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Who Gets to Screw Up?

Axe
I think I've figured out one of the biggest things that bug me in this "Who Gets To Write What" discourse going around lately.

I think it has something to do with the fear of making mistakes and who gets to make them.



There have been a lot of great ongoing conversations about this, but I have been thinking about it a lot and something just clicked in that nebulous, 2 a.m. way it does sometimes. In the kid lit world, there's a lot of discussion about diversity and fair representation in the publishing world. This conversation was boosted by whitewashing covers, banned books, bad Con decisions and misrepresentation on big-name panels that prompted things like #WeNeedDiverseBooks (which is still going strong). I am a member of SCBWI and our esteemed Executive Director, Lin Oliver, weighed in with her personal thoughts on the matter:

"I don’t believe that I can authentically write from the point of view of a contemporary protagonist who is telling a unique story that derives from a racial or cultural experience not my own. Some people may feel comfortable with that. I don’t. One of the reasons I’m so eager to read literature written by people with diverse backgrounds is to get their authentic take on their experience. I just don’t trust that my take on it would ever be completely true or right." (entire letter is here)

And while I completely respect and applaud her decision on this, I must admit that I don't share it. It's not that I do not agree that she has every right to know her own comfort levels with her own writing or that we do not, as a community and a society, need to include all sorts of diverse perspectives in the kidlitosphere, it's just that I am a firm believer that everyone is free to write all sorts of stories--include characters and opinions outside of their own, personal experience--and that people can do justice to those groups that are being represented even if the author does not, in fact, belong to them. In the most basic sense, we are writing the human experience, which is identifiable to all its myriad shapes, sizes and colors. I have gone into my reasons in detail before, but it recently occurred to me why this was rubbing me the wrong way anew; it's that if you flip the argument, it completely falls apart. In essence, by saying that someone CAN'T write outside their own categories (be they gender, race, sexual orientation, religion, culture, socio-economic status, etc.) then that's close to saying that minorities can ONLY write inside these categories and should be equally limited. Which is just plain ridiculous.

Of course I don't think it's as simple as that, but hear me out: if we are saying that Caucasian, Christian, heterosexual, middle-class, MFA educated females can only write about Caucasian, Christian, heterosexual, middle-class, someday-MFA-educated female teens/kids, then are we also saying that African, Muslim, bisexual PhD educated males can ONLY write about African Muslim bisexual someday-to-be-PhD-educated male teens/adults? Of course not. Are we just saying that they are obligated to write these stories as representatives of their race/gender/sexual-orientation/religion/culture/class/etc.? What? No!

So what *are* we saying?

We want there to be room in the pool for diverse writers to write their diverse stories and get published for a mainstream audience. I think so, too! But in our rush to do this, I think some fears and P.C.-ness is getting us sidetracked. While I agree with all of these sentiments, the message of scarcity, that there is a finite amount of stories and storytellers allowed "in" at one time is wrong. (And with traditional publishing now getting competition from self-publishing and hybrid publishing, there's even more reading room & reach.) I don't think we should be advocating for who should write what. What I think we *should* be advocating is: Everyone is free to write whatever they want. Does that make sense? Write whatever you want. Instead of "Write what you know," I like to think it's more accurate to say "Write what you're passionate about." Remember, no one is an expert on vampires and yet someone broke the rules, made 'em sparkly, and changed the paradigm. Same could be said for witches being women who ride broomsticks with black cats and wizards as old, bearded men with pointy hats; Hogwarts and Quiddich completely changed the name of the game. John Irving said the “write-what-you-know dictum has no place in imaginative literature” and I happen to agree. Should you do research? Yes! Should you read what's out there? Yes! Should you listen for the voices that aren't your own? Yes twice! Should you talk to people? Experts? Groups? Ask hard questions? Get confronted? Screw up? Make mistakes? Yes! All that and more. Remember Neil Gaiman's New Year's wish for us all:

"I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes."

