Book Buzz 2013 – oh what a night!

I am exhausted! I am writing this during my lunch hour on Monday afternoon after a long, four-day weekend which, for once, actually felt long!  It started last Wednesday evening, the night before Book Buzz 2013, the author mix and mingle I organized along with seven other authors in New York City. 

Pre-Buzzing – After work on Wednesday, I was at Starbucks, writing my 4th novel (it’s already 20 pages!) when I received an email from my friend and fellow author, Francine LaSala.  She asked what I was up to as Jen Tucker, another friend and fellow author, had arrived from her hometown of Indiana and had checked into her hotel in NYC for Book Buzz and the Book Expo America Conference (BEA”) which had commenced that day at the Jacob Javits Center.  They were going to get a drink and asked if I wanted to join.  After years of tweeting, “Facebooking” and corresponding via email, I had met Francine face-to-face for the first time a few weeks earlier while we were planning Book Buzz.  I had never met Jen although we, too, were already “virtual” friends.  I headed over to Jen’s hotel both excited and a little nervous to meet in person.  The second I got there, I already felt like I had known these women for years which I basically had.  Francine made a joke about peeing in Jen’s hotel bathroom and jumping onto her bed within about five minutes of meeting her. I basically did the same thing because we were just that comfortable.  We decided to go out for a drink and I felt like such a “local” as I led the others to the closest strip of bars.  After entering and leaving one bar at once when it was just too loud, we found a sports bar more suitable for conversation and got a table in the back. We talked about everything – writing, reading, diet and exercise habits, sports, the upcoming event etc. and had lots of laughs over a drink, but Jen had been traveling, Francine had spent all afternoon at BEA and I had worked all day.  We were tired and decided to call it an early night since Book Buzz was the following evening.

The Wall of Balls

The Wall of Balls

Sam – I woke up on Thursday morning totally excited about the event but also completely stoked because author Samantha Stroh Bailey (“Sam”) would be arriving that morning from her hometown in Toronto and we had plans to meet up for brunch.  Francine was awesome enough to pick Sam up from the airport and then they were going to drop by my apartment.  I have been emailing Sam almost daily for almost a year and I couldn’t wait to actually meet her in person.  Like Francine and Jen, Sam did not disappoint.  She is as witty and down-to-Earth offline as she is online and within a few seconds, I once again forgot that we had just met.  After heading over to Stone Creek Bar & Lounge where the event was being held to drop off our books and swag, Francine had to run to the conference but Sam had time to have lunch with me. It was so great to chat with her without a computer between us but, alas she had an appointment at the Kobo table at the conference and so I put her in a cab and headed back to my apartment to get ready for the party.  I even got my hair blown out for the occasion!  A place called Dry Bar that specializes solely in blow outs opened across the street from my apartment and I had been dying for an excuse to get my hair done there.  I couldn’t think of a better occasion than Book Buzz 2013!   

Almost time – All dressed up, I waited for a cab to take me to Sam’s hotel for a pre-event drink.  No cabs came.  Correction, many cabs drove by, but they were either occupied or off duty.  After ten minutes of waiting on the street corner worrying that I was going to sweat through my dress (it was HOT), I met a couple also waiting for a cab.  When I told them I was headed to my author party, they offered to help me find a cab first.  After another ten minutes of waiting in vain for a yellow cab, we finally hailed down a gypsy cab and the three of us decided to take it together.  The couple would not accept my money and simply wished me congratulations on the party and to have a great time.  If you two are reading this, THANK YOU.  I finally made it to Sam’s hotel, got in the elevator and pressed the button for the Penthouse (Sam is fancy like that…), and nothing happened.  Oops, no one told me I needed a key for the elevator!  Take two, I finally made it up to Sam’s hotel room where we exchanged compliments “You look great!”, “No, YOU look great!”, “WE look great.”  And we did.  Time for the party.

