Saturday, November 22, 2014

Compelling Reads Tour @ Quail Ridge Books, Nov 1

So I'm way behind on posting, but it's because of this AMAZING tour stop.  Seven authors and we brought along four kids I don't think it's any surprise that we took A LOT of photos.  I mean I always take a lot of photos as these events, I'm not a natural photographer and I expect a lot of my photos to be out of focus and my husband has of late picked up my habits of taking tons of photos with the expectations that many will not turn out.  At this event between us we took over 800 photos.  Now my camera does this wonderful thing with indoor lighting, it makes everything look yellow.  So every photo that I take indoors has to be taken into my photo-editor and the color balance adjusted or everyone looks like they have jaundice and dental issues which isn't the case for most of the people I photograph and it definitely isn't the case with the awesome authors we saw as a part of The Compelling Reads Tour.  Now a lot of the photos I took were as expected out of focus and many of them were of the children so I don't have quite 800 to share with you today, but I do have a lot and I'll do my best to talk about the great tour stop but I really should have done my write up before I started the photos because my memory for details is awful.  I don't believe I will possibly do this event justice and describe to you just how wonderful it was to meet these authors.

The event stop was hosted at Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh, North Carolina which was a very nice Indie Store that hosts many Author Events.  I had this great picture from the drive to the signing but it didn't turn out and I really wish I could have shared it even though it was totally unrelated because we followed this person in one of those civilian wanna-be military style vehicles and the stickers on the back about being the Zombie Patrol which I thought was super funny.  And I thought it was just a good sign for the day as weird as that might be.  I thought it was cool and deserved to be mentioned.

The Quail Ridge Books stop of The Compelling Reads Tour, organized by Martina Boone, included authors Martina Boone, Claudia Gray, Beth Revis, Kimberley Griffiths Little, S. E. Green, Meagan Spooner and Megan Shepherd.  So there was a ton of talent inside that store all at once which was really awesome.  A tour stop as big as that one requires a lot of set up and being camera happy that day I took a few photos of that set up.

Martina Boone was born in Prague and spoke several languages before learning English. She fell in love with words and never stopped delighting in them. 

She's the founder of, a Writer's Digest 101 Best Websites for Writers site, and, a site devoted to encouraging literacy and all this YA Series.

 From her home in Virginia, where she lives with her husband, children, and Auggie the wonder dog, she enjoys writing contemporary fantasy set in the kinds of magical places she'd love to visit. When she isn't writing, she's addicted to travel, horses, skiing, chocolate flavored tea, and anything with Nutella on it. 

If you like romance dripping with mystery, mayhem, Spanish moss, and a bit of magic, she hopes you'll look forward to meeting Barrie, Eight, Cassie, Pru, Seven and the other characters of Watson Island. 

You can find Martina online at her website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Amazon.

The Setup

Now what I thought was really neat about this beyond watching all the people set up is that the authors didn't just set up they were already talking to attendees and answering questions, engaging readers as they were trying to get everything right.  Within the first thirty seconds of walking into that room Martina Boone had established herself as friendly and willing to laugh at herself as she struggled to set up the projector that just did not want to cooperate with her.  Other authors were posing for fan pictures even as they sat down.  The seven authors assembled made it clear to those in the audience that they were happy to be there and happy to please their fans with answers to questions and easy smiles.  With their entrance they sort of set the easy, friendly tone for the entire signing.

Meagan Spooner grew up reading and writing every spare moment of the day, while dreaming about life as an archaeologist, a marine biologist, an astronaut. She graduated from Hamilton College in New York with a degree in playwriting, and has spent several years since then living in Australia. She’s traveled with her family all over the world to places like Egypt, South Africa, the Arctic, Greece, Antarctica, and the Galapagos, and there’s a bit of every trip in every story she writes. 

She currently lives and writes in Asheville, North Carolina, but the siren call of travel is hard to resist, and there’s no telling how long she’ll stay there. 

 In her spare time she plays guitar, plays video games, plays with her cat, and reads. 

Meagan Spooner is the author of SKYLARK and SHADOWLARK, the first two books in a young adult fantasy trilogy available NOW from Carolrhoda Lab/Lerner Books. She is also the co-author of THESE BROKEN STARS, the first in the young adult science fiction Starbound Trilogy available now from Disney-Hyperion. She is represented by Josh Adams of Adams Literary.

You can find Meagan online at her websiteFacebookTwitterGoodreads, and Amazon.

The Presentation
Since my husband came I actually have a decent video of most of the event which I'll share with you before we get to the rest of the photos.

As you can see from the video the tour stop was great.  The focus of the stop was supposed to be writing, but we were definitely an inquisitive audience who kind of high jacked that plan with lots of questions as you can see.  The authors were great about it changing focus to answer reader questions and abandon their planned teachings with a smile and lots of laughs along the way.  I have to say as a reader I really thought that was amazing.

Kimberley Griffiths Little was born in San Francisco, but now lives in New Mexico with her husband and three sons in a solar adobe home on the banks of the Rio Grande. Her award-winning writing has been praised as "fast-paced and dramatic," with "characters painted in memorable detail" and "beautifully realized settings." 

Kimberley adores anything old and musty with a secret story to tell and makes way too many cookies while writing.

You can find Kimberley online at her websiteFacebookGoodreads, and Amazon.

In honor of the planned agenda for the signing I thought I'd post my photos of the slides, that we didn't really pay too much attention to since we were too busy asking questions, first. From this point on there are simply too many photos for me to really put them into any semblance of order. Feel free by the way to use any photos on this blog as you wish, but a shout out my way if you post the video or photos elsewhere would be greatly appreciated.

