Sunday, April 29, 2012

The time a stranger helped me out

After devouring The Pledge in one night, I went to Kimberly's website to see what else she had written and more importantly, when she was appearing.  I found out that she had written the Body Finder series, which had been on my TBR list.  Another set of books that I hadn't read, but was really interested in.  From her website, I saw that she had one appearance listed... a bookstore in OR called Powell's.

I immediately went to their website to see if they had the first two books in the Body Finder series available in hard cover.  They did.  I then found Kimberly on Twitter to ask her if she would be willing to sign those books instead of The Pledge, even though that was the book she was promoting.  As soon as I got her "of course", I emailed the bookstore to ask about placing an order.

The first email I got stated that no, they were not taking orders for any books other than The Pledge, since that was what Kimberly was there for.  They did say that if I wanted the Body Finder books signed, I needed to show up for the event.  I responded, asking if the policy might change as the date got closer, adding that I was in CA, so there was no way that I would be able to make it to the event myself.  The answer back was a resounding no.

No, they would not take my order at that time.
No, they would not take my order at a date closer to the event.

I went back to Twitter and thanked Kimberly for her offer to sign the other books and let her know that Powell's wouldn't allow me to order them.  I told her that I would get to her at some point when she toured for The Last Echo.

Enter Jennifer.

She had seen my conversation with Kimberly and offered to have the books signed for me, since she would be attending the event.  As soon as I got her address, I had ordered copies and sent them to her house.

Fast forward to the day of the scheduled event, 1/16.

I get a tweet from Jennifer telling me that the event with Kimberly has been canceled due to all of the snow. She assured me that when the signing gets rescheduled, she will take my books to get signed.

My returning answer was that if she didn't return the books, I wasn't out that much money. Also, I was the one with her address. Kimberly also chimed in, saying that she felt horrible about the cancellation, but had already left a message for the events manager at Powell's to reschedule.

It was now just a matter of time.

The event had been rescheduled for 4/24. In the months that passed, I got some things signed for Jennifer and sent them to her. There was also a huge mix up with my pre-order of the third book in the Body Finder series. Through all of it, Jennifer has been amazing.

My books were delivered yesterday.  Jennifer went above and beyond, including some signed bookmarks from Jill Hathaway and Lissa Price, as well as rubber bracelets and nail polish that promotes The Last Echo.

As for the books, they're perfect.

I'm extraordinarily appreciative for Jennifer and everything she did to help.  Between the two of us, we have the west coast covered for any and all book signings!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The time I saw a best selling author who can't read

The Hubs is a huge Jason Ellis fan. We found his show on accident, driving home from a Kings of Leon show in AZ and from there, Hubs was a dedicated listener. Don't get me wrong, I like Ellis, but I don't get upset if it's a "best of" week. Also, I don't have satellite radio in Lucy, so I only listen when we're in Hubs' car.

When Ellis talked about his book being released and the scheduled tour, we knew that we'd be going to one of the stops. Thankfully, there was a stop announced in Huntington Beach, so we were able to go there instead of LA [which would have been super packed] or the Saturday date in Temecula.

We got to the bookstore around 5:15. I opted to go up to the event area to grab seats and see what the crowd looked like. When I got upstairs, I was surprised to see that there weren't any chairs set up. In place of the chairs, there was a chain set up for a Disneyland style line and a podium with a microphone to the side of the signing table.

I was second in line and right after I stopped walking, a B&N employee came up to confirm that I already had a copy of the book and that it had been set up for personalizing. I asked if Ellis was planning on talking or just signing. She said he might talk for a minute or two, but that he asked for just a line to get through the all of the people.

Security showed up shortly after that. One of the B&N employees walked them around the area, showing them where they needed to stand and how the bookstore was expecting a huge crowd.

We were waiting in line when one of the women who sets up the store events asked if I was Stacee. When I said yes and asked how she knew, she said from Twitter. And then asked why I wasn't at the Lissa Price signing on Wednesday. She also asked if I was going to be at the rest of the events for the week. Again, I'm not sure how I feel about being known for Twitter. Especially when real life people don't know I'm there. :D

Ellis showed up just after 7. He did talk for a very brief moment, mostly just thanking us all for being there because he wasn't expecting that big of a turn out.

We were second in line. When we walked up, I commented on how nicely his nails were painted. He told me that his toes were a really nice purple color with black flakes, that he liked the color, but wasn't sure how it'd go over on his hands.

