Saturday, July 30, 2011

This is Teen Miami Signing (long post with pictures)

Hi all! Last week I got the amazing opportunity to go to Books & Books in Miami to meet Libba Bray, Meg Cabot and Maggie Stiefvater! My sister (also a book lover) got to go with me, so it was very special. Here is my account of the book signing.

On Saturday, July 23rd Sister of Doom and I drove 4 hours from our house to the hotel we were going to be staying at for the night. We ate, showered dressed and got ourselves made up very quickly for the signing at 7. Unfortunately there was a lot of stop and go traffic so, by the time we got to the signing it had already started. We went to will call to get our tickets (you had to buy either Forever, Abandon or Beauty Queens from the bookstore in order to attend.) Then Sister of Doom and I were led to this square room bursting with people and books by a very nice Books & Books employee. (I'm so, so sorry I don't remember her name.)

Maggie talking about Zultan
Maggie was already talking about her intense crying (snot bubbles, puffy eyes and all) over The Time Traveler's Wife. You see, she was relaying this interesting tale to explain how she came up with the idea for Shiver. Maggie, I'm guessing, does not often get emotional reading a book for the second time, since she already knows what happens. So, imagine her surprise, when she cried (ugly, I'm really feeling pain cried) over The Time Traveler's Wife the second time she read it. After this fit of emotion where she cursed the characters and had a breakdown, she decided to write a book. A book that would make people cry and suffer just as much as she had when reading The Time Traveler's Wife. And that is how Shiver started.

She went onto answer the second most frequently asked question, "why werewolves?" To which she corrected, "why wolves?" since her characters were either human or wolf, with no in-between. She began talking about one of her trips over seas, where she got the opportunity to observe real, live wolves. Maggie explained that  Zultan the wolf man (the guy who took care of the wolves, not a werewolf) led her into their enclosure. Well, pretty much tossed her in and told her not to worry if the wolves tried to taste and lick her. After surviving the rather abrupt introduction, Zultan asked Maggie if she'd ever heard a wolf howl. She hadn't, so Zultan (doing little howls himself) got the wolves to howl for her. Maggie described it as a terrifying, but awe inspiring sight. And, that was "why wolves", because she could not think of another creature on earth that could cause so much terror, but still be so beautiful and enthralling. (It is very, very safe to say my author crush on her grew about 10x in those minutes.)

unicorns and princesses
Meg Cabot, wondering how she could possibly out do Zultan the wolf man, talked about Abandon. She, even as a teenager, had been obsessed with Greek mythology, specifically the myth of Hades and Persephone. In fact in a math class (which she later failed), she could not stop drawing the two together. (Thinking, at that age, that kidnapping because of uncontrollable desire was romantic.) Meg segued into talking about her early stories and her fear of them being criticized. You see, in high school art class, she would draw all these unicorns which her art teacher did not appreciate. She didn't care what anyone thought of her drawings, but her writing, a secret passion, was too personal to let be judged. Later, after her father died, Meg decided that it did not matter what people thought of her writing, she would submit anyway. There were much bigger things to worry about than being told no, so she began submitting. Meg literally got rejected hundreds of times; she was getting rejection letters every single day that there was mail. (Now, she's grateful for it, because those beginning books were not so good.) Anyway, one day she got a call from her mother. Her mother was dating the art teacher that hadn't liked her unicorn drawings. In the spirit of rebellion, Meg started writing a book.... about a girl... whose mom is dating her art teacher... and the girl turns out to be a princes... That book became Meg's first published work, The Princess Diaries

They must "rectify"....
Last, but not least, was Libba Bray. Feeling thoroughly and truly gypped on topics to talk about after Zultan and unicorns. Libba launched into a story about her very awkward teenage years and trying to get a group of boys to notice her. The audience practically peed their pants. She was so incredibly funny. Apparently teen Libba, in an attempt to catch some boy's attention. tried to do a sexy pop up out of a swimming pool. She miscalculated where exactly her head would come out of the water and ended up thwacking her head on a pipe above the water. So, coughing/ vomiting water, injured and trying to ignore her friend's machine gun laugh, Libba got out of the pool. She did not date until college. Also, being unable to precisely articulate what Beauty Queens was about without looking like a deer in headlights, Libba got the audience to fill in a mad lib of the book description. Some of the words selected were rectify, catty, delicious and glamorous. Everyone was giggling by the time she was through reading it.

