Silicon Valley Comic Con Returns!

Silicon Valley Comic Con  brings together America’s two greatest superheroes: Pop Culture and Technology. Presented by Steve Wozniak and featuring top celebrities, comics, independent artists, cosplay, video games, consumer electronics, music and apps, Silicon Valley Comic Con is where entertainment and our electronic worlds intersect.
SVCC has become a favorite of mine thanks to the mash-up of science, comics, movies/tv, and tech! The con basically embodies the best parts of Silicon Valley. Last year, the NASA panels and display stole the show and my heart so I was thrilled to attend again this year.


Of course, I couldn't do it without a little cosplay. This year I did an everyday cosplay of Kate Bishop, resident Hawkeye and smartass that I can't get enough of.

Besides spending time at the NASA booth learning about the GeneLab (WHYYYYY didn't I stick with the biology/genetics degree? So cool!), I went to three panels and had my Rise of the Black Panther comics signed.


Getting to know Evan Narcisse was such a treat. Marvel is DOING THE THING and by doing the thing I mean inviting passionate people to do the projects we all want. Rainbow Rowell is writing Runaways because she loves them and she writes for teens and Evan is basically the biggest T'Challa knowledge base. Rise of the Black Panther is so popular that I couldn't find a physical copy of #1 ANYWHERE.

The first panel I went to was on worldbuilding, moderated by Evan Narcisse and featuring creators from Rogue One, Orphan Black, Halo, Teen Titans, etc...



We also went to a panel on robots and - uh - yeah, bring on the pizza delivery robots.

Then the best part of the day...Evan's panel. I vote we never have panel after panel with white male cishet creators again. This was such a rich discussion and I could have listened way past the hour we got.



SVCC 2019 can't come soon enough but I'll tide myself over with San Diego Comic Con in July ;).

Infamous Crime Fighting Duos Through History in Honor of Digby & Zoe



Hands up if you were/are the biggest Veronica Mars fan. My love for LoVe is never ending, unlike the series that finished up with a movie (and several books). But not to worry - the Trouble series will give any VM fan a taste of mischief, unforgettable characters, and a romance you won’t soon forget. In honor of Digby + Zoe and Veronica + Logan (excuse me but Duncan was NEVER an option but I totally dabbled in #TeamPiz for a bit), we are talking about three infamous crime fighting duos in history.

Infamous Crime Fighting Duos in History


Scully & Mulder


Is there a more iconic crime fighting duo with a romantic twist than our fav alien fighters Scully and Mulder? No, there is not. There’s even a shipping guide if you want to dive straight into the romance side of the pair.

Head on over to our collaboration with Kelly @bookcrushin to see who the others are!

by Stephanie Tromly
Published: April 24th, 2018
Publisher: Kathy Dawson Books

Happily Ever After gets a serious makeover in this swoony, non-stop, thrill-ride of a conclusion to the Trouble Is a Friend of Mine trilogy

No one makes getting into trouble look as good as Philip Digby—and he looks good doing it. Now that he's back in town, he's plunged Zoe (and their Scooby Gang of wealthy frenemy Sloane, nerd-tastic genius Felix, and aw-shucks-handsome Henry) back into the deep end on the hunt for his kidnapped sister. He's got a lead, but it involves doing a deal with the scion of an alarmingly powerful family, not to mention committing some light treason. Zoe and Digby are officially together now, and she's definitely up for whatever closure this new caper might offer, even though this mystery will come with a twist neither expected.

With acerbic banter, steamy chemistry, and no small amount of sarcasm, Zoe and Digby are the will-they-or-won't-they, charismatic crime solving couple you've been waiting for.

Briefing Note - Interview w/ Amie Kaufman + Jay Kristoff

"We wake up to people screaming at us every day." - Amie Kaufman

If you've read any (or all) of The Illuminae Files, you know exactly why that is. It's hard to pinpoint which moment invoked the most intense reaction because LET'S BE REAL - the books are full of the feels. We could have spent 10 minutes screaming obscenities at these two. Instead, we nicely asked questions while screaming inside. Check it out!


