BEA14: Highlights for Me Part 2 – The Bloggers’ Con

The first day of BEA for me was attending the Bloggers’ Conference. This was my third bloggers’ con, and I have to say that I love going to this as I meet so many wonderful and interesting people there who LOVE books! I get a lot of new ideas, hear about the latest trends, and generally feel revived for another year of blogging (which sometimes can feel very lonely).

This year’s sessions started with a keynote by YA author Maureen Johnson. She was really funny and the time went quickly. She mentioned a site – The Toast – which was new to me, but which has “Dirtbag Little Women” and “Dirtbag Anne of Green Gables”, which of course I had to look up when I got home. They certainly aren’t for the purists, but they were pretty hysterical. Anyway, Maureen talked about writing and blogging and books and literature — and also her love for the show MI5. She was pretty entertaining.

The day sessions were divided into newbie blogger sessions and experienced blogger sessions. Though I’ve been blogging since ’09, I floated around between both. I feel like the first years my blog was just for family and friends and it’s only in the last two to three years that it’s really grown. I also have self-taught design and tech stuff for my blog, which is a scary thing when you think about it, so I’m always on the lookout for new/useful/creative ideas (and ways to get pictures to show up correctly in the free wordpress version I use). There were sessions on using pictures and images, and also thinking about design and how to work in ads, and then where to find all these things on the web. Lunch was an interview with the Chief and VP of content at BlogHer, Stacy Morrison. After lunch I went to a session on vlogging and making podcasts (something I want to try – maybe – sounds a tad complex). I skipped blogging and the law since I attended that in the past and I missed bloggers and publishers in order to attended “engaging your readers”, where veteran bloggers discussed some of the things they do to engage readers, along with social media marketing. What I took away from the day is that if I want to grow my blog (and do I? Yes, I think I do. Remember, originally my blog was geared towards people I know; now I’ve grown and expanded, which I like a lot), I need to blog a lot more! I like to post once a week; but according to all I heard, that isn’t going to cut it if I want to continue to grow. I need to post more, interact more, tweet more, etc. And I will, since I find the most rewarding part of blogging is connecting with readers and authors.

At the end of the day, they gave us a whole bunch of free books! I didn’t even take them all, and this is what I got:


All is all, it was a fun day – and I got to meet Sheila of Book Journey and Hannah of Indiewritergirl!

Book Expo America 2014 – Highlights for Me (Part 1)

So last week I travelled to NYC for the biggest publishing industry event: Book Expo America (BEA).

I have attended the bloggers’ conference at BEA twice before, but this year decided to attend the actual BEA conference as well. It was exciting, but huge and overwhelming at the same time. I had planned to attend several sessions, especially those highlighting what was new and forthcoming in different genres, but I actually spent all my time in the exhibit halls, gathering info and books or waiting in lines to get a signed book from an author.

If you enjoy collecting book bags then BEA is the place for you! I only take things I really want, and I still ended up with five book bags. This is a picture of my favorite one:

10299005_10152156817828339_8290662918476011710_n bookbag

I was SO very excited to see the South Dakota State Historical Press at BEA as they are publishing Laura Ingalls Wilder’s original manuscript entitled “Pioneer Girl”. This is the memoir from whence the Little House books came. Now if you know me, you know that when I’m not obsessing over Louisa May Alcott, I’m obsessing over Laura Ingalls Wilder. I’ve been WAITING for “Pioneer Girl” to publish and it’s been a loooong wait. The gentleman in the booth said they are looking at this year at holiday time now. We had a nice chat about how when it does publish, perhaps it will put to bed these notions that Laura was not the author of the Little House books, but Rose was. Anyway, I can’t wait to get it! And this bag is so beautiful, too – the picture is the forthcoming cover of “Pioneer Girl”. (If you want to read more about the Pioneer Girl project, check out this site:

I received MANY wonderful books at BEA, but here’s a picture of some of my faves:


If you read me, you know I loved ORPHAN TRAIN and WE WERE LIARS. I was able to get paper copies of both signed by the authors – so exciting! I got a signed copy of MADAME TUSSAUD’S APPRENTICE, which I look forward to reading, too. My pick of the week, though, was CONVERSION. I really, really, REALLY want to read this book and have not been able to get it through my usual channels. Now I have a signed copy! And I will be starting it today.

The Wimpy Kid Planner was given out at the Children’s Author Breakfast, which I attended. Jeff Kinney was a great speaker – very funny as you would imagine. Mem Fox also spoke. I just love her (I’ve seen her before at Internat’l Reading). We got a copy of her BABY BEDTIME book. Carl Hiaasen spoke, and we received his new book, and the whole things was chaired by Jason Segel of Muppet Movie fame (he’s written a book for kids, too). It was a pretty fun time, though I had to hunt for two of the books as my table didn’t have them.

The day before I had attended the Adult Author Breakfast, which was chaired by Neil Patrick Harris. This was major for me as I’m a total theater nut. I was soooo excited to just be in the same room with NPH. His autobiography, which is based on a “choose your own adventure” – remember those?, is coming out in the fall. Angelica Huston spoke beautifully, too, about her life and her memoirs (which was apparently given to attendees, though my table didn’t have it — boo!). I have to say, though, that I really enjoyed Tavis Smiley, the NPR host and PBS show host, most of all as he talked about his life and Dr. Martin Luther King and his new book on him (which we received). Tavis was such an engaging speaker; I just loved him. I missed the last speaker, Lisa Scottoline.

As you can imagine, between the amazing books and authors and all the things to see in the exhibit halls, I was a bit overwhelmed in the two days I was at BEA!

My next post will follow up on the Bloggers’ Conference and what we discussed there, books we received, new friends, etc.

Book Expo America 2014

This week I’ve been in NYC to attend Book Expo America (BEA) and the Bloggers’ Con. Today is the last day of events, so soon I will have a full report on what I did, who I saw, and what great books I got.

Just a few highlights:

  • Four days in NYC – one of my favorite places!
  • Meeting lots of new blogging friends and seeing “old timers”!
  • Interesting sessions!
  • Networking!
  • Exhibits – Exhibits – Exhibits!
  • Lots of FREE books that I will be reading and reviewing and also maybe holding a few giveaways! (I managed to meet the authors of and get signed copies of both “Convergence” and “We Were Liars” – major squee! – sorry, but I have to keep those)
  • Wonderful authors that I got to meet in person!
  • Theater friends take note: Author Breakfast hosted by Neil Patrick Harris!! (that warrants two exclamation points)
  • Timing that coincided with “Manhattenhenge”!
  • All in all, a great few days!

Look to this space in the near future to see what I learned and what I came home with this year.

Also I had the wonderful opportunity to spend time with Marybeth Zeman, author of TALES OF A JAILHOUSE LIBRARIAN, which I finished shortly before leaving for NYC. I’ll be reviewing her book and writing about our chat together.

Nothing like a few days away to rejuvenate this blogger!