____________________________________ On Hiatus ___________________________________

Friday, April 29, 2011

Hoppy Friday!!! Follow Friday (FF5) and Book Blogger Hop 3

Hoppy Friday Everyone!!!

Ok, so I haven’t done one of Parajunkee’s Follow My Book Blog Fridays or Crazy-For-Books’ Book Blogger Hops in. FOREVER.

But I think I still remember how it works!—And I’m feeling social, so hoping to check out a lot of new blogs today and meet lots of people!!!!

For anyone who’s new—Feature&Follow Friday is a weekly meet and greet meme hosted by ParaJunkee, where she features a blogger of the week, and all us awesome bloggers can hop around, introduce ourselves, and meet each other.

This week’s Featured blogger is Marla from Starting the Next Chapter—so be sure to check her out!!!

The Book Blogger Hop is hosted by Jennifer at Crazy For Books, and goes Friday through Monday.
—And a special Happy Birthday to Jennifer this week!!!

If you want to join in the fun just hop on over to Parajunkee’s View for Feature&Follow Friday, or check out Crazy For Books for The Book Blogger HopThen just add your name to the list and start hopping!

Easy-peasy ;)

Now for the Q&A portion of the morning/afternoon/or evening (depending on what time zone you live in):

Q. Keeping with the dystopian and apocalypse theme that seems to be running rampant on parajunkee.com, I have one very hard question for you: If you were stocking your bomb shelter, what books would you HAVE to include if you only had space for ten?

Answer:  Thank GOD I have my Nook.  And now I just realized my answer only works as long as there is enough electricity or a solar-powered charger to charge my Nook.  So if I REALLY had to choose????

3.  The Bible (I don’t want to be the only one in an apocalypse without The Bible)
5.  If a Man Answers/Ask Any Girl by Winifred Wolfe (they’re really small, so should only count as one)

Those are the easy ones…  I know this is cheating, but I’m gonna hope that if there is an apocalyptic future looming before us, there will be omnibi/omnibuses/omnibi(???) of:
  6.  All of Tamora Pierce’s work
  7.  Harry Potter
  9.  L.J. Smith (the REAL one, no substitutes!!!)

And Crazy for Books question of the week is:  
Q. Summer is coming quickly - what 2011 summer release are you are most looking forward to?

Answer:  Hmmm, if I hadn’t already gotten an ARC of Tera Lynn Childs’ Fins Are Forever, I would still be drooling in anticipation of June 28!  This is really hard, because all I can think of are fall releases—Tera Lynn Childs’ Sweet Venom and Sophie Jordan’s Vanish, and Tamora Pierce’s Mastiff…I just finished reading Y.S. Lee’s A Spy in the House and A Body at the Tower, but the third book, The Traitor and the Tunnel isn’t due to be released in the U.S. until Spring 2012...

Oooh!!!—Found one!!!  Rosemary Clement-Moore’s Texas Gothic!!!—Out July 12, 2011!!!  I was lucky enough to see Rosemary at the Speed-Reading panel at the Romantic Times Convention a few weeks ago, and this sounded A.MA.ZING!!!!—I’m definitely looking forward to this!!!!

So how about you?—What are you looking forward to this summer???—What books would make it into your bomb shelters???

Have a great weekend everybody!!!  And enjoy the hops!!!


Monday, April 25, 2011

The Forest of Hands and Teeth

Ok, so I know dystopian is pretty popular right now…but even though I’m not a very squeamish person…Dystopian makes me squeamish.  It creeps me out.  I’m pretty sure the last dystopian I read (and possibly the first) was Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid’s Tale, not that I knew what dystopian was at the time.  But I definitely knew it creeped me out.

But I started hearing blogger buzz for Carrie Ryan’s The Forest of Hands and Teeth, and when I noticed that even the authors I was following were reading it…well, I decided it had to be worth a try.

And It. Was. Worth. It.

The Forest of Hands and Teeth, besides being one of the creepiest titles ever, and simultaneously setting an ominous mood, is the story of Mary, zombies, and the not too distant post-zombie-apocalyptic future.

