Finding The Write Place: Volumes Book Cafe

 

Volumes Book Cafe

1474 N Milwaukee Ave

Chicago, IL 60622

Hours:

Mon-Sat 9:30AM – 10PM

Sun: 10AM – 8PM

(Hours subject to change. Check the cafe’s website for up-to-date info)

Noise level: Medium level of noise. People are talking in small groups and there are board games you can play, but there is no music playing in the background.

Availability of space: Good amount of tables present (about 5 low tables, 2 hi-top tables and a bar of seating). I went during lunchtime on a Saturday and had no problem finding seating.

Bathrooms: Yes.

Food: Yes, pastries.

Wifi: Free (password on each table).

Outlets: Yes, at the bar top along the wall.

I loved this cute cafe, but the thing I loved most by far was that it’s also a USED BOOKSHOP! The whole back section is a bookstore. They also have adorable bookish knickknacks for sale and a book subscription program! I definitely recommend this to any writer who likes to find new reads when they’re writing and doesn’t mind conversations happening around them. (I just wore headphones and I was perfectly fine!) I think this is my new favorite neighborhood cafe and bookstore in the Wicker Park area!

 

headshot-kat-200x200


This post is brought to you by Kat Cho at ChiYAwriters.com.

Chicago Reads: ChiYA Book Babies

Two ChiYA members released their book babies into the world! What a time to be alive!

On January 16, Samira Ahmed released her debut, LOVE HATE & OTHER FILTERS.

lhf

This amazing #ownvoices book tells the story of American-born 17-year-old Maya Aziz, who is torn between worlds: the proper one her parents expect for their good Indian daughter, and the world of her dreams: going to film school and living in New York City—and maybe pursuing the boy she’s known since grade school, who’s finally falling into her orbit.

There’s also the real world. In the aftermath of a horrific crime perpetrated hundreds of miles away, the community Maya’s known since birth becomes unrecognizable; neighbors and classmates are consumed with fear, bigotry, and hatred. Ultimately, Maya must determine in which world she truly belongs.

IMG_2660

On January 15, ChiYA members attended a launch party at Anderson’s Bookshop to celebrate the birth of this book baby.  The night was exciting! The event was packed; friends, family, and fans alike turned out to welcome LOVE, HATE & OTHER FILTERS into the world.

Just when we thought it couldn’t get any better, the next week, we received the joyous news that LOVE, HATE & OTHER FILTERS debuted on the Young Adult Hardcover New York Times bestseller list! I get the feeling she’s only getting started.


On February 6, Gloria Chao released her debut, AMERICAN PANDA.

ap

First of all, HOW CUTE IS THIS COVER? I can’t get enough of smiling POC on YA book covers. It makes me so happy and definitely sets the tone for the book.

AMERICAN PANDA is a hilarious, touching #ownvoices book about 17-year-old Mei, a freshman at MIT who is on track to fulfill a future predetermined by her parents: become a doctor, marry a pre-approved Taiwanese Ivy Leaguer, and produce a litter of babies.

With everything her parents have sacrificed to make her cushy life a reality, Mei can’t bring herself to tell them the truth—that she (1) hates germs, (2) falls asleep in biology lectures, and (3) has a crush on her classmate Darren Takahashi, who is definitely not Taiwanese.

But when Mei reconnects with her brother, Xing, who is estranged from the family for dating the wrong woman, Mei starts to wonder if the secrets are worth it. Can she find a way to be herself, whoever that is, before her web of lies unravels?

 

Once again, CHiYA headed out to Anderson’s for Gloria’s launch event, and it was super fun. There was cake served on panda plates, sparkling cider, and joy all around. I know this book is deeply personal for Gloria, and I think that makes it all the more special.


And there’s more coming from these brilliant authors!

Samira is under contract for two books: MAD, BAD, & DANGEROUS TO KNOW, a YA thriller told in dueling narratives that weave between past and present, follows a Muslim-American teenager who partners with a descendant of French author Alexandre Dumas to unravel the mystery of a 19th-century Muslim woman who appears in letters between Dumas and Eugene Delacroix (2019), and INTERNMENT, a YA book about a near future in the United States where Muslim Americans are forced into an internment camp and a seventeen-year-old must fight against Islamophobia, oppression, and complicit silence (2019).

Gloria’s next project is MISALIGNED, a YA novel about a teen outcast who is simultaneously swept up in a whirlwind romance and down a rabbit hole of dark family secrets when another Taiwanese family moves to her small, predominantly white Midwestern town (2019).


