Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Breathless Reads Tour Recap!

Hey! Got questions about SHADES OF EARTH or anything else in the Godspeed Universe? I'll be doing a live chat on Twitter this Thursday, February 21, at 7pm EST. Just use the #ShadesofEarth hashtag to participate!

Whew! The tour this year was AMAZING and I am so so so honored to have been a part of it. Even if tour = no sleep, I'd gladly give it up in order to meet all the wonderful people and readers I got a chance to share the tour with.

This year, the tour was split up into east and west coast. Which meant I had to make grabby hands at Andrea, Marie, Brenna, and Jessica K as they flew west, but I got to have Jessica S., Elizabeth (aka Bertie), Fiona, and Morgan with me the whole time, and got to have a stop with Lili Peloquin (author of THE INNOCENTS) and Adrienne Kress (author of THE FRIDAY SOCIETY).

First up! Chapel Hill! As a true North Carolinian, I cannot help but associate Chapel Hill with UNC. And as a red-blooded member of the Wolfpack (NCSU REPRESENT), entering enemy territory was strange and scary. But Flyleaf Books was wonderful, and made our first event special.

Love this display!
 And in attendance were some of my favorite people! First up there's Taylor and Hailey--who you might recognize as Tailor and Haylee, two of the Shippers killed in A MILLION SUNS. Yup! These lovely, wonderful ladies are former students of mine (all grown up and conquering China going to college now!)

And I got to see Lori and Britne, two of my awesome friends from college (we missed you Melissa!)  Britne also lent me her name so I could kill her off in A MILLION SUNS, for which I'm extremely grateful :)

After Chapel Hill, the girls and I roadtripped to Greenville, SC--and I drove! I have to say, I'm really glad that the roads were pretty empty, because I kept drifting through different lanes. The conversation in the car was just so amazing! I didn't want to miss anything!

In Greenville, we went to Fiction Addiction, a lovely local bookstore that is awesome. And I got to see some of my favorite readers there, too (hi k8! hi Lizzie! hi Allison! hi everyone else!). And I also got to see my husband, yay!

A panoramic shot of the panel: Fiona Paul (VENOM), Bertie Richards (BLACK CITY), our moderator Fran, Jessica Spotswood (BORN WICKED), me, and Morgan Rhodes (FALLING KINGDOMS).

A typical picture of me: smiling, with my hands nothing but a blur.
I talk with my hands a lot! 

And I LOVED these shoes by Allison!! Look! It's the universe! On her feet!

Me and Jess hamming it up for the camera! She is too cute.
After Greenville, we hopped a plane to the sunny and warm MIAMI! YAY! But in the airport, we started doing something that entertained us all the way through the rest of the tour: playing the game of British People Eat Weird Things.

So, if you didn't know, Bertie (Elizabeth Richards) is from England. Which meant that every time she spoke for the first time at an event, everyone in the crowd gasped in awe. But it also meant that she liked STRANGE THINGS to eat. Her favorite food? Yorkshire pudding. Which isn't pudding. It also isn't Yorkshire. I'm not sure what it is, just what it's not.

So anyway, in the airport, Bertie was eating some sort of British thing. They are called Twiglets. They are named after wood. And they taste like burnt.

She looks innocent here.
But she is not.
 We all tried Twiglets. But Jess's face pretty much sums up the taste perfectly:

Later, I got Bertie to try a Fruit Roll-Up. Which, guys, she had never even heard of! Her face when she peeled away the plastic was hilarious.

I told her that I tend to bunch it up and take bites, and she thought I meant stuff the whole thing in your mouth and chew for ten years. This was also hilarious. I wish I had a video. 

It totally continued to fascinate me about what stuff Bertie didn't have in England! Tootsie Pops! She'd never seen a Tootsie Pop before! (We corrected this, no worries.)

SO! Miami! How do I love thee? Let me count the ways:

1. Hialeah Education Academy. This was by far one of the best schools I've ever visited. The students were so respectful and polite, and the staff were amazingly supportive of reading. I am still in awe of how wonderful these kids were. Each of the kids were already on track to become police officers, fire fighters, or EMT professionals--and they had such focused, determined goals for their lives. It was wonderful to see.

2. Books & Books = a fabulously awesome bookstore. There's a space invader inside! (Not like a real one, but like the street art kind.)

3. Books & Books is lovely inside. Seriously. This is a bookstore I could live in.

4. Also? They gave us wine before the event. Cheers!

5. And the crowd of people there were simply wonderful! So many quality people :)

6. And Lorena! Lorena gets ALL THE LOVE. First, her dress. It's made of STARS AND GALAXIES. Second: the painting. The painting!!! She made me a painting like the one in ACROSS THE UNIVERSE--Harley floating in the stars with a koi around his ankles. AHHHHH!!!!!

After we sadly departed from Miami, we flew to the fabulous metropolis of Memphis. It also happened to be Valentine's Day, so we dressed for the occasion!

Morgan, Bertie, Fiona, Jess, and me all in shades of pink and red! 
When we finally checked into our hotel, I discovered that my wonderful husband had sent me the perfect gift during tour: an Edible Arrangement! (Which was also super special as, just that morning, I'd broken my engagement ring while in the security line for the airport.)

I was going to share, and then I accidentally ate it all. 
 The only downside of Memphis was this guy, who sawed concrete for three solid hours directly outside my window.

