What Had Happened At BEA '13 Was...
Though I realize that I'm most likely not at the center of your universe, it would still be a surprise to me if you didn't know where I was the last several days, as I talked about all my plans and feelings about those plans INCESSANTLY. When I decided I was officially going to BEA it was some time in April. Because when it comes to key things like preparation and decisiveness, I don't know anything about them. I just kind of do things.
I had all the big questions flitting around in my head like, how will you afford this? How will you get to New York and traverse to all the places you want to go? How will you defend yourself against shady characters by the information booth? HOW WILL YOU DO THINGS? But I mentally shrugged, and dismissed all those annoying, nagging questions. Because if there's one thing I'm good at it, it's not resisting the fall but allowing gravity to painfully take me to the floor; it actually hurts less when you give in and go with the flow. I'm very talented at this.
Of course, though, even I have to have a whirlwind week of panic before going to a major event that could CHANGE MY LIFE. It started with little things like being unable to decide on what backpack to take or looking for misplaced chargers (the monster under my bed has some of my technology between it's teeth, damn him). Then there was this incident. This thing that should not have happened EVER, let alone right before BEA.
My glasses broke. In half. Because of my giant flat size eight feet. Not reigned in before demolishing anything of value because my brain wasn't registering anything, even precious eyewear, at six in the morning. I mean, I haven't gotten up at six since I finished high school. A year ago. My body was unprepared and none of my parts were working right—I could be wrong, but I think my left eye twitches first thing at an ungodly hour—including my blasted feet. And so my glasses and my self-confidence were mercilessly crushed in a span of fifty seconds, excluding the time it took to process that sound of broken plastic.
Then came the denial.
But it did happen. Really.
So between wondering what people were going to think of my glasses-less face and just general uncertainty over BEA, I got only four hours of sleep before that first day. I mean, you've heard all the stories right. And honestly, I'm a pretty chill person, but I didn't want to have to slay someone my first day there. I do prefer nonviolent methods of dealing with things, but YOU HAVE HEARD THE STORIES, RIGHT?!
IF YOU PUSH, SHOVE, KICK, MAIM, OR ATTEMPT TO BODY CHECK ME OVER BOOKS.
The first day of Book Expo America '13 began with the Book Blogger Convention for me. Because I was hideously afraid of the lines, and what danger befell you while on those lines, I arrived as early as my personality and tendencies would allow. Which, a surprising accomplishment, was about a quarter after seven. THAT ALMOST NEVER HAPPENS. Never.
Like, not even when I was threatened with detention and other unpleasant consequences.
So I was all giddy and loopy, because it was 7am, and my body was expected to move. And I was deep-in-the-bones excited. I know my face must've said something different, but I was genuinely happy. Even without breakfast. And then as I made my way down to the floor where the BBC was supposed to happen... there was no one there. Okay, there were like two bloggers there, and a bunch of men and women rushing and bustling to get things set up.
Now, normally I'm SUPER FRIENDLY. Like "all I see are her gums when she smiles" friendly. But those two bloggers sitting next to me intimidated the hell out of me. All because they were strangers who liked to do what I liked to do. A strange world, isn't it?
It wasn't until a few more bloggers filtered in and flocked to us that good times at BBC really kicked off. Between a dude blogger, an author, and three other chick bloggers, we made things happen. Like laughter and interesting conversation. And at one really awesome point in that conversation, one of the first two bloggers I saw, seemed to instantly recognize me once I happened to mention I make videos too. Her eyes did the whole 'sparking with recognition' thing and she went, "You film book hauls. Uh... Something... Under the Stamps..." Through all the buzzing and disbelief clogging my ears, I managed, "Something Lovely Under the Stamps?" And when she smiled and said yes I swear I did a cross-breed of this number:
What I did inside.
What I did outside to mislead her into believing I was normal but happy.
Even cooler? Her and her friend were from Norway. And she knew about my blog. So, needless to say that when they opened the doors to the BBC, I was riding in on a high among my quick and newfound friends. (Now all I have to do is find their cards.)
After we were seated, I began to pay attention. I'd forgotten to exchange numbers with all the people I wanted to meet with during BEA, so all I had to go by was were pictures, vlogs, and/or twitter icons (though not helpful, unless you're expecting wonder woman) as identifiers. But, it didn't take me long to spot Tara from Hobbitsies. It's really good to know that I've improved since last we all spoke about how I interact with people from my little online universe. Instead of blushing, stuttering, behaving in a series of awkward ways, or relying on avoidance and/or stalking, I walked right up to Tara's table... and slowly passed my eyes over her name tag. Because if I was going to expend my stored up courage on a greeting, I wanted to make sure I was addressing the right person. Never mind that I'd seen her picture before and countless book haul vlogs. I WANTED PROOF. And, almost like a sign of punishment or a passive aggressive maneuver from the universe, I couldn't read it. So I gathered up all my courage and charm and introduced myself. And, yes, in case you were wondering, it was actually Tara.
She chose to sit with me at my half-filled table, and she brought Asheley over, from Into the Hall of Books, and of course more excited greetings ensued. But no matter how excited I was, I refused to turn my eyes away from the door. Because something in my gut told me to keep watching. And just as I was about to turn my attention to someone else, Heidi of Bunbury in the Stacks comes walking right in and into the arms of a very happy Mandee from Vegan YA Nerds. Before I even realized I'd done it, I was out of my seat and moving.
