Book Pop!: Sam Maggs Q&A + Giveaway

Welcome! I’m so excited to be kicking off Book Pop in celebration of Quirk Book’s 15 year anniversary! Quirk has always been one of my favorite publishers- they invest so much time into publishing the best books with the coolest designs, perfectly fitting the feel of each story.  They’re very innovative and not afraid to take chances so it makes sense that they would create Book Pop!  Book Pop is essentially an online comic con so everyone can participate and experience the fun without paying the price of admission, travel or hotel accommodations!  This online celebration will take place starting today, July 31st and run through August 11th.  There will be giveaways, a cosplay contest, and original programming such as Twitter takeovers, Facebook Live panels, and more!  To see the full list of events (including the most awesome interactive con map I’ve ever laid eyes on), click here.  And best of all, I was able to do a Q&A with Sam Maggs, author of The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy and Wonder Women to start things off!

Kristin: After attending a ton of conventions, it’s clear that each con has its own unique personality and focus.  Of all the conventions you regularly attend, which is your favorite and why?

Sam: This is like Sophie’s Choice! You’re absolutely right in that each convention really does have its own personality, so it depends on my mood. I adore TCAF (the Toronto Comic Arts Festival); run by the folks at Toronto’s premier LCS, The Beguiling, TCAF takes place over a weekend in the Toronto Reference Library, is completely free to attend, and really puts the focus on indie and webcomic artists. (VanCAF is an excellent alternative for any west-coasters out there). PAX is rad if you’re looking for a gaming convention – they have an interesting mix of big publishers and small indie titles to get excited about. Emerald City Comicon is a good example of a larger con that still does a good job of focusing on their incredible Artist Alley. YALLWest, based in Santa Monica High School, is an intense blast of YA lit fun. There are so many fun options out there now that cater to whatever your fandom may be!

Kristin: Nothing is better than the memories we create at conventions- from meeting celebrities, writers and artists to witnessing breaking news live at panels to buying merch and getting collectibles signed and, most importantly, to hanging out with friends from all corners of the world! What’s your fondest convention memory?

Sam: Honestly, I want my answer to be something impressive about a celebrity (I will say that, one time, Stan Lee called me cute and gave me a little hug, so that’s got to be up there). The truth is, though, that my favorite memories are attending my very first cons with my mom when I was in my first year of university! We were both so new to it and everything was so fresh and exciting. We made so many friends from all over the world that we’re still in touch with. There’s really nothing like sharing a con with someone you love, and who shares the same interests as you.

Kristin: It wouldn’t be a convention without cosplay!  What’s your favorite cosplay you’ve ever worn?  Dream cosplay?

Sam: I think it has to be my most recent cosplay: Lup Taaco, from The Adventure Zone podcast! I love those McElboys so much, and it was a delight to bring a fully-audio character to life – I had so much flexibility and choice in putting together her look! A dream cosplay would be Sailor Mercury, but I don’t think my legs will ever be able to pull that one off. Because they are normal human length.

Kristin: It’s no secret that comics are a male dominated industry but thankfully, things have been slowly changing.  Have you personally witnessed a positive shift in cons welcoming female attendees? And how do you think we as a community can continue to welcome new fangirls?

Sam: This is an interesting question because, for as long as I’ve attended them, cons have always been a women-dominated space. My very first cons were all Stargate conventions, and (it may not surprise you to learn that) those were almost entirely attended by women of all different ages from all over the world. The internet has provided such a great space for women to find and form their own fan communities, and those groups all go out to big cons now. With the addition of Cosplay is Not Consent and harassment policies, cons are safer and more welcoming spaces than ever to people of all genders. It’s a place where we can all go to meet folks just like us.

Kristin: What do you consider to be your greatest fandom treasure that you’ve acquired at a con?

Sam: Original artwork. It took me years of attending cons before I realized I should be getting commissions from all the wonderful artists there while I had the chance. If you’re going to start collecting sketches or art, I would recommend choosing a theme – that way, your artist has some direction, but still has some choice in what they draw. I’ve been getting witches, and my Kevin Wada Nico Minoru is like, my ultimate Con Get.