It is the kindest gift you can give to anyone: children, teens, adults, strangers. The benefit of the doubt, the freedom to try, screw up and try again. The truth is, no one will "get it right" 100% of the time and you can't simply because everyone is different. You shouldn't be trying to write everyone's story (or, worse, try to get everyone's approval), but write the best story you can, the one that inspires YOU, the one that makes you sing inside, the one that demands to be told and do your characters the courtesy of lending them the voices that grow beyond you and your total experience, shaped by stereotype, television (or worse, the news) and get out there to see the world, experience something new and best yet, meet someone new. Listen. Learn. Get inspired. And then write.

What if Mr. African, Muslim, bisexual PhD wanted to write a fairy tale retelling of Snow White set in modern-day Amish Pennsylvania? Who is going to tell him that he can't? Not me. He can write whatever he likes. And if someone thinks we need an African, Muslim, bisexual story out there in the world, they can go write one if so inclined. I wouldn't want to limit *anyone* in their quest for inspiration and lifelong learning and I certainly don't want someone limiting mine. I have enough limitations of my own, thank you. I am still discovering new blind spots, new ignorances, new prejudices, and--if I'm lucky--making new mistakes because I'm out there in the trenches trying it out. I'm talking and listening and asking dumb questions and reading beyond my usual TBR list. And I'm writing the story that moves me and I'll *still* get things wrong. But that's how we learn. That's how we grow.

Go grow, make mistakes & make good art!

Fun Film Friday: Word Crimes

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Duh!

This recent piece of brilliance has been flooding the writerly corner of the Internet with intergalactic speed and it's no surprise why: it's *amazing* in the way only Weird Al can be! Our family has been a huge fan of his since the Dr. Demento Show (dating ourselves much?) and have seen him perform live twice; both times struck with what an amazing wordsmith and performer he is. Really, there's just not enough room to gush.

Now marry our love for the Polka Wonder with truly epic grammar magic that managed to turn Thicke's cringe-worthy song and even worse music video into an epic worthy of the ages. Truly, this is an insta-classic!

Fun Film Friday: Lessons Learned

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Okay, I know I've already hyperventilated about this everywhere, but I'd be remiss not to include my most anticipated movie to date as my Fun Film Friday: Lessons Learned by Tody Froud!

Lessons Learned Trailer from Toby Froud on Vimeo.



My childhood, like many, was shaped by the Muppets and Fraggles and other magic spun by Jim Henson and it was my fondest wish to grow up and work for the Jim Henson Company (as a miniaturist, although I'm a fair puppeteer) and I later applied for a writing job, just to see what would happen. (Nothing did, but I didn't want to move to New York, either.) I was shaped by movies like Labyrinth and The Dark Crystal. I own several books by Brian Froud and my daughter and I both have fairy statuettes by Wendy Froud (almost anything imaginable can be admired at The World of Froud's website) and the amalgamation of these two giant influences of my childhood dreams is almost too much to believe.

This film project is the first second-generation collaboration between Toby Froud (son of Brian and Wendy Froud and babe in the striped-pajamas ala Laybrinth) and Heather Henson (daughter of Jim and Jane Henson), something I never thought I'd see again in my lifetime. Lessons Learned smacks something of the old Storyteller series and more than a little bit of myth and magic and dark beauty--all things I adore!

Really, I can barely contain myself... *mind blown* *smiling dazedly* *giddy with glee*

Public Glee vs. the Private Abyss

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I've had a number of conversations that start the same way, people wondering just how much to share on blogs or Facebook or Twitter about their families, their kids, their photos or struggles, the truths they wanted to be open about versus the fact that they were authors with "fans" and didn't want to expose their lives to everybody. "How do you keep your public and private lives separate online?" My answer has always been: "I don't put my private life online."

