The Fierce Reads tour stop came here to the Philadelphia area and did a great event at Towne Book Center with Marie Rutkoski, Ann Aguirre and Caragh O’Brien. These 3 ladies were HILARIOUS together and I had the privilege of being able to sit down and chat with them before the event started and it was so lovely and inspiring! I recorded the interview so I could better transcribe it later at home and, I have to say, I was laughing out loud A LOT while playing back the whole conversation.

The event itself was entertaining and lively and it was recorded if you want to check it out! They talked about favorite childhood books, if they were plotters or pantsers, how they balance romance & story, which Harry Potter House they would be sorted into, if they could see their books as tv shows or movies (Ann said movie and she’s actually turned down 2 options because they weren’t right; Caragh & Marie think tv show for theirs). It was a lot of fun and very good conversation. I’d definitely recommend watching the recording!


Fierce reads tourAnn, myself, Marie and Caragh


1. I ask this to every author I interview — describe your book in 6 words or less!

Marie: I’m going to use Ann’s description of my book: Young girl buys hot boy.
Ann: Marie’s answer for Ann’s since she did hers — Suicidal girl makes bad bargain.
Caragh: Dreams and danger collide.


2. How do you plan for your series? Do you know the end game when you start?

Marie: I didn’t intend for The Winner’s Curse to be a part of a series. I was about 1/3 through and I realized the ending I was trying to write toward I couldn’t visualize in the way that I usually visualize my endings. I usually see them from fairly far away and in fairly good detail. So I was having problems progressing — I was actually blocked. I asked myself some careful questions — Am I going towards the wrong ending? What would the right ending look like? What would the ending that is true to my book and true to my characters be? Once I realized that, I wrote the ending that now exists in the book and I realized what THAT ending would be that, “I’m good if I stop there. It feels to me like a story but I thought probably my readers would want a little bit more than that.” So I wondered whether I would want to continue that story and I did. I wanted to continue the story of Kestral and Arin so I plotted out how it would be in the next two books. I couldn’t have done it in only two; it had to be done in 3. Once I was 2/3 through Winner’s Curse I plotted out loose details of the following 2 books.

Caragh: I knew from the beginning it was a 3 book arc and I had a general idea of what was going to be happening in all 3 books. Once I finished the first book and started writing the second book I realized that my plan for the 2nd book does not work at all so I threw that out the window and now that I’m writing book 2 I had to start back at the beginning. Fortunately I left myself enough room from the first book and the world is big enough that I have some unsolved threads to play with. But now that I’m coming up with a totally new plan for book 2, my plan for book 3 has to be different.

Ann: YES. I do know my end game when I started.

3. Let’s say you were writing a spinoff series. Which minor/non-main character would it be about?

Marie: I would write about a character named Roshar that you will meet in book 2 but I’m not going to say why because you haven’t met him yet!

Caragh: I would write about Otis! I love Otis! (Ann interjects: but he’s an adult!) I know but he still really intrigues me! He’s got this interesting family and he’s an interesting person and I wonder why he’s there. (Marie wants her to write about Burnam!)

Ann: I would write about the Harbinger from book 2. He’s mentioned in book 1 but you don’t actually know that you’ve met him! But in fact you HAVE met him, you just didn’t know it was the Harbinger. I planted one fairly significant clue toward the end of the book. I’ll be curious if any readers actually figure it out. The reason I want to write about the Harbinger is because he is essentially Loki. So, if you like Loki from the Avengers it may be relevant to your interests.


Jaime-350x262Photo credit: Caragh O’Brien

4. What’s one or two skills or things that you possess that would help you to survive in your character’s world or predicament?

Caragh: I would have a camera. A filming camera.

Ann: I would say money and common sense.

Marie: Once I took a fencing class and I thought I would discover I was naturally gifted and I would be able to fight so gracefully. I was terrible awkward and really bad at it. So I like Kestral I would not be able to survive this world with any physical skills so I guess I would have to fall back on strategical skills. I think that maybe like Arin I can bide my time in order to execute my plans. Although Arin is sometimes not good at keeping his mouth shut while he is biding his time. Maybe I AM like Arin because I can’t keep my mouth shut.