Kristin: Let’s imagine that you were pre-approved to create and moderate any panel of your choosing.  Who would you want on your panel and what would the topic be?

Sam: It would be just a regular “How to Make Amazing Comics” or “How to Break in to Comics” panel, but it would be staffed entirely by people who aren’t straight white men.

Kristin: Cons always involve very long days with minimal sitting and the exertion of your inner extrovert.  Luckily, the excitement of it all usually drives con-goers’ adrenaline levels to an all time high, but what’s your favorite way to decompress after you’ve arrived back home from a long weekend away?

Sam: Self-care is so necessary after a con week! I like to indulge in speaking to literally no one for as long as humanly possible. Seriously though, I try to boost my immune system to keep away that con crud by aiming for food and teas with lots of vitamins C and B6, and I use a hydrogel face mask to repair the damage done to my pores by intense hotel and plane dryness. In terms of my mental health, I don’t make any social plans for the week I’m back, and I do all my unpacking and laundry the second I step through the door when I get home. Not having that hanging over your head for the rest of the week feels amazing, and it means that after work you can indulge in your favorite restful rituals (I like LUSH baths and ASMR hairbrushing).

GIVEAWAY

  • 1 Copy of The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy by Sam Maggs
  • 1 Copy of Wonder Women by Sam Maggs
  • No purchase necessary

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Kristin

BookExpo / BookCon Recap & Photos!

Hello friends! I’ve had to take a break from my weekly recaps because Andrew and I were away for our anniversary and then the following weekend, I attended BookExpo and BookCon at the Javits Center in New York City.  I have so many wonderful photos to share from the event! I spent the whole convention with Alexa from Alexa Loves Books, following a schedule that we mapped out for weeks beforehand (and updated once we arrived so we could make all the ARC drops).  We kicked off our conventional at NOVL headquarters where we attended a lovely brunch and listened to Ryan Graudin talk about her newest novel, Invictus.  If you watch my vlog below, you’ll actually get to see a clip of Ryan discussing the book (PS she has the most awesome hair I’ve ever seen and I was totally in love with her metallic skirt).  Each table got to complete a puzzle assembling artwork of one of the characters in the book (but we got lucky because ours has two characters!).  You can also hear a bit more about them in the video!  We also did some speed dating with the editors at Little Brown which means that they would spend about 10 minutes at each table, telling us about one of their upcoming titles.  I’m most excited about Fireblood because I’ve been meaning to read Frostblood for a while and now I’m excited to have the opportunity to read them back to back.  Then Alexa and I headed over to the Javits Center and picked up our badges for BookExpo!

Day one of BookExpo was a resounding success! We acquired so many of the books we were looking for but some highlights for me were WarcrossThe Belles and the Harry Potter sampler from Scholastic.  The floor was much different this year than in years past.  There was a much calmer vibe to everything and people seemed generally more polite which was lovely.  We did witness one tug of war over an ARC of Warcross but that was the extent of bad behavior that we saw for the day.  I was also really excited to try out the photobooth Fierce Reads had set up for Language of Thorns.  You were able to choose a background based on the newly renamed Shadow and Bone trilogy, the Six of Crows duology or the newest addition to the Grishaverse, Language of Thorns.  I loved that they had the character banners set up with Kevin Wada’s amazing artwork of the Six of Crows gang.  After day one I went to the Gotham Market on 11th Avenue and tried my first and last sushi burrito ever.  It was delicious but WAY too messy.  Then at night, we went to the Big Honcho Media Stay Golden party at The Ainsworth which was so much fun!  I definitely stayed out a bit too late but I was having too much fun to leave!

