Thursday, June 04, 2015

Book Con 2015


So, I went to Book Con last year with my daddy instead of senior prom.  Yes, that is book nerd commitment!! Last year was no fun, as it was the first year and organization was absolutely atrocious.  Let's be fair, there was no organization it seemed because staff was not ready for the amount of crazy book lovers who attended.  I went to one panel in the very beginning and one autograph session because the lines were nuts.  I only got autographs because Libba Bray was nice enough to sign even after her session ended.

This year was different.  My friend Danielle and I were determined to see Johnny Green at the Paper Towns panel!  And we did:)

Preparation for the big day began the night before in Danielle's kitchen.  Yes, we typed up a legitimate itinerary starting with a 3:50 AM alarm.

4:20 AM and we had already had a quick breakfast and were out the door!

4:40 something AM and we made a wrong turn and ended up taking a detour in a sketchy neighborhood with a lot of cats hanging out in the street.  No, we didn't run over any kitties!!!

4:50 something AM- We made it early to the train!

5:03- 6:35 AM- Making jokes and talking on the train while everyone else was sleepy and frowning

6:50 AM- Javits Center, Whoa there is a line!

7:00 AM- Why isn't will call open when Book Con said it would be?!

8:10 AM- Danielle goes to get our tickets and begs the staff to let her get mine

"Do you have her [my] photo ID?"
"No, but please let me get hers!"
"What does she look like?"
"She's Asian and she's really sweet."

I think the part about me being Asian is what convinced them to hand over the ticket.  You can always trust Asians.

9:00 AM-Make a mad dash to the wristband line to get in line for John Green.

If we didn't run, crazy teenage John Green fans would have trampled us.

9:01 AM-Out of breath, but we're near the front of the line!

9:30 ish AM- Something gets in my eye, and my contact bothers me all day.  My left eye looks like this plus swollen, and I'm tearing.

The joke of the day is that if I don't get into  panel or autograph session, I don't even have to act sad.  My eye is already producing tears.
(Don't worry, I'm ok now.  Two days of red eyes was worth the pain.)

10:30 ish- Got our bands!

10:40- Visit the restroom and take creeper shots of the line from one floor above and revel in the fact that I am no longer in line which had severely died down but still was by no means short.

11:00-11:45 AM- SUNSHINE, BADASS AND LIFE ON WHEELS: Three Breakout Authors Share Their Stories of Getting Published (Jen Sincero, Paige McKenziw, Tessa Elwood)

I enjoyed this panel because Jen (You are a Badass) was funny and had good writing advice.  Tessa seemed really nervous and shy but nice (Inherit the Stars).  Paige (The Haunting of Sunshine Girl) was an arrogant, rude girl who got really lucky to have gotten a book deal.  I don't like that her book is co-authored either.

12:30 PM- In Booth Signing of EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING by Nicola Yoon
Signed ARCS.  The book comes out on 9/1/15.  I just finished it and I really liked it.  It's a YA about a girl who is allergic to everything and can't leave her house but falls in love with her neighbor.  Pretty cute illustrations in it from Nicola's husband.

12:45-1:45 PM- ROOM panel with Emma Donoghue and the cast of the film (Brie Larson, Jacob Tremblay)

This was my favorite thing of the day.  Yes, more than Paper Towns panel.  By a lot.  The author and Brie Larson were very well spoken, and Jacob was the cutest little boy.  His answers were hysterical, and I wish that I could find a video of the panel.  He had the whole room laughing.  I'm excited to see the film now and read the book.

1:50 PM-Uh oh, Maggie Stiefvater signing is full
Uh, let's go to Star Wars
Awkward encounter with a security guard who why trying to hook us up and get us into Taye Diggs panel, but we have no idea who that is

2:00- 3:00 PM NEW ADAPTATIONS OF THE STAR WARS SAGA (Adam Gidwitz, Alexandra Bracken, Tom Angleberger, Tony DiTerlizzi)

I'm not a Star Wars fan.  I don't know a whole lot about the saga, but I quite enjoyed the panel.  These guys were crazy Star Wars fans. and their nerdiness was super cute.  They all had the challenge of taking a part of the movies and adding something new to it without changing what was already there.  I'm pretty sure these books are for elementary/middle school kids, but the whole audience was adults.  I wasn't surprised.

3:00-3:45 PM WANDS NOT REQUIRED! AN EXPLORATION OF EPIC FANTASY FOR READERS AGES 10 THROUGH 110 (David Baldacci, Maggie Stiefvater and Jackson Pearce, Kevin Sands, and David Levithan)

If David Levithan is moderating, it is a good panel.  All of these authors talked about their middle grade fantasy books and on writing advice.  It turns out that Maggie Stiefvater attempted to major in music, art, and writing but got rejected from all of the programs.  Instead, she majored in history.  Now, she is a bestselling author, so never give up if you want to be a writer.

Until the 6:00 Paper Towns panel started- Waiting in line for the panel to start
Everyone in line reads a book :)

Again with the running when the doors are open.  I can't keep up with these girls.

6:05 PM? Panel begins
Worst moderator ever.  She read off an iPad the whole time and spoke when people were clapping so you couldn't hear.  She also assumed that everyone was there because they thought the cast and crew were cute, according to Danielle.

Overall, I don't think the Paper Towns panel was worth getting up that early for.  Yes, Nat, Justice, and John were cute and funny, but I didn't feel as though I would have missed anything if I hadn't seen the panel.  Well, at least I can cross off seeing John Green on my bucket list though he was nowhere near me.  Perhaps, though, my eyeball pain was interfering with my ability to enjoy the show.

7:00 PM Paper Towns panel ends

8:03 PM Train home

10:00/10:30 PM I'm home and rip out that dastardly contact.