OBSIDIO
by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Published: March 13th 2018
Find It

Kady, Ezra, Hanna, and Nik narrowly escaped with their lives from the attacks on Heimdall station and now find themselves crammed with 2,000 refugees on the container ship, Mao. With the jump station destroyed and their resources scarce, the only option is to return to Kerenza—but who knows what they'll find seven months after the invasion? 

Meanwhile, Kady's cousin, Asha, survived the initial BeiTech assault and has joined Kerenza's ragtag underground resistance. When Rhys—an old flame from Asha's past—reappears on Kerenza, the two find themselves on opposite sides of the conflict. 

With time running out, a final battle will be waged on land and in space, heroes will fall, and hearts will be broken.

Near Death, Fast Cars, and the Future - Interview with Andy Marino (Autonomous)



AUTONOMOUS combines social media stakes with jaw-dropping, high-tech action for a road trip saga like no other. The Fast and the Furious meets Stephen King’s Christine in this YA novel about a group of friends and a cutting-edge driverless car (OTTO) that taps into their online profiles, unlocking deep secrets that put the entire group in danger.
Every kilobyte of this group’s digital history is used to entertain (or threaten) them. AUTONOMOUS speaks to the dangers of too much information on social media, and the hype over driverless cars now entering the marketplace.
Interview with Andy Marino 

Autonomous deals with many concerning issues: sex, recreational drug use and suicide. What made you decide to tackle these issues?

Two main reasons. One: it seemed dishonest to write about seventeen/eighteen-year-olds without dealing with real issues kids face at that age. It was my goal to let those things bubble to the surface without getting preachy, heavy-handed, or impossibly dark. 

Two: from a plot standpoint, I wanted the novel to be structured around an escalating series of incidents. There’s the external—the ups and downs of the road trip itself—and the internal—the issues the characters face, and how those issues force personalities to clash in funny and awkward ways. 

What research went into writing Autonomous?

I watched TED talks by driverless car engineers to learn how the cars use LIDAR (basically, radar imaging) to “see” the road and the world around them. We don’t really think about it because driving is second nature, but we’re processing countless pieces of information every time we drive even five minutes to the store. It’s amazing to see that mapped out.

I also read a few academic papers on the possible ways a driverless car might be hacked, which is a pretty crazy rabbit hole to go down. I wanted to learn just enough to be able to put my own spin on the technology, so it could serve the story without getting boring. 

In this book there is a dream car that can do anything and take you anywhere. Is it the car of your dreams? 

No, for the simple reason that I like driving! Even if autonomous vehicles become the norm someday, I don’t think human beings will ever abandon manual driving altogether. There is something great about putting on music and hitting the road, and I don’t think it’s the same experience if you’re just kind of sitting there.

I liked the idea of what our future might hold and the technical advances that occur within your novel. What do you hope carries over into the real world?

I want artificial intelligence to evolve exponentially, so it’s basically indistinguishable from humans. That would obviously be terrifying—there’s a reason it’s the basis for every sci-fi cautionary tale ever—but I can’t pretend like it wouldn’t also be awesome. Maybe just for a minute or two.

What is your favorite book as a teen and why?

I loved Redwall by Brian Jacques, along with many of the books that followed in that series. I read mostly fantasy when I was growing up, so I also have to give credit to Lord of the Rings for capturing my imagination.

How can readers discover more about you and you work?

Website: andy-marino.com
Twitter: andy_marino
Instagram: andyjmarino

AUTONOMOUS
by Andy Marino 
Publisher: Freeform
Published: April 3, 2018

William Mackler is about to go on the road trip of a lifetime. After winning a contest—and nearly dying in the process—he becomes the proud owner of Autonomous, a driverless car that knows where you want to go before you do. #Worthit! To sweeten the deal he gets to pick three friends to go with him on a cross-country trip. For William, a reckless adrenaline junkie, this is the perfect last hurrah before he and his friends go their separate ways after graduation. But Autonomous is more than just a car without a steering wheel. It's capable of downloading all of the passengers' digital history—from the good, to the bad, to the humiliating. The information is customized into an itinerary that will expose a few well-kept secrets, but it will also force William to face some inner demons of his own. Think you know Autonomous? The real question is, how much does Autonomous know about you? This funny, tense, action-packed thriller combines topical social-media-privacy stakes with jaw-dropping high-tech action for a road trip saga like no other.

