Book Expo America is crazy on steroids. That's the only way to explain it, although a written and pictorial account of the insanity follows.
No matter how many times I go (and this is year three for me), it's always an absolute whirlwind. If the show itself isn't enough to overwhelm you, throw in a break-neck pace and a healthy dose of chaos and voila! Crazy cupcake with drama icing. And I mean that in the best way possible!
It all kicked off last Sunday when I crawled in the car around 7 a.m. after roughly three hours of sleep and took to I-95. After two hours, just south of D.C., I picked up Jessica. Forty more minutes and one state line later, Wes joined the party. Both were caffeinated and thankfully Wes' general apathy about, well, everything negated Jess' particular brand of perky.
Don't worry. Six hour car rides and living in a shoebox for a week will really bond you. We were still friends by the end of the conference, see?
|Jess, Wes and Susan AKA The Wastepaper Prose Team.|
Fast forward through a lot singing which Wes deftly ignored by sleeping, and we made it to the hotel without incident. Once we arrived, the hotel staff informed Jess several times that it was a very small hotel. The statement was a constant reprise and seemingly their answer everything. They weren't lying either. The hotel was so small that you couldn't walk a circle on any floor because the elevator was in the way. The rooms weren't much better. Members of our room block came to refer to them affectionately as our cubicles.
Once we settled in, we collected Stacey, Monica and her sister Jessika and headed out into the city to get a meal despite the drizzly weather. Enter the Skylight Diner and an obscene amount of bacon. Pancakes and bacon. Bacon cheeseburgers. Even a napoleon with a side of bacon. Apparently bacon is BEA fuel.
|Jenny Han interviewing Shannon Messenger.|
That evening we piled into a cab to head to the Simon & Schuster party where the incomparable Jenny Han interviewed author Lenore Appelhans (Level 2), Shannon Messenger (Let the Sky Fall), Tonya Hurley (The Blessed), Carmen Rodrigues (34 Pieces of You) and Siobhan Vivian (Burn for Burn). The authors were full of awesome, and the whole event was outstanding. During the raffles, Wes won a set of Philipa Gregory novels and a calligraphy set which he proceeded to covet and boast about for the rest of the trip. The waiters offered us mini-cheeseburgers about three dozen times, ever hopeful we'd change our minds. We didn't.
We found sustenance at the Landmark Pub not far away, and Wes committed to eating his way through New York City one chicken wing at a time. Landmark did not finish at the top of the list, but stay tuned.
Full of food and fat happy, we trudged to Times Square to meet up with Julie Kagawa. We got author Katie McGarry, Danny and Heather (or Pushy as we call her) of Bewitched Bookworms as a bonus. Katie made my night when she told me she'd told the Lemon Book story to more people than she can count. (Long story short, she signed my copy of Pushing the Limits "Love fails" then had to carrot in the "never.") Stacey, Jess, Wes and I headed to Julie's room after the larger group broke up and Julie, who was missing Kung Fu that night, attempted to beat me to a pulp or at least as much as one can in a pillow fight. We managed to give each other matching bruises that her editor asked about Tuesday when I saw her on the exhibit floor.
|Julie Kagawa post-fight with observers Stacey and Jess.|
Monday morning at 7:30 a.m., Emily showed up at the hotel and, after a two hour subway ride from Laguardia, promptly collapsed into a corner. She trekked out to do stuff for Armchair BEA just before we got moving. Little Italy, lunch at Il Palazzo, The Strand, and coffee with Leanna Renee Hieber, Zoraida Cordova, and Suzanne Lazear followed. Coffee didn't last long, but I learned that Leanna is a "legit vampire." I'm sure she'll tell you the whole story if you ask nicely.
|Ravioli Alfredo at Il Palazo.|
|The Strand, 18 miles of books|
|Stacey and Emily with their floatation devices.|
Stop by Friday to hear about the rest of our BEA antics including Wes' kidnapping and the attempted rescue of John Green. (Yes, that John Green.)