Monday, October 29, 2012

The time we flew to Chicago

I feel like it's no secret how much I love The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, Noah Shaw and [obviously] Michelle Hodkin. I missed her in SF when she toured for UoMD and after reading it, I was determined to get to her.

When ALA in Anaheim came around, The Evolution of Mara Dyer was the only arc I wanted. I would have give up everything else to have gotten that one book. Alas, they weren't giving them out. Flash forward to September and Kristin had tweeted a picture of the arc she had won and she was happy to share it with me.

After I had all of the flails from the ending of Evolution, I went into serious stalking mode. I made a few mentions of Y'ALLfest in South Carolina to Hubs and when he didn't laugh in my face, I figured it was a go. Turns out, Michelle was only going to be signing on Friday, we would have been leaving Thursday night. YALLfest was a no.

I looked into her other tour dates and asked her if she was planning a trip to the west coast. She said not that she knew of. I briefly thought about going to the Texas Book Festival, but quickly squashed that. And then I wondered about Chicago...

We have family there, so that means a place to stay. The original plan was that we were going to power through the 30 hour drive, but for $50 more than the estimation of gas, we could fly and have a mini vacation.

Hubs called the bookstore first to see if we could buy an event ticket [I'm ticket #1!!!] and book. He told the lady we were coming from San Diego and were met with stunned silence.

I seem to get that reaction a lot...

So. When I tweeted about the blogiversary giveaway, Michelle saw it and said this:

After airfare was purchased, it was official and the serious fangirling was set on high.

We got into Chicago on the Friday before the event. After we settled in a bit, we decided to go find the bookstore and pick up the books and ticket.

There was a bit of a mix up when I asked to pick up my stuff. No one could locate the binder with event preorders. It took some searching and some wandering around the store, but I noticed some books pulled behind the counter and voila! I had my book and ticket #1.

We spent the next day during the tourist stuff.  We all went down to Navy Pier and got on one of those double decker buses where we sat outside in the 36 degree weather and froze our asses off.

On the day of the event, we got to Naperville early. Painfully early. I may or may not have been overly excited. The event was being held at Two Doors East, a little boutique two doors away [not just a clever name] from

We wandered around. Went into Anderson's. Bought Starbucks. Talked to some awesome guy named Tony about Apple TV. Went back into Anderson's. And finally just decided to wait outside the store until they unlocked the door.

They let us in around 6:15. The lady remembered talking to me on the phone and announced to the few girls who were there that I flew from San Diego for this. And then the girls starting asking about the trip. One girl even said she thought her drive of an hour was excessive.

It quickly started filling up and Michelle got there right at 7pm.

She started out with the origin story to UoMD.  Michelle was lawyer before she was a writer.  She worked in civil anti-terrorism litigation, even working on some of the 9/11 cases when she was 24. 

Once while in New York, she met a woman whose daughter was in a building collapse and her friends did not survive.  The woman wanted to sue the building's owner for mental anguish.  Michelle exchanged information with the mother and said she would try to put her in touch with someone. 

Unfortunately, Michelle didn't think about the mother or daughter [who Michelle said you could definitely see there was something more and haunting about] until she was in New York again a year later.  She found the number and called, only to find that it had been disconnected.  Upon googling the family name, Michelle found that it never existed. 

She started writing that night. 

Somehow, the topic of the last names were brought up, so I asked if MaraAmitraDyerNoahElliotSimonShaw [MADNESS] was on purpose. Originally, Dyer was Noah's last name as an homage to Reality Bites character Troy Dyer.  It wasn't working and Mara quickly adopted it.  And then Shaw was quickly picked for Noah and the middle names fell into place.  It wasn't "planned" per se, just worked out that way. [And I fucking love it].

And as for the language that is in Michelle's books? She says that she needs to be able to write the story that she needs to write and it's up to the parents to control what their kids read. But while 8 and 10 year olds know the bad words, she's not particularly concerned with language.

The only other notes that I have [be thankful I took this many] is that Retribution is in it's first draft.  Which means there's no punctuation.  And that readers have all of the puzzle pieces to the entire story, we were given them in Unbecoming.

After about an hour of talking and Q&A [at some point, Michelle did point right at me and ask if I was me *squee*], she started signing.  It did go in numerical order, so after I unpacked my pile of books, I apologized to the line of people behind me as well as Michelle for having so many. 

Michelle said I didn't need to apologize.  I told her the story about the book boy fight and asked if she would please please please sign Noah over to me. Michelle said that since I came from San Diego [insert gasps from the crowd], I deserved him.  She also said that she loved my blog [how I remained standing and coherent, I'll never know] and that we were friends.

I had a hardcover copy that I ordered signed [when I missed SF] and asked her to personalize it.  Which she did.  And then resigned.

How I felt all night

I got some of the awesome swag: buttons and stickers and tattoos and bookplates and bookmarks. I'm far too lazy to go drag it out of my packed books to take photos of it.  Just know that it's awesome. And it's all mine.
Michelle is perfection.  Online she is friendly and funny and just so mother fucking awesome.  In person? She is better.  It was beyond exciting to finally meet someone who I adore online, devour their books and then find out that in real life, they're just...gah. 
She absolutely made the trip to Chicago worth everything.  I can't recommend her enough.  Go go go go see her.  Now.  But don't ask for Noah because I'm not giving him up.  EVER.

