Tag Archives: Conferences

Thoughts From BEA (or, GOD MY FEET HURT)

12 Jun

Last week, I attended BookExpo America (BEA), which is a huge publishing shindig about which you can read a much more entertaining description here. It was a hoot and a half, let me tell you.

I planned to write some sort of “BEA Recap” post. They’re pretty popular in the blogosphere, and I love reading other people’s summaries of the event. But then I realized 1) I didn’t take a whole lot of pictures; 2) I’m too lazy to go hunt for other people’s pictures; 3) IT’S ALL A HAZY BLUR; and 4) mehhhh I LIKE LISTS. So I wrote a kind-of recap, but I’m not sure it really counts.

Anyway, BEHOLD:


  • got free books!
  • attended awesome panels!
  • participated in the high-energy Apocalypsies event WHICH ROCKED ALL THE WORLDS EVER
  • cried because Lois Lowry made me, she MADE ME
  • infested the Javits Center with cockroaches
  • diverted my route, on countless occasions, through the booths that had extra padding in their carpets TO SAVE MY BURNING FEET
  • met awesome booksellers!
  • met awesome bloggers!
  • met awesome authors!
  • gave swag to REBECCA “THE STEADMEISTER” STEAD (that is the name I gave to her, fondly, in my head, i.e., she does not know so shhh)
  • had Thai food for the first time!
  • ate too much Thai food
  • got caught in the rain with my editor while discussing Hoarders
  • participated in an impromptu toast to the late Ray Bradbury with some truly disgusting bourbon (which I downed like a CHAMP! hoo-ahhhh!)
  • stood in line
  • stood in line
  • pretty much lost my voice
  • met more awesome people!


  • “The Internet here is like the cyber-equivalent of flea poop.”
  • “How is my book ever going to compete, like at all? THERE ARE SO MANY BOOKS IN THE WORLD.”
  • “Did my publicist just hug me in a weird way? What does that mean? Did I somehow annoy my publicist? If I circled back and reassured her that if I did indeed annoy her, I didn’t mean to . . . would that weird her out further?”
  • “So-and-so’s hair/dress/body/poise is better than mine. God, WHY AM I SO AWKWARD?”
  • “Someone I recognize. THANK GOD. LET ME HUG YOU. Oh, did I just interrupt the conversation you were having? Please, carry on. WHILST I CLING TO YOU.”
  • “It’s like, the more people I talk to, the more incoherent I become. Maybe I should just start saying, ‘Hello, you are? My name! Gloogleflorp. Books! Purple giraffe.’ I’m not sure people could tell the difference. God, WHY AM I SO AWKWARD?”
  • “I’m so stopping by Duane Reade on the way home to stock up on candy. Or booze. Or BOTH.”
  • “I’m sweatinggggg. Can people see how much I’m sweating? I would go to the bathroom to wipe myself down but THERE IS ALWAYS A LINE. GOD.”
  • “If I go crawl under that table in the Penguin booth to take a nap, would they judge me? Would they kick me out of the event? Do I care?”
  • “[So-and-so authors] on [such-and-such panel] are so pretty/talented/eloquent/[insert complimentary adjective here]. Why can’t I be like that? I wish I could be on a panel.”
  • “Food. Food food. Food food food! Food.”
  • ” . . . Wait. Why am I not on a panel?! This obviously means I am some sort of failure. Because I am not good enough to be on a panel. Everyone else in the entire world is on panels. Oh god everyone hates me. EVERYONE OBVIOUSLY HATES ME.”
  • “Should I give Kristin Cashore a cockroach? Would Kristin Cashore want a pin cockroach or a barrette cockroach? These are sentences I never thought I’d say.”
  • “I think I’m going to keep being indifferent toward John Green just out of spite, because everyone likes him so much. Does that make me a bad person?”
  • “I bet it’ll end up being like with Harry Potter, when I refused to read them out of spite because they were so popular, and then I gave in, and then my life changed.”
  • “Come to think of it, that’s kind of like how I was with cheesecake. The whole thing about cheese and cake being in the same dish offended my sense of order. So then we had denial, denial, spite, denial . . . and then one day, BAM! Cheesecake. And then BAM! Life = changed.”
  • “Mmm . . . cheesecake . . . “
  • “Would you like a cockroach? Would you like a cockroach? Would you like a cockroach?”
  • “The word ‘cockroach’ has officially lost all meaning. So has ‘Cavendish’. So have ALL THE OTHER WORDS.”
  • ” . . . I wish I was cooler. How are all these people so cool?”
  • “My book feels so small. I feel so small. This is impossible.”
  • ” . . . Maybe I’m not cut out for this.”
  • “Hey, it’s that person from Twitter who is in fact real!”
  • “I wish unicorns were real.”
  • “Wait. That’s silly. They’re totally real.”
  • “Must not jump the bones of bloggers who are already excited about my book that’s coming out two years from now. Must not jump the bones of bloggers who are already excited about my book that’s coming out two years from now. Must not . . . aw, screw it. *FLINGS SELF INTO ARMS OF BLOGGERS*”
  • “This place would be hella freaky at night.”
  • “This place smells like old underpants.”
  • “This place needs more cake.”

