I warn you in advance, this is the longest blog post ever. But it has lots and lots of pictures. So at least its pretty. Mostly…
I’ve officially decided something: my friends and I are absolutely crazy!
We had been dying to attend the Teen Day events of the RT Convention ever since my friend Cassie had attended the 2014 convention in New Orleans. It looked like a ton of fun, and she had photo booth pictures with authors and she brought home a ton of really awesome stuff and a ton of amazing authors go, that never seem to make it west to California and we knew we had to go.
So we started planning. And here’s the thing: we are big talkers. We’re always like, we’re going to go here and do this and whatever and…we. Never. Do. It. Seriously. Big talkers here. We don’t get very far haha.
So putting this together: booking our hotel room, renting a car, buying our tickets for Teen Day, all of that? Totally huge for us. Maybe not for others, but I think sometimes it boils down to the fact that we are damn spoiled. We hardly ever have to leave the comfort of our LA backyard to see all the authors we want. But we got our butt into gear and we saddled up and drove 30+ hours there and 30+ hours back in order to spend ONE day with a bunch of super amazing authors.
But it turned out to be SUCH an awesome time. First off, we decided to road trip. One, it was going to be a bit cheaper, especially since we could haul all of our books with us, and two, because who doesn’t want to go on a road trip! I’ve actually never legitimately been on one before and I knew I needed to make this happen.
The way there was SUCH a blast. We left late Wednesday night, and drove through Arizona to the Grand Canyon, down through New Mexico to Roswell, through Texas to Arlington (needed to see that baseball stadium) and finally, into Dallas, where the RT Convention was taking place. We also brought along Flat Cassie because our friend Cassie could not road trip with us, and met us in Dallas on Friday.
Starting the trip off right with some 7-11 food. Because that’s how we roll.
Made it to Arizona!
What you can’t see here is that I’m absolutely TERRIFIED that I’m going to die. I absolutely HATE heights.
Always, always, always have to represent books. Even when the scary but absolutely beautiful Grand Canyon is in the background.
Made it to New Mexico!
Me, an alien and Flat Cassie in Roswell, NM. The city itself was fairly disappointing but my friends and I always manage to turn it into a good thing ;)
Made it to Texas!
At the time of this picture taking, I had yet to read Stay With Me. I finished it last night so now this picture has a little more meaning haha. But while on this road trip, my friends and I fell only *slightly* in love with Waffle House. And Jax…
Now, its no secret that I’m a total baseball nerd. A HUGE one. I love all sports but baseball is near and dear to my heart. UGH. I love it. So my huge bucket list item is to hit every baseball stadium on the MLB circuit. Well, on the way to the baseball stadium, we ran into the football stadium…and I had to stop. Because its beautiful and looks like a damn spaceship…
I did eventually make it to the baseball stadium ;)
My dad’s favorite player ever is Nolan Ryan, and he’s passed on that NR love to me, of course, so I had to take a picture with the statue!
Oh yes, and the street sign too!
We made it to Dallas safe, checked out Waffle House (seriously, so yum), the Dallas Cowboys stadium AND the Texas Rangers stadium, and then checked into our hotel. We eventually picked up Cassie from the airport, and got ready for a dinner with the super awesome and amazing Tonya Kuper.
For those of you who don’t know (or just don’t pay attention to my IG at all), Tonya is the debut author of Anomaly. She’s awesome, super sweet, perfectly nerdy and her debut book is fantastic. She invited us to hang out that Friday and I was so excited for it. She turned out to fit in SO well with us. We talked all night about all kinds of stuff from books to boys to food to cupcakes back to books and boys and it was just the best. We introduced her to the wonders of a BJ’s pizookie AND the amazingness of a Sprinkles ATM. Because, yes, even I can sniff out cupcakes in a totally new state.
Us at BJ’s :) We look like we’re having a fun, classy dinner together as ladies but oh, we had the best time, laughing and all of that.
CUPCAKES. I love cupcakes and I think we might have made a cupcake monster outta Tonya ;)
Yes. Yes, that is me in a dress. I had to pair it with Converses so I didn’t feel totally weird…
The next day it was all about RT. We packed all over our books in the rental car (which was SO hard, considering our rental was so little and we manage to pack a punch when it comes to book luggage) and headed down to the Hyatt. We picked up our wristbands, got in line, and waited. And waited. And waited.
I had an AMAZING time at RT, I really did but I will tell you this: there are definitely some hiccups that could have made my day better. One, the fact that the Giant Book Fair with all the signings started at 11 and we didn’t even get in the door til about 11:30? Yeah, not a fan of that. You only get 3 hours to run around like a nutcase and I wanted every minute of it that I could.
I also didn’t like that they had a rule of only 10 books into the room at a time. You had to check your bag at a bag check, take the books in, get them signed, and get them checked out. I can see why they did it, because they wanted to separate the books you brought with you from the ones you grabbed from an author’s table to buy BUT it was a hassle, an annoyance and it made it so I missed out on a TON of authors. I met a ton of great ones too but I was irritated.