This is only partially true. I am completely open about my geekery, my love of books and steampunk, costuming and gaming, cooking, karate, my passion for gender rights, GLBTQI advocacy and prevention education, I've even nicknamed my kids to share anecdotes and quotes, but there is a line I've drawn in the proverbial sand and since I'm not THAT big of a name, that has been enough for me to keep some details off the radar, and while it sometimes feels like a half-truth, I think it's good to keep some things private, especially when it involves other people.

But not when it's this.

I love writing--I have my whole life--but recently, I've stopped writing. This is bad in many ways, including the fact that I'm under contract, have hopes of publishing other books I've written and those I have planned, but mostly because writing is my go-to place, my solace, my escape from stress and pressure that rule my other lives* and to have that be the cause of stress and anxiety is tantamount to having my own hands turn against me, trying to choke my own throat--works in B-horror movies, but not so much in real life. It's a paralytic feeling. Being one who had a near-miss with paralysis, I'm not thrilled to get another taste.

Allow me to come clean:Collapse )
Thanks for listening.


* My other lives include wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, advocate, activist and a whole slew of other titles that involve worlds-upon-worlds that I do not share online. There is a great deal of my life that is (thankfully) counterbalanced by being an author, and I value the escape, the place to think things through and the ability to vent what cannot be said aloud in polite company. Books have always been my salvation. Aren't they yours?
** Never to an asylum, although that has been a deeply rooted, lifelong fear due to genetic predispositions in my family tree. It really helps to have a twisted sense of humor about these things!

Happy Independence Day!

Shiny!
To all those who celebrate: Happy 4th of July!

Be happy!
Be safe!
Be grateful for your freedoms!

*fizz* *crackle* *BOOM* *fwee*

Fun Film Friday: The Book of Life trailer

LUMINOUS
My first book, LUMINOUS, featured a Latina superheroine based on Dia de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead. (Full story starts here.) It wasn't intentional--I didn't start out thinking "I'm going to write a Latina book with a strong female protagonist and a diverse cast" because, honestly, when does THAT ever work? I can only blame the synthesis on the bizarre inner workings of my rant-tastic brain, where all good things spark and bump in the night. I blame the genesis when two disparate things collided:




and:



Add sprinklings of dark fantasy, psychotic murder and guardian angels and you've got something-not-quite-but-close to what I was up to with the Flow. Now the funny thing is that since its debut, I've written the TWIXT novels (INDELIBLE, INVISIBLE & two more coming up!) and many reviewers compared my style to other dark artists with twisted imaginations and faerie tale plots. On of my favorites was this:

“Strange, romantic, and at times fascinatingly grotesque,
this book reads like a Guillermo del Toro version of Twilight.”
BookYurt

So imagine my giddiness when I saw that a new stop-motion animation movie was coming out, Dia de los Muertos Guillermo del Toro style! Book of Life has all the color, music, imagination, adventure and heart that I'd ever wanted and here it was on screen. It's been years since I swam in the world of Consuela Louisa Aguilar Chavez, Giovanni "V" Russo, Sissy, Wish, Nikki, Abacus, Tender and Joseph Crow. It's a little like nostalgia and a lot like anticipation. I can't wait to see this movie!

"From producer Guillermo del Toro and director Jorge Gutierrez comes an animated comedy with a unique visual style. THE BOOK OF LIFE is the journey of Manolo, a young man who is torn between fulfilling the expectations of his family and following his heart. Before choosing which path to follow, he embarks on an incredible adventure that spans three fantastical worlds where he must face his greatest fears. Rich with a fresh take on pop music favorites, THE BOOK OF LIFE encourages us to celebrate the past while looking forward to the future." - IMDb




Hmm. Maybe the universe is trying to tell me something...

Steampunk's Wild West

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It's been a while since I squeed about steampunk art, but when I saw these iron sculptures from John Lopez Studio, I knew that I just had to share! It felt sort of like exploring an artistic nod to Firefly in another alt-universe.

(And you know how much I *adore* Firefly!)

Wash dino


These were a few of my favorites & why:

Horse Sculpture
I'm sure this draft horse could pull just about anything!
(Honestly, I pictured a locomotive at the end of this hitch-up.)