5. What’s the coolest/most interesting/funniest/most memorable thing that’s happened on this tour?

Caragh (and this was also Ann’s answer but Caragh stole it first): They are SECRETS. We can’t tell the stories. But there was this taxi driver. He was telling us supernatural stories about celebrities and houses in the area. And he had so many details. He would NOT stop.  We’d try to say, “okay that’s really cool” and turn the conversation to something else unrelated  but before we could talk about it he’d be like, “well let’s talk about the munchkins some more.”  Then he added in these spooky weird stories. He was all, ” did you know Regis Philbin had a haunting? And that Christopher McDonald had an out of body experience?” And I think if we wouldn’t have been so tired it would had been fine.

Marie: A reader (@born_bookish) made a Winner’s Curse game — a Bite & Sting game from the book. It was really beautifully done and thoughtfully presented. She even made a box that had quotes on the outside from when they were playing and bits of dialogue that had while playing. It was really special. (Ann interjects — it was REALLY cool…very polished). Another special moment was the Downer’s Grove stop because that’s near where I grew up and lots of friends from high school came. And I got to spend time with my dad.

Bite & Sting gamePhoto credit: @fiercereads

6. In the spirit of Mortal Danger, if you were given 3 wishes what would you wish for (no strings attached!)

Marie: That all of my family members have a long and happy life. That sounds cheesy but it’s true. More hours in the day for ME (nobody else)…even 4 to 6 hours just for me. I want a painting — one of my favorite paintings and would be millions and millions of dollars. I’d have to choose one and that would be hard but I could do it.

Ann: I want to learn to teleport.  Then time travel. For my 3rd wish I want a Tardis.

Caragh: Peace on earth, wish that I could fly and wish that they would stop standardized testings in high school.  (Marie interjects and says “mine were so selfish. Ann says peace on earth is actually a really bad idea. Didn’t you see the Simpsons episode..they wish for it and then the aliens come and subjugate us. Marie — but if there were peace on earth the aliens shouldn’t be able to come.)


Check out the other Fierce Reads bloggers for more recaps, interviews and giveaways!

Downers Grove, IL: YA Bibliophile | @HMZ1505

Exeter, NH: Love is Not a Triangle | @LaurayJames

Cambridge, MA: Ticket to Anywhere | @Irisheyz77

New York, NY: Queen Ella Bee Reads | @GabySalpeter

Charleston, SC: Reading Underground | @andriaamaral




One lucky winner will receive a copy of The Winner’s Curse, The Vault of Dreamers & Mortal Danger!

Rules & Other Things:
* US only.
* You must be 13 years or older to enter (for legal-y) reasons. Have a parent or guardian or sister or brother do it for you if not!
* Prize will be fulfilled by Macmillan.
* Giveaway ends October 4th 11:59 EST

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This leg of the tour is over but leg 2 is starting up soon with all new authors and more shenanigans! Selfishly I wish another tour stop was coming to meeee!

Fierce reads tour stops

My BEA 2013 Diaries!

I was lucky enough to go to BEA for the third year in a row (though last year I wasn’t there the whole time because of no time off from work due to the wedding) and, as always, it was a whirlwind of an adventure and every year is different. I had the BEST TIME EVER with my roommates and friends and met so many amazing bloggers, authors and publishing professionals. I’m so thankful for everything I got to do!

