The Friday Five: I’M GOING ON TOUR!!!!

1. Yep, as the title of this post says, I’m off to visit some of my readers! I’m touring with a lot of awesome writers, including Lenore Appelhans, Lauren Oliver, and Nova Ren Suma, so definitely check out my events page to see if I’m coming to a city near you. I’d love to meet you, sign your book, and have a chat! But even if you don’t want to buy a book, I definitely encourage you to come out. And if you can’t see me on tour, but want a signed copy of Meant to Be, you can order it from Blue Willow Books (Houston, TX), Books of Wonder (NYC), or Oblong Books (Rhinebeck, NY). If you order a signed copy, I promise to doodle something cool in it and/or personalize it any way you want! But if you want it personalized, you have to order it BEFORE I get to the store, so make sure to check the schedule. Otherwise, it’ll just be a signed copy (while supplies last).

2. One of the fun things I’m doing on tour is creating an annotated, signed copy of MEANT TO BE filled with all kinds of fun, behind the scenes info and notes. I plan to read from this copy while I’m on tour, and hopefully also get my tour-mates to write some yearbook-style messages in it as well. And when I’m done? Well, I plan to give this little piece of tour history away to a very lucky reader. Will it be you? Make sure you follow me on twitter @laurenemorrill so you don’t miss the giveaway!

3. I finally started The Infernal Devices series on the recommendation of, well, the ENTIRE INTERNET, and I gotta say … thanks guys! Clockwork Angel is my current e-book read, and I’m totally digging it. I’m usually not a big fan of a) historical b) paranormal c) steampunk, and yet somehow I’m totally into this book. I can’t explain it, Cassie Clare just writes engaging stories. I’m all in.

4. I’m hard at work on two novels at the same time, because I’m a crazy person who’s easily distracted. It’s had me reading a lot about ghosts and spirits. Between that and #5, I’ve been having some really freaking weird dreams…

5. I recently fell down a Hulu rabbit hole with The Following. Have you seen this show? It’s totally warped and twisted, but I just CAN’T. STOP. WATCHING. It’s very Silence of the Lambs meets LOST (hopefully without the bullshit “they’re all dead!” ending). I warn you, it will have you checking your locks several times before you go to bed and giving the side eye to every stranger you encounter as you try to discern if they’re a cult member or not…

The Friday Five: ALL THE BOOKISH THINGS! edition

1. Yesterday was an awesomely bookish day. I kicked it off with a visit to Alexander II, a local elementary school, for Author Day. I read a little from Meant to Be and answered a bunch of awesome questions from the fifth graders over there. They’re all so excited about reading and writing, that I’m SURE there’s a future author or five in the bunch!

2. After that, it was off to Atlanta, where I met up with my buddy Vania to talk books and writing, and make valiant attempts at working on our manuscripts (or, in my case, attempting to read the entirety of Tumblr…).

3. But the main reason yesterday was an awesomely bookish day was that I finally got to meet Robin Benway, an author I’ve admired since I read Audrey, Wait! Funny story, just as I was starting Meant to Be, way back in very late 2009, I got ahold of Audrey, Wait! and devoured it. It was so sharp and funny, exactly the kind of book I wanted to write. So I wrote Robin an email to tell her how much I loved her book, and how I was starting a book of my own and hoping to be published. She wrote me back a very nice email, and I was thrilled. Fast forward to summer of 2012, when I find out that none other than Robin Benway has read Meant to Be and is blurbing it! WHAT?! And not only that, Robin remembered my email (still has it, in fact!). We’ve been internet buddies for a while, but last night while on tour for her new book Also Known As (ridiculously sharp and funny, go pick it up!) along with Megan Miranda and Yelena Black, I finally got to meet her. We went out to dinner and she couldn’t have been nicer or more supportive, though I’m not surprised. The entire YA community is like that (remember when I met Sarah Dessen?), and I was just reminded once again how lucky I am to be part of it.

4. I’ve had a couple very interesting, southern-themed celebrity sightings lately. Last weekend, while at the Crossroads Board Meeting at a local restaurant, I finally got a glimpse of Honey Boo Boo, who was in the buffet line with us (no hate for Honey Boo Boo, her family seems very loving and they’re super charitable!). Then yesterday, while in line at the Barnes & Noble, I realized the customer in front of me was none other than Jeff Foxworthy! So yeah, I’m on the lookout for the third in my redneck trifecta … who do you think I’ll see next?

5. And finally, Paper Lantern Lit has launched a Contemporary Cuties bracket challenge, and Jason is in the mix! Head on over and vote for him (and the rest of your favorites … Cricket Bell! SWOON!)

The Friday Five … on Sunday

1. Yes, I’m a horrible procrastinator. It’s just a thing to know about me. Which is why this Friday 5 is on Sunday, but hey, better late than never, right?

