Friday, February 27, 2009

Confidence Part Deux

You'll probably find this blog entry already all over the interweb, and even though I am not a bandwagon kind of girl, sometimes the music its playing is just up my alley. This time it's 1940's swing music, which is just my favourite, so I couldn't help but jump on board as it passed.

Thus ends my extended metaphor.

Anyway . . .

The always "tell it like it is" J A Konrath has a great post about the difference between confident writers and delusional writers. I would like to add that all his examples tie in nicely with my personal slight obsession with "thoughtfulness" (see blog entry on said topic here). It's a really nice straightforward post and pretty darn apt.


I really like saying the word apt, and making sure the "T" sound is clear.


I am pleased as punch to announce that Timothy and the Dragon's Gate has finally been reviewed by Publishers Weekly (it's been a crazy time for everyone, including PW), and I have to say, it was well worth the wait. They seem to whole heartily approve of the book's existence, and call it both "action packed" and "a spirited follow-up". To read the full thing check it out here, but be warned there is a bit of a spoiler in it.

Monday, February 23, 2009

The launch . . .

. . . was a success!! Huzzah! Thanks in no small part to my amazing parents, Cynthia and Flemming Kress. They had been working on this thing for weeks, sending out invites, printing flyers, getting the food all ready, buying the decorations . . . seriously, the event would not have been half so wonderful without all their help.

It also wouldn't have been half so wonderful if Wendy and Liana from Indigo Books at Yorkdale hadn't been quite so enthusiastic in their help. This was the second time Wendy has launched a book of mine in her department and she is just amazing. If there is anyone out there who loves kids books more . . . well I'm afraid I just can't picture such a person.

I got to the store with my Mom around 1pm, where my dad had been guarding the decorations since that morning. Yorkdale you see is a HUGE mall in Toronto, the weekend a very popular time to shop, and Indigo a very popular store - there was concern the decorations might not make it to the launch if someone wasn't protecting them. The decorations were fantastic. Behind the book signing table they had hung two rows of tiny Chinese lanterns, and framed the table with these awesome red and black pirate balloons. Actually the balloons served as a bit of a bread crumb trail as my parents had strategically placed them from the entrance downstairs along a route that led to the stairs, at the top, and then ta-da! The children's book section!

The entrance to the children's book section has this convenient arch. One could call it rather gate-like. And seeing as my book has a fair bit to do with gates, it seemed only appropriate that my parents hang a red Chinese dragon in the archway along with another lantern. They also made a big sign with a picture of yours truly on it, and placed it at the side.

The food was fantastic. There were these awesome cupcakes with red icing and a chocolate coin in the top of each, and a cake with the cover of my book somehow copied onto the top in icing. The cake making technology available these days is astounding. We also had juice for the kiddies . . .and me . . . and coffee for the grownups. My friend Heather (yes THE Heather from Alex) had also shown up early and she took it upon herself to be in charge of the food, embodying her character from Alex extremely well in making sure only people who were coming to the launch got a cupcake . . . or piece of cake.

At around 1:30pm my pirates showed up. Yup I had pirates again this year. Different pirates. Yup. I know enough people who are willing to dress up as pirates that I don't need to repeat the same ones. My social circle is just that awesome. They were so fantastic, they mingled, and got everyone's attention when it was time to do the reading. Also Kevin (the male pirate) was followed upstairs by a bunch of teenagers wanting a picture with him. Yup not only do I have pirates, I have hot, teenage girl approved, pirates.

The place was packed by 2pm, and I was so thrilled because to be honest I had no idea if anyone was going to come. But it turned out I was worried for nothing. Friends and family showed up, making me all emotional like usual. Sue Plant and Mark Fillator from Scholastic came in a show of support, and we even managed to engage the interest of some book shoppers passing by.

Wendy introduced me with a lovely speech, and then I came forward and spoke. I read a bit from the eleventh chapter, which is a pretty action filled moment, and aside from stumbling over a few words I think it went pretty well. I like to act out my readings, and by the end was really getting into it. Maybe a little too into it . . . ? Nah, no such thing.

And then it was time to sign books, which was awesome, and again overwhelming. We sold out. Made me a bit sad as some people didn't get a chance to get one. And then . . .

It was all over.

But it was an awesome time and . . . I have pictures!!

Poster for the launch.

Me and Wendy

Me and Wendy . . . and pirates!

Heather at her post at the food table. Note the cake and pretty cupcakes!

My awesome cake!

Me cutting my awesome cake . . . with pirates!

Charlie enjoying a cupcake, while his sister Ariel (right) and his mom wait patiently for yours truly to start reading.

Me reading. With a LOT of enthusiasm.

Emma and Stella not quite sure what to make of my enthusiasm.

A nice long shot of the event. With me still reading enthusiastically.

Crowd applauding appreciatively . . . for my enthusiasm. I hope.

Signing books!

Signing . . . books . . .

Yet more . . . signing books . . . for a very cute kid in pink!

Me and my friend Emily - who is featured in Timothy, and is also responsible for taking most of the pictures in this blog entry (the rest were taken by my dad).

Lesley Livingston - author of the amazing YA urban fantasy Wondrous Strange.
Smiling enthusiastically.

Me and Rob Weston standing under the dragon's gate. He's the author of the awesome middle grade rhyming novel Zorgamazoo.

