Archive for April, 2013

Cassandra Clare Book Signing

Last March 21st, 2013, I attended a book signing for Cassandra Clare, author of the Mortal Instruments Series.

Cassandra Clare is one of my favorite YA Fantasy authors so I knew I had to find a way to attend this event. Her book signing was expected to draw a big crowd, so Barnes & Noble decided to make it a ticketed event. Which meant that if I wanted to make sure I was in the first group for signing, I had to go to B&N really early and wait in line.

clockwork series

Luckily, she was going to be signing at Barnes & Noble at The Grove, which just happens to be a 10 minute drive from work. There was already a long line when I arrived there. I waited with other Cassie Clare fans for the store to open.  Twenty minutes later, I purchased my books, got the tickets and rushed to work. Sufficed to say I was late for work (Don’t worry, I made up my missed minutes during my lunch hour), but it was definitely worth it.


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After work, I drove back to The Grove and went straight to Barnes & Noble. Good thing I didn’t have to wait in line, or be all “fan-girly”, alone. Friend, Critique Partner and fellow CBWLA officer Tiffani was there to keep me company.

At around 7:30PM, Cassandra Clare arrived to great fanfare. But she wasn’t alone. With her was actress Lily Collins, who plays her main character Clary Fray in the upcoming movie version.

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Author Cassandra Clare arriving with actress Lily Collins, photo  from

Movie director Harald Zwart was also present.

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Mortal Instruments Director Harald Zwart, photo from


Although Cassandra was there to promote THE CLOCKWORK PRINCESS, her third book in the Clockwork Series, most of the talk centered around The Mortal Instruments Series, and its upcoming movie version.

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The three of them answered questions from the audience about the Mortal instruments movie, and about the characters and the story itself.

There were way too many people there, and Tiffani and I weren’t tall enough (blast my short Asian genes!). So we couldn’t exactly see Cassandra, or Lily or Harald but at least we could hear them over the speakers (sort of).

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Author Cassandra Clare with actress Lily Collins, photo  from


Lily spoke about how fun it was to play Clary, and how it was a struggle to stay in character half the time, because of the funny faces the prop guys were making right in front of her. She spoke about how awesome it was to work alongside Jonathan Rhys Meyers, who was a brilliant and serious actor.

For his part, Harald talked about some of the scenes in the movie, without trying to give much details away.

Cassandra Clare talked about being on the set of the movie. She said it was a surreal experience to see her characters and settings come to life. Her favorite set in the movie was the library set. She loved it so much she hardly wanted to leave!

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Author Cassandra Clare with actress Lily Collins, photo  from


There was a short break before the signing so we could all go back to our original signing lines. Tiffani and I spent the time talking about books and writing.

We had so much fun geeking out. Before we knew it, it was our turn to have our books signed.


Tiffani getting her book signed


Just before we left, one of Cassie’s helpers gave us some free giveaways: A mortal instruments movie poster, a set of Clockwork series postcards and a small Rune button.

me and cassie

It was a thrill to see Cassandra Clare and have her sign our books. But the best part of the evening was being able to chat about books and writing with a fellow bookworm, writer and friend. Thanks, Tiffani!


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Every Wednesday, I feature a writer and his/her workspace.  My aim is to get to know fellow writers better through their workspace and writing habits, and have them  share some of their writing wisdom here.

Today, I am most eager to welcome Sci-Fi and Fantasy author Erin Hartshorn. 

Welcome, Erin!


Tell us a little bit about yourself. What do you do for a living? What genre do you love to write? What are some of your hobbies or interests? Do you have a hidden talent?

erin hartshorn

Sci Fi/ Fantasy Author Erin Hartshorn

I freelance for a living; I’ve had my own business since 2000, doing copyediting, indexing, and proofreading — primarily for publishers, although I’ve done some work for authors as well. For a number of years, I proofread a lot of travel books, which gave me quite a supply of plot bunnies to use in mix-and-match fashion!

I’m not a specialist, though. I’ve worked on everything from biographies to politics to gardening to wine. That lack of specialization spills over into my writing: I don’t confine myself to one genre. I’ve written a cozy mystery (and am working on the second in the series), paranormal romance, science fiction, fantasy, and middle grade fiction. I read all over the map, so it makes sense that I’m interested in writing all over it as well.

When I’m not writing, I still spend a lot of time creating — whether it’s something simple like baking bread or planting more daffodil bulbs, or more complex like knitting a cabled sweater for my son or working on a quilt for my in-laws. My newest pursuit is needle tatting. I’ve made a couple of bookmarks, and I’m working on some edging to use the next time I sew a dress for my daughter.

