Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The time Gregg Olsen told me he signed a book for me.

I saw the book Envy by Gregg Olsen right after it came out. Always attracted to a pretty cover, I grabbed it and read the synopsis. I was intrigued, but I didn't allow myself to buy it. I was trying to be good.

Instead, I looked up signed copies and couldn't find any. I hunted down Gregg on Twitter and asked if he was doing any signings.... Of course right after that, I found an event in Seattle at The Dauntless Bookstore. I emailed them and asked about mail order.

Meanwhile, Gregg had gotten back to me and said he'd sign and send me a book plate, I just needed to DM him my address. I told my husband about the offer and even though at the time, neither of us knew what a book plate was, he said I should except it.

At the same time, someone from the bookstore had gotten back to me with the answer of yes, they did mail order. So, instead of asking for the book plate [which we had Googled by then], I ordered a book for the signing.

Gregg had tweeted about the event beforehand and I answered him about having my book on order and that I couldn't wait to read it...

Fast forward to the evening of the event and I got an alert from Twitter... Something from Gregg saying that he signed a book for me today. I asked him if I needed to be concerned that he knew it was me. [I spell my first name oddly, but it's not listed that way on Twitter]. His response was a smiley face.

And when I got the book, it could be one of the best inscriptions ever. Made me giggle like a little girl.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The time I bought even more autographed books.

A Beautiful Dark had been on my to read list for a while.  I was able to hunt down an autographed copy from Books of Wonder in NYC... Ordering it was super easy and it came in the mail quickly.

I saw an ad for The Pledge in an issue of EW.  I found out that Kimberly had done a signing at a Barnes and Noble about a week prior to me finding the ad.  I called to see if they had any additional copies. 

First the girl said she didn't think so, but she'd look.  After finding one, she didn't think she could send it to me.  Once a manager told her she could send it to me, she didn't think she could take my credit card number over the phone.  What should have been a 5 minute conversation took me about 20 minutes.

However, I was able to get my copy....

While at MGRB waiting for the Marie Lu release party, I stumbled across a signed copy of Gretchen McNeil's Possess.  I had already ordered the book, so I decided not to get the autographed copy.  Of course, after I read the book, I just had to have the signed copy.  So, I ordered it from MG.

Annnnnd, when I was looking at the MG website, I found other signed books that I wanted to buy... I had never even heard of John Grisham doing any sort of signing event so when I saw that they had a signed copy of his new book, I was dying to have it.

When I went to pick up those signed books from MG, I stupidly walked into the YA section. And of course I found things I wanted to get....

Like a copy of Unearthly by Cynthia Hand. I was planning on just having the copy I already own signed when she toured for Hallowed, but that pretty purple pen just ruined me.

And a copy of Fury by Elizabeth Miles, which is on my to read list.

Just proof that I shouldn't be allowed inside bookstores unsupervised. 

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The time there may have been weapons.

I only went to the Patricia Cornwell signing because she wrote an amazing book applying forensic science to identify Jack the Ripper. When I saw that she was going to be at Warwick's, I asked her online if she'd sign that book instead of the new one. As soon as she said yes, I bought the book.

Assigned seating was already gone by the time I made my way to La Jolla to get the book. So, that just meant that we had to get to the store early. Add to that the Warwick's employee said that Dan Aykroyd would be appearing with her and that upped the time a bit more.

We got to the store around 4. People watching in La Jolla is some of the finest you'll ever see. At one point I thought Greg Kinnear walked by.... But I was wrong. Around 4:30, they put out a sign indicating where the line for the free-for-all seating would begin.

The lady behind me was complaining about having to wait an hour before they let us in. I couldn't stop laughing at that. I wanted to tell her that an hour was nothing.

Also, the forensic photography professor who was responsible for putting me on academic probation while working on my Masters degree by giving me a C+ was in line. I instantly knew it was her, it took her some time, but I think she figured it out.

They let us in at 6. We ended up in the 7th row, in group A. The free-for-all seating filled up quickly and so did the store. Within minutes, it was standing room only, with people crowding around any open space.

We were told that personal photography wasn't allowed.  There was a professional photographer who was taking pictures of the entire event.  They would be posted on Patricia's Flickr and we were allowed to download any of the photos. 

