Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Chick Lit Cheerleader: Buzzing about the BEA

Introduction by Melissa Amster

If I lived closer to NYC and didn't have the obligations I currently do, I would have been at BEA this past May. However, it wasn't in the cards this year, between using most of my vacation time at work for Disney World and dealing with some allergy issues from one of my kids. Believe me, I was sad about not being able to attend. Especially when I saw all the cool pictures from Amy. Thankfully, I was able to live vicariously through blog posts from Samantha Bailey, Meredith Schorr and some other authors who attended BEA. Chick Lit Cheerleader, Jen Tucker's account of the event was equally entertaining (if not more) and I enjoyed seeing it through her eyes. I just hope I can see it in person next year and give all these amazing authors a hug. So, without further ado, I give you Jen's version of the BEA.....

What happens when a country mouse heads to the big city?  She evolves into a temporary city slicker, with memories, photos and blisters on her feet to prove it.  BEA (Book Expo America) and Book Buzz NYC 2013 led me from my Indiana home to the city that never sleeps.  Yet what started out as a business trip, with a hint of pleasure on the side, became the experience of a lifetime. 

BEA is the event, of all events, in the book industry.  Publishers, distributers, authors, reporters, and others descend upon the Big Apple for power meetings and sneak peeks into the books and products hitting the market.  I also termed it “Christmas for Book Hoarders.”  Booths are manned by effervescent PR people begging you to take copies of the latest and greatest reads.  It would’ve been rude for me to say no, right?  Yet that 50lb rule about suitcase weight on airlines caused me to evaluate my needs versus wants.  I meandered BEA with my friend, author Cari Kamm.  Once she recovered from me leaping on top of her with endless joy in our shared taxi at 7:20AM, I think the rest of our day went splendidly well.  
Book Buzz NYC 2013 was the brain child of some fabulous women, who wanted to bring authors and readers to mix and mingle at a side event during BEA.  Francine LaSala was the mastermind, creative director, and babysitter who kept the authors in line while prepping for this inaugural event.  Everyone worked hard behind the scenes making this night spectacular for our guests.  The synergy of the evening wouldn’t have happened without blogger, Julie Valerie.  Julie volunteered (she worked for booze and laughs) to stay in NYC one extra day to keep vigil over our book table.  Julie, you are a rock star, and because in private you wouldn’t accept praise for what you did, it’s my honor to karaoke my love for you now.
Hoopla for books is one reason I booked my ticket to New York City.  Add in a dash of BFF time with my sweet pal, Jill, and there were zero reasons to say no to this trek.  What I couldn’t shake while committing to purchasing my plane ticket was the opportunity to spend time with women, in the flesh, that I’ve had relationships with forever and a day.  Talented authors, editors, bloggers and PR whizzes I’ve communicated with via social media and email were finally going to occupy the same living, breathing space as me.  How could I say no to that?
Who is luckier?!?
If you know me (I’m not shy, nor introverted, and have been known to attempt to solve the world’s ills in line at the grocery while talking with strangers.) it won’t shock you that moment I saw Francine LaSala, I attacked her with a voracious, yet loving, bear hug.  During our days together, we constantly finished each other’s sentences, and boisterously interjected the same words into conversations at the same time (think Double Mint Twins).  I emphatically declared to CLC’s own Amy Bromberg, she was so adorable that I wanted to tuck her into my pocket.  Sweet and petite, I think I could’ve snuck her past airport security and brought her home with me.  When I had drinks with Meredith Schorr, it eased my soul like catching up with your little sister after her year away at college.  She’s tough, all heart, and I’m so happy to have her on my side walking the streets of NYC at midnight.  Heather Thurmeier impressed the socks off me with her drive and goals.  I can only hope a sliver of her tenacity rubbed off on me.  She’s that sensational.  Samantha Bailey (affectionately known to me as Sam-I-Am) will neatly tuck into my other pocket Amy isn’t occupying.  She’s a spitfire, and will conquer the world one adventure at a time.  I’m so happy to be a fly on a wall in any room she occupies.   Lucie Simone is a powerhouse in writing and publishing.  I was crazy about her the moment we shared Asparagus dip together, and find her a zentastic, calming force for my manic self.  Eileen Goudge; breathtaking and gracious.  She opened her home this crazy bunch where we cackled way past curfew on my last night in New York.  Her husband, Sandy, sweetly retreated to his “man cave” while we shared a meal prepared by Eileen, drank way too much champagne, and absorbed the views as the sun set over Central Park.  In true Jen Tucker fashion, while peering over the skyscrapers to see the Hudson River, I said, “Hey!  That’s were Captain Sully crashed his plane in the water!  Boiler Up!” yet was glad my comment went unnoticed and quickly recovered with, “Hey look, Broadway!”    
Besides the birth of my children, I’ve never experienced an instant kismet, bond, trust, and devotion the way I did for these talented women.  How could people, without a history together in the flesh, have a comfort with one another that rivaled sisters?  I think Francine captured it best when she said, “We connected first through written words, because as writers that’s how we communicate.   It’s who we are.  We are our words.”  Gosh, she’s so smart, isn’t she?