And then he said, "You want to see them, don't you?". I said yes and he actually took off his boots and socks and showed me the polish on his toes.

When it came to signing my book, I asked if he would inscribe anything because I wanted him to write "You are the president of Awesome World". He said he wouldn't sign that because I wasn't and that I didn't know Chad Reed. We bantered back and forth about the inscription for a bit before he signed my book. And then he spelled my name wrong! :D

While Ellis is quite the rambunctious radio host, he is really polite, soft spoken and super fun to talk to. I was a little trepidatious about the entire event, but ended up having a lot of fun.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The time Lucy broke down on the 405

We were on our way to the Barnes and Noble in Huntington Beach and I was driving my MINI Cooper, Lucy. Pretty much right after merging from the toll road to the 405N, an indicator light came on warning me that my engine was too hot. We started pulling of the freeway and thankfully we did because the warning light turned red and Lucy was officially overheating.

Before I even had time to call the dealer, a CHP/roadside service guy pulled over [did you know that it's all free in Orange County?] and after looking at my car, told me there wasn't any water in it. Water was added, indicator lights turned off and we were just about to leave when the guy motioned for us not to go yet.

And then he pointed out the huge puddle of water seeping/pouring/exploding out from under the car..


Turns out there was a hose broken and Lucy couldn't be driven any further. At this point, I had given up on making the event.

I fought with the roadside assistance people because I should have been under warranty. I fought with the dealer because they had told me that they could only give me a loaner car if I got there before 7pm [the tow truck was scheduled to pick us up at 6:45]. Pleading my case that I didn't live in Costa Mesa, could they please, please, please do something the guy said, "I can't do anything if you're here after 7pm."

We got the most awesome tow truck guy ever. He picked us up at 6:20, had Lucy loaded in 7 minutes and in the middle of rush hour traffic, took the carpool lane to ensure I got there in time. Manny from Mission Viejo towing? I owe you big time.

We got there at 6:50. I was horribly spastic. It wasn't even about getting to the signing anymore, it was about getting back home... I ran around the dealer, pretty much screaming at anyone who slowed down long enough. Not screaming like "AHHH, I'M SO ANGRY, GRRRR".  More like, "AHHH, WHERE'S THE CAR SECTION, I NEED TO GET THERE BEFORE THEY CLOSE AND LOCK ME INSIDE AND I'M STUCK IN COSTA MESA FOREVER."

After the paperwork was completed and the dealer was stupid enough to give me a BMW as a loaner car, Hubs says, "We might as well go to the signing, since we're so close." [Did I mention that we were 2 exits away from the bookstore?]

Obviously, I got there while the talking was going on. I was still too amped up to even really be listening... So, I just huddled up in the back and typed most of this post. After the planned questions from the bloggers who were moderating, they had 2-3 audience questions and then the signing started.

Ava found me immediately and I told her my sob story. Her response was lots of hugs and a letter to Hogwarts! She makes the letters and I've seen her give them to authors before and I've always been so so so jealous...


They formed one huge line and then then sort of fed us through to each author. I got up to Gayle first. I plopped my purse down on the counter and she commented on how cute it was. We chatted for a bit about Kate Spade purses being worth the cost before Gayle asked how I liked FOB and if I had read Fifty Shades of Grey. After she signed my books, I told her that I'd probably see her tomorrow at the SD stop.

Back to the line, and then over to Nina. She also remembered me from FOB. And Twitter. When I mentioned that I wasn't sure that I liked being recognized from Twitter, she said that it was cool seeing readers talk about the books. I said I was spastic. She said enthusiastic. I'll take it.

Back in line, waiting for Stephanie.

And waiting.

And waiting.

And waiting.

Now. Here's a little back story. Kassiah, the ever so lovely woman who designed this blog, shares her ARCs with me and is just all around awesome, has been holding it over my head for MONTHS that Stephanie gave her √Čtienne. Kassiah refuses to share him with me. And while I would like him, I really enjoy riling her up by saying I'm going to ask for him because she gives the best responses.

So when I got up to Stephanie [after telling her a very edited version of Lucy blowing up], I showed her this picture on my phone.

And proceeded to tell her how we are fighting over √Čtienne and could she please, please, please inscribe something in the book about Kassiah sharing him. Stephanie said absolutely, that she loved when friends fought over things like this. And so this happened...

