(WINNER UPDATE: Congratulations to Kandace for winning a Book Bash swag bag!)
Book Bash DAY 2: Thursday night ran into Friday at 2am when I finally realized *whoops* it was late and Friday was the BIG setup day. The last day I had to make sure everything was in place, counted out, unpacked, packed, distributed, labelled etc.
I also had the BIG volunteer meeting later that day, the author table/booth setup and banners to hang. Oh and let’s not forget that Books-A-Million AND Fedex were coming that day to setup actual “stores”, meaning there *could* be mass chaos as their shipments were shuttled in.
Plus, Friday night’s main events (the author reception party AND my pre-registration party) right after all of that, but sleep? Sleep schmeep! I was running on adrenaline and I was confident I had plenty to last the whole weekend.
I didn’t need to be down in the BIG room first thing in the morning, did I? After all, Eddie (my event planner) had Friday afternoon scheduled and timed to a T, but he didn’t say anything about the morning. The morning was mine!
I could sleep in and okay, maybe get a late start on my day, but I reasoned, we had PLENTY of time still. Sure, it was late, but I was hangin’ with some of my favorite authors, readers and bloggers, and we were having fun, so why cut it short? Eddie and the hotel crew knew where everything went. No need to panic.
HA! I should have known better, ’cause every single step of the Book Bash planning had mini hitches along the way, so why would Friday be any different? Oh nothing drastic, no… but always something. Every single detail… EVERY detail had more steps than I anticipated. If it could go wrong, it likely would. Including Friday morning when at 7:15am I received a call from the hotel staff informing me that a shipment to Book Bash was just mis-delivered to their hotel kitchen (clear across the other side of the venue). I was groggy and wanted to go back to sleep so I give them the okay to just re-deliver it to the main convention room. She says it’s 50 large boxes, they’ve already been left, the shippers are gone and the boxes need to be moved out of the kitchen ASAP.
GAH!!!! It’s the attendee swag bags! Oh I needed those BADLY, but what I didn’t need were the extra fees I could incur by the hotel for this error (it was costly!). Eeeeeeep! I scrambled out of bed, last night’s makeup and hair askew, kept the pajama top on and changed into a pair of jeans and went! Yep, sure enough… boxes stacked tall but we got it handled. *phew*
And I dunno how it happened (I can’t remember much as my sleep-deprived mind was working on auto-pilot by then), but at some point two of my best friends (Sherry and Penny) showed up to help me with my day. Love them!
At first, I was working in a fuzzy daze (you know that foggy feeling? You can get things done, but you’re just not quite there). Coffee? Oh sure that totally would have helped, but MINE kept disappearing. I’d go to get a sip, and lo and behold, my coffee was gone. Sherry would bring me another, I’d take one sip, set it down, pack another few bags, go for another sip. WHAT!!?? Coffee was gone again. We found the culprit. *glares at husband*
LOL! Eventually he took off with his “guy-team”, and I had a full coffee to myself, bringing me back life. We finished packing the “Forever Romance author swag bags” (so fun!!), sorted the volunteer shirts & swag (sponsored by HarperCollins), prepped the banners and signs, numbered & labelled the post-its and waited on Eddie to show up an give us instruction. And once Eddie arrived, things kicked into high gear (that guy is beyond organized and knows exactly what he wants), and I was wide awake and ready!
The convention room transformed itself before my eyes, as our author seating floor plan came to fruition, Fedex and BAM seamlessly built their stores and the volunteers arrived to begin transporting and sorting all of the case boxes of swag, books and packages to their appropriate areas.
It was amazing how efficiently everything came together, and I just have to thank our fantastic Book Bash volunteer team. They blew my mind time and time again. Best team ever, and it was because of them that the entire event (setup, parties and the main signing event) went off without a hitch.
Oh!! While we’re discussing the volunteers, here’s a funny volunteer memory:
So like… right about 4pm? 5pm? Eddie called the volunteer meeting, and as we introduced ourselves, and he began assigning us various jobs/stations for that evening and the following day (the BIG day), in saunters our video crew, my husband and… popular cover model, Paul Marron (P.S. here is his Facebook page and many of his book covers. Rehv fans, anyone? ).
Only a few of the volunteers were “in” on the fact that Paul was there that weekend ’cause they had met him earlier that day (teehee! I was keeping it a secret ’cause I’m sneaky like that). Anyway… we glanced at each other in panic, grinning wondering if the rest of our crew would notice. I worried that Eddie *might* just lose our rapt attention.
Elizabeth: Maryse! I was really trying to hold it together when I first saw him! LOL!
Eddie: Oh yes…I was lost…but the show must go on!!!…
Maryse: I still remember our sneaky grins.
Katie: See what a good minion I am Eddie … I was so intently listening to you I didn’t even see Paul walk in with Maryse ‘s hubs. And I am THE biggest BDB FAN ever!!!! I mean Rehvenge walked in the door and I only had eyes & ears for you. *shaking my head*
We glanced around quickly and giggled amongst ourselves as we breathed a sigh of relief. Our secret was still safe. No one was the wiser… yet.
