Friday, October 17, 2014

Reflections from the Road: NYCC video on YouTube

Filmed at New York Comic Con courtesy of Suvudu, I talk about Frostborn,the Thrones & Bones board game, Viking helmets, and... my fear of oatmeal.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Reflections from the Road: The Top of the Hill

Yesterday, I visited Hilltop Montessori School, in Birmingham, Alabama. I spoke to around fifty-six children from three classrooms, then signed books. It was a wonderful visit with some very sharp children, and in addition to introducing many kids to my world, I also met some very enthusiastic Thrones and Bones fans who have already read my book and are eager for the sequel. Thank you to Ms. Janet, Sherry, and Chelsea for allowing me to speak to your kids! Thanks also to Sara Glassman of Little Professor Book Center, who was on hand to handle Frostborn sales.









Monday, October 13, 2014

Reflections from the Road: New York Comic Con, Word Bookstore, and Wik'14

Last week, I made a hit and run visit to the New York Comic Con as the latest stop on the Frostborn tour. It was a quick trip, in and out from Wednesday night to Friday night, but packed full of excitement.

I get in late Wednesday night, checked in to my hotel, and then grabbed a cab to my favorite beer bar Rattle n Hum. I was there to meet my friend (and colossal talent) Garth Nix, who was in the US over from Australia on the start of his own tour. I haven't been in the same place at the same time with Garth in some years, so it was really good to catch up with him. Also, I got to introduce him to Goose Island Bourbon Barrel County Stout, which I can't get at home and only drink when I'm at Rattle n Hum. I shouldn't have eaten as much calamari as I did, but it was a great time!

Then Thursday morning I met Mark Smylie (Artesia, The Barrow), who I used to edit but have never met in the flesh, for a quick bite at Gotham West Market. Mark is wonderful, and though I no longer work with him in a professional fashion, I do hope our paths will cross again soon.

Then it was off to the convention. NYCC hit a reported 150,000 attendees this year, which might just make it the largest comic con in the US at this point. I've been to the Javits Center before for Book Expo America, but this was my first New York Comic Con. I got to the Random House booth, and before I'd even set down my backpack, I had to sign a copy of Frostborn for a kid! What an awesome way to start the day.

Then they filmed me talking about my book, the con, Viking helmets, the Thrones and Bones board game etc... (I'll link to that piece when I figure out where it is!), after which my amazing editor Phoebe Yeh and wonderful publicist Lydia Finn arrived, and we were off to the first panel of the day. 

Coffee Talk with Dragons and Monsters was a panel to debate "What makes a monster something to be feared? A force to be reckoned with? Or just misunderstood?" My fellow panelists were R.L Stine (Party Games), Caitlin Kittredge (Black Dog), Barry Lyga (Blood of My Blood), Paul Pope (The Rise of Aurora West), Ethan Reid (The Undying), Ransom Riggs (Hollow City; Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children) and it was moderated by Ali T. Kokmen (Director of Sales, eBooks
Barnes & Noble.com / NOOK Media). It was a blast, and I really enjoyed it. You can see the whole panel on YouTube here:



Afterwards, we signed books, where I got to spend some time taking with Paul Pope. Back in 2009, I reviewed his Batman: Year One for Tor.com. We corresponded briefly after that, and it was very nice to be able to talk to him in person now (especially since our respective career paths have brought us both around to children's books now.)

After the signing, I got my first taste of Uber, when Phoebe and Lydia whisked me to an event at the Word Jersey City bookstore for a Thrones and Bones "Game Night." We set up card stock versions of the game, which my editor played for the first time (she won "by accident"). I got to play a long session with a very challenging opponent who has designed games himself and was quite knowledgable about the entire history of board games. Thanks to everyone at Word for hosting this even. Also, I should mention that Word previously named Frostborn a staff pick, saying "This is the most fun I’ve had since the Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban." They have signed and rune-stamped copies on hand now, so please support this awesome store.

