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the 3 days later and suckily non-visual bea roundup

June 1st, 2009

Q: What’s dumber than a writer without a pen?

A: A blogger who leaves her digital camera at home instead of bringing it to BEA where she could take pictures of the fancy Penguin booth and her first BEA signing (swarming with people, not empty like I’d feared, Yay!) and her Penguin Peeps (I heart them, I heart them, I heart them!). Not to mention the writers she hobnobbed with like Elizabeth Scott (with whom I was a miscreant and ran around seizing as many galleys as possible, but not, alas, Catching Fire, which was everyone’s must-get ARC). Or the writers she just happened to bump into, like Susane Colasanti, who might just be the nicest YA author ever and who was there promoting her new book Waiting For You (which is next in my TBR pile after I finish The Forest of Hands and Teeth) and was hanging with none other than the legend herself Sarah Dessen, who I squealed at and said hi to and tried to pass myself off as a peer and not a 12-year-old.

I also might have had a chance to post photos of some of the awesome bloggers I finally met face to face, like Mitali Dave, who is in a college freshman but managed to score herself a press pass because she has this great new book blog, Alley of Books. I bumped into her on the bus after and was very jealous because she clearly had done a far better job at this BEA business than me, attending the cool David-what-doesn’t-he-do-Levithan-moderated YA buzz (is there any other kind of buzz these days?) panel and getting personally signed books, like Melissa Marr’s Fragile Eternity. And the fantastic Lenore Applehans of Presenting Lenore, who I met later on at Tiger Beat*’s show at Books of Wonder and she gave me this little card all about her and I glanced at it and put it away and then she said turn it over and it had her stats, including her favorite books of 2009: Dust of 100 Dogs, If I Stay. Thanks, Lenore.

* Can we discuss Tiger Beat now? The YA author cover band featuring Libba Bray, Daniel Ehrenhaft, Barney Miller, and Natalie Standiford (whose upcoming book How To Say Goodbye In Robot looks so amazingly good and I tried, unsuccessfully, starting to be a them here, to get a galley at BEA, but I have alternate sources…)? I’ve heard about these guys but you know, it sounded sort of, well, gimmicky. OMG, I recant. Or not. I mean, yes a little gimmicky in that they play covers of old Bow Wow Wow songs but totally, fantastically awesome. Great musicians. Excellent style. Good playlist. Libba has that charisma thing and totally rocks it. I love them. Willa loved them. She was boogying in the aisles. I have prebooked them for her bat-mitzvah in eight years. But, because I left BEA and subwayed back to Brooklyn, picked up Willa from after school and then got right back on the train to the city to catch the Tiger Beat show at Books of Wonder, also, no pictures. Suckage, thy name is Gayle. Well, at least you can watch Tiger Beat do a cover of Dear Prudence (I like to think they’re covering the Siouxie version) on Youtube:

Okay, so now you know all the things I didn’t manage to do—pretty much everything because at giant trade shows like that, all I can do is walk around with my mouth hanging open. Or in this case, I followed various publishing people around with my mouth open and stopped every few steps as they bumped into people they know. There were like 20,000 people there and everyone knew everyone.

But I did manage to do the things I mentioned and to meet my Spanish publishers who were lovely and to hang out and drink overpriced waters with Julie Strauss-Gabel, my wonderful but elusive-as-a-Sasquatch-these-days editor, and Sarah Burnes, my knows-every-single-person-really-personally agent and get a signed copy of Fire, Kristin Cashore’s prequel (sort of) to Graceling and to stand near Greg Mortenson (Three Cups of Tea, Thousand Weeks of Bestsellerness) so it was all terribly exciting. And I bumped into some old friends, like Darcy Jacobs, who I worked with way, way back in the day at Seventeen (she’s a bigwig at Family Circle now). Also, I met my lawyer. In person. Hi Mike!

And there was a very exciting postscript to the whole event. Some very lovely, generous and clearly brimming with good Karma woman from Scholastic, publisher of Hunger Games/Catching Fire etc. saw me lamenting on someone’s Facebook page that I was not fast enough to get a CF galley, offered to send me one. On second thought, thinking about the silly hand-flappy dance I did when I got that message, maybe it’s better that I will be in the privacy of my own home when I get a copy of Catching Fire. There are certain things you don’t want caught on camera.

  1. Gayle, sounds like you had an absolute ball! Congrats on your first BEA, the first of many I am sure. While I am extremely jealous that you got to hang with Elizabeth (and visa versa), I have to admit that meeting Lenore would have topped my list – she’s such a gem. Enjoy all the reading you have ahead of you :)

  2. I’m so glad you are able to get a Catching Fire ARC. Lucky you, though I still need to read The Hunger Games (I’ll admit it, I’m slow…but I WILL) and that’s great you had a good time at BEA. I’m so jealous of everyone. I really really want to go and am already trying to figure out if I can next year b/c I think it would be a blast and really interesting since I’m a book nerd and everything.

    I’ll have to watch the video later. I think it’s great authors are in a band. So fun!!

    -Lauren

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