Luckily, there was the Teen Day party that night. We got in line for it, and ended up scoring a table with some other fangirls and authors, Liz Czukas and I feel so bad for not remember the other’s name. I’m horrible. But anyway, we had to do a trivia contest, all about YA books, and we totally rocked it. We got a perfect score, along with another table, which means we got to grab the swag bags and head into the swag rooms first. Of course, Sylvia and I had to sit out because, you know, being adults and all LOL. But Liz, aka Ellie Cahill in the NA world, grabbed an ARC of her new book and passed it along to me.
In the end, we managed to get our hands on some bags and swag, and ARCs, once all the teens had their turn so that was awesome. Then the rest of the time was spent eating, mingling amongst the authors and just having a total blast. All the books I had not gotten signed at the book fair, I managed to get signed at the party. And then I was able to hit the photo booth not only with the awesome Tonya Kuper but also the one and the only, Kiera Cass. Shenanigans went down.
I got matching RT/Road Trip bracelets for me and the homies ;)
We ran into our dear friend Morgan Matson, who we know very well back home in California. We were surprised to see her there because she wasn’t an official attendee of RT so it was like an unexpected reunion!
Cora Carmack. She knew who I was, and addressed me by name before I even approached the table, and we hadn’t even met in real life. I died, only slightly.
Me and Liz Czukas. SUCH a sweetheart. I’ve read one of her books and can’t wait to dive into her NA one!
Me and my queen, Richelle Mead. I swear, I’m much happier to meet her than my face shows.
Me and Sara Raasch. If you haven’t read Snow Like Ashes yet, you are so sorely missing out.
Me and Bethany Hagen, who writes Landry Park. I managed to score a copy of the second book in the swag room, and I was pretty stoked.
Me and Katie Cotugno, author of How to Love and 99 Days. I swear, again, I am much happier than my face suggests.
This absolutely darling picture of me and Kiera Cass ;)
SUCCESS. Finally meeting Jennifer Armentrout aka JLA aka J Lynn aka I love her. And the beautiful model that graces the cover of Wicked.
Me and the amazing, one of a kind, fantastic Tamora Pierce. I cried, I babbled, I made a complete fool of myself. I can’t even begin to describe the feeling of meeting her. It just blew my mind. I can’t. I just can’t still.
The photo booth with Tonya and Kiera! I had Kiera sign mine because why not?
Tamara Ireland Stone, who just wrote an amazing book called Every Last Word about OCD and anxiety that was so close to my heart. It was beautiful.
Me and Victoria Scott. I adore her so much and she told me my pandora is a penguin and that’s all that matters in my book ;)
The ever so lovely Gretchen McNeil :)
Kate Brauning, whose book, How We Fall, I snagged at the event. Tonya had talked it up SO much the night before that all four of us KNEW we had to get our hands on it!
My dear, dear Meg Cabot. She was blown away that I had ten books for her, and I was like, you have a million books out AND I’ve been reading you since I was 12…do the math lol
my haul from the day. I brought a ton of books but I also got a bunch, and a TON of swag AND that tote bag is the best. Its actually sitting right next to me, I’m massively in love with it.
The next day, we hit the road again and headed back to California, making some stops on the way. We said one last farewell to Waffle House (oh, please, come to California), took Cassie back to the airport and set off. It was a long, long drive home but we made a few stops. We hit the Oklahoma border, in order to say we visited one more state, the Four Corners monument, and Phoenix, in order for me to the Diamondbacks stadium.
It felt SO good to be back in California though. I know I had not been gone for long, but when you’re crammed into a tiny car with a ton of luggage (mostly books…we are SO getting a bigger car next time), it feels good to get out of it. I missed the California sun, and I missed home. I’m definitely excited to go on road trips again in the future but I’ll definitely be prepared in different ways, so I’m not so homesick so fast!
We were quite sad saying goodbye to the Waffle House.
We were driving along when Cassie spotted this out of nowhere. Jax is the main guy in Stay with Me and owns a bar so this was absolutely perfect.
Randomly ran into the Texas Motor Speedway while driving out of Dallas. The sports nerd in me had to stop.
No biggie, just lying in the middle of the bridge, over the Red River, dividing Oklahoma and Texas.
Super stoked to be in Oklahoma. We only saw a small part of it but it was beautiful!
Reading in four different states at once at the Four Corners monument. I’m that talented.
We found a volcano and super wanted to go visit it. But then we realized it was super far off our path and didn’t do it. So instead we took random pictures in the woods. Cuz that’s how we do things.
The absolutely gorgeous Chase Field. The people working there were so awesome and it made me miss my Mark Trumbo immensely.
Very happy to be back in California ;)
All in all, it was an amazing time. SUCH an incredible experience and I definitely want to road trip again, for much longer, but with stops at hotels this time because I’m still exhausted and I got home three days ago LOL. But it was a blast. I can’t wait for next year’s RT, especially since it’ll be in Vegas and that’s just a short drive compared to driving allllll the way to Texas. I’m so grateful to all three of my friends, Sylvia, Alex and Cassie for putting up with me, especially Sylvia and Alex because it takes true friendship to put up with your friends that much in a teensy tiny car.
If you’d like to see more pictures, check out the #EpicFangirlRoadTrip hashtag on Instagram for pictures from all four of us!
Until next time!
Oh, and make sure you come back to this blog in just a couple days to celebrate my blog’s THIRD birthday! EEK!