I’ve been living, breathing and eating (okay maybe not eating ) Book Bash for months now, and it ended up being everything I hoped it would be and more! I can honestly say that I have never had so much fun in my life. The most fun I’ve ever had condensed into three (no… four) days of what seemed like 24-hour non-stop excitement. Sleep? What sleep? If I slept, I don’t remember.
Such amazing energy, non-stop hugs, finally meeting my fellow readers that I’ve been conversing with for months (years?) on my Facebook and blog. And finally meeting so many of our favorite authors. There are no words for that. Being surrounded by such a happy, enthusiastic bunch of like-minded people.
I was home.
Pair all of that with the non-stop *squees* and bear-hugs, photo after photo, I just couldn’t help but beam throughout. I wondered if my cheeks would hurt from smiling so hard, but nope. The constant adrenaline kept me from feeling anything but elated.
So here’s how it went:
Wednesday night, was my last night to get all of my final ducks in a row (packing all of the badges, t-shirts, swag, last minute shipments that arrived, printouts, banners and signs etc..) I had list after list of “to do’s” and “lists to print”. Guest lists, assistant lists, volunteer lists, t-shirt pickup lists, lists, lists and more lists. Considering how much of a listmaker I am, you’d think I was in my element. And I was! LOL!
All of the major details were in place and already handled, but this was the “fun stuff” that I thought would be easy to complete the day before we left. HA! That is until I realized it was 3am and I was still running around like a chicken without a head, clucking… er… I mean checking off my lists. Stuff that was printing out wrong, double printing, not printing… getting a call from my Pak ‘n Post service letting me know that I had a bunch of boxes that had just arrived.”Great!!” I said, “more fun stuff for everyone!” And when I got there, it looked like an entire van-load! OMG! YAY!!! and OMG GAH!!!
That’s okay, Thursday morning with the van fully loaded, we were happy to realize that we managed to get pretty much everything in, and one of our best friends (whom many of you have met as he was one of the camera guys) would stop over and pick up the rest.
All was right with the world!
And let me tell you, once I arrived at the hotel, I was SO nervous. I knew a bunch of authors and readers were already there (vacationing before the big day as I had been seeing their tweets), and I was full of anticipation. Who would I see? Who could I hug? Who would I know? Well… as it turns out, I hyped myself up for an early hotel lobby party already in progress and showed up to… perfect calm. Which calmed me. *phew*
So I moseyed on over to where my husband was unpacking and I could finally start sniffing around those mystery boxes. I just had to see what was inside. Books? But of course! Who’s books? I couldn’t help but open one. Tee hee! Hey! What? They were addressed to me, so it’s okay, right? I couldn’t help it, and anyway, I knew I’d be having to open them sooner or later to figure out where they went.
(side note: these boxes held the books that would be given to the authors in their very own “Book Bash” swag bags, sponsored by Forever Romance (Grand Central/Hachette)!! They sent some AWESOME totes and fun stuff for the authors! AND!! There were cases of books that were for the Book Bash volunteers, sponsored by HarperCollins!)
And look at the gorgeous surprise waiting for me! Whoa. The Edge of Never!! They used my quote on the cover!! Now THAT… I wasn’t expecting, but what a way to start off my Book Bash experience! *thud!!!*
Then, as I was finalizing some paperwork with the hotel event manager in the lobby… Colleen Hoover saunters on by. I say “Hi Colleen!” and she comes over for hugs. I introduced her to two members of my event team (Eddie and Jill) and off she went. As Jill (the hotel manager) and I continued chatting, Jill admits to being an avid reader but wasn’t sure if I’d know any of the books she likes. I ask her to name her favorite, and do you know what title she gives me?
“Ummm… well a book called… Slammed?”
LOL!!! YES!!!! I said OMG, do you know who you just met? Ahhhh that reaction (from both her AND my own, was priceless). After naming a few more of her favorites (including “The Secret of Ella and Micha“) I knew we were at the right hotel, and I think she was pleased, too.
Yep! Thursday was as easy going as could be, and I was so happy to have met a bunch more of “us” that night. It made going into the big day that much easier ’cause I got by with a little help from my friends.
What I learned that night?
- I’ve been pronouncing Karina Halle’s name all wrong!! WHAT!?? I was appalled at myself. I’ve been pronouncing it “Karina Hall” when actually “Halle” is pronounced like “Halle Berry”. Karina Hall-ie. *whoops*
- The reason that Chelsea M. Cameron uses her initial “M” in her name is so that her search results are not confused with in another popular “Cameron” in the search engines.
- Kristen Ashley has an awesome sister that I ran into about a gazillion times throughout the weekend, and she even saw me at my worst, one morning. I had a surprise super-early start to my Friday (a mis-delivery), and her offer of help was so sweet (that story to come…). I feel close to her. May I have her as a sister, too, Kristen?
Fun and gorgeous Australian fellow-readers are a blast! They even wanna stick out their tongues with you for goofy photo ops!
- CJ Roberts is WAY cool. Wait. Right. We already knew that one. But she totally is!!
- Never shovel Harry Potter jelly beans into your mouth aimlessly unless you know what flavor your eating, first. “Popcorn” looking-flavored jelly beans might not actually BE popcorn flavored. I heard there was some serious gagging going on…
- Our mini-van can hold MUCH more than we expected (thank goodness for that!!)
- When my friend Sherry promises to hold my hand throughout the entire event, she MEANS it!! (Thank you, Sherry!!!)
- Our GPS is good at getting us to the airport to pick up friends, but not so good at getting us back to our hotel. Scenic route through Orlando, anyone? Sure! But at 1am? Not so much.
- Book Bash official Day 1: Feeling Good!
More to follow… (see the photos from Thursday night, below).
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 a Book Bash “swag” kit tonight!
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, lipgloss from Sylvia Day, cute stuffed turtle from Turtle Tear Island (Kelli Maine), a steamy hand fan from Kallypso Masters– 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 Thursday June 27th 2013 ), and tomorrow night (Tuesday July 9th, 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!!).
Here are some of Thursday’s highlights (it was like a pre-mini-bookbash at the hotel bar!):