Friday, July 8, 2011

Angels and Authors

Courtney Allison Moulton, Leah Belson, and Lisa Desrochers (and me).

"No, I haven't heard that, but I'll keep it in mind. Thanks for the proverbial insight, my stalker friend."

- Courtney Allison Moulton (Angelfire)

"Yeah, go ahead and get the forbidden garden comment out of your system. And no matter what witty snake joke you're considering? Trust me, I've heard it."

- Leah Clifford (A Touch Mortal)

"If there's a Hell on Earth, it's high school."

- Lisa Desrochers (Personal Demons)

Wednesday night I drove underneath a sunny sky to Burlington, MA (home of the mall where Mall Cop was filmed.) so I could attend the book signing of Courtney Allison Moulton, Leah Clifford, and Lisa Desrochers.

3 YA authors

3 angel books

3 trilogies

After each author read an excerpt of their books, it was time for Q&A.

This is what I learned:

Lisa and Leah are pansters, while Courtney is a plotter. But all 3 had to come up with some sort of outlines for their other two books when they shopped the first manuscript. The pansters admitted their outlines were vague.

All 3 of them got their 2nd books they’d ever written published. (I’m green with envy.)

They believed YA was a void that needed to be filled, and that’s why it’s so popular. Leah and Courtney wrote the books they wanted to read. They discussed YA having a crossover market. Teen and adult readers appreciate the romance. Although the majority of the marketing is aimed at teens, YA books are reviewed in “Entertainment Weekly” too. Because of the crossover, YA is one of the few genres making $.

YA has changed greatly since they were teens. Books are more sophisticated now. They thank J.K. Rowling for upping the complexity with her 5 middle-grade and 2 young adult books in the Harry Potter series.

How did they come together for a 3-book tour? Courtney and Leah were friends before their books sold. At some point they joked they should go on a “Hot boys with wings tour”. Later, Courtney said, “You should come with us,” to Lisa.

This is what else I learned:

1. When you are the author at the table and someone asks a question that’s really a long-winded ramble, you can’t roll your eyes, even when an audience member (me) does.

2. When an author mentions a certain wildly popular series that is either scorned or celebrated, you need to be tactful, even when there are derisive chuckles in the audience (me) regarding the weakness of a certain protagonist.

3. When writing YA fantasy, it’s better to have a trilogy up your sleeve because it’s difficult to sell a stand-alone novel. (Okay, now I’m hyperventilating. Can I make my novel have series potential?)

Because of my two awesome questions (about how many manuscripts they’d written and how they came up with the idea for a 3-author book tour), I got a free Personal Demons tank top:

I got a lovely photo (on top) of the three authors after the poor woman at Barnes and Noble tried to take the picture a bunch of times before she realized I’d stupidly left the camera on video when I’d recorded fireworks on July 4th.

When I exited the bookstore, I was greeted with an ominous cloud, reminding me of the dark themes in each of their books. As I entered my car, lightning flashed in the sky. I sped drove safely down the highway to beat the storm. Luckily, only a few drops of rain plopped on my windshield. I’d beaten the demons storm.

I’ve got some stuff for you… if you enter the contest:

1 SIGNED copy of Original Sin (2nd in the Personal Demons trilogy)

1 SIGNED A Touch Mortal bookmark

1 Angelfire bookmark

2 Personal Demons temporary tattoos (Team Gabe and Team Luc)

All you have to do is comment, leave your e-mail, and SHARE THIS POST. Earn 1 point for each place you share! (Open internationally. Ends 07/15)

Good luck.

Love, Theresa xo


  1. I love your tank. How cool is that? And how awesome you're able to meet up with the authors. Nobody (wah) comes to Toulouse, France. Well, save for maybe French authors. Sadly, when I read I book I want to enjoy it so I only read in English...

  2. Sounds like you had a great time meeting up with these authors. A great learning experience as well.
    Hope you are enjoying your day!

