Thursday was a good day. It first started with another sweep of the Goodie room - just to see if there was anything new :) Then, I made my way to the 5th floor where the publisher signings were taking place. I showed up 30 minutes before the signing started, but I wasn't really early. Actually, when I was in the elevator on my way to the Goodie room (4th floor), I could already see the waiting lines forming LOL. I think everyone was looking forward to the publisher signings :) And that's good because it meant I was in good company :)
Now, the way the schedule is prepared, there is always at least 2 publisher signings going on at the same time as well as workshops and these signings are 1 hour each. I think they plan it that way so less people will attend the signings... because there is only so much books a publisher can give away, right? So Thursday morning, I had to choose between Avon and Harlequin. That was a really difficult choice as I enjoy books from both publishers a lot... However, in the end, I decided to attend Avon's because prior to April, Avon books were priced 10.99$ CDN. Let just say it's a bit expensive to try new authors.
While waiting, the hotel staff was distributing boxes (the ones books came in during shipment) and I grabbed one. Trust me, if you're going to go to every author, you need one or even better would have been a large tote bag (it gets less in the way in my opinion). However, I was too excited that morning and figured I could carry it all in my hands so I came down empty-hand. Yeah, what was I thinking?!? LOL. There was also a hotel security guy that was managing the line-up. At first, he asked us to make 2 lines and later, 4 lines. I think we were taking up a lot of space and it was for other guests to circulate better. Once the door opened, it wasn't really a stampede, but everyone was excited to get in the room. When I passed by the security guy, I asked him if he was scared, because let's face it... it was a lot of excited women LOL. He was frank enough to admit: "A little." LOL.
By now, you've all seen my haul and if not, it's here. Almost two weeks later, I have to admit the whole experience is a bit of a blur ^_^; I remembered getting in the room and the first author I went to was Maya Rodale because I wanted A Tale of Two Lovers. After that? I can't remember. Well yes, I can remember the authors from the books I got, but the order I visited them? Not really. I do remember my strategy though: hit the authors I absolutely wanted to meet or get books from first, and then circle the room one or two times to be sure I didn't miss anything. The great thing about Avon's signing is that the authors were sitting in alphabetical order and it made it easy to locate them. The most difficult though at publisher signings was keeping track of who I wanted to see and whom I've seen already. Case in point, I walked up to Anne Mallory and asked for her books; she looked at me and told me: "You've already come to me earlier." Oups ^_^; All in all, I really liked Avon's signing because most of their authors were present and the publisher had brought in a lot of books.
When I came out of the Avon's signing, there was still time to make it to Harlequin's and can I say it was a great decision to put them side by side? :) In Harlequin, I was really happy to meet Andrea Kane and Robyn Carr. In past conferences, Rosie had gotten me some signed books by Ms Carr, but actually meeting her was great. Some of my favorite authors, I did not go to either because I've seen them at the Literacy Autographing or because I already had the books... But looking back, I should have gone to them anyway, just to talk to them. That is definitively something I will do next year! At one point, I was tired of lugging the box so I hid it under a table - good thing there were tablecloth! LOL.
After the publisher signings, I went back to the room to put down all the books and went to the bar. Yeah, you've figured it by now, the bar is the hanging out/gathering/meeting up place. On my way to the bar, I ran into Rosie and Lisabea at Starbucks and so got myself a nice green tea frappuccino. We found Kristie, Wendy and Sarah at a table and just hung out till it was time for the Award Luncheon. We pretty much sat in the same corner we were the previous day and this time, the speakers worked. We were served lunch (chicken again) and then, the awards start. It was a pleasant surprised that the first award was Wendy's Librarian of the Year. Woohoo!! I have to say, I loved her speech!! It was great and fun :) Oh and of course, as an award recipient, Wendy was sitting at a different table and guess who was next to her? Linda Howard!! Yes!! Lucky her, right? Ms Howard was also receiving an award, but unfortunately, her acceptance speech was cut short because we were running out of time which let me tell you was a pity because the two minutes she was up there were really entertaining!! Finally, Sherrilyn Kenyon took up the state as the keynote speaker and her speech was really powerful and full of emotions.
Now, I took tons of pictures of the luncheon... with Wendy's camera LOL. My sister was doing some sight-seeing, so she took the camera with her...
Edit: I added the pictures!
