The Philadelphia Geek Awards Are Tonight: What They Are, Why They Exist, & What I Learned Making Them Happen

So the awards. They're tonight.

If we're friends and you live in Philadelphia, you've heard me prattling on about this ceremony for the past three months. I remember when I first announced the thing back in June. I made the mistake of hosting it here (poor Tim hosts a billion things on his server, including Geekadelphia), and the website crashed (Outstanding Achievement in Crashiest Local Website) after pulling in thousands of hits within a few hours.

The awards have since received press from Philadelphia Magazine, Fox News, the Philadelphia Metro, Citypaper, CBS3, the Daily News, The Mercury, The Philadelphia Inquirer, WHYY, Philebrity (they were nice!), Keypulp, Tek Lado, Destination Guide Philadelphia, Patch, and I've made appearances on KYW, WHYY, and WCHE. The Daily News, Fox, and a number of other outlets are coming to cover the ceremony.

Though I should note that my good friends / arch nemesis Technically Philly broke the story about the awards before anyone else... two months ago. Blogs and independent journalism, FTW!

It's been a serious labor of love. Geekadelphia isn't making a dime off it. The easiest part was teaming up with the Academy of Natural Sciences (thank you Jill, Carolyn!). I had to bust my ass finding sponsors to help pay for the actual awards (we got plaques thanks to AppRenaissance), food (thank you National Mechanics), and drinks (thank you DrinkPhilly & Victory). I lost sleep, broke out in stress pimples, dealt with people who had the nerve to be angry at me (Wahhh! Why wasn't this or that nominated?!) and drove Tim and Mikey insane with frequent panicked gchats and late night brainstorming meetings at Mikey's apartment. Allie, thank you for cooking.

The question all my friends eventually ask... is why? (more…)

Rory Makes an Appearance in Microcrafts, Quirk's Latest Craft Book

When my coworkers Margaret McGuire and Katie Hatz asked me to bring my bunny into work, I of course said yes. I mean really, how often does one get to do something like that? Then again, I do work at Quirk Books. Knowing this wild and wacky place, chances are I'll be bringing my chinchilla in next month.

But I digress.

Margaret and Katie stole my bun away for an afternoon in the early Spring for a photoshoot for Microcrafts, Quirk's latest crafting title by that aforementioned dynamic duo and Alicia Kachmar. I had the wonderful opportunity to work with Alicia and Margaret on their last craft book venture, Witch Craft, and loved every minute of it. Rory posed for a number of photos, several of which made it into the book.

You can scope out the images below. I do wish I had trimmed her nails before the photoshoot, but oh well. She still looks adorbs.

Microcrafts drops on October 4th. Go pre-order a copy on Amazon. Rory's royalties are being paid in carrots.  (more…)

Owning Real Art: Some Lovely Paintings From Philadelphia's Britt Miller

I'm pretty fortunate to have a circle of incredibly talented, creative friends. Writers, musicians, podcasters, chefs and, of course, artists. My pal Britt Miller falls into the final category, with her absolutely gorgeous paintings.

I make it a point to write about her whenever I can on Geekadelphia, but I'm not the only one who praises the hell out of her work. One of her paintings was recently featured on the boxes of Teuscher's chocolates, another hangs on the set of CBS3's Talk Philly... she's all over the place, from Liberty Place in Center City to the Race Street Cafe in Old City, and is a staple of the Philadelphia First Friday scene.

Alas though, this redheaded vixen is leaving Philadelphia to attend graduate school abroad for a while. This bittersweet news comes with some nice perks though. 1. Making plans to visit her in Paris sometime in the Fall and 2. Buying some of her paintings on the cheap.

Britt frequently sasses me about the various pieces of 'art' hanging up in my apartment. And by 'art' I mean 'screenprints purchased on clearance at Urban Outfitters.' What with all the talented people in the city (her included), why didn't I have some original works hanging up? Being broke / paying student loans is probably the main issue. But thanks to Britt's fire sale I've finally got some original pieces, like the floral one pictured above (and here on Flickr), hanging in my place.

If you're unfamiliar with her work, please visit her website. She's awesome.

Tim & Melissa's Engagement Party [Photos]

Not quite sure why it's taken me so long to write a little something about this. I guess between redesigning the blog and getting the Geek Awards wrapped up, a few things slipped under the radar. I did manage to upload these to Flickr and Facebook with the quickness, but meh. Those are just pictures and little captions. Where were the real words to accompany the pictures that show off, what was, a really lovely day for two of my favorite people?

Tim (who many of you know as my better half on Geekadelphia) and Melissa's engagement brunch took place at a lovely little Filipino restaurant nestled in a rather fancy area in Brooklyn. I'd never seen estates in New York. Blew my mind. The place was called The Purple Yam, and oh my God, it was delicious. Owned by Tim's cousins, the venue did not disappoint, even as it filled with dozens upon dozens of people in the sweltering non-air conditioned heat of NYC. Awesome interior, exotic food, and simple decorations made the whole thing quite lovely.

Speaking of food though, don't even get me started on the cake. Created by a friend of Melissa's family, this epic cake had hand-blown sugar bubbles (THIS IS A THING), a bottle that looked like glass (but was made of sugar!), and edible photos of Tim and Melissa.


None of us did, but I was assured that it would have been delicious.  (more…)

Top Five Things I've Learned About Working with Book Bloggers

So I've been at Quirk Books for a little over a year now. When I began, I had a ton of experience working in social media, communicating with bloggers, and working AS a blogger, but had little working knowledge of pitching blogs, PR, marketing, etc. As for my experience in publishing... well, it was limited to a magazine that doesn't exist anymore.

Needless to say, it has been quite the learning process, and I've been fortunate enough to have a team that believed in me, helped me grow, and was patient in teaching me the ways of book-life. And luckily, the book blogging community is an incredibly welcoming (and understanding) one.

So, here are the top five things I've learned working with book bloggers. Maybe it'll help you, dear reader, when you're pitching books online. Hope it does!

1. WRITING A PITCH? BE CREATIVE: Let's be real. Fact of the matter is, book bloggers get pitches every day. Some of them get dozens of pitches a day. Big publishers, small presses, self published authors... whatever, we're all haggling the hell out of them to cover our books. Nothing is more boring than a bland press release attached to an email, or a pitch that just states the facts.

Make your pitch letters as interesting as the books you are promoting.

Get creative. Be funny and friendly. Make some jokes. Poke fun at yourself.  And most importantly, take the time to send a personal email now and again, not just a mass BCC'd email blast (though those are necessary now and again, I know). You'll get a response, and bloggers will look forward to your future emails later down the line. Trust me. (more…)