TUESDAY

So, this was the day that I arrived in NYC SUPER EARLY (I left my house at 3:15 AM to catch a 6 AM flight) for BEA 2013. I joyfully reunited with the rest of the bevy of dauntless and Linda, found sustenance, and braved the subway in order to peruse the selection of T-shirts and assorted television paraphernalia at the NBC store. It began to pour and we began to take random candids of each other. (Top photo credit to Steph of Poetry to Prose)

We then relaxed a bit before heading to see Cinderella on Broadway and guys, it was darling! And with a truly stellar cast. Afterwards, we returned to our apartment and braced ourselves to descend upon the Javits the next day.

WEDNESDAY

BEA BLOGGERS

With a certain amount of trepidation due to what it was last year, the bevy (Steph, Lindsey, Katie, and I) rose at the asscrack of dawn the next morning to go to BEA bloggers. After a brief period where we got lost en route to the shuttle, we made it. The highlight of the opening was meeting the adorable Gaby of Ella Bee Reads at our table.

This was because the speaker, while highly complimentary of bloggers and our value to the industry, was a little over the top in some places (we were credited with saving the publishing industry. I’m ready for my superhero cape now). In other places, we were analogized to book clubs (ok, I kiiinda see it?) or semi-admonished for reviews that aren’t positive. And he closed by reciting the lyrics to Natasha Bedingfield’s Unwritten. Maybe it was too early for me, but I didn’t take anything away from it.

I might have left then if it wasn’t too early to consider having lunch, which was included in the price of our admission to BEA Bloggers. But we went to the YA editor’s insight panel instead, which, thankfully, I found much more interesting. Granted it was more of a “Buzz” panel about upcoming titles, but it was still cool to hear about them from their points of view and there was some fascinating discussion of genre mash-up and aspirational characters.

However, after that, we were ready to abandon BEA bloggers. It’s improved from last year, but I just wasn’t getting anything out of it. But! It did allow us to meet and have lunch with a favorite blogger– Jamie of The Perpetual Page-Turner, who is just as awesome IRL as she is online! As a super picky eater, I’m also happy to report that the lunch improved this year. The boxed lunches (that– ICK!– I didn’t eat last year) were replaced with vouchers for the Javits food court.

Then it was back to the apartment once more where my dauntless cohorts and I ate delicious Canadian maple cookies and stuck a map of the show floor to the wall and planned our strategic maneuvers to certain booths for the books we were most hopeful to get.

Photo credit: Lindsey of A Storm of Words

Then, I reunited with one of my sorority sisters for frozen yogurt and watched the Taylor Swift Speak Now DVD with my roomies before it was off to the Teen Author Carnival! I attended two panels: World Play, about world-building and She’s No Pushover, about, as you may have guessed, strong female characters. All of the authors were fun to listen to and it was great to get some insight on their processes and thoughts on both topics. Afterwards, I went up to Sarah J. Maas to ask for a picture and was taken by total surprise when she knew who I was! It made my night.

THURSDAY

FIRST OFFICIAL DAY OF BEA

Somehow, Katie and I woke up, sans alarm or other methods at 5:45 and we all readied ourselves for the day. The line to get onto the floor wasn’t too bad and we all got ALLEGIANT tote bags while we waited!

Author highlights this day include gushing to Diana Peterfreund (who was wearing this AWESOME ship hat– see picture below) over how the reason I read Persuasion was because I loved For Darkness Shows the Stars so much and meeting Sarah J Maas again and talking about Sailor Moon for a hot second, thanks to Gaby asking me about my love for it.

The roomies and I also met Anna of Anna Reads and Gillian of Writer of Wrongs in line and both ladies are awesommmme!

FRIDAY

BEA DAY TWO

For the second year, although it was early, there was no trepidation as we left for the Children’s Author Breakfast.

Emceed by new author and Academy Award winning actress Octavia Spencer, we were introduced first to Mary Pope Osbourne, who writes for younger readers. She told truly touching stories of the letters and gifts that she received from her young readers and their desperation for books, moving into her inspiring outreach to get books to underprivileged children.

Next up was a favorite of mine: middle grade author of the Percy Jackson series, Rick Riordan. I’ve been privileged enough to see him speak before and remembered his hilarity. Though his audience was much older from his last event that I went to, the laughter was the same as he declared he wasn’t nervous to speak because he “taught 8th grade, and after that, nothing scares him.” He also mentioned how he appreciated hearing about the sweet gifts that Osbourne’s readers send her because “I write for middle grade. No one sends me apples and if they did, I would not eat them.” Moving on, he spoke about how teaching influenced his writing. His students were his first readers, pointing out plot holes, teaching him that writers should try to see things from the reader’s point of view. He told us that writing, like teaching, should be a dialogue, not a lecture.

Finally, the last speaker and another favorite was up: Veronica Roth, author of the Divergent trilogy. Roth confessed to a 6 month dry spell of reading in high school. Before that, she was like an ‘NSync screaming fangirl about books– to the point where her mother lied to her and told her that reading at the breakfast table caused stomach problems in order to have a conversation with her. Moving on to college, Roth hid the fact that she was a Harry Potter fan– in fact, hid her fangirl nature and turned her nose up at just about everything because it was “safer.” She only spoke about classic literature because she was afraid of being deemed a “loser” by her peers.

