Category: Event Recap

Anxious Encounters with Humankind: Ellen Hopkins Book Signing

Posted April 13, 2017 by Bonnie in Anxious Encounters with Humankind, Event Recap / 7 Comments

Welcome to my new blog feature: Anxious Encounters with Humankind. This is where I talk about my introvert as fuck self venturing out in public, doing things in close proximity to humans.

My recent adventure took me to Barnes & Noble where Ellen Hopkins, one of my favorite authors, was signing books and promoting her recent publication: The You I’ve Never Known. My mom heard her speak at an event in Billings, Montana way back in 2015 and has been trying to convince me to get to one of her events ever since. I went to my very first author event just last year where I had the opportunity to meet Richard Kadrey and I got to hear Stephen King speak a few months later. One of my bookish/bloggy goals for this year was to crawl out of my shell a little bit more and get out and experience the (albeit few and far between) events that my little town of Reno has to offer.

With my best friend Dani towing me along, I brought my copy of Tilt in hopes of getting it signed. I also set off in hopes of finding a copy of Triangles to purchase and get signed. I was successful and by that time she had arrived. So, you know, I had a minor meltdown as you do when you’re about to meet someone you admire and are expected to formulate sentences. Dani walked around with me for almost an hour before I finally worked up the nerve to walk up to her table.

I introduced myself very loudly. Then I rambled a bit, complimented her on the unexpected twist in her new book, and then officially ran out of words. That’s when Dani came to the rescue and it was slightly easier to maintain a conversation except that’s also when I started sweating and my glasses literally fogged up. Being an introvert in public is fucking awesome.

I told Ellen how Triangles was one of the very first ARCs I received and reviewed on my blog, back when it was still Sweet Tidbits, and I asked her if she had any plans of doing more adult verse novels (the only other of hers being Collateral.) She said, unfortunately, there isn’t much of a market for that writing style in that age group so most likely not. We talked about the two anthologies she’s a part of which are both releasing this September: Behind the Song and Feral Youth. She sounded very excited about being a part of an anthology that represented all kinds of women. There’s another upcoming publication she discussed which delves into gun violence and how she switched up the point of view to omniscient from her typical 1st person. The last publication discussed was the sequel to her 2015 adult novel, Love Lies Beneath, and how she’s currently dealing with editor problems because it’s her first book that has ever reached the fourth stage in revisions. I didn’t confirm with her, however, the current release date for the as yet Untitled sequel is August 2018.

I’m extremely grateful to Barnes & Noble for hosting this event and giving me the opportunity to meet such an amazing author. And much thanks to Ellen for signing my two books which I will be able to cherish forever.


End of Watch (Stephen King) Tour Recap: Reno

Posted June 23, 2016 by Bonnie in Event Recap / 8 Comments

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Everyone has a list of things they’d love to be able to say they did before they pass on from this world, a Bucket List, and being able to hear Stephen King speak is was definitely on mine. Our Barnes & Noble here in Reno did the audience selection for his stop on June 18th, 2016 quite weird. They didn’t sell tickets but instead we had to send an e-mail at exactly 8:00am on a particular day in order to get a reservation spot, and seating was limited to 300. I sent my e-mail at 8:02am (my auto-send plugin failed me most spectacularly) but I was still hopeful, yet… I didn’t get a reservation. I was bummed but life goes on. And then I found out that for some reason Barnes was remaining open to the public so after a little bullying from a good friend, I convinced myself to put my shoes on and go practice my ninja skills and try to still get the experience of a lifetime. It was a massive success.

The crowd was insane but I snagged myself a prime spot on the second floor balcony. Everyone had wristbands and I thought for sure some bouncer was going to walk up to me and say, “Ma’am, I’m going to need you to come with me. You’re not allowed up here.” But I was left alone! And some incredibly kind person actually scooted over me so I could be up against the balcony like I was. (You can see my forehead in the picture which someone from B&N took.)

King came out to deafening applause (as I fought back tears of extreme happiness) and proceeded to make us all laugh with a story about a fan. “I did a book fair in Charleston, South Carolina a few years ago and that was the first time a lady came up to me and said “You scared the shit out of me, can I have a hug?” *laughs* I just thought it was really fucking weird.” And those are the two things you really must know about Stephen King: he cusses… a lot and he’s fucking hilarious. I never would have guessed that the man who could write about rabid dogs and possessed cars, haunted hotels and murderers that drive ice cream trucks could be as effortlessly funny as he is. He was also genuinely appreciative of our attendance at his event and seemed genuinely humbled by the amount of people. “We’re all here, we’re in the fucking bookstore, man. We’re the blessed minority, as far as I’m concerned, we’re book people and I think that’s the most fabulous thing in the world.”

