How I Survived YALLWEST 2015!

Whew! Hello everyone! I know that it has been awhile! I’ve been SO very busy the past few weeks. Between WonderCon, viagra 60mg YALLWEST, malady Festival of Books and Star Wars Celebration…this girl is very busy in the month of April! I hope you’re all following me on Instagram and Twitter to keep up with my crazy adventures!

This previous weekend was the inaugural event of YALLWest. YALLFest has been taking place for a handful of years now and the brains behind it decided to create a sister event here in California, order all about YA. You can imagine my excitement for this event, especially when they announced that authors like Libba Bray and Richelle Mead and so on would be in attendance. I was SO excited for this event. I was approved for press, and set up a couple interviews with some authors (coming soon!) and was ready for the craziness!

And true craziness it was! It was the inaugural year so there were definitely some hiccups along the way but honestly it felt like a lot of other author/book/convention events that I’ve done in the past. It helps to tag team, it helps to have a battle plan and it also helps to know that some things are going to be sacrificed. You might have to miss a signing to get a panel or a panel in order to catch a signing. But all in all, it was an absolute blast!

Day One!

We arrived on Saturday, bright and early, and there was a nice loooooong line wrapped around the building. It took a bit for us to get in there but when we finally did, I was ready for it. There were already authors milling about and I spotted Richelle Mead! I basically DIED. I talked to her SUPER briefly but *sigh* it was awesome.

We immediately moved into the bigger area. There was a HUGE line to buy books (ah, but I had thought ahead!) and a HUGE line to get into the hall for the opening keynote with Ransom Riggs. We decided to go scope out Veronica Roth’s line and I’m glad we did. We ended up about 20 people into the line and we’ve all met Ransom so many times, missing his keynote wasn’t the total end of the world.

We met Veronica Roth, briefly and I got my Four book signed, which is the only one I hadn’t gotten signed yet. My sister, who I brought for the weekend as my helper, hadn’t met Veronica yet so I was excited for her more than anything haha. She had a blast meeting Veronica.

The rest of the day became a total blur! I met a ton of really great authors, like Richelle Mead (who I pretty much died over), Libba Bray, Susan Ee, Victoria Aveyard. SO many. There were so many authors to meet, and I was exhausted, and I barely ate or drank anything but it was so worth it to get the experience I wanted. There were so many amazing authors in attendance this year and it was just awesome.

Meeting Libba Bray was probably one of the best parts of the day. I’ve been reading her books for so many years and I’ve been wanting to meet her for so long. I told her I loved her books so much and I told her that I’ve had to buy her books multiple times because I just read them so much. She thanked me for providing her son with a college education in the future and even signed my book with that!

I also interviewed Richelle Mead as well. That was one of the most nerve wracking things I’ve ever done and I can’t believe that I got through the whole thing without being a total doofus. She was really sweet, and took a picture with me, and was extremely patient with me. I’m really glad I got that opportunity, for sure. I got all my books (except The Fiery Heart and Ruby Circle) signed, thanks to my sister, and a couple awesome people in line.

The best part of day one was the smackdown at the end of the day. Hosted by authors Shannon Hale and Brendan Reichs, it was a fun show full of games and authors reading some of the terrible things they wrote when they were teens. Seriously. So much fun. Then Libba Bray’s band, Tiger Beat, played and they were just a total blast. It was a long and a completely exhausting day but so worth it.

Note: none of the photos uploaded in the order they were supposed, and honestly, I don’t care haha!

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When E. Lockhart tried to read her old school fan fiction of Pippi Longstocking, she and Alex London couldn’t get more than a couple words out before literally cracking up. It was HILARIOUS.

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The fantastic picture that my friend Jessica took of me and Libba. SO fantastic!

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My signed book. I had to share this particular one because its just so great.

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I absolutely loved this picture of Sylvia, Cassie and I with the YALLWest surfboard!

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Me and Richelle Mead after our interview :)

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My super awesome awkward selfie with Richelle as she signed literally all of my books.

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Me and Kass Morgan, who writes the 100 series!

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My super AMAZING selfie with Libba Bray. Beautiful.

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Melissa de la Cruz and Margaret Stohl, introducing the Smackdown!

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My younger sister meeting Veronica Roth :)

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The YA author version of Hollywood Squares!

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Me and Susan Ee, the author of the Penryn and the End of the Days series.

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Veronica Roth during YA Taboo. She’s so fabulous!

