Turns out Baxter has a previously undiagnosed genetic heart defect, which had gotten quite serious, and the vet wasn't sure he was going to make it through the weekend. We cancelled the trip, and except for a couple of tweets and a header for the blog apologizing for the mess and confusion I went offline.
But I'm here with good news! Baxter is doing well, it's impossible to say if he'll live 4 months or 6 more years at this point but we're committed to making every moment count and enjoying his company. He's heavily medicated and being carefully monitored so fingers crossed that he'll beat the odds and have a long and healthy life (the crazy unlucky bit here is I've had 3 other cats with this heart condition and only Topaz lived past 6 years old, Baxter is currently 6). The other good news was that since Baxter was rallying and the big BEA trip was what had gotten me through all the unpleasantness of the past year the hubby made the executive decision that I was flying out to New York on Monday morning, and booked my hotel so that I couldn't back out. Within just a few hours I was at the airport and on my way. It's maybe the craziest, last minute, seat of my pants travel I've ever been on. And just like that I was in New York!
The Internet at my hotel was the pits though, so hence my further lack of Internet presence outside of previously scheduled posts.
I missed the Blogging Conference, which was unfortunate (I was really looking forward to meeting The Bloggess, my new personal hero), but word was that it was much the same as last year and a lot of the speakers were not actually book review bloggers so the info wasn't particularly relevant. For my first night I stayed at The Gem hotel, a sweet little boutique hotel 2 blocks away from the Javits Centre. I highly recommend it. It was a great price, had excellent customer service and was a nice, quiet room (with working Internet, included in the price!). And did I mention it was TWO BLOCKS away from Javits?? Amazing. Unfortunately I cancelled our reservation on Saturday and by Monday they had filled it, so I was only able to stay the one night.
|mmm Shake Shack!|
|Elizabeth Norris, Veronica Roth, Bethany Griffin and Aprilynne Pike|
That night I joined up with Amy and Alix of Romance Book Forum, and had fabulous free truck tacos (sounds sketchy but was instead fantastic on so many levels) and then hit the Penguin Bird Bash and the indie Pub night party with the smaller presses. I have to say, I've never been in a club with so many book people before, it was pretty funny. Amy introduced me to Alex Stone who she met at the Harper Collins party Monday night. He's a magician whose book Fooling Houdini comes out in 8 days. Can I just say? Hanging out with a magician is fun, though in all likely hood Alix's comment to Alex's tricks "I'd be more impressed if he did it naked" seems to have gone down in BEA history already as one of those classic moments (sort of like the biter last year actually, you know, the type of moment everyone hears about and remembers).
Thursday morning found a very tired me staggering out of bed with very sore feet and shoulders, and staggering all the way to the Javits in a very half asleep fashion. I was roundly rewarded for my efforts though by a significantly quieter day on the floor (despite the fear of all attending about the 1000 power readers that were set to show up Thursday. For the record I only spotted 2). I finally found the Quirk booth, which I had been hunting for all week, had a lovely chat with the Edgemount folks, who I also had troubles finding earlier and went to several very exciting signings. Among them, Kristin Cashore!! Who blew through an incredibly long line in a record amount of time and still took time to chat to each of us, as well as Maggie Stiefvater, Tessa Gratton and Brenna Yovanoff who were signing their very popular compilation The Curiosities from their Merry Sisters of Fate website.
The talk was relatively brief, and each of the authors either talked a bit about their book or read a bit from their book and then there was a really nice, laid back, signing. I had a great little chit chat with Meredith Zeitlin (author of Freshman Year and other Unnatural Disasters), and A.C Gaughen (author of the much raved about Scarlet). Yes, I bought Scarlet, and then I had dinner in Union square while watching a band, and THEN I went to The Strand, where I was very well behaved and only bought 4 books. I would congratulate myself but to be honest I think I was finally starting to hit book acquiring burn out (shocking, I know) and was also starting to have heart palpitations about packing all these buggers without the help of my clever husband.
Friday morning I spent two hours organizing myself and packing (which I managed pretty well, and not only fit everything I wanted but also got everything home undamaged!), and then took off for the Met to see the Schiaparelli and Prada: impossible conversations exhibit, which was spectacular. I finished off the day with a small walk through Central Park before heading to the hotel for what was to become the most stressful attempt to make a flight I've ever had in my life. Despite the best efforts of the most appalling customer service ever at the Marquis Marriott hotel, and one of the single worst cabbies in the history of NYC, I manage to make it out on my 8:10 flight for Toronto. Thank god for the amazingly flexible folks at Porter Airlines, who were both kind and generous with me- I made a flight I technically wasn't in time for, and with additional checked bags that were overweight! AND while semi hysterical from my two hour foray trying to get to Newark on time, and while having to pee so bad I could barely stand still. In all honesty I don't know how I made it through security without getting pulled aside for a full body cavity search, I must have seemed insane. Also thank god for the very large glass of wine Porter handed me as soon as we were at cruising altitude.
In the end I brought home 79 books (already arranged on my shelf by release date! Though I've had to start doubling up books on shelves, cringe), and had another wonderful time. I've met a bevy of wonderful new bloggers, and many of my favourite authors, many of whom I feel like I know from Twitter, but who I loved meeting in person at long last. Like last year, BEA was the ultimate extravaganza for book lovers to get together and do what they like best, gab books and socialize. I'm not likely to go next year, but if you haven't been before I highly recommend thinking about putting it into your travel plans.
Now it time to catch up on some reading and blogging!