Afterward, Phoebe and I went to dinner at Landmarc Restaurant at the Time Warner Center. Then back to the hotel. The next morning we breakfasted with Lydia at The Smith Restaurant and Bar. Then I had a few hours to work out, and back to NYCC. I checked out Weta Workshop's Smaug head, and spent a long time standing and staring up at it absorbing what being in close proximity to such a magnificent creature would actually feel like! Very valuable experience for this fantasy author.

I arrived at the Random House booth to learn they had sold out(!) of Frostborn, but I dumped off another batch of my trading cards (which go like hotcakes), then Phoebe and Lydia escorted me to my second panel.

Geek Geek Revolution is a "no-holds-barred geek culture game show featuring six science-fiction/fantasy Authors competing for the chance to be TOP GEEK." Some of the questions come from the audience. Prizes are given out for stumping the contestants, and the loser has to wear a hat of shame. My fellow panelists were Peter Brett (The Skull Throne), Maureen Johnson (The Name of the Star series), M.D. Payne (Monster Juice), Amber Benson (Witches of Echo Park), and John Scalzi (Lock In). The panel was masterfully moderated by Patrick Rothfuss (The Slow Regard of Silent Things). This was a blast, even if Scalzi's arm is lightning fast (and he is so wrong about "Joey Chill.") You can watch the entire event on YouTube (that's me off camera shouting "With his mother" and "Sleepy", btw).




Afterwards, we signed again, and I got to spend some time talking with fellow Birmingham-raised author Amber Benson, who proved to be as delightful a person as I've always heard. She has a new book out - The Witches of Echo Park - so please check it out!

I got to say only a brief hello to my friend Jen Heddle then my time at NYCC was over, and I was whisked into a car and sent to LaGuardia airport, unfortunately to face a three hour flight delay. The delay did afford me a delightful conversation with Lindsey Brown (PR Pro) and Charlie McLravy (Investigative Producer, The Today Show). I wowed Charlie with my ScripTips theories, and he wowed me with this. Unfortunately, I didn't get home and in bed until close to 2am. Unfortunately because I was up at 7am for another event.

Saturday I taught my ScripTips workshop at the Southern Breeze Writing and Illustrating for Kids 14 Conference. Fortunately, there was a lot of coffee and some very good treats to fuel up with. The workshop was sold out, and I learned at the party that evening that it has been one of the first workshops to do so. I also signed a good number of books that day.

Yesterday, Sunday, this leg of the Frostborn tour officially winds down, and reality came back with a heavy dose as I cleaned all the bathrooms in my house. Thank you to everyone everywhere who has made me feel like a rockstar these past two months. I have a few more appearances slated for the rest of the year, and a few more in the works, but now it's time to knuckle down and finish the revisions of book two! 

Monday, October 06, 2014

Next Up: New York Comic Con

The next stop on the Frostborn tour: I'll be at the  New York Comic Con this week, for two panels and two signings. As per always, signed books also get "rune-stamped"! Come say hello! And that Thursday night, I'll be at Word Jersey City doing a reading/signing and hosting a Thrones and Bones Game Night!

Coffee Talk with Dragons and Monsters | Thu. October 9 - 3:00 PM - 3:45 PM

What makes a monster something to be feared? A force to be reckoned with? Or just misunderstood? Join R.L Stine (Party Games), Caitlin Kittredge (Black Dog), Lou Anders (Frostborn), Barry Lyga (Blood of My Blood), Paul Pope (The Rise of Aurora West), Ethan Reid (The Undying), Ransom Riggs (Hollow City; Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children) and Moderator Ali T. Kokmen (Barnes & Noble / Nook) as they discuss the “monsters” in their books and what makes them truly something monstrous...