Want a signed copy of The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer? Click here.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The time we wanted to win an author

Daemon Invasion 2.0 -


Nomination: Los Angeles, California.

Hello! My name's Ava, and welcome to Stacee's incredible blog, Adventures of a Book Junkie!
Now, you see, Stacee and I are on a mission: We want to meet Jennifer L. Armentrout. Badly. Actually, not only would we love to meet Jennifer - and Pepe! - we also really want our city to host the release party for Opal - Jennifer's much-anticipated third-installment in herLux series.

So Stacee and I hereby nominate Los Angeles, California for Daemon Invasion 2.0!

And we're not the only ones...

There's Lauren, who agrees with Stacee and me...



And then there's Nicole...



Oh, and this is Michelle...



Meet Ishita...



And Zareen...



Oh! And there's Kristin...



Oh, and Christina! She loves Daemon...


This is Beverly...


And this is Mindy...



And here's Crystal...



You have readers of all sizes (Jennifer's adorable daughter)...


And species (Alethea's kitty)...



Even plushy toys love Jennifer (Thuy's Domo)...



And then, finally, there's Stacee (right) and me (left)...



We all want to meet Jennifer and celebrate the release of Opal. Together.

P.S. Stacee and I recommend hosting Opal's release party at Mysterious Galaxy in Redondo Beach (see picture above) - they have a wonderful staff and ample room. I'd also personally like to urge for a weekend event, if able.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The time there were two signings in one day

Going to the Beautiful Redemption release party was something I went back and forth with. Knowing for certain that I'd be going to see Heather Brewer in the afternoon, I couldn't decide if it would be easier to try and see Kami and Margie on another date.

Needless to say, we decided to make a day of it...

Since it wasn't wristbanded, we didn't have to leave San Diego at stupid o'clock in the morning. We got up to The Grove first, to buy our copies of Beautiful Redemption. And to run up to the events area to see if anyone had lined up already.

With time to kill, we went to Cheesecake Factory to people watch [since they film Extra on site] and gorge on pasta and cheesecake. After eating, we walked through B&N again to see if there was a crowd. [Hubs and I have been debating the idea of serious release party LA crowd vs school night].

Instead of seeing anyone lined up, we met David Zayas, who plays Bastiata on Dexter. He was really cool and took pictures with both of us, after taking his sunglasses off and shaking both of our hands.

And down to MGRB we headed. Got to the store around 1:30, bought a couple of books I "needed" and the super awesome Emilio gave me some pretty rad Slayer swag.

Heather Brewer and Rachel Cohn got to the store just around 3:30. They each gave a brief synopsis of their books, talked about what inspired them to write their stories and then turned the questions to us.

We talked about the books we were all reading and the aspiring authors in the audience asked questions. After about 30 minutes, the signing started. I jumped up and got my Nook signed [I've been saving a spot for Heather for a while].

Ava had a box [literally a BOX] of books for Heather and while she got those signed, I bugged LeAnna for this spiffy post-it note holder thingy. Afterwards, we hung out and talked about my blog [which Heather loves that I blog about events because "no one is doing it"].

And onward to The Grove. We got there around 5:30. I had expected loads of people to already be milling around and when we got there, we were able to secure second row seats.

Ava and I walked around. She tried to get me to buy a second copy of Evolution of Mara Dyer because I didn't want to wait for Chicago to get my finished copy. I painfully resisted.

Kami and Margie got things started just after 7pm. With them came Rachel Brosnahan who plays Genevieve and Alden Ehrenreich who plays Ethan in the movie along with Katie Alender who acted as the moderator.

They talked about the movie, how they developed the character of Ethan, how Alden embodied the character and their trip to the movie set. Walking on set was like the set designers had been inside their heads, Kami and Margie had little to no input.

One of the best questions asked who their 12 year old celebrity crush was:

Alden: Shelly Duvall in The Shining

Margie: Harrison Ford. She crank called every day, asking for his sons

Rachel: She had a Limp Bizkit pulled poster out of a j14 magazine. She didn't know what it was, but liked the poster and the tattoos

Kami: Rick Springfield and Matt Dillion.

Katie: Wil Wheaton

After about an hour of talking, the signing started. And, as usual, The Grove has absolutely no control over the crowd. Instead of enforcing the "by row" line up, they allow everyone to go everywhere. So, while we were in the second row, we were forced to the end of the signing line.

It took about 45 minutes from the time the signing started to the time we got up to the table. Not because there were that many people [I'd guess there were about 50], but because the events people weren't helping the line along. They allowed people to cut back in line to take photos and get posters and swag.

When we did get up there, Katie was first. She took my books and asked Hubs if I was there. When I raised my hand, she asked Hubs to tell her something scandalous about me. He told her that I kick children in Macy's. she looked to me for clarification and I said that it was probably true.

And thus the greatest inscription ever.

We got to Kami and Margie and plopped down our ridiculous piles of books. They asked if I had started  Beautiful Redemption. When I said no, they asked if I was caught up. After affirming that I was caught up, they Margie said that there would be tears upon finishing.

They had movie posters and bracelets and bookmarks, all of which we grabbed.

We quickly left [after Hubs was approached by some lady asking where the health section was located] and found this in the valet section, with a sign apologizing for the horrible conditions.

While two signings in one day was a little excessive, it was delightful seeing some amazing authors. And of course spend the day with my girl Ava.

Psst!! Wanna win signed books from Heather Brewer and Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl? Click here.

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