Of travels, parties, and beginnings...
Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday
May 26-27, 2015
BEA started a bit early for me this year because on Monday I got to have a sleepover with two of my YADC soul sisters - Andye from ReadingTeen and Steph from No BS Book Reviews. We went out to dinner, loaded the two cars with bags and survival essentials for BEA, and then stayed up way too late talking about books, life, and blogging.
Plus there was actual blogging involved.
We did manage to get some sleep and then morning arrived and we finished loading the cars and then hit the road. Andye and I went straight to NYC while Steph headed off to pick up Kelly.
Before BEA started, back in the winter, I set up a room block at the Homewood Suites in Manhattan. (For those of you who remember my hotel woes last year, this was the hotel I was originally slated to stay at but it fell through because the hotel was/is brand new and wouldn't be opening until after BEA.) This year they were open and I worked with two fabulous women, Marina and Natalia, to organize a block of rooms so I could put all my friends in one place. Because what's better than having 40 of your closest friends in one building?
Andye and I drove into NYC (OK, she drove, I mostly took pictures) and snagged parking right in front of the hotel to unload our bags. A bellman came out and helped us unload two carts full of things and then we left to park the car in Brooklyn. We quickly stopped by the Javits Center to see if we could grab our badges a day early, but it wasn't meant to be. We did, however, manage to see Faye Bi from Simon & Schuster and exchange quick hugs and hellos before she had to dash inside.
After a quick lunch of amazing pizza at Juliana's, Andye and I headed back over to NYC because we needed to get to our room and meet up with the rest of our roommates (Krista from Krist'a Dust Jacket, Val from Stuck in Books, and Brianna from Paperback Princess). When I checked into the room, I was greeted by a surprise from the awesome people at the Homewood:
That surprised absolutely blew me away. I was expecting that at all, and I can't say enough wonderful things about this hotel. If you ever go to NYC, stay there!
At the last minute I decided to host last year's #YAParty. Due to funds (or a lack of) the party was scaled way back, but the Homewood graciously let us invite a few friends over to hang out on their gorgeous rooftop and get together.
We also made Liza Wiemer, former Rooftop Party hostess and current YA debut author of HELLO?, sign copies of her book for attendees. And the mega talented Becca from Pivot Book Reviews gifted me with a tote bag with my blog's design on it. I will treasure this forever.
Attendees chipped in and brought food and drinks and a lot of wine (most of it provided by the lovely people at Wunderkind PR). We talked, laughed, and kicked off the week of BEA madness in style. It was so much fun to have my favorite people in one amazing location for a few hours.
Wednesday meant the official start of BEA, but unlike past years, the start was delayed until 1 pm (not that that stopped people from lining up at 8 am to snag a front spot in line to run for the Susan Dennard tickets for TRUTHWITCH. In fact, I happened to bump into Susan as she was walking onto the floor before the doors opened. She was adorably sweet and amazed at how many people were planning to run for her signing.
But before BEA, I managed to snag breakfast with my bestie, Nicole (formerly of Paperback Princess but now publicist for Disney Book Group) and then I headed over to the Novl Bubble Brunch. This was the second year of the Novl brunch and I loved seeing their new offices, hearing about how the Novl box came to be and also getting our own boxes.
Jennifer E. Smith, author of HELLO, GOODBYE, AND EVERYTHING IN BETWEEN was there to chat with us and answer questions and tell us about all her book to movie news! I cannot wait to see her debut novel on the big screen.
It was a great time to hang out with everyone and catch up before BEA started. They also gave us BEA survival totes - a sturdy canvas bag with a granola bar, copies of all the Little Brown signings and galley drop schedules, a lanyard, and a reusable Novl water bottle. Armed with the essentials (and pocket Jamie), we set out for BEA.
We arrived and found our friends, who we had dropped our bags off with as place markers earlier that morning, before spending some time strategizing and catching up before the doors opened. Of course, as soon as we were let in, a hell broke loose and people were legit running for the Susan Dennard ticket line.
Admittedly, I coveted TRUTHWITCH, but I vowed to take it easy at BEA this year and not stress, so I hit a few booths before going over to the line and jumping into it. I was pretty far back, and fairly certain I would not be getting a ticket, but lo and behold, I wound up #69 in line. I also managed to run into Derry Wilkens, former Sourcebooks publicist and all around amazing woman.
BEA started at 1 pm, but by 3 I was ready to drop. I wandered a bit more but called it a day around 4:30 and left. I was supposed to attend the Harlequin High Tea, but I decided rest was more important, especially since I also had the Epic Reads party that evening.
The Epic Reads party was ... well, EPIC. It was in a great space that unfortunately got a little hot and loud but was still fun. There were giveaways and food and so many of my friends were there. Plus, there was a photo booth with silly props. The swag bag at the end was fantastic. It had posters, a book, and ... a portable charger with the Epic Reads logo. Yeah. BEST. SWAG. EVER!
But we're only halfway done. So make sure you check back for Part 2 of my BEA recap!