  3. What a fun signing! There's nothing like hearing the words of wisdom from those who have been there and found success with their books.

  4. Not sure if the competition is open to foreigners. :-)

    I love the lessons you learned. Totally get the outlining for the sequels. The whole time that I'm revising Doorways, I'm seeing the story-lines reaching to the end.


  5. Love this post! It's so cool to hear about interactions with real, live authors :) Thanks for sharing!

  6. I bet that book signing was awesome! Nice job on the questions :)!/julianalbrandt/status/89343481977372672


  7. Wonderful insight! Sounds like a great day.

  8. Theresa Milstein! You are one hot mamma! Look at you looking gorgeous!!!! Wow!!

    Yay for such a great book signing time!! And I loved what you learnt along the way too! It's interesting about having a series potential rather than stand alone. Is the stand alone novel really on the way out?! Is this a Harry Potter syndrome?

    I must say this again - you are looking HOT! Take care

  9. That is really very cool. I wish they had traveled closer to me in the south. Great questions you asked them.

  10. Good stuff! Glad you had a good time and dodged the rain.

    Have a great weekend!

  11. I so love your tank top. It suits you perfectly. And those beautiful earrings!

    Thank you for sharing all these things you've learned! Awesome post!

    I would love to have the giveaway!!!

    Have a nice Friday, Theresa! Hugs!

  12. Sounds like you had an awesome time! That trilogy thing has me worried though.

  13. good writer = good, tank worthy questions!
    good for you!
    how did you find out about the signing? a library newsletter?

  14. @ Samantha, I'm sorry you're not near English-writing authors. If I lived in New York City, I could meet even more of 'em.

    @ Choices, I did. Thanks. You too!

    @ Matthew, (*blushes even though it's not badass*) thank you.

    @ Joanne, agreed! I always ask questions I wanted to know as a writer.

    @ Misha, thanks for reminding me. I updated the post right after you wrote the comment.

    @ Jess, thank you and you're welcome!

    @ Juliana, thanks for sharing. Good luck!

    @ Liz, it was. Thank you.

    @ Old Kitty, you and Matthew are making me laugh/blush/hide!

    Perhaps Harry Potter did start it. I recall several years ago when a panel of "experts" said series were going away because publishers didn't want to invest in case the first book didn't do well. Guess not.

    @ Miranda, sorry they didn't travel by you. There are several authors I wish would visit all the way up here!

    @ Karen, thank you. You too!

    @ Len, I saw you linked this on Facebook even though you didn't write it. Good luck!

    Liz from Laws of Gravity made the earrings. Thanks!

    @ Alex, I'm wasn't kidding on my post. I'm worried too!

    @ Tara, Courtney posted she was going to be in NYC on Facebook. I commented, "When are you coming to Boston?" Turns out, it was going to be just a couple of days later.

  15. Oh wow, sounds like a GREAT and FUN signing!!
    Loved what you learned too. (LOL!)
    I'm going to tweet this now!

  16. I had an opportunity to go to a book signing once, but I begged off. I should have gone (although I wouldn't have made as good a use of it as you did).

    The earrings look great on you. (Anyone who likes them can buy them at my etsy shop...shameless plug...)

  17. What a dream to go on a book tour. All I can do is sigh.

    I hear many comments about series. I think it's harder to sell a series to companies, but easier to market because you'll have an eager audience.

    Interesting how things work that way.

  18. Thanks for sharing your experience Theresa! I don't know how I'd keep myself from rolling my eyes :-)
    Don't enter me in the contest! I've got such a huge to-read pile...

  19. Ah, I'm so jealous you got to go to such an amazing event! Great stuff in this post.

  20. Sounds like this event was fun. Authors definitely need to learn not to roll eyes even if someone goes on and on and on and on and on...

    and on...

  21. What a great signing! Love all three! So great of you to share all you learned, too. Wish I could've gone, too. Great tank top!