I haven't told Kassiah yet. ;)

When we were done, Stephanie said she wanted a hug because she couldn't believe that I still made it to the signing after the night we had. She also thanked the Hubs for bringing me.

Tomorrow is the tour stop at Mysterious Galaxy, which is about 15 minutes from my apartment. Assuming all goes well with the dealer, I'll be going to that stop as well. Fingers crossed.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

The time we went to Festival of Books

I'm not going to recount my ordeals with getting information about the author panels versus author signings because I'm pretty sure everyone already knows about it. I've been pretty whiny about it over the last couple of weeks.

Needless to say, we got up to FOB just after 11:15. We had already missed the John Green panel that we had tickets for were just trying to get to the YA panel with Kami Garcia, Margaret Stohl, Lauren Kate and DJ MacHale. We ended up passing the signing area and since there wasn't a serious line yet, I decided to stay and wait.

There were a two people already waiting and somehow we got on the topic of John Green. The woman waiting told us that he was signing right then, so my husband took my books and ran off to get in line.

The line he waited in...

Since I was third in line, I was able to see Lauren right away. She's always so nice and makes conversation. Lauren asked where I was from and if I'd been to FOB before. Turns out, this was the first time for both of us. She very graciously signed my copies of The Betrayal of Natalie Hargrove and Fallen in Love

Meanwhile, I had met Ava while in line for Lauren. We made plans to meet up for Stephanie Perkins, Gayle Forman and Nina LaCour. I will come back to this.

After Lauren, I ran over to where my husband was in line for John Green. I was able to get there when he was about 10 people away. There was someone there to flap my books [which was already done]. That woman handed them to another woman who handed them to John. I was a bit bummed that I didn't bring TFiOS with me to have personalized, but I didn't think I'd even get to see him, so I couldn't be quite that upset.

When we got up to him, I told him that I wasn't sure what to say because I'm sure he had heard it all already. He agreed that he had, but that he always liked to hear it. So I told him that I only read TFiOS because everyone was talking about it, but that I loved it. He told me that he loved into hear when friends threaten to "punch you in the face if you don't read".

After John, I ran back to the YA section to get in line with Ava for The YA or Bust tour stop. I purposely didn't bring my books because I'm going to be at the stop in Huntington Beach. And maybe San Diego...

Anyhoo. Since I didn't have my books, I asked Gayle to sign her swag while explaining that I would be at the HB stop. And I got an awesome Team Adam pin.

And then it was time for Stephanie...

Ava went ahead and pointed me out, telling her that I'm one of her hugest fans [I will be getting her back for this]. I completely went to 11 on the fangirling and told her how I've been waiting so so so long to meet her. That I planned to go to AZ in May for her and that I tried to get Hubs to go to NC when Lola came out. She is the sweetest person ever. Especially since she dealt with my absolute flailing with smiles and nice words.

Now, while I was waiting for Stephanie, I told Nina that I will have books for her at the signing. And then she asked if I was "Stacee from Twitter". [Perhaps I didn't mention that I had a post-it on my chest like a name tag...]. I'm not sure if this "getting recognized" is a good thing or not... [I also got recognized by a woman who was at the Breathless Reads tour at the bookshop-which-will-not-be-named].

Either way, I got some cool stuff. And I walked away thinking I hadn't made TOO big of a hot mess of myself. Turns out, while waiting for valet, all three ladies walked by. Yes, I did run after them. Yes, I did ask for a picture. Yes, I was a total hot mess.

Moving on...

After the ladies, Ava said she was going to see about going to the other John Green signing hosted at Mrs. Nelson's. You had to buy a copy of one of his books to get a priority ticket. I offered to buy TFiOS to have personalized so Ava could get her autograph book signed. She then left to get in line.

Hubs and I walked around to kill time. Somehow we ended up at the LA Times stage during Tori Spelling. We stood under a lovely tree in a grassy area just hung out. Well, I hung out, Hubs pretended to be Tori answering questions. He even spoke in a high pitched voice for a bit.

Just after two, I went back to the YA panel signing area for Kendare Blake and Robin LaFevers and asked if I could get in line since they were still setting it all up. The guy asked if I knew there was a panel with the authors that was happening. I said yes, but that I'd rather wait for the signing. He was really cool and even let me stand under the tent.