This was apparently the first time King had ever been to Reno but said he liked it and glad it wasn’t Vegas. In retrospect, maybe he was humbled by the amount of people in attendance because he thought Reno was smaller than it really is? 😂 He pronounced Nevada as Ne-vah-duh which generally causes my eye to twitch but most everyone who doesn’t live in Nevada pronounces it like that so I’ll let it go. He adapted what could have been his tried and true scripted speech (that still would have been completely fine) but changed it to suit us Nevadans. He discussed riding through the desert on Highway 50 and of the open pit mine called the Elijah mine near Ely, Nevada and how it became the inspiration for his novel Desperation. I also will no longer be able to mention Wendover without calling it Bendover whilst laughing like a loon. The fact is, that section of his speech was something fitting only for us. He couldn’t have talked about those things on any other tour stop and have it still be relevant to the audience and that made it special.

He discussed Christine and how it was originally intended to be humorous, about how Misery was just planned as a short story, and how The Stand is his favorite novel he’s ever written. Despite the fact that he was on tour for the final book in the Bill Hodges trilogy, he didn’t discuss it once. But then again, as he said, “If you need me to talk about the book I wrote, that book was shit. (It wasn’t though, I loved it.) We were also treated to a random yet hilarious story about the time somebody offered him $20 to change a flat tire. And he did it. And his wife asks him, “Are you really going to take that [money]?” And King says, “You’re fucking right. This is the first honest work I’ve done in 20 years.” King also talked about his wife always being his first reader and when she first read It she said, “I love it but you gotta change the title. […] Because if you call it It the critics will call it shit.” Obviously he stuck with the title and didn’t listen to the critics but as King said, “It never bothered me because when I started I was 24 and I knew they would all fucking die eventually.”

After over forty-five minutes of speaking, he announced that he was running on empty and that he’d take some questions from the audience. Honestly though, the audience questions were shite (like the lady that just wanted him to sign her hat — he told her no) and if I wasn’t so tongue tied I wish I would’ve grown a pair and asked a question of my own. One of the questions was actually good where he was asked about his deftly placed “Easter Eggs”, how connected all his works/characters are and whether it came naturally or if he made a conscious effort to do that. He talks about how he feels they all relate back to The Dark Tower series which is simply fascinating. Personally, I would have taken that question a step further and asked about the fact that Joe Hill’s characters are also connected to Kings characters and how the decision was made to do that. I can envision some sort of family meeting to discuss this and damn, seriously, but those two really ought to write some books together.

Bottom line, this was an awesome event and I’m so very fortunate that I was able to attend. I’m not sure it was possible but I think I love him even more than I did yesterday.


The Everything Box Tour Recap: Reno

Posted May 3, 2016 by Bonnie in Anxious Encounters with Humankind, Event Recap / 4 Comments

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I had the pleasure of seeing Richard Kadrey speak this past weekend here in Reno, Nevada. He’s out promoting his latest release, The Everything Box, the first installment in a new humorous, supernatural series. I’ve been a big fan of his since reading Dead Set and Suspect Zero so this was very exciting for me. Also, this was my very first author event I’ve attended! I know. What rock have I been living under?

The Everything Box is a bit of a departure from his normal writing style, adding humor, multiple POVs, and even chapters (his Sandman Slim series is noted for not having any; only page breaks.) Kadrey states he originally pitched this story as Terry Pratchett meets Carl Hiaasen, that only two books are actually planned currently for the series, and that the second installment is tentatively titled The Wrong Dead Guy. Here’s hoping that title sticks.

He spent a lot of time discussing his writing process which involves outlines, usually putting words on actual paper but occasionally the computer, but mostly stressed about the importance of following your instincts when it comes to getting the story out as it was meant to. One interesting tidbit about Dead Set, currently his only YA novel, is it’s the only book he’s written based solely off a dream he had. He was asked by a fan if his process involves plotting out each book on its own or if he has an end game already planned. This is a big stickler for me personally because I feel like most series these days are all written on the fly without that “big picture” planned out and that just seems so integral to making everything work right. I was pleased to hear that he does have the end game planned (for Sandman Slim) and that he still anticipates several more stories but wouldn’t nail down an actual number. The Perdition Score is the eighth installment and will be published June 28th 2016 by Harper Voyager.

 Everybody wanted to discuss Sandman Slim so I was extremely glad I had made sure to read the first installment before the event or I would have been completely lost. Briefly mentioned was that movie rights for Sandman Slim have been optioned. When asked about casting, he wouldn’t say who he could see in the role for the same reason he doesn’t fully describe the main character in the book: he wants each reader to come up with their own Stark. Also, Sandman Slim was only originally planned for three installments so Kadrey had to somehow manage to complete the story yet partially leave it open just in case he was able to write more installments. I’m eager to get to that third and fourth installment to see how he managed that one.

Other than his books, he entertained us with stories of his ad writing days writing for Snapple and the World Wrestling Federation and his first official show business gig as a writer on The Smurfs. Funniest was the day he was apparently asked to write an ad on mufflers and the only thing that came to mind was “Buy a muffler. Fuck you.” And that was the end of his ad-days. He was asked about his interesting and numerous tattoos and talked about his two recent additions: the names of the seven archangels in angelic script across his shoulders (because he figured since he’d made so much money off angels…) and a bullseye over the artery the doctors used to put in his stent from his recent heart troubles.

Discovering a new favorite author is always an awesome experience. Being able to meet him is even better. I have plenty of backlist books to spend time catching up on but for now I’m enjoying The Everything Box. And you should too.