  22. I learn something new everyday. I'm thinking that for me (where I live in Jamaica) it would be a good think to link with a couple of other authors and do a book signing. No it's not all that original, but it does add variety. Plus there's the fact that you're not as lonely sitting in book stores all on your own. Wishing the authors success. The book covers do look really good. Definitely entering. I tweeted here!/JL_Campbell/status/89731973093920768
    email jmwordsmith at gmail dot com

  23. You look fab in the tank.

    It's awesome what you learned (and good for them with their second books).

    I have A Touch Immortal, Angelfire, and Lisa's Personal Demons. I need to move them higher up in my TBR pile.

    Enjoy your weekend.

  24. Wow!! Lucky you - those are 3 fantastic authors to meet and listen to! :)

    I'm off to tweet about you ... and the contest! :)

  25. You're so lucky you got to meet them!! I'm soo jealous right now!


  26. I saw Courtney and Leah at a book signing in April. Courtney is pretty entertaining! Signings are interesting; sometimes the questions are a little weird and a lot are predictable, but you can really see the personality of the author in how they answer them. I thought Leah was especially sweet.

  27. @ Jennifer, thanks for tweeting. Good luck!

    @ Liz, listening to and meeting authors is a lot of fun.

    I love the earrings. Thank you! Plug away.

    @ McKenzie, it's my dream to go on a book tour too.

    I had heard it was hard to sell series and now these authors said the opposite. But I bet if an author has a good story, it will sell. We can only hope.

    @ Deniz, my pile is out of control!

    @ Elana, this author signing was my ALA. I'm jealous I didn't get to go to ALA. I would've loved to meet you in person.

    @ Alleged Author, seriously - it was an odd moment, but they handled it like pros.

    @ Carolina, I wish you could've gone as well.

    @ J.L. Campbell, I think a combined author signing is genius. You're likely to have a bigger audience, which means bigger sales. If/when I get a book published, I'm going to try to set up something with a fellow author too.

    Thanks for tweeting. Good luck!

    @ Medeia, I've read Personal Demons, but not the other one. I want to reach Angelfire soon.

    @ Jemi, thank you for tweeting. Good luck!

    @ Tasnim, it was a great opportunity. I'm glad I got to go.

    Thanks for tweeting. Good luck!

    @ Stephsco, how cool you got to meet two of the authors. You are so right; Courtney was personable and funny and Leah was sweet. Lisa was quieter, but nice as well.

  28. Oh I'd love to win any one of these books! Thanks for sharing insights from meeting the authors - and the crossover appeal of YA - I knew that, but I didn't realize it was one of the few genres making money.

    berendsen70 at yahoo dot com

    I'll tweet this and put it on my sidebar! +2

  29. What a great adventure, Ms. Roll-your eyes-at-the-wrong-time. :) Great tank top as well.

    Just dropped by to let you know I'm still alive and still trying to catch up. Regular visits are coming. :)
    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

  30. Panel disucssions can be a challenge. I walked into one of my book signings at a Borders Books and Music and say this huge space cleared out with like thirty chairs. I guess they expected me to do a reading.

    I f=gently requested the chairs be removed. I'm the kinda guy who stands and walks around and freely talks to people. I think of John Cuscak in 1408 and his book reading. That was the scariest scene of the movie.

  31. You're so lucky! No one ever comes to my country!

    BTW, love your fab tank top!

  32. What a great experience - there is always so much to learn from other authors. (not entering... just dropping by.) xx

  33. Hi Theresa .. must have been fun - especially having three there together .. hope you're in touch now and will keep up with them - learning more lessons!

    Glad you missed those buckets of water .. cheers and have a good week .. Hilary

  34. Sounds like it was a great event to attend, and now I've got some new books to look for and read!

  35. I'm sick with envy! Seriously, their 2nd book? Ugh! Ugh! Ugh!

    I'll retweet you and I love the tank.

    Thanks for following my blog.