Did you go to BEA? Did you have fun? Do you like cake? GIVE ME YOUR THOUGHTS.

BEA + What Happens Now + HELLO AGAIN

30 May

Hi y’all! It’s been SO long, or at least it feels like it. I’VE MISSED YOU, INTERNETS. *GIANT CLAIRE BEAR HUGS*

I feel like a total failure for the past, oh I don’t know, two weeks? Three? I haven’t been blogging, I’ve barely been tweeting, I haven’t been checking in with ROW80 (BAD sponsor, BAD!), and it’s all making me a little PANICKY at this point. See, I went to Chicago to visit my dear dear Dr. Splanchett, and then I went to NYC for BEA, and this weekend I attended a family wedding and SLEPT and MORE SLEEPING YES. And there just wasn’t a lot of time in all that (and the preparation for all that) to stop and BREATHE, much less blog, etc.

But now I’m back.

And thank GOODNESS. Because I’ve got a lot of work to do, and a lot to TELL y’all. Yesss many many things.


  1. In Chicago, I performed THIS with my dear dear BFF, the abovementioned Dr. S. He played oboe (instead of the violin in the original score), I played piano, and one of his awesomely talented musician friends played alto flute. It was the encore of his FANTASTIC senior recital (which blew everyone away), and it was so fun and special for us to perform this together. The last time we performed together, he was still in high school and I was an undergraduate trumpet player, and we played Aaron Copland’s Quiet City. This time, we got to perform a track from the Firefly score, and, that being one of our favorite TV shows and something that means a lot to us, it was a moment I’ll treasure forever.
  2. P.S. Seriously. You should listen to Quiet City. It is gorgeous.
  3. BEA. WHOA. INSANE. SO MANY BOOKS. That was how I felt the first morning of BEA, when I met up with Agent Lady, Suzie Townsend, and the Fine Print crew. We lined up to get into the exhibit hall, and as soon as they opened the gates, we ran — RAN, like CRAZY PEOPLE — through the hall, following the route Suzie had explained to us all a few minutes before. “Do NOT fall behind,” she told us. “We will NOT stop for you.” Agent Lady added, “This is NOT the Army. We will leave you behind.” The gate opened and BAM! We ran. We ran through that exhibit hall and grabbed every ARC we could find. Publishers had them in towering STACKS by their booths, and oh how we PLUNDERED them.
  4. SERIOUSLY. SO MANY BOOKS. On Thursday, the last day of BEA, I culled through the week’s haul (two giant boxes’ worth, mind you), and managed to end up with only ONE giant box, aka, 46 pounds of books, aka, HEAVEN. When this box of heaven arrives at home for me and the roomie to sort through, it will be like CHRISTMAS MORNING. Perhaps we will bake.
  5. I met so SO many awesome people. For real. The publishing world is full of people like me! Like you! Like us! People who love books and obsess over books and pick apart books and cuddle books, and squee over beautiful covers, and are often more than a leetle bit crazy. And I was in a ginormous (seriously, it took up like five city blocks) convention center with THOUSANDS OF SUCH PEOPLE. Librarians and agents and editors and authors and book bloggers and booksellers and on and on AND ON. I shook their hands and geeked out over Game of Thrones with them and talked Dr. Who with them, and it was basically this MECCA of awesome, like-minded, slightly crazy-eyed (BEA is TIRING, y’all) people who love stories and storytellers as much as I do. That, my friends, is an AWESOME feeling.