Then on our last day of BookExpo (the show floor was only open for two days this year as opposed to the usual three) Alexa and I managed to get all of the other books we were hoping for! Despite staying out past my bedtime, I was still able to get to the Javits Center before 8AM.  Our plan was to be there early and head straight to the Disney booth for a copy of Unearthed by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner (while everyone else ran to Penguin for the full ARC of Stephanie Perkins’s There’s Someone Inside Your House which we thankfully managed to get the day before).  It was honestly like kismet.  We met Kerri Maniscalco in the Little Brown booth and she signed a copy of Hunting Prince Dracula for us.  We ran into Stephanie Garber roaming around the show floor and got to gush to her about how much we both love Caraval and need her to do a book tour in NYC so she can sign our copies!  We also stopped by the OwlCrate booth (several times) and we dressed up in their Harry Potter props for some fun photos.  They also did an ARC drop of Lucky in Love by Kasie West and I acquired Top Ten by Katie Cotugno from them the day before thanks to Alexa’s expert wheel spinning skills.  Right before we left the show, we were invited by Lili from Tor to have cocktails with Chad Michael Murray and Heather Graham in celebration of their new book.  We got to take photos with Chad (!) and I picked up a copy of the book for my sister in law, Molly.  I’m still completely amazed that Chad Michael Murray seems to have not aged in the slightest.  He was so charming! Then I dropped my books off at the hotel and Alexa and I headed out the other Ainsworth for the Fierce Reads party.  We met our friends Rachel of Hello-Chelly and Lindsay there and we got to hang out with so many amazing authors.  I got to tell Marissa Meyer how Cress and Thorne are my forever OTP and I joked with Leigh Bardugo about how I got yelled at in LA for crossing the street when the light was red even though there were no cars coming because apparently that’s not allowed in LA and this New Yorker who dodges cars on a daily basis had no clue.  They also gave us a swag bag with a samplers of Meyer and Bardugo’s latest works (Renegades and Language of Thorns) as well as a couple of other titles.

Then bright and early on Saturday morning, me, Alexa, Rachel and Andi of Andi’s ABC’s went to PRINT for the Penguin Teen breakfast! I finally got to meet Chelsea from Penguin in real life and she’s one of the nicest people ever! She also did an excellent job organizing the breakfast and I’m so thankful to have been invited!  We had more speed dating at this event but this time with five amazing authors- Marie Lu, Stephanie Perkins, Julie C. Dao, Kristin Cashore and Peter Bognanni.  Each author sat at our table for 10 minutes to talk to us about their new books and it really got me even more excited about each title.  In fact, I’ve since already read and loved Warcross by Marie Lu.  It’s a new favorite for sure! And I got to take a photo with Stephanie Perkins who is the cutest human ever.  Penguin Teen was nice enough to give us a box set of all the game changing titles they have coming out this fall as well as a posted signed by each of the authors at the breakfast.  Afterward, the four of us headed over back over to the Javits for BookCon.  I have to say that I was really impressed with the way everything was handled this year.  The event was much more organized than in years past and I had a blast walking the floor with my friends.  Highlights from BookCon for me were 1) meeting so many sweet people who came up to me and said they love my videos! I feel so thankful that anyone took the time to say hi to me!, 2) standing directly next to Jenny Han and Morgan Matson in the Simon and Schuster booth and 3) getting an ARC of An Enchantment of Ravens which I am highly anticipating reading!  So overall, this was the best year at BookExpo and BookCon that I’ve ever experienced.  I cannot wait until next year!  Below are videos of my full book haul if you’re interested in viewing it as well as a vlog of the event so you can get a feel for the show floor.  Happy reading!!!

BookTube Videos

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Kristin

News & Stuff #4: NYCC Edition

Last weekend I was one of the chosen ones who were able to acquire an NYCC 4-day pass so that is where I spent my days!  There was so much exciting news that came out of New York Comic Con that I wanted to make a video to share some of my favorite upcoming things.  One thing I forgot to include in my video is that VIZ Media is coming out with a Pokemon art book! I cannot wait.  Gimme all the Pokemon things.  Also is it Sun & Moon release day yet?! Anyway, I think Marvel was the clear news winner at NYCC this year but I’m also super excited about the new Shoujo manga that Kodansha got licenses for.  What are you most looking forward to?