It took me that many years to get published and I needed every single one of them.
Feet! My favorite shoes are feet!
 After that, Maggie, Meg and Libba all took some audience questions, mainly about writing and getting published. As a surprise, the people of Books & Books, had gotten all three authors to fill out an information sheet.... which they were quizzed on. Meg and Libba had the hardest time getting Maggie's favortie type of shoes (feet). Libba and Maggie bumbled through Meg's favorite drink (diet something) and Meg and Maggie were nearly stumped over Libba's favorite movie (Bladerunner). Meg in the end, won that contest, earning lights on her signing table, a hula skirt and flower head-dress. After this it was time to get in line for the groups for signing. There were 5 groups A-D which would each go in for the signing.

Outside we were treated to cardboard cut outs of the book covers you could take pictures with, pink and orange flash drives with videos of the authors on them, and flyers for the This is Teen tour.

Because of our lateness, Sister of Doom and I had to stand through the whole signing (which let us get great pictures.) We also didn't get an assigned "signing group." Fortunately another nice employee I don't remember the name of, told us to get in the last group. This was a secret blessing because even though we did have to wait a very long time, we got to take up more time with the authors since we were near the last of the line.

It's MEG CABOT!!!!
The signing room had three tables (one for each author) and three different lines. Sister of Doom and I hit up Meg Cabot's table first. I got to tell her I admired her, was trying not to fangirl and had met her before at RWA. There were pictures and we shuffled off to Maggie's line.

My awesome picture with Maggie.

Sister of Doom's awesome picture with Maggie
With Maggie, I got to fangirl over her cookies, car, compliment her on her necklace, and tell her I'd hung out with her before. She almost half-remembered me which nearly put me through the roof. (Seriously, I beamed.) However, she didn't remember her mistake from before....misspelling my name. The first time there was an extra "e" in it. She doodled a wolf and wrote an explanation of apology. This time (even with a sticky note with my name spelled properly) she put two "c''s. Another wolf, now howling my name, was doodled into my copy of Forever. I've resolved that she'll misspell my name every time and it will now be a tradition. Maggie asked me if I cried during Forever, since my sister had told her I'd stayed up till 6am reading it. When I said yes, she smiled and giggled. (It was less weird, knowing the time traveler story.) We gave her a bag of M&Ms and I scuttled over to Libba's line. Sister of Doom was tired, hot and had no books for Libba to sign, so she waited outside from then on.

Lost Girls do rule
 I waited the longest in Libba's very big line and was treated to an awesome sight. By the time I was near the front of the line, as the 3rd to last person left at the signing, I got to see something curious. Maggie, for the first and possibly only time, did The Time Warp with 2 bookstore employees. (The bookstore caught it on tape and blasted the song in the store. ) Me, being a silly person, waited until no one was in line for Maggie, darted out of Libba's line and went back to Maggie. I had to 1) show her my Shiver messenger bag and 2) get her to sign a flyer for my friend who wasn't there. That was awesome. Then a very, very, very nice man let me get back in front of him in Libba's line. For being one of the last people in her line, and having 2 books for her to sign, I got to talk with her a little longer which was very fun. (I'd met both Maggie and Meg before and this was my first time meeting Libba so I was very excited.) She had three buttons for people choose from on her table. We could be either a "sparkle pony", "beauty queen" or "lost girl." For Peter Pan reasons, I chose "lost girl", Libba was happy with that. After getting a final picture with her, I met my sister and we left.

Thus we concluded one of the happiest nights of my life in a Super 8 motel room eating pizza and drinking Powerade.

Special Thanks in this post to BOOKS &BOOKS of Coral Gables in Miami, Florida for hosting the event.

Another Special Thanks to Meg Cabot, Maggie Stiefvater and Libba Bray for coming to Miami and having this spectacular event!

Final Special Thanks to Sister of Doom for taking me there.

Happy Reading,

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