Patricia came out to a standing ovation. She started with a Q&A after telling the story of her first book signing in 1990. She got $6k advance and spent $1200 on posters that she made and put up in grocery stores and restaurants. She used her lunch hour to go to a religious bookstore only to have no one show up.

When it came to her Jack the Ripper book [which is what I was there for], she received dreadful feedback. Most people who complain about it didn't read the book or look at the photos, which are in the National Archives. She likened it to "picking on a holy cow". Mary Kelly was the most mutilated body she had ever seen, same for one of her ME friends. 
After the Q&A session was over, they lined us up in groups by letter. We were A's, so we were able to line up right away. They wrapped the line up around the store and had velvet ropes up everywhere with serious security.

You handed the book to the Warwick's employees, she handed the book to Patricia, it was signed and then slid over to the edge of the table for pick up.
There was no personalization and only about 10 seconds in front of her. Just enough time to say hi and thank her for signing the Jack book instead of the new one.

While she was supremely polite and extremely personable in her stories and our brief interaction, there just seemed to be something weird about the entire situation.

Maybe it was seeing full on security, complete with ear pieces and the possibility of concealed weapons.

Maybe it was just the enormity of the crowd.

It could always just be my imagination.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The time I learned about life.

I heard about the Jane Lynch signing easily 6 weeks before it was scheduled to happen. I had the event page to The Grove left open on my phone. I kept checking on it to see what the requirements were going to be. Finally they posted it: wristbands would be given out on the day of the event, starting at 9am with the purchase of her book.

Now, I thought this was going to be a nightmare. Being a Twilight fan, I was expecting people lined up first thing in the morning [before the sun came out], possibly lined up overnight. I always expect that sort of thing. Apparently, people can be fans without being Twilight type fans. :D

Even still, we got up to The Grove at 7am. There was no one there. Absolutely no one in sight. We got some coffee and waited.


Somehow, I seem to attract dancers. Around 8:30, a girl came over to the front doors. She dropped her backpack and started to dance like a lunatic. We got video of this one. Other people started showing up and by 8:45, we had a full fledged line. They let us in after 9 and the angry security guy led us to the registers where books were bought and wristbands were handed out.

We got back to the bookstore around 12pm and surprisingly, there was only one person in line. Being a B&N member, we got the special silver wristbands that gave us priority, so we were able to go the front of the line. Hubs settled in on a leather chair, I started stealing electricity to charge my phone. All was right in the world.

As soon as one of the B&N girls found out that Jane was going to be doing a talk, chairs were set up. I put our stuff down in the front row and went back to my phone, in the corner.

Then some green shirted lady came up to us and told us that we had to leave the area. I told her that we were wristbanded for the event and she said that we weren't allowed to be there. I wasn't allowed to use the outlet and Hubs wasn't allowed to sit in the chair. Hubs made some joking remark to me, I started laughing and said "Shut up", but Miss Green Shirt thought I was talking to her and that really pissed her off.

We waited patiently, hanging out, reading books that were on the shelves, trying to keep ourselves entertained. Just before 2, they started playing the live Glee cd. This is when my husband started to get upset.... He kept giving me the side eye because he loathes the show.

Jane came out just after 2. There was a few paparazzi there and B&N had a little corral for them. The plan was to have Jane pose for a few photos and then they'd leave. She graciously accepted. 

Her first pose was standing on the edge of the stage with the book, then they had her posing like she was signing the book.

The entire time, flash bulbs were going off and they were shouting all sorts of directions. After a minute or two, Jane asked them not to tell her was to do. It was delivered with a smile, but the intent was serious. I can definitely understand how celebrities get upset about the photographers.
She talked for about 20 minutes and could be the most positive person ever. Her book is titled Happy Accidents. It refers to the realiziation she has come to while outlining the book that life is a series of happy accidents that led her to the exact times and places she was meant to be at.

Some of the questions talked about doing tv versus film [she loves doing both], how long it took to write the book [4 months], her first celebrity crush [Olivia Newton-John and she thought John Travolta was cute, so when Grease came out her "head almost imploded"], what her guilty pleasure is [coffee] and what she asks for at author events ["Pellegrino, nuts and lattes"].

She mentioned being active in the HRC and she loves the It Gets Better campaign. She also mentioned the sad video of Jonah and the bullying that he's dealing with.