On Workspace

1.  Where do you do most of your writing?

I do most of my writing at the computer, although I like brainstorming on paper so always have a notebook nearby to jot down ideas and thoughts. Also, my husband gave me an iPad Mini for Christmas, so I now do some short story work on there, especially on weekends when I try to stay off the actual computer. (I’m eagerly awaiting the Scrivener app for iPad so I can easily work on longer projects. I know there’s a way to sync from Plain Text to Scrivener, but I’m too lazy to figure it out.)

Erins desk

 Erin’s workspace


2.  Where did you get your desk?  How did you go about arranging your work area?

We got this computer desk at a furniture outlet. When we were figuring out where to put it, the prime requirements were no glare on the computer screen and not feeling boxed in (in a corner). It sits between the large front window (which means it feels very open) and the stairs with the front door.

3.  What are some important things on your desk?  Are there specific things you need to have around you as you work?

Things I like to have on my desk: a cup of tea (vital!), notepaper and pen, and a dictionary.


4.  What do you love most about your workspace? Do you have any favorite objects on your desk, or things you use often?

I love the window, which lets in lots of light (but no glare on the screen) and lets me see the world at large. It’s also good for giving my eyes a break from staring at the computer monitor all day. Right outside in the front yard is our dogwood tree. In spring, it’s covered with flowers. In the fall, red berries fill the branches (and birds get drunk and smash into the window). This year, we put up a bird feeder that my son made, and we have cardinals and chickadees that visit somewhat regularly.

view outsideThe Bird Feeder 


5. What’s your writing beverage?  What do you love to drink while you’re writing?

Tea, tea, and more tea. Black tea first thing in the morning. Sometimes I’ll switch to oolong or jasmine green tea for late morning and early afternoon. Almost always decaf black tea for the afternoon and evening.

On Writing

1. Who is your favorite author?  Who inspired you to write?

I have a lot of favorites. The first ever author who inspired me to say, “I want to do that, too” was Georgette Heyer. Since then, the number of authors in different genres is too large to readily count.


2. What’s your typical day as a writer like?  Do you have any writing related rituals or quirks?

I don’t really have a typical day. In theory, I put in half an hour to an hour on writing when I sit down at the computer before opening my e-mail or anything else. Actual practice depends on things like whether I’m currently negotiating with clients for new projects, whether I have an impending deadline, and even whether my kids have the day off from school.


3.  Do you write everyday?  How many hours a day do you spend writing?  What are some of your worst writing distractions?

I don’t write every day. I don’t even write every week, although I know that it’s easier to keep writing than to start writing. When I write, time can vary from half an hour sneaked in before jumping into my freelance work for the day to thirteen hours (or more) when I’m nearing the end of a project and I really want to see it completed.

My worst writing distractions? The usual — Facebook, Twitter, writing forums, blogs. The absolute worst is probably Match-3 style games, like Bejeweled Blitz and Fitz.


4. Why do you write?

I write because I have these stories in my head I want to share. I write because it’s one of the ways I create.  write to try to give others hope, to give them new and interesting places to escape to in their imagination, and to maybe give them a smile or two.

5. Any writing tips or techniques or words of wisdom you want to share with us?  How about a favorite writing quote?

The best way to have a completed project is to keep working. And the only way to have something published is to keep going despite rejections. One of my favorite quotes is from Michael Jordan: “I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed.”




Thanks Erin, for giving us a glimpse into your writing life.

Wednesday Writer’s Workspace is an ongoing series, and if you’re interested in being featured here, simply leave me a message in the comment box, and I’ll be sure to email you.


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Spotlight Week Giveaway Winner

Today is the first day of the A-Z Blogfest. I’m skipping this year to focus on rewriting my manuscript, so I’m going to miss out on all the fun and excitement for the month. I’ll still be blogging this April on my usual Monday, Wednesday and Friday schedule.

I wish all the brave A-Z participants good luck and happy blogging!


Now on to my announcement!

Last month, I featured awesome YA Author Beth Revis and her equally awesome Sci Fi trilogy Across the Universe.

So now, I get to award the winner of my Spotlight Week Giveaway!

Congratulations, Beth F!


a Rafflecopter giveaway


You won a SIGNED copy of BETH REVIS’s ACROSS THE UNIVERSE, the first book in her trilogy. I’ll email you soon for details on how you can claim your prize.



 Thanks to everyone who joined! I have Spotlight Week every month, so keep tuned in for more giveaways. :)


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