The Event – After walking to the event (still couldn’t find a cab), we finally made it to Stone Creek Bar & Lounge where we were greeted by authors Lucie Simone and Eileen Goudge.  I had participated in several promotions with Lucie and read her books and was very excited to meet her.  And Eileen Goudge, well, who wouldn’t be excited to meet a New York Times best-selling author, especially one as kind and open as Eileen?  They were both beautiful and charming and I am happy to report that while I did not get to spend too much time with them during the event, we got to know each other better later in the weekend.  Cari Kamm arrived next, looking absolutely stunning.  I had met her once before when we were planning the event and since she’s local, I hope to hang out with her again.  Anyone who attended Book Buzz can thank Cari for the Pink Stiletto cocktail as she was responsible for getting us the liquor sponsor from Shpilka Vodka.  Jen Tucker had trouble getting a cab but made it shortly thereafter and then came Heather Thurmeier.  I had an opportunity to chat with Heather later in the evening and after getting to know her better cannot wait to start reading her Bachelor-inspired novel, Falling for You, which is newly downloaded on my Kindle!   Last but not least was blogger, Julie Valerie who worked her tail off during the event.  While the rest of us mixed and mingled, Julie stood watch by our books and handled all of our sales.  She also promoted the hell out of the event ahead of time.  I was very excited to meet Julie.  Not only does she crack me up with her tweets on a daily basis, but she is so supportive of the chick lit genre, writing book reviews and organizing blog hops, and I wanted to express my gratitude in person for everything she has done. 

With Heather Thurmeier

With Heather Thurmeier

bookbuzz946627_10201406022779616_2103221111_n

Now that everyone was in the house, it was time to party and we sure did!  The turnout surpassed my expectations and I had so much fun mingling with readers, bloggers, other authors and industry people alike.  I had several friends attend and I am so thankful for their support and hope they had a great time as well and maybe discovered a few more authors. Although I obviously hoped to sell books, I was more excited to simply connect with our guests.  Everyone was so friendly and engaging and I thoroughly enjoyed my role as one of the co-hosts as I made my rounds through the bar.  One of our co-sponsors, Diversion Books, was generous enough to buy several platters of appetizers but I was too busy chatting to eat anything.  I must confess that I was nervous about meeting so many people and concerned that I would be shy but for several reasons, that did not happen.  I can probably blame some of it on the Pink Stiletto cocktail that I drowned before the guests arrived.  Also, I felt very pretty in my new dress and high heeled shoes, especially with my hair professionally blown out with loose curls!  Additionally, it was just so easy to converse with our friendly and enthusiastic guests and my bubbly co-hosts.  Finally, although I have two published novels and one in contract, that night I truly felt like a “real” author for the first time.   Perhaps it was seeing paperback copies of my books on display and spying several people actually purchase them.  Maybe it was the continuously running slide show that Francine’s husband created with photos of all eight authors, our book covers and blurbs from reviews.  Whatever the reason, I felt like it was my night to shine and I wasn’t going to waste it feeling shy or bashful.  I savored every moment.  Before I knew it, people were saying their goodbyes, many of them with our books in their oversized handbags. After speaking to several guest authors, I also left with a list of books to download on Amazon.  After the event officially ended, a few of the authors went home with promises to keep in touch and do it again the following year but several of us stuck around for a bit – partially because we were too tired to motivate to leave!  With achy feet (and cuts on my toes from my new shoes), I collapsed on a couch in a corner of the bar, along with Sam, Francine, Jen and Julie and we exchanged stories about our evenings and continued getting to know each other.  I can’t remember what we talked about anymore but I definitely remember laughing – a lot!!  I was not, however, laughing as I walked home with swollen feet and a huge bag of books later but it was so worth it!

This awesome woman bought all of our books!

This awesome woman bought all of our books!

Cheers!

Cheers!

 

The best part – I got to see most of the authors the following night for dinner at Eileen Goudge’s apartment!  And after that further unforgettable bonding experience, I got to have brunch with Sam and Lucie on Saturday morning and attend BEA with Sam that afternoon.  (Thank you Francine for lending me your identity for the day!) And finally, I had one last dinner with Sam and my friend Hilda on Saturday night.  Over drinks at the bar, we became friendly with the bartender who promised to buy our books and even write reviews on Amazon – not bad for a night out!  As tired and anxious as I was for my head to hit the pillow on Saturday night, it was bitter sweet because the weekend had truly come to an end.  The weekend we had been planning tirelessly for months was really over. 

Then again, that was Book Buzz 2013.  Now we can look forward to Book Buzz 2014! Who’s in?

BookBuzz NYC 2013

bookbuzz graphic

 

I am so excited to announce that along with seven other authors, I will be hosting the first annual BookBuzz event in New York City on Thursday, May 30th!