Interested in meeting the authors in person and getting your book signed? This blog post outlines upcoming events, including a don’t miss one featuring both authors.

I’m so proud to be a member of ChiYA. Stayed tuned. Great things are coming from all of us!


This post is brought to you by Ronni Davis at ChiYAwriters.com.

Inspiration Station: The Value of Artistic Detours

Inspiration Station is an occasional series on ChiYAwriters.com highlighting the people, places, and works of art that inspire us as writers.

I had a pleasantly chatty cab driver during a recent trip to the airport. He’s a painter who drives to pay the bills, and he told me about his artistic inspirations and growing interest in using metal as a canvas. I shared the premise of my latest novel and the characters who drive it.

“I used to write too,” he said. “I still think of poems every now and then. But at some point, I guess you have to choose.”

To some extent, he’s completely right: there are only so many hours in a day, after all, and gaining expertise in anything requires immense dedication, so you’d better choose your investment wisely.

And yet.

I went to a combined middle and high school focused on both academics and the arts. There, I was surrounded by people who, at age fourteen, were better painters than I will ever be. I personally focused on film photography, but my graduation requirements included classes in sculpture and painting. I also voluntarily participated in orchestra and—surprising me most of all—an intro-level drama class. At this school, even our “traditional” history and English classes often incorporated video, live sketches, or creative writing into assignments. Each of these art forms pushed me to think in nuanced ways about objects and perspective, color and sound, movement and light. Doing so improved my photographic eye at the time and, in the years since, has come to fundamentally shape my writing.

I only use my camera once or twice a year now, so I suppose I also chose one particular creative path. But I constantly draw on the lessons I learned through exploring other disciplines. They each changed my perspective and continue to reveal new worlds for my characters to explore. And why not? One of the first things we learn in crafting characters is to give them things—often multiple things—to be passionate about. This informs a character’s motivations but, more importantly, gives us the specific lens through which they see the world.

Writing may have been the path I committed myself to, but I know I can be more intentional about taking artistic detours. I may not have the hours to explore that I did in high school, but I can carve out a few minutes at a time to keep the road more interesting and my creative well more full.

As we reached O’Hare, my newfound artistic pal and I wished each other luck. He told me he planned to write a new poem, and I promised to take my camera out for a spin.

I hope, reader, that you’ll join us in embracing the scenic route.

headshot-anna-200x200


This post is brought to you by Anna Waggener at ChiYAwriters.com.

Chicago Reads: Upcoming YA Book Events (Feb/March 2018)

The next couple of months are packed with great YA readings at Chicago’s many independent bookstores, including debut book events with ChiYA’s very own Samira Ahmed (LOVE, HATE & OTHER FILTERS) and Gloria Chao (AMERICAN PANDA)!!!

Check out these upcoming events, and as always, let us know if we missed anything in the comments:

reign the earth book cover
REIGN THE EARTH
A.C. Gaughen
Thursday, February 1 at 7:00 PM
Anderson’s Bookshop (La Grange)

before I let go book cover
BEFORE I LET GO
Marieke Nijkamp
Friday, February 2 at 7:00 p.m.
Anderson’s Bookshop (Naperville)

love hate and other filters book covernoteworthy book cover
LOVE, HATE & OTHER FILTERS
NOTEWORTHY

Samira Ahmed and Riley Redgate
Saturday, February 3 at 3:00 p.m. 
57th Street Books (Hyde Park)

the hazel wood book cover
THE HAZEL WOOD
Melissa Albert
Saturday, February 3 at 2:00 p.m.
Anderson’s Bookshop (Naperville)

american panda book cover
AMERICAN PANDA
Gloria Chao
Tuesday, February 6 at 7:00 p.m.
Anderson’s Bookshop (Naperville)

the sweetest kind of fate book cover
THE SWEETEST KIND OF FATE
Crystal Cestari
Tuesday, February 8 at 7:00 p.m.
The Book Cellar (Lincoln Square)

american panda book cover
AMERICAN PANDA

Gloria Chao
Saturday, February 10 at 3:00 p.m.
57th Street Books (Hyde Park)

love hate and other filters book coveramerican panda book cover
LOVE, HATE & OTHER FILTERS
AMERICAN PANDA

