Thursday I met up with Cait (fellow writer and Austin SCBWI member) and we carpooled to San Antonio. We got registered and made our way to the exhibit hall. It was a pretty big venue and a bit overwhelming so we spent a couple of hours soaking it all in. I met up with other Austin writers PJ Hoover, Kari Holt, Emily Anderson, and Jo Whittimore shortly there after.
I knew I wanted to meet Sarah Ockler, author of Twenty Boy Summer, who was signing that morning. I had no idea she had a new book coming out later this year, and she was signing ARC's! I didn't think to get my picture with her because I was still soaking everything in. I can't wait to read Fixing Delilah Hannaford, Sarah!
That afternoon I had a few author signings lined up that I wanted to go to. First was Tera Lynn Childs, author of Oh.My.Gods, Goddess Bootcamp, and Forget My Fins, who was signing ARCs of Forget my Fins at the Harper-Collins booth. I've been following Tera for a while now so it was great to meet her! Sadly I forgot to get my picture taken with her. Bummer! Next time, Tera. ;)
I met up with my friend Jen and we saw Lisa Schroeder, author of I Heart You, You Heart me, It's Raining Cupcakes, and a few other titles. She was so nice and super fun to talk to!
I was so excited to meet Maureen Johnson (Suite Scarlett, Scarlett Fever, 13 Little Blue Envelopes, plus a few more). She was one of the first authors I started following on Twitter. I didn't "get" Twitter for a while, but after following her I "got" it. I was so embarrassed because I accidentally brought Love is Hell instead of Vacations from Hell for her to sign. *face palm* Rookie mistake. She signed it anyway for me, under Scott Westerfeld's name. Ha! I decided last minute to bring her a gift, and the gift I happened to choose was a pair of Squirrel Underpants. Yes, you read that right. Squirrel. Underpants. (Who wants to see a naked squirrel??)
I'm sure many other things happened on Thursday so if I left you out of my Thursday discussion I am SO SORRY. My brain is mush and I can barely remember what I ate for breakfast at this point.
Friday I knew would be an epic day, and it indeed was. Suzanne Collins (author of The Hunger Games series) was going to be there that morning, but due to her carpal tunnel syndrome she was only signing 200 books. The rules were one book per person and no personalization. I knew this was going to be in-freaking-sane. I woke up at the ungodly hour of 4:00 AM and was on the road to San Antonio by 5:00 AM. I was driving by myself so I stopped and got a Red Bull (probably should have gotten a dozen). Luckily I found a loud rock station that didn't have a morning show OR commercials, so I didn't go to sleep at the wheel or anything. I arrived in San Antonio around 6:30, parked, and went into the convention center. I asked four different people where the Suzanne Collins line was. Each said they didn't know, and pointed me in the direction of someone else higher on the food chain than them. I finally got to the upper management portion of the food chain and they said there was no actual line, that people were just going to line up at all of the three doors to the exhibit hall. They were handing out wrist bands to the first 200 people that made it to the author area located inside the exhibit hall. I think it would have made more sense to have a designated line and hand out wrist bands there until they were gone, but alas they didn't ask me. At one point a Scholastic rep came by and his only advice was, "Run."
"Don't you dare be afraid to throw elbows!"Myra McEntire said,
"You can dooo eeet! You're a writer. You're tough. You're ROCKY, and Suzanne Collins is the EYE of the TIGER. GO!"Both made me laugh and I was in dire need of laughter at this point.
The older woman behind me kept pushing me and trying to butt in front of me. I was 4th in our line, making her 5th, so it's not like she would be gaining a whole lot from it. And since she was older she obviously wasn't going to be able to run to keep up with the young grasshoppers. I'm not sure what her deal was. At one point she told me,
"I'm not trying to butt you, I just want to crowd the line a bit."Seriously? Let it be known she is also quoted as saying,
"Scholastic makes me so mad, they're so stupid. I don't even LIKE their books!!!"Um... then WHY are you here at 7:30 AM for an author signing by one of THEIR authors?
The doors open at 9:00 sharp, and everyone from all three entrances takes off. I'm sprinting down the exhibit hall with a backpack full of books for authors to sign that day. We're running and the girl in front of me drops her iPhone and says, "Oh no! My phone!" and KEEPS GOING. I stopped to pick up her phone for her and as I was stooping realized, "OMG, this is how people get trampled." I probably lost about 40ish places in line from picking up her phone, but I didn't want some random person to get it or step on it. Long story short, I got my wristband so all was well. Another lesson learned her is that I'm not in as good of shape as I thought I was. Will have to work on this.
I was telling my friend Jen the iPhone story and a girl overheard us and said, "Oh that was nice of you" or something like that. I saw this girl later in the day and she was RETELLING MY STORY to people. Except in her version she was running behind me and I fell picking up the phone and got stepped on. I think she said I was kicked and broke my leg or something, too. Seriously. This is how rumors get started, people! Don't make things up! (Unless it's for literary purposes, of course.) I started to correct her story and embarrass her in front of her friends, but the thought going down in history as the lady who got stepped on and kicked at a conference for librarians was more appealing.
