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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?!


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?


Princess Ash said...

OMG, BEA was so awesome. I'm glad you had a good time. The best part about BEA is all the bloggers you meet and end up spending the day with !

Princess Ash said...

o.O I AM IN THAT MONTAGE. A LOT. (Everyone needs a montage!)

This write up made me happy, Asher! I'm seriously so happy you had such a great time, and I'm even more happy that I got to hang out with you all week. Seriously, I'm so happy you're nearby because we need to hang out more in the future. ♥

Princess Ash said...

I'm so glad you had so much fun at BEA! I went for only one day but I had so much fun. I met so many book bloggers, met many great authors, and took lots and lots of pictures! At first I was a little lost but then I randomly met some blogger buddies and then we realized we all knew each other already when we starting handing each other our business cards and it was like "OMG i know you!" HAHA! :) Overall it was a pretty amazing experience and I loved every bit of it. I wish that I met you though! To think we were in the same place I must have walked past you at least once and never knew lol.

Princess Ash said...

It totally change my life too!!! I honestly had so much fun, so happy to meet all the bloggers/authors/pubs and so glad that we met!! :)

Princess Ash said...

Aw, Ash! I am so glad you had such a fantastic time, despite the early trauma. I LOVE that you met Heidi and Tara and Asheley and so many other bloggers I like--and I bow down to you for telling Cassie that Clockwork Princess was her best book. Because even though thinking about that ending makes me teary, I totally agree. <3 Awesome recap--can't wait to hear about all the books you're about to read!

PS--Disqus doesn't seem to hate me anymore, so yay! I can visit you again. :)

Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

Princess Ash said...

I can't tell you how happy I am to hear that! I really wanted it to be reminiscent of my recap for my very first signing, which I will never live down (in a good way, because people really seem to love it, but that's also intimidating because how do I know IF I CAN EVER DO THAT AGAIN?). I would've loved to meet you, so if you ever have a whim to go to BEA LET ME KNOW.

I did have an amazing time, but mostly because I tried new things and were with people I love, so while envy isn't a wise counsel I understand why you have it xD But, seriously, YOU NEED TO FRIGGIN COME NEXT YEAR.

I got to go to The Strand once on my birthday last year and it was one of those experiences you never want to forget and so I was DYING to go but trying to be gracious about it and not make a pest out of myself. When next you come to NYC, go to Books of Wonder. In fact, let me know you're coming and we can take a look around :D

Thaaank you! <3 <3 This is one of my favorite songs ever! It's more suitable for road trips and stuff, I think, but I love it so much I use it for EVERYTHING.

Princess Ash said...

Yay for life-changing moments experienced among other bloggers! I mean how many people get to say that? (excluding everyone at BEA, lolol) I'm so happy to have met you as well!

Princess Ash said...

I did, I did, and I'm so damn grateful for the opportunity! I think it's normal the first time to be shy but you really do get the hang of it. I mean, some of the people at bea aren't like me, where I naturally talk a lot and yet we all came out of our shells because we all really do know each other. We're not strangers, which is one of the most magnificent realizations to have during BEA, that knowing that you're among friends. PLEASE GO. I WOULD LOVE TO MEET YOU <3

(The line for Fangirl was insane, but I was lucky with my timing because I didn't have to wait long. Once I'm done with it, mayhap you'd like to borrow it?)

Princess Ash said...

I did! I did! AND YOU WERE THERE?!

WHAT THE HECK?! Next time tweet a girl, Ezmirelda. I would've LOOOVED to have met you!

Princess Ash said...

It was so so so great to meet you and you better come back into town for an event soon. :) Thanks for being so sweet! I can't wait to follow your blog. xo

Princess Ash said...

*grins sheepishly* I really hope you don't mind or anything. You only see your face for like five second intervals each time at the most xD

You and Mandee really helped me have the best time so I didn't feel lost or intimidated and I was just able to relax and have fun! I'm really happy we got to hang out too♥ WE DEFINITELY NEED TO HANG OUT MORE. I'm already making arrangements for that Fierce Reads signing ;D

Princess Ash said...

Ahh, Estelle, it was so lovely to meet you. Your blog has been such a wonderful discovery and it was so surreal to have met you after only just having found out about you! :-D

I loved your post yesterday, btw. I can't wait to talk to you more and I'd love to know if you're attending any signings when you make a decision! Heidi and I are going to Fierce Reads on June 18th if you're interested :D

Princess Ash said...

It WAS, insanely awesome! An incredible experience for sure, made memorable by all the people I got to meet, you and your sister included :D

Princess Ash said...

OMG I seriously LOVED reading your recap post - I was NOT emotionally scarred cause it was like reliving the entire BEA experience and that's what I've been TRYING to do since it ended LOL! It was really awesome to get to meet you and I'm thrilled to have another awesome blog to stalk (*ahem*, I mean follow)! It's great that you got to hang out with Mandee and that the two of you had each other even though you were newbies! Me & Giselle were both noobs too but man I was still glad to have her with me haha Anyways, glad to see your BEA experience was as memorable as mine and hopefully we'll see each other again same time next year :)

Princess Ash said...

Awesome recap..
I think I kinda did like you xD inside.. coz you were like the only blogger I could recognize.. coz of your youtube channel :P haha

Nice meeting you.. Maybe I`ll see you in two years :P If I can afford going again..

Looks like you got loads of awesome books.. Enjoy them all ;)

Kind regards from Norway ;)

Princess Ash said...

Best recap in the history of recaps! I am so, so glad that you spotted Heidi and I and that we then spent the rest of the week together - it seriously made my trip and I would not have had such a good time without you two :)

We were a bit hopeless on the first morning but I feel like we're total pros now - ha!

Your BEA montage made me smile so BIG! I've watched it 3 times and showed my bf :D I love looking back at the 4 days that seem like such a blur now - so glad you filmed it :D

Princess Ash said...

I'm so happy to have met you and your friend, and I really can't say how wonderful it was to meet people who watch my channel!

Come back to BEA again because I'd love to have more time to chat!

Princess Ash said...

You know I had absolutely THE BEST TIME with you guys right back, and it turned out to be the best decision ever.

I know, if and when we get back to BEA, I can be assured that I now know how to navigate like a pro. Do you think you'll be coming up 'round this way again? *blinks hopefully*

I HAD SO MUCH FUN EDITING THIS THING. I was looking at all the memories and I couldn't help laughing and smiling at everything. I hope the BF enjoyed watching us spazz out and have fun. He better be happy to have you back, because I hate hate that you're so far away! <3 <3