[All pictures were actually my mom's. I was too excited to take more than a few at the very end. I have more pictures, but blogger hates me and takes forever to LOAD said pictures, which slows down my internet.]
Never seen one of THESE before have you? That's cause I just went to my first ever event this past Saturday. What a way to end a blogoversary celebration week, eh?
Around two o'clock, we picked up my friend Julia and headed towards Barnes and Noble. Even the car ride was exciting. We *almost* got into a car accident on the way there and only my mom quickly swerving out of the way kept us from colliding into the other car. Would've been a huge mess since we would've pretty much hit the driver.
[From Left to Right: Jen Nadol, Shannon Delany, Margie Gelbwasser, Jame Richards, Shari Maurer]By 2:20, we arrived at the bookstore. Julia and I were introduced to the authors that were there and told we'd start doing critiques in a little bit. Julia and I browsed the YA section, came back empty handed, and waited for everyone to arrive so we'd be split up.
My friend and I went with out respective authors to get our work critiqued. My author was Jame Richards and we spent 10 minutes chatting about my writing, ways to improve, things that were good, whether I'd expand, etc. etc. It was amazing to talk about my work and she seemed to really like it, which made me feel over the moon.
Jame and I were the first done, so I gave my mom everything Jame gave to me (a copy of Three Rivers Rising and notes on the piece I'd submitted) and went to wander. My mom decided to read my short story so I kept myself away while she read. It's been a long time since my mom's read anything of mine and it was probably scarier then entering the contest.
By 3:00 I was back sitting with my mom next to me and my friend in front of me. There were only three rows of chairs then the two my mom and I sat in. A few extra chairs were pulled up on the sides, but most people sat on the floor or stood and leaned on bookcases.
Shari Maurer stood up, talked a bit about the event, and then listed all the people that participated in the writing contest. She asked the winners to stand up, which was fun.
Shari then talked a bit about her book, Change of Heart, and why she set it in this area and read the prologue for us all. I've read Change of Heart before, but hearing it out loud was a totally different experience.
Next Margie Gelbwasser got up and talked about the inspiration for her book, Inconvenient, and the fact she also set it in her area because it was what she knew. She read a short excerpt from her novel and it was beautiful.
Shannon Delany was next and she was hilarious! She told us about how 13 to Life had started as a cell phone novel and when she won the contest, she was offered a movie deal or a book deal and she chose the book deal because you can smell a book, but you can't smell a movie.Then she told a bit about what her novel was about instead of reading an excerpt.
Jen Nadol came up next and told us about her journey to publication from beginning to end, then read us part of the first chapter in The Mark. It sounded really good and it was really suspenseful.
Jame Richards was last and she told us the story of the Jamestown flood because only a couple people knew it. She told us how she wrote in verse and it didn't have to be feared. And then she read several excerpts that made me really excited to read it.
The floor was then opened to questions. People asked about titles and hardcover vs. paperback and getting published, editing, and agents. It was really interesting questions and started some interesting conversations between all the authors.
After that, everyone came up to grab copies of books, or brought their already purchased books, up to be signed. My friend and I grabbed a bunch of bookmarks (I grabbed a couple extras to put in giveaway envelopes). I first picked up a copy of The Mark and had Jen sign it for me. I grabbed a copy of 13 to Life, but Shannon was already signing a bunch of other books, so I moved to the other end of the table where Shari was standing. I gave her my copy so I could get it personalized. She had signed some stock and I'd bought a copy a few months before.
Shari signed my book and chatted a little bit about my submission. Others came up to talk to her, so I grabbed her copy of Change of Heart and I signed it for her. She keeps a copy and brings it to her signings so readers can sign it, which is an awesome idea. I loved it.
I got my copy of 13 to Life to Shannon and had a little laugh when she asked if it was Julie or Julia. Since my friend's name is Julia, people mix up our names all the time and it's a bit of a joke between us. We also talked about other bloggers a bit.
We went off and browsed a little more while my mom paid for the books. Then we went back to chat a little more with the authors and pictures were taken. My mom was getting bored (though, I applaud her for sticking it out as long as she did!) so then we decided to leave.
It was an amazing event and they made me feel really special. I had so much fun talking to the and I'm pretty proud of myself for not getting all tongue tied and keeping cool. I was sure I'd have some kind of panic attack!
[Left to right: Julia, Jen Nadol, Shannon Delany, Margie Gelbwasser, Jame Richards, Shari Maurer, Me]
I really hope there are more events like this in the future. I loved every minute.