Monthly Archives: May 2016

Day One – BEA Begins


Note: When speaking of people, I will link to their Twitters.

Here is my Day One recap for BEA! My first day of BEA started off a bit early. I woke up at 7 officially to shower and eat breakfast at the hostel. Amazingly enough, I fell asleep relatively early the night before. At least, way earlier than I do at home. This led to me waking up a few times between 6-7.

I had called for my cab the night before to pick me up at 8. Why so early? I heard it would be hectic. So I showered and packed my bag for the day in case I didn’t get a tote right away. In my bag was my sad little map I mentioned before.

Sad Map

I did use it somewhat. It is very sad.

As well as my sad little non highlighted schedules.


Both of these pictures are Post-BEA

Then I went to find breakfast which was a bit harder than I thought it would be… Due to some misinformation, I was under the impression that it was actually in the next door restaurant called the Parthenon.

It was not.

Past Amber didn’t know this fact though.

Past Amber should have read the entire paper the receptionist gave her.

I walked outside and tried to open the door to the restaurant, it wouldn’t open…

Outside Hostel

So I walked to the building on the other side of my hostel and just looked at it for about a minute telling myself I don’t have time for this. I eventually went back inside my hostel to talk to the receptionist. Of course, then there were people waiting to check in so I didn’t have much hope in finding breakfast before leaving. I decided just to wait in line when I heard them tell the people checking in where the breakfast was. It was inside the building, but through a door (right next to where I was) and in the back.

I rushed back there as I only had about 15 minutes before my cab would show up. I had some oatmeal and about three really tiny cups of orange juice (I don’t think they were over four ounces)  before leaving. I received a text saying my cab had “accepted my charge” and an ETA (Estimated Time Arrival) (I’m guessing).

I left the hostel fast and looked for my cab as I didn’t get out of there until five minutes later. I thought I missed my cab, so I called the company and the voice recording said it would be there soon. I was thinking that maybe the cab would be on the OTHER side of the street. For some reason. Maybe because there were quite a few cars on my side of the street. The crosswalk was all the way down the street, I walked down there, crossed the street, and looked around.

When I saw a cab about to go the way of the hostel, I quickly had to cross the street (which had a red light) then basically run down to meet the cab. It ended up being my cab, yay! I learned for future reference to make note of the numbers that I would get in the cab texts, as they tell you what number cab you would have.

I was a bit confused because it was a Yellow Cab and I called a different cab company. Apparently three cabs are connected though.

Much to my surprise and delight, I didn’t end up having to spend more than 15.80 on my cab which included the tip. Rush hour was definitely much better than what I expected.

~Arrival To McCormick~

I finally made it to McCormick a little bit after eight. I went to the Starbucks, paid around $3.80 for a bottled frappuccino that wouldn’t have cost me more than $2.99 at Walgreens, however, I figured what the heck as I didn’t spend as much on the cab. I hung out at Starbucks for about twenty minutes and let the people of Twitter know that I was at the Starbucks.

Rashika had my BEA badge printout since I asked her to print it out for me. Unfortunately, I had forgotten to ask her to bring it with her to the signing. She said she and the others were still in bed, as the conference doesn’t open until 1 and they were a bit tired. I decided I would walk around a bit and see the convention center since I had time to kill. I also wanted to know where the room was for my panel so I would know how to get there.


The panel rooms ended up being on the first floor which wasn’t too bad since there were escalators. Except my room was all the way at the end and then down another hall. I ended up sitting in a chair down there reading Twitter for a bit. Rashika texted me saying she wouldn’t be able to give me the printout in time and to come meet her at her room.

This led to:

~Ton of Unexpected Walking Part 2~

If I didn’t think I was tired when I was walking the night before, I definitely got tired from walking around this morning. Haha. It’s okay, I just looked at it for preparation for the show floor.

I should have had more preparation. 😉

I went across one of the long skywalks and ended up not knowing how to get to the right elevators. I had to talk to several people working at McCormick to get an idea of where in the world the room was.

I ended up near elevators, but they didn’t go up to the floor where Rashika was.

Long story short, I walked for about 20 minutes trying to find her, had several phone calls and talked to many people before I finally found the right room. I met her at the door, came in for a minute, then promptly left because the panel I was going to started in like, 15 minutes and I still had to get my badge. Not to mention walk back across the skywalk. She walked me in the right direction so I wouldn’t be taking the long way around again.

I was able to get my badge pretty fast which was a little surprising, but now that I think about it, not too much because I was there pretty early. I have no idea why my badge says publishing other than I selected the wrong item during registration. Ha. And my lovely business cards make an appearance. 


I went to my panel in less than five minutes from it starting. The first panel I went to was called Leading Readers to Your Children’s and Young Adult Content. It dealt mostly with different ways to use metadata along with different programs for metadata. I thought it was really interesting though it was mostly focused on librarians and booksellers. I will be going into detail about all of the panels I attended in a future post as there were quite a few of them.

After that panel, I saw these two girls next to me with a big newspaper. I wanted this newspaper as I overheard them talk about a galley drop or something. I asked them where they got it and they told me there was a stack by where you pick up your badge. Of course. So I went back to pick up the paper, then went back for the second panel.


The second panel was Kids Graphic Novels: How The Industry Has Changed (And Continues Changing).

This was another interesting panel. I wasn’t really familiar with graphic novels except for the japanese translated ones. Even then my knowledge was very limited–limited only to Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon. This was not discussed. Sad.

~The Show Floor~


Okay! So I made it to my first two panels. I went back upstairs to where the show floor would be and waited at one of the two entrances. There were apparently two and I had no idea where the first one was, so I stayed behind a lot of people with the anticipation just building. What would it be like? Would I actually find books? Would I actually get a tote?

The answers:

The show floor was really crowded but pretty calm from what I saw. I DID find books, I found three in less than ten minutes. I DID get a couple totes that day. 

