories about egos and rudeness.
Me? I always expected awesomeness from those I like, so I didn’t think it was anything out of the ordinary. I’m a dedicated fan, loyal to those who speak to me even when the spotlight has moved on to newer faces. (Speak to me? Yes, speak to me. I shall blog about that next time.)
True, none of the celebrities I’ve met were athletes or “Hollywood” actors—mine are all music and literary related. I’m not big on starlets and such, though I wouldn’t mind running into Ethan Hawke or Brendan Fraser… But the rock and country musicians/singers and authors—they’ve all been friendly, approachable and even humble at times. Some have even gone out of their way to give back. I’ll keep to three varied examples.
Exhibit A: C.J. Snare Lead singer of Firehouse (Don’t Treat Me Bad, Love of a Lifetime, etc) opening act for Warrant/Trixter/Firehouse concert hosted by Pauly Shore (remember him?!) at the Great America theme park in Santa Clara, CA. My friends and I made a day of it and enjoyed the rides before the concert. A few hours before the show I noticed C.J. out in the park with his date. I apologized for bothering him, but asked if he’d mind signing a concert flier (had the flier and my own Sharpie—always prepared!) He graciously autographed it and told me he hoped I’d enjoy the show. Then, he was surrounded by dozens more people wanting the same thing, but not being as polite about it, before he could get behind the safety of the backstage fence. (Yes, I stood back and watched the mini-mob. People can be real jerks at times, like the guy yelling “Hey, dude! Sign my girlfriend’s chest, will ya?” Classy.) A few months ago, I saw a comment by C.J. on a mutual friend’s status on Facebook and shared the story of my encounter with him almost twenty years before. He replied back thanking me for the good memory. Awe…
Exhibit B: Terry Brooks NYT bestselling author for two decades (now more than three) was on a book tour to promote The First King of Shannara in La Jolla, CA. The friend who got me reading Terry Brooks—a HUGE fan, all first edition hardcovers—lived less than two hours away but couldn’t make it to the event. My friend’s birthday was the following week and I told Mr. Brooks about him. I even gave him a slip of paper with my friend’s name and address on it, asked if he could send a birthday note. (Can’t say I didn’t try, though the people in line behind me rolled their eyes and huffed.) Of course, when my friend received a birthday postcard from someone signing himself as Terry Brooks he thought it was a joke. Nope, just the best birthday greeting ever!
Exhibit C: Matthew and Gunnar Nelson Yes, those blond twins—sons of the late, great Rick Nelson. After a sound check before a show in Biloxi, MS about a dozen years ago, they stopped to talk to my husband and I and signed the old school Nelson poster I’d brought along (which Bobby Rock had already signed a couple years previous—another pleasant meet and greet.) Gunnar sat at our table and talked with us for a while before heading out. Even my husband was impressed with that—but maybe it was because of Gunnar’s skydiving and bungee jumping stories.
I could keep going—have a cache of autographs and stories but I’ll spare you the geeky details. And never get me started on Mitch Malloy or Laurie Halse Anderson unless you want to hear me gush over their talents and genuine greatness. Sigh…
Now, I want to hear your fantabutitus (and not-so-nice) stories!