Event Recap: Ontario Teen Book Fest 2016!

Hello everyone! This past Saturday was the sixth annual Ontario Teen Book Fest and my fourth year in a row attending. I say every single year that it is my favorite event of the year to attend, patient and I completely mean that. When I first discovered this fest back in 2013, I was chasing down Jessica Brody, Stephen Chbosky and Marie Lu. I was a brand new blogger, still sort of getting my experience with it, and I bravely asked my dear friend Courtney, librarian extraordinaire and brain child of TBF, if I could come and interview the authors attending.

The rest is sort of history. That fest completely changed my life! I met authors like Andrew Smith and Leigh Bardugo and Gretchen McNeil and made connections, and sort of bonded myself to this event. I’d like to think I’m a part of the team, like the rest. Check out my recaps from 2013, 2014, and 2015.

But this year was something bigger, and different. Last year, Courtney asked me if I could come back and be a moderator for a couple panels, and I accepted immediately. At the time, I had no idea that I would be published by this point, that The Awakened would be a real and tangible thing! So not only did I attend this event as Sara, the official TBF blogger, but also as Sara, the moderator, and Sara Elizabeth Santana, the author of The Awakened.

Which made it an entirely new but amazing experience for me.

I showed up early for the event, as per usual, ready for a very busy day. I’ve been attending the author breakfast portion of the event every single year that I’ve attended, but this year definitely felt different. I wasn’t just the blogger anymore, I had made it, I was an author, and I definitely felt that. And let me tell you something, guys, it felt AMAZING. These authors have become friends to me over the years and it felt so good to have Andrew and Jessica and Brad and Michelle coming up to me, hugging me, saying hello, congratulating me on the release of The Awakened. And it felt good, as always, to make new friends, and be treated as a colleague with the authors I wasn’t as familiar with.

I even got my own special guide for the day, and she was SUCH a rock star.

I was able to talk SO much about The Awakened, and I loved every minute of it. The Awakened has been sort of the center of my life the past 2 1/2 years, so its sort of like my baby and I love bragging about her. I thought it was SO awesome that Courtney gave the moderators (myself, Robin Reul, and E. Katherine Kottaras) the opportunity to stand up in front of everyone, during the opening keynotes, and talk about our books.

I was SO incredibly nervous getting up in front of everyone to talk about my book, and I hadn’t really prepared anything because I figured I would just wing it, but it went really well! I felt so supported up stage, after Courtney introduced me, saying she was proud of me, and gave me a big hug. AND I got a fair amount of cheers, both from the audience and the authors in the front row. I made a few people laugh too, which always is a good thing, right?

So much sass in one picture. Thanks Kathy Kottaras for the picture haha.

After that were the keynote speakers: Jay Asher, Marissa Meyer and Andrew Smith, all who had SUCH great speeches, made us laugh and made us think. Seriously, jus tbeing in the same room as them, felt so so so cool.

After that, was my first panel. The first panel ever that I’d be moderating. OH, I was so nervous. I have never moderated a panel before and I am not the biggest fan of public speaking, but I was excited and hopeful that it would go super well. My first panel was all about sci-fi and fantasy books and the world building that went into it, and it included Andrew Smith, Stephanie Diaz, Nicole Maggi and Mary Weber.

And it went really well! I think. I hope. The authors were all super supportive and encouraging and had such great answers, and it was awesome discussing all of the fun of world building with them, and people in the audience were SO engaged and asked great questions and I felt SO much more confident after this panel.

After this, we had our lunch break, and you know, when authors get together and eat Panera, silly stuff tends to happen…

Love these guys haha.

After lunch was the Author Speed Dating. After Courtney introduced it a couple years ago, its become my favorite part of the fest. It gives everyone a chance to mingle with an author for five minutes…and you really get the chance to mingle with most of them! This year I was one of the table hopping authors and let me tell you: it is both incredibly fun and incredibly intense. I thought I would lose my voice by the end of it! But it was also so much to be able to talk to so many readers and answer their questions about The Awakened and about writing and all of that. I handed out about a million bookmarks and I think some of them really were excited about my book!