Mary is in love with Travis.  Unfortunately, Travis’s brother, Harold, likes Mary.  And Harold asks Mary to the Harvest Celebration, so Travis asks Mary’s best friend, Cassandra.  Normally that wouldn’t be a big deal, but in Mary’s world, going to the Harvest Celebration together is like telling the world your engaged.  And while Mary is taking in all this news that’s going to affect the rest of her life, her mother gets too near the village fence and is infected by one of the Unconsecrated—an infection that will kill her mother, right before turning her into a zombie, and setting in motion events that will change Mary’s life.

Her mother is a zombie, so should Mary:
a)      Marry  a boy she doesn’t love, and have lots of children to ensure the survival of their village
b)      Become a nun and join the revered Sisterhood
c)       Leave the village for a life of death, dismemberment, and become a zombie, herself—One of the Unconsecrated?

But, suddenly, events take a turn before Mary makes a decision, and now it’s a matter of survival.  If any of them are left at the end, then Mary can decide who she loves.

When the book first started, I was expecting a love triangle.  Ok, yes, I read the zombie/dystopian part of the description, but I guess I’ve just got that YA/romance genre hardwired in me, and I look for it no matter what I’m reading.  But it wasn’t as simple as a love triangle, or a square, or any other kind of diagram I could come up with.  Because I don’t think Mary is really in love with Travis, but she’s definitely got a crush on him.  When she gets to know both Harold and Travis, she finds things to like in both of them, but I never got the feeling that she ever really loved either of them.  Oh, and they were being chased by zombies, which may have had some influence on the matter.

The more I got to know Mary, the more I realized that her family; her lost father, her infected mother, and her estranged brother, were the people that Mary really loved.  And the reason Mary couldn’t choose, was because the choices sucked—Mary’s family had a legend, a story about a place called the OCEAN, a place where water went on forever and the Unconsecrated couldn’t touch it.  And unlike the rest of her village, Mary had hope that the OCEAN existed, hope that there was a place they could live without fear of the Unconsecrated.  Mary wanted to leave, all right, but she wanted to survive more than anything else.  So even if leaving the village was a choice, she wouldn’t have left for certain death.  And if no boy would speak for her, then Mary would join the Sisterhood, even if it meant wilting away inside the dour Cathedral walls.  If she couldn’t have Travis, Mary would have settled for Harold.  If Mary couldn’t get to the OCEAN, then she would do whatever she could to survive, and live her life to its fullest.

But when the opportunity presents itself, when Mary thinks there might be something more, that maybe the OCEAN  really is out there, really real; Mary does everything within her power, fights tooth and nail, to get there, to follow her dream.

Carrie Ryan’s The Forest of Hands and Teeth gave me the same kind creeped out kind of feelings as I got reading The Handmaid’s Tale, or watching M. Night Shyamalan's The Village—gripping from beginning to end, but with a differenceMary always had that one kernel of hope—The worst had already happened in Mary’s world, in Mary's village, to Mary's family, but that didn’t mean it couldn’t get MUCH. WORSE.  And still, I kept hanging onto that one kernel of hope; the OCEAN.  Also, I loved Ryan’s explanation for how zombies took over the world, that scientists were experimenting with creating immortality—and that it could both work (in a very twisted sense), and also go terribly wrong at the same time.

The Forest of Hands and Teeth was a suck-you-in and hang-on-for-the-ride riveting read and I can’t wait to pick up the rest of the series; The Dead-Tossed WavesThe Dark and Hollow Places—And also Ryan just released a prequel, Hare Moon—a standalone ebook about Sister Tabitha’s story.

p.s. I got to meet Carrie at the Romantic Times Convention in L.A. a few weeks ago and just want to say how incredibly nice and awesome she was!!!  (not to mention her super-cute curly haircut!!!)


Sunday, April 24, 2011

IMM19 the mailbox doth overflow

*In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi over at The Story Siren* So head over there if you want to check out what everyone else got, or if you want to find out how to participate!!!

Ok, so I haven’t IMMed in a while…which means I have plenty to share…and after realizing that my word count was 2,150…and my IMM hadn’t even gotten to Saturday, Teen Day at the 2011 Romantic Times Booklovers Convention, OR the actual books yet…I ended up starting this IMM in an earlier post, and this is the part where I get to all the shiny, pretty books...eventually.  I promise...