Ava showed up shortly after and traded me my signed [and personalized!] copy of TFiOS for a copy of Anna Dressed in Blood that I bought her. We settled in and just chatted a bit. Nicole joined us right before the signing started.

Robin was first. I told her that I loved Grave Mercy and that I read it in one sitting and that it didn't feel like 500+ pages. She was surprised at that, said it must have been a long sitting. When I told her that it was only about 3 hours, she was even more surprised. I took a pin and thanked her.

As soon as I saw Kendare was going to be signing, I knew I was making her a priority. I absolutely loved Anna and I'm dying for Girl of Nightmares. And like a total idiot, I pretty much said that exact thing. *facepalm*

After chatting with Ava a bit more and waiting for Hubs to come back from seeing John Cusack, we left. And waited at valet for 30 minutes before I made a fool of myself.

All in all, Festival of Books was amazing. I know for next time that there's no need to pay for panel passes. And valet parking is a big maybe. But, I'm pretty sure we'll be going again...

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The time it was a social event.

Trying to hunt down Cynthia Hand has been a difficult task. As soon as Hallowed came out, I was watching her website for any upcoming signings. When the Spring Into the Future tour was announced and I saw that Cynthia was scheduled to be appearing at the LA stop, I double checked the date. She had the dates listed for the RT convention instead of the LA stop. I had tweeted her and didn't hear anything back right away.

So. Knowing that Tahereh Mafi is ALWAYS on Twitter [and she's really good at answering my inane questions, unless I ask for magnets and ARCs of Shatter Me and then she just laughs], I asked Tahereh if she could confirm that Cynthia was going to be there. Tahereh said that as far as she knew, yes Cynthia was going to be there.

Cynthia did get back to me on Twitter and said that they were trying to figure the dates out. She needed to rearrange her appearance times at RT before she could commit to it, but that it looked like it was going to happen. The other authors who were going to be there were all women I had already met, several times. The only author I hadn't met/read was Anna Carey...

On the night of the event, we got up to Vroman's around 5 and who did I find? Nicole and Ava. Lauren from Swoontini was also there and there may have been some fantastic hugs.  The 4 of us sat together and passed the time chatting up the books we've read and what we thought about them. We also talked about CC and the different panels. It was so so so much fun to be able to talk with them, not just because they are all fabulous [oh, they are], but I don't really have anyone in real life who is as passionate about reading as I am.

The event started around 6:15, with a brief introduction of each of the women by one of the Vroman's employees. After each woman gave a brief synopsis of their book, the Q&A started.

One of the best questions of the night was if the high school versions of the authors would have been friends with their main characters. I not even going to pretend that I remember all of the answers....

What I do remember laughing at was Tahereh saying that Juliet would have said, "Hey, I'm trying to lead a revolution" and Tahereh's answer being "Okay, I'll be over here". Veronica said that she would have just stared at Perry a lot, but that he wouldn't have wanted anything to do with her.

Then Marie Lu asked "If your main characters were in Harry Potter, what house would they be sorted into?"

Veronica said: Aria and Perry: Gryffindor

Tahereh said: Juliet and Adam: Gryffindor; Warner: Slytherin ["and he'd love it"]

Marie said: Day: Gryffindor June: Ravenclaw or Slytherin

Cynthia said: Clara, Tucker and Christian: Gryffindor, Angela: Ravenclaw

After about an hour of questions, the signing started. Having seen all of the other authors, I only had books for Cynthia. I still wanted to say hi to Veronica [who hugged me again! *squee*] and Tahereh. They told me it was nice to see me again and that they now expected me to join them at all of the stops for the rest of the tour.

I was able to procure another of Tahereh's awesome bookmarks. I didn't want to use the first one because it was so pretty... Of course she gave me some crap about it. I also got bookmarks from Veronica and Cynthia. 

When I got to Cynthia, I thanked her for being at Vroman's and admitted to being the person on Twitter who kept hounding her about the event. Annnnnnnd, she remembered me. I told her that we drove up from San Diego specifically for her and that was the reason that I kept asking.

I had a signed copy of Unearthly and asked of she would personalize it. She did and she even knew it came from MG.

They also had an awesome poster that I got signed by all of the authors. [Except, now that I look at it, I didn't get Cynthia to sign it *facepalm*]

As always, this group of authors was just a lot of fun. They all give hilarious answers. I will forever be attending their events.

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