It's been a few days since I returned from the American Library Association's annual conference. Physically, I've recuperated. But the inspiration and emotional high I get from hanging out with librarians, the brilliant people at Penguin, and other authors is still raging!
I wasn't expecting to attend this year, but I was invited to co-host an event organized by the Class of 2k14, a group of debut middle-grade and YA authors. I was in the Class of 2k7 (the original!), so this was a huge honor. But I was also excited about sharing the stage with Josephine Angelini again. Two years ago we were on an extremely fun author panel in Ontario, California.
But this time we were in Vegas, baby!
The 2k14 event was a Mid-Grade vs. YA trivia smackdown. On each chair was a bag o' swag for participants to take home. In the photo below are the teams clustered together to come up with answers to our questions. Winning teams got additional swag bags!
And here I am with the 2k14 graduates!
Afterward, I headed to the Penguin booth for a booksigning of my own. Here are the beautiful people at the front of that line!
As I walked the convention floor to grab signed books for myself, I also grabbed a pic with these three amazing authors.
It was my first time meeting Adele, my first time having an actual conversation with Mo, and Jacqueline is one of my favorite people to run into at these things. But y'know, we're all authors. It's not a big thing to chat with such respected book creators. We see each other as colleagues. Really, it's no big deal.
Okay, that's a total lie. While talking to them, I'm hoping I come off as part of the crowd, but I still feel like someone's younger brother who got invited to the party just so he won't tattle to the parents.
Being Las Vegas, I had to gamble. So I put one dollar in a slot machine, lost it, and really didn't see what the fuss was. So instead of losing more money, I grabbed a cab (which cost much more than a buck) to take me down to the Gold & Silver Pawn...otherwise known as the home of Pawn Stars!
Then I grabbed another cab to take me to the Luxor hotel and casino. The last time I was there was 1995. That's when I took a tour through their King Tut exhibit, which was my first audiotour, and at the conclusion I decided to one day write a book with that audiotour structure (cassette tapes instead of chapters; a recorded voice as one narrator and the thoughts of someone listening as another). It's a very lucky location for me!
Hmm... I guess I should have bet another dollar there.
Hello, Jay Asher. My name is Vanessa. I'm not sure if you will ever see this comment, but I am hoping one day you will. And if you do, I hope you understand just how much you saved my life. While reading this book, I gained a new perspective on life. I used to share a lot of the same thoughts and feelings as Hannah did, and reading this let me know I am not alone. I'm not sure if it's what you were going for, but I felt that Hannah was depressed. Not just felt depressed, but actually clinically depressed. I think this because I noticed several similarities between Hannah's thoughts, and the thoughts I experienced during my time in that state of mind. Yes, I did just refer to depression as a "state of mind." And I have quite a few reasons for doing so. Usually I cannot read a book more than once because I already know what happens. It ruins it. But this book I will probably be reading over and over again. I just finished it an hour ago and already want to pick it back up. I can't wait for the movie, trust me, I'll be seeing it. So just wanted to say thank you, jay. For letting me know I'm not alone, for saving my life. Thank you.
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