I was anticipating the Lauren Oliver signing to clear a lot of people off the floor, haha, but that didn’t happen.

1. Even with big signings, people are all over for various reasons

2. Her signing was rescheduled to happen later in the day.

I didn’t have anything going on at one so I just roamed the floor a bunch. Lo and behold less than five minutes walking onto the floor do I find three books I want right away. And they were just SITTING there. On the floors and tables all for the taking. That didn’t stop me from asking “Hi, am I allowed to take this?” and whoever was at the booth would be like “Help yourself!”.

I believe my first book was either The Movie Version by Emma Wunsch or The Graces by Laure Eve followed by Wrecked by Maria Padlan.

Yes. The very same Wrecked that was on my “Books I Really Hope Will Be At BEA” list.

I was so ecstatic, it was already starting out to be a great day. I mostly just roamed around some more until my next panel which involved authors. I have no solid idea what books I picked up really. I know I picked up How To Hang A Witch by Adriana Mather and Be Light Like A Bird by Monika Schröder. This was an MG title that I heard of previous to BEA and wanted to grab.

Afterwards I think I texted Val or Rashika at this time and asked them where they were at, in various signing lines. I stopped by the Harper Collins Tyndale booth and talked to the publicist there for a little bit. I decided to pick up A Portrait of Emily Price by Katherine Reay.

Next was my panel which was the PBS Presents: Women of Fiction at the Downtown Stage. It featured Gayle Forman, Robyn Carr and Susan Elizabeth Phillips. I liked it a lot and it was nice to sit after walking around the floor for a bit. I did feel bad for the ladies though because the mics kept going out.

At the end of it, Robyn Carr’s new book, The Life She Wants, was given away so I got a copy of it as I wanted to pick up an Adult book and an unknown while at BEA.


I ran into Rashika some time after the panel was finished and asked her if she knew where the Autographing Sessions were. She wasn’t sure, but I was introduced to the others in her group. It was nice to meet Val after talking for so long. Unfortunately, I had a signing to get to, so I walked around the floor aimlessly knowing I had seen the Autographing sign earlier in the day and couldn’t figure out where it was.

Funny story, it was right next to the Downtown Stage. Oops.

My first signing at BEA was for Teach Me to Forget by Erica Chapman. Erica was really nice and I wish I had thought to get a picture with her, but I didn’t.

I looked around on the floor some more before finding Holly sitting behind the Penguin booth where she was joined with the rest of her group. Their group was Holly, Shannon, Rashika, Val, Nori, Mishma, CJ and Kalli.

I had it on my schedule to go to the PBS Presents: Children’s Tales and BEA Editors’ Buzz panels, but I passed on them (which I now kind of hate because Panels!) because sitting down was nice and I didn’t want to get up really.

Overall, it was a nice first day at BEA. A lot less hectic than I thought it would be for sure.

I learned that they were going out to eat and was asked if I was coming. I figured I had nothing else to do and I did want to hang out with the group, so I tagged along. They went to their rooms for a bit and I hung out in the lobby area waiting for them and going through the books. We walked to the train stop which makes me really glad I didn’t take it every morning because it was a bit of a walk (for me). It’s also very high hope.



So. One thing that did suck about walking around Chicago was that I had to carry my big heavy tote of books everywhere. It sucked and slowed me down and made me tired. That’s not a big deal though.


The views were nice.

We went to a Chinese restaurant which was good. I tried…some wasabi, which was not good but not terrible. It was like, spicy-ish. It was a nice first dinner. Mishma tried sushi for the first time, so that was pretty entertaining. I ordered the Pecan chicken, I think, or something like that. It had chicken. Also, I think I mastered chopsticks there as well. 🙂



Please ignore my hand shadow 🙂

Okay, so there is a fork in the picture, but I only used it for like, five minutes! The drink was an Angry Orchard Green Apple Cider, I’d never had one before and it was really good. I couldn’t finish it though because I ate my food first and was full. I gave the remainder to Val which wasn’t much. 



~The Bean Adventures~


After eating we went to the Bean and walked through Millennium Park.

The Bean was an interesting sight.


And it made interesting sights.

Before I left my city, I was actually asked if I would be seeing it by a friend and had no idea what it was or if I would be. Turns out it’s some huge metal structure that someone created. It’s official name is The Cloud Gate. I like the real name a lot better.

We took some pictures there then walked across the long bridge. More pictures were taken there. It was really gorgeous seeing all the buildings.

After that the group divided into two, Val and Rashika took me to Union Station where I walked back to my hostel. ❤ They’re so fantastic.

Walking back was  a little worrying (and also included walking across a bridge, there was a lot of walking across bridges/skywalks for me, haha that week), even the hostel wasn’t far away. It was just unfamiliar and dark out so it was hard to read the signs and figure out where I was going. I managed to find it safe and sound though!

Oh. I obtained my favorite BEA tote on this day too. I’ll show you in a later post. It’s lovely and would be the bag that I used for the rest of the week. I emptied it out as it was so, so heavy with books and decided to revise my schedule for the next day. I decided to watch an episode of Veronica Mars, but I don’t even think I was able to finish it! I was so tired so I went to sleep fast.

Books I KNOW I Picked Up:

  • The Movie Version
  • Wrecked
  • The Graces
  • How To Hang A Witch
  • Teach Me To Forget
  • Be Light Like A Bird
  • A Portrait of Emily Price
  • The Life She Wants

And that’s it for day 1! I’ll be posting about Day 2 on Monday. 🙂


Interview with Shari Goldhagen (Author of 100 Days of Cake) + Giveaway

100 Days of Cake Banner

Hi everyone! I am part of the blog tour for 100 Days of Cake put together by Hannah.  For my stop I decided to do an interview with Shari.  I love a lot of these answers, so I hope you enjoy it. 🙂 There will be a giveaway at the end of the interview where you can win one of three finished copies.