The Suzanne was be signing from 10:00-12:00 and since I was guaranteed an autograph with the wristband, I wanted to see what other authors were signing. I made my way around the exhibit hall and found Joy Preble signing copies of Dreaming of Anastasia at the Follett booth. She was SO sweet. Loved her!
I left Joy to make my way back over to the author area and met Mary Pearson who was signing The Adoration of Jenna Fox and The Miles Between. I've been following Mary on Twitter for a long time and totally fan-girled out when I met her. I should probably be embarrassed. Mary it was SO GREAT to finally meet you.
Shannon Hale was next. I brought Princess Academy and Goose Girl from home, and bought River Secrets and Rapunzel's Revenge there to have her sign. She is SO CUTE.
Then I had the pleasure of meeting Kathleen Duley. She was amazing to talk to! We talked about writing and she gave me some advice on places to go for research. Sadly, I forgot to get my picture taken with her. :(
Next was the Holy Grail of current YA books: Suzanne Collins. Her signing was pretty fast and I didn't get to talk to her much, but I did thank her for coming and was able to get a picture with her! She signed my copy of Hunger Games, so I'm not really sure whose Catching Fire she is posing with for the picture. Ha!
While I haven't read 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher, I've heard great things about it. I had Jay sign my copy of and pose for a quick photo. He was super nice. I can't wait to read his book! He also said he was working on something a little more romance-y. :)
My last author signing for TLA was Maureen Johnson. You may be saying, "Hey, you already met her!" I met her at Thursday's Scholastic signing. They didn't have 13 Little Blue Envelopes or Girl at Sea available because that's Harper Collins. So Maureen signed both of those for me and also signed MY JAR. For those of you who follow Maureen on Twitter, you'll understand. And if you don't understand, follow Maureen on Twitter. I really don't know where to start in explaining this to you. She said she had never signed a jar before! Here is a photo of Maureen and me with The Jar.
All in all, I had a fantastic time. My only real complaint was the way the Suzanne Collins wristbands were handled, but I got my book signed so I'm not complaining too loudly. Considering the exhibit hall pass was $20 and I had a coupon so I got in free, it was so worth the trip to San Antonoio. I got over 80 books! It's in Austin next year and I'm already counting down the days!
Now some random advice for those going to TLA next year:
*Don't try and wear cute shoes. Just don't. Wear your old, nasty, comfy tennis shoes.
*Bring a backpack plus a few totes. Seriously. My backpack was a lifesaver.
*Make sure to bring some sort of pain reliever because I promise you will be in pain.
*Ask for things. Whether it's a current book or an ARC, ask for it. The answer may be no, but most of the time it's yes!
*Talk to the people at the smaller publishing booths. They may not have books to give you, but it's good to network and they're all super nice.
*Pay the $6 to rent a box for the day. You put all your stuff in a box and they hold it for you. Best $6 I spent all day.
Edited to add: A few people have asked me to list specifically what ARC's I got, so here you go!
The Fool's Girl by Celia Rees
Free Will Fall by Carol Plum-Ucci
Take Me There by Carolee Dean
The Kneebone Boy by Ellen Potter
Mistwood by Leah Cypress
Starfish by James Crowley
The Reapers are the Angels by Alden Bell
Cate of the Lost Colony by Lisa M. Klein
Sources of Light by Margaret McMullan
Jekel Loves Hyde by Beth Fantaskey
This World We Live In by Susan Beth Pfeffer
The Baby Sitter's Club, The Summer Before by Ann M. Martin
Spells by Aprilynne Pike
The Familiars by Adam Jay Epstein and Andrew Jacobson
Brilliant by Rachel Vail
Radiant Shadows by Melissa Marr
Fixing Delilah Hannaford by Sarah Okler
Rules to Rock By by Josh Rarrar
Three Rivers Rising by Jame Richards
The Things a Brother Knows by Dana Reinhardt
Infinity by Sherrilyn Kenyon
Birthmarked by Caragh O'Brien
The Karma Club by Jessica Brody
Linger by Maggie Stiefvaer
The Shadows, Books of Elsewhere #1 by Jacqueline West
The Poison Diaries by Maryrose Wood and The Duchess of Morhumberland
Tell Me a Secret by Holly Cupala
Seth Baumgartner's Love Manifesto by Eric Luper
Rules of Attraction by Simone Elkeles
The Wide Awake Princess by E.D. Baker
Forgive My Fins by Tera Lynn Childs
The Owl Keeper by Christine Brodien-Jones
Nightshade by Andrea Cremer
Pegasus by Robin McKinley
Crossing Over by Anna Kendall
Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John
Somebody Everybody Listens To by Suzanne Supplee
Dust City by Robert Paul Weston
The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff
Blood Feud by Alyxandra Harvey
Fallout by Ellen Hopkins
Good Behavior by Nathan L. Henry
Halo by Alexandra Adorentto
You by Charles Benoit