Track: Books
SPEAKERS: Ali T. Kokmen, Barry Liege, Caitlin Kittredge, Ethan Reid, Lou Anders, Paul Pope, R.L. Stine, Ransom Riggs

Coffee Talk with Dragons and Monsters Author Autographing | Thu. October 9 - 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Word JC: Lou Anders presents a Frostborn Reading and Game Night
10/09/2014 7:00 pm


This event will take place at our Jersey City location. (GMaps)

Calling young gamers: come meet author Lou Anders, learn about the Viking-inspired adventure Frostborn, and play the game that goes along with the book! Recommended for ages 8 and up, open to all.

Facebook RSVP encouraged, but not required.

Geek Geek Revolution | Fri. October 10 - 1:00 PM - 1:45 PM

Geek Geek Revolution is a no-holds-barred geek culture game show featuring six science-fiction/fantasy Authors competing for the chance to be TOP GEEK. Audience members will be asked to 'write-in' questions in hopes of stumping the Authors and winning a pack of books. Hold onto your hats, Nerf herders, this might get ugly. Featuring Peter Brett (The Skull Throne), Maureen Johnson (The Name of the Star series), M.D. Payne (Monster Juice), Amber Benson (Witches of Echo Park), Lou Anders (Frostborn) and John Scalzi (Lock In). Moderated by Patrick Rothfuss (The Slow Regard of Silent Things).

Track: Books, Sci-Fi/Fantasy

SPEAKERS: Amber Benson, John Scalzi, Lou Anders, M.D. Payne, Maureen Johnson, Patrick Rothfuss

Geek Geek Revolution Autographing | Fri. October 10 - 3:15 PM - 4:15 PM


Sunday, September 28, 2014

Refections from the Road: The Tweens Read Festival

Yesterday, as the latest stop on the Frostborn tour, I attended the Tweens Read Festival in Houston, Texas. The event is presented courtesy of Blue Willow Bookshop, and featured twenty eight amazing authors. And it blew through their prior (already impressive) attendance records with over 1,700 participants! And while there are a few parents in those numbers, the vast majority of those attendees are a huge sea of tweens. See for yourself:


There was a very nice reception at Blue Willow Bookshop the night before, and then morning of, we were ferried to South Houston High School, where the event took place. The school library was converted into an author "green room," and we were all surprised by the amazing cupcakes set out for us, each with a cover of one of our books.

Then it was on to the auditorium where we were each introduced and Jacqueline Woodson gave the keynote speech.

The way the event was structured, authors were grouped by sub genre. I was in a room with four fellow fantastics, designated "Panel 1: Escape from Reality." My fellows were the amazing authors, Jonathan Auxier (The Night Gardener), S.E. Grove (The Glass Sentence),   Jaleigh Johnson (Mark of the Dragonfly), and M.A. Larson (Pennyroyal Academy).  We were together in the same room all day, for three sessions, and spoke to several hundred kids each session. All my fellow panelist were wonderful, and after spending the day in the same room together, we got to know each other quite well. There were a great bunch, and I hope our paths cross at future events.

Margaret Peterson Haddix was the closing keynote speaker. As I sat down in my seat, a kid behind me chanted "Thrones and Bones, Thrones and Bones", which was, in a word, awesome!

Then we were ushered to a mass signing, so big that it was spread across two gymnasiums. I signed for most of an hour, quite a few copies of Frostborn, and I even signed (and rune-stamped) a few body parts. (Hi girl-in-green-glasses.)

And then the amazing day was over. 

Back to the hotel, where I discovered that middle grade authors are like authors everywhere when it comes to the evening activities. We were out until midnight, shutting down first the restaurant and then the bar. Good times with William Alexander, Jonathan Auxier, Matthew Cody, Jennifer Holm, Varian Johnson, Kirby Larson, Natalie Lloyd, Matt London, and Jennifer Ziegler.

I also enjoyed meeting both keynote speakers, as well as Varsha Bajaj, Jessica Brody, Karen Harrington, Obert Skye, Matthew Ward, Tom Watson, and all the tween volunteers and amazing Blue Willow folks!

