It was also an exciting year in my personal life. I got to celebrate my second wedding anniversary with Captain Italian and my little sister graduated college. Meg (Myth-Illogical) had a baby boy, and my friend Sina had twins. I got to see my buddy Gina and her daughter a few times when she came to visit, and my friend Sarah got engaged. And my friend Caitlyn continued to be awesome and supportive and even made me some more WQ jewelry (because she's amazing that way).
On top of all that, I got to know my friend and fellow blogger Hannah (The Book Vortex) better and we spent a lot of time on trips together this year, making some incredible and unbelievable memories. So I'm just going to do as I did last year and run through the events I didn't post about in 2013. There will be many pictures, so apologies in advance.
Hannah created an event in June called Forever YA. The panel included Courtney C. Stevens (Faking Normal), Kristin O'Donnell Tubb (The 13th Sign), Sharon Cameron (A Spark Unseen), Heather L. Reid (Pretty Dark Nothing), and Amanda Havard (Body & Blood). Lauren from The Housework Can Wait was the moderator. Not only was this an amazing group, but the panel itself was so fun and informative. We got to hear the authors speak about their process, read from their books, and answer questions. Lauren was a great moderator and Hannah did a fantistic job organizing everything. Afterwards, we all got to go out to lunch with some of the authors and the audience.
|L-R: Lauren, Courtney C. Stevens, Kristin O'Donnell Tubb, Sharon Cameron|
|Heather L. Reid and Amanda Havard|
JULYNashville got really lucky in 2013 because famed author Neil Gaiman put the city as a stop on his final book signing tour. Meg and I could not miss it so we drove to the event, which was beyond amazing. Gaiman read from his latest novel, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, brought on Béla Fleck to accompany a reading from his children's book, Fortunately, the Milk, and answered questions from the huge audience. Then it was time for the signing. Each section was drawn from a bowl, and of course, Meg and mine's section was one of the very last. We waited 4-5 hours in the auditorium before we could join the line, but it was so worth it.
|L-R: Me, Niki Castle (Parnassus Books), Neil Gaiman (!!!)|
Meg and I again journeyed to Nashville for the Vicious launch party. If you've seen my blog, you've more than likely seen something about the amazing writer Victoria Schwab. While Vicious is not a YA novel, Victoria is one of my faves, so I had to be there. She read from the book (which was chilling), served awesome refreshments, and handed out masks (black=hero; red=villain) for everyone to wear. On top of that, my friend Bekah was also able to join us for her first taste of the book world and how excitable we book people are. All in all it was a great night!
|Bekah and me|
My favorite event of the year is always the Southern Festival of Books in Nashville. SoFest always has amazing authors and this year was no exception. In fact, there were more YA panels this year, which meant we (Hannah and I) could not possibly make it to them all and the signings as well, so there was a lot of sitting for a few minutes in one panel, dashing to another, then rushing to a signing.
|L-R: Me, Lauren Morrill, Jennifer E. Smith, Sarah Dessen, Hannah|
The first panel we attended was packed as the authors speaking were Sarah Dessen (The Moon and More), Jennifer E. Smith (This is What Happy Looks Like), and Lauren Morrill (Meant to Be). Then we split up and I went to the panel featuring Sonia Gensler (The Dark Between), Aprilynne Pike (Earthbound), and Teal Haviland (Inception), while Hannah ended up meeting one of her all-time favorite authors, Margaret Peterson Haddix (The Missing series).
|L-R: Aprilynne Pike, Sonia Gensler, Teal Haviland|
|Margaret Peterson Haddix and Hannah|
On the second day of SoFest, we got to see some of a panel featuring J.J. Howard (That Time I Joined the Circus), Gabrielle Zevin (In the Age of Love and Chocolate), and Terra Elan McVoy (Criminal). Then I got to see a bit of the one with Miranda Kenneally (Racing Savannah) and Lauren Morrill, and then we moved on to another with Sharon Cameron and Myra McEntire (Infinityglass). After that, we had to rush to get to a signing with C.J. Redwine (Deception), Kat Zhang (Once We Were), and Amy Rose Capetta (Entangled).