Then came my second panel. I honestly thought I was going to be more nervous for this one because Marissa Meyer was on the panel and she wrote the Lunar Chronicles, which I LOVE, but it was just so much fun. The panel was all about writing series, and myself, Jessica Brody, Marissa Meyer, Stephanie Diaz and Nicole Maggi, talked and laughed and our room was full to the max and it was SO great. I really enjoyed it and several people came up to me to tell me that it had went well and I did a good job!

Eek, they’re all looking at me!

Lastly, there was the signing for the day. I was so lucky to be able to attend the signing as an AUTHOR this year. I intended to have WAY more books available but due to shipping issues (isn’t that the way…), I only had SIX books available for sale and they went SO SO fast. According to all the awesome people at Once Upon A Time, people kept coming up and asking for The Awakened and I really have to credit being able to talk about it during the opening stuff, and during speed dating for that happening. I felt so so bad that I didn’t have any books for anyone but I ran out of bookmarks, signed books for some people, and talked to a TON of other people about my book and it was SO awesome. It felt surreal and bizarre and WONDERFUL.

Even better…I walked into the room, and was looking for my table. Each table had two authors, and when I spotted mine, I was so surprised and slightly intimidated by the fact that I was at the same table as my idol, Andrew Smith. We are good friends, so it was awesome, but I really felt like I made it, sandwiched in between Andrew and Jay Asher!

I seriously love everything about this picture. Not just that we all look like we’re having a great time, but also that I am a part of it.

Afterwards, I enjoyed dinner and drinks with some of the authors and volunteers and it was a perfect end to such a great day.

Me and my awesome friend Mina

With my awesome friend Krystal, who was also a beta for The Awakened!

With the awesome, Kathy Kottaras

The lovely Marissa Meyer

The super awesome Nicole Maggi, who I’m so stoked to have as a new friend!

Two of my favorite people in the entire world: Jessica Brody and Brad Gottfred. Two incredibly awesome people, and two big supporters of mine. LOVE them both so much.

At the end of the day, it was another amazing TBF. I loved being there, surrounded by people as passionate about reading and writing as I am. I loved being a moderator for the first time, and being able to do so with old friends and new friends. And I loved being able to talk to people about my book. I’m so proud of it, and it felt good to have people talk about it and wanting to buy it and asking me about it and telling me that it sounded so good. Things like that will literally keep me happy for days on end.

Thank you to everyone who makes this such a great event…all the authors and volunteers and Once Upon a Time and all the bloggers that helped on the tour…everyone for making this another great year. This still remains my favorite event of the year and I already can’t wait for next year!

*********

Event Recap: Epic Fangirl Road Trip and RT Convention 2015!

I warn you in advance, buy information pills 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, buy information pills 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.

2015-05-13 23.25.19

Starting the trip off right with some 7-11 food. Because that’s how we roll.

2015-05-14 03.00.04

Made it to Arizona!

2015-05-14 07.17.52 HDR 2

What you can’t see here is that I’m absolutely TERRIFIED that I’m going to die. I absolutely HATE heights.

2015-05-14 08.07.58-1

Always, always, always have to represent books. Even when the scary but absolutely beautiful Grand Canyon is in the background.

2015-05-14 13.48.17

Made it to New Mexico!

2015-05-14 23.23.35

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 ;)

2015-05-15 00.55.16

Made it to Texas!

2015-05-15 08.44.03

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…

2015-05-15 09.33.18

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…

2015-05-15 11.39.58

I did eventually make it to the baseball stadium ;)

2015-05-15 11.59.29

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!

2015-05-15 12.09.02 HDR

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.

2015-05-15 22.23.41

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.

2015-05-15 23.12.44

CUPCAKES. I love cupcakes and I think we might have made a cupcake monster outta Tonya ;)

Screen Shot 2015-05-21 at 4.53.11 PM

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.

2015-05-15 20.15.47

I got matching RT/Road Trip bracelets for me and the homies ;)

2015-05-16 15.14.46

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!

2015-05-16 13.08.23-1

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.