Samira Ahmed and Gloria Chao
Friday, February 16 at 7:00 p.m. 
Women & Children First (Andersonville)

satellite book cover
SATELLITE
Lauren Emily Whalen
Friday, February 16 at 7:00 p.m. 
The Book Cellar (Lincoln Square)

black panther the young prince book cover
BLACK PANTHER THE YOUNG PRINCE
Ronald L. Smith
Monday, February 19 at 7:00 p.m.
Anderson’s Bookshop (Naperville)

heart of iron book cover
HEART OF IRON

Ashley Poston
Friday, March 2 at 7:00 p.m.
Anderson’s Bookshop (Naperville)

children of blood and bone book cover
CHILDREN OF BLOOD AND BONE

Tomi Adeyemi
Thursday, March 8 at 7:00 p.m.
Anderson’s Bookshop (Naperville)

restore me book cover
RESTORE ME
Tahereh Mafi
Friday, March 9th at 7:00 p.m.
Community Christian Church (hosted by Anderson’s Bookshop)

ElizabethCooke 200x200


This post is brought to you by Lizzie Cooke at ChiYAwriters.com.

Chicago Writes: Local Writing & Book Conferences in 2018!

Since ChiYA is a Chicago based site, I thought I’d give you guys some local Writing Conferences and Book Festivals that are taking place in 2018:

The Book Cellar’s Annual Young Adult Book Festival

When: TBD, Generally takes place in April

What: A one day book festival centered around Young Adult fiction.

Where: Chicago, IL

Cost: FREE

The 2018 Writing Workshop of Chicago

When: June 23, 2018

What: Per the website

This writing event is a wonderful opportunity to get intense instruction over the course of one day, pitch a literary agent or editor (optional), get your questions answered, and more. Note that there are limited seats at the event (250 total).

Where: Chicago, IL

Cost: $169 — EARLY BIRD base price for registration to the 2018 WWOC and access to all workshops, all day. As of October 24, 2017, registration is now OPEN.
Add $29 — to secure a 10-minute one-on-one meeting with any of our literary agents in attendance.
Add $69 — for an in-depth, personal critique of your one-page query letter from Brian Klems, one of the day’s instructors.
Add $79 — for an in-depth personal critique of the first 10 pages of your novel.

There is already a huge list of agents attending including, Moe Ferrara (BookEnds Literary), Kelly Van Sant (D4EO Literary), Gemma Cooper (The Bent Agency), Marcy Posner (Folio Literary), with more to come!

Chapter One Con

When: TBD, usually in late summer/August

What: An amazing conference for young writers!

per website

The Chapter One Young Writers Conference (or Ch1Con) is a writer’s conference entirely by and for teens and young adults.

Where: Rosemont, IL

Cost: Early Bird Admission ($49.99)

Regular Admission ($74.99)

Late Rate Admission ($99.99)

Anderson’s Bookshop Young Adult Literature Conference

When: TBD, usually around November

What: 2-day event meant as a conference to showcase young adult novels to booksellers, librarians, and fans. Saturday is the “adult day” which is when the booksellers, librarians and adult fans can attend for $120. Sunday is teen day which is free and only permits teen fans.

Where: Naperville, IL

Cost: $120 for adults on Saturday. Free for teens on Sunday

BONUS! Online Conferences!

Write On Con

When: February 9-11, 2018

What: Per the website

WriteOnCon is a three-day online children’s book conference for writers and illustrators of picture books, middle grade, young adult, and even new adult. It was founded in 2010 and is now run by a new team of writers who are eager to hearken back to the awesomeness that they remember so fondly from being attendees over the years, while also bringing exciting new elements to the mix.

WriteOnCon features blogs, vlogs, pitch sessions, Q&As, critique forums, and more — there’s something for every writer/illustrator, in every stage of their career. From the comfort of your home, a library, a coffee shop — any place with an internet connection — you can meet agents and editors, connect with potential critique partners, and generally soak up a whole bunch of knowledge!

Where: ONLINE!

Cost: $5

Manuscript Academy

When: TBD, though you can access all past classes right now for a fee of $225 (Or go a la carte for $49 per class)

What: Per the Website

The Manuscript Academy, LLC is brought to you by literary agent Jessica Sinsheimer, conference organizer and media professional Julie Kingsley, and Manuscript Wish List®.

We offer world-class publishing instruction that can be enjoyed from the comfort of your home or your favorite coffeeshop. Unlike traditional conferences, you simply need a computer, a tablet, or even your smartphone to log in and enjoy the very best instruction from some of the top minds in the literary community. Every online Manuscript Academy conference will give you the full educational and networking value of a traditional writing conference, but without the hassle of travel, paying for meals out, or arranging childcare.

Where: ONLINE!

headshot-kat-200x200
This post is brought to you by Kat Cho at ChiYAwriters.com.