For those unfamiliar with 100 Days of Cake:

100 Days of Cake Cover100 Days of Cake by Shari Goldhagen

Published By: Simon & Schuster (Atheneum Books For Young Readers) on May 17, 2016

Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary

Themes: Mental Illness, Family

Pages: 352

Goodreads Summary

Get well soon isn’t going to cut it in this quirky and poignant debut novel about a girl, her depression, an aggressive amount of baked goods, and the struggle to simply stay afloat in an unpredictable, bittersweet life.

There are only three things that can get seventeen-year-old Molly Byrne out of bed these days: her job at FishTopia, the promise of endless episodes of Golden Girls, and some delicious lo mien. You see, for the past two years, Molly’s been struggling with something more than your usual teenage angst. Her shrink, Dr. Brooks isn’t helping much, and neither is her mom who is convinced that baking the perfect cake will cure Molly of her depression—as if cake can magically make her rejoin the swim team, get along with her promiscuous sister, or care about the SATs.

Um, no. Never going to happen.

But Molly plays along, stomaching her mother’s failed culinary experiments, because, whatever—as long as it makes someone happy, right? Besides, as far as Molly’s concerned, hanging out with Alex at the rundown exotic fish store makes life tolerable enough. Even if he does ask her out every…single…day. But—sarcastic drum roll, please—nothing can stay the same forever. When Molly finds out FishTopia is turning into a bleak country diner, her whole life seems to fall apart at once. Soon she has to figure out what—if anything—is worth fighting for.

Barnes and Noble  / Book DepositoryAmazon 

For my stop I decided to do an interview with Shari.  I love a lot of these answers, so I hope you enjoy it. 🙂 There will be a giveaway at the end of the interview.


The main character, Molly is really into sitcom TV, specifically Golden Girls. I adored this sort of outlet that you gave her. What inspired you to add that part in? 

The book isn’t autobiographical by any means, but this element I did pluck from my own life. When I was growing up my family wasn’t all that literary, we watched a lot of ALF. . .and Roseanne, and Family Ties and Golden Girls every Saturday night. Even as I got older and started going out with my friends, it was really nice to come home and sit down with my parents and watch whatever they were watching and catch up . When I see reruns of those shows now, it’s like sliding on a Snuggie– instantly I’m back on that couch with my parents.

As a follow up to that, what is one of your favorite current running shows and one of your favorite older shows?

I binge watch what’s probably an extremely unhealthy amount of dramas—it’ll be like one in the morning on a weekday, and my husband I will talk ourselves into one more episode. I really like the different perspectives of The Affair, and we just finished the second season of Better Call Saul, which made me want to go back and re-watch all of Breaking Bad. Game of Thrones frustrates me sometimes (the books did, too) but it’s still a Sunday night event because they’ll be spoilers everywhere Monday morning.

One comedy I LOVE is Netflix’s BoJack Horseman because of the way it twists those sitcoms from the 80s and 90s. It walks that fine line of being extremely dark but still earnest in its occasional bursts of optimism. As far as older shows, well, Golden Girls is still pretty darn good!

This may be a weird question, ha, but why did you decide to begin 100 Days of Cake on Day 12 rather than Day 1?

The idea that Molly’s mom would decide to bake a cake for her every day is, well, pretty freaking strange. When she initially told Molly, Molly probably would have told her just that. Or she wouldn’t have believed her mom or maybe she’d assume Mom would bail on the idea after a few days. I tried to write that first cake scene several times, but it always felt sort of lifeless and while it sets a lot of things in motion, it seemed to really be holing the story back.

Then I remembered something I tell my students, you don’t have to include all the boring parts of a story. So I tried starting the book when the cake baking isn’t just an abstract maybe, but something that is already happening, and I thought it worked so much better. Plus, I wanted to have the events take place within summer vacation, so starting two weeks in better fit into that timeline.

An interesting thing that happens in 100 Days of Cake is how Molly’s mom bakes a different kind of cake every day in hopes of helping Molly’s depression. I thought this was a fascinating way of coping that her mom did. Why did you decide to have her mom bake cakes?

Depression is a weird beast, and it’s hard on the people close to you. Molly’s mom sincerely wants to help, but she doesn’t really know how and all the things people tell her you’re supposed to do—take Molly to doctors, get her on meds—aren’t working.  She’s a person who’s had a lot of success following the advice in self-help books, so when she discovers A Baker’s Journey:100 Days of Cake, she’s willing to give it go.

She knows it’s probably a long-shot, but she’s willing to try. And to an extent Molly goes along with that too. It’s like throwing a penny into a fountain or making a wish at 11:11, you can be a rational person who knows it’s likely bunk, but a part of you desperately wants to believe it just might work. And it can’t hurt right?

I like how we really get into Molly’s head in the book and see how she deals with depression and therapy. Were you afraid of possibly incorrectly portraying either of these topics or portraying them in a way that people didn’t like?

I’m sure that many people are going to be offended or tell me that I’m presenting depression or its treatment incorrectly; I’m fully anticipating a little hate mail. But this isn’t intended to be a guidebook about how to recognize and cope with mental health issues; I’m not a doctor (if I were, I would definitely advice against crushing on your shrink). I write fiction, so character development is always going to trump specifics of biology for me. It’s not my goal to give a case study on teens with classic symptoms of various DSM-5 conditions, but to tell a coming of age story about a fully developed (I hope!) person who is dealing with these issues in a way that is true to her.

Did you need to do research for 100 Days of Cake? Was there any certain specific research you did?

I re-watched a lot of Golden Girls.

What character do you most identify with in 100 Days of Cake?

Hmm. . .I think Molly and I have a similar worldview on a lot of things, and I actually really understood where Dr. B is coming from and what he is trying to do. Oddly though, it’s the characters who are the least like me personally who I ended up loving the most. Elle, with her causes and righteous rage would drive me crazy, but I would love to have her as a friend. And I found myself smiling every time I wrote a scene where Veronica got to deliver a one-liner or show that she was so much more than the box that Elle wanted to put her in.