2015-05-16 23.07.17

Me and Liz Czukas. SUCH a sweetheart. I’ve read one of her books and can’t wait to dive into her NA one!

2015-05-16 23.09.50

Me and my queen, Richelle Mead. I swear, I’m much happier to meet her than my face shows.

2015-05-16 23.10.14

Me and Sara Raasch. If you haven’t read Snow Like Ashes yet, you are so sorely missing out.

2015-05-16 23.10.53

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.

2015-05-16 23.11.23

Me and Katie Cotugno, author of How to Love and 99 Days. I swear, again, I am much happier than my face suggests.

2015-05-16 23.12.17

This absolutely darling picture of me and Kiera Cass ;)

2015-05-16 23.13.58

SUCCESS. Finally meeting Jennifer Armentrout aka JLA aka J Lynn aka I love her. And the beautiful model that graces the cover of Wicked.

2015-05-16 23.14.26

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.

2015-05-16 23.14.53

The photo booth with Tonya and Kiera! I had Kiera sign mine because why not?

2015-05-16 23.15.22

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.

2015-05-16 23.16.10

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 ;)

2015-05-16 23.16.31

The ever so lovely Gretchen McNeil :)

2015-05-16 23.17.04

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!

2015-05-16 23.18.28

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

2015-05-19 16.12.03

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!

2015-05-17 13.57.24

We were quite sad saying goodbye to the Waffle House.

2015-05-17 14.06.27

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.

2015-05-17 14.25.42

Randomly ran into the Texas Motor Speedway while driving out of Dallas. The sports nerd in me had to stop.

2015-05-17 19.18.58

No biggie, just lying in the middle of the bridge, over the Red River, dividing Oklahoma and Texas.

2015-05-17 20.11.09

Super stoked to be in Oklahoma. We only saw a small part of it but it was beautiful!

2015-05-18 08.14.28 HDR-1

Reading in four different states at once at the Four Corners monument. I’m that talented.

2015-05-18 12.21.41

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.

2015-05-18 15.59.44

The absolutely gorgeous Chase Field. The people working there were so awesome and it made me miss my Mark Trumbo immensely.

2015-05-18 18.42.25

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!

Event Recap: Star Wars Celebration!

I know. I know, shop I know, case I know. I’m so late on my recap. But April legit has been the craziest month ever. I don’t know why everyone seems to think that this is the best month to schedule every thing at the exact same time but apparently it is.

I first heard of Star Wars Celebration about two to three years ago when a friend of mine went to the one in Florida. I thought, ohmygod, this is the coolest thing ever and I need to go. Then I found out the next one was going to be in Anaheim. Right down the street from me. Heaven. Tickets went on sale about two years ago and I knew I had to go until I saw the ticket price. 140 dollars. At the time, I was legit making only about 100 dollars a week so there was just absolutely no way I was going to make this work.

Fast forward to about a couple months ago. I knew it was fast approaching and they kept announcing epic guests. Ian McDiarmid. Mark Hamill. Anthony Daniels. Kenny Baker. Peter Mayhew…and then the clincher, Carrie Freakin Fisher. I had to go. I learned I had a discount through my job (the House of Mouse) and knew that I just had to get there.

But an even better thing happened! I applied for press, because I have such a “why not” attitude and I was gifted a beautiful media pass, for four full days at the convention for FREE. AWESOME.

2015-04-16 12.57.12

I can’t even begin to explain the amazing time that I had that weekend. It was one of the best cons I’ve ever been to, even with the craziness of lines and the drama of the autograph tickets and all of that. I was surrounded by a million people that enjoy and love Star Wars just as much and more than I do. Everyone fangirled (fanboyed) together and there were so many cast members there and people in such epic cosplays and I can’t even begin to explain what a great time I had.

So instead of boring you will the details of all four days, I’m going to give you the highlights:

Taking pictures with everyone in their cool cosplays while I read my book. Which is something that I started doing with my friends at Disneyland and I decided it would be a super fun thing to do at the convention and omg it came out so great that now I’m going to do it all the time. It was seriously so much fun to do.