If you are in the area, please come and mingle with us, have a complimentary “Pink Stiletto” cocktail and chow on some free appetizers. We’ll also be selling signed copies of our books at a discounted price. If you aren’t in the area and want to take a trip to NYC (and who wouldn’t want to do that), we’d love to have you!

For full details, please see the attached link. I’ve posted the reasons I am so BUZZED to be a part of this event and I would love to meet all of you so come on by! But don’t forget to email your rsvp to bookbuzz2013@gmail.com to ensure that your name is on the list and secure your free Pink Stiletto!

http://wp.me/p3pPIj-30

 

 

Guest Post and giveaway – Author Cari Kamm!

Headshot

I am so excited to host author Cari Kamm on my blog today.  Cari’s new novel, For Internal Use Only, was just released on February 14th which is also Cari’s birthday! (Happy Birthday Cari!)  Read below for Cari’s Top 5 Inspirations/Muses when writing and leave a comment for your chance to win a copy of For Internal Use Only.  Cari is giving away not one, but two copies of the book and the lucky winner can choose if she wants a paperback or ecopy.  (The giveaway is open to only U.S. and Canadian residents.)

Top 5 Inspirations/Muses when writing:

1. Travel

I love to travel! I think growing up in a small town in West Virginia (population 3,500) and then moving to New York City with access to JFK International Airport and Penn Station, created the extreme need to be spontaneous and take advantage of the opportunities. Whether it’s a walk into a different neighborhood to have lunch at a random spot, a day trip by train or a passport destination, I’m inspired by not only the self-discovery but the characters I create in those moments. For that small amount of time I can see life through the eyes of my protagonist.

2. Music

This is a huge one for me. I have designated songs to help create that emotional connection to the scene I’m writing. I use music to move me along.  The only catch is… the song is played on repeat! I’m easily distracted by lyrics. Whether I’m writing for fifteen minutes or five hours, the song plays on repeat! My writing playlist includes my favorites: Sia, Regina Spektor, David Gray, Lana Del Rey, Imogen Heap and Classical.

3. Writing Groups

Meeting other writers is fantastic! I’ve participated in several writing groups. Some are 6-8 weeks and some are only for an afternoon. Mediabistro offers awesome courses! Most recently, I attended a workshop hosted by the lovely author Alison Pace. Attending groups is brainstorming at its best and allows everyone to benefit from constructive feedback. We are all in this creative journey together.

4. Books & Movies

When I need a kick in the inspiration department, I tend to throw myself into a book or movie.  There is no discrimination in the genre department! If that fails, curling up on the couch with reruns of Sex & The City always works. I have recently become addicted to Homeland and watched eight straight hours of it. I was up until 4:00 a.m. This proves #4 can sometimes back fire.

5. Socks

I’ve never told anyone this before! No matter where I’m writing from, I find comfort in wearing really hideous socks that no one else can see! Recently, my boyfriend bought me a pair to add to my collection. Dorothy ruby slippers! These even have glitter. It reminds me to laugh at myself and not be too serious.   

InternalUseOnly_cover_

Check out the blurb for For Internal Use Only here:

Chloe Kassidy has just been accepted into one of Manhattan’s most exclusive art exhibits, Love Through Light. However, with her singular dedication to her career, she soon realizes that in sacrificing her personal life, she has never been in love. A hopeless romantic who is terrified of heartbreak, Chloe begins to enlist the help of her circle of friends to learn about love through their very different stories and experiences.

In Chloe’s emotional rollercoaster to having the greatest love story ever told, she’ll learn that like her photography she must use the negatives in life to develop and prove that she’s a strong woman who found her way to love through light.

And a fabulous excerpt here:

In this excerpt, Chloe is anxiously awaiting for the envelope to arrive that contains her destiny.

 

Chapter 2

My love for photography had led me down an unimaginable career path. Most currently, it led me to anxiously sitting on a stoop outside the New York City mid-rise building that contained my overpriced one-room apartment. I closed my eyes, allowing the morning light to calm me while I took in the delightful bird chirps and excruciating taxi beeps of the East Village, ignoring the slight smell of urine that accosted my senses.

I started my afternoon again with stalking. I eagerly awaited the mailman’s arrival between 1:06 and 1:13 p.m., while he transported paper fate, sporting his pale blue polyester trousers, tucked in long-sleeve shirt pressed, and Converse sneakers.