It’s really interesting to me that you first started writing professionally for magazines like US Weekly and Cosmopolitan, I think that’s really cool and interesting. What was that experience like for you?

I still write for those magazines. When I was younger I had this idea that I couldn’t write serious literature and stalk celebrities for the National Enquirer. But prose poems weren’t exactly paying the bills and those magazines were the ones that wanted to pay me.

After a while I came to realize that no matter the medium, people are reading for a good story—be it about Kim Kardashian or some literary heroine—they want to learn something about the human experience. So I love doing both. Also writing fiction is pretty solitary, so it’s nice to actually get to interact with other humans on magazine stories.

What (,if anything,) pushed you into writing Young Adult fiction? 

Honestly, it was just getting older. When I was in college in my late teens and early twenties, I wrote a lot of first-person stories about girls. . .in their late teens and early twenties. . .who were from Cincinnati. . .and probably went to school in Chicago. . .and maybe liked comic books and dyed their hair red, etc. Anyway I would take those stories into workshops, and everyone would say things like the dialogue was great and I had some good descriptions, but the main character was such a bitch, which was really hurtful since that main character was painfully, obviously me.

The issue was that I was too close to the material and I wasn’t fully developing those characters and just assuming that the readers already understood them the way I did. They always say, “write what you know,” but writing what I knew was literally ruining everything.

So I started writing stories about men in their thirties. And that allowed me to really invent a character from the ground up—I couldn’t just make assumptions; I had to account for all of their thoughts and motivations and quirks. Those stories turned into my first adult novel. Writing my second novel, I was farther removed from my late teens and early twenties, so I could write about younger characters—men and women—during with more distance. And now that I am a freaking dinosaur, younger characters require that ground up invention, and I’m loving it.

What is something that you’ve learned from writing three books now?

I am a terrible copy editor.

Relationships with siblings can be hard to maintain, especially as they get older. I really liked Veronica’s character as she reminded me of my own sister, which helped with some insight there. What do you think is the hardest part for both siblings in trying to maintain their relationship?

Like Molly, I have a younger sister. People always assume we’re really different—I’m the “serious” writer with dark hair and a bunch of degrees, while she’s the blonde B-list actress who practices hypnotherapy and has a Pomeranian. A lot of times we play into those roles and it’s frustrating, but the truth is we are actually extremely similar and have a ton of common ground, even if we lose sight of that sometimes. That was one thing I wanted for Molly and V to be dealing with as well. They’re growing up and developing different interests, but they are still a lot alike in a lot of ways even if they forget it occasionally or don’t want to acknowledge it. They still have a shared history and still love each other, but he way they relate to each other needs to evolve.

A fellow show-binger. ❤ Any book that involves re-watching shows is a book that I want to read. I really love Roseanne. I could watch re-runs of it all the time. I need to check out BoJack Horseman as I really like 90s sitcoms. I love that 100 Days of Cake didn’t start on day 1 and the reason Shari gave. It really did help the story already fall into place which was great. I still think it’s so cool to be writing for US Weekly and Cosmopolitan. Like wow.  People do really just want a good story so I will definitely read magazines like that if they contain one. I loved V’s one-liners!

Ah, thanks so much for the awesome answers and for being on my blog, Shari. ❤

Here is the giveaway for my lovely readers.  You can win one of three finished copies. It’s United States only.

For some more information on Shari Goldhagen:

Shari GoldhagenAfter serious pursuits of literature at Northwestern (BSJ) and Ohio State (MFA), Shari Goldhagen discovered she had a knack for sifting through celebrity trash and worked as a gossip writer for publications including The National EnquirerUs Weekly, and Life & Style Weekly. And her articles on pop culture, travel and relationships have appeared everywhere from Cosmopolitan to Penthouse. She has received fellowships from Yaddo and MacDowell and currently lives in New York City with her husband and daughter.

Website | Twitter

The Tour Schedule:

Week 1:

Week 2:

Pre BEA: Day Zero


Hey everyone. I made it back from BEA safe and sound. You already know this though if you saw my previous post. It has been both an insane and a chill week. BEA was really fun and I enjoyed it for the most part. I will say that I wish I had acted better at times. Specifically after arriving to Chicago. Let’s just say that a couple things did not go as well as they could have and I really regret that since it’s a lot of my fault. 

I meant to post this a lot sooner however I was still recovering the first couple days after BEA and didn’t start typing this up until just a couple days ago. I also wasn’t sure how exactly I would be doing my BEA posts, so I figured I’d probably just do them all! What does this include? Well, you’ll just have to wait and see. 😉 

Anyway, this will be about Tuesday, arriving to Chicago.

I knew I wouldn’t sleep much if any on Monday night or Tuesday morning. I slept for a few hours Monday evening then got up around midnight. I started getting ready to leave which involved packing (rather, my mom packing, haha), finalizing lists, fixing my hair, doing laundry, showering, drawing my sad little BEA floor-plan map…,etc.

Around 4am my parents and I went to the train station where we checked my suitcase and waited for the train to come. The train was a little late, but that didn’t affect anything. I boarded the train and was totally freaked out for about 15 minutes just because it was new experience. Haha. After the initial freak out, I chilled out and watched Veronica Mars and slept for an hour to two hours off and on. I had reserved seating on the upper level but didn’t have a seat-mate for the most part, which was nice. I kind of like my space and the seats were pretty comfortable. 🙂

During Rashika’s stop, I waited for her to text for about half an hour, then began texting my mom about it. I then had my mom check my Twitter messages in case she DMed me instead and I couldn’t check it, since I didn’t have unlimited internet.

Two hours later I figure that Rashika didn’t know the number I was using or something happened. Later I got a text from her in a ton of short bursts saying that she’d been texting the wrong number, that she was on the train and asked where I was. She was also wondering about the weird DMs “I” (my mom) sent her. Ha, so that was fun. I told my mom to leave it alone.