Jane's main discussion topic was just in having faith and believing that your life will take you exactly where you're supposed to be, to relax and enjoy the present. She injected every answer with humor and just so much charisma.
After the talk, we were lined up by row. Miss Green Shirt hands the book to Jane while we walked up. Jane immediately said hi, using my name that was on my post-it. I thanked her for taking the time to be at the event and she thanked me for coming.

Miss Green Shirt had already informed everyone that Jane would not be taking posed photos, but one of the girls would take a picture of you while she was signing your book. Jane had other plans. While we couldn't go around the table, she did take photos with everyone that we saw.


Jane Lynch is amazing. She is funny and sincere with a wicked grin so infectious, you can't help but to smile right back. Which is exactly what you need to do to get through life.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The time I paid attention.

I actually noticed all of the talk that was going around about Legend. It was everywhere. Once I read the synopsis of the book, I was definitely interested. I found Marie online and saw that her release party was going to be held at MGRB. That's all it took.

We got up to the store about an hour before the start time. I immediately went to the signed YA section see what was there... I didn't get to stay long because there was a kid dancing along to the music and literally touching every. Single. Book. On. The. Shelves. With the YA section in a corner, there wasn't a lot of free space before he would have run into me.

I went to get seats and watched three girls set up a fruit and cheese platter, cupcakes and sparkling cider. One of the girls was freaking out about the cupcakes. Telling her friends that this was the Hunger Games, she was hungry and didn't want to share.

Marie was super sweet. She walked up to every person before the event started and introduced herself. I was really impressed that she asked the name of every person she went up to. She admitted to being nervous and asked if there was a long pause to start laughing or clapping to get things going again.

There was a brief reading before the Q&A started. She bribed the crowd right off the bat. The first person who asked a question got a super rare ARC of Legend. She also had the first UK ARC.

The best story she told was regarding the research she did. She searched for things like how to build a bomb, how far someone could fall before they died, how to make a Molotov cocktail and what bullet wounds looked like. With all of that, she was certain that her name was on a government list indicating she should be watched.

Once the signing started, we were lined up along the wall. I noticed that most of the cupcakes were, in fact, gone. I don't know who ate them all, I only saw people with the fruit and cheese.

I was the 4th person in line. With my book faced and my name printed on a post-it note, I approached the table. She signed my book and thanked me again for taking the time to come to her party.

Turns out the girl who was screaming about the cupcakes was a photographer for LA Weekly. I found that out when she asked to take our pictures for the paper. That should be interesting...

A bit off topic, I saw that Kami Garcia was going to be at the party, so I asked if I could finally get a picture with her. Even with all of the times I've seen her, she's always been busy and I've never wanted to interrupt. That includes seeing her at Comic-con. 

For Marie's party, Kami actually sat in my row, 2 people away. Did I get my picture? No. Didn't want to interrupt. And then she tweeted me to ask where I was. *facepalm*

Legend is the first book in a trilogy. I haven't read it yet, but I know I'll be following Marie Lu.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The time I bought more autographed books.

One day I had to stay late at work.  With my phone about to die and no charger with me, I convinced my boss to let me leave for a few minutes to run across the street to buy a book to read.  Matched by Ally Condie was on my Wish List and the first book I saw, so I grabbed it.  And I devoured it in two days.  Quickly did a search for Ally online to see what her book tour was looking like for the second book, Crossed

Turns out she was doing a signing in Northern California that same night.  I called the B&N and was able to ordered a signed copy.  I also devoured Crossed and I can't wait for the third book to come out. Too bad it's released next year.

I learned about Divergent from the Swoontini site. One of the girls [I think it was Christina] was talking about how swoony Four was.  Their swoony recommendations are why my Amazon bill is so high. Although, they did introduce me to √Čtienne St. Clair and Adam Kent, so all is forgiven.

So, of course I had to buy it. And when I did, I had to hunt down an autographed copy.  I haven't read it yet, but I'm getting close to it.  And I'll be ready to meet Veronica Roth when the next book in the series comes out.

I feel like such a d-bag when I find out authors live in San Diego and I am just catching on to it.  Kiersten White is one of those such authors.  Paranormalcy has been in my "to read" stack for a while.  The second book in the series, Supernaturally came out this year.  Have I mentioned that I'm really behind on these things?

