So I’m only doing one YALC post this year as I only went for one day! I enjoyed myself but I defintley want to do more than one day again next year. I enjoyed myself for the most part but there was a bit of a winding down feeling and a this is all lets left look to some parts which got me a little down after seeing some of the awesome activities, giveaways and books others got during the first two days. One of the stands I was looking forward to the most was the Rock the Boat stand as they had a fun little Aurora Rising quiz and a tombola with a chance to win an AR proof but when I got there Sunday morning the person running the stall didn’t seem to have a clue what was going on and there was no tombola so I was pretty disappointed that we weren’t given the same opportunities as those who could make the other days.
I somehow managed to get to the venue on just before the event opened, with Sunday trains this is no small miracle and Gaynor (from paperbacks and pinot) and her daughter Biba spotted me and called me over, it was lovely to finally meet them both as me and Gaynor have been chatting online for a little while now and attending completely alone for the first time it was lovely to find a friendly couple of faces. Once the entrance line started moving we chose to take the elevator and I’m glad we did as those who had chosen to take the stairs were stopped for some reason and not allowed to go any further, resulting in a large group of people being stuck on the stairwell which sounds terrifying to me.
Once on the YALC floor all three of us headed to the Rock the Boat stand where we took part in the Aurora Rising quiz (once the person manning it read some instructions as they didn’t know what to do) me and Biba both got Alpha and Gaynor got face I believe! It was fun and we got little cards and badges with our roles on (although my badge didn’t match and was actually a face one). I picked up some Once and Future bookmarks as well as I was gutted we weren’t able to get them via preorder like in the US and I love the art of Ari and Merlin on them.
We headed to the Illumicrate table next and I picked up a badge for a friend and I entered the raffle, I was already starting to get frazzled by the heat in the building and finding it hard to think straight and am gutted I missed out on the Vicious pin. We went our separate ways for a bit after this as when I’d finished queuing I headed to the chill-out zone to try and cool down for a bit and get my head straight. Thankfully I’m actually pretty comfortable sitting on the floor as there were only a couple of chairs scattered about that I could see and I’m sure I had seen people asking YALC on Twitter about chairs in this area because, for a number of reasons, not everyone is comfortable sitting on the floor and they were assured there would be enough chairs, I’m fairly certain this was not the case. Nevertheless, I found a spot on the floor, had a drink and cooled down a little, I was still a little fritzed and over the next couple of hours I still found I had trouble with my words getting muddled up and constant sweating which was not fun and meant to had to sit down to try and cool off a lot.
The first author I got to meet was N.J Simmonds which was lovely as she was the first author I met at my very first YALC and her book “The Path Keeper” was the first book I brought, the new version was also the first book I brought at this YALC and let me tell you it’s beautiful! I can’t wait to read it! I battled the queue for the VQ tickets then wandered around for a bit, entered a couple of raffles (note to self, in future write on the back of raffle tickets so you know where they’re for and when they draw them) and then went to the signing for Christine Lynn Herman, author of The Devouring Gray. I know I was a bit off when I met her as I still didn’t have a clear head but I did manage to tell her how much I loved her book and Issac!
The hour or so after this was a bit of a blur but I did get to meet the lovely Kirstin from Barrington Stoke and popped over to say hi to my friends at Geeky Clean. I took part in the Vanessa Jones “Sing” panel and I’m so glad I decided to do it because it really helped to clear my head. It felt a bit like a drama lesson from back at school (I went to a performing arts school) and was full of improv games that were a lot of fun. I swapped some books at the book swap and had a little lunch before the “One small step for man, one giant leap for YA” panel. Sadly Lauren James, who was meant to be chairing the event had to pull out that morning after her dog (poor Ollie, hope you’re feeling better) got injured but Taran Matharu stepped in to join Alistair Renyolds, Temi Oh and Sasha Alsberg. It was a good panel and I regretted not bringing my Alistair Renyolds books to be signed because he seemed like he would be really interesting to chat too.
I had no panels or signings for another hour or so and decided to check out some of the books for sale, I was gutted the pop-up Waterstones had sold out of copies of the Gilded Cage by Vic James as I was meeting her later but did pick up a good few books such as We Hunt the Flame, STAGS, Lifes a Beach, Perfectly Preventable Deaths, GodsGrave, Jemima Small vs the Universe, Lady Smoke and The Kingdom and all were pretty good deals with most being £5 each or three for £10.
Next up I watched the Monsters and their maker’s panel featuring Kristen Ciccarelli, Natasha Ngan, Samantha Shannon, and Taran Matharu with Eleanor Pender as chair. This was another great panel and I actually enjoyed it more than the sci-fi one which I was shocked by. I also bumped into Fiona from Felfira Moon Designs which was lovely (and I won a light fury pin!) Then headed to the Kristen Ciccarelli signing after, I again made an idiot out of myself and told her that I loved Asha and actually have a character in a dungeons and dragons game based on her.
I wound down the day by hanging out with the Geeky Clean Crew which now included Emily helping out too (if you’re reading this Em, I honestly don’t know where you get all that energy, you’re amazing) which was lovely and made me feel a lot more comfortable. Not long after Vic came to hang out as well and we got to chat, I told her how much I loved Sanctuary and how much it stressed me out which was fun, she told me she loved my hair and she signed my book! I’m kind of glad I didn’t look at what she had written at the time because I looked when I got home and welled up, she’d written “stay fantastic” in it. I know it might sound silly but I felt so honoured that this person who had written this book that I adored remembered my blog name.
After randomly bumping into Jason Mamoa while filming for my YALC vlog (see below) I headed down to the London Film and Comic-Con floor, grabbed some cake from the lovely Cake in a Jar and headed home. The trip back was actually really easy and fairly relaxed which was nice. I had just about enough energy when I got home to unpack a little and take a picture of my haul which I don’t think was too bad for a Sunday to be fair and I love some of the prints and posters I got, most of which are already up on my wall! Overall I did enjoy the event but I think I’ll defintley aim for more than one day next year so I don’t end up trying to fit everything into one day.
Did you go to YALC? If so how was your experience?