Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Smart Chicks in San Diego!

The Smart Chicks Kick It Tour came to the gorgeous Encinitas Library last night! The library is ten minutes from my house (yes!) and the panoramic ocean view can't be beat.

In the hall outside the auditorium, the amazing MYSTERIOUS GALAXY, sets up tables and tables of books! Authors at the Encinitas stop were Melissa Marr, Alyson Noel, Kelley Armstrong, Rachel Caine, Rachel Vincent, Carrie Ryan, Margaret Stohl & Kami Garcia, and yours truly.

Let the fun begin! And we did have fun. The fans were awesome and we absorbed their energy! Ha! As you can see below, Margie Stohl absorbed a little extra! Down, Margie, down!

The fabulous Kelley Armstrong explains one of the games we will play with the audience. Yes, we played games! They involved marrying, um, "kissing," and very steep cliffs! But everyone survived.

And there were giveaways! Melissa Marr is about to announce which lucky fan will be killed or kissed (or something else?!) in the Smart Chicks short story collection, Highway to Hell, that will be out next year!

And then it was time to sign and talk to fans. The blurriness of this picture really shows the energy level of this event. The audience was awesome!

Besides signing books, fans brought posters for us to sign that they printed out from the website

And sometimes they even had us sign other things--like their skirts!

For the giveaways, Librarian Goddess Jennifer Lawson, made this zombie to give away with Carrie Ryan's books! Yes, those are screws in its head. That has to be the most adorable zombie I've ever seen.

Anyway, this is just a glimpse of the tremendous enthusiasm from readers, booksellers, librarians, and the authors too! It was totally amazing to see so many people so excited about books and reading.

Oh! And I can't forget the wonderful Vania who has been on the tour too and photographing the events. Here I got a shot of HER for a change! Thanks for all the fun photos Vania! (and all the times you surprised me on the sly ; ) You can find more photos that Vania took on tour here on her twitter page.

And one more thing. Remember how I said that sometimes fans would have "other things" for us to sign? Well, at the LA stop this young man (who was accompanied by his mother) apparently had nothing else for us to sign so he requested that we sign his abs. That's right, ABS. I know I had a really dumbfounded look on my face (it was definitely a first for me) but his mom was smiling and said it would really make his day. So . . .

And down the line he went . . .

I wonder if he showed off his abs at school the next day? Maybe for extra credit in his English class?

Tonight the Smart Chicks Tour is in Naperville, Illinois at Anderson's BookShop. One thing I know for sure is that fun and craziness will reign. If you are anywhere near Anderson's, go!

Thank you Smart Chicks for including me on this tour and for the unforgettable time we had! And thanks to all those who came out to share the fun!



If you've been to a Smart Chicks Kick It tour event so far, well, you already know why I'm saying WOW. It's just been a delight, a party, a traveling circus and a deeply felt connection, all at the same time (at least from my side of the table, and considering the screams and laughter we get from the audience, I think it's the same on that side).

I just finished my last event of the tour - I did Austin, Los Angeles, and San Diego, and each stop was phenomenal and special and wonderful. So many people and so much enthusiasm! You Smart Chicks (AND Smart Guys!) who came out to see us were just amazing - and I know many, many more wished they could have been there but time, distance or life got in the way.

I could gush like the fangirl that I am about what a total delight it was hanging out with these lovely authors ... especially the ones I just met for the first time on this tour. About how delightful it was to see so much passion and enthusiasm from everybody who came out to root us on. About how the booksellers and librarians were so enthusiastic, too, and so patient at handling such overflow crowds.

Most of all, though, I have to save my greatest love note for the founders of this tour: Kelley, Melissa, and Alyson. They're the Iron Women, attending every date, organizing everybody else, and making sure nothing is left undone. They are super authors, and super people, and it's been my great privilege to be part of this inspiring, wacky road show.

As one lovely lady noted to us along the way, it's great for us to be seen supporting each other and enjoying each others' company, because we're showing our fans that we support, help, and cheer each other on -- and hopefully, aspiring artists and fans out there will do the same for each other, too, enriching us all.

So, thank you, fellow Smart Chicks, for the marvelous experience on my stops in the tour. I hope to continue to enjoy your travels for the rest of the stops, at least virtually!