Now if you can't tell from the photo I developed a seriously unhealthy dislike of microphones.  I took way more photos of Beth Revis than I've posted the problem was the angle of where I was sitting consistently put the microphone right in the center of her face. We had a seriously great time listening to these writers talk about the books they wrote and the characters they created.  I especially loved when they talked about killing off people.  I know that sounds morbid, but I'm sure my husband filmed that portion of the presentation, watch it, it's hilarious.  They were informative, interesting and best of all they were fun to listen to.  What makes book signings great is meeting authors quick to laugh and smile with you, people who are as excited about books as you are because they're the ones writing them.  For me it's the one place that I don't feel awkward because the only things running through my head besides the normal family concerns, are plots from books I've read and books yet to be written. You get to laugh, smile and talk with people that actually get that and it's an opportunity not provided often enough in my personal opinion.  For those that aren't big readers who attend meeting the authors and hearing how excited they are about the stories make these kids want to open the books and find out what is so wonderful.  Not a single person in that room disappointed to excite the kids with me about reading, even the two that don't care for reading.  From S. E. Green so excited to describe her serial killers that she's mimicking stabbings, to Meagan Spooner exuberantly describing blowing things up, the kids were enthralled by every word they spoke.  Not only were they entertaining, but as odd as this description sounded they were real, For example at one point Claudia Gray talk about what it was like to begin writing for her and how she'd read a book and think you'll never write anything as good as that and because of that doubt she wouldn't begin to write the stories in her head. Then one day she read one of those books and that same thought followed by the realization that neither would anyone else.  Personally I'm grateful that she had that thought and it spurred her into gear to share her work with the world.  Every writer in attendance contributed something memorable.  It was a tour not to be missed.

Claudia Gray has worked as a lawyer, a journalist, a disc jockey, and an extremely poor waitress. Her lifelong interests in old houses, classic movies, vintage style, and history all play a part in creating the world of Evernight.

You can find Claudia online at her websiteFacebookTwitterGoodreads, and Amazon.

The Signing

The signing was great.  The authors took the time to talk to every reader in the line even long after they were done signing books taking the time to pose for photos and make every person who came feel like a valued attendee.  It was really wonderful.  

S.E. Green or Shannon Greenland is the author of the award winning Middle Grade spy series, The Specialists, which was an ALA top pick and a National Reader’s Choice Recipient. Killer Instinct marks her debut into the world of thrillers. 

She was raised in Tennessee, but now calls North Florida home. KILLER INSTINCT is her debut young adult thriller.

You can find S.E. Green online at her websiteFacebookTwitter, Tumblr, Instagram, Goodreads, and Amazon.

The Haul

First I'd like to mention there were six people with us and I photograph everyone's things all together.  There are a couple additional books I photographed the covers of but not the inscription because they're as of yet unreceived Christmas gifts for friends or family.  At the store I bought everyone one book and some of us had the books that we'd bought prior to this by authors who were attending.  We actually didn't intend to go to this tour stop because The Compelling Reads Tour had 3 North Carolina stops withing reasonable driving distance. On Saturday November 1st we were planning to go to the Carolina Renaissance Fair but we woke up and it was 40 degrees and ice cold rain that was expected to last all day and weather forecasts predicted that it was even worse in Charlotte.  We had Jaycie, my best friend's daughter with us until Tuesday morning at which point she and my husband would head home to New York.  So even though we'd made a considerable preorder to Flyleaf Books in Raleigh that was paid we decided to attend the event at Quail Ridge Books that day and pick up our Flyleaf Order Monday after stopping in to leave instructions to have it signed.  So the purchases chosen were with consideration of what had been ordered there as well.  On the one hand changing plans was not nice to our wallets on the other I had an excuse to get more books that I wouldn't have otherwise ordered at that time due to expense.  It was wonderful seeing so many authors and having such a large group of family and friends with us, however the flip side to that is it's very difficult on the wallet. But the really cool thing was they took the time to sign all of these books with a smile and a laugh.  It was great.

Beth Revis  wrote her first books as a student in classrooms, when the professors did not hold her interest and she jotted down stories instead of taking notes. 

Beth writes science fiction and fantasy novels for teens. Her debut novel, ACROSS THE UNIVERSE, will be published by Razorbill/Penguin in Spring 2011. Beth is represented by Merrilee Heifetz at Writers House. 

Beth also runs a blog on writing and is a participant of a group blog by debut dystopian authors.

You can find Beth online at her websiteFacebookTwitterGoodreads, and Amazon.

Flyleaf Books Haul

So I had to scan the promotional bookmarks the store had because I thought they were cool and they didn't have bookmarks like that at Quail Ridge. Again the Christmas gifts were pulled out of the lot and this was for six people.  But it was awesome to get these and that they got the personalizations perfect without the people actually being there.

Megan Shepherd grew up in the mountains of Western North Carolina, where her family has owned and operated an independent bookstore for over 35 years. Shepherd attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she majored in international studies and went on to live and work in Costa Rica, Senegal, Scotland, Spain, and many other countries. Now, Shepherd has returned to Western North Carolina and is a full-time writer of young adult novels.

You can find Megan online at her websiteFacebookTwitterGoodreads, and Amazon.

We had such a great time when we went my write up so many days later fails to truly express that.  If you came to the event or other Compelling Reads events please feel free to contact me to add photos or write a guest post on another tour stop.  If you've written a positive review of one of the authors' books feel free to share a link in the comments.

As always thanks for reading.

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