LA Times Festival of Books/TMZ/Girl Gothic

April 25th, 2010

I’m having the best time on my book tour in SoCal (even if I did bring three bathing suits and it’s been too cold so far to go outside in them).

But today was the first day of the LA Times Book Festival . . . and it was warm enough for kids to sprawl on the green grass of the UCLA campus and lose themselves in a good book (which I saw kids doing everywhere I looked)!

Heavenly.

Here’s a photo recap of my stay in LA so far:

OK, so I had a great time at my Twitter Party, even though I didn’t know what a Twitter Party was until right before it happened.

Special thanks to the lovely staff of the Mission Viejo library, who were extremely helpful in setting up an amazing signing—Mission Viejo rocks!

Thanks too to my tirelessly enthusiastic Scholastic publicist Charisse “Tweet This” Melotto; my hilarious editor Abby “Really?” McAden; and Diana “Hashtags” Faust, the media escort who drove us the FOUR HOURS and back (with a special stop at In-n-Out) from our hotel.

EXTRA special thanks to all the teachers and librarians Tweeters who were in attendance, including Stiletto Storytime, who just posted this tribute I wrote to my all-time favorite school librarian!

(With so many school budget cuts, I think it’s especially important to remember and pay tribute to our school librarians! Even if we can’t remember their names.)

Anyway, everyone keeps asking to see the Precious (my new bag), who was at the Twitter Party, too:

The Precious is 100% polyester (and metal). She’s by Stella McCartney. Mom says: “Well, I wouldn’t take her to the grocery store.” True.

Anyway, I met the cutest readers in Mission Viejo, including (but in no way limited to):

Cute!

So cute!

I like to take pictures of the crowd, because one of the things I talk about during my presentation is that if you feel pretty on the inside, you’ll always project that confidence on the outside. My readers really are the prettiest, though:

Another thing I talk about is how if you want to be a writer, you have to read a lot. This little girl was already practicing in line:

Too cute!

Last night was my signing at Huntington Beach and it was SO FUN!


Besides the fact that I got to wear the Betsey Johnson shoes that were featured in the blog tour about my closet . . .

(I know, hot.)

. . . I had the best surprise ever when TMZ showed up in Huntington Beach!

(You can see I “enhanced” this photo quite a bit, but I still look stupid.)

Just so you don’t get the wrong impression, TMZ wasn’t exactly there to cover my misdeeds (I wish): No. A lovely reader named Shevonne was outbid on my Significant Object . . . by my mom (who technically shouldn’t have even been bidding since she’s a relative. But then, you know Moms.)

Later we learned that even though she hadn’t won, Shevonne had donated the money she would have spent on the object to the Heifer Project anyway (where I had promised to donate, and match, any winning bid. So the Heifer Project got three times what the Significant Object ended up selling for).

We were so touched by Shevonne’s gesture that my mom sent the object to Shevonne, along with a little Mom-like note. Later I also sent Shevonne a signed book.

I had almost completely forgotten about the whole thing until this cute girl showed up at the signing last night and plunked down this funny looking cow thing in front of me.

I was like, “Wha . . . ?”

And she was all, “I’m Shevonne!” And then she handed me all those goodies from TMZ, where she works!

Of course then I remembered!


Shevonne (the cute girl in purple in the middle)!

So, we love Shevonne, all her friends, and TMZ . . . who do good things for good causes!

Now every time you click on TMZ.com, you can think of sweet Shevonne and her adorable friends!

I was still coming down off that high when suddenly . . . it was morning! Time for the LA Times Festival of Books!

I did a presentation first thing with the amazing Cecil Castelucci, who writes fabulous books like Beige and The Plain Janes (just two of my favorites of hers).


Me and Cecil. You can’t see it here but Cecil has purple hair. It’s so great!

One thing we talked about is how moms should always tell their daughters that they’re the prettiest girls in the whole school.

Here’s a photo of the crowd (the prettiest crowd, as usual):

Hint: This is why even though my manuscripts got rejected hundreds of times, I knew the right agent/publisher would come along eventually, just like the right boy came along eventually. Those agent/publishers who rejected me were just intimidated by how pretty my manuscripts were, just like all those boys who never asked me out in high school were intimidated by how pretty I was.

At least, this is what my mom always told me. Yeah, she was totally lying, but it was nice to hear! So, thanks, Mom!


Me telling a reporter from Italy: Please tell your viewers to tell their daughters that they’re pretty (this is a big issue in Runaway)!

Here’s a review of the presentation from a writer who was in the crowd. I like knowing that my talks help people, especially people who are going through the same struggles I went through trying to get published!

Here’s another funny write up of the same presentation from the LA Times’s point of view. I wish I could take credit for the word “smizing.” But that’s Tyra Banks, of course!

I also like inventing new genres, like sci-fi-rom-com-mystery and Girl Gothic. Girl Gothic comes from my take on the “vampire” thing: I’m not wild about vampires . . . but I love pop culture. Vampire stories have been around (and part of popular culture) for centuries. They’re not a trend . . . they’re a tradition, one that started in ancient times, that flares up again and again.

Dracula (the most famous vampire story) is a gothic novel. I write books about girl empowerment. So, combine the two, and you get: Girl Gothic!

I can’t think of any other sci-fi-rom-com-mysteries, but other examples of Girl Gothic besides my upcoming releases Insatiable and Abandon are: Jane Eyre, Practical Magic, and Buffy: empowered heroines who stand up for themselves and have goals outside of snagging a man (but still love men, exasperating though they can be at times).

Charisse took this picture of the littlest princess at the Festival. She’s totally Girl Gothic. Love her!

Now I have to go eat some protein or I’m going to pass out. See you at the fair tomorrow for

“The Kids Are All Right”
11:00 AM – 12 PM
Panel Event: Moore Hall

Other Panelists:
Robin Benway
(I loved Audrey, Wait and can’t wait to meet Robin!)
Rosalind Wiseman
(I love Rosalind and her books. PLEASE watch the video up on her site right now about texting boys pictures of yourself in your bra. It’s great advice.)
Don Calame
(Oh my God, I’m reading Swim The Fly now, it’s so good! I can’t wait to meet Don!)
Amy Goldman Koss
(Amy will be moderating . . . she’s so funny online, I can’t wait to meet her in person!)

12:00 PM – 1:00 PM
Book Signing Session at Moore Hall signing booth

I had to sign 1350 books in like ½ an hour today, which meant I kind of had to rush with people, and I felt bad—no photos or chit-chat! But it wasn’t because I don’t love you . . . it was because I had to leave to let the next author sit in my chair so he/she could sign! There are a lot of authors at this Festival, and only a few booths, so we can’t stick around in the booth past our time slot, no matter how much we love you! So please forgive us!

I love SoCal and the LA Times Festival of Books . . . even if I haven’t gotten a chance to wear any of my three swimsuits.

But I have gotten to hang out with some of the coolest authors–and readers–in the world.

And that’s better than a fancy hotel pool and a swimsuit (and even a fantastic Stella McCartney bag) any day!

More later.

Much love,

Meg