Sunday, May 30, 2010

Book Blogger Convention Recap ~ Early Morning (Chapter 1)

So there I was at 4:05 a.m. on Friday morning, driving through the pitch-black streets of my sleepy little town, heading for the Amtrak train that would take me to The City That Never Sleeps. I'd planned to be at Book Expo America (BEA), but having just started a new job earlier this month, I couldn't really justify taking more than one day off. 

The Book Blogger Convention - a day long circled on my calendar - was finally here. The day before,  I was an excited, nervous, migraine headache from hell induced wreck, especially since I wasn't sure of the logistics of the Amtrak station and because I'd never been to New York City alone. And I had only previously met one person who would be at the convention.  (That would be author Beth Kephart.)

But, I found the train station in time for my 5:30 a.m. train and within the hour my headache disappeared as I watched the sun come up over Pennsylvania and New Jersey.  This was my first visit to New York in 15 years, meaning that it was also the first time since 9/11 that I saw the skyline in person. Definitely a heart-tugging moment.

My train arrived on time at Penn Station and I began walking the city blocks towards the Javits Center.  I know nothing about architecture, but I thought the building itself was pretty cool ... even if the reflective outside did remind me of the opening credits of Dallas.

Inside the cavernous jaws of the Javits, the signs and banners from BEA were still up.  Among them was the one for Justin Cronin's new book, The Passage (perhaps you've heard of it? :) 

(this isn't the banner, but one of the downloads from  I was too busy trying to find the meeting room to take a photo of the banner itself.)

Now's as good a time as any to mention this:  I've been following The Passage/Justin Cronin lovefest with interest because ... Justin Cronin himself was one of my teachers in grad school!  (I know!) He taught in the Masters of Professional Communication program at a local university in Philadelphia.  I think our class was Writing for Business, or something like that. It was, obviously for both of us, a hundred years ago. If memory serves me correctly, I think his first book Mary and O'Neil had recently been published when I had him as an instructor.

Anyway, I digress. I found the convention registration and the day was underway when Natasha from Maw Books handed me the swag bag of goodies pictured at the top of this post.

Speaking of which, you know how there's always this talk about how the Academy Awards people get goodie bags with stuff worth katrillions of dollars?

The Academy Awards has nothin' on the Book Blogger Convention swag.  Check it out!

Inside, there were the above books (Amanda from The Zen Leaf was at my table at breakfast, and raved about the Deb Caletti books, which varied with each bag.)   I'm excited about The Sweet By and By, which was already on my TBR list, as well as Secret Lives of Husbands and Wives. (Don't tell anyone, but I might just happen to have extra copies of both of these, so it is entirely possible that a giveaway of sorts might be in this blog's future.)

One of the first bloggers I ran into was Trisha from eclectic / eccentric, who is just as delightful in person as she is on her blog.  I've been reading Trisha's blog for awhile now and meeting her was like saying hi to a dear friend. Alix from HEETR Promotions and Publicity also joined our group for breakfast and she was equally as delightful. (Anyone who would consider hailing a cab in New York for a Starbucks run is definitely someone I want to hang with.)

Also part of our breakfast table were these lovely bloggers:

Diane from Book Chick Di; Gaby from Starting Fresh; Serena from Savvy Verse and Wit; Laura from I'm Booking It; and Pam from Midnyte Reader.  Not pictured (but also at our table) was Pam from and Amanda from The Zen Leaf

A few of us from our table then began meandering politician-at-a-rubber-chicken-dinner-style from table to table, introducing ourselves to other bloggers. Normally, this would be somewhat out of character for me, but my goal was to meet as many of the 250 attendees as I could, especially since I didn't have the luxury of being there previously for BEA.

I'm so glad we visited some other tables because I got to say hi to some of the folks who have been in my Google Reader for awhile and whose blogs I adore.  I didn't get a picture, unfortunately, but I loved meeting Sheila from Book Journey (that woman is the most together person, style-wise! If schlumpadinka me had a miniscule of her fashion sense ...), Carrie from Care's Online Book Club (who is adorable) and Kim from Sophisticated Dorkiness (who is way more sophisticated than dorky). 

And then it was onto our morning sessions, but not before meeting Amy from Amy Reads (we have similar nonfiction reading tastes, I discovered), Linda from Minted Prose, LLC (a publisher), and paranormal romance and romantic suspense author Caridad Pineiro.

Maureen Johnson's keynote speech was first on our agenda, and that deserves its own post ... which I'll do in the next chapter of my Book Blogger Con recap.

copyright 2010, Melissa (Betty and Boo's Mommy, The Betty and Boo Chronicles) If you are reading this on a blog or website other than The Betty and Boo Chronicles or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.


nomadreader said...

You took pictures! I had a wonderful time at BBC, but there were so many people I didn't get to meet. Next year!

Trisha said...

I was so excited to meet you too and you are also delightful! I love that word as it refers to people. It is strange and wonderful to meet people in person you've already developed relationships with online. I was pleasantly surprised that everyone was so amazingly nice. Now, I'm already waiting for next year to see everyone again.

Florinda said...

I have more regrets about missing the BBC than BEA, so I'm glad you're chronicling it so fully! I will look forward to the next installment.

It looks like they REALLY know how to fill a swag bag, though!

Alexia561 said...

Wasn't able to make it to BBC, so have been looking forward to hearing all about it!

Great swag bag!

Serena said...

Love the wrap-up. Can you email me a copy of that photo? savvyverseandwit at gmail

Michelle said...

I'm so glad to have met you! It was a whirlwind day (as you mention here) but one I hope everyone got some benefit from!