Dakotah best shot
Can you imagine wrangling a heard of *these* across the plains?
Makes me wonder what the First People warriors would look like...

triceratops
And this makes me smile in all kinds of ways.
Dinotopia meets Wild Wild West?



Personally, I don't have the acreage to show these beauties off, but I can dream! I imagine having one of these in the yard and what the neighbors might think... of course, more likely we'd have all the neighborhood kids over trying to ride one and parents snapping pictures, but then it'd be the perfect excuse for another Steampunk Tea Party! Hm...

Capn Tightpants


You should go check out the website at www.johnlopezstudio.com and get inspired! Me, I'm re-watching the entire Firefly series and mooning about what might have been...

Fun Film Friday: Brotherhood Workshop

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I'm a HUGE fan of stop-animation as well as LEGOs and while I know the latest movie has made a boom in the YouTube fandoms, I been enjoying the best of Brotherhood Workshop, which stood out from all the rest.

So if you love all things Harry Potter, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings parodies or really good how-to stop-motion animation, I give two thumbs up to these innovative animators and recommend you watch the entire channel.

Seriously: go get your geek on!

The Cranky Cave Troll (It explains so much!)



Orcs (Because celebrities ARE so unstable!)



These make me laugh & laugh & laugh--what better way to spend a Friday?
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*gazes out at the unfamiliar faces*
*pulls fourth book on the bottom shelf*
*door slides open*
*smiles*

Hello! Welcome to my humble corner of the blogosphere. If you're here because of the "My Writing Process" blog tour, grab a comfy chair, be careful of low sconces and don't mind the bust on the mantle--he thinks he's funny.

This meme-tastic post is coming to you LIVE from Ellen Booraem, author of SMALL PERSONS WITH WINGS, THE UNNAMEABLES and her newest novel, TEXTING THE UNDERWORLD, which is basically about this:

Perpetual scaredy-cat Conor O’Neill has the fright of his life when a banshee named Ashling shows up in his bedroom. Ashling is—as all banshees are—a harbinger of death, and she’s sure someone in Conor’s family is about to require her services. But she’s new at this banshee business, and first she insists on going to middle school.

Even as Conor desperately tries to hide her identity from his classmates and teachers, he realizes there’s no way to avoid paying a visit to the underworld if he wants to keep his family safe.




You can check out more insights about Ellen's books and how her brain works when you check out her website, ellenbooraem.com.

But right now we're here to talk about *process*--specifically, the writing process; specifically, mine. Take a teacup. Cream or sugar? Excellent. There are warm scones and chocolate-dipped ginger biscuits, if you'd like. Here's a fork--sorry, the pixies took the spoons again. Right. Here are 4 questions that might shed some light on the darker tetrahedrons of my mind:

1) What am I working on?

Having finished the rough draft for Book 3 of the Twixt series, which is currently undergoing an alias change, I am now working on the outline for Book 4, INVINCIBLE. Or at least that's what I keep telling my editor. Really what my brain is doing is playing catch-can with some time going to brainstorming the latest chapter of Joy, Ink, Inq, Graus Claude, Monica, Filly, Briarhook and the Cabana Boys, but also time-sharing with 3 other ideas including a near-future sci-fi book about gender, a murder mystery cloaked with Jewish mysticism & (*gasp*) a contemporary YA novel! My brain, it is verklempt! Honestly, it's enough to make anyone a tad mental.

Please do tell me if that portrait blinks again. Thank you.

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Hmm. Well, if there's one thing I've noticed about my reviews, both good and bad, is that my work is almost always described as "unique." I'd like to think of it as a compliment, as in "Wow! I've never read anything quite like this!" rather than "Wow! What the heck is this?!?" But bottom line: I like to take old myths and stories that have a toehold in our cultural realities and give them a good twist ala the Brothers Grimm, Guillermo del Toro or Hayao Miyazaki. I like turning things on their heads, mixing stuff up and changing rants--the things I'm most passionate about--into stories. Basically, I love to write the books I wish I could read, which tend to be dark, strange, quirky, dramatic, a little funny, a little thoughtful, very inclusive and cinematically beautiful.

