BEA Recap: Part the Second, the Inside Story

I gave a thorough and fun recap of my time at BEA, but what I didn't really go into was what it was like to be a part of BEA--this was my fist time as an actual *participant* and it was a thrill to be included as one of the Harlequin authors!

BEA Badge
Badges? We don't need no stinkin'...OH YES WE DO!

This pretty thing was my "golden ticket" to get into the floor early and watch them set up booths, check out the advance arcs & visit with some of my favorite people. It also legitimized the fact that I wasn't just a random book stalker but a TOTALLY LEGIT stalker who had every right to be there! HAHAHAHA! Actually, I tried to be polite and less-than-scary since I considered myself to be representing Harlequin et al and didn't even wear my semi-famous T-shirt, opting to be all dressy-professional instead. I was a very good girl about abusing this power, honest.

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Some sneak peeks at the floor including Lego Block Monsters & My Little Ponies
(complete with fold-and-wear purple sparkly unicorn horns. Okay, I admit it...I got two!)

My first day complete, I thanked my lucky Merrells and lugged my bag of books and tiny suitcase outside to hail a cab. I'd been warned NOT to try to grab a cab near Javitz and walk two blocks or so to nab one down the road. I went two blocks and didn't find any. Then two more blocks, no go. Two more blocks...then two more... and eventually I ended up walking the entire way to my hotel, rolling suitcase and haul of books in tow, vowing that I wouldn't repeat the same mistake tomorrow (ad, besides, there was a free shuttle that went to nearby Penn! D'oh!) I stumbled into my hotel in time to spruce up before meeting the Harlequin crew at Thalia Restaurant, which involved a subway ride and more walking (guess which one was harder?) yet I got to sit next to the amazing Katie McGerry and across from the delightful Amanda Sun who matched my geekish glee tie for tat and we had a blast dining in splendor (me with a gorgeous plate of mushroom ravioli) and sharing pics of our daughters in dress-up costumes! Then it was off to the after-party at The Kimberly Hotel, where we were treated to a very elegant soiree, delicious noshes, fine company & a gorgeous view of the Chrysler Building.

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My reaction? Pinch me!
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This is me and some Very Famous Authors hanging with our amazing editor, Natashya Wilson!

Can I swoon? To be sure, I did! Laughing with Julie Kagawa (with whome I shared a memorable time in a moose lodge in Branson, MO) and trading witticisms with Amalie Howard marked the highlight of my evening like a cherry on top of the proverbial sundae if said sundae blew all of your dreams sky-high. Basically, I was glad to share a cab ride with Annie Stone chatting about adventures abroad as a perfect way to end the evening and know for certain it hadn't all been some crazy dream!

Of course, the dream wasn't over--there was *another* whole day of signing, but this time, it was a Harlequin Author Hour with tons of authors lined up to sign and over 300 people waiting since 9am to see them! AND I WAS ONE OF THOSE AUTHORS! I felt giddy and then terrible as we ran out of arcs, then ran out of bookmarks, then started signing catalogs and I gave away some of my exclusive temporary tattoos...right to the final dregs of the line so not one person went away empty-handed. (Whew!) Amanda and I joked the whole time--witnessed by her My Little Pony--although Julie was the one who really kept me laughing!

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My sign, my signing station & a raspberry from across the room!

As the last fans fade out onto the floor, we are each make our last trips to lectures, panels, meet-ups and greetings before gathering together for a tour of the office and a quick bite for lunch before our NYC trip is complete. But perhaps the most important conversation for me was with Amanda as we were walking and I needed someone else to take a moment and *get* that all of this--the fans, the gorgeous cover art, the night under the stars, the laughter and the lines were ALL because of something that *we* created from nothing more than our imagination and our willingness to pursue a dream. Sometimes it's tough to be with that, and I was glad to be in that moment with other deserving people enjoying every minute, and then the next, and the next with smiles.

IMG_0886IMG_0885 HQT office visit
The Harlequin Offices not only feature famous writers and gorgeous book posters but a lobby, gilded elevators & enough decorative trim to make anyone drool! Michelle Maddow and I were very impressed with that as well as our haul of favorite Harlequin Teen books!

And that, my friends, is what my weekend on the "inside" of BEA was all about!

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