Monday, August 20, 2012

The time it was mostly a Q&A session

Ava is the one who told me that Amanda Hocking was coming to Mysterious Galaxy.  I secretly think she finds signings that she wants to go to and tells me about it so I'll put them on my events list.  That way she doesn't have to keep track of anything because I'm doing it for her...


I got down to MG just before 6pm.  I had purchased Wake already and wasn't planning on purchasing any of the other books.  Then when I walked into the store and saw the other books sitting there, I had to look at them.  And then I had to buy them.

Ava and her mom, Kim, got there right after I did.  It was their first time to the store [they've been to MGRB several times].  We chatted.  We gushed over books. And we waited for Amanda.

She got there around 6:40 or so.  The guy from MG told her he didn't want to start early, that way it gave people more time to get to the store, but that once it started, she was free to do whatever she liked.  It started promptly at 7 and Amanda said she would read the prologue of Wake and then take questions because she "didn't have a presentation".

A few minutes in, Ava started elbowing me, trying to subtlety hint that I should ask a question.  I asked Ava if she wanted me to ask her question.  Amanda saw this between us and I offered that we both have standard questions that we ask every author.  And Ava asked her tea party question.

Amanda's 3 guests would be: The Joker because he'd be nuts.  The Cheshire cat because it's a tea party and that's what you do.  And Adrian from Vampire Academy because it would be a lively bunch.  She said she wouldn't want Batman there because "he'd be all grrrrr".

At one point, Eric [her boyfriend? Husband? Assistant? Friend?] raised his hand to ask a question.  She started laughing and asked what it was.  He asked what she was having for supper.  And then she remembered that I didn't ask my standard question, saying that she heard that we both had questions, but she was only asked one.  So I asked which character of hers was her favorite to write and she said Daniel and Bobby.

After answering questions for about 40 minutes [mostly about her writing process and success with self-publishing], the signing started.  I asked the MG worker [who's super nice, but I don't know his name] if he could take a picture of Amanda and me together since Ava Kim are both wary of the iPhone camera. 

When I got up to Amanda, I thanked her for coming and she thanked me for coming out.  We talked about the Doctor Who post-its that I had used in my copy of Wake and that prompted her to tell me that she hasn't watched the reboot of Doctor Who, just the older version and her favorite Doctor is Tom Baker.  She also told me that when she was in London, she went to the BBC and saw the original Tardis, so I'm a little jealous of that.  Even though I did stand on/in David's Tardis set...

All in all, it was entertaining and quite informative.  I look forward to reading the books that I got today.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

The time I hosted book club

A few months ago, LeAnna at Mysterious Galaxy Redondo Beach asked if I was interested in hosting the YA book club they held once a month. I was absolutely interested.

The first time I was scheduled to host, it was during ALA, so I couldn't make it. Then at July's date, I ended up being stuck in horrendous traffic [even with leaving almost 2 hours early] and showed up 10 minutes before it ended. Needless to say, I was prepared to leave the night before to get to next one on time.

August's book selection was The Forsaken by Lisa M. Stasse:

A few days before the date, I got the events email from MG. Included in the description of the discussion book was a blurb about Lisa joining the group discussion. My nerves jumped a little.

On the day of the event, I left San Diego just before 9am. We got to the book store around 11 and I helped LeAnna set up seats before making some purchases.

Just before 12, I ended up looking around the staff recommendation wall. Lisa got there and we started chatting. Before I knew it, LeAnna, Lisa and I were making jokes and laughing. LeAnna excused herself and I was left to gush over The Forsaken to Lisa like the fangirl I am.

Before book club started, I asked if Lisa would sign my book. I wasn't sure of the time constraints or if it was something she'd be doing for the other attendants. She happily agreed.

After realizing that the start time was upon us, Lisa and I got "official" and sat down with the girls who had shown up. I asked about her influences in writing the book and if there was pressure of being labeled in the category of "If you liked Hunger Games".

The influences in The Forsaken were the Matrix and Lord of the Flies [I mentioned to her at the beginning that I saw hints of the Truman Show in one specific scene]. She was always really interested in science fiction and the idea of how a normal person would react to adverse conditions.

There were other great questions [and answers!], but I couldn't take notes and I just don't remember them all. Due to the writing workshop that was taking place immediately afterwards, the time we had was shortened. Lisa had bookmarks and offered to sign them and books.

I stayed for part of the writers workshop, but had to leave at the break. As I was leaving, I ran into Lisa who I thanked again [and hugged!] for coming to participate. She is absolutely delightful and I can't wait to see not only how she writes her stories, but how The Forsaken is going to be received.

Next month's books are Wither and Fever by Lauren DeStefano.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

The time it was my birthday

About 6 weeks before the date of the event, I noticed that Mysterious Galaxy had posted an event with Sarah J Maas on my birthday.  It was pretty much a given that I was going to go.

