Sunday, March 18, 2012

The time I went to WonderCon.

When I told people we were going to WonderCon, I got one of two reactions. Either "why waste your time?" or "what's WonderCon?". Admittedly, I fell into the latter category. We've been going to Comic-con for 15 years and never once heard of WonderCon. After seeing how cheap tickets were, we figured why not?

Saturday was interesting. We got up late and with the rain, didn't get to Anaheim until 11:30 or so.  I'm not sure what I was expecting, but it wasn't nearly as bad as everyone implied it would be.  It was small.  Extraordinarily small.  Not only in comparison to SDCC, but to the NAMM convention that is also held in Anaheim. However, small crowds made for an excellent time.

The most important goal for Saturday was to locate the Mysterious Galaxy booth in relation to where the entrance door was.  And it took us a while... Turns out we kept going to the booth that was behind MG, but never took 2 steps further.  O_o

As we wandered around, we found ourselves in the Artist Alley. We were walking up and down the aisles and there was a guy standing in the aisle way and he handed me a card.  Usually, I don't take these things, but the card was very brightly colored and had a picture of a bunny with fangs eating a carrot.  I thought it was hilarious, so I kept the card. 

A few minutes later, I saw this on a t-shirt...

Turns out the guy who handed me the card is the artist, Sebastien Millon [].  He came over to us and introduced himself.  I was wearing my Time Lord sweatshirt and he started asking questions about Doctor Who and how we started watching it.  He is super nice and I absolutely love his art work.  We bought the above picture in an 18x24 print and I can't wait to get more.

Sunday... oh, Sunday... It was all about YA panels and signings. 

Gretchen McNeil had been tweeting that she was going to have 15 ARCs of Ten to give away at her signing at MG.  Here was my dilemma... She was signing at 11, doors for the convention didn't open until 11 and we still had to go to registration in the morning to pick up our badges.

Thankfully, they had registration open early, so we were able to pick up our badges around 9:30. Security was herding everyone to a massive line in the dungeon [AKA the basement, AKA next to registration]. They swore up and down that the massive line would be the quickest way to get inside.

We opted to go back upstairs and evade security until 11. Apparently we either look completely unassuming or completely pissed off because security didn't once tell us to go downstairs like they were to everyone around us.

At 10:55, people started streaming inside and I was ready to run. Run and throw elbows and bitch slap anyone who got in my way to the booth. Turns out the MG booth was basically around the corner from the door we entered and we were there right away.

Gretchen is adorable. I had bought a signed copy of Possess and brought it to ask of she would personalize it. She did, of course. I then asked if all the ARCs were gone and they weren't!! I was able to get a copy of Ten and she signed that as well.

We left the MG booth and went around the corner, but I ended up going back to see of Gretchen would sign my Nook. While I was waiting, I FINALLY met Lauren and Christina [AKA the ladies of Swoontini]. I've been talking to the two of them for what seems like years, so it was exciting to get tackle hugs from both of them.

I also ran into Ava. She is one of the girls who was gushing about TFiOS at the Megan Miranda signing in HB. She complimented my blog, which I thought was super cool and then we both took a picture with Lauren and Christina. Turns out, I'll be seeing a lot of Ava this year. :D

1pm brought us Kami Garcia and Ransom Riggs, again at the MG booth.

Now, I've been trying to get a picture with Kami Garcia for about a year. She's been sick or busy with her group and I didn't want to interrupt. This year, I was determined to get one.  I asked Kami to sign my Nook [which she did] and then I asked for a picture. And HOORAY!! I got one!!

After thanking Kami, I slid over to Ransom and asked him to sign my copy of his book.

2pm brought me Tahereh Mafi and Veronica Rossi [who hugged me!! *squee*]. Both of them recognized me [really, my chest tattoo]. I told them both that I would be at Vroman's in April, that I was stalking both of them. Both women signed my Nook and I also got a signed bookmark by Veronica for a friend.

3pm brought the YA panel with Kami Garcia, Ransom Riggs, Veronica Rossi, Lissa Price, Gretchen McNeil, and Ann Aguirre with moderation by Andrea Cremer.

The panel started out with the best question ever. Instead of Andrea introducing everyone, she asked them to introduce themselves, talk about their book and then to state their favorite cosplayer of the convention.