When Authors and Bloggers Unite: An Interview with Tim Floreen, Author of Willful Machines + More



It goes without saying that book bloggers visualize authors as ROCK STARS. We admire them, are in awe of them,  and in their presence tend to fangirl to levels that we blush at even remembering. It is our mission to help authors in any way that we can, by being  their cheerleader, book pusher and in general get the world to know more about them. That is why Tales of the Ravenous Reader in partnership with NYMBC created this platform in which local authors and bloggers could get together and combine our energies for something amazing.

This year I was partnered with Tim Floreen, author of WILLFUL MACHINES and ANATOMY OF A MURDERER (formerly Tattoo Atlas). Sitting down and interviewing Tim was like chatting with a good friend. It was fun and entertaining and I did not want our interview to end, which is why we kept chatting well past our allotted time and once you meet Tim you will immediately understand why.  So, today I present the highlights of which I hope that you will enjoy. Tim is a genuinely kind person and a great author and I hope this interview gets you to know him a bit better and considering some of his YA novels; WILLFULL MACHINES, ANTATOMY OF A MURDERER or a short story in FERAL YOUTH, the next time you are in search of an interesting novel with a but more substance.

RR: Hello Tim, and thank you for being here today. It is our second year with this event of which you also attended the previous year. What did you enjoy about this platform that made you want to participate in another year? 

TF: I think that it is a great event and the it is in person and that we get to see each other face to face because so much of what we do is online. I feel that I am not very good at self promotion and I think that it is great that bloggers are willing to help us to get the word out.

As bloggers we love to help, either by interviewing, tweeting, instagramming, basically anything that can get the word out. We even have a calendar on Tales of the Ravenous Reader to help people keep track of events and we encourage people to tell us about future events for that very reason. 

RR: Who is the author that you would like to meet and spend some time with, alive or dead?

TF: In terms for as a writer that is writing right now. I would have to say Leigh Bardugo. She was at Y'all Fest and I was too shy to approach her.

RR: Did you realize that she was just here in September?

TF: So listen. She was coming to Books Inc. and I was going to go and get my book signed and then I was contacted to moderate the event but then I realized that I could not because I was going out of town. Obviously I would have loved to I could not. It was so devastating to me. I think she is an amazing writer and I love her writing. I am a Wonder Woman fan and she just wrote the Wonder Woman YA and I also understand that she is a huge WW fan and I won have loved to talk to her about it.

Tim discussed his books, from his writing process to NaNoWriMo and more.

RR: If you could describe your novels in 5 words what would they be. 

TF: Before I answer this I will tell you that the woman that designed my paper back for Willful Machines and the hard cover for Tatoo Atlas. I got to meet her and she is really amazing. She has this thing were she reads the book before and she comes up with a book design after she boils it down to just a few words. And I think it may be five words and she told what the word were for Willful Machines and for Tattoo Atlas and they were both so funny.  For Willful Machines it was: Mystery. Robots. Explostions. Boys Kissing. Yet I cannot remember the one for Tattoo Atlas so I will wing it. Tattoo Atlas: Can Evil Be Cured? Plus a little kissing. LOL!! I think that works.

RR: What do you hope that your readers get from your books?

TF: My hope, most importantly is that people are entertained and that it also gives people something to think about and as a third goal my books all tend to have gay male main characters and I want to write the kind of book I would have loved to read as a young person. The book that wasn't available to me and I am hoping that there are kids that read my books and see themselves reflected there. I deliberately to not to write books that are issue books. I want anyone to be able to pick it up and enjoy it and think of it as a great story that happens to have a gay main character in it. Most importantly it is always good to tell a great story.