(Side note: as a former English major, I completely related to this. Many people who pick this path have a surprising amount of judgmental tendencies when it comes to what other people like.)

She wrote things that veered toward this idea of what was “safe” to show to her peers. But here’s the thing, she told us: readers can tell when they’re being preached to, when things are contrived, and when the characters don’t feel real. She learns from her readers through their willingness to love things; the stories are real for them because they immerse themselves in it. Through them, she reclaimed her love of reading.

After her first writing workshop in college, her work was torn to shreds. She was so upset, but came to the realization that critiques are key to improving as a writer. But even as a published writer, the lesson was difficult. She defended a particular scene in Divergent at first when it was criticized by readers as a convenient and contrived plot device– one that easily showed how a character was evil. But when she accepted that criticism and admitted to herself and her readers that she wrote that scene for the wrong reason, she grew as a writer again. She was a bit tearful here, but I felt so inspired by her. It was humbling and I thought it took a lot of strength to admit to that. I hope that I continue to grow as a writer in similar ways.

After the breakfast, I booked it to over to Elizabeth Wein’s signing area but I wasn’t allowed to line up yet so I chilled out with Tara from Hobbitsies and Alexa of Alexa Loves Books among others.

Photo credit to Alexa of Alexa Loves Books
 

Then I met Elizabeth Wein and expressed my sorrow and vast oceans of tears over even reviews of Code Name Verity and she said that she has cried as much as we have over reviews and other things regarding CNV. (Also, she had the cutest little airplane necklace on.)

Elizabeth Wein! (Left)

I then hopped into the line for Rainbow Rowell’s “Fangirl” signing because dudes, as a (former/sometimes still) fanfiction writer, this book sounds PERFECT for me. After a few more drops and signings, the roomies and I headed back to our apartment to charge our cell phones because Javits is where cell phone batteries go to die.

Then it was off to Central Park for the Book Blogger Picnic! I met many lovely bloggers– and a great deal of my time there was spent fangirling over books with them. It’s so nice to be around like-minded people. Though I can say that about the majority of BEA, it was an added bonus to be able to do it in the relaxed atmosphere of the park. Plus: I FINALLY got to meet The Fake Steph, a feat that we did not manage to accomplish last year!

Both photos courtesy of Alexa Loves Books

Then the bevy and Linda had an impromptu photo shoot before the girls attempted to take a candid photo of me, and we pretended like we were in Cloverfield for a hot second as we wandered the park before we found our way back to the apartment.

 SATURDAY

BEA DAY THREE- ‘POWER READERS DAY’

Oh. Power Readers Day. Honestly, if BEA is going to continue to have a day open to the public, I wish they’d stick to a weekday. It doesn’t lengthen the lines as much, in my opinion. Because I felt like the show floor was so much more absurd on Saturday, prompting all of us to joke that this was the day most like The Hunger Games. Luckily, Steph, Lindsey, and I made it early in Alexandra Bracken’s line because the first 30 people received a Darkest Minds tote along with the book!

Photo courtesy of Steph from Poetry to Prose

I told Alexandra Bracken that I thought I actually screamed when I read the ending of TDM and she warned me that that ending didn’t make her cry… but Never Fade’s did.

…I am afraid.

I made it to a galley drop for a book that I am both super excited and really nervous about (it’s a high fantasy involving Elementals, which also works as a generic description of the manuscript I’m currently querying). In line, I gushed with other bloggers about Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles as well as Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha Trilogy!

Then, we ran into Sarah J. Maas, Erin Bowman, and Susan Dennard from the Young Authors Give Back tour and took a picture with them. Sarah told us how she loved always seeing us in a “wolfpack” because it reminded us of her own wolfpack of authors.


After hitting up a couple more drops and signings, we left around 12:30– after trying and failing to Yelp a nearby restaurant. Spoiler: Javits does not have food in the vicinity minus its own food court and the hot dog vendor outside. I met up with a friend from college for a bite to eat and then returned to my roomies. We dressed up and made drinks at the apartment to bond and tell each other stories. Somehow, I accidentally made a drink that a few of the girls insisted tasted like cheesecake.

Photo credit: Linda

SUNDAY

 OUR LAST DAY

(Or so we all thought)

We all finished our packing and heading out to Laduree for macarons. I’d never had one, but after the lemon one, I declared “I feel like I just saw God.” Then, we ate at a little diner place for a late breakfast before departing for our respective airports.

My flight was delayed, but I was luckier than my companions whose flights were all cancelled, leading to many all-caps text messages between us and overnight stays for them. :(

Though the trip ended on a sour note, I can’t wait to return to BEA and reunite with all of my bookish friends next year!

 

SEE YOU GUYS NEXT YEAR.

(bye.)

These are the books I managed to limit myself to this year (minus FANGIRL)– I was determined not to have as many as last year so I stuck only to things that REALLY interested me and that I didn’t expect to get from other sources. Happily, I was able to fit them all in my luggage/carry-on , so I even avoided shipping costs!