Sunday, July 21, 2013

Excuses (I have none)

So the last time I blogged was on the 12th.

But I must have a good reason for that, right? Because I said I was going to be better about updating this blog regularly.

The truth is I've been working on my Camp NaNo novel--


I mean, we've been camping, so you know, we've been away from the internet, wrapped up in the great outdoors--

--I mean, you know, mostly wrapped up in the great outdoors. Having some family time, boating, playing board games, having movie nights. You know.

But I mean, the fact that in the past four days or so we have watched Man On a Ledge, Jack the Giant Slayer, all three Matrix movies, Oz, and Despicable Me 2...

That can't have anything to do with it.

I've been busy reading!  Dream Thieves! Of course!


Maybe it's because Maureen Johnson posted a link to this?

Guys, I may have no good excuse for why failed to blog for a while.

All I can really say is that I've been in one of those moods where all I want to do is write, and revise, and get things done...

...but then I just don't.

And I hate it. And it's something I've got to work on...

Which is why I'm going to go write now, and blog better...


I'd ask what time-wasters you find yourself slipping into, but I obviously don't need any more time-wasters.

So maybe what I should ask do you get out of those time-wasters?

Friday, July 12, 2013

Tales From ALA, Part 3: Looking for Lunch

This is the story of how KT and I sought out lunch at ALA.

We figured everything at the food court was going to be crazy expensive, and the lines were crazy long, so we thought it wouldn’t be too crazy to go find food somewhere else in Chicago. After all, this was Chicago. A bustling city. There was bound to be a restaurant or two in the blocks nearest the conference center.

So we started walking. And as we got farther and farther from the parking garage, I finally realized that KT meant for us to walk to a restaurant.

Out loud, I said, “Yeah, makes sense.”

Internally, I started remembering every horror story I had ever heard about girls walking alone in a city.

Understand, I have never been anywhere. I’ve grown up in a series of rural small towns, which I still manage to get lost in because I have the directional ability of a flip-flop.

I figured we were gonna be fine. But I was still a little nervous. Not to mention my tote bag of books was already killing my shoulder.

So we walked. And found nothing. And saw almost no one other than a few conference-goers and a jogger or two. This surprised me.

Later, recounting the story at home, my Dad said the streets were probably empty because everyone else knew enough to stay off of them.

KT checked her phone. “I think there’s a Papa John’s this way.”

Five minutes later. “Oh. I lied. It was in the other direction.”

We kept walking. Decided to go back to the food court after all. Made it to the nearest door back into the conference center…

…and it was locked.

So we continued on around the building, looking for a way in. We wound up near the interstate, walking in a semi-enclosed area, past chugging shuttle buses, back into the parking garage itself.

Cue every horror story I’d ever heard about the awful things that happen in parking garages.

Eventually, we made it to KT’s car, dropped off the books and swag we’d accumulated so far, then found our way back to the conference area.

And the food court, where we paid about $8.50 each for some sandwiches. The food wasn’t bad. And after our prolonged stroll around the conference center, the lines didn’t seem so long after all.

That was probably the low point of the day. And even this low point is pretty amusing in retrospect.

This is the last ALA Tale I have planned. If you were wondering, I am half-way through Dream 
Thieves and going ever-slower in an attempt to put off the end.

If you've got a story about getting lost, I'd love to hear it.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Tales From ALA, Part 2: Book-people Bliss

Again. Before ALA, I had been to one author signing. Gordon Korman. I was nine.

So you can imagine my excitement shortly after acquiring my beloved Dream Thieves ARC, as KT and I got in line for our first author meet. Namely, Holly Black, who was super cool.

We chatted with the writer-librarians next to us in line. They attempted to bring us into the fold, pointing out the benefits librarianeering had for writers, as well as the fact that conferences like ALA were tax-deductible.

We met Marie Lu, and I’d just read and loved Legend two days ago, so it was AWESOME.

We met Alexandria Bracken, and Brian Szelnick. We got free Looking Glass Wars graphic novels signed by Frank Beddor, who I didn’t even know was gonna be there. We happened past a booth giving out free copies of Sure Signs of Crazy, by Karen Harrington, who was signing and seemed quite nice.

In another line, I met some ALA veterans who verified my belief that No one comes to Iowa on purpose.”

THEN WE MET FREAKING TAMORA PIERCE, WHO WROTE SOME OF THE FIRST FANTASY I EVER READ. This epic woman signed for three hours straight at three different booths, with massive lines at each. It was worth the wait. I think she genuinely talked to us more than any other author we met.

And when KT mentioned she was a writer, she BESTOWED WISDOM UPON US.

She wrote “Be legendary” in my copy of Bloodhound.

We stumbled away, awestruck.

I was in bliss.