  36. I agree with Matthew...the tank top looks great on you.

  37. All of them got their 2nd book that they wrote published? Wow. I doubt I'll be doing that. :P

    You look great in that tank top!

  38. How cool is that?! I love book signings and I wish I could have gone to this one. :P Wonder when they'll be dropping by LA...

    Anyhow, I am in. Will be tweeting this as soon as I leave this comment. :P


  39. @ Margo, the part that got to me was the emphasis on trilogies.

    Thanks for entering the contest. Good luck!

    @ Missed Periods, thanks. I'm happy they gave me one.

    @ Jules, thank you. I'm glad you're alive and well.

    @ Stephen, I didn't see that movie. And here I was thinking I'd rather read my book aloud than the rest of it.

    @ Nas, sorry you don't have author visits. You'll have to be the visiting author!

    @ Michelle, I agree. Thanks for dropping by!

    @ Jolene, it was!

    @ Hilary, they're all my Facebook "friends" so, you know, we're tight. (I actually said that to them because of course they didn't recognize me.)

    I'm glad I missed the buckets too!

    @ Susanna, my wish list of books is insane! I shouldn't even be allowed to buy any because of my huge pile of to-reads.

    @ Wanton Redhead Writing, when the authors mentioned they'd gotten agents and publishing offers on their 2nd books there was distinct grumbling in the audience.

    @ Michael, thank you for the compliment. I'm wearing more tank tops from now on!

    @ Vicki, thanks!

    @ The Golden Eagle, I'm on manuscript #6, so...


    @ Nutschell, check out their websites because their tours are listed. I hope they visit you!

  40. Good to note! I'm worried about having to whip up a trilogy for my current WIP, but if I must, I will. Thanks for sharing your experience, and I love that photo of you! You look strong and beautiful. :)

  41. Fun post! Love 'Hot boys with wings' :)

  42. Wow, that was like the perfect storm of authors! That must have been so cool.

  43. I love the idea of having three authors at the same book event; that's great for them and for those in the audience. Thank you very much for sharing this, Theresa.


  44. Like everyone's said, you look great in that tank! You were meant to have it. :)

    Sounds like it was a cool tour (and cute that it was themed)!

  45. Sounds like you had a great time and learned a LOT. (I chuckled at your advice not to roll your eyes. hehehe).

  46. What an utterly cool event! Why don't they have things like that near where I live. Maybe they do and I just don't hear about them. The things you "learned" sound like useful lessons indeed.

    Tossing It Out

  47. Wow, this look like such a great experience! Good for you for asking questions. Sounds like you learned a lot; I certainly learned a bit from this post alone! Thanks for sharing, and I love the pictures. :)

  48. @ Lydia, I wonder how it is to write a trilogy if you don't envision the 3 parts from the start. I've had two manuscripts that I knew could go further. But this one, I don't know if I have the same vision for it. If I don't have the passion to write the story for 2 and 3, would they be any good?

    @ Carol, "hot boys with wings" made me laugh too.

    @ Julie, it was a perfect storm of authors. Perfect with the storm brewing outside!

    @ Michelle, if/when I get a book published, I'd love to find a common thread with other authors and tour together. Takes some of pressure and cost from me.

    @ Krispy, I'll have to wear the tank more often. Thanks!

    @ Lynda, I was glad I went even though it was bit far out.

    @ Arlee, I only found out about it because I'm Facebook "friends" with the authors. One of them posted that they were signing.

    @ Shelley, I'm glad you enjoyed and learned from the post!

  49. What a great tank top, Theresa, and what a great opportunity to talk to three authors - wow!

  50. @ Michelle, thanks for the vote of confidence!

    @ Talli, thanks! I had fun.

  51. oooh, lucky you! I'm envious when I read all the cool signings and events that others get to go to. Sometimes I feel so far away from everything. Thanks for sharing this.

  52. @ TerryLynnJohnson, each place we live has its trade-offs. I, for one, must kayak with clothing on in a city.