So I found her maybe 8 or 10 seats in front of me on the opposite side. We were on the same car from her stop and didn’t know. At least I didn’t know. We only had about an hour left for the ride so we went to the Sight Seer lounge and talked briefly. I was pretty tired from being up all night so my conversation wasn’t very lively at all. I was pretty happy to arrive in Chicago perfectly fine after reading about various derailments and such. I’m always one to worry about such things.

Afterwards arriving we met Holly at the station who got in before us. Then went to buy tickets for the Maggie Steifvater signing in a Chicago suburb. Although I haven’t read The Raven Boys (much to everyone’s disappointment, basically), I figured I would go to the signing and socialize a bit which…did not happen. Sigh. You can just tell I have awesome skills at socializing so far, right?

Anyway, I attempted to get cash off my debit card and that was just not happening. I received the balance amount after trying three times to withdraw the amount of money I thought I had.  It was a bit less than I thought it would be.

Cue second freak out during the week. It still worked out! It was a bad first impression though, haha.

A great thing to do when hanging out with people you’ve just met? Not crying or coming close to it. It’s okay, I called my mom, she told me to calm down, enjoy the trip, asked if I could make it work and she would talk to me later.

Before you think that my mom should have done something more, there wasn’t much she could do and the expected balance and actual balance weren’t that different. I ended up with a little money left over even! I had no problems money wise in Chicago which was my biggest concern between transportation and food.

Okay, so I’ve arrived in Chicago at Union Station and met up with Holly.

Let me just say that Rashika and Holly are like super speed walkers. I am not a speed walker. At all. Ha. Or I’m just an exceptionally slow walker. One of the two.

So I’m trying to keep up with them and carry my luggage through Union Station which is huge. I really wish I’d stopped to take a few pictures while inside there. At one point I thought my luggage wheels had actually broke which would have been awful. They didn’t though. It was just those Chicago streets.

They walked me to my hostel since it was only two blocks away then went their own way to their before we would meet up for the signing.

I checked into my room and it wasn’t bad. The cost was less than I thought it would be, so that was nice. I was given a little booklet about Chicago, my room key, the hostel key and told that someone would also be at the front desk (type thing) if I needed anything 24 hours a day. I really liked that a lot. I felt super secure.  

I went to my room where I kind of just threw my bags without sorting anything. I changed my clothes, fixed my hair, and put on some makeup. Around this time Rashika texted me saying they were running late and to just meet them at the Union Station.

I made it to Union but not before making a stop in a totally different building that was NOT Union. So after going into Not Union, I made my way to Union which was half a block away. This was AFTER asking the front desk hostel person how to get to Union Station.

Don’t ask me how I missed Union Station when I literally walked out of the building only an hour beforehand.

I told you guys, I’m really directionally challenged.

A nice thing about Chicago? There are always people on the streets. I found a nice group of people at a stop light and asked them where Union Station was and they pointed me in the right direction. I make it to Union and find Rashika and Holly.

We board the train (after going in the wrong direction) and go to the signing. Rashika and Holly were talking so much and I just sort of spaced out (this is what happens when you don’t sleep, ha).

So to get to the signing from the new station, it involved quite a bit of walking. Of course it was raining and of course nobody brought an umbrella with them. I brought an umbrella with me specifically for this reason, but I forgot it in my luggage, of course. As did Rashika, I believe.

We got to the signing which was so busy, I followed Rashika and Holly around the store mostly. We figured we would get something to eat since it would be a while before their numbers were called for the signing and we were all kind of hungry. We went to a pizza place not far away that was pretty good.

Later we went back to the signing, I did my following them around more and eventually the signing ended. We waited for the train for a bit, then took it back to Union.

Then they were kind enough to walk me back to my hostel and I went straight to sleep around 12ish. Well, after watching an episode or two of Veronica Mars and calling to reserve my cab for the morning. I had to call four different cab companies, fortunately, the last one was great. For the most part, more on that later this week though.

I’ll be talking about my first day at BEA on Wednesday! And let’s just say if I thought walking around the Chicago suburb made me tired, that’s nothing. 😉

Summer Days and Summer Nights – Questionaire

Hi guys!

I totally spaced out this past week, plus I was at BEA! So I kind of forgot that I had a tour stop this month for the anthology, Summer Days and Summer Nights, edited by Stephanie Perkins. Fortunately I can do my post now which is what I’m doing. 

I’ll be sharing some questions and answers asked of Stephanie Perkins.

Summer_Days_And_Summer_NightsSummer Days and Summer Nights (edited by Stephanie Perkisn)

Published By: St. Martin’s Griffin on May 17th

Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Fantasy

Themes: Love, Hope

Pages: 400

Goodreads Summary:

Maybe it’s the long, lazy days, or maybe it’s the heat making everyone a little bit crazy. Whatever the reason, summer is the perfect time for love to bloom. Summer Days & Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories, written by twelve bestselling young adult writers and edited by the international bestselling author Stephanie Perkins, will have you dreaming of sunset strolls by the lake. So set out your beach chair and grab your sunglasses. You have twelve reasons this summer to soak up the sun and fall in love.

Featuring stories by Leigh Bardugo, Francesca Lia Block, Libba Bray, Cassandra Clare, Brandy Colbert, Tim Federle, Lev Grossman, Nina LaCour, Stephanie Perkins, Veronica Roth, Jon Skovron, and Jennifer E. Smith.

Barnes and Noble / Amazon / Book Depository


For these questions, people on the blog tour were able to send in various questions which were then combined with others if they were similar. We get to pick which questions to show on our blog. Questions from the other tour stops may be repeated.

  • This is the second anthology you’ve edited. What was the inspiration? What did you give your contributing authors in the way of guidance or prompting as they began their stories?