2. This week I got to take a return trip to Mystic Falls and hang out with some of my favorite paranormal creatures as an extra in episode 19 of Vampire Diaries. We filmed on location in Covington, GA (which stands in for Mystic Falls, VA). I spent my afternoon walking back and forth on the sidewalk in front of a clothing store. I’m almost sure you won’t be able to see me, other than a blur in a red dress. I did get to stand next to Elena and Rebecca, and I saw Ian/Damon in his trailer at base camp, and that’s about all that I can tell you without getting in trouble for leaking spoilers. I always have a good time on the Vampire Diaries set, because the crew is so nice and fun and the actors are really mellow, but this one was particularly fun since the wardrobe department kept fawning over my outfit (a professional fashion person said she loved my “look!”), and the whole thing only lasted 6 hours (instead of the usual 12-15). Looking forward to the next time I get to work!

3. I just finished reading a book called Crash and Burn, by Michael Hassan. I saw a Forever YA review of it, and Adam Silvera at Shelf Awareness/Paper Lantern Lit had also recommended it, and let me tell you … wow. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever read, and is possibly the most real voice/narrative I’ve ever encountered in YA. Fair warning … it’s a fairly graphic, realistic depiction of teenage boyhood in all its rebellious glory, but I think that’s part of what makes it great. I HIGHLY recommend it.

4. I’ve been toying with the idea of getting a second dog, so Lucy has a buddy and might possibly help with some of her storm anxiety (she FREAKS OUT when there’s thunder, and it’s bad enough so that now she even gets anxious when it rains). I’m definitely not sold on the idea, but I have been trolling local rescue Facebook pages to check out adoptable dogs in the area. Which of course means I want to bring home ALL THE DOGS. It doesn’t help that they all have just the saddest stories you’ve ever heard … right now I’m all in love with this guy. He was recently rescued from a yard where he spent all his time on a chain in the rain and the cold. Poor kid. Doesn’t he look so happy?

5. You’re now looking at the girl in charge of programming for the Crossroads Writers Conference. Yep, I’m working to book all the awesome authors, editors, and agents who will be presenting at this year’s conference, taking place October 5-7 here in Macon, GA (and I’ll be presenting as well, of course). I’m currently scheming to get a killer lineup of novelists, screenwriters, graphic novelists, freelancers, and nonfiction writers. Trust me, you won’t want to miss it. So if you’re a writer interested in honing your craft and learning from a diverse group of talented folks, definitely think about attending. Registration should go live in a couple of months, and there are scholarships available for attendance. Last year YA author Catherine Scully secured an agent for her YA thriller based on a conversation between sessions that she had with Donadio and Olson agent Carrie Howland.

The Friday Five: A whole lotta books edition

1. Thanks to all the awesome readers and bloggers out there who joined in, Valentines Week 2k13 has been AWESOME! Wednesday night’s Shindig Liveshow was so fun. Thanks to Random House Kids and Shindig for hosting, Alexandra Monir for being YA fabulous, and all of you that came and asked questions! Last night’s #ChicksLuvFlicks livetweet of Clueless was also pretty rad. So many high school memories of that movie … we’re going to do another #ChicksLuvFlicks livetweet in March, so if you have movie suggestions, leave ’em in the comments! I also got to do some awesome Valentines-themed guest posts, including this one with behind the scenes deets on MEANT TO BE, and this one, all about Julia’s first date after her big trip! So thanks again to everyone who celebrated Valentines Day with me and MEANT TO BE this year!

2. Which brings me to …. the winners of the big MEANT TO BE giveaway! Drumroll please …

If you’re one of the lucky winners, please email me at lemorrill at gmail dot com to claim your prize!

3. Last week I popped on up to one of my favorite places in the whole world, Decatur’s Little Shop of Stories, where the ladies of the Dark Days Tour stopped in for a visit. Brodi Ashton, Veronica Rossi, Cynthia Hand, and Tahereh Mafi were all there to talk about their books. I picked up Shatter Me and promptly devoured it, then snagged Destroy Me followed by Unravel Me (which I read almost in one night). I got super sucked into these, but I gotta say … #TeamKenji. He’s so funny and confident and cool! Of all the dudes, I’d much rather hang out with him. Can’t wait for the next one!

4. While I was at Little Shop of the event, I spent some time perusing their Middle Grade section, which is odd for me. I really don’t read any middle grade. Ever. Probably because contemporary lit is my bestie, and most middle grade tends to be fantasy or sci fi. But while browsing the shelves, The Mother Daughter Book Club jumped out at me, and I don’t know what it was (possibly the fact that middle grade paperbacks are only $6.99!), but I bought the first four books in the series. I’ve already read the first, and it was absolutely adorable. I fell right into the story and fell in love with the characters. It didn’t hurt that it takes place in Concord (which, if you’re a New Englander, you know is pronounced Con-kerd), and I loved the New Englandy-ness of it all. I’m excited to read the rest of the series and then explore some other contemp middle grade. If you’ve got recs, leave ’em in the comments!

5. And continuing on the literary theme of this 5, my Friday Reads today is CODE NAME VERITY, a book I’ve only ever heard wonderful things about. I have to finish it today, because I’m reading it for the Not So YA Book Club meeting tomorrow at Little Shop (where I promise, I will not buy more books … I WILL NOT BUY MORE BOOKS!). Everyone keeps telling me to have the tissues ready for the end, and I’ve also got a big old stash of 50% off Valentines Day candy that I scored from Target this morning, so I’m good to go!,