We bought several books, and acquired many ARCS. Though I’d heard about some shoving and rudeness at other conferences, that wasn’t my experience at ALA. Everyone seemed polite, professional. Some ARCS went fast, but I saw no shoving. That said, I didn’t see everything, and we stayed mostly to one section.

For all I know, I missed a bone-breaking mob over nonfiction titles on the other side of the conference hall.

We walked around basically from nine to five. We took breaks to restack our tote bags and sip water. We listened to impressively-accented readings near the graphic novel sections.

ALA was everything I’d hoped it would be, and everything was happy and nothing hurt, except for my arms from carrying my tote bag.

And the best part?

Dreaming of the day when we’re the ones giving signings, handing out books, and hopefully making some nerdy teenager’s day. 

Been to a bookish event? Know of any near Iowa? Please tell me of any near Iowa. Ahem. If you’ve never been to a conference or a signing, what or who is number one on your Someday list?

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Tales From ALA, Part 1: Much Flailing

Several factors went into my decision to start a new blog. Some of these factors had to do with ALA, the American Library Association conference that took place in Chicago last weekend.

You see, friends, I went to this conference. For one day, exhibition hall only.

Before ALA, I had been to one author signing, and that was Gordon Kormon. I was like nine.

Opportunities like this do not come near Iowa often. I was talking with some ALA-goers in line, and they vehemently agreed, saying “No one ever goes to Iowa on purpose.” Which was true.

And now, not only was I going to my first big bookish event, but I was going with a Twitter friend I’d never met in real life, @_ktsimpson, who lived four and a half hours away. I drove four and a half hours to KT’s dwelling. Since I hate, hate, hate driving and get lost absurdly easily, this was big.

When I met KT for lunch, there was some of the expected awkwardness that ensues when nerds gather together. But we overcame it fairly quickly, and proceeded to have one of the best weekends I’ve ever had. We watched anime! We tweeted each other while sitting in the same room! I dramatically read aloud from random blog posts about ALA survival tips and ways to overcome shyness!

And the next day, we drove another three hours to Chicago. We navigated the parking garage and entered the conference center.

We found our way to the Young Adult-y section of the booths…
…and walked around. With no idea what we were doing.

“How does one tell what is free?”
“What does one do?                                      
I am so confused, KT.

And then, magic happened. I spotted a stack of ARCS--Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater. A smiling woman was handing them out.

I grabbed KT’s arm and dragged her to the table, fluttering my hands in reverence at the glorious stack of books. The smiling woman noticed me, and seemed to grasp from the way I was hyperventilating that I would very much like a book please thank you.

And so, I acquired my first ARC, of the book that I was most hoping to get, by one of my favorite authors.

“This is the last batch, too,” the smiling woman said.

I died, guys. I really died.

Fifteen minutes in, the trip I chose as my only birthday present this year was already worth it.
And there was much more awesome to come.

Looking forward to Dream Thieves? Been to ALA? What was your experience like?

Not-so-silent pages

The last time I tried to blog, I started a writing blog, because--me being a writer--it seemed the logical thing to blog about.

I then realized that same thought goes through the head of almost every writer blogging for the first time.

Restricting my blog to writing talk was not quite as entertaining as expected.

I had less to say about writing than I thought I did.

Using a pun in my blog title was less genius than I thought at the time.

And really, just a combination of other factors that gathered together in back alleys to plot the demise of my blog.

The attempt started rather well, then staggered into failure.
And now, here we are.

It is probably a very, very bad idea to start another attempt on a whim, with little planning, and no particular focus (other than things that I like and hope you like, too). Then again, sometimes the best of things start as bad ideas.

Not to claim this blog will turn into the best of things, but hey. We might get a kick out of it, so let's just start this thing slow and see where it goes.

I'm a young adult fantasy and science fiction writer with multiple series in the works (“in the works” here meaning finished, but not polished and querying-ready yet).

Nineteen years old, Iowan, addicted to books and stories and characters (and manga and nerdy TV shows and the other many wonderments people have brought into the world).

You can easily find me on Twitter as @silent_pages, which is basically the same as this blog except divided into 140-character chunks and posted in real-time.

I've had that username for quite a while, and only recently revealed my in-real-life and slightly-less-cool alter ego, Allison Mulder.

The thing about that username is that I'm actually not very quiet. Not when I'm talking about the things I love. And I love all the awesome that can be encompassed in words on a page.

That's why I like the name/phrase Silent Pages. They can be so much more, and they can be loud.
So, earplugs are in the corner over there if you need 'em, otherwise feel free to join the fangirling, the rambling, and the maybe-I'm-sorry-CAPS-Lock-abusing that's bound to show up here.

Welcome. Glad to see ya'.

--Allison Mulder (Silent Pages)