RR: What is your writing process like?

TF: I always like to talk about this because there was this thing that was actually born in the Bay Area called NaNoWriMo. So, I had been writing short stories for a long time and had dabbled in writing something more but had not taken the plunge. Then I finally had the courage to write my first novel when I heard about National Novel Writing Month and it was nearing the end of October and I decided to participate and that way I forced myself to go for it. By nature I am the kind of writer who if I had my own why I would make every sentence perfect before moving on and with NaNoWriMo that is impossible and it forced me keep going and pour it all out on paper. I then went for it and wrote 2,000 to 2,500 a month and by the end of the month I had a rough draft of my first books. It was terrible but it was something to start with and it was actually better than what I thought it would be. When I went back to the beginning I had a lot more that was usable than I had thought and it was a sketch then I spent a year and a half revising it and it was the book I sent out and was able to get an agent with it. Every book that I have written since then I have used that method. It doesn't always happen in November but I take one month to write the rough drat and I write it as fast as I can just to get something down and then I go back and revise.

RR: Do you have a word count that you strive to stick to?

TF: At the end of the month I have 50,000 words minimum to win NaNoWriMo and so It works out to roughly 2,000 words per day, usually. I usually have a page number or word count number - word count number that keeps me going. People talk about how writing is about inspiration and I think that is true, but you cannot wait for inspiration to strike  and you have to be able to keep writing even if you are not feeling inspired and for that to work for me makes me strive for a word count. Sometimes it's not so good and sometimes I feel really good about the work I have done that day. The  only way to do it is by sitting your but in the chair. 

RR: Do you write your books in sequential order?

TF: When I am starting out and making notes sometimes I'll start getting into scenes and writing them out. When I actually am writing a draft I write it out sequentially. I am a plotter and I have to know where the story is going. So I usually have a rough draft. There my be changes during the process.  

RR: Do you have a specific time of day in which you like to write?

TF: I didn't initially but nowadays I do because I have two young kids at the house and it is just too distracting. I will go to the library and there is actually a library in San Francisco that I go to. It is not a public library it is the Mechanics Institute Library and it's like a great resource and for $100 a year you can go to this library that is really beautiful and it has WiFi. It's quiet and it has a good amount of table and chairs. Everything you need basically and I just go there and I just write. I take a break in the middle of the day, exercise and have some lunch and then I return and get to it again. It feels good to me because it makes me feel as if I am going to work. It gives me some structure. That said my schedule can be unpredictable with the girls and because of that I find that my writing time is really, really precious. I steal every chance I get. 

AND WE ARE THANKFUL FOR THOSE MOMENTS! Thank you Tim for being so wonderful and please forgive my lateness in posting this, but you made this so delightful. I hope to see you again soon and cannot wait for the day when you finally meet Leigh in person.

We got a bit off topic and then proceeded to talk about pod casts, audiobooks and the fact that I listen to them at triple speed. LOL!




WILLFUL MACHINES

In the near future, scientists create what may be a new form of life: an artificial human named Charlotte. All goes well until Charlotte escapes, transfers her consciousness to the Internet, and begins terrorizing the American public.

Charlotte's attacks have everyone on high alert—everyone except Lee Fisher, the closeted son of the US president. Lee has other things to worry about, like keeping his Secret Service detail from finding out about his crush on Nico, the eccentric, Shakespeare-obsessed new boy at school. And keeping Nico from finding out about his recent suicide attempt. And keeping himself from freaking out about all his secrets.

But when the attacks start happening at his school, Lee realizes he's Charlotte’s next target. Even worse, Nico may be part of Charlotte’s plan too.

As Lee races to save himself, uncover Charlotte’s plan, and figure out if he can trust Nico, he comes to a whole new understanding of what it means to be alive ... and what makes life worth living.



ANATOMY OF A MURDERER (formerly titled TATOO ATLAS)


A teenage sociopath is “fixed” after he gets an implant that’s supposed to cure him in this thrilling coming-of-age tale from the author of Willful Machines.