And then it was party time!!! Off I went to “meet and greet” with the authors at the “Author Reception” (one of our sponsors for the event was the fabulous Atria Books. Publisher to so many of our favorites like Colleen Hoover, Jamie McGuire, Tina Reber, Abbi Glines, Katja Millay and so many more!) I was so excited (and so so nervous). I walked to the event trembling because this wasn’t just me going to meet one of my favorites. I was walking into a room FULL of them! But just seeing the calm, smiling faces of my fellow volunteers (Elizabeth, Kirsten and Lori) who were handing out the author’s badges I felt… grounded. Some of my girls were right there and we were meeting them all for the first time together.
There they all were, chatting, laughing, eating and being merry, right before my eyes. It was like a dream!! Jamie McGuire, Tina Reber, Tarryn Fisher, Willow Aster, Abbi, Colleen, OMG allll of them (and *ahem* Dr. Ivan Rusilko. Eeeeep! I think my heart skipped a beat, then. ) Although I suspect my heart was skipping beats all evening. I was wired (mic’ed) for the video but I bet it would have been even more “telling” had it been an EKG. I think my sound guys would beg to differ, as I caught them chuckling a few times at what they heard come through my mic. Yep… sometimes I forgot they were listening. *blush*
After the reception, it was off to my “Pre-Registration Party” (also sponsored by Atria Books). I nearly fell OVER when my husband took me outside where the line was gathering. It was HUGE and I felt faint. AGAIN! OMG!!! What an amazing turnout! Roughly 350 Book Bash attendees scanned in and wrist-banded early, (and Paul Marron was not only there hanging out with us, he was scanning in the attendees!!)
Elizabeth: I think it was really great of Paul to help scan in tickets at the pre-registration party. You should have seen the girls’ reaction to him!!
Maryse: Elizabeth: do tell!! I didn’t get to see any of that…. (please let there be video of that!!!)
Elizabeth: I mean really… If just seeing that man doesn’t make your day better, then I don’t know what will!
We all got to hang out with quite a few of the authors that stopped by for the event. Photos, laughter, *squeeeeeing* Oh YES. There was squeeing. I looked over my shoulder and some authors were even signing stuff and everyone was beaming. Spending the evening with my family (my mom and aunts were there), AND my book family… I couldn’t have asked for anything more. What a blast! I met so many of my fellow readers that night (some that I chat with on a regular basis on my Facebook page). The internet brings so many of us together, but nothing beats finally meeting you guys in person.
Things I learned on Friday:
- Lack of sleep makes me delusional. Case in point: me thinking I could have a late night, and sleep in the next day during the biggest weekend of my life.
- Always remember to tell your delivery company exactly where you want your packages delivered. Big hotels don’t just have one delivery area, Maryse. What were you thinking!?
- When in a pinch, pajama tops double perfectly as t-shirts!
- Husbands steal coffee.
Balloon deliveries are surprisingly REALLY exciting!!!
- Thank goodness for “small favors” (such as an assistant inquiring about an author’s table location) right when we thought “setup” was complete. Why? Looking for her table on the “map” vs. the actual layout alerted us to the fact that two complete rows of authors were swapped (opposite of the printed floor plan). *whoops* and FIXED.
- Fatigue goes away indefinitely once the adrenaline kicks in. So does hunger. Just one look at food had my insides lurching.
- Mothers and daughters read the same books together (not just my mom and I, but many of my fellow readers too). Awww!
- Never forget I’m mic’ed. I’m a little antsy over what I might have said (or what noise I made <— probably that ) that had the “camera crew” snickering.
- Author interviews are so fun, especially when so many of the authors are hanging out in the “interview room” together. However, happy author “sounds” in the background are not conducive to “Barbara Walters-style” interviews (so say the sound guys). Yah but… but… the energy was perfect! Don’t y’all have machines to remove background noise? No? *hrmph*
- Mustaches make an EXCELLENT disguise (even for super-popular and recognizable cover models). The double-takes I witnessed all weekend were priceless!
- Paul Marron takes REALLY good pictures. Who woulda thought?
- Book Bash official day 2: Feeling ELATED.
Book Bash was officially in full swing and I realized if Friday night was any indication, I knew this was going to be the best weekend EVER!
More to follow… Saturday’s Book Bash is next! (and scroll down for more Friday pictures below – most photos, courtesy of Sherry Durst. Thank you Sherry!)
Ready for that giveaway? We came home with a few extra Book Bash t-shirts, swag bags and a WHOLE LOTTA swag. I’m giving away another Book Bash “swag” kit tonight! (picture of today’s swag bag coming soon…)
A couple of books (I received a few books in duplicate so I keep one, and you get one!), a Books-a-Millions tote bag, a Book Bash t-shirt (with the attending authors listed on the back – you choose what size you want!), signed bookmarks and postcards, free ebook codes, fun gadgets – tons of goodies! A fun Book Bash prize package for us book-lovers!.
How to enter for a chance to win it? Just leave a comment below (any comment will work, but if you want to let me in on a secret, let me know what you were doing on Friday June 28th 2013 ), and tomorrow night (Saturday July 13th, 2013) by 10pm EST, I will randomly select one winner.
The winner will be contacted and will have 48hrs to respond with a mailing address, so if you are picked, do not delay or you will lose your chance. This is a open to U.S. & Canada only (but you’re welcome to comment and join in any time!!).