Part II:  The Book Fair

I had originally only intended to attend the 2011 Romantic Times Booklovers Convention on Saturday.  This was decided upon hearing that Tera Lynn Childs would be attending the convention, a mere 3.5 hours (without traffic) from MY. HOUSE.

Favorite author, close proximity=no brainer.

I would have attended the entire convention in a heartbeat…if financing wouldn’t have involved selling a kidney to pay for it.  Reading, writing, workshops, authors…a dream come true, and I have no doubt worth every penny.  But there are still laws about selling organs.  And I’ve become somewhat attached to the idea of high bladder retention, to which I have an idea that kidneys play an integral part.

But by perusing the event schedule, I was able to see a compromise.  $5 for the Saturday Book Fair.  I could totally swing that.

Then, I started hearing about Teen Day, the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention first-ever teen-oriented event, complete with not just Tera Lynn Childs, but all my Books, Boys, Buzz...girl favorites:  Tina Ferraro, Marley Gibson, Heather Davis, Dona Sarkar-Mishra, and former Buzz girl Simone Elkeles.  How many times to I have to say WIN?!?!?!!?

I read and reread, and reread all the Teen Day Information.  No age limit.  So, $5 Book Fair, or $25  Book Fair, plus workshops, plus party with the authors???

So that’s when we decided we’d go to Teen Day…and then we ended up getting day-passes for the Friday events, too.

Upon leaving Saturday night, one of our co-conventioners commented that she felt like she’d just robbed a Barnes&Noble.  It was a fairly accurate statement.

The entire convention was such a mix of crazy-overwhelming-exhilaration—so many people in one place, at one time.  Perhaps it was more akin to a superhero convention…where all the superheroes were still in their secret identities, and nothing but a nametag to identify who they were.  Have you ever tried looking at people’s nametags from across the room in a crowded convention center?—Yeah, it was pretty much like that.

And if I’d thought the Friday night Expo was crowded, Saturday’s Book Fair was easily 10 times more so.  Completely disorienting, not knowing where to look, where to start, where to go.  My one real objective was the table of YA authors at the entrance to the room.  And I certainly wasn’t the only one.

Then my sister and I had a second objective thrust upon us:  A scavenger hunt.   A flyer with pictures of close to two dozen books, the mission:
To get as many of the author’s signatures as possible before the end of the Book Fair.

Since I hadn’t gotten past the second row of authors at Friday’s expo (because of my inquisitive and chatty nature) my sister and I decided to finish the scavenger hunt first…then go back to browse.  There were tables marked 1 through 18, and most people seemed inclined to start at the beginning.  In a highly strategic move, we decided to start at the end, hopefully encountering less traffic.

Did I mention our inquisitive and chatty natures???—Well, the Book Fair was quickly coming to a close by the time we had all the signatures—There were two authors that had been unable to come, or had left early, but I’d say we did pretty well.  It was quite a challenge for both of us—In the real world, we’re both magnets for books, the books call to us whenever we enter a store.  But here, in this labyrinth, it wasn’t just the books, with their familiar covers calling to us, but the authors, sitting next to their shiny, precious books.  I think my Nook was the only thing that saved me from going crazy.  I would’ve wanted to buy SO MANY things, except, now even as much as I love the authors, and the autographed books, I want the e-versions—I want to never leave any of my favorite books at home ever again.

So whenever I felt close to buying something, I told myself (and/or the author), that I had or would get the e-version.  And I made sure to grab as many bookmarks, etc., as possible to remember which ones I was interested in. ;)

And while I’ll grant you that most of my superstars were sitting at the YA table, but that didn’t mean there weren’t a few adult authors I was excited about—When my sister and I turned the corner of a table and saw Debbie Macomber, my first reaction was to elbow my sister and say “Oh my god; she’s real!”  Truly a fan moment in a succession of fan moments.

And just as everything was closing, I made it to the YA table—Perfect timing, because I had all the authors to myself!!!!  :D

Rachel Vincent looks SO young!!!  Seriously!!!  And Jeri Smith-Ready!  And Carrie Ryan!!!  Sophie Jordan (I will never get tired of seeing her!)  Michelle Jaffe (with the most incredibly fun outfit!!)!!!  And all my Books, Boys, Buzz… girls—Marley Gibson!  Tina Ferraro!  Simone Elkeles! Dona Sarkar-Mishra!  Heather Davis!  Tera Lynn Childs!!!  I don’t know if there is a word to describe how it felt, seeing all of those authors at one time, at one table, but I’m going to say fantasm.  Fantasmically. Super. Amazing.