Observations About BEA In General Before I Chronicle My Adventure:

– Making silly posts like THIS on the internet really actually do help people recognize you. WIN!
– I was super lazy this year and couldn’t be bothered to grab books I knew I could get on Netgalley (unless they were MUST HAVES) or that I had a contact for. I knew how heavy they were PLUS I still had QUITE a few from BEA 2010 I never got to sooo I was a good girl!
– We didn’t stay nearly as long as we have in past years. We were too tired to keep schlepping around once we did what we wanted to do.
– There were less galley drops this year it seems which we think equated to longer lines in the autograph lines which I’ll talk about later.
– A lot of the galley drops that happened were different this year in that, rather than putting them out on the floor for people to take, there were lines. I think this was good and bad — it helped there be more order so grabby hands didn’t take 5 copies to giveaway on their blog and less of the pushy, shovey behavior. It was bad though for those of us who like to also walk up and talk to the publicists and chat about a book. I definitely got less opportunity to do that and just would come back.
– The signing lines were SO ridiculously long. Before this year I felt like I could easily get into 2-3 signing lines in an hour slot. Unless you were going to a MAJORLY huge author you could do this easily. This year pretty much EVERY line was about an hour long wait and you had to get there very early. We thought it was due to the way galley drops were happening and the amount of them. You really had to prioritize this year of what authors you wanted to meet which was sad just because I really enjoyed the signing lines in the past and met way less authors on the floor this year.
– It seemed that it was harder this year to talk to publicists at the booth. Part of it was the way galley drops were happening but, unless I knew the person, nobody standing there really seemed interested in talking to me which was disappointing because I really love talking to them and finding out what THEY are really excited about or which authors I should be looking out for if I like certain authors. I know a lot of times bloggers have a bad reputation at conferences so maybe that’s why? Maybe they didn’t take me seriously because I look so young? I’m not sure what it was this year. Just something that I and some other veteran BEA bloggers noticed.
– While I feel honored and so thankful to be invited to so many fun parties this year I felt like I missed out on some of that organic, fun hangout time that happened my first year when we only had a few set things to go to.  My best memories were multiple Pinkberry dates, wandering and ending up dancing on top of a bar and this year, while I have so many fun moments, I missed some of the down time. If I go again, I will learn to say no to things.


Day 1 – Tuesday

So I took the train to NYC (I’m in Philly so not far!). I walked in the POURING RAIN to April, Allison & Shanyn’s hotel where they graciously let me put my stuff before we went to the Simon Teen party. I looked like a drowned rat. We made our way to the Hudson Terrace for the event and boy, yet again, Simon Teen puts on a great party! It was a great mix of mingling with bloggers/authors/publicists and promoting their upcoming titles — plus open bar and yummy food! I really enjoyed all of it because I met some bloggers who I was soooo excited to meet and it was nice to see bloggers/publicists/authors I hadn’t seen since last year! Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian were back this year AND there was a new amazing duo in town this year — Suzanne Young and Cat Patrick. They are adorable and it was amazing to meet them! I’m so excited for their new novel Just Like Fate! I especially loved this event because I got to hear about books from Fall/Winter that I actually hadn’t really heard of — all of which we got in a swag bag and I’ll talk about ALL of them in my BEA Haul post! 🙂 The night ended with me making a bed out of pillows on Shanyn, April & Allison’s room because my other super nice friend Danielle, who was letting me crash with her for the night, was late because of a flight delay!


All the lovely Simon Teen authors!!

Day 2 — Wednesday

Blogger Con

I woke up and took a cab with all of my luggage to BEA Bloggers Con for a little bit (late). I wasn’t planning on going but I got a complimentary pass for helping out with something and couldn’t get into my room so I thought I’d check it out. I was all flustered because I had all my luggage but I immediately got to meet some amazing bloggers right from the start who didn’t judge my frazzled “where the heck are my bags going to gooo?” look. I stayed for one panel that was an YA Editor’s Buzz panel which in it of itself was done well but I just was confused about how it helped with blogging. I mean, most bloggers I knew already knew about the books that they were really promoting. We are the people creeping your catalogs! We know where to find these books and those who don’t see them things like my Catalog Creepin’ posts or various other posts that bloggers do! That’s just my two cents — I think the panel could have been interesting and talking about other sorts of things but I found it, as well as others, to not feel like it related much to helping us develop our craft as bloggers and make the blogging community and the publishing community more cohesive. I then grabbed some lunch (aka I crashed their lunch) with some amazing bloggers — Jen, Katie, Steph, Lindsey — seriously I love these girls and want to be their new bffs.