I was most excited to see the book trailer for Under the Never Sky. I'm horribly in love with that book, so it was interesting to see how they captured some of the imagery described.

We left the panel early to get back down to MG because at 4, Lissa Price and Ann Aguirre were signing. Annnnd, if you bought Enclave, you got the ARC of the sequel, Outpost, as well. So of course I did that.

Lissa gave out rubber bracelets, pins and light up necklaces to the first 5 people who were in line. She commented on the fact that I was prepared for the signing, by having my book faced and post-it ready.

Ann was very sweet and very soft spoken. She seemed surprised that we were getting ARCs, but asked me to email her and let her know what I thought of the books when I was done.

Even though my time with all of the authors was short, it was awesome to see so many different people in one place. I'm even more excited for SDCC now.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

The time I didn't read the books before the signing.

I had heard all sorts of good things about Vroman's bookstore in Pasadena. When I saw that Lauren Oliver was signing, I was all over it. Add Claudia Gray and I was set... I ordered the books through the website with a note that I would be picking the books on the day of the event.

When we got to Vroman's, I was instructed to go to the will call section upstairs. The woman who helped me, Mary, was extraordinarily nice. She even offered to hold my ginormous bag of books behind the counter so I could go to lunch without lugging it around.

We got back to the bookstore around 3, and of course Nicole was there. :D I spent the time facing my books, writing my post-it's and chatting up the other people for the signing. Vroman's has an area devoted to signings and it was already set up with seating and balloons.

The three authors came out just after 4.  A woman from Vroman's did a brief introduction and gave the background for each.  And then each author went further into their background, including their stories. 

Dan started his introduction by telling the audience "You're Welcome".  He then stated that during their flight from Atlanta, they had to make a stop in New Mexico because there was a very sick woman passenger who needed to be removed from the plane.  The 3 of them were certain she was Patient Zero and they were infected with the virus [that the audience was now going to contract] which was going to kill off the population.

All 3 authors are animated, funny and so so so charming.  They give fun answers to the questions given.  The Q&A lasted for about an hour.  They answered questions from "what's your favorite book" to "what are you working on now" to "how to do write a believable romance between two characters".  They even threatened the audience with singing if the questions stopped before they were ready.  Apparently, the 3 of them sang the theme to The Love Boat and The Time Warp at other events, but none of them could remember why.

Admittedly, I didn't read the books before the signing started.  I was planning on reading Delirium, but heard there was a horrible cliffhanger, so I decided to wait for Pandemonium.  Now I've learned that Lauren [as well as Claudia and Dan] loves writing cliffhangers, so I was advised by other people in attendance that I should wait for the final book.

I did read Evernight, by Claudia Gray, but not any of the others in the series.  I loved the character Balthazar, so I'm very eager to see where she takes him.

I found Dan from the Vroman's website.  After seeing that he was going to be there with Lauren and Claudia, I read the synopsis of his book and I was definitely interested.

When the Q&A was over, we lined up along the wall.  Nicole was in front of me, so I was the second person in line.  I had 7 books to get signed between the 3 of them, so while Nicole started with Dan, I went to Lauren.

Now.  I had heard from some girls on Twitter that Lauren is super nice and when I walked up to her, she absolutely was.  She was extremely engaging, commenting on my husband staying in his seat while the signing was going on and even saying that she saw him on his phone the entire time.  She also asked if I had a blog.  When I told her that I did a blog about book signings because something weird usually happens to me at every event, she asked what weird thing happened this time.  At the time, nothing weird had happened [and it didn't], so she asked for another example. 

As I was telling the story, this is how she signed by book....

Lauren went on to ask how long it took us to drive up from San Diego [at this point, Nicole and I were both passing our books to all 3 of the authors, but I remained standing in front of Lauren].  I told her that it was mainly dependent on who drove, that I drove faster.  And when I mentioned that I was one ticket away from losing my license, Lauren, Claudia and Dan all did the "Ooooooohhhhh".

Claudia was excited to see a hardcover copy of Evernight, I think she even rubbed the cover a little...

And Dan was just plain awesome...

After I had collected all of my books, I thanked all of them for taking the time and I'm pretty sure they answered "thanks for coming" at the same time. 