2015-04-17 15.41.13

2015-04-17 15.45.37

2015-04-17 15.53.04

2015-04-17 15.59.45

2015-04-17 16.01.15

2015-04-17 16.24.33

2015-04-17 16.54.24-2

2015-04-17 17.19.31

2015-04-17 18.35.29

2015-04-17 18.52.03

There are a lot more but I just can’t even haha. They’re all so awesome. These are my favorites though.

Going to the Ian McDiarmid panel. For those of you who don’t know, he played Senator/Emperor Palpatine in the movies and he’s just so epic. His panel was seriously fantastic. He did a reading of the Shakespearean Star Wars and he just went into it, no problem. Seriously epic man.

2015-04-16 16.10.21

Family Feud: Star Wars style. Dark vs Light. SO hilarious plus my beautiful man crush Matt Lanter was on the panel (he does the voice for Anakin Skywalker in the Clone Wars, if you didn’t know). It was a TON of fun.

2015-04-16 18.32.57

UGH he’s so beautiful. Its not even fair. ;)

The Carrie Fisher panel. Seriously this was my main goal of the entire weekend. Because…its Carrie Fisher. Princess Leia. LIFE. And it was so much fun. She is one of the most eccentric people I have ever met and she’s such a weirdo, but if you know anything about her or her life, you totally get why. But her panel was totally wild and I had a blast.

2015-04-17 13.43.01

Taking our photo with Carrie Fisher. This actually might be the absolute best part of the whole weekend. We waited in line, and when we finally got up there, I was like, I’m doing it. I’m asking if I can kiss Carrie Fisher because WHY NOT. And I did it and it was beautiful.

2015-04-18 09.06.46

I will never ever ever ever ever ever get over the fact that I kissed Princess freakin Leia. Dream come true, I’m not even kidding. I’m pretty sure Princess Leia was my first girl crush. I still want to be her when I grow up. Except I want a pink lightsaber because…well…duh, its me.

Getting my Carrie Fisher autograph. It was such drama, seriously, I almost cried a couple times because they need to work on a better system for the autographs. Plus I finally was able to get in line because my ticket number was called, and THEN I proceeded to wait 3 hours in line. But I had to interview Karen Hallion, and I didn’t want to ditch out on that so I didn’t know what to do. Luckily one of the workers gave me a secret password that got me to the front of the line so that I could go interview Karen. Sweet!

So because Carrie’s line was so damn long, she wasn’t personalizing. She would either write “Leia”, something else that I honestly can’t remember or “Nice boobs”. Which is hilarious. She was talking to the guys in front of me and she wrote “Happy No Boobs Day” on their pictures and I could not stop laughing. Then I walked up and she was like, “whoa, you have BIG boobs” and I literally could not stop laughing. So she wrote that on my picture. She also said we looked like goobers in our picture.

2015-04-19 13.47.38

Meeting and Interviewing Karen Hallion. I adore her so much. She’s just so amazing and I love all of her Disney crossover art with Doctor Who and Star Wars and Harry Potter. I just love it. I was so excited to both be able to meet her and get the opportunity to interview her. Hopefully that will be going up on my YouTube channel quite soon!

2015-04-19 17.44.51

I know. I really should take the picture off the camera and upload that haha. I’m SO lazy. Worst. Blogger. Ever.

Seeing all the GIRLY stuff. Seriously. One of my biggest things is that you can be a total girl and still be into nerdy stuff and be a badass. My favorite characters are the ones that are gorgeous and classy and all that but also are smart as hell and can kick ass. You shouldn’t have to choose, you should be able to be all of it. And I liked seeing that. My favorite was this awesome pink R2 unit. I want it. I’m still on the search for a pink lightsaber though…

2015-04-16 17.22.31

Going to Star Wars Night at Angel Stadium and Getting my Jedi Rally Monkey. Seriously guys. These are two of my absolute favorite things in ONE. You guys know how I feel about baseball and my Angels. Add in Star Wars and its like…the most beautiful thing in the entire world. I ended up leaving the game early because I went on short notice and didn’t have a jacket with me and it was freezing as hell, but its okay because I got my rally monkey and that makes me happy.