This was my first such festival. I sure hope it's not my last! 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Reflections from the Road: Athens, GA

Monday, I traveled to Athens, Georgia, for two school visits and a bookstore signing. I got into town early enough to explore downtown Athens, where I had an Orange Crush at Hendershot's (because, you know), and worked on the revisions for book two. Then on the advice of numerous Athenians, including Avid Bookstore's event coordinator Rachel Watkins, I had the Golden Bowl at The Grit.

The next day, I was picked up at my hotel by Avid bookseller Will Walton, and it was off to the Clarke Middle School. It was a fantastic time in their media center, thank you Shawn Hinger and all of the great kids. What a great time! The kids were really engaged, asked great questions. One told me I was his favorite author and two girls blurted out "I cannot wait to read this book" before I was five minutes into my presentation. We signed Frostborn afterwards, during which one boy told me he was designing his own game inspired by mine (but not the same game), and added "I have about a page of rules. I'll sell them to you for five dollars." That kid is going
places.

Then Will and I went for lunch at Agua Linda - the "authentic Mexican tacos" were a great choice - and then we headed out to our next stop.

Double Helix STEAM Academy (don't you just want to say "steampunk academy"?) is a small private school with some very smart students. In fact, I think it's the first school I have visited that were able to correctly tell me what a fjord was and how it was formed. I did the Frostborn presentation, and we had about thirty minutes left. The teacher asked me if I could help her students with structuring stories in their own writing, so I pulled out my ScripTips presentation and rapid-fire took them through the first half.

Afterwards, we signed more books, and I was humbled/flattered/overjoyed to see a student-made Thrones and Bones set, and the same student presented me with a painting of the two-headed troll from my novel.

Afterwards, Will and I grabbed a much needed coffee, where I learned the exciting news that he himself is going to be an author with a young adult novel out from Scholastic next year! Then we went to the Avid Bookshop, where I met a very clever (and ardent) fan who wanted to play a session of Thrones and Bones with me. We played best two out of three, and while I won, it was quite a challenging game. The third and final round went on the longest, and some of the rarer options came into play. It was a tremendously fulfilling experience to play the game with this kid.

I wrapped up by talking with Will and Avid's Frankie (who also has a novel forthcoming, this a dystopian YA from - I think - Bloomsbury!). I gave them a quick rundown of my screenwriting/plotting theories before hitting the road.

Thank you Athens, Avid, Clarke Middle School, and Double Helix. This was a tremendous, tremendous time.

Next stop, the Tween Reads Festival in Houston.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Kermit

Have you been half asleep?
And have you heard voices?
I've heard them calling my name
Is this the sweet sound
That called the young sailors?
The voice might be one and the same
I've heard it too many times to ignore it
It's something that I'm supposed to be

-from "The Rainbow Connection"
I think a lot about Kermit the Frog.

Kermit is a fellow southerner, like me.

He left his swamp in Louisiana to pursue a dream of entertaining people and traveled all the way to Los Angeles.

Somewhere along the way, it became less about his own dreams and more about facilitating others' dreams, about accruing and enabling a group of like-minded individuals to reach their own potential.

I find that really interesting. Also, his character is very complex for a frog.

Kermit is long-suffering, but he can fly off the handle when he's had enough. He has wrestled with depression and self doubt throughout his career, but he also finds the strength to carry on by returning to what drove him initially.

I was upset when he moved even further into the background as the producer, but not the host, of the short lived Muppets Tonight. And in the majority of Muppet films from The Muppet Christmas Carolon, he was marginalized in his own movies, taking only minor, supporting parts.

It thrilled me to see him take the leading man role in Muppets Most Wanted, even if he graciously allowed another frog actor to play the part of Constantine, his villainous twin, and I hope that this means, after years of working tirelessly behind the scenes, Kermit has decided to return to that initial dream that drew him out of his swamp to begin with.