The inspiration for the second anthology was . . . the first anthology. Working with my friends was such a joy, and I relished the opportunity to work with eleven new authors. All of them had so much to teach me both as an author and an editor. I’m always looking for opportunities to become better at my craft. Pulling apart these stories, inspecting their seams, digging in deeper—it’s a brilliant way to learn new tricks. And I’m a good editor, so I think/hope that my work was helpful for them, too.

I gave the authors only three guidelines: Their story had to take place during the summer, romantic love had to be involved, and—no matter how dark the situation got—it had to end on a note of hope.

  • What was it like working at this project compared to the first one, My True Love Gave To Me? Is it easier to do the editing and collaborations with other authors now that you have experience from the first one? 

This one was significantly harder. The first anthology felt like a fluke—something with my friends, just for fun! A lot more planning went into this one. I’d already been a critique partner to several of the authors in the holiday anthology, so they were used to working with me. I’d already earned their trust.

With the summer anthology, I reached out to a lot of authors whose work I admired, but I didn’t personally know them as well. Relationships had to be established. That takes time. But the work was great fun, and I loved getting to know them, and it was a tremendous honor for these incredibly talented authors to have trusted me with their work. I’m so, so grateful.

  • Why did you decide to bring these particular authors together for this anthology?

I reached out to authors who are writing stories that I love. All of them have strong voices and—whether or not they primarily write romance—a kind and romantic heart.

The crazy and fantastic thing is that there are literally dozens of other YA authors who also fit this description. There are so many talented, inspiring writers in this industry! I had to make some tough decisions, and a lot of it just came down to keeping a balance between the genres..

  • Your contribution to this collection is a new story featuring Marigold and North (previously seen in My True Love Gave to Me). What was it like revisiting these characters? Did you always know that there would be more to their story? Will there be more in the future?

I’m not sure if I always knew a continuation of their story was worth telling, but I did know where their future was headed. In the early days, I was working under the assumption that I wouldn’t HAVE another chance write about them, so I was trying not to think about it too much. If that makes sense.

But . . . I have a hard time letting go of characters. I always have. So when the summer anthology came to fruition, I knew immediately that I would continue their story. Now, I’m happy with how I’ve left them. In the first story, North helped to heal Marigold. This time, she helped to heal him. They’re good.

  • How does editing a short story collection compare to writing a full-length novel? Did your process as an author influence your process as an editor?

It’s easier. A lot easier. I only had to come up with original content for 1/12th of the 400 pages! My writing process is slow and generally agonizing, so . . . yeah. It’s just not even close.

But it’s a huge part of the reason why I love to edit. I’m a slow drafter, and I prefer the tinkering, shimmering stages of editing and revising. It’s where a good story becomes great. My nitpicky brain loves working on that level—finding a better word, a tighter theme, a more developed character, a more textured setting. And I absolutely love helping other authors to find their own deeper, truer stories.

I think most authors become a better editor as they become a better writer. I’m the opposite. I started off with stronger editorial skills, and, as they improve, they’re helping me to become a better writer.

But, being an author, I will say that when I’m wearing my editorial hat, I heap a LOT of praise onto the other authors. I leave tons of notes for them in the margins and mark every single passage or phrase that I love. Writing is difficult work, and I always appreciate it when my own editors take the time to mark their favorite bits. Praise also shows me how to revise my work! It teaches me which parts are the good parts! And that’s revising in a nutshell: adding more good parts, removing the bad parts.

~Summer Questions~

  • What are your thoughts on summer romances?

Naturally juicy! When you’re a teenager, they’re often fleeting and filled with drama. So much can happen over a single summer. You can reinvent yourself. There’s magic in that.

  • What are your favorite summer love stories?

Several of the authors in my two anthologies have written swoony summer romances. A few that immediately spring to mind: I’m pretty sure all of Jennifer E. Smith’s books take place over summer (The Geography of You and Me is a favorite), as well as Nina LaCour’s The Disenchantments and Everything Leads to You, and Jenny Han’s Summer series, starting with The Summer I Turned Pretty.

  • If you had to pair Summer Days and Summer Nights with a summer-y drink, what would it be?

Watermelon juice. It’s so simple—it’s just watermelon that’s been put into a blender, but it’s heaven.

  • If readers could take away one thing from having read Summer Days And Summer Nights what would you hope it would be?

It always sounds corny, but . . . hope is the hope. No matter what’s going on in your life right now—and as teenagers, so much of your life is out of your own control—it will get better. You’ll get more control, you’ll get to make more choices. Make good choices. Learn from your mistakes. I promise—with every single fiber of my heart—that life gets better. There is always hope.


I loved a lot of Stephanie’s answers for these questions. Creating an anthology sounds like a lot of fun but a lot of hard work as well. I love the idea though! I can’t wait to read this. I am going to definitely have to try Watermelon juice because it sounds super simple and interesting.

Hmm, I think all of Jennifer’s books do take place in summer! My favorite (and the only one I’ve read) is The Statistical Probability of Love At First Sight. ❤ I need to seriously read The Geography of You and Me as well as the rest. The other summer time books are also on my list of TBR.

Have you read My True Love Gave To Me? Are you planning on reading this? Have you read many anthologies?

Stephanie_PerkinsFor more information about Stephanie (from her website) :

Hi, there! I’m Stephanie Perkins, and I’m a New York Times and international bestselling author of books for teenagers and for adults with teenage hearts. I was born in South Carolina, raised in Arizona, and I attended universities in California and Georgia. Since 2004, I’ve lived in the mountains of Asheville, North Carolina.

I’ve always worked with books—first as a bookseller, then as a librarian, now as a novelist and editor. My best friend is my husband Jarrod. Every room of our house is painted a different color of the rainbow, and we share it with a feisty cat named Mr. Tumnus.

For more information, please check out my FAQ.

Find me online: 8tracksGoodreadsInstagramTumblr, andTwitter.

Before BEA-ing

Guess who’s on her way to BEA? I am! By the time you read this, I may quite possibly be on my way to Chicago or in Chicago. I leave at 5:18am. As long as it’s on time. I hope it’s on time. I’m a little worried about riding a train for the first time and for such a long distance (for me).