A year ago, Rem Braithwaite watched his classmate Franklin Kettle commit a horrific crime.


Now, apart from the nightmares, life has gone back to normal for Rem. Franklin was caught, convicted, and put away in juvenile detention for what he did. The ordeal seems to be over.


Until Rem’s mother selects Franklin as a test subject for an experimental brain procedure intended to “cure” him of his cruel and violent impulses. Suddenly Rem’s memories of that day start coming back to the surface. His nightmares become worse than ever. Plus he has serious doubts about whether his mother’s procedure will even work. Can evil really just be turned off?

Then, as part of Franklin’s follow-up testing, he and Rem are brought face to face, and Rem discovers…Franklin does seem different. Despite everything, Rem finds himself becoming friends with Franklin. Maybe even something more than friends.


But when another of their classmates turns up dead, Rem’s world turns upside-down yet again. Franklin insists that he’s innocent, that he’s cured, but Rem doesn’t know what to believe. Is someone else responsible for this new murder, or is Franklin fated to stay a monster forever? And can Rem find out the answer to this question before the killer, whoever it is, comes after him too? 



TIM FLOREEN


Tim Floreen writes young adult fiction. The New York Public Library named his first novel, Willful Machines, one of the best teen books of 2015, and in a starred review, Kirkus called it "gothic, gadgety, and gay," which is an accurate assessment. Booklist called his second novel, Tattoo Atlas, "incisive, startling, and intense."
One of Tim's very earliest memories involves sitting on the floor in front of the television and staring in awe at a raven-haired, star-spangled Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman. He went on to spend much of his childhood running around in a paper tiara and bracelets and tying up his grandma with his “magic lasso.” When not doing that, he was developing crushes on his Masters of the Universe action figures and memorizing the entire libretto of Les Misérables (including all the talky parts between the songs). Also, he read a lot and wrote a lot.
After majoring in English at Yale, Tim moved to California and had some Life Experiences, including working as an assistant accountant on the crew of the film Titanic (long story), becoming a yoga teacher (which is actually required by law in the state of California), getting punched in the face while a contestant on The Price Is Right (again, long story), and ONCE ACTUALLY SHAKING LYNDA CARTER'S HAND.
Having filled his Life Experience quota, he went back to school, earning a master’s degree in creative writing at Boston University. He now lives in San Francisco with his partner, their two cat-obsessed daughters, and their two very patient cats. His recollection of the words to Les Miz and his adoration of Wonder Woman remain fully intact.


BLOGGERS LOVE AUTHORS EVENT 2018



Last month a group of amazing local authors, book bloggers, and NYMBC got together to demonstrate how we can all work together to help one another. It was a great day filled with good times, fascinating interviews and hope that we are all now better connected.

Larry Barry & Jaws - What? (Interview w/ Gordon Jack, Author of The Boomerang Effect!) + GIVEAWAY


When I first met Gordon Jack, I could tell he is full of heart. I mean, he's a high school librarian. That job requires someone who loves teens and understands them. His sense of humor coupled with his clear passion for youth come out so clearly in The Boomerang Effect that I couldn't wait to chat with him about it at our second annual Bloggers <3 Authors event in partnership with Books, Inc! Check out what MC Lawrence would have for lunch, what book terrified Gordon from childhood, and how he single-handedly caused the 2016 election to go awry (and how he's planning to fix that for midterms!). Add The Boomerang Effect and Your Own Worst Enemy to your bookshelves, and remember: Never Never James Patterson. 😂


THE BOOMERANG EFFECT 
by Gordon Jack
Published: November 8th 2017
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: I bought it!
Find It

It all started with a harmless prank. But now high school junior (and resident stoner) Lawrence Barry is one step away from reform school unless he participates in a mentorship program. His mentee? Spencer Knudsen, a Norwegian exchange student with Spock-like intelligence but the social skills of the periodic table. 

