THE ONLY THING WORSE THAN WITCHES by Lauren Magaziner

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Today the Class of 2k14 celebrates another book birthday! If you want to read up on all of the books from the Class of 2k14, head on over to our official site. Lots of good stuff going on over there.

Congratulations to Lauren Magaziner on the debut of THE ONLY THING WORSE THAN WITCHES!

About the book:

Roald Dahl meets Eva Ibbotson in this hilarious middle grade debut perfect for reading aloud!

Rupert Campbell is fascinated by the witches who live nearby. He dreams of broomstick tours and souvenir potions, but Rupert’s mother forbids him from even looking at that part of town. The closest he can get to a witchy experience is sitting in class with his awful teacher Mrs. Frabbleknacker, who smells like bellybutton lint and forbids Rupert’s classmates from talking to each other before, during, and after class. So when he sees an ad to become a witch’s apprentice, Rupert simply can’t resist applying.

But Witchling Two isn’t exactly what Rupert expected. With a hankering for lollipops and the magical aptitude of a toad, she needs all the help she can get to pass her exams and become a full-fledged witch. She’s determined to help Rupert stand up to dreadful Mrs. Frabbleknacker too, but the witchling’s magic will be as useful as a clump of seaweed unless Rupert can figure out a way to help her improve her spellcasting—and fast!

The Only Thing Worse than Witches is published by Dial.

About Lauren:

Lauren Magaziner is a recent graduate of Hamilton College. She lives in Brooklyn, New York and works in children’s publishing. Find her online at http://laurenmagaziner.com.

 

Where to buy the book:

Amazon
IndieBound
Barnes & Noble
Book Depository

Win an advanced copy of NOW THAT YOU’RE HERE!

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NowThatYoureHere_AmyKNichols_smOn December 9, my debut novel, NOW THAT YOU’RE HERE, will be released into the wild, available for everyone to read.

Don’t want to wait that long? Complete these simple (and sometimes silly) steps to enter to win an advanced copy!

The winner will be announced on Tuesday, August 19. Good luck!

Enter Giveaway Here

San Diego Comic-Con 2014 Recap

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I got back from San Diego Comic-Con Sunday night. Here it is Wednesday morning and I’m just starting to feel human again.

This was an interesting year for me at SDCC. I might even go so far as to call it pivotal. Not to wax philosophical, but I learned a lot about humanity this year. And about myself.

The biggest highlight was Random House giving out advanced copies of NOW THAT YOU’RE HERE at their booth. That was a real milestone. I was able to sign a few of those ARCs for people as well, which was a total blast. Blows my mind to think in just a few months my book will actually be out in the world.

Another highlight was the friends I made over the course of just a few days. This year I befriended two awesome guys who write for Bleeding Cool, a stem cell biologist, a geography professor, a producer for Disney, an opera singer, an astrophysicist. Really wonderful and generous people. I even camped out with some of them overnight on a sidewalk to get into Hall H for the Hobbit and Marvel panels. Nothing quite as bonding as sharing sidewalk space for 12+ hours. I really hope to see them again next year.

And then, of course, there were the celebs. I got to see Benedict Cumberbatch, had a very brief and funny encounter with Guillermo del Toro, got a photo taken with Adam Baldwin, met Stampy Longnose (my kids freaked out!). Just awesome all around.

There were a couple of things that happened this year that opened my eyes to the uglier sides of humanity, too, and brought up a lot of conflicting emotions inside. Through these situations I learned I’m stronger than I think. They also made me examine how much I’m willing to allow people to hurt me with their words and actions. My instinct is always to extend kindness in the face of inconsiderate and critical people. I learned some valuable lessons this year on protecting myself, protecting others, knowing where lines are and to stand up for myself when they’ve been crossed. I may blog more about this later. Not sure.

Despite that (or perhaps in light of it), I had a great time at SDCC14. Here is a gallery of photos I took along the way. (The Avengers pics are blurry, sorry. The place was insane. And I may have been shaking.)

Tomorrow I’m off to LA for the SCBWI conference, and I’ll have lots to say about that when I get back. In the meantime, hope you enjoy these photos.

Get your ARC of NOW THAT YOU’RE HERE at SDCC!

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NowThatYoureHere_AmyKNichols_smHey everyone! Sorry it’s been soooooooper quiet around here. There has been so much going on, and I have loads to tell you. But it’s going to have to wait, because I’m literally going out the door right now to travel to San Diego for Comic-con!

*kermit flail*

I wanted to tell you really quickly, though, some exciting news:

The Random House booth (#1515) will be passing out free advanced copies of NOW THAT YOU’RE HERE during SDCC!