And Teen Day was just getting started…The Book Fair was followed by Speed-Reading and Speed-Dating panels.  The Speed-Reading panels consisted of a dozen YA authors reading short excerpts from their books, and then taking questions.  I could tell you how hilarious Sarah Rees Brennan was, not to mention her tale of flirting through sea-sicness—Or Rosemary Clement-Moore’s scantily-clad girl chasing a cow through a field—Or Rachel Caine’s vending machines for vampires—How I got CHILLS hearing Tera Lynn Childs read about Lilly telling Quince the truth about mermaids.—How enchanted I was by Clare B. Dunkle’s revelation of the story before a story—And Heather Davis’s epically poignant boy-meets-girl-in-a-time-vortex moment—Of Kady Cross’s transition from Jekyll to Hyde.  But I wouldn’t be able to leave out the way everyone sat captivated by the voices of Anne Aguirre, Holly Black, Cassandra Clare, Carrie Ryan, Jennifer Lynn Barnes, Kristi Cook, Kimberly Derting, Rachel Vincent, Kelly Armstrong, Jeri Smith-Ready, Melissa de la Cruz, and L.A. Banks.

There was a surprising nervousness at the authors’ table.  Apparently it doesn’t matter how long you’ve been published, how many books you’ve written, or even if that you’re packed in a room with fans and admirers…because all of a sudden, in one moment, it comes down to YOU (the author) reading OUT LOUD, IN. FRONT. OF. PEOPLE.  They cracked jokes, released the tension, and after a second of reading, each was instantly Scheherazade, spinning tales to an enraptured audience.  They were all magnificent, but over too soon, almost before they’d begun.

And Speed-Dating, the chance for authors to sit down and chat with readers.  For five minutes.  Then the authors rotated tables.  Can I say brilliant????  It was another true fantasm moment, getting to talk with Sophie Jordan (again;), Kimberly Derting, Michelle Jaffe, Jackie Morse Kessler, Carrie Ryan, Claire B. Dunkle, and Kami Garcia.  My first reaction upon meeting Kami Garcia was to exclaim, “Oh my god—You’re YOU!” as I pointed at a now autographed Beautiful Creatures bookmark sitting in front of her.  To which her response was, to smile and say, “Well, half of me.”

The only defense I have for my sudden inability to communicate coherently is that I believe all the good dialogue was being sucked out of the air by the presence of so many amazing authors in one room.

…Now, some of you may remember this started out as an IMM post…but I just can’t help myself from telling you how all these beautiful, stunning, amazing books came into my possession…

The Teen Party.  Free swag.  Free books.  And authors beyond your wildest dreams.

Oh, and one other thing…Chaos.

We were given swag bags as we entered the room, and after a quick tallying of books in our possession, the masses set out to get their books signed.  My second scavenger hunt of the day.

I’ve always had a superstition, I can’t think of when it started, or any good reason for it, but I don’t like to look at the author’s picture on the back flap of the jacket, or back of the cover until after I’ve finished a book.  It feels like bad luck.  I don’t what could happen, except perhaps the worst thing, that I might not like the book.  Maybe it’s the idea of having their picture hovering over me as I read, the expectation to love it—Or maybe it was a creepy Stephen King author picture, where his eyes just seemed to follow me, to pierce straight through the book, leering at me in a way that seemed so much spookier than the story.  Like I said, I really don’t have a good reason for it, but I always get a sense of satisfaction, turning that last page, finally looking at the masterful author, and saying a silent thank you for a much enjoyed story.

And the only reason I’m mentioning my little superstition, is because it is that much harder to ask an author for their autograph if you don’t know what they look like.  And if you don’t know what they look like, in a room full of authors that you don’t know what they look like, in a room full of fans.  Like I said…Chaos.