So after hugging the hell out of two ladies who I would end up spending most of my time during BEA with and inviting them over to sit with the rest of us, the BBC had begun. And it was cool. No, seriously, there were a few good panels this year, and I definitely enjoyed hearing our opening speaker give his nearly 100% awesome speech. There were a couple of silly or ridiculous ones in the afternoon. But, overall, what was really amazing was not the ARCs that we got or the panels we listened to, but the people we met and enjoyed hanging with.
Mandee, Heidi, and I decided to blow the closing of BBC to go out to eat. We actually tried this vegan restaurant that had way awesome food and I'm telling you right now, YOU CAN BARELY TELL THE DIFFERENCE. I was munching on my mock meat burger with no trouble at all. Try it because it's not what you think. It's way better.
We all decided to go to Teen Author Carnival and were able to do it a la Heidi, who knows how to navigate New York way better than she gives herself credit for. The New York Public Library has the kind of architecture you can't help but gawk at, and after being sent away to the gardens and meandering through daises and things for a while, we got to experience the mad rush of seeing some OBVS fun authors do their thing with the promise of meeting them later on. I also got to meet Laura from Love Is Not a Triangle.
You guys, I've NEVER heard David Levithan speak before, but oh my gosh, hear him speak on the issues presented for invisible people—literal or not, we're still not one hundred percent sure—is one of the funniest experiences I've had yet. Holding her own right there with him was Leila Sales, and I'm quite sure of this because she's probably the only one who truly made me want to read her newest book. (Let me just right now, THIS SONG WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE is now among my all-time favorites.)
The second panel had to be my favorite though, because it included the incredible duo of Susan Dennard and Sarah J. Maas, two authors whose books I adore and Susan and I have talked on Twitter before and just AHHHHHHHHHHH! I got to talk with them. I got to hear them speak. And did I mention I went right up to Sarah at the end of Teen Author—after Mandee graciously traded with me so I could have her copy of Throne of Glass from our goodie bags—and told her:
Then, because I didn't have a book for Susan to sign I sent her this tweet once I was at home, safe and crazed.
When next we did see each other, I may or may not be able to confirm that we did some weird body-shimmy-slight-dance-thing and it was EPIC. There are hearts all over my cover page of SOMETHING STRANGE AND DEADLY, you guys. 'Nough said.
Wow. This is getting really long. Maybe you guys can take like breaks or something, visit the porcelain throne or hit the watering hole. Because, yes, there is more.
The second official day of BEA presented a new set of challenges. I didn't get there at 9am like most of the horde, and so I walked right into mass confusion. Thankfully, Mandee was right there along with me, and although it's probably not smart to pair up two newbies together, we did okay. All right, we were floundering. So I texted Tara. Then later met up with her and things got a little easier. We found Heidi as well, and met a slew of other bloggers like Alyssa at Books Take You Places, Brittany at Book Addict's Guide, the Books and Sensibility girls, and many others! Which is really just a cop out to saying I can't remember you ALL, but if you're offended you could always harass me in the comments.
By Friday, Mandee and I were really getting the hang of things and a lot of the books we were stoked for showed up in our hard-earned totes (there's a story behind that, but I won't tell it because it's somewhat pathetic on my part and I'll probably make it unnecessarily long). I also got to meet Giselle at Xpresso Reads, Christina from A Reader of Fictions, Micheline at Lunar Rainbows, and a couple of other really cool bloggers! (Yet another cop out.)
Friday was the day I got to meet Richelle Mead and Melissa de la Cruz which was... DO I EVEN HAVE TO SAY? I got to go with Tara and April from Good Books and Good Wine, and sat amongst Steph from Cuddlebuggery and Christina, which was... AGAIN, do I really have to explain? We got to hear two genius creators of vampire series talk about their experiences, their upcoming stuff, including movies and tv shows and OMZFG BRO. I am on overload with the residual excitement pumping through my body.
Yes, we got our books signed. And yes, I don't think hating us THAT much would be healthy for you.
That same day I also got to meet Cassandra Clare. I knew upfront this was to promote City of Bones and the release of the movie-edition cover (which is so much better than the original!) but I just had to tell her, knowing I may never see her again in person, that Clockwork Princess was by far the best book she's ever written. Her publicist FIST-BUMPED ME. She told me that she tells Cassie that all the time, and Cassie responded that it was definitely an emotional book... TALK ABOUT UNDERSTATEMENTS, CASSIE.
I didn't expect my time at BEA to be as fruitful as the rest on Saturday, but it proved to be just as interesting and rewarding. I walked away with some awesome titles, and again met authors I've been dying to be within sneezing distance with. But definitely the best part of the day had to be going to The Strand and buying out a nice chunk of the YA section they had. And not even batting an eyelash at the total. I'm afraid I may have shown my overobsessive side a little too early in my relationships with the bloggers who went, but it can't be helped. Estelle at Rather Be Reading actually met us there, and that was another major highlight in itself, because it was nice to just sit around with a bunch of likeminded individuals in the middle of Chipotle, enjoying the food at one of the places on my Food That Is Crack list.
And if we wandered our way over to Books of Wonder, well, I won't reveal to you how much we all bought there, but it was an excellent time to be had nonetheless. And it does leave you with a floaty feeling of happiness to support one of your favorite book sellers!
So to wrap this up before your are irreversibly scarred from reading too much written by me off of a computer screen (already this sentence has so many bad things going for it), the above video is kind of a montage of my time at BEA, so you'll get little snippets of it all.
Now why are you still reading what I'm saying? Don't you have something you should be watching? Hmmm?