2015-04-20 19.42.49

All in all, it was a seriously epic weekend. I had such a blast, got to see all kinds of super cool Star Wars things, took a ton of amazing pictures (that I swear will be uploaded to FB super soon) and just had an amazing time. I’m super sad that the next one will be in London because I want to go again and there’s just NO way this girl is getting to London next year. Oh well. But again, a totally fun event. They need to work on their autograph system because that was frustrating as hell and really unorganized but other than that, I really did have SUCH a blast and I can’t wait til it comes back to the US so I can go again.

May the Force be with You!

*****

Event Recap: Gallifrey One 2015 – The 26 Seasons of Gallifrey One!

HELLO EVERYONE!!! How are you doing this fine fine fine week? I hope you all had such a wonderful weekend and that you had a great Valentine’s Day whether you’re with someone or not. This weekend was my first Valentine’s Day solo in…7 years? Something like that…and you know what? I had an awesome time. Life is what you make of it!

This weekend I spent time at my FOURTH Gallifrey One Convention…the all Doctor Who convention taking place in Los Angeles every February for the past 26 years!

This is my favorite convention, information pills easily, ambulance of all time. I love everything about it. I love that its all about Doctor Who. I love that its personal and small and you get to interact with the guests all the time. I love that there are always super great guests and that everyone, from the big stars, to the sound people or costume designers, are all SO awesome to talk to. I meet a ton of people, sing karaoke til five am most nights, and just have a blast. I love that I get to see old friends that I don’t see very often or that I only get to see at Gallifrey One and I also get to make new ones as well. I literally look forward to this weekend all year long, I just have too much fun.

Day Zero

Yay for Lobby Con/Day Zero/Let’s Party Too Hard So We’re Sick the Rest of the Weekend. Sort of.

The con officially starts on Friday morning with programming and that such but there’s an unofficial Lobby Con, where people show up, check in to their hotel rooms, exchange ribbons, hang out, eat food, attend the ice cream social and karaoke to the break of dawn (but no, really…) My friends basically did all of the above, because we are all STOKED to finally be there!

10978708_792420537513475_5230255475489081787_n

The look that the registration lady gave me when I said I wanted this to be my name haha…

10968205_792420674180128_5733354687916567614_n

Its not Gallifrey One until we do karaoke. And Spice Girls karaoke. With our dear good friend, Richard Dinnick.

13775_792420717513457_5333470598144004740_n

My friend Ana and I :)

10978558_792420697513459_6948254939918104997_n

Richard Dinnick with me, and my friends Crystal and Ana

Day One

Its officially time for Gallifrey One! I was tired, maybe a tad bit hungover (but just a little!) but totally ready for the first day!

10991411_792420837513445_204068455257000280_n

10991260_792420974180098_5855201580766453904_n

This year’s Gallifrey One was HEAVY on Torchwood, the Doctor Who spin off show centered around Captain Jack Harkness. Above you see, Naoko Mori, who played Tosh on the show. She also played Nicola in Spice World, which made me fangirl a little ;)

11001843_792421077513421_7499603221915156681_n

The lovely and somehow incredibly incredibly sexy Burn Gorman, who played Owen on Torchwood.

1484449_792421190846743_295981557087229134_n

Yes, this is me creeping up on Naoko. I’m awesome like that.

10998647_792421390846723_8366177578245654205_n

Now creeping up on Eve Myles, who played Gwen Cooper on Torchwood. She also had an appearance on Doctor Who with the 9th Doctor and Rose Tyler back in series 1.

10957014_792421547513374_5272715563203743898_n

Well I’m in trouble….or I’m apparently the Dalek’s DUFF…

10991296_792421740846688_3856056856375602173_n

I’m ready for an adventure in the TARDIS. Always.

11009194_792421690846693_7306219297695516363_n

Don’t ask me if I know what I’m doing. I might have to lie to you and you know how I feel about lying.

10978527_792422117513317_3780609301672753063_n

Another night of karaoke. Not sure when this was taken but probably around the silly part of the night because we all look absolutely ridiculous!