With authors and fans all mingling and milling around the room, my sister and I quickly tapped into strategic maneuvers; She stayed with the books, sorting them for duplicates, while I grabbed a handful of my most familiar books, with the authors I was able to recognize easiest and took off to grab their signatures.  I circled the room, came back, and swapped them out with my sister.  Meanwhile, other fans were circling trying to trade books they already had, and stopped by to trade with my sister.  And at the end of the whirlwind chase, I had (to the best my knowledge) captured an autograph for every book whose author was present.

I would like to thank every author who attended for such a truly magical experience and the following publishers for contributing to the swag and book freebies of fantasmic proportions:

Egmont USA
Harlequin Teen
Little Brown
Simon and Schuster
St. Martin’s Griffin

Oh yeah, and the books?  Well…since you asked:

From the Avon Dusk to Dark Party:

From the Teen Day Party:

The Summoning by Kelly Armstrong, Trial by Fire by Jennifer Lynn Barnes, Abandon by Meg Cabot, Heist Society by Ally Carter, Sweet Venom by Tera Lynn Childs, City of Bones by Cassandra Clare, Wolfsbane by Andrea Cremer, The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross, Bloody Valentine by Melissa de la Cruz, The Clearing by Heather Davis, What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen, Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles, Top Ten Uses for an Unworn Prom Dress by Tina Ferraro, The Awakening, Ghost Huntress, Book 1, by Marley Gibson, Eona by Alison Goodman, Haunting Violet by Alyxandra Harvey, Born at Midnight by C.C. Hunter, Queen of the Dead by Stacey Kade, Hunger by Jackie Morse Kessler, Radiant Shadows by Melissa Marr, Evermore by Alyson Noël, Pretty Bad Things by C.J. Skuse

Ridiculously amazing, right!?!?!?!?

And for those of you who are curious...I did end up with a couple of duplicates...so hopefully there will be some giveaways coming soon...but I'm not going tell you which books just yet, so you have to keep an eye out!!! ;D


Friday, April 22, 2011

2011 Romantic Times Booklovers Convention, L.A., Part I


I meant to write my IMM last Sunday, but honestly, it was just too massive.   (If you want to skip ahead to the shiny books, now…Feel free. Um, you'll have to wait until my uber Sunday IMM post)(If you want to hear about my fantastic-amazing treasure hunt…keep reading.)

Soooo, when I say massive, um, I kind of lost count…And with my sister hovering around…we may not ever know the true amount…definitely over 100…around a  quarter of them young adult…the rest ranging from thrillers to romance, bodice-rippers and steampunk, alike.

And so, without a doubt, the 2011 Romantic Times Booklovers Convention was one of the most amazing, thrilling, fantastic, wonderful, stupendously enjoyable events I have ever had the pleasure of attending.

Stupendous.  I’m SO not even kidding.

And ever since I walked into the convention, surrounded by book posters and book displays, and tables full of pretty swag, and people milling around…people, who could be AUTHORS, people who could be publishers, who could be aspiring authors, and absolutely people who were readers and just as in love with books as I am…I started wondering how to describe such an amazingly cool place.

Well, if Disneyland is the happiest place on earth.  This was Disneyland for books:

Downtown Los Angeles
Rides and Attractions
Let’s call them workshops, panels, discussions, and book fairs
Movie Characters wandering the streets
Authors wandering the halls
Expensive Disney paraphernalia
FREE book swag, goody-bags, and giveaways

Ok, so better than Disneyland…for booklovers.

The two BEST decisions I made (aside from attending the conference):
1)      Seeing if my sister would come with me
2)      Bringing rolling backpacks

1)  I love a good adventure…And so does my sister…but sometimes, you know that feeling when you want to do something for yourself?  By yourself?  I’ll admit, I had a little moment of that.  And even though she’s a little more romance and I’m a little more YA, it’s not been unheard of for us to share and swap books, and, being my sister, she’s as fanatic a reader as I am.  And when it turned out that the Convention was only a week after her birthday, it solidified that this was definitely a sister-adventure.

Now I know we weren’t the only pair of sisters at the convention—There were sisters, mothers and daughters (even a few grandmas), and friends.  But I did not see a better team than the two of us.  Not to say that my sister and I don’t have our less(or more)-sisterly  moments, but last weekend, We. Were. In. Sync.

Not to mention my sister was fantastic good luck.