All in all, it was an excellent signing.  Lauren, Claudia and Dan are hilarious together and have excellent chemistry as a panel of authors traveling together.  Everyone at Vroman's was friendly and helpful and I definitely look forward to going to future signings.

Friday, March 9, 2012

The time I wanted the Australian cover

I fell in love with Graffiti Moon instantly. The lyrical way Cath Crowley tells the story of Lucy and Ed while they look for Shadow made me feel as if I was in the van, right next to them.

As soon as I finished the book, I first went looking for Cath's website to see if there was a chance to get a signed copy. After it seemed nearly impossible, I then went hunting for a copy with an Australian cover. Not that the US cover isn't pretty, because it is....

However, with just the lone, stark yellow spray can on a black background, I feel like the Australian cover embodies the entire book.

Now. Tracking down an Australian version was more difficult than I thought it would be. I found and emailed several Australian bookstores with online stores asking about the book and the possible shipping costs. All of the stores came back and said they would be more than willing to ship the book, if they had it. One store even told me to try to contact the publisher directly.

Slightly defeated, I posted something about my search on Twitter and included Cath in the post... We ended up having a delightful conversation about the different covers. And then she told me that I should enter the contest she was having on her website to win a copy of the book.

So, off to her website I went.  And this is what I found:

"Write one line describing something that you love. Send it along in the comments section.

I’m thinking something along the lines of art or poetry or avocado on toast or gliding under water rather than that guy or girl on the bus who will not look at you no matter how hard you will them to with the power of your eyes, but really, who am I to judge? Send along any love that gets you through the day.

Write it in an interesting way, though, and we’ll put the whole thing together as a full piece. The two loveliest loves get a book. Everyone else gets the good feeling of being words on a page.

And if no one enters, well, I’ll write the piece myself. It will be much nicer the other way, though."

The line I immediately entered? I love to smell the pages and feel the glossy cover of a brand new book, right before I open it to be transported to a new world.  Right after I entered, Cath tweeted me and and commented on how great my line was. 

Flash forward to the end of the competition...

Out of the blue,  I got an email stating "Cath Crowley is now following you on Twitter".  10 seconds later, I got a DM from her.  Cath told me that while she loved my line and really wanted me to win, she didn't pick me because she felt like it would have been rigging the contest and then advertising it on Twitter.  But that if I sent her my address, she would send me a copy of the Australian version because I loved the cover so much.

I was stunned by her offer, even more that she wouldn't let me pay for the book or for shipping.  I gave her my address and Cath said it would go out in the mail right away.

I got the mail today... And here it is.  Not only did I get a copy with the Australian cover that I am in love with, it was signed.

I have never been so floored... I just keep staring at it.  I'm so so so so so excited and couldn't be more amazed at her generosity.  Unfortunately, there wasn't a return address, so hopefully, Cath will see this post as my thank you/love note.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

The time I got book plates.

Once upon a time, someone retweeted a post by Megan Crewe.  She was offering personalized book plates for her new release The Way We Fall.  All you had to do was go to her website and provide an address and who it was to be made out to.  The day that I read it was the last day that she was offering it.

The Way We Fall had been on my TBR list, but I hadn't bought it yet [I'm forever trying NOT to buy books until I go through some of my stacks]. Megan lives in Canada and at the time didn't have any US appearances scheduled. So, I figured I would try to get a book plate... When/if I received one, I would buy the book. 

Needless to say, a couple of weeks later, I got a random envelope and inside was my book plate and book mark!  I immediately drove to Barnes and Noble to get my copy. 

I heard about The Mockingbirds and The Rivals on Twitter when it was the release day for The Rivals.  Several of the authors that I follow were talking about it and that made me curious.

I devoured each book in one night.  I fell in love with Alex, [and Martin], her strength, [and Martin], and the entire journey Alex took from being a victim to being one to help.  Did I mention Martin? :D

After reading both of the books, I went to find Daisy online.  I didn't find anything on her website about doing any sort of signings... So, of course I went on Twitter, found her and asked if she was planning any appearances.  And noooooo, she wasn't.  After talking with her briefly, she offered to send me some book plates.  She was even awesome enough to send me one for each book.

Now, I'm seeing Megan is going to be in Texas next month and I'm seriously contemplating driving out to meet her...  Daisy still doesn't have any appearances planned, but I've got my fingers crossed.

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