I guess that makes me a little bit different.

3) Why do I write what I do?

Um...because that's the way my brain is wired? Next question!

4) How does my writing process work?

Ah. Now here's where things get interesting. I can shed a bit more light on my process now that I'm actually *in* it right now!



First, I have a "What If...?" question in mind, something that came to me as a character or a bit of dialogue or a place in the world that doesn't really exist and I write that down (since often these things come to me at inconvenient times including sleeping, driving or in the middle of writing something else at the time)! Next I follow the lead, filling in bits of scenes or things that will happen as we get from the Point A (the first spark of an idea) to Point Z (the end). I always know how the story is going to end, but often find that I cut the first 1-3 chapters as I get to know the characters, the world and the situation. It's more my introduction to my story than the real introduction to the book. (I'm not as smart as my readers!)



Next it's all about sitting down and writing. An ideal writing day goes like this: Wake up, Get kids ready for school, Drive. On the way home, I'm already thinking about what I'm going to write so that I'm geared up for the keys right when I walk in the door. If I'm lucky (and being disciplined), I sit down and write. I will write for hours and lose track of the time until either I have to a) eat lunch or b) go work out. (Karate is my drug of choice!) Then either I go back to writing, address errands, take a shower, do some other work--anything that I can and have to do on my own gets down first; things like dishes and laundry can be done when the kids are in residence but this is Quality Writing Time and I know what a precious commodity that is! Once school is over, I revert to Mom-mode and my focus is there until I tuck them into bed. This is when I used to be able to sit down and write for another 3 hours, but ever since the accident, I have found that I'm unable to keep that pace any longer and usually have to sleep. But still--I have a notebook on the nightstand and every once in a while I'm struck with something I *have* to write down and if a few scribbles aren't enough, I'm back up at my desk typing.



I write roughly 2,000-3,000 words a day and do so in total silence. I find that no matter how hip I'd like to be, music, cafes, coffeehouses, parks, moving objects or interesting people are way too shiny and distracting (SQUIRREL!) and I get no writing done. In fact, writing dates and retreats are more a time I treasure being with other fascinating, creative people as opposed to getting any actual writing done so, Word Count-wise, they are a total disaster. A terrible fate for an extrovert! Thus, I find myself often alone at a quiet computer and then needing to recharge at art shows, mad parties, writer's conventions and festivals in full costume. We do what we must. Lather, rinse, repeat at least five days a week for roughly 6 months until I have something vaguely book-shaped that I put aside for 4-6 weeks to think about what it's done before I crack it open and begin self-editing by reading the whole thing aloud (another reason why I must be alone and in quiet) before allowing anyone else to tear it twelve ways from Sunday. My rule is that at least 3-5 people who are not related to me by blood, marriage or friendship must rip it apart first before any official eyes see it. I find that this helps it be the best it can be before I send it off with a sigh and wave.

And start all over again with the next bright & shiny idea!

Thus, my take on the writing process. Um, you're drooling. Have another napkin. Did this help you? Or at least made you feel more sane and secure in your own methodology? I fear I should have begun this tour with a sign:


Yes. That's better.


So I'll add a concluding bit of advice that I've shared with all my critique groups and partners: *ahem* "You are the author, you know best--take what you want & leave the rest." If anything I shared here helps you, wonderful! If not, that's okay and look for another nugget of brilliance in the next stop along the way: one of my favorite fantasy writer friends, Maurissa Guibord, author of WARPED and REVEL!




Maurissa Guibord is a doctor, a writer, a cancer survivor (2 years, yay!) and insatiable story addict who lives on the coast of Maine. She loves books almost as much as she loves bookish friends. She's the author of two novels for young adults: WARPED, (Delacorte Press, 2011) which was a Rita award finalist for best young adult romance and REVEL (Delacorte Press, 2013). She has also written and published a number of short stories in the mystery genre. She’s currently working on her third novel for teens.