Shenanigans in Brooklyn

After lunch my roommates were on their way to our hotel so I had to leave Blogger Con to go meet them and attempt to get in our hotel. I WAS SO HAPPY TO SEE ANNA AND TARA AGAIN! I love these girls and we’ve been friends since the beginning…like almost 3 years. We grabbed some food and then went off to Brooklyn with Shanyn so the ladies could get some headshots done with the ever so talented and fun Rachel. I got to jump into some of the fun even though I was only along for the adventure!


HarperCollins Cocktail Party

I was an hour late to the Harper party — not because I was primping — but because I am dumb. I can navigate when I need to but I just typed in the name of the venue and didn’t check against the address on the invitation. WOMP WOMP. I ended up all the way downtown sweating my ass off and looking like a crazy and realized it was the wrong address and it was actually near my hotel. JAMIE FAIL. I finally got to the party and it was ridiculously fun and there were tons of people. I got to see Margot again (YAY!) and finallyyyy meet Aubry! It was nice talking to bloggers from the YA and Adult world, seeing publicists I’ve worked with again and meeting authors. OH YES and chatting with ROB FREAKING SHEFFIELD who remembered me from like 3 years ago. Such a fun night but very different from the past two years they’ve so graciously invited me — much more about celebration and chatting informally than sharing what is upcoming or anything. Another Jamie fail? I forgot my goodie bag on the way out! I think I personally preferred when it was just a YA party in years past because I felt like it was easier to chat and meet people but it was nice to do something different and it was a FUN party for sure!


Photo credit to Epic Reads (left) & Katie of Mundie Moms (right)

Day 3 — Thursday (AKA day of the worst pain ever & running around like a chicken with my head cut off)

Harlequin Teen Breakfast

This was a really nice event and I got to meet some awesome bloggers I’d been dying to meet there! The authors present were Julie Kagawa, Katie McGarry, Amanda Sun & Elizabeth Scott! They talked about their upcoming books and then there was a nice speed dating session where the authors and various publicists chatted with us about books or just how they can improve the publisher/blogger relationship. It made me definitely excited for these books and was nice to get to know more about HarlequinTeen more as they are not a publisher I’ve really worked with too often. If I had to pick my most anticipated from this group of authors it would definitely be Heartbeat by Elizabeth Scott because I’m a contemporary gal but my table got me excited to give Julie Kagawa’s books a try even though I don’t read a ton of paranormal.

The Floor

Basically this section is going to be the same for each day which consisted of lots of walking, talking to people at booths, meeting bloggers, waiting in lines, getting excited about books, etc. Did I mention a lot of walking? So I’m just going to post pictures instead of bloggers I met! It was honestly my favorite part though I wish I had more time with every single one of them. BEA is full of drive by “hi’s” and “OMG it’s you’s” as you rush off to whatever you are doing that day. This first morning I was busy because I was presenting the Armchair BEA awards with Emily. We had quite a good time doing it!


Macmillan Blogger Party

This was such a fun, informal event and it was SO NICE to get to talk to Ksenia. She is the lovely lady behind all the Mackidsbooks tweets! It was nice to mingle with bloggers and the publicists. ALSO, they WIN for best hors d’ourves with spring rolls and PIGS IN A BLANKET. AWESOME. They had a very special surprise for us and gave us bound copies of The Winner’s Circle by Marie which Cuddlebuggery has been RAVING about since they read it. I am so stinking excited about this book and you should definitely check it out!