  6. People knew about my book. Seriously. And it doesn’t come out for another year! And if they didn’t know about it, they were totally nice and sweet and got excited about it with me. That was one of the strangest, most incredible, most HUMBLING feelings ever, to shake hands with someone and have them say, “Oh, yes, I’ve heard of this book, and I’m so excited to read it!” I mean…just wow. Also? SCARY. Will it be good enough? Will they love it? Will they be disappointed? ACK. NO. I will NOT follow that train of thought today, no way. *switches off self-destructive neuroses* *CLICK*
  7. People on Twitter have FACES! And are REAL! It’s true. Crazy, right? Like, they’re in the Internets, but then they’re also in the REAL WORLD, and you can poke them! But seriously. I met Emilia Plater, Phoebe North, Kirsten Hubbard, Michelle Hodkin, Joanna Volpe, Brooks Sherman, Sean Ferrell, Dan Krokos, Kaitlin Ward, Kody Keplinger, Seanan McGuire, and Claudia Gray, all of whom are delightful and brilliant and some of whom I’d talked with on Twitter and some of whom I’d just stalked followed on Twitter, and I got to shake their hands! And hug them! And be like OH IT’S YOU THAT PERSON IN MY COMPUTER.
  8. Speaking of, my roommates were AWESOME. I’d followed and chatted with Trisha Ziegenhorn and Denise Swank on Twitter for a long time, and they graciously allowed me to share a hotel room with them. They are amazingly sweet and talented ladies who were a whole lot of fun to hang out with, and did I mention they’re supermegatalented? Seriously. We chatted writing and WIPs, and trust me when I say that they’re pretty much gonna rock your faces off.
  9. I met my editor! Who is lovely and wicked smart and just all kinds of awesome. Dinner with her and Agent Lady on my last night in NYC was nothing short of magical. And insightful! And entertaining. Mainly because we got to watch Agent Lady dissect and conquer a giant lobster. It was good times, y’all.

So, yeah. That’s where I’ve been. And as amazing and fantastical as all that was, I’m SO glad to be back! I’ve got lots of work to do, and I’m so inspired to do it. Being at BEA, in the fuzzy, adrenaline-soaked midst of books and authors and panels and MORE BOOKS, was terrifying at first. I thought, “Why am I here?” “I am SO not cool enough to be here.” “I am so not TALENTED enough to be here.” “I mean, LOOK at these people.” “Don’t talk don’t talk don’t talk, if you don’t talk, they won’t find out you’re a fraud.” ETC. ETC. ETC.

I still feel that, to be honest. It’s a terrifying feeling, to have my strange, scary little book still so fresh and new, being revised and poked at and prodded at, not knowing what the next year or so will bring, wondering if I can ever live up to the brilliance and talent of the other kidlit authors I met and gaped at like an idiot.