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Baltimore Comic Con: The Cosplay

Baltimore Comic Con was a blast (as always!).  If you haven’t already, you can watch my vlog of the con as well as my haul which I posted on my YouTube channel earlier in the week.  One of my favorite parts of the convention is admiring all of the wonderful cosplay that you see while walking around the exhibit hall, so today I’m sharing some of my favorites from this year’s show.  Saturday was the costume contest so I definitely saw the best cosplay that day and I was pleasantly surprised and impressed with how many adorable kids I saw in cosplay this con!  I think my favorites of the bunch are the Saga cosplayers, Cecil from Welcome to Night Vale, Hawkgirl and the Spider-Men cosplay group!  Which are your favorites?

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Baltimore Comic Con: Vlog & Haul

Over Labor Day weekend, Andrew and I woke up at 3 AM to start our journey to Baltimore to attend my all time favorite convention, Baltimore Comic Con.  It’s been two years since I’ve been able to go and it was so great to be back!  The reason I love Baltimore so very much is that the main emphasis of the show is on comics and it’s evident of that focus when you look at the guest list each year.  They always manage to book the top writers and artists in the industry and it’s a pleasure to spend time on their show floor.  It’s not like SDCC or NYCC where walking from one end of the convention to the other end is an unbearable feat that requires you to set aside at least 30 minutes for.  And on the day of the costume contest, they always have some amazing cosplayers!  Admittedly, the show was a bit quieter this year after having been moved to Labor Day Weekend because Baltimore Comic Con was competing with 8 other conventions.  I still had a wonderful time and I fully expect to attend again next year when the date gets pushed back later in the month.  A major plus of the convention is that it’s right near the beautiful Barnes & Noble in the inner harbor which is totally worth a trip to.  Anyway, here’s the footage of our trip and my video of the treasures I acquired.

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EternalCon: The Cosplay

Last weekend, Andrew, Kelly and I met up to attend EternalCon on Long Island.  It’s still a relatively new convention (this being it’s 4th year) and I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised by how much fun we had.  The floor was full of exhibitors and cosplayers and everyone seemed to be in good spirits.  I love that there’s a local convention that’s so easy to get to and I’m definitely planning on going back next year.  Here are some photos of some of the best cosplay I saw at the show.  An EternalCon vlog with con footage and our purchases is coming next week!

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Wish List Worthy: Harry Potter Hedwig Mug

I usually write a wish list post around SDCC outlining all of the exclusives I would be willing to spend time waiting in line for and I’m still planning to do the same this year but the first exclusive I saw was just too good to wait on!  Monogram is coming out a Hedwig mug *initiate party horns* and it would be the perfect addition to my Harry Potter bookshelves.  Then I can pretend nothing happened to her and instead, enjoy her company while I drink tea and re-read my favorite books.  The mug is ceramic but it doesn’t say how many oz it holds so I’m crossing my fingers for somewhere in the 16 oz – 20 oz range.  The mug also comes with a cute gold Hogwarts crest pin that can be affixed to the house robes of your choice. It’s only $20 and it’s limited to 500 pieces so good luck to everyone who wants one!

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San Diego Comic Con 2015 Exclusives Wish List

I’m posting this a day late, but here are all the exclusives I would be devoting my precious time to collecting if I were attending SDCC this year.  I found out about my favorite exclusive, the glitter Darth Vader coin purse, after seeing Le Fancy Geek’s Wish List and I knew I had to add it to mine!  I’m also really loving the Her Universe Agent Carter tee.  I loved that tv series so much and it holds a special place for me since it’s really what got me into YouTubing<3  I’m also obsessed with the Serenity Leaf on the Wind necklace by Quantum Mechanix.  Talk about the perfect accessory!  Other favorites include plush direwolves & a Game of Thrones crown, a Jem & the Holograms doll and Regina & Supergirl vinyl figures!  What’re you hoping to get your hands on this year?