City of Bones party

I was honored to be invited to the City of Bones party thrown for Cassie Clare and the upcoming movie. It was in a very beautiful art gallery or museum of some sort and had a very swanky feeling. There were tarot card readings but we stayed in line for FOREVER and it seemed like the line never even moved so that was a bummer and we jumped out and head over to get our runes! We moseyed back downstairs and tried to mingle but there wasn’t very much mingling to be had since we knew barely anybody so all of us bloggers pretty much stuck together. I saw a few Simon Teen people I knew but other than that it was very much an industry party to celebrate one of their biggest successes which was pretty fascinating to me. The CEO of Simon & Schuster was there and said a few words even. Cassie came on stage to present the very exclusive clip of the film and it was serious business — they said there was like infrared devices to make sure nobody was recording it — it was LOCKED DOWN. The clip was definitely a good teaser for the movie and there was general buzz and excitement about it afterward. I don’t know what happened after because I had to leave!


Rooftop Party hosted by Liza

Super sad that we were late for this party but definitely enjoyed our time there — a fun mix of bloggers, authors and publishing people with AN AMAZING VIEW! The best moment everrrr happened and I recorded it: one of my blogging bffs & roomie Anna got to meet her favorite author Megan McCafferty!! It was the best moment ever and I was tearing up about it so you’ll have to go check out Anna’s recap to see the funny gif she made from my video! I seriously had so much fun at this party and WOAH BUDDY they gave a HUUUUGE tote bag filled with books and swag which I’ll talk about what I received (I gave some away that I had duplicates of!). Wish we could have come to the whole thing but we had a darn good time!!


Day 4 — Friday

The Floor (The day I managed to snag Fangirl AND Rose Under Fire!)


Penguin Blogger lunch

Penguin Teen hosted a lunch that was definitely a nice break from the craziness on the floor and a time to enjoy a panel with some great authors — Richelle Mead, Melissa de la Cruz and, the moderator, Anna Jarzab. It was nice to hear Richelle and Melissa talk about their movie news and the whole process especially since Melissa had such an up and down experience with a tv spot that went with The Vampire Diaries instead. I loved hearing their writing processes especially since these authors are superstars and they had different answers for things! I especially love that Melissa’s latest book Frozen is written by her and her HUSBAND. I LOVE IT. She also said that he helped write the Blue Bloods series too! I’m not sure Will and I could ever do that together — you know — if he liked to write! Then Penguin so nicely provided us with some copies of their books which I’ll share in my book haul!

Anna, Richelle & Melissa

Anna, Richelle & Melissa

Book Blogger Picnic

The lovely Alexa and Andrea planned a book blogger picnic in Central Park and it was a really laid back time to really get to talk to other bloggers in a SERENE and non-crazy setting which was very much welcome at this point for me. I really hope this becomes an annual event because it was fabulous and I really loved being able to have more than a 2 second conversation with people as happens on the Expo floor — unless you are in line with them.

with Isa & Vanessa of Book Soulmates <3

Day 5 — Saturday

I ended up NOT going to the Expo floor because it just didn’t work out and I was pleased with getting the titles I was most excited about! However, I had an AMAZING brunch with the team at Bloomsbury! I had met Erica prior but it was really nice to sit down with Bridget and Katy and talk about books they are really excited for (all things Trish Doller (you know I am too), Starry Nights, Dead Ends & Wild Cards). It was such a nice informal brunch (with amazing doughnuts and mimosas!) where we talked about books we were loving, trends, BEA in general and more.



(Photo Credit to Bloomsbury Teen)

After brunch, Anna and Tara and I packed up our room, checked out and headed off to the post office to send off our books from the week. After a Chipotle lunch, I said goodbye to my lovely roomies and then I was off to meet up with Paula — THE FIRST MEMBER OF THE BROKE AND BOOKISH I’VE EVER GOTTEN TO MEET!! After 3 years…FINALLY! She is awesome and adorable and I’m so happy to have gotten to spend time with her before I left! After a goodbye, I was on my way to Penn Station and got my train and I was back home to my husband! YAY!




So that was my BEA experience! I had a really fun time with friends, talked to some great people in publishing but if I go again next year I will probably scale back on my more structured activities I go to! Year 3 of BEA was a good one and it felt nice to really know what I was doing! Next up — I’ll talk about the books I got! I just am trying to figure out how I feel  like doing it so that it’s helpful and also doesn’t take me foreverrrr.

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