On the day of, I met Michelle at Starbucks a few hours before the start time so we could catch up on all things post-SDCC. We also bought some books.  And Michelle gave me the most awesome compact mirror that I'm so in love with.

After the chairs were set up in the store, we quickly claimed the front row.  Sarah was supposed to start at 2, but she got stuck in some traffic and got there just after.  And before she started to talk, she announced to everyone that it was my birthday.


She said I didn't have to wear it, but I did.  *cough*  She also mentioned how she set it next to her stuff the night before because she didn't want to forget it.

Sarah started talking about all sorts of things... The books she read when she was younger, how she got into fantasy, cutting 100k+ words from the original version of Throne of Glass, the novellas, the tv show marathons she likes to have [Honey Boo Boo Child], what she plans to read next [Obsidian, after I told her how amazing it was *squee*], being emotional about her FictionPress fans and just so much more. 

I asked if she could tell us anything about book 2.  Her answer was that it starts immediately after book 1 and follows the characters who survive down the dark and twisted path they need to go down. Oh, and that there would be kissing.  A lot of kissing. A lot of kissing that she wasn't going to allow her editor to cut from the final draft.

Sarah talked for about 35 minutes or so.  After that, she started to sign. 

I didn't take any pictures. 

Well, that's not entirely  true.  I did take one picture while she was in the middle of talking. And she said "Hello, picture" and then did this quite awesome pose against the podium with could be the best expression on her face.  But, I won't post that one.  In case she actually reads this and isn't too happy for that moment to have been immortalized.

But, Mysterious Galaxy posted this one on their FB page.

Michelle and I went up to Sarah together.We chatted it up for a few minutes.  I got Sarah to sign my hat after taking pictures with her while I was wearing it.

She also had a copy of Throne of Glass that she was asking everyone who attends to sign.  She told me that I had to sign it again, so I'm guessing it's the copy from Mrs. Nelson's.  I flipped to the scene with Dorian and Celaena and the candy and signed there...

And my book? The inscription is pretty awesome. 

Sarah kept saying that she couldn't believe that I came to the event on my birthday. Apparently, I haven't made my adoration of her clear enough....

On the way out, Michelle bought another book.  Sarah's husband was sitting behind the counter and said hi, happy birthday and that it was nice to see me again.  He asked what else I was planning on doing for the rest of the day.  When I said Disneyland, that launched us into an entire conversation about when the best time to go was, how he felt like a creeper because he went by himself during ALA and that they plan on going more often in the future. 

I just might die at the Happiest Place on Earth if I saw Sarah and her husband there.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

The time the signing was first

Emily Giffin has been elusive for me. Something Borrowed was probably one of the first "chick-lit" books I had ever read and I would quickly devour her books when they were released.

When I stumbled upon her tour dates for Where We Belong, I couldn't decide if I wanted to go to The Grove or to Vroman's. And after finding out The Grove would be a wristband event, I decided on Vroman's. Annnnnnd after seeing the crowd pictures from The Grove event, I knew I had to be early.

The morning of the event, I checked the website to see what time it started. I happened to notice that the new book was listed as "probably in stock", so I called and put one on hold.

Turns out, they had plenty.

I got to the store around 4:30, bought a Snapple and settled in to wait.

It started filling up quickly. One of the best parts of book signings is the camaraderie of the audience. Instead of reading the book I brought, I passed the time having conversations with the people around me and the events manager.

Someone in the group even brought cupcakes with Emily's covers on the top.  From a bakery in Ohio called Polka Dot Cupcakery

Vroman's has changed their policy since the last time I was here. Instead of lining people up by row, they now hand out tickets as people arrive and line up numerically.

Emily got to the bookstore at 6:40 or so. She said that since she was early, she would start signing books until the scheduled time of 7pm. She asked if anyone had gum and I offered her a piece since I was in the front row.

She wrangled a guy in the audience to take photos with her professional camera. And would stop to pose with people, getting photos with her camera as well as the audience cameras. If there was someone with a funny story, she went up to the microphone and told everyone about it.

I was the third person to go up. Emily thanked me for the gum and I thanked her for touring. The signing was her 5th event at Vroman's.

She was absolutely adorable. At one point, she stopped to ask if anyone had a Tide pen because she had a little spot on her shirt. After someone actually came up with one, she asked if it could be used on silk. When the consensus from the audience was no, she told the Tide pen owner to grab it when she came up for the signing.

She also said that everyone needed to photoshop out the stain before posting the pictures on Facebook.

She started talking around 7:15 and mid chat, she got her camera back to to take a picture of the crowd to post on her Facebook.  Emily didn't do a reading, she says she doesn't like to do them.  She did talk about all of her books and how they got started before doing a Q&A session.  She provides her own commentary while telling stories, so it was pretty entertaining.