11 something PM-  I crash into bed

Overall, it was a good day.  Quite a crazy day.  I've never woken up that early for anything in my life.  Organization improved from last year and I got to do a lot more, but the organization still lacked.  Also, the Javits Center is a bad location to hold Book Con.  Way too small.  I guess that's why it's being held in Chicago next year.

Wanna see my swag?  I only spent money on the Book Con ticket, train, and parking.  Not even food.

Got posters, bags, and a couple of samplers

Exclusive Excerpt: Alpha Wolves by DJ Swykert

Today, I'm bringing you an exclusive excerpt from Alpha Wolves, the sequel to Maggie Elizabeth Harrington.

The first love of Maggie Harrington’s young life, Tommie Stetter, has returned to Central Mine to attend his father’s funeral. She finds herself as powerfully attracted to him as ever, but another man, a handsome and abiding one, Jeremy Paull has also found his way into her heart. Maggie finds herself conflicted as she loves both of these men. This is the catalyst that brings the two Alpha Wolves into competition and forces Maggie to make a difficult decision, one that contradicts her own idealism and the teachings of the church and community.

Alpha Wolves is a historical romance, a love triangle, set in Central Mine, Michigan, which is now a ghost town. In 1893 it was a thriving, bustling community with mining and the Methodist Church at the center of its social fabric. There were more fortunes made during the northern Michigan copper boom than in the California gold rush. At thirteen young Maggie Harrington ran off into the wilderness with Tommie Stetter and a pack of young wolves to protect the wolf pups from a bounty hunter. They were ultimately caught and young Tommie sent back east to school. Ten years have passed. Maggie still lives in Central Mine, still harbors a powerful love for Tommie, but is moving on with a new man, a handsome and very good man, Jeremy Paull. Now she has a pair of Alpha Wolves in her life.



I tightly held his hand, knowing that Tommie loved me, that whatever I had done was done out of love. But I am not totally naïve. I know that our declaration of our love for one another, our act of expressing this love that has endured for ten years, would create a new set of problems for both of us. I am not sorry, though. I am still glowing inside, basking in the warm feelings of having finally experienced the man that I have always loved, and that I now know still loves me. That is very important to me, knowing that Tommie Stetter still loves me. And I will face the consequences of this knowledge later. I will not let it take this moment I have waited my whole life for.
When we reach the road, Tommie stops and stands in front of me. He takes my hands and he kisses me sweetly on the lips. I drop his hands and I put my arms around his neck and kiss him even harder. It is a long, abiding kiss, like our love, and we are both somewhat lost in the magic of this moment. We hold each other for a long while, neither of us wanting to end the embrace. Tommie puts his head alongside of mine and I can feel him just inhale the natural fragrance of my hair, like he is trying to draw my scent inside him to remember me by, so that I may be with him until we see each other again. And I am sure there will be another time, I am as sure of that as I am of anything.
“I love you Maggie,” Tommie whispers in my ear. “I have never stopped loving you. Not for a day, not for a moment, not forever.”
I continue to hold Tommie, and I can feel his love, his words, filling my body, the same as they did years ago. I feel almost redeemed for all the years of waiting and wondering, I am feeling fulfilled.
“I love you, too,” I say. “And I have never stopped loving you. I will never stop loving you, Tommie.” I squeeze ever harder, holding him like I am never going to let go of him again.
Tommie relaxes his hold on me. He runs his hand through my hair and then teasingly touches my cheek with his finger. He looks into my eyes and we are inside one another, as always. I look into those brown eyes of his that glisten, that have always known me, and I can feel him inside me, right where I want him to be. At this moment I can think of nothing else, not my impending marriage to Jeremy, my father, Mrs. Daume, nobody. I am powerless to think of anything except how much I love Tommie Stetter, and how fulfilled I feel on this day that I have learned he still loves me.
“Maggie, I have to go. I need to get to the mine. But I want to see you again. Not tomorrow, I can’t, but Wednesday.  Meet me at the blind for lunch. We need to talk. There is much we need to talk to about, say to one another. Things that have been left unsaid for too long now,” Tommie says to me. Then he steps back and withdraws from me. He takes a look, straight at me, and waits for me to answer.
I simply nod my head, in agreement; what else could I do? I am powerless to refuse Tommie Stetter anything. I give him a little smile, and try to hide the excitement I am feeling, this feeling of being powerless. I do not want him to know how at his mercy I am.
“I will meet you Wednesday,” I answer, and then watch as he disappears east off of the road and takes the path around the dam down to the mine. I walk very slowly, savoring the feeling of him that is still lingering inside me, is still warm and wet on my lips as I follow the road back down to Central Mine.
At dinner that night, for a change, I am very silent, and my father actually talks.
“You look rather subdued, Maggie Elizabeth. Are you alright?”
I do not think my father has asked me that more than a few times in my entire life. And I am alright, I am ecstatic, but I am also reflecting on the events of the afternoon. I am also perhaps a little anxious about facing Jeremy, as I am sure he will stop by this evening, with Wolf, as he always does. Do I tell Jeremy, do I end our engagement that has only just begun, and that I had pretty much negotiated? There are so many thoughts running through my head, and not the least of which is that in another day I will once again be with Tommie.

About the Author

DJ Swykert is a fiction writer living in the Cincinnati area. His work has appeared in The Tampa Review, Detroit News, Coe Review, Monarch Review, the Newer York, Lunch Ticket, Gravel, Zodiac Review, Barbaric Yawp and Bull. His books include Children of the Enemy, Alpha Wolves, The Pool Boy’s Beatitude and The Death of Anyone. You can find him at:  He is a wolf expert.