We're a happy family....
These women are in my life for keeps.  Our plans to work together, and play together, continue to blossom.  Francine’s coordination of Book Buzz NYC 2013 was so superb, that you might see more Book Buzz events in cities near you featuring other incredibly talented authors.  Isn’t that wonderful?  I grew up a little too on this excursion.  I went from hiding in my hotel room worried that New York would eat me alive (remember, I’m the country mouse), to strutting the streets a la John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever.  

There was only one caveat.  I do believe I lost cool points when an air vent on 7th Avenue blew my dress into the air, reminiscent of Marilyn Monroe, minus the sexy aspect.  So if you saw my derriere the evening I strolled to Eileen Goudge’s home, my sincerest apologies.  If you find it on YouTube, that wasn’t me, baby.   

Jen Tucker is the author of the funny and true stories, The Day I Wore My Panties Inside Out and The Day I Lost My Shaker of SaltIn September 2012, she had her children's book, Little Pumpkin published as an e-book. She also blogs monthly for Survival for Blondes. She currently lives in Indiana with her husband, three kids and two dogs. You can find her at TwitterFacebook, her blog and on her website. And in case you missed them. check out her previous Chick Lit Cheerleader posts here.        


Anonymous said...

JEN! How I wish you lived here all the time! Thanks for all the props. Though Meredith Schorr and Sam Bailey were the other two heads coordinating the effort, and they were purely awesome partners. Among other amazing feats, Meredith found our location, Sam wrangled the RSVPs, and not a decision was made without them. I miss emailing with them 7000 times a day! I miss emailing with you all. Cari kicked ass getting us our vodka sponsor, and Jen, those trailers you made were excellent! A true team effort! A blast and a half!! Can't wait till next year!

Meredith Schorr said...

Jen, this post made me choke up. I love you and miss you dearly! Can't wait until your next trip to NYC. I will come to Indiana as soon as I figure out where it is on the map :) The event would not have been the same without our amazing mix of authors and effort from each and every one of us.

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful wrap-up, Jen! I Come hell or high water I WILL make it next year! I was able to have a mini meet-up with Francine and Meredith, several days after your event, so I have an idea how amazing it is to finally MEET these women in person after being in contact via the internet. Bottom line: It's all about sharing our hearts and the words. xo,cindy

Samantha Stroh Bailey said...

Oh, how I miss all of you! What a fantastic recap, and Jen, I want you on any adventure I take! We all put in so much work and it paid off! Here's to Book Buzz 2014!!!

Connie said...

Oh what I wouldn’t give to attend this fabulous get-together. I would probably meander around with my mouth open and my eyes popping out. Books are my life! Sigh...