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So I was walking past the Epic Reads booth when I ran into a friend of mine. We talked a bit and then she shared that she had gotten her hands on this book and I went into immediate, omg I need this NOW. I have been reading the Princess Diaries series since I was 12 years old. There was a long line for it and you had to spin to win it but I guess one of the ladies in the booth noticed me and decided to hand one over to me. And. I. Died. I literally started crying. Legit tears. Crying.

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My friends waiting in line to meet Veronica Roth.

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Shannon Hale and Brendan Reichs, hosting the Smackdown!

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Libba Bray’s band, Tiger Beat, rocking out!

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I look awkward and tired, but that sounds about right ;)

Day Two

Day two was absolutely amazing as well. The day was so nice, as this was held at Santa Monica Library, which was only a few blocks away from the beach, so it was just a beautiful day. It was also much more relaxing than the day before, as it was local author day and because I’m a local, I spent more time visiting with authors that I knew as friends. It was awesome.

I got my hands on a lot of free books, including a copy of Robin Benway’s Emmy and Oliver. I had already read it, having gotten an eARC of it but I was so excited to grab an actual copy of it and get it signed. Robin is so awesome.

I also grabbed a copy of Robin Schneider’s new book too, and an extra one as well, for a giveaway so get excited about that! I tried some new food at the food trucks, partied hard in the photo booth, and just had a great day.

I also managed to hang out at more panels than I had the day before. The lightning round panel was fabulous, and the final panel of the day was super cool, and I even got to participate as the official spin the wheel girl. They wrote a fan fiction up on stage, using books and characters created by Leigh Bardugo, Veronica Roth, Marie Lu and Ransom Riggs. SO much fun.

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Me and the super awesome Danielle Paige, who wrote Dorothy Must Die.

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Me and my dear friend, Alex. Both of us are aspiring authors and took the opportunity to jump up on stage. We know that one day we’ll be up on that stage again, not just as bloggers and readers, but as published writers!

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Me and my dear friend Jessica Brody. I swear, I’m much happier to see her than I look. (What is UP with that face…) I already have all of her books signed, of course, but I grabbed an extra copy of her amazing book, Unremembered, for a giveaway!

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Me and the SUPER adorable Robin Schneider.

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Me and Marie Lu. Also someone whose books I already own and have signed. But I had to say hi!

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Me and my awesome friend Tasha. If you don’t follow her on YouTube, you SO definitely should!

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I was taking a picture with the YallWest chairs when Alex London photobombed. Then he felt bad but I thought it was absolutely hilarious.

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This is actually a really awesome picture of me and Robin Benway. I adore her and you MUST pick up Emmy and Oliver when it hits bookstores in June.

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Another awesome author friend of mine. So glad I got to stop by and say hello to her!

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I was a terrible person and snuck a couple pictures of Veronica Roth while she was moderating a panel.

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Me and the absolutely darling Christine, who is a pretty well known BookTuber. She’s such a sweetheart and I’m sure you all totally know who she is!

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Another picture of me and Alex being silly on stage.

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The lightning round panel, where authors got asked questions and had to think of the very first answer that came to mind. It was really fun to watch, especially since I really love the authors that were on stage!

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Me and the darling Morgan Matson. I adore her so much and we talked about how we had barely any pictures together so we took one together!

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My book haul! The two tall piles are all my signed books from the fest. The small pile are all the extras I grabbed for…you guessed it, a giveaway!! So many good ones. Keep an eye out for that, because its coming soon!

All in all, I had an amazing time. I spent the weekend with a ton of great friends, met new ones, met internet friends in real life, and even met a couple of you guys! I got to talk about books and writing and I fangirled hard over a ton of awesome authors. I even got to interview one of my favorite ones!

I’m really looking forward to YALLWest next year and I am actually maybe hoping to make it to YALLFest in November! We shall see. Now I have a nice break until mid-May when I shall return to the book world for the RT Book Lovers Convention! EEK!

2 thoughts on “How I Survived YALLWEST 2015!”

  1. Very neat! I’ve seen you all over the place on Twitter, and finally thought I’d show up and check out the blog! You look like you had a fantastic time, and I’m very envious. There’s nothing better than meeting and swooning over favorite writers. Smart move beating the rush to Veronica Roth’s line ;) Where can I find the interview with Richelle Mead? Is it up online, or was it an in-the-moment thing? Either way, kudos to you for scoring that opportunity. I had the chance to interview Lemony Snicket a couple years back and it was pretty much the best thing ever. I’m so glad I found this blog!

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