There was a room at the convention that basically had giveaways going on every hour, all-day long.  If I were a greedy person, I might be a little disheartened that we didn’t try to make it to this room earlier, but I’m not one to push my luck, and I’d say we did just fine as it were.

Due to the fascinating happenstance of being previously involved in a conversation with Tera Lynn Childs, Sophie Jordan, Tina Ferraro, and one or two other authors that just happened by, my sister and I totally missed the first afternoon workshop.  And when it came down to some extra one-on-one time just hanging out and talking with some of my most favorite authors EVER…or a writing workshop with Dean Koontz…I wasn’t even tempted.  [Side note:  I hear Dean Koontz was hilarious and definitely worth seeing if you ever get the chance][Other side note:  I don’t doubt my ladies were just as fascinating, and not an experience I would trade for anything in the world.]

Well, that’s how we missed the first afternoon workshop.  We fully intended on going to one of the second sessions, but thought we’d make a quick stop in the giveaway room, before the second one started.  We never made it out.

How it worked:  Authors and publishers donated gift-baskets filled with books and goodies.  To enter, you just had to write your name down, and put it in the popcorn bag next to the gift-basket.   100% completely FREE.  They had the baskets staggered at 5 or 10 minute intervals and would start picking names toward the end of the hour.  It seemed as if we got there just as one round of giveaways had finished, and another was about to begin—I hurried around, looking at each basket, and putting my name in for the ones I really wanted, hoping to finish before the net round started.  My sister was more methodical.  After she filled out forms for the giveaways that were about to start, she grabbed entry forms for the giveaways in the next round.  She found a small space of her own, and started filling them all out together.

I watched her things while she went and collected the basket she won from the first round.  Then she came back and finished filling out the forms.  When she’d finished, I watched her stuff, including her newly won gift basket, while she went around the table, dropping off her entries.  And anyone who thinks that was the quick part does not know my sister, who is incredibly pokey.

We were going to go to the second session of workshops…but the next round of giveaways was just about to begin…and we just wanted to stay a little longer…and then we stopped pretending that we were going to make it, and just decided to hang out and see if we won anything, because of course you had to be present to win.

Aside from the giveaways, there were some booths in the room, and a few scattered tables of authors.  My sister and I had no trouble wandering and exploring the crowded room.  My first stop was a table that looked like it was having its own giveaway and that a Kindle was one of the prizes.   And yes, I do own a Nook that I am incredibly in love with, but my mom doesn’t…so, I figured it was still worth entering.  As I was filling out the form, and collecting a postcard for a free e-book, I started talking with the attendants, who turned out to be British—And not merely representatives of the publisher, but the actual publishers, who I came to find out had seen an untapped niche in the market for erotica ebooks and had decided to go for it.  It seemed to be working out very well for them.  And in my defense, I don’t automatically assume that everything with a torrid cover-display is erotica.

Or I didn’t used to.  No, I will still endeavor to keep an open mind.

After entering the Kindle drawing, a swag-covered table with people who looked suspiciously like authors, caught my eye.  They were indeed authors, and all too happy to share their racy-swag.  They seemed to be a range of romance and erotica authors, and I have to say that my curiosity got the better of me, and I spent some time talking with them, having a very interesting conversation.  Because the thing is—They don’t look like erotica authors.  I don’t know what kind of picture you have in your head when you think of erotica authors, I don’t even know what I’d pictured…But the thing was—If you didn’t know, you wouldn’t know—You wouldn’t be able to tell.

That was one of the most eye-opening revelations of the convention.

Of course I know that authors are real people.  But in my head, they’re celebrities, rock stars, movie stars—They’re glamorous.

But in real life, ANYONE could be an author.  And at the convention, most people were authors.  But there weren’t any glowing auras, or entourages.  And the only people who looked photoshopped, were the 2011 Mr. Romance contestants.

Although, I do have to admit, there were some pretty rockin’ hairstyles going around, and more than a few standout outfits—It was a convention of 99.9% women, after all.  (*I don’t know the actual gender statistics, just that the male specimen was few and far between)

And so, unless your vision of erotica writers, or authors in general is a similar demographic to the women you pass by at the grocery store or the mall, you might be surprised.  And I was curious about how these women got started—did their families know?