But BEA did show me that I’m doing what I should be doing. I should be writing. I should be a writer. I knew it before, but I often forgot it, or I convinced myself I was wrong and went cowering into a little sweating corner of self-doubt and anxiety. I’ll still do that, I know. That little sweating stinky lonely corner never goes away. But when I sat at the young adult and middle grade buzz panels, tearing up because I felt so inspired and humbled by the books being highlighted; when I got into conversations with bloggers and authors and editors and realized that, hey, I kind of know what I’m talking about here; when I connected with an author signing her book or speaking at a panel or whom I met on the floor, and got chills up my arms because we both GET it, we both GET words and writing and books and this crazy, all-consuming love of storytelling that makes us get up too early and stay up too late and forget to eat and eat too much and stay in when we could go out — I knew. I knew I was in the right place, that I’m doing the right thing, that doing anything else would be contrary to everything I am at my very core.

So, now? Now it’s time to work.

I’ve got a second round of Cavendish revisions to complete (God, I love this book). I’ve got a first draft of Cracked to complete (HEY LOOKIT I LOVE THIS ONE TOO). I’ve got a second MG to plan, potentially the beginning of a series (so so so excited about this newest project, I mean REALLY).

And I’m so ready to get started.

Thank you, BEA, authors, editors, agents, roommates, FRIENDS, for shooting me up with such crazy electric inspiration last week.

Thank you, lovely ROW80 peeps, for bearing with me while I was MIA. I promise, I’ll be back to normal with this Wednesday’s check-in.

And thank YOU, blog readers, Twitter friends, etc. etc., for just being your awesome selves. I’m so glad to be back! I’ve MISSED you! *MORE GIANT HUGS FOR EVERYONE*

And now, to unpack and clean. The author’s life is a glamorous one indeed, amirite?

ROW80 Round Two: 5/18/11 Check-In

18 May

Oh HEAVENS, y’all.

You know that scene in 40-Year-Old Virgin when Steve Carell comes home after the poker night with the guys (I think) and is kind of stressed and freaking out about what went down, so he walks really fast around his apartment with his arms pinned to his sides, screaming? (I cannot find this clip ANYWHERE, by the way. Internets, you have failed me.)

This is so me right now. And has been for days, hence the lack of recent ROW80 activity, for which I apologize profusely.

Reasons for the screamy-busy-crazy:

  1. A few short days ago, I finished Part Uno of Cracked.
  2. Tomorrow, I’m leaving for Chicago to visit my dear dear BFF and perform in/attend his senior oboe recital. Yes, perform. He wants to keep it hush-hush for now, so I cannot say more, but rest assured that if it isn’t a complete disaster (*knock on wood*), I shall be posting a video clip!
  3. On Monday, I’m flying from Chicago to New York City for BookExpo America, which is exciting for all kinds of reasons (hanging with Agent Lady, meeting Editor Lady, consorting with fab writerly types, FREE BOOKS, New York-style pizza oh yesss).
  4. I realized while preparing for this trip that I had a terribly lacking professional wardrobe, in that it did not exist. So I went shopping. SHOPPING. For real, grown-up clothes. And they are CUTE. I will probably be hating myself at this point next week, traipsing around the Javits Center all like, “GIRL. Why did you insist on dressing up? You could’ve gotten away with something much more casual.” But whatever. My clothes kick serious arse.

So, the blog hiatus will continue while I’m out of town, but I intend to return with a vengeance after BEA. However, my inspirational sponsor post for ROW80 WILL go up on Monday the 23rd over at the ROW80 blog, so feel free to check that out, especially if you’re feeling discouraged with whatever writerly thing you’re working on. INSPIRATIONAL post. That means you read it and then basically become a superhero.

Also, I’m going to try my darnedest to tweet a lot of BEA-related things for those interested people who aren’t able to go this year. I set up my agenda last night and am READY TO RUMBLLLE.

Oh, and re: my ROW80 update? I wrote, like, a bajillion words last week. And when I say bajillion, I mean 10,737. This obviously exceeds my goal by…a lot. ROCK. I haven’t written anything this week for the reasons listed above, and I probably won’t get much writing done while I’m out of town, but who knows? Maybe I’ll find inspiration amidst all the BEA hoopla and sneak away for coffee shop time.

Check out the other ROWers’ updates here! You know you want to.

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