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Kristin

Event Recap: BEA is Better than BookCon & How BookCon Improve

Last week I returned to Book Expo America (BEA) at the Javits Center for my second time attending the show since 2012.  For the most part, I knew what to expect from the event and I spent a ton of time beforehand making a list of all of the signings and giveaways that I knew I wanted to grab which was really helpful.  The most important thing about BEA is being organized and prioritizing what you cannot miss.  It’s the one convention where wandering around aimlessly will not work to your benefit.  On the first day of BEA, Kristina and I spent some time getting the lay of the land.  One the second day, we were much better about getting in specific lines and finding out what time ARCs were being dropped and by the third day we were PROS.  We were first or almost first in line for every single book we wanted that day (and we got them all!).  At BEA, all of the books you’re waiting in lines for are free so the waiting isn’t so bad.  From the last time I attended I had learned to be picky about the books I accept especially since I then become the one who’s responsible for carrying them for the rest of the day.  There were only about 3 books I ended up with this time that I hadn’t already planned on taking but I ended up leaving them because I couldn’t justify why I had accepted them.  Sometimes you just feel bad when someone is really trying to hand you their book and it’s easier to say okay and put it down somewhere else later.  All of the authors that I met, chatted with, and took photos with were at BEA (I’m much less interested in waiting in line for celebrity “authors” than I am in people like Patrick Ness and R.L. Stine).  We also had a beautiful sit down dinner with Quirk Books, and a really fun Epic Reads party to attend after BEA whereas I hadn’t heard of many events going on after BookCon.

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Since I was unable to attend last year due to various weddings and such, I missed the initial madness that is BookCon.  I have been hearing horror stories about it ever since and while they certainly made me cautious about what I was getting myself into, I was not going to miss the opportunity to see it with my own eyes.  For those who don’t know, BEA is an industry only event which is full of publishers, authors, press and literary agents while BookCon is open to the public.  While you can still win some free ARCs at BookCon, those in attendance are purchasing the majority of the books they take home.  Before BookCon started, half of the convention floor was dismantled and a temporary wall in the Javits Center sectioned off a small portion of what we had been walking around for the past three days.  It seemed strange to me to have a bigger event in a smaller amount of space.  I think BookCon could have utilized the other portion of the floor if they had added in vendors that the public would be likely to benefit from.  For instance, I think there is a HUGE missed opportunity for an Artist Alley (similar to comic conventions) to highlight artists who create bookish artwork, fan art and prints.  It would also be AWESOME to see Etsy vendors selling bookmarks and book inspired jewelry.  Plus, COSPLAY.  I think an event where readers cosplay as their favorite characters would be the coolest.  I could definitely see myself dressing as Celaena Sardothien, Luna Lovegood, or several other characters if that were to become a thing at BookCon. The one thing I did love was the platform at the Epic Reads booth where we were able to stand behind a cutout and take photos as if we were on the cover of Kiera Cass’s new spinoff book in the Selection series, The Heir.  I didn’t spend much of my time at BookCon because I felt as though I had gotten my fill during BEA.  I’m almost tempted to try to start my own book convention using my suggestions!

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Kristin

My Bucket List

I love the idea of having a published Bucket List to reference when I’m planning future events and reflecting back on the past.  Kristina Horner published a bucket list on her blog and it inspired me to type out my own so I can focus on making sure I accomplish as many of the things I want to do during my lifetime.  I’ll be writing posts about the things I do and even flashing back to some things I’ve already experienced but were always a part of my list.  What’s on your bucket list?

  1. Visit Harry Potter World in Orlando
  2. Live in New York City
  3. Meet JK Rowling
  4. Harry Potter Studio Tour in London
  5. Tour Studio Ghibli
  6. Lord of the Rings Tour in New Zealand
  7. Attend the Yule Ball
  8. Visit all of the Canadian locations in Scott