Day Two

YES. Day 2!

10943718_792422720846590_3041889553975804944_n

I had brought my Ten dress (from Her Universe) but wasn’t sure I was going to wear it. I wore it last year and felt super ugly the whole time, and fat…but I decided to put it on and was SO SO glad I did. :) Sometimes its nice to feel cute in a little dress.

10982619_792422784179917_4302532683606005334_n

K-9!!!!!

11002592_792423430846519_7001328228874388377_n

Today was allllllll about John Barrowman, his sexiness, his dirtiness, his humor and just….hold on, I lost my train of thought because I started drooling again…

10502190_792423450846517_2825452580194912783_n

Just a  Minute! The half time show of the Masquerade (and honestly my favorite part), where a group of con guests get up and play a game called Just a Minute. They’re given a minute to speak on a particular subject without hesitation, deviation or repetition. Its HILARIOUS, and this year’s game was awesome.

1503438_792423560846506_9009261164047128719_n

The MASSIVELY adorable Sophie Aldred who played the companion Ace, in the 7th Doctor’s series.

10477259_792423787513150_7544334716601761221_n

Another night of super fun karaoke. We needed another picture with Richard in front of the TARDIS and this year…we got a little creative. I’m MASSIVELY in love with this photo.

10950691_792424100846452_9044936901643642892_n

Getting sleepy. But still having a TON of fun in karaoke.

Day Three

Last day :( Very sad but lots of exciting stuff including more John Barrowman AND pictures with John and Eve.

unnamed

John Barrowman being awesome ;) He plays Captain Jack Harkness as a companion to the Doctor in Doctor Who and as the head of Torchwood in…Torchwood.

unnamed-1

10991243_792424184179777_8493698416324599029_n

Yes. I am a creep. Get over it.

11006377_792424354179760_175339468612955886_n

Oooh yay, creeping on Burn Gorman.

10577000_792424384179757_406336449061069630_n

And while we’re at it, let’s creep on Nichelle Nichols, from Star Trek. *squeeeee*

10991084_792424597513069_3783983764137075902_n

So I went to go get my picture with John and Eve (which I was super nervous for, which made NO sense because I meet people all the time!) and I asked them if they could fight over me and this is what ensued. However, John was like, “We can do this better…” and the next picture was just…beautiful haha.

10986986_792424517513077_5263241227788623107_n

the best part is I got to keep BOTH of the pictures. I asked them both for a hug and they said yes and then John stops and goes, “Can I ask you a question?” and I say, sure, and he says “If I were to push you forward, would you bounce back up?” I kid you not. I had to take a couple seconds of laughing before I said,  “YES!” Boob jokes. I expect nothing less of John Barrowman.

10998312_792424707513058_5520258252308236357_n

Me and my dear friend Katie, who had an epic Donna Noble cosplay for the weekend!

10995657_792424730846389_2720851851319455046_n

My super awesome group for the weekend. We have all met through our love of Harry Potter and our membership in the Los Angeles Dumbledore’s Army and now we’ve taken that to our love of Doctor Who.

*       *      *      *       *       *       *

Now, I’m home and taking some time to relax and recover. I’m sad that its over but I’m glad to be home as well. Its always such a fun weekend and even though this is over, I’m already eagerly awaiting til next year.

A few notes about next year, that were talked about in the closing ceremonies, for those of you who are interested and maybe would like to attend!

Gallifrey One 27 will be taking place in February 12th, 13th and 14th of 2016 at the Mariott Hotel at LAX. Thank goodness. I know a lot of people were afraid they would be changing that part of the convention but thank goodness they aren’t.

Badges will go on sale on May 1st, 2015, and will remain at 90 dollars per weekend badge.

They will be eliminating the ability to transfer badges. Just too much work for them. However, you can buy badges that are “Guest of” and the name can be filled in at the actual con. Interesting change, not sure how I feel about it. I’ll be nervous when badges go on sale in May (though thankfully it gives me time to get the MONEY for the badge).