From A to Z: A Writer’s Guide to the New Year

From A to Z is an occasional series on ChiYAwriters.com that examines the nuts and bolts of the writing (and publishing) process.

chrys

As we head into the last few weeks of 2017, I’m here with a quick activity to help put your writing year in perspective before we hurdle into a brand new one.

When I feel at a crossroads in my professional life, I use a similar process to think through my accomplishments and goals, and the guide can be adapted to reflect on anything else that’s important to you. The goal is to take some time to quiet any voices of self-doubt, acknowledge your accomplishments, and set the stage for what comes next.

1. Prepare your space.

Put on some relaxing music, pour yourself a cup of your favorite beverage, maybe even set out a small snack tray. Grab a notebook and your favorite pen. This should be a fun activity rather than a daunting one! And be sure you have at least 90 uninterrupted minutes: no need to feel frazzled for something so important.

2. Set a timer for seven minutes. Write down your “shoulds.”

“Don’t should yourself,” one mentor used to tell me. She meant that dwelling on the things I wished I’d done better or the things I wished I’d said wouldn’t help me undo the past—but would certainly make me feel worse. While the core of that message is true, sometimes it’s healthy to get out a little heartache so it doesn’t niggle at the back of your mind. So indulge for a few minutes by recording all of your “shoulds.” I should’ve read more books. I should’ve gotten up at six a.m. to write every day. I should’ve been published by now.

3. Now shake it off. Take a breath. Set your timer for 45 minutes and fill in this list:

  • Write down every writing project you started, even if you didn’t finish. Revisions count too. Take some time to fill out these bullets by describing what you enjoyed about these projects, what you learned, and what you think you did really well.
  • Write down every trip you took, and how it enriched your life. Maybe you had a fantastic vacation and learned about Italian history. Maybe you visited family, and they reminded you of little moments that truly matter. Or maybe you didn’t travel much this year, but you did have a fantastic summer day on the beach of your local lake. These are the moments that help make up our memories and that contribute to our writing.
  • Write down every book you read, and follow it with a note for any podcast, article, movie, or poem that has stuck with you, too. For me, reading is one of the first things to go when my schedule fills up, and then I beat myself up for reading so little—but an exercise like this helps me realize that I’ve actually consumed many perspectives over the year (and, often, that I’ve read more than I realized).
  • Write down anything else that contributed to your writing life. Note the queries you submitted, the research you completed, the conferences you attended, the contests you applied for. No matter the outcome, it takes courage to put yourself out there, and you deserve to recognize yourself for it.
  • Write down the communities you participated in and how. Writing can feel very isolating, but we often have more support systems than we realize. Take some time to remember your brunches with writing friends (shout out to the ChiYA community!), any manuscripts or query letters you helped a friend hone, and any online communities you’ve contributed to or felt supported by this year.
  • Write down any other accomplishments that come to mind. Once you get started, your writing mind often takes over: indulge it. If there’s anything else you feel proud of doing this year, take some time to note it. Maybe a project went well at work or you made the best pie of your life. If you’re remembering it now, it’s meaningful enough to make the list.

Your timer may have gone off by now. If you’re on a roll and have the time, turn it off and keep going. Just don’t let yourself stop before it rings.

4. Take some time to reflect.

Revel in the knowledge that you did a lot this year—probably far more than you realized before you started this session. Be kind to yourself as you consider all of the things you managed to fit into 365 days, in addition to feeding yourself and occasionally doing dishes. This is also a good time for a ritualistic trashing of your “should” list. After all, look at everything you actually did do! That means far more than your eccentric inner perfectionist.

5. Jot down 1-3 goals for 2018.

Make them achievable but ambitious. And make them while knowing that this time next year, they might be on your “should” list, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. And that certainly doesn’t mean you won’t achieve a hundred other amazing things.

6. Take some time for yourself.

Finish your beverage. Take a walk to clear your head, or do some gentle stretches, or write a letter to your future self if you’re into that sort of thing. Just don’t plunge right back into daily life: let your mind wander and let all the words on all those pages be enough.

The truth is, the writing road is long and filled with pitfalls. Every journey is different, and it’s so easy to gloss over the things we do every day to reach our goals when we only get the highlights from other people. I hope that regardless of how many goals you think you’ve accomplished or missed in 2017, this exercise will help you be kind to yourself as you reflect and set goals for the year ahead.

From all of us at ChiYA, may the rest of your December be restful, and may 2018 overflow with good news and grand adventures.

headshot-anna-200x200


This post is brought to you by Anna Waggener at ChiYAwriters.com.