Events, spoiler free

YALC 2019 Report

event report

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?

Events

YALC Day Two Recap

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Day Two of my YALC recap is here (yes two weeks later I’m aware). The Saturday of YALC was a great one but easily the most grueling. I had a lot of signings I wanted to get to, three of which were straight after a panel and with very popular authors but I’ll go into more detail about that later.

My first stop of the morning was to the Hot Key Books stand where I signed up for a Siren makeover and grabbed a copy of To Kill a Kingdom to get signed by author Alexandra Christi, I had a digital ARC of the book and loved it so knew I had to get a hard copy. The lovely ladies at the stall also made an easy extra two book sales by informing me that M.A Bennett would be around to sign books later too so I grabbed a copy of The Island and then also telling me that their books were 3 for £10 and I nabbed a copy of Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray after loving her work on Star Wars: Bloodline and Leia, plus I was in a very spacey kind of mood.

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On the way to get my Siren make up done I also paid a quick visit to the Ink Road Stall after having a lovely chat with the ladies there the day before. I figured I’d pop over and say hi, see how they were doing etc and I also wanted to pick up a sampler for Summer Bird Blue when I spot Akemi Dawn Bowman just sitting behind the stand  – which is fine she’s an actual human being who is allowed to sit etc but I just hadn’t expected it as she wasn’t signing until Sunday. I mumbled about how much I loved Starfish and then got super nervous and kind of ran away. I’m an idiot but plucked up the courage after a quick sit down and a drink to head back and say hi properly. She was SO lovely and signed my sampler for me as I wouldn’t have my copy of Starfish with me until the next day and we took a picture together, it was lovely and was a super awesome start to the day. Apart from the running away bit obviously.

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Next up were the signings for the Floored authors! For some reason I assumed that all of the authors would perhaps be at a table together and we’d all queue in one line then when we got to the front we would work our way across each of the authors and DONE. Alas it was not to be! I think I got this idea from the fact that all of the authors were represented on the timetable by a picture of the Floored book cover whereas when they’d been shown on other days they had different pictures, i.e Non’s was Giant days (and I’m an idiot and didn’t take Floored for her to sign with me when I met her then!). The way it was shown said to me that it was a special signing session for Floored but I was horrified to discover when I got to the signing area that we actually had to queue individually for almost every one of the authors and they were NOT small queues by any stretch of the imagination. I managed to only miss Melinda Sailsbury and Non Pratt in the end telling myself I was likely to see them at more events and possibly YALC next year thankfully as I absolutely had to sit down for a but and have something to drink etc. I’d brought a big bottle of juice squash I’d left in the freezer over night and it was an absolute live saver each day so I’ll definitely be doing that again next year.

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As you can see I managed to bump into Melinda Sailsbury later on and she was more than happy to sign my copy of Floored for me as she was a bit miffed that the Showmasters staff cut her queue off and didn’t tell her when she was more than happy to keep on signing. As much as I liked the extra space we have on the YALC floor I wonder if it’s time for a bit more of a move around so we have more space for signing queues or a better application of the virtual queue ticketing which I think is a great idea when used right.

Before heading off to the “Among the Stars” panel I met up with a load of the girls from the SundayYA group and got a few group pictures taken (one of which is the header for this post). Again it was lovely seeing everyone and OH MY GOSH Layla’s Kaz cosplay was STUNNING.

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I was SO excited for the Among the Stars panel that I can’t even explain. I literally wore a spacey outfit for the occasion. The panel featured Becky Chambers, Lauren James, Lindsay Cummings, Sasha Alsberg and was chaired by Samantha Shannon. The panel was to discuss space and creating worlds that none of us have had the chance to go to except in our authors wonderful books and it did NOT disappoint. I was lucky enough to even be able to ask a question (who would you chose to take to space with you?). Not to mention at the end of the talk Lauren James revealed the cover for her new book “The Quiet at the End of the World which I am SO SO ready for already. Also look at this cover it’s gorgeous!!

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Next were the dreaded signings. I had been anxious all day about getting to all three authors in their two-hour signing slots because they’re so very popular. I joined the Sasha Alsberg queue first and was super pleased to have managed to get in quite near the front. We (me and Mel) were in fact in the first thirty which meant we won a Geeky Clean Zenith Bath Bomb (which I had inadvertently helped design while wicking candles for a super secret NPC thing). Meeting Sasha was AMAZING. I could talk and talk about Zenith and my copy is FULL of tabs as it was my very first ARC/review copy I had ever had and I’d read it twice so I mean it when I say it is FULL of these little tabs. Sasha loved going through asking me what each colour meant and I was a little embarrassed as a few were frustrated or annoyed bits but she told me it means so much to see a copy of her book like that and I thought I was going to cry which is totally lame. Sasha’s channel was the very first booktube chanel I ever watched and she got me hooked on Shadowhunters so I’m so glad I got to meet someone who had already had such an impact on me. It was also so lovely that she had brought bookplates signed by Lindsay along with her too as Lindsay couldn’t make it as she’s getting ready to have her baby soon and it was such a nice little touch. P.S Don’t ask about the picture we had taken together because I made a face at Steph and that was the picture I got so I’ll include one of us talking while she went though my tabs instead!

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While I was in the queue for Sasha I started to feel a bit dismayed about getting through the other queues as they were building fast. Thankfully the lovely Jenn and her boyfriend were next to us in the Becky Chambers queue and her boyfriend offered to take mine to get it signed which I am super grateful for as I don’t think I would have been able to make it through all of them. I do wonder whether YALC need to consider the types of authors they’re all having signing at the same time and weather or not these are authors people are going to want to meet all of and perhaps stagger them a bit more?

Thankfully I did manage to make it through the queue to meet Lauren James! I absolutely LOVED her book that released early at YALC last year “The Loneliest Girl In The Universe” and was that weekend actually reading her debut book “The Next Together” (which I reviewed on Tuesday if you want to check it out) so it was even more fantastic than normal to meet her. Being one of my top favourite authors and an instabuy for me I was so happy to get this chance to talk to her and get excited about her new book etc.

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The day was coming to an end fast and I had one more signing to get to and that was for Laura Steven, the author of The Exact Opposite of Okay which is another book that really resonated with me and my teenage years. It was lovely to have a nice chat with her and let her know how grateful I am for this fantastic, funny and important book she’s written as well as telling her much I couldn’t wait to get hold of the sequel coming next year!

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It was a long old day and my only real problem were the way some of the signings were done to be honest. The overground wasn’t running that weekend so I had to get the district line back to Liverpool Street, I ended up on a wrong tube but it all worked out pretty good in the end. Mainly because I met a super adorable Dog who wanted to sit with me have strokes and share my fan. Win/win situation. I’ll be back tomorrow for my Day Three recap and my all round sum up!

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I couldn’t not post the picture of this good boy!