They also will be cutting the amount of weekend badges by a few hundred in order to reintroduce one day badges. I’m okay with this, I think it’ll be pretty awesome, though I plan on sticking with a full weekend badge.

Either way, so long Gallifrey One 2015, I had a blast as per usual. Each year I think, there’s no way next year will be better and I’m always proven wrong. I got to see old friends, meet new friends, cross off some Gallifrey One bucket list items and just had a ton of fun and created a ton of memories. I’m ready for Gallifrey One 2016.

Until then, I’ll just enjoy all the other super nerdy events that are coming my way soon ;) See you all soon!

November Book Wrap Up!

Books Pledged to Read in 2014:

150 Books

Am I On Track: 

No.21 books behind

Books Read So Far: 

116

Total Books For October: 

2 (OMG)

Snow Like Ashes

17399160

The Collector

13449677

*     *     *     *     *     *

I can’t believe it. Two books. In ONE month. I swear, viagra approved I’m a better book reader and blogger than this. I resolve that I WILL get better in December!

How was your month? Share in the comments!

Vlog: My Adventures in Las Vegas for the ALA Annual Conference 2014!

WHEW! I am SO exhausted everyone. I just had one of the most incredible weekends possible, price and yeah, I’m fairly pooped.

For those of you who don’t know, or don’t follow me on Instagram or Twitter, I just the previous Friday through Monday in Las Vegas, NV for the American Library Association Annual Conference at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

2014-06-28 09.20.58

Now if you’re not sure what that is, I’ll explain. The ALA AC is basically a conference for librarians to come together and talk about books, libraries and all sorts of things. They talk about banned books, ways to get children, teens and adults to read, what programs to bring to their libraries…all sorts of things. It’s literally an entire weekend about books. Its sort of like a BEA convention except way more professional, because its through ALA and its centered on librarians and publishers and that sort of thing.

Now, outside people are invited to go, of course. There is a badge that is designated just for those people, that can get them on the exhibit floor, where they can mingle, talk about books, meet authors and grab ARCs.

Now, Courtney, who you may know as one of my good friends and the youth services librarian behind the epic Ontario Teen Book Fest, has been encouraging me to attend for awhile. I didn’t think that I had a place, as a blogger, and not a professional but she disagreed. Then at TBF, Jessica Brody jumped into the conversation as well, pointing out how passionate and hard working I am and that I definitely should go.

Because here’s the thing: bloggers don’t have the best reputation at ALA. They have a reputation for being fangirly (there’s a time and a place, people) and grabby. I guess a few years ago, a blogger went to ALA and while all the librarians are busy in panels and such, grabbed a TON of ARCs…over 100, easily. She had also brought her sister, and her sister grabbed doubles of everything. An exhibit hall badge is a mere 35 dollars, while librarians and such pay over 200 for theirs, plus travel expenses and hotel and all of that. And a lot of librarians were left hanging on ARCs that they genuinely wanted.

So I was nervous about going but I was encouraged to go, and Vegas is only a 4 hour drive for me, so I booked a hotel, started saving all my tip money from work and decided to go.

And I’m SO SO SO SO glad that I did. It was an absolutely incredible experience. I only experienced the blogger negative attitude a few times, but for the most part, people were nice and welcoming. Honestly, I think a lot has to do with the fact that I know when to be professional about What A Nerd Girl Says. I also made sure to grab only books that I knew I wanted or that really sounded great. I knew people who left with 80-100 books but I only left with 40 and I’m very pleased with that.

2014-06-29 16.53.37

But anyway, I met a ton of amazing authors, librarians, writers, bloggers, all sorts of people. It was INCREDIBLE. I’m blown away by the fantastic experience I had. I learned that next year’s conference will be in San Francisco so I’m definitely planning a trip for that because I just feel like I can’t miss this again! I also did a ton of networking and handed out SO many business cards!

But enough of that. Now its time to check out my official vlog video for the entire event! Enjoy!

Don’t forget, you can also see all the photos from my “crazy” weekend in Vegas here in this album on the official What a Nerd Girl Says Facebook page. 

Thanks for reading and watching!

Happy Reading!