Almost all of them had pen names—Apparently publishers like flowery names, and they sell better.  And a few women wrote both adult romances or erotica (or both), and young adult, and so changing their name was a precaution to keep young fans from stumbling onto more adult content.  One author’s family has no idea.  Another gave a few of her more tame books to her  mother, only for her mother to go out, buy the rest—call up and proclaim how much she enjoyed them.  I can imagine it being slightly awkward on the author’s side.  When I went to the book fair, there was even a whole family of erotica writers—Mother and daughters.

—And, I found it interesting to note, when I asked one of the authors about her YA books—I TOTALLY knew what she was talking about—I was more of a Sweet Valley, Thoroughbred, Christopher Pike, R.L. Stine reader, but I could COMPLETELY picture her series covers on the shelves, next to the books I used to read.—Also gave me a chance to  ask to ask how those series worked—I always knew that Francine Pascal didn’t write any of the Sweet Valley books, but somehow there was a book out every month, and with five different series at one time, I was always curious about that particular brand of magic.  I, now, also realize that it totally distorted my timeframe of how long it must take to write a book.   And it was nice to hear what I’d always suspected was true—*Spoiler Alert*—Multiple authors writing, sometimes with a byline, sometimes writing under the same name, all to keep up with the crazy-serial-pace  for teen series.  Each author would get a character/series bible with all the important facts about who was whom, who did what and so forth.  They were give a synopsis, a short paragraph about the main action that goes on in this particular episode (Timmy falls down the well), and then the authors were set loose.

Then, just as the next round of giveaways began, my author table had to go set up their tables at the Book Expo upstairs.  Their table was not empty for long, my sister and I sat down…just long enough to hear her name called.  And I watched her things while she graciously accepted her second basket of the day.  We sat, somewhat dejectedly, as they called her name a third and fourth time, knowing that a person was only allowed to win a gift-basket once per session.  And surprisingly, I actually won my own gift-basket!  And the joy of winning was hardly tarnished at all by my sister’s abundance of winning—Actually, by then I was pretty sure that my sister was my lucky charm, and I might not have won anything without her.  Also, I was immensely soothed knowing that a benefit of living together and attending the convention together was that all those books were coming home with me, as much as with her.

Once we had won our quota, with no reason to linger, my sister made a quick trip to the car with all her winnings, while I headed up to the Book Expo.  Friday’s expo was basically a miniature preview of what was to come at Saturday’s Book Fair.   But I never got past the second row of authors…Not when I realized that the first row of authors included Holly Black, Melissa Marr, Melissa de la Cruz, Richelle Mead, Kelly Armstrong, L.A. Banks, Anne Elizabeth, Jade Lee, Alisa Kwitney, and Gregg Hurwitz…Oh, and there was also one of the MOST. FANTASTIC. PIECES. of. SWAG. EVER.  

A 2011 RT Convention poster…with all their names and manga pictures on it.  Yeah, apparently they all have some type of manga thing together—It was a little bit of a rush at the time, so I still haven’t quite figured out what it was for, only that some of the hottest YA authors in the world right now, were ALL. SITTING. AT. THE. SAME. TABLE.

All of them except Cassandra Clare…who was most gracious when I saw her at one of Saturday's panels and snagged her signature.  Oh yes, I WILL be having a contest for this amazingly fantastic acquisition of swag….not yet…but SOON.

And then my sister returned in time to win another gift-basket.

And, in case I haven’t mentioned the ultra-amazingly-awesome Avon From Dusk to Dark Mixer featuring: Kelly Armstrong, Tera Lynn Childs*, Kimberly Derting*Merrie Destefano*, Colleen Gleason/Joss Ware*, Syrie James, Sophie Jordan*, Melissa Marr*, Pamela Palmer*, Jaime Rush, Lynsay Sands, and Kerrelyn Sparks*.

*The authors from the Supernatural Underground were out in supernatural force, making it a supernaturally awesome experience of not only getting to see some of my favorite authors , but also some of my favorite bloggers—and snag some of their books, and a few pics... ;)

2) Rolling backpacks=best investment. EVER.

Not including ebooks, we counted 68 books that we went back with Friday night.  Or, I should say, that my sister counted…because I was deeply involved reading an ARC of SWEET VENOM by Tera Lynn Childs.  And yes, you are SO jealous right now.