Website: maurissaguibord.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/maurissa.guibord
Twitter: @Maurissa_G

Look for her Writing Process Blog Stop Meme Thingie post about on June 12th at maurissaguibord.com.

Thanks for stopping by & you're always welcome to come again or visit me at:

Website: www.dawnmetcalf.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/dawn.metcalf.73
Twitter: @dawnmetcalf
Tumblr: dawnmetcalf.tumblr.com

*offers you another cookie*
*kicks baby dragon back discretely behind the curtain*
*waves*

My BEA Experience, 2014

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I am back from BEA and have enough energy to give a visual recap, which, in the end, looks something like this:

BEA 2014 haul
Highlights from the haul. See? I restrained myself, oh yes I did!


The plan was simple: I'd hang out with friends Jen & Jen over in Stratford, get up early so I could make my blogger breakfast at 8 a.m., catch a few friends' signings until my own at 11:30 where I would get to hug and laugh with the Harlequin Dream Team and associated author friends in line until we were released back into the wild whereupon I would get to fangirl to my heart's content on the BEA floor until catching dinner with Amalie Howard, Derek Silver and Mike Underwood. Friday was free to play. Then home to celebrate with a Grown Up Playdate with friends. Finis.

Can you hear the fates laughing? I can! HAHAHAHAHA! (I think Eddie Izzard said it best, but I digress.)

Essentially, this is basically what happened, but not quite. It began innocently enough by staying up way too late talking Interesting Things with Jen & Jen, who indulged me with my nervous prattle as I have a "thing" about being late (the "thing" being that I hate it with the heat of a thousand suns) and so I wanted to be very, very sure that I'd be on the early train on time in order to leave plenty of wiggle room to make the blogger breakfast. It was the whole reason that I was down early in the first place so I wanted to be as sure as houses, forgetting of course that houses can be easily blown over. So while we drove down (I can get lost in a paper bag so I depended on GPS and following the other car, discovering quickly that the three worst words in the English language are "Lost Satellite Connection"), got the tickets (YAY!) and were ready to board the train at 6:15 a.m., what we couldn't have anticipated was that a bridge somewhere down the line had gotten stuck in the "up" position. I soon learned that the two worst words in the English language are "Indefinitely Delayed."

I was, unfortunately to say, not taking this well. But Jen & Jen are good humored people and I am nothing if not resourceful! I asked around politely for news, checked in with the bus depot for any buses heading out, checked if we could confirm shuttle transportation around the problem site, called husband for advice, called friends for help, and basically sent filaments of inquiry out like so many kracken tentacles and came up with nary a sausage. (This is a Britishism I picked up during my Year Abroad...I blame the earlier Eddie Izzard reference.) Bottom line: bupkiss. Nada. Zilch.

What happened was that the train left bound for the trouble spot with warnings that there may or may not be a shuttle which might or might not get us into the city any time soon since the highway was blocked solid by all those people who were now avoiding the train. Fortunately, Amalie was nearby and volunteered to come get us and drive us around the back ways as long as she could get back to her house with a plumber coming at nine. She even got in her car with a kid and drove to rescue us...just as the bridge went down, the train cleared and we were on their way. Murphy's Law. I thanked her for being wonderful and apologized for zooming off, but vowed to make it up to her with some sort of grand gesture.