I ordered a signed copy of Supernaturally from Mysterious Galaxy from a signing Kiersten did back in July.  July.  Where have I been? *facepalm*

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The time Kurt Loder bowed down to me

Kurt Loder represents pretty much the entire span of my teenage years.  Growing up, Mtv was always on [you know, back when they actually showed videos], so Kurt was my source for any sort of news, music related or otherwise.  I mean, he's the one who told me that Kurt Cobain was dead, so in my opinion, he's golden.  You can imagine my reaction when I saw that he was doing a signing...

We got up to Book Soup and purchased the book.

We were there a bit early because I drove.  I have a tendency to speed a little.  Okay, a lot.  Needless to say, we had some free time before it started.  I chose to spend that time talking [or freaking out] to the woman who worked there about how I just ran a red light,  the camera went off and I just knew it was going to be expensive.  Turns out, LA dismantled all of the red light cameras in September.  Let's all keep our fingers crossed for that to be true because it's a $486 fine. O_o

For this signing, they had chairs set up.  As mentioned before in another post, Book Soup is tiny.  There were about 10 chairs set up in rows of 2.  We took the second row of seats.

Kurt showed up on time.  He turned bright red when he walked to the podium after his introduction.

He briefly spoke about his background and then started talking about movie reviews.  After talking for a few minutes, he asked if anyone had questions.  When no one said anything, he looked to the Book Soup people and asked if the signing was going to start now.  The woman started laughing and shaking her head and then asked the first question.

From there, he really got started.

People asked him about bad movies he keeps watching [9th Gate], movies that he thought were unintentionally funny [someone in the crowd said Twilight, he said he wasn't the target audience for that movie, but "God bless the audience that is"], what his favorite movies are [LOTR, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind] and great, but underrated movies [In Bruges].  He is a huge horror movie fan and doesn't think remakes are necessary. 

When the Q&A was done, he went to the back of the store to start the signing.  I ended up at the front of the line. 

We walked up and he immediately thanked us for buying the book and coming to the event.  After I thanked him for having the event, he asked us if we were from LA [he lives in NY].  I told him we were from San Diego and he said, "You didn't drive all the way up here from San Diego just for this, did you?".  When I said we did, he was briefly stunned into silence before he said, "I bow down to you" and then placed his head on the counter.

My husband and Kurt talked a bit about In Bruges, as it's one of my husband's favorite movies.  He then started to sign the book and stated that his handwriting has gotten worse.

I couldn't be happier with it. 

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The time I got all swoony over Butch with a book

Butch Walker has been one of my favorite musicians for years.  I found him on a website [Metal Sludge] that my husband read all the time.  He had done an interview and I liked the answers enough to click on the link for his own website.  One listen to the song "My Way" from his new-at-the-time cd Left of Self Centered and I was hooked. 

Flash forward 9 years and I get an email update that says Butch has written a book and will be doing a few appearances to promote it.  I started watching the Book Soup website to make sure it wasn't going to turn into a ticketed event....

On the day of the signing, we got up to Hollywood with plenty of time to spare.  And when that happens, only one thing can come of it: pizza.  Completely off topic, there is a little hole in the wall pizza place on Sunset that makes some of the best pizza I've ever eaten in my life.  If you ever have the time, make sure you go eat at Frankie & Johnnie's.

Stuffed with pizza and Coke, we made our way over to Book Soup.  I was thrilled to see their marque.

We had bought our books and checked to see if there was a line [there wasn't] before we went to pizza.  By the time we got back, there was about 10 people standing outside of the store.  We got in line and proceeded to wait.  After about 45 minutes, we were told that the signing time was going to be pushed back.  We ended up waiting almost another 45 minutes.

We were eventually led into the store.  There were a good amount of people there and Book Soup is tiny.  It's awesome, but tiny.  The guy who was leading us in told the people who were in the back that they could walk around one section of books to get to the other side of the podium area.  I was fairly irritated because the people who had literally just gotten to the store now had front row access to Butch.

One lady who was standing behind us asked the guy why they were the people who were being moved over there when we were all in line for 90 minutes.  The guy didn't seem to understand why she was complaining.  That, in itself, was very upsetting.  It's understandable that they were trying to accommodate everyone, but it seems like there should have been a more effective way.

Butch finally came out and instead of talking about the book, turns out he had his acoustic guitar and decided to do a little show for us.

He took song requests and played the upbeat ones that were happy to sing along to.  After playing about 5 songs, the Q&A session started.

There were a lot of good questions, but only one really stood out in my mind...