The bookstore, btw, was wonderful. They had beautiful posters hanging throughout the store:

And cupcakes for everyone:

 And a fabulous display! It really never gets old, seeing your book in a bookstore.

Additionally, the moderator in Memphis was an editor at Justine Magazine, and as this is one of my favorite magazines (and features awesome things like YA books and models who are real girls and not anorexic sticks), I was extra happy.

We left Memphis next for New York City! I had a perfect view of the city as we landed in Newark, but, unfortunately, it was hazy and I didn't get a great shot.

And I got to see my fabulous-amazing-wonderful-editor-who-I-adore! The entire trip alone was worth it to see her again :)

At Books of Wonder (which really is full of wonder), we hooked up with Lili Peloquin, author of THE INNOCENTS. She is fabulous and funny and I wish we could have kidnapped her for the entire time. She also left me a secret message in the book she signed for me, but I am not showing you! (It's secret.)

Photo taken from the Books of Wonder tumblr
I didn't realize it until the next morning--just before I checked out--that my hotel had a fab view of the Empire State Building. *sigh* Wish I could have stayed in the city longer!!

But too soon we were off--by train this time--to Madison, Connecticut. RJ Julia's is a lovely bookstore I've had the pleasure of being at before, and was so happy to visit it again.

Dear Editors: I swear we worked on the train. We totally did not play on Twitter and Instagram.

And lest you think an author's life is uber-glamourous: our only option for lunch that day was Chinese take-out. I kid you not. We are high-rollers.

RJ Julia had a group of fabulous teenagers who interviewed us prior to the event. The girls were so well informed and professional--it was an honor being interviewed by them!

During the event, I snapped this photo of the crowd. It gives you a really great bird's eye view of what it was like in my seat, looking out at the crowd before us and the lovely ladies I shared the tour with <3 p="">

And! Connecticut is where I got to see one of my favoritest people in the world, Lauren DeStefano! Whose name I still can't pronounce correctly, but who loves me anyway. In fact, she loves me so much that when she realized my engagement ring had broken, she promptly proposed and drew a new ring on my finger. We're getting married in the spring and are registered at Tiffany's. :p

And I also got to see the lovely Jen from Hypable--I adore this lady :) I'm very glad we kidnapped her during the Ash to Nash tour! 

But, sadly, we had to say farewell to Bertie and Fiona after this event. Too soon! I tried to stuff Bertie into my suitcase and take her with me to the south (she still hasn't tried hush puppies or grits!) but, sadly, she has these things like a "husband" and a "life" to return to in England, so she left.

Our last group photo! *sniffles*

And, finally, for the last stop, Jess, Morgan and I met up with Adrienne Kress (THE FRIDAY SOCIETY) for an event in Toronto, Ontario! But getting there was...something of an adventure. Say hello to the smallest plane I've ever ridden on: it had only 18 seats total, and our flight attendant was also the co-pilot. It was so small that they couldn't even fit all the luggage on board the plane and Morgan's got left behind!

But, the harrowing ride in the tiny death trap of doom was worth it: because at the end of that flight (I swear, we almost barrel-rolled into the landing) was Toronto!

I kept calling this the Toronto Spire, but BookNerdCanada assured me this was the CN Tower :) 

The event in Canada was a little different from the other events we did. It was more of a day-long party (sponsored through Faze Magazine) that was all about the girls: they had make-up stations, girl-empowerment messages, musicians and bands, and tons of prizes. It was definitely different from anything I'd done before!

And! They made cupcakes for us that featured our book covers!

I totally took a bite out of my book!

It was tasty!
Also, it was Morgan's birthday, so we had a cake (decorated with macaroons!) and the entire audience sang to her :)

It was sort of surreal to be here--seriously, it was like a rock concert / make-up party / book event all rolled into one. It was awesome, though, to see the girls get so excited about the bands and books, though.

This is Jesse Giddings--probably the fan favorite of the day. Also in attendance, music-wise,
was Brendn (who is partial to Justin Beiber covers), and Eleven Past One, who rocked.

Jessica and I in the green room under the stage. Jesse was rocking out over us, and the entire room thrummed with music.

Basically, the event was scheduled like this: band, authors, band, authors, band, authors. Jess and I went on stage after Jesse, so we got to see them from the backstage before going out. 

Look at this crowd, guys! It's...amazing! So many girls! So many readers! I was totally gobsmacked, being up there, looking at everyone listening to us as we talk about our favorite books and inspiring messages.

After the Canadian event, we had a chance to go out to dinner with the fab Penguin Canada peeps, including Adrienne Kress, who is way too pretty! In this pic, I'm propped up on Jess's shoulder because, in reality, I'm already asleep (it was a long day, yo!).

So that was my week! It was basically a week of fun, talk, books, and no-sleep...and I couldn't be happier to have been blessed to be a part of it! It was seriously just so much fun, and so wonderful to meet (an re-meet!) so many awesome readers. If you were there: thank you. It really means a lot to me that you came. And if you couldn't be there, I know you were in spirit, and hopefully we'll make a stop in your town soon!

Thanks again everyone! And remember: if you still have something you want to talk about in the ACROSS THE UNIVERSE world, I'll be a part of a Twitter chat tomorrow at 7pm EST. Just use #ShadesofEarth in your hashtag!
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