Me and Heather. She isn't an author. But she is still totally awesome (also a great actress). And no, despite the fact that we are both brunettes with bangs, we are not sisters. Though many people thought so that day.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Book Launch this Sunday!

Timothy and the Dragon's Gate Book Launch
Sunday February 22
2 pm
Indigo Bookstore, Yorkdale Mall, Toronto
Reading and Signing

Yes it's that time again! As you all know, Timothy and the Dragon's Gate came out in January and now I am celebrating its existence officially with a launch party! This means a heck of a lot to me, and I really do hope people will come. It's mid-day this Sunday, only a couple hours, free snacks, a reading and signing by yours truly, what could be better?!

Also, FYI, the event is totally kid friendly, in fact the whole reason I'm doing it on the weekend in the afternoon is so that they can attend, so please do bring along any kids you might happen to know!

I do hope you all can come! Truly.

BTW, I should remind people arriving by car to give yourselves PLENTY OF TIME... or take the subway... as it is YORKDALE ON A SUNDAY!

"Kress employs a deceptively casual tone, an ease that belies the complexity of her prose style. . . Timothy and the Dragon’s Gate
is an old-fashioned tale, being told by a gifted storyteller. . ."
Quill and Quire, starred review


With a father who can’t control him and a mother who is always out of town, Timothy Freshwater has finally been expelled from the last school in the city. As if that were not enough, events conspire to ensnare him in an ancient quest.When he meets Mr. Shen, a mysterious Chinese gentleman who is a mailroom clerk at his father’s office, Timothy finds himself deeply entrenched in a rescue operation centuries in the making.

It turns out that the diminutive, elegant Mr. Shen is a dragon, banished and forced to take human shape for a thousand years until he can resume his true form by scaling the Dragon’s Gate during a festival for the 125th year of the dragon. Until that time, he is sentenced to enslavement by the holder of the golden key. It is, of course, Timothy who finds himself the latest keeper of Mr. Shen. The boy too smart for his own good is reluctant to assume the task, but tackles the challenge, after being stalked by a stealthy ninja and chased by a menacing trio of black taxicabs. When Mr. OR_8">Shen falls into the wrong hands, Timothy is flailing in treacherous waters, literally. And then a strange-looking black brig with red sails, called, for some reason, the Ironic Gentleman appears on the horizon.

Relying on his own ingenuity and an annoying new ally, a girl called Alex, Timothy must face up to his responsibilities and rescue the dragon from a fleet of Chinese pirate junks. Above all, he must have enough faith in himself to take on that fleet’s commander, the Man in the Beige Linen Suit.

" . . . the tale’s snarky dialogue, sudden twists, authorial asides and daffy characters will keep readers turning the pages." - Kirkus

"An exciting read that's action-packed from cover to cover." - KH, The Magazine

"Kress has the knack of writing child characters who could be my next-door neighbors . . . Like 'Alex and the Ironic Gentleman', 'Timothy and the Dragon’s Gate' charmed me into staying up way too late to finish it. No syrup here. Instead, there’s adventure, derring-do, attitude, and danger. All wrapped up in a clever and fascinating take on the reluctant hero, courage, loyalty, and—of course—dragons." - Alice Loweecey,

Monday, February 16, 2009

My Photoshoot - part deux!

While I know I like to go into every small detail of every new experience I experience here on this blog, sometimes nothing can truly replace pictures. In this case, moving pictures.

I mentioned in the previous photoshoot post that there was a film crew on set of the Toro photoshoot I did last month, and now the behind the scenes video is up on the site. I quite like it (though I think I look goofy as always), and the photographer Franco says some lovely things about me - then again, I'm not sure what else he could have said . . ."This was the worst photoshoot I've ever done, Adrienne is a total diva, unmanageable, and can't take a decent picture to save her life" ? I don't think so. But that would have made for a very unique video. . .

At any rate, check it out here!

Also I should point out that "the guy" who interviewed me for the article (which has been garnering just as much praise as the photos btw) did get a little grief from his staff after I referred to him as "the guy" in my blog entry. Considering "the guy" was William Morassutti, the co-founder and Executive Producer of Toro, it does seem a bit absurd to refer to him as such. Besides, he's friends with actor Enrico Colantoni who I just adore (you know how in the interview I mention my favourite quote from Galaxy Quest? Enrico plays the lead alien dude, Malthesar), so that makes him extra cool! So people at Toro, stop teasing the guy, I mean, William!

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Timothy's Starred Review in Quill & Quire

Um . . . well the title basically says it all. I am sooooooo happy with this review, it's eminently quotable, and for a little ego boosting I have to confess the sentence "Kress employs a deceptively casual tone, an ease that belies the complexity of her prose style" is just so many different levels of awesome.

Here's an excerpt. To read the full thing please check it out at Quill & Quire here! Special thanks to reviewer Robert J. Wiersema (a fine author in his own right). Seriously. Thank you.

" . . . That’s the set-up for Timothy and the Dragon’s Gate, the enthralling and impressive new novel from Toronto writer, actor, and teacher Adrienne Kress. Set in the same whimsical (and often surprisingly violent) universe as her debut, Alex and the Ironic Gentleman, Kress has crafted an engrossing tale laced subtly with its own set of valuable lessons – ones she is careful never to oversell. Timothy and the Dragon’s Gate might be about growth and selflessness and generosity, but kids don’t want to read that stuff: they want stories about pirates, ninjas, epic battles, sewer chases, and dragons, which Kress delivers in spades. . . "