Sunday, 26 July 2015

YALC Write-Up

This time last week, I was at YALC. I've been meaning to write it up, but real life happens to get in the way. 

So, here we finally go. If I miss anything, I do beg your pardon. 

I could only go to YALC on the Sunday. I couldn't go on Friday due to work and I couldn't go on the Saturday due to family commitments. So, on Sunday, I woke up early (well, early for me on a Sunday), and travelled to London for YALC. Now, traveling to and from YALC was a bit of an adventure. On the way to YALC, I was dropped at one station - only to beg my driver to come back and drop me at another station due to a signal failure. On the train to London, there were several occasions I had to stop what I was doing as I got into a small state over Blogging 101 - but more on that in a paragraph or two. Once in London, the District line was having works so had to divert via Central and London Overground lines. And as for the way back... let's just say I got a little lost and walked past Television Centre (so I somehow got to White City), but the less said about that, the better. 

Once I got to YALC, I saw TON of cosplayers, trying to get into Comic Con. I saw several regenerations of the Doctor, Captain Jack Harkness and Captain Jack Sparrow, Effie in that Butterfly Dress, a load of Loki, Snow and Prince Charming from Once Upon A Time fame, Belle. And all their outfits were out of this world! I wish I took a heck of a lot of photos to show you guys, but trust me when I say this, it was mind-blowing to see! 

But once I manage to get in, I was immediately met by Virginie from LaChouett. We hugged, made excited noises as this was our first event and then we met Keris Stainton. Virginie's reaction was wonderful fangirling. Once we were told that there were very early copies being sold at the Hot Key Books stands, we made a dive for the Hot Key Books stall. 

So, we investigated the stalls together. We chatted to the lovely peeps at Walker Books (Hi Sean, Paul and everyone else there!). As we chatted, we spied Patrick Ness and... I got a bit starstruck. And this was Virginie's revenge. She managed to get Paul from Walker to introduces to Patrick and, while trying to act cool, was mentally screaming inside my head. And I was delighted when Patrick looked at me, realised who I was on Twitter and went "I thought you were from New Zealand". 

Hear that New Zealand? PATRICK NESS THINKS AM ONE OF YOU GUYS!!! 

Once that moment happened, we scared the stalls. Hot Key Books was busy and they sold their very last copy of Clariel by Garth Nix (and they almost sold out of something else but I grabbed a copy of this as I made very excited noises when I saw it). While we were there, we saw the lovely James Dawson in one amazing outfit - he dressed up for YALC as Mother of the Dragons, Daenerys Targaryen (did I get that right? Am not a Game of Thrones viewer and not read the books so am wiki it). 

Faber and Faber were having a wonderful time, pushing their future release Rebel in the Sands into he world. It was only chapter samplers, but I have read chapter 1 a while ago and I am very excited for this release (February 2016, people). The author, Alwyn Hamilton, was there and we chatted. She's really nice and am really excited for her! I also entered a contest to win a proof of the book (don't think I won), but I had sand under my fingernails for a good few hours after hunting for the compass in a bucket of sand. 

Penguin Platform was excited over The Accident Season and Finding Audrey. So much so, a selfie of me wearing sunglasses is floating on Twitter somewhere. Had nothing to do with the coffee you got in exchange. Nope. Not at all! But chatting to the lovely peeps about these two books got me really intrigued and excited. 

And then, had to run away because it was workshop time. The reason I was there. Blogging 101 workshop. Deep breaths, Andrew, you are going to be fine. So, off the green room to meet Andy Robb and my fellow bloggers talking with me, Michelle from Tales of Yesterday and Laura from Sisterspooky. After a quick chat, off we went. But then I saw CJ Daugherty as I cornered her and gushed over Night School and my excitement over The Secret Fire. I don't think I scared her that much. 

The workshop was better than I imagined. I had daydreams and nightmares over this workshop. I'm not the best with public speaking so I imagined the worse. I had one horrible daydream at work when I suddenly, and completely out of nowhere, imagined Ed Miliband gatecrashing the workshop and shouting out advice, such as "For a good blog, just stick a cucumber in a floppy disk drive!". I have no idea where that came from and I have no idea if the Ed Miliband was talking seriously or dirty. 

Either way, I have a weird brain. 

But the workshop went like a dream. People came and asked wonderful questions. Laura, Michelle and I answered the best we could and we had a laugh over it. And the second workshop, where Lucy from LucyTheReader, Vivienne from Serendipity Reviews and Jim from YA Yeah Yeah, talked about taking your blog to the next level was fascinating. Gave me food for thought over buying my own domain name and business cards. I shall pop some tweets from people who went below with some YouTube videos of YALC has a whole. (along with some other tweets that show the coolness of YALC!)

After that, it was chill out time where I bumped into other book bloggers and we had a long chat. It was so wonderful to chat to my fellow bloggers and not worry about time. We could have a good chat. I chatted to Rosy from Review Diaries, Michelle from Fluttering Butterflies, Sophie from So Many Books, So Little Time and so many others that I have forgotten due to my awful memory. If I chatted to you, WASN'T LAST WEEKEND AWESOME!!! 

I managed to get two books signed. Half Bad by Sally Green (who was cosplaying as one of her characters, Mercury) and Patrick Ness with my ARC of The Rest of Us Just Live Here. The amount of people who saw me holding this book and going "Where did you get that book from?!" was surprising. 

I was meant to go to other signings and panels - but I forgot. It annoyed me, but I was having such a good time. I have to thank Andy Robb for asking me to take part in this workshop and going to YALC as I wouldn't have gone to due to my fear of spending too much money (I had to be so strict with myself when I was buying books!). 

But to everyone involved in setting up YALC - Booktrust, publishers, authors, everyone - thank you. It was wonderful. 



PS - I didn't know this but Hayley Attwell (Agent Peggy Carter from Captain America and Agent Carter) was there. I didn't know this but I LOVE HER!!! But Lucy Saxon, author to The Almost King, got a photo with her and am trying so hard not to be jealous... 

PPS - one of my tweets was used in this article about James Dawson for the Telegraph Books website. AAAAAARRRRGGGGHHH!!! 

PPS - I'm on the BookTrust website. And I have no idea what am doing with my face in that pic!

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