Alas, while we'd gotten on the train at 6:15, we arrived at Grand Central Station at 10:20--the blogger breakfast was long over and the free shuttles had just stopped running. Fortunately, we hailed a cab. Unfortunately, it got stuck in traffic. With my signing at 11:30, I managed to get inside and registered and to the booth at 11:15. I took this as a good sign, drank some water, bounced in my seat and smiled to my Dream Team and the first of some 250+ people who came out to have an advanced copy of INVISIBLE signed and receive a cool temporary tattoo of the cover art that looks like this:

Invisible Tattoo pic


Huzzah! I did it! I successfully signed my books at BEA!
*pause for dramatic effect* *drink water* *gird for battle*

Right! Armed with my smartphone and an impossible Wish List, I sallied forth to get coveted books, find biz pals, or at least say "Hi!" to lots of online friendly faces including Steve Brezenoff, A.S. King, Melissa Marr, Eoin Colfer, Holly Black, Becca Fitzpatrick, Jane Yolen, John Scalzi, Kate DiCamillo, Shannon Hale, Derek Silver, Kat Yeh, Frankie Diane Mallis, Jackie Dolamore, Susan Adrian and Shari Arnold. (I even got hugs!) All in all, the day looked--and felt--something like this:

BEA Dawn & Shari BEA Dawn & Rachel Cohen BEA Dawn & Frankie BEA Steve B BEA Scalzi BEA Kate DiCamillo BEA Dawn & Eoin Colfer BEA Dawn & AS King BEA Julie & Amalie & dragons BEA bag & Brooke & Dvorah BEA Dawn & Derek BEA Dawn & Jackie


Whew! What a whirlwind! But Amalie and I were off to meet up with Derek and Mike for dinner at Ninja, an adventure only slightly thwarted by the next cab that drove into traffic and after almost 20 minutes of full-filled nothing happening, we got out and walked the 11 blocks to dinner, only 30 minutes late. (Remember my "thing?" I was all about giving up the "thing" by this point!) The two experienced diners (Amalie and Derek) had a laugh watching the two inexperienced diners (Mike and I) having ninja staffers jump out at us, bang doors, leap towards us with trick knives, etc. But what the two experienced diners didn't realize was that both Mike and I were sitting on our hands trying to chant to ourselves not to do anything rash since we were both martial artists. Mike *did* manage to block and trap our wayward table magician's offending hand and I *did* lift an elbow and just touch someone's groin who appeared behind me to stab me gently in the throat--it was only fair to my mind--and so a great time was had by all with surprisingly good food and unsurprisingly great conversation. Unfortunately, we had to split before the big Rainbow Rowell Book Riot party because we'd eaten so late and Amalie and I went off to the Harlequin after-party after I changed into the sparkle and bling I brought for the occasion. Behold! Photo evidence with our editor, Natashya Wilson:

BEA Dawn & Amalie & Tashya
***Sparkle Sparkle!***


Train. Bridgeport. Drive. Collapse.
Wake. Rinse. Repeat.

On my second day on roughly four hours of sleep, I wasn't at my shiniest, but the trip was smoother and I wasn't "on" for the day, which makes me suspect that I may have been babbling nonsensically with anyone I met and spoke to that day (I'm thinking of a couple of darling bloggers in particular). Fortunately, I find that when you are in a good mood, are polite and surrounded by tons of like-minded bibliophiles reveling in books and bookish geekery, it's all good. I met up with fellow HQT authors Julie Kagawa, Michelle Madow, Amalie Howard, Alexandra Adornetto, Jennifer L. Armentrout, Robin Talley and Adi Alsaid for lunch at HK, gave hugs and thank yous to our hosts and scuttled off to snag the MG Buzz Panel where fellow Greenhouse sib, Kay Yeh, was being featured and bragged about by editor Alvina Ling for her darling THE TRUTH ABOUT TWINKIE PIE which, if I hadn't already had my copy, would have made me want to trample someone to get it. I got it signed with a smile from Kat herself and then meandered my way back to a bus. Then a train. Bridgeport. Drive. Home. (With a break to grab some hot soup and Airborne in an attempt to stave off the onset of BEA plague. Success!)

Of course, the next day I bemoaned not sticking around for greats like Cassie Clare, Maggie Stiefvater, Horn Book Awards, etc. but I was also very glad to be home and triumphantly present my family with books and hugs and kisses all around.

And that, my friends, was my BEA experience.