Then disaster strikes—Homecoming week. When someone dressed as the school Viking mascot starts destroying the fairy tale–inspired floats, all suspicion falls on Lawrence. Add to the mix a demon Goth girl named Zoe, a Renaissance LARPing group, an overzealous yearbook editor, and three vindictive chickens, and Lawrence soon realizes that his situation may be a little out of control. But Spencer seems to have some answers. In fact, Spencer may be the one friend Lawrence never knew he needed.



GIVEAWAY

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HOT TO TROT: HOT DADDY by Lila Monroe EXCERPT

     

Thank you for joining us today for our excerpt post for HOT DADDY by Lila Monroe. A smoking hot billionaire, thigh clenching sex and a relationship that is doomed to go down in flames, what is not to love? Check out the excerpt that we have for this new release and we know you will be hooked.




Playboy CEO, Cal McAdams, lives life in the fast lane: hot women, hotter deals, and… a fake fiancee? I signed on to help reform his reckless image and win custody of his god-children, but I wasn’t expecting to come face-to-face (and mouth-to-mouth) with my wild Vegas hook-up from three years ago.

AKA, 6”3 of tanned muscle, sharp suits, and ‘undress me’ eyes.
AAKA, the best thigh-clenching, bed-shaking sex of my life.
AAAKA, the man who couldn’t be more off-limits if he had a uranium belt wrapped around his, um, assets. 

I’ve never been one to break the rules, but Cal has me wanting to rip them up - and roll around naked on the scrap paper. But with just three weeks to turn this bachelor into a DILF, can we keep our crazy chemistry from derailing his plans? Or will gold-digging relatives, rambunctious pre-teens, and a little thing called love leave us both crashed out of the race? 

Find out in the new sexy, hilarious romantic comedy from Lila Monroe!


Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon AU | iBooks | Kobo | B&N




    EXCERPT

CAL POV
I bring the rest of the dirty dishes over to the sink, and we work in companionable silence for a few minutes, Jules rinsing plates before handing them to me to set in the dishwasher.
See? Nothing sexy about dirty dishes.
“Great stacking, Cal,” she says, looking surprised.
“What, you think I don’t know how to load a dishwasher?” I make a face. “I’m not completely useless.”
“Well, no,” she allows, tilting her head to the side. “Not completely.”
“Oh, you think you’re funny,” I say, reaching over to dip my fingers in the suds before flicking them in her direction.
“I am,” she says, flicking me back. “And don’t start.”
“Start what?” I ask, reaching over and splashing more. But this time, the water hits her square on, soaking her T-shirt so the thin cotton goes translucent. Clinging to her curves, and the outline of her bra.
Okay, so apparently dirty dishes can get sexy, after all.
Jules clears her throat and grabs a hooded sweatshirt from the back of a chair and pulls it on—zipping all the way to her chin. “You good to finish in here?” she asks, looking flustered.
I nod. Down, boy. “You go put your feet up.”
“You don’t have to ask twice.”
Jules exits the kitchen, fast, and I sigh. Kissing her back at HQ was a massive mistake . . . which left me with a massive hard-on for the rest of the afternoon. I couldn’t help it. Something about Jules is dangerously kissable.
And lickable.
And definitely fuckable.
I scowl at the dishcloths. I’ve never had a problem keeping my hands to myself before, and if I wanted to get a workout, I have plenty of options. I may not be living the wild playboy lifestyle anymore, but that doesn’t mean I’m a monk.
But Jules is off limits.
Which is probably why I’m going crazy over here trying not to notice the way she bites her lower lip when she’s thinking . . . or how her jeans fit way too well.
And if I even let myself start to remember how she felt in Vegas, bucking against me, begging for more—
Fuck, I’m going to need a damn cold shower twice a day at this rate.


 


VERY IRRESISTIBLE PLAYBOY (Billionaire Bachelors #1) – available now. Amazon | iBooks | Amazon UK | Amazon AU | Kobo | GooglePlay              

About the Author

Combining her passions for books, sex, and well-fitted suits, Lila Monroe wrote her first romantic comedy, The Billionaire Bargain, in 2015 and hasn’t stopped since. She loves writing about smart alpha men, and the strong and sassy women who try to tame them.