Once lunch was over, I made my way to the next publishers signings. This time, the choice was between St. Martin's Press and Sourcebooks. It was a no-brainer for me: St. Martin's Press. The set-up was different with the authors tables lining the walls instead of being in rows, leaving a lot more space in the middle of the room. Given the number of authors that St. Martin's Press had, I think the set-up was really good :) The only thing that would have made it better would have been signs over the authors' heads to indicate who was who. As it is, we had to make our way through the lines and crowds to see what books were on the tables to know who the authors was. So, I had heard before lunch from Wendy that Lisa Kleypas was in the house. She was not there for the Literacy Signing, but did attend St. Martin's Press party the night before. Some time during the St. Martin's Press signing, I saw Rosie and Lisabea waiting in line for someone and walked up to them, curious to see for whom they were waiting for. Yes, it turned out to be Lisa Kleypas!! I was really happy to meet her, because I know she's on sabbatical this year.
See the nice picture of Lisabea, Lisa Kleypas and Rosie that I took? And look how Lisabea thanked me!! Anyone good with Photoshop? LOL. Anyway, meeting Ms Kleypas was definitively a highlight for me at the St. Martin's Press signing. I was also happy to have the chance to see Heather Webber again :) And out of the books I got, I was really, really, really happy to walk out with First Grave on the Right and The Demon Trapper's Daughter :)
After seeing everyone at St. Martin's Press signing, I slid into the room next door which was Sourcebooks signing. I don't really have any favorite authors at Sourcebooks and as such, didn't think I'd pick up any books. Then again, I'm really easy when it comes to books - a nice cover, a nice blurb or a nice author, that's all it takes LOL.
The last RWA session I attended on Thursday was a workshop given by Julie James and Beth Kery about how to write 300 pages of contemporary romance :) I liked the topic. The most interesting to me was every suggestion/advice that Ms James gave was backed up with a concrete example from one of her books. Rosie, Lisabea and I think Kristie we with me during this workshop, which is a good thing because I got to steal Lisabea's camera for the evening :) During the workshop, we also ran into Sherry Thomas who writes historicals. I wonder if that means she'll try her hand at contemporary? Once the workshop was over, we gave ourselves rendez-vous in the lobby at 5.30pm to go out for dinner. By that time, my sister had returned from her day of stalking the White Collar cast and filming locations and therefore joined us. By the way, her stalking did pay off because she got to see Willie Garson and Matt Bomer! But alas, no picture. Although I did get a picture with one of my favorite author, Nalini Singh!
Rosie and Sherry Thomas - Nalini Singh and me - Kristie, Rosie, Sarah and my sister
So for dinner, we didn't go far: T.G.I. Friday just across Times Square, and it was Kristie, Rosie, Sarah, my sister and I. We had a great time and the food was good. After dinner, we all went our separate ways. Now for this trip to New York City, my sister and I have made very little plans together, because I had no idea how busy the conference would keep me. However, there was one thing on the agenda that we absolutely had to do and that was a Broadway show... but not any Broadway show. No, my sister and I wanted to go see The Normal Heart, which is a play about the AIDS epidemics in the 1980s which has recently won a Tony Award for Best Revival. The reason we wanted to see it? Well it's because Jim Parsons, the actor who incarnates Sheldon in Big Bang Theory plays in it :) Yes, I know, I know. We're easy. I think for a Broadway debut though, his role was perfect - not too big, not too small. As for the play itself, it was very, very good and very emotional. The first half had more comedic relief, but the second half was heart-breaking. You could hear people sniffling at the end of the play. Me? I tried really hard not to cry, because I didn't have any kleenex ^_^; However, it didn't stop me from having tears T_T
After the play, my sister and I waited outside for the actors to come out. Seriously, I'm surprised that there were not more people waiting... but hey, better for us LOL. So you know where I'm heading right? Yes, yes, we got to meet Jim Parsons!! I don't have a picture of myself and him, but I did take a very nice picture of my sister and him :) Wanna see?
Nice picture, right? Here is the rest of the cast:
Ellen Barkin, Joe Mantello, Mark Harelik
Lee Pace, John Benjamin Hickey
Let say that meeting the cast of The Normal Heart, but more importantly Jim Parsons, plus seeing Matt Bomer and Willie Garson just made the trip for my sister :) And I'm glad, because she deserved enjoying this trip :) Now, she even has a lucky outfit LOL.
And not much of a surprise, I finished the evening at the bar LOL.