So, it’s been quite a run before going to BEA for the past few months. It’s been stressful, hard, and complicated. There were several times when I didn’t think I would be able to go and times when I just felt it wasn’t worth even trying to go. In the end though, I figured everything out, with a bit of help. Some of the complications?

~The Rooming Situation ~

Something super inconvenient occurred on my side which made my original rooming situation NOT work out unfortunately

Fortunately, an alternative was found with me staying at a hostel which is a little cost effective, but a little more inconvenient because of the distance from the convention center, but that’s no big deal. It helps that there are bakeries/cafe and a Walgreens near.

~The Cost~

Of course, after I get the hostel figured out, I discover that I probably couldn’t even afford to go anymore. My parents were going to be supplying me the money while at BEA and because there’s been home expenses lately, they didn’t think they would be able to do this anymore. After my sister said she would lend me some money, more financial issues came up, so that money ended up having to be spent on more important things.

As a last resort, I decided to create a Go Fund Me account, because after we managed to get the money for my hostel and train, we discovered I’d need transportation money. Especially since it will be rush hour. I admit that I only thought of this idea after Vee created their GFM (which I’m so happy bot funded).

Unfortunately, I only noticed a couple days after making it that it takes a few days for the funds to actually be available. Luckily for me, I didn’t get my goal ($100), but did get $45 from three very sweet and generous people. ❤ So I’m borrowing $45 from someone else, then, when I get the GFM check, I’ll pay that person back. So the GFM was good, because I do still get to use the money, only it’s second hand.

Which I feel really bad about. So I apologize a bunch to those that donated and shared my tweet. I was just trying to find any way to still go.

~Where Is My ID?

So, I was going to cash a money order to book my hostel so my dad would then purchase the train tickets, but I couldn’t find my ID. That is a whole other situation and it’s actually appeared to have been possibly stolen. Sometime. Well, my wallet at least (I only had my ID in there and notes, so nothing valuable).

Yeah, so that was a big, big mess. I needed my ID to cash my money order, I would need it to ride the train, I would need it to book my hostel and I would need it for ordering alcohol during BEA week.

Okay, so that last one isn’t exactly a necessity, and I definitely don’t have the money for it, at all, but I mean, I may just really want just a little after all this? 😉 I need my ID for several reasons. I was then thinking I could just go get a new ID, which would cost money. Then my mom told me that she’s not sure where exactly my birth certificate is and I don’t have my pre-21 ID. Even if I could get my birth certificate, I would only be able to get a temporary paper ID, which the hostel and Amtrak may not even accept, for whatever reason.

At this rate, I’m losing my mind and about to scream.

My mom then suggested that I could get my tribal ID and see if that would work.

For those that don’t know, I am 1/4th, Potawatomi Prairie Band Nation native american.  A Tribal ID is by all accounts a government ID basically. I was worried about Amtrak and the hostel not accepting a tribal ID, since most people don’t know what one is, don’t know what one looks like and probably just don’t understand them. For whatever reason.

So I emailed Amtrak and the hostel asking if they would accept a tribal ID or temporary paper ID. The nice thing about the tribal ID is that the first one is free! Which is great. Both Amtrak and the hostel emailed me back saying they accepted both of those things, so that’s fantastic! Then…


You know what a really great thing is to have on your ID? Your BIRTHDAY. Along with your address/zip code.

So my mom’s friend drove us up to the Native American reservation (Mayetta, takes around 20-30 minutes to get there) to get my Tribal ID. I get the ID in less than ten minutes after arriving. We look at it, we come home, I look at it and I discover there is a SMUDGE where my birthday YEAR should be. How am I supposed to do anything without my birthday year? I need my birthday year. I can’t drink without it or ANYTHING. I can’t get on the hostel or train. Fortunately that then got taken care of, except I couldn’t get my address put on the ID since they’re preset.

~Those Darn Debit Cards~

So, I’m ready to get the train tickets and…the debit card that I get has NO NUMBERS ON IT.

I can’t use a debit card online that has no numbers!

At this point I’m seriously freaking out, about ready to just give up on the whole thing and I start googling about the company.

I read that it’s a scam.

My mom had just loaded money on it so she’s upset about this, then she calls up the company, gets a hold of someone, tells them the situation. She finds out I didn’t activate the card (I thought I had), so then I begin talking to the employee…

When my mom shows me the card and it has numbers on it! Then she takes the sticker and puts it back over the numbers.

The card had numbers on it, there was just a sticker over it that seriously looked like it was attached to the card.

So then I activated the card. A few days later, I booked the train, of course, the price went up a little by this point. Note to self: Buy super saver tickets two weeks in advance.

And I believe…that is the story of how I got to BEA. I made it through despite the rooming, the cost, the ID, the debit card, home issues and the train price going up.

Now…I’m going to BEA and it’s going to go great. I’ll see you all next week! I’m on hiatus until then. I’ll be doing a few recaps of my week after I return. Okay, time to go finish up my last few things before catching the train. I hope you all have a lovely week and I hope we meet if we’re going to BEA. And if you’re not going to BEA, check out this super helpful post.

My BEA Schedule + My Face


Hey guys. Oh my gosh. In one day, I will be meeting Rashika and Holly. That is insane. I’m scared. In one day, I will be in Chicago. That is crazyyy.

I have a deep fear of oversleeping and missing BEA altogether. I hope this doesn’t happen. I really hope it doesn’t happen. I will cry if it does. I’m going to set like ten alarms.

Anyway, I wanted to share my BEA schedule! 

It’s not all color coded because I really need to go to sleep. I have a ton of stuff that I need to do today, all of it pretty much BEA related. So…

~BEA Day 1 Schedule~

Screen shot 2016-05-09 at 12.53.22 AM

Yep, I am all about the panels on Wednesday. I hope I manage to make it to all of them. Of course, you see that PBS Presents interferes with the See Me signing so…that will be interesting.