-- Rachel Caine

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


With temperatures topping 110 degrees, Smart Chicks Melissa Marr, Kelley Armstrong, Alyson Noel, Holly Black, Sarah Rees Brennan, and Kimberly Derting were (more than) warmly welcomed by nearly 300 fans who cheered, asked fabulous questions, and even wore sparkly tattoos.

And check out these awesome purple cowboy boot cookies!

Melissa surprised one lucky reader with a brand new, never-before-offered ARC of her upcoming release DARKEST MERCY. Holly wowed the crowds with her Lightning Round (in which the Smart Chicks were forced to answer audience questions at the speed of light). And Sarah dazzled when she showed off her fencing moves…in her skirt and heels.

And in case you missed it, Smart Chick Jackson Pearce even put together a video montage of the event:

We just want to thank the Poisoned Pen Bookstore, the Scottsdale Public Library, and everyone who came out to see us…YOU WERE ON FIRE!!!!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Smart Chicks Video Diary

It's The Smart Chicks' video diary! I'll be posting videos from *almost* every tour stop, including bits of the Q&A sessions, backstage shenanigans, and car ride antics. Check back here or on the YouTube page to see the latest video diary entries!


Friday, September 17, 2010

Smart Chicks in Jackson, Or Sarah Shames the Smart Chicks Forever

So ladies and gentlemen, finally the curtain is drawn back and you see a typical day in the life of the Smart Chicks!

… Well, that was the intention.

After our lovely event in Houston (and to the lady who gave me chocolates, thank you!) Melissa Marr, Kelley Armstrong and I had a flight at six a.m. to Jackson, Mississippi. Six a.m. is not a time that I am at my most coherent, but Kelley intelligently directed me to my new friend, a cinnamon sugar donut.

After communing with my new, delicious friend, I was able to form intelligible sentences. (It hadn’t been going so well before that.)

SARAH: I’m so excited to be going to the proper deep South!
MELISSA: Why so, mumbly cinnamon Sarah?
SARAH: Because I love the South.
KELLEY: But you have never been.
SARAH: But I love Gone with the Wind, and True Blood. So I know what to expect.
MELISSA: So you expect… hoop skirts covered in blood?
SARAH: Yay, Jackson! Can’t wait.

Melissa and Kelley looked sad for me. Sometimes that happens.

Then we arrived in Jackson, and went for brunch. I poured maple syrup on my bacon and used this brain food to come up with an Incredible Idea.

SARAH: You two should co-write a book.
KELLEY & MELISSA; Weeeeell….
SARAH: You could write a romance! Kelley should write the boy’s point of view and Melissa should write the girl’s.
MELISSA: Hey, I can write boy point of view.

I have every faith that she could, but the important thing is that it would be awesome. Support my random crazy ideas: keep asking Melissa and Kelley when they will write their book! I call it the Kellissa book, and speculate that it should involve a sensitive werewolf boy and a biker bar.

Then Holly Black and Cassandra Clare arrived, as is their way, with a troubled tale of automobile accidents and plane chases. We went for a little swim to calm their nerves.

I had not brought my bathing suit. ‘Oh, that is no problem,’ I said airily. ‘I shall simply don some plain black undergarments, and nobody will know the difference!’

Readers, people knew the difference. We were swimming about, and occasionally people dropped by to make slightly puzzling remarks. We thought nothing of it, except that people in the South were friendly.

SOME LADY, EVENTUALLY: I thought you should know that people are staring at you through that big stained glass window. I would not want everybody staring at me if I was in my underthings. Which clearly, young lady, YOU ARE. And EVERYBODY IS.
SARAH: … oh dear.
SECURITY GUARD: So hey, there’s a whole crowd of people watching you at the window. Some are complaining! But I say you can swim around here anytime you like.
SARAH: Yeah… Imma get out of the pool now. Oh my gosh, you guys, have I shamed the Smart Chicks?
HOLLY AND CASSIE: *almost drown laughing*
SARAH: You two are no help.

‘My God!’ you may be saying at this point. ‘What kind of children’s author tour is this? All undergarments all the time, and what about the bookshop event?’