|L-R: J.J. Howard, Gabrielle Zevin, Terra Elan McVoy|
|Miranda Kenneally and Lauren Morrill|
|Sharon Cameron and Myra McEntire|
|L-R: C.J. Redwine, Kat Zhang, Amy Rose Capetta|
And while all of SoFest is fun, the night of the first day, Hannah and I got to have quite an experience. Let me explain. Hannah is a long-distance intern for Sharon Cameron, and they had planned to meet and talk about writing, and since I was the one that drove, I was invited along (yay for me!).
Then, as I'm standing in line at a signing, Hannah comes up to me and says that before we go to dinner, Sharon and some other authors are going to a reception held for the authors featured at the festival. You had to be with an author to get in, so Sharon was going to be Hannah's "date" and my date turned out to be J.J. Howard, who is so very cool. At the reception, we were joined by Margaret Peterson Haddix, and the five of us stood around eating finger foods and chatting while authors of many ilks milled around us. There was live music, drinks, and lots of talking and laughing. It was cool.
|L-R: Hannah, Sharon Cameron, Margaret Peterson Haddix, J.J. Howard, me|
Then the group decided to go to dinner, so we all walked to a small Italian place nearby and the five of us ate dinner and talked about books and writing and whatever else. It was beyond surreal for me and Hannah. After that, Sharon still wanted to talk to Hannah (as they'd never really gotten to have their planned conversation) and we ended up sitting in Sharon's car for two hours talking about writing and learning so, so much. And when we walked to our car at the end of the night, we still couldn't believe all that had happened. So yeah. Best. SoFest. Yet.
Our last big trip was to YALLFest in Charleston, South Carolina. I drove to Hannah's house, and then we drove the seven hours, with Hannah's teenage cousins in tow, and made it to our hotel. We made some memories swimming (still can't believe I did that, girls) and going out to eat and making friends with our server.
|Ransom Riggs and Tahereh Mafi|
Then the next day we got up and headed to the event. Now, let me preface this by saying I am very thankful that all these wonderful authors were brought together and available for panels and signings. But....the event was a hot mess. You could either go to the panels or get things signed. There wasn't time for both due to the way things were scheduled on top of each other and the extremely long lines (fantastic turnout = lots and lots of standing). Since I'd brought a bunch of my books from home, I chose to have stuff signed.
I got to meet several authors, but for some of my books I just had to hand them off to friends (thanks Liz and Debbie!) and friendly strangers to have signed while I stood in another line. I also didn't get a lot of pictures because I forgot my camera at home and my phone died halfway through the day. My biggest regrets are that I didn't get a picture with Libba Bray (The Diviners), who was super sweet and such a lovely person, and that I didn't get to meet Rainbow Rowell (Eleanor & Park).
But I did get to meet Lisi Harrison (Pretenders), Lauren Oliver (Panic), Alexandra Bracken (Never Fade), Libba Bray, and Leigh Bardugo (Siege and Storm). I also got to see Victoria Schwab, Marie Lu (Champion), and Kami Garcia (Unbreakable) again.
And even if I didn't get to meet them, I got books signed by Rainbow Rowell, Tahereh Mafi (Unravel Me), Veronica Rossi (Through the Ever Night), and Veronica Roth (Allegiant). And despite not going to her signing or the keynote speech, Hannah and I saw Veronica Roth not once, but twice. The first time was when she walked by us at the parking garage, and the second time was when she left the restaurant she was eating at (inside), which we were also eating at (outside). That was pretty cool (and she is really tall!).
Well, that's it! I plan to try again this year and post these trips as they happen rather than just at the end of the year.
Did you go on any big book trips in 2013?
Have any planned for 2014?
Let me know in the comments!