*double kermit flail*

If you’re at comic-con, be sure to stop by and get your copy. And then, feel free to tweet me at @amyknichols and I will happily sign it for you.

More when I get back!

My Encounter with a Creeper at a Con

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creeper
This creeper is cute. The other kind is not.

I encountered a creeper at Phoenix Comicon this weekend. I wish it had been the cute, boxy green kind that goes, “Ssssss…BOOM!” But it wasn’t. It was the other kind.

Even as I type this I’m not sure I want to post this. But there has been a lot of talk recently about conventions and harassment policies, so I keep thinking maybe my story belongs in that dialogue somehow? I don’t know. I’m just going to keep typing and see what happens.

So, this weekend was Phoenix Comicon, which is an awesome convention that you should totally check out if you haven’t already. This year had an incredible lineup, record turnouts of attendees and was just overall a really amazing time.

Phoenix Comicon has an anti-harassment policy that is easy to find on its website. One of the items listed is “Unwanted touching without permission of the individual such as glomping, hugging, etc.” Which, when I think about it, is just common decency. Common sense. Or at least should be.

You have to take two escalators to get from the main floor of the Phoenix Convention Center downstairs to the exhibit hall. Sunday, the last day of the con, I stepped onto the first escalator and put my hand on the rail. The man behind me put his hand on the rail, too, in such a manner that it rested against my arm. My reaction (which all happened in a fraction of a second) went something like this:

“What the heck? Why is he doing that? Does he have freakishly long arms? Eww. He’s touching me.” And I took my hand off the rail. His stayed.

It felt a little like the wrestle over the armrest at the movie theater or protecting your leg space on a cramped subway seat.

When I came to the end of the first escalator and walked the few feet to the next escalator, I noticed the guy behind me do this sort of wide turn to try to position himself next to me. There was no way I was about to share a step with the guy, so I made myself bigger than I am and guarded my space. Problem solved.

Or so I thought.

He stood behind me, slightly to my right, and leaned against me. I looked down and saw that his feet were hanging–literally–half way over the step he was on.  

Now I was pissed.

I turned my face toward his direction (because of the incline I couldn’t see his face) and very loudly said, “Back. Up. NOW.”

I wish I could describe the giggly laugh noise he made. High pitched. Kind of squeaky.

He knew what he was doing. And he knew he’d been caught.

At the end of the escalator, I stepped off and got as much distance from him as I could. (I’m a ninja when it comes to crowd surfing.) Half a minute later, he couldn’t have caught up to me if he’d tried. I entered the exhibit hall and went on my way, albeit a little wiser.

This was the first time something like this had happened to me. Well, at a con. There have been other incidents in my life (that I’m not going to divulge here) that taught me early on that it’s almost disgustingly inevitable as a female to experience unwanted physical contact with creepers; and also that it can be very difficult to be taken seriously when you share what’s happened. That’s been my experience at least.

So I went into the exhibit hall. And I didn’t say anything.

To be honest, I didn’t really think to. I’d handled the situation pretty well, I thought. Given his position behind me and my recent training in karate, I could have done some damage to his nether regions with an outside block or an elbow jab. But instead I used my voice, and that–thankfully–did the trick.

Today I’ve been reliving all the incredible events from the con as I go about my re-entry into normal life. Meeting amazing people, having incredible conversations with some authors that I’ve long admired, all the sights and sounds that make a convention the thing we all love. But then the memory of the escalator creeper popped up and I realized again what had happened. It made me wonder if it had happened to other women over the course of those four days. I bet it did.

I wish now I’d said something to one of the security staff.

It would have been difficult, given the size of the crowd coming off that escalator and not having a really good idea what he looked like. (Light blue t-shirt, dark hair, maybe a mustache.)

Still. I should have tried.

So, I’m glad I’m posting this here at least. That I’m using my voice and sharing what happened. The thing about an encounter like that is it brings up all the ickiness from previous encounters and becomes a thing that you have to deal with again, even years later. And that SUCKS.

It makes me angry that I have to make myself bigger than I am and bark orders at someone to keep myself from having a full-body lean on by some strange guy.

Like, think about that for a second.

And my story is nothing compared to what some women go through.

So, #yesALLwomen because, while I love what I’m learning in karate, I hate that my motivation to learn it at all was because I need to know I can defend myself in any situation.

And #yesALLwomen because I have a daughter and I hate thinking of her having to go through some of the stuff I have in the past with unwanted encounters and domineering men.

And #yesALLwomen because damn it, I should able to go to a con in my home town and not have to deal with that kind of crap.

Next time, I’m using the well-placed elbow jab.