After we told Kelley and Melissa about how I had Shamed the Smart Chicks Forever, we figured it was about time we went to the bookshop.

MELISSA: You have atone for your shame by taking the seat in the back.
SARAH: Are you saying this is the ho chair?
SARAH: Don’t start the car yet, I haven’t done up my ho seatbelt.

We arrived at our event venue, greeted by the lovely Emily of Lemuria Books, who was in charge of us, and by our fellow Smart Chicks authors Alyson Noel and Jessica Verday. Immediately Cassandra ‘Heartless’ Clare regaled Alyson and Jessica with the story of my shame.

Then it was out to our lovely audience, where we celebrated the fact that Cassandra, Alyson and Jessica had all just hit the New York Times bestseller list, Melissa, Kelley and Cassandra gave out prizes, and we were asked all manner of excellent questions!

HOLLY: Five years. I wasn’t sure how to plot a story, so in the first draft the faeries just kind of sat around drinking coffee and experiencing ennui.
ALYSON: Fifteen years.
SMART CHICKS: *collective heart attack*

MELISSA: Write your passion. It’s the only thing you can do, and besides, you research the things you love for fun.

JESSICA: My favourite author is L.J. Smith.
SARAH: Oh my God I love L.J. Smith!
CASSIE: Jane Austen.

Everyone was stealing my favourites. Unfair!

HOLLY: Well, you always have to think about what a character wants.
CASSIE: Holly’s example for this is Voldemort. She always says ‘Voldemort has a two-pronged plan. Kill Harry Potter, take over the world. Two prongs!’
SARAH: Also you have to plan your way out of getting stuck in the middle, otherwise you end up with scenes in the drawing room with Muriel saying ‘I think I’ll be daring and have another scone’ and then ninjas attack because you got bored.
HOLLY: What? Scones? Ninjas? What? You’re not making any sense.

Maybe so, Holly. But I feel that Mississippi understood me.

After that we all signed: Holly was super excited to get to sign copies of the Unicorns vs Zombies, an anthology she edited that is out early, and to meet Rachel and Brianna, who were both Team Unicorn. And I got to talk to lots of people one on one, and ask them if they secretly preferred good characters or bad characters. I have to say Team Evil won by a landslide.

Thanks for having us – thank you to everyone who came - we all had a blast!

Now the Smart Chicks… RIDE ON. Stay tuned for our next adventure. (Hopefully one containing less mention of undergarments.)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Tour Store Signing Policies

It's Kelley.  I was planning a big tour launch, "let's get excited" blog today, then went on the site of one of our tour stops to check something...and discovered a signing policy we hadn't been made aware of.  Checked another, and found another signing policy.  So my fun blog has turned into business, again.

These are taken directly from the store websites.  For stores not listed, I'd like to think that means you're clear, but I'd suggest calling and checking before bringing a bagful of books from home.  And if you are allowed to bring a bagful, please do try to buy some new books from the store.  We need to make this worthwhile for them or they won't want us back!

For general event FAQ, check out my blog here.

BookPeople, Austin
Customers can get the books they brought from home signed as long as they buy one event related book for every book they bring from home. For example, if you bring 2 books from home, you need to buy 2 books (by one or two of the lovely 'Chick' authors visiting that day). 

Blue Willow, Houston

You may bring books from home, but in order to get in the signing line, you must purchase at least one of the author’s books from Blue Willow Bookshop.

Lemuria Books, Jackson

For every book bought from Lemuria that you get signed, you may get TWO books from home signed.

Vroman's, Pasadena
This is actually a "good news" change.  Last week, we'd been advised that the store was taking very limited registration for this and was fully booked.  However, after some discussion, we decided we'd rather hold it outside on the Vroman's Paseo, where attendance is NOT limited.

Anderson's,  Naperville/Chicago
(This one we did know about and have had posted on the site for months) To receive an event ticket to this exciting program, purchase at least one of the authors’ books (OR pay $5).

Okay, so, um, now we can get excited?  Yay, tour!  It's finally here.  Over a year of planning coming to fruition with the first big event in Austin tomorrow!
Tomorrow...?  Oh, crap, I need to go pack...