~BEA Day 2 Schedule~

Screen shot 2016-05-09 at 12.53.51 AM

This day is really busy. I mostly want Leave Me, Holding Up The Universe, History Is All You Left Me and 738 Days. I’m really interested in the Trends in YA panel so we’ll see how that goes.

~BEA Day 3 Schedule~

Screen shot 2016-05-09 at 12.54.16 AM

This day doesn’t seem too bad really. Er. Scratch that.

I really, really want The Lovely Reckless, Spontaneous, The Amateurs, The Sun Is Also A Star and Kids of Appetite. I want to go to all of the panels, but that’s not possible so my target ones are Meet BEA Young Adult Buzz Authors and What’s New In YA.

~BookCon Schedule~

Screen shot 2016-05-09 at 12.54.27 AM

Er. Ignore the fact that it says “March”, I thought I corrected that before screen shooting.

Oh and um, would anyone mind telling me how to make the images “clickable” for you guys so the image will be bigger? I realize they’re quite small. I had to zoom out to get a full picture of the schedule.

BookCon is very scarce for me. I have to catch my train at 3, which means I’ll probably leave after the WNDB panel. I may be able to stay until the Friendship is Magic panel  is over if I don’t have to check my luggage in. So, crossing fingers.

Oh, are you going to be leaving BookCon in the middle of the day? Are you going to Union Station? And if it’s said you’re going my way, well maybe we should share a ride.

Oh. Now it’s time for my face. Okay. 


Here I am. I would have taken another picture, but by the time I remembered I wanted to do a picture for this blog, it was night time and ridiculously dark. So…I shall share a full picture later today on Twitter. Along with my business cards, which I also wanted to include in this post.

So, will I see you at BEA? Have you finalized your schedules? Are you ready for BEA? Have you packed your bags? Will I see you at any panels or in cluster-type lines? Let me know!


My Goals For BEA

BEATwo more days until BEA.

In two days and 2 hours, I will be either on a train or on my way to a train heading to Chicago.


I’m so excited.

For my fifth post about BEA, I thought I would discuss my goals.

Because I have goals.

And I will own BEA. Just kidding, but I will do my best to make sure I complete all of my goals.

~All Of My Hopeful Goals For BEA~

Give Away Business Cards

I want to give away at least 25 of my business cards. That’s ten percent of how many I have (250, yay math) so that shouldn’t be too hard.

Even if I have to just give them to friends. Multiple times.

Give At Least ONE Business Card To A Publicist

Okay, so this is going to be a liiittle hard because I’ve heard it can be really hard to talk to publicists because everything is so chaotic. My idea? Hit them up in the mornings or see them when there aren’t big signings (as if) going on.

Talk To At Least One Publicist

Yes, of course the above involves handing them my business card (index card). Besides the above which makes it difficult, this is hard for me because I’m kinda bad at talking.  I’m going to do it though. I will talk to one publicist, even if they’re not from a “big” publisher. Tyndale? I see you. 

Talk To At Least One New Person

I need to make it an effort to actually talk to people. I am so hard at talking to people. Especially people I don’t know. Even more so than people I do know. I want to talk to a new person though because…friends? Yeah, I want to make friendsss.

Attend One Panel A Day

Luckily for me, my Wednesday is about booked solid with various panels and such. I hope I can make them all. I only recently thought of the idea that there will probably be LONG LINES and people waiting for hoursss. 😦

I’ve never been to a panel before, so this is one of the things I’m looking forward to most about BEA. There are so many interesting panels and author stages going on with BEA this year, I’d love to attend them ALL, but with my schedule, that’s not possible. Maybe I’ll get lucky though and there will be galley drops for some signings I had planned and I’ll be able to make room for more panels!

Pick up an unknown book

I want to pick up a book I hadn’t planned on or haven’t heard of. This one while be difficult as well as I know all of the books. I’m sure it can be done though. Somehow.

Get at least one adult fiction book

I really want to read more adult fiction. I have quite a bit of it, but I haven’t read any. 😦 Sooo, this could include See Me by Nicholas Sparks, First Comes Love by Emily Griffin, Leave Me by Gayle Forman or Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult.

Yes, I have prepared for this goal.

Yes, all of these books are on my “want” list.

Yes, they’re signing times mesh into other signings. 😦

Go To An Unknown Publisher’s Booth

I want to go to a publisher’s booth that I haven’t heard of or haven’t heard much of. This would basically be a non Big Five pub. I’m thinking of stopping by the Tyndale booth that I mentioned before. It’s a Christian publishing imprint, so I mean, I HAVE heard of it, because, well, yeah, but I haven’t heard much of it. See how this goal works? 😉

Make Free Time

Okay, so I don’t want to have something to do at every moment of every day while at BEA (as if). I want to have some time to browse the booths and such…assuming I’m able to walk through the exhibit floor, which can get preeetty bad. Guess who has free time on their first day (so far)? ME. Yep. While everyone else will be off at the Lauren Oliver signing, I shall be (hopefully) roaming the BEA floor.

Don’t Stress

This one isn’t even BEA related for me…Mostly. Okay, BEA is a really serious thing for me, but it’s also going to be fun. I imagine.

I worry a ridiculous amount about everything, even when I’m away from everything. I’ll probably freak out about, well, you can just click the previous link for my BEA worries. However, this is mostly about home. As I’ve said before in my posts, home has been a bit stressful. I just want a break from that. I want to relax a bit. I don’t want to worry or think about home at all. 

Don’t Grab All The Books

Well, I’ve told friends before that I don’t think I’ll be too grabby at BEA because I don’t read fantasy and a lot of books are fantasy. I’m a Contemporary girl. Unfortunately…I don’t think that will help. 😉 So a somewhat goal is: Don’t bring home more than 50 books. This sounds pretty doable.

So, I think these goals sound manageable for BEA. Do you have any BEA goals? What are they?

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