Someone commented on Butch writing a theme song for Coke.  He confirmed that it did, in fact, happen.  He was approached to write a song and accepted the job.  Titled "Open Happiness", Butch was able to get Cee-Lo Green, Brendon Urie [from Panic! At the Disco], Travie McCoy [Gym Class Heroes] and Patrick Stump [Fall Out Boy] to sing it.

When the Q&A was signaled to start, again the end of the line people had the advantage, as they were nearest to the section of the store where Butch would be sitting.  But, I'm not bitter or anything...

Now, we've seen Butch perform countless times.  I've seen him in Hollywood, San Diego and [in one spur of the moment day trip just for him] Vegas.  He's signed several things and we've gotten loads of pictures with him.  I even have a tattoo of something from one of his album covers.  However, nothing seemed to be as exciting to me as seeing him do a book signing. 

[I adore that he plays the guitar right handed, but writes left handed]

Maybe it's just me.... [That's clever because it's one of Butch's song titles], but he seemed a bit nervous.  Like he wasn't sure if the idea of interacting one on one across a desk was a good one. 

When we got up to him, I handed him my book, with it already faced to the title page.  He started to move the jacket flap to go to the very front of the book.  I asked if he could sign the title page.  He started to write on the page opposite of the title page.  I caught him quickly and gestured to the title page, asking if he would sign there.

He admitted that he had no idea what he was doing and signed the page I indicated, after turning his mark on the other page into a heart. He then wondered if he was upsetting people by signing wherever he wanted in the book, but claimed he needed to be able to spread out.  We all sort of giggled over it.

Now, go Google the shit out of Butch Walker and buy everything he's ever recorded. 

You won't be disappointed.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The time Duff McKagan liked my name

So, while I was dealing with Mr. Cranky Pants at Warwick's, my husband noticed that they had a flyer up promoting the book tour stop with Duff McKagan.  Of course we bought books for the signing and with that, got group B tickets. We were told that there wasn't going to be any sort of Q&A, it was going to be a signing and nothing else.

We got to the bookstore and there were a lot of people there.  Apparently, Warwick's procedure during a signing is to close up completely at their normal time of 6pm and then reopen after rearranging the store.  About 15 minutes before the scheduled start time, one of the employees came out started talking.  I couldn't hear exactly what she was saying, but caught something about someone briefly talking before the signing started.  I figured there would be some instruction on how the signing would proceed.

I was wrong.

Out walked Duff...

He had decided to come out and talk even though it wasn't scheduled. He took all sorts of questions.  Everything from the current status of his bands Loaded and Velvet Revolver, to Guns N Roses getting into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

The entire rockstar cliche does not apply to Duff McKagan.  He is extraordinarily well spoken.  My husband tells me that he has a degree in Finance, but I'm not sure if that's true.  [I haven't read the book yet and I couldn't find a reputable source to confirm].  I do know that he writes several columns for several magazines, including ESPN, Playboy and the Seattle Weekly.   He even started his own money management company to help other musicians with their finances.

He talked for about 20 minutes.  Joked with a guy holding a video camera and how he needed to be careful with his answers because it was all going to end up on the internet somewhere.

For the signing, there were groups in A, B, C, etc.  Each group had about 25 people in them and I did see at least one person with a D ticket.  They sort of forced everyone outside, unless you were in the group that was up.  After showing your ticket to an employee, they herded us to stand in between some velvet ropes.  Another employee came by to write names on post-it notes for personalization.

They had Duff standing by himself in the middle of the store.  There was another employee [who was trying to take "rockstar" photos for the company website but managed to make it look like she was giving a very painful thumbs-up] standing just in front of him.  She faced the book and then handed it to him for signing.  Each person went up one at at time to get the book signed and then get a picture and chat for a minute or so. 

When it was my turn, he looked at my post-it note and said "I've never seen your name spelled like that and I've seen a lot of fucking names".  I laughed because not only is it one of the best reactions I've had to my uniquely spelled name, but it's also nearly the exact same thing he told me at NAMM a few years prior.  I told him that and it was his turn to laugh.

I got my book back and took a picture with him [he just grabs on and pulls you to his side].  He then shook my hand and thanked me for buying the book and spending my time at the event.

I waited for my husband to get his book signed and a picture and then we headed out of Duff's little velvet rope corral. 

As we left, he loudly exclaimed, "Bye, Staceeeeeeeeeeeeeee".

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