Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Armchair BEA 2013: Introductions

Armchair BEA 2013
Armchair BEA logo design credit: Sarah of Puss Reboots
It’s a big week in the book world.
And if it’s a big week in the book world, that means it’s also a big week in the book blogging world.
The occasion is the huge industry conference and trade show known as Book Expo America (BEA) happening in New York, where authors and agents and publishers and editors and enthusiasts are celebrating the written word in all its forms.
That also means it’s time for Armchair BEA, which is (as per the mission statement on the website), ”the experience for book bloggers to participate in Book Expo America (BEA) from the comfort of their homes. This experience is created lovingly by book bloggers specifically for our peers who for whatever reason are not able to participate in the main conference in New York each year. We bring publishers, authors, and bloggers together in celebrating our love for all things literary by hosting celebrations such as sneak peeks, daily discussion topics, and sponsored giveaways.” 
I’ve been to part of BEA in the past (there is a book blogging conference as part of the festivities), but funds and timing didn’t permit such for me this year. So, bring on Armchair BEA!
We have daily themes/writing prompts to blog about, so let’s get this party underway with today’s topic: some introductory questions.
  1. Please tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? How long have you been blogging? Why did you get into blogging?
I’m Melissa and I launched my blog, The Betty and Boo Chronicles, nearly 5 years ago. You can read the story behind the name and the decision to start blogging here. Recently, I made the leap to self-hosting because it was a logical way to combine my own writing (I’m currently at work on a novel) and my new freelancing and book editing business.
2. Where in the world are you blogging from? Tell a random fact or something special about your current location. 
Before moving to my current city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, I had such a misconception about this place. I envisioned a gray, gritty, dirty town with nothing but abandoned steel mills. Now, granted, our winter weather does tend to be a little bit (OK, a lot) on the gray and gritty side. But, you know what? Pittsburgh is one of the most spectacular and beautiful cities I’ve ever seen. Vibrant, creative, and inspirational people are everywhere in Pittsburgh. We’re extremely friendly, warm, and collaborative. (We kind of thrive on that here.)  Pittsburgh is known as a sports town – and deservedly so – but it’s really much more of an artistic, cultural, and literary community than I ever could have imagined.
3. What are you currently reading, or what is your favorite book you have read so far in 2013? 
New and Selected Poems, Vol 1 Mary Oliver
I usually have a volume of poetry on my night table for times when I am in between books (i.e., just finished a book but am too tired to start something new). Right now, that happens to be New and Selected Poems, Volume 1 by Mary Oliver.
I also have Chris Bohjalian’s latest (The Lights in the Ruins) set for a July publication date that I will soon start for my freelance book reviewing job with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, but before doing so I am hoping to read both The Double Bind and The Sandcastle Girls. 
Favorite book of 2013 (so far) is The Orchardist by Amanda Coplin. 
4. Tell us one non-book-related thing that everyone reading your blog may not know about you.
I need a job.
(My professional background is here with additional background and my writing portfoliohere.)
5. Which is your favorite post that you have written that you want everyone to read?
Oh, gosh. This is like choosing a favorite child. I have nearly 2,000 posts on a variety of topics, so this is impossible. The ones about The R Wordabout Kristin Mitchellabout autism,about unemployment, and about Baby G (because that saga is still going on, nearly 2 years later) would probably head up my favorites list, all for different reasons.
Make sure to visit the Armchair BEA page for more introductory and daily topic posts!
Hey! Did you know this blog is on the move? Go to and subscribe so you don't miss any posts! 

copyright 2013, Melissa Firman


fredamans said...

Nice getting to know you, hope you find work soon!

Freda's intro

Sue Jackson said...

HI, Melissa -

Good to hear from you again - I haven;t been by in a while and I know you've had a rough year.

I totally agree re: Pittsburgh - I was surprised, too. My college boyfriend lived there for a while after school, and I used to go visit. Loved it there!

Congrats on the new reviewer job!! That is fabulous! I have written kids' book reviews professionally for years but have also been looking for a grown-up gig. Unfortunately, our local newspaper only uses AP reviews. And Bohjalian's latest is an awesome first assignment! The Double Bind was great.

I'm doing Armchair BEA, too, and also announced the Big Book Summer Challenge this weekend, so stop by when you get a chance.


Book By Book

Big Book Summer Challenge