So so so much to talk about! Yesterday was amazing! In a crazy I-can't-believe-that-I'm-here-doing-this kind of way. I have been a lot of places, Disney, Universal, concerts, etc., but never have seen a crowd like this. Imagine, at least, 1000 men, women & children (but lets be honest - mostly women) crammed into a convention area. Now add at least 2 ginormous bags to each of those people, discounting the people who were rolling huge carts or suitcases full of books. That leads us to a room full of people sweating their arses off & getting hit non-stop with a bag or 2 or 3! But guess what? NO ONE CARED! I cared a little about the sweating because we were taking pics, but not really.
Being in a shared space with people who have the same obsession (yes, we call it like we see it) as you was extremely fun. Talking about fictional characters as if they were real didn't lead to any eye-rolling, weird looks, or comments behind hands. We were all on the same page! Seeing/meeting our favorite authors is equated to meeting a famous movie star. In some cases, certain ones for me, it was like I met the president! Anyway......back to the logistics part of the day.
The event started at noon & people started lining up outside at 8:00. I was not one of those people. I had pre-registered the night before & let's face it - it was HOT! Have you been to FL in the summer? This may be a good time to mention that my hair was curly on this day. I don't fight the humidity while I'm here. I've learned it's pointless. Anyway, hung out with my friend Monica & her hubby for a special BK breakfast and then headed back to get ready for the event. I was conflicted on trying to look cute or be cool/comfortable so I went for in between. I wore my 'Pretty Girls Read Books' shirt & got lots of compliments on it throughout the day. Thankfully Monica had lots of 'people' so one got in line & held our spot as we went up to change. Ended up getting in line at like 11:45 outside. Did I mention it was hot? I melted (a little). Thank goodness for Laura holding our spots or we would have been outside much longer. The doors were opened & upon entering we were given our Book Bash swag bag. (This just added to the # of bags that are now in this getting smaller by the second space. Just sayin') Everyone had a table map so there was a rush to get in line at your favorite author's table. We headed straight to Kristen Ashley because that is who Monica & Sue wanted to see first & I had the responsibility of getting books signed for a fellow Book Gossiper. (I take my responsibilities seriously.) This line took us an hour and a half so we periodically took turns venturing out to see what autographs we could get quickly before coming back to stand in line. I resigned myself at this point to the fact that I was not going to get all of the 'big' authors that I wanted. Not physically possible given their lines. That meant I had to re-evaluate my plan & make sure to get as many others as possible. There were 83 authors there and I had 36 in my book that I made. Without going through each moment of the 4 hour event, I was successful in getting 27 of the 36. (Not all were gotten at the event, but I'll get to that later.) On one hand the 4 hrs flew by and on the other is the fact that it was such a crazy hectic semi-stressful time it felt like forever. By the end of the day I needed a massage, a drink and a chiropractor. Not necessarily in that order.
When the event was over we had about 2 1/2 hrs before leaving for our GNO event. We had skipped lunch so Monica, Sue & I headed over to TGI Fridays for some food although a nap sounded good too.
With our bellies full we walked back to the hotel & decided not to catch the first shuttles to the event. That gave us more time because we were already tired. Needless to say, if you know me, I did not take a nap. Had to look through my swag bag, organize my books & look through to see what each author wrote. Anywho, got out of the shower to a text from another online friend that they were already at the event (first shuttle people!) and that all of the table were taken. I didn't sweat it because hey......I'm on vacation in Orlando with no kids or husband, hanging around friends & book people. Nothing is bothering me on this trip!
We get to CRAVE and receive yet another swag bag. To say the place was packed is a gross understatement. I'm not going to go into too much detail about this event other than to say we left 3 hrs before it was supposed to be over. What I will say is this: complete waste of my money!
Moving on.....we decided we needed dessert so we hit the Cheesecake Factory for some cheesecake to go. After a futile attempt to find 'good' coffee (thanks Sue!) we ended up back at the hotel. The other party that was going on (Angstfest) posted on FB that is was open & to come on in - so you know we did. There was a DJ, dancing & fun people. I think this is where I should have been the whole time :) I knew that there were authors here that I didn't get at the event so I stashed some stuff in my room, grabbed my book (Thoughtless) & headed back down. We ate our cheesecake in the lobby and lo & behold if you sit in one spot long enough some of the authors you need autographs for will walk by! Grabbed a few more that way, but not the one I needed. Eventually we decided for one more shot at S.C. Stephens. We walked around and who do I see, but Colleen Hoover! I chickened out approaching (like meeting the President for me) her so my awesome friend Monica went over, got her autograph & then pulled her over to me. OMG! Really? Awesome moment! About this time the lights come on, I turn around & there she is - S.C. Stephens. I walk up to her, get her autograph & ended my day a happy girl!
That is it in a nutshell, but I've decided to do a separate post with my personal thoughts on the author's that I met. As much for me as for you. See if your impressions mesh with mine.