After talking for about 30 minutes, she went back to signing.  And because I had my books signed, I was able to escape the madness of the crowd!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The time I took the entire front row

By now, everyone knows about my love for all things Sarah J Maas and Throne of Glass. So, of course, when the release party date was announced and it was fairly local, there was no doubt that I'd be going. 

On the day of the release, there were loads of people tweeting about the book, the release party and their attendance. Expecting a lot of people, I forced Hubs to leave San Diego just after 2 o'clock. We got up to Mrs. Nelson's around 4pm.

I went to buy the book for a friend and one of the girls working said I was more than welcome to hang out in the store, that they had people wandering around who were attending. I went to the event area and quickly claimed the entire front row.

As I was buying a Mr. Darcy tote bag, Sarah walked in with her husband and her parents. She saw me at the counter and said hi. And STG, I get so giddy around her. Like I've never seen her before. Walking back to my seats, I noticed they set up the guest book [a copy of ToG] next to the display by the front door.

Sarah came out around 6pm.  The events manager, Beverly, introduced Sarah and told everyone there would be mingling and snacks.  Beverly said there would be a talk and Sarah would sign, but to enjoy the food [cupcakes!!] and the company.  After about 20 minutes or so, Sarah and Beverly both came back to the front.

Beverly revealed the results of the Who Would You Choose? question [Chaol won 75% to Dorian's 25%] and the raffle people were chosen to win the pack of books the store had put together as a giveaway.

Sarah didn't do a reading, but immediately opened it up to questions.  She also asked the crowd if there were any FictionPress fans.  Amazingly, ToG was written and posted on FictionPress ten years ago.  And Sarah wrote this lovely blog post about how thankful she is for those specific fans. 

I would like to thank them all as well.  While I have no doubt ToG would have been found at some point [because it is that phenomenal], the encouragement Sarah received from her fans propelled her to look into publishing.

There were some good questions, but the most important one is that the story of Throne of Glass will span 6 books.  Six.  Books.


You guys.

She's contracted for 3 books now, but hopes the she will be able to continue with the other three because the story arc will not be finished after the third book.  After that news, I just didn't pay attention to anything else...

The signing started and it took a bit to get up to Sarah.  She was taking her time and chatting with everyone who came to the table.  Ava and I went up together and when I handed Sarah my book for Christina, I mentioned that I would be getting my book at her tour date in San Diego.  And her answer? 

"And if I recall, that's your birthday, right?"

After I confirmed that it was my birthday, she said she was going to embarrass me at the event and perhaps even bring me a birthday hat that I had to wear.

We chatted a bit more [she likes Doctor Who and my Tardis phone case] and then we took some photos.

Since I don't have my copy to show the picture of the autograph, take a look at this lovely map that's inside the finished copy...

Thursday, August 2, 2012

The time I reviewed a book -- 2

Okay.  Another book has captured my brain and held it hostage. I know that I said I wouldn't do reviews all the time, but I refuse to take the blame for this.  I'm holding Susan Dennard completely responsible for creating such an phenomenal world and characters.  It's her fault that I can't get Something Strange and Deadly out of my head. 

First of all, look at that cover.  It's gorgeous.  The colors.  The model.  The gears behind her.  The font.  Everything about this cover makes me happy. 

I had heard the buzz about Something Strange and Deadly right from the beginning.  I put it on my "to buy" list and figured I'd buy it eventually.  And then I saw Susan tweet something about how it was going to be on sale at CC before it was officially released.  Annnnnd, I'm not one to skip that sort of opportunity.

But, let's get down to business.  Here are the reasons I'm horribly in love with this book.

1. Eleanor

I'm a sucker for a smart girl.  I love love love when authors write their heroines as witty and charming instead of needing to rely on a boy.  And my ideal heroine is one who delivers snarky retorts and proves how awesome she is without changing a damn thing about herself. 

Eleanor is all of those things.  And more.

She fights the Dead with a parasol.  She gets into the thick of things right from the beginning and never wants to leave. She's the younger sister to an older brother who can't come home for some reason.  The family is almost out of money and the responsibility to marry quickly falls on Eleanor's shoulders.  And does she falter? Nope.  Not at all.

2. Daniel

Daniel is swoony without even knowing it.  He's smart and gruff and so delicious in his not acting properly around a society lady.  Even better, he knows how he's supposed to act and does the exact opposite.  He calls Eleanor "Empress".  He buys her a parasol when she loses hers. 

At the same time, you can tell he doesn't know what to do with Eleanor. And it's absolutely amazing to watch it all unfold and see the interactions between them. 

3. The promise of more in Book 2

Eleanor. Daniel. Paris.  The end.

Something Strange and Deadly takes place in Philadelphia.  There are zombies.  Smart zombies who are being controlled by a necromancer.  And some pretty awesome steampunk-like science experiments that help destroy the zombies. 

Go buy it. 

As I said in my epic Comic-Con recap, I briefly met Susan.  She's adorable and charming and I absolutely want to meet her again so I can fangirl on her the way she properly deserves.

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