The first annual PAYA Book Festival on Saturday was so many kinds of awesome, I could hardly contain myself! First of all, I was thrilled to meet wonderful authors like Jon Skovron, Jennifer Hubbard, Amy Brecount-White, Stephanie Kuehnert, Jeri Smith-Ready, and Shannon Delany.

Secondly, the event drew visitors from as far away as Indiana and Virginia, and I got to meet in person The Story Siren, The Page Flipper, Aine’s Realm, Confessions of a Book Addict, Harmony Book Reviews, and more! (I was still connecting real people with their online identities hours after the event … having “Aha!” moments all over the place.) My daughter enjoyed an awesome Teen Writer workshop with authors Kieryn Nicolas and Chelsea Swiggett, while I got to meet blogging friend Christine Danek in person! I also met up again with the lovely people from Haverford’s indie book store, Children’s Book World. They were sporting big smiles because they sold out almost all the books they’d brought. We Hear the Dead was wiped out in under an hour!

And then, of course, nothing beats meeting the readers. Nothing.

Finally, I also scored some prizes for my 100 Blog Follower Celebration! I hit 100 last week (Aine Fey, that was you!) and then continued to top it during the Guess My Character Blogfest and the Giveaway at Aine’s Realm. So, it’s time for A CONTEST!!!

First, the prizes:

A manuscript critique from yours truly

Upcoming new releases from Sourcebooks:
· Beautiful Dead: Arizona by Eden Maguire
· The Secret Society of the Pink Crystal Ball by Risa Green

Signed copies (from PAYA) of:
· Struts and Frets by Jon Skovron
· The Secret Year by Jennifer Hubbard
· 13 to Life by Shannon Delany
· Shade by Jeri Ready-Smith
· Ballads of Suburbia by Stephanie Kuehnert

Now, the contest. In keeping with my new Back-to-School mindset, it’s a QUIZ! All the answers can be found RIGHT HERE at In High Spirits. You can locate them with little effort – or just guess wildly. (It’s not like I haven’t seen that before!)

The contest is open to US or Canadian residents who are blog members – or international blog members if they’re willing to take the manuscript critique instead of a book as a prize. (Sorry, those mailing costs are killers.) To enter, email me at with answers to the following questions:

1. What is the name of the main character in We Hear the Dead?
2. What grade do I teach?
3. Which one of my daughters regularly appears here with MG book reviews?
4. How do I feel about No Child Left Behind?
5. What’s so special about two graves in Catawissa, PA that I’m writing a whole book about them?

You’ll get one contest entry for each correct answer – plus extra entries if you blog or tweet or Facebook about the contest.

The deadline for entries will be Friday, September 3. I’m counting on this contest to get me through the first couple weeks of school – especially the inevitable faculty meetings about this year’s standardized test requirements. #^@(&%^%# NCLB!! (See, I told you the answers would be easy to find.)

I will announce the winners on Monday, September 6.