We lived and loved through technology, so I was frustrated that my fate was arriving via snail mail and the timing matched every part of the description. Technology was the trusted source of banking transactions, meeting your husband, ordering your groceries, making restaurant reservations and even spying on your pets through a kennel cam while sunburning on a beach. But today, this life-altering letter crawled its way to me by a government official, a man I rarely saw, and never exchanged words with. I was waiting to hear if my dream would come true, and dreading it would never be.

 “Good afternoon,” I said, with a smile, merely able to stare at the navy stripe that lined his pant leg. The clock showed that it was 1:11 p.m. I made a wish.

“What a surprise,” he muttered, while he manhandled the heavy stack wrapped with a thick, green rubber band and passed by me. I studied him meticulously stocking the empty boxes, one by one, approaching my slot.

“Do you mind if I just grab the mail for three-C, please?” I interrupted.

“If that’s what it’ll take,” he moaned.

Between my J. Crew catalogue and my electric bill was a fancy rectangle of heavy stock ivory paper with gold trim. I squeezed the four-by-six response card. Contained in this saliva-sealed envelope were the words that would inevitably change my life. The weight of those words was heavy in my fingers and I was hesitant to open it. Without the answer the card contained, I still was able to hold onto hope.

 My destiny was in my lap with the warmth of the sun counteracting the fresh chill October presented while I flipped from sweating to freezing like an on/off switch. I reassured myself it was only rejection. I had my health and photography. Whether it was amateur or professional, it was still my first love. Even if it was a two-letter response, I would remember my love for art, and how every time I shot I searched for the immense beauty that existed within the balance, tone, and temperature of my tiny frame. Having an image worth a thousand words was never my intention. I wanted to capture one word to describe each photograph. One word can define everything, love being a true example. There is something compelling about visualizing a picture and capturing it. There is nothing compelling about the words, We regret to inform you.

My fingers trembled and taking a couple photographs would be soothing. Photography to me was the perfect cocktail: one part heart, one part head, a dose of imagination, with a splash of patience.

The tearing of the envelope felt like scratches on my heart. I proceeded with caution, hoping this document wouldn’t be only a keepsake to remind me what if.

Inch by inch, I slid out the card to reveal the twelve-point Apple Chancery font and held it to the light, observing the maker’s name in the watermark. Rubbing my index finger over the engraved symbol, I was impressed. The brand, Smythson of Bond Street stationery, supplied paper to the British royal family. I was holding the same stationery as the Queen.

________________________

Dear Miss Kassidy,

We write to inform you of your acceptance into the exclusive Bruce Smith Gallery as part of our exhibit for emerging artists, hosted by curator Grayson Gates. You will be receiving your review and luncheon date via e-mail. Please be prepared to present your theme for the Love Through Light exhibit within the deadline. You will be required to exhibit three pieces.

Opening Night & Reception

Friday, February 7, 8:00 p.m.

Bruce Smith Gallery

504 West 22nd Street

________________________

I read your acceptance at least ten times, intoxicated with excitement and then Love Through Light offered a swift sobering sense of reality. I began to panic. I couldn’t deny the exhibit theme made me uncomfortable.

The Love Through Light exhibit was inspired by the word photography itself and its Greek meaning, writing with light. As the emerging artists in Grayson Gates’s exhibit, we were to create stories of love. Instead of ink, we would be writing with our three photographs.

 I composed a text to Stephanie, Kate, and Emma, my inner circle. I’m in!

Our bonds from beginnings to endings were unbendable. Each our own elements, but together our friendship made a rare metal.

Cari’s Bio here: 

Cari Kamm has worked in the beauty industry for over a decade, building brands, working behind the scenes, and even selling her own skin care line. She has a master’s in clinical nutrition from New York University. Kamm currently works in corporate social media management with clients in the beauty, fashion, and restaurant industries. Living in New York City with her mutt Schumtz, Kamm loves finding inspiration in the most unexpected places, being a novelist, and convincing her boyfriend that ordering takeout and making dinner reservations are equal to cooking. More information can be found on her website, CariKamm.com. To check out the book trailer, click here: http://tinyurl.com/bdr7bfn.

Follow Cari here:

Facebook
Twitter
Website

And don’t forget to leave a comment with your email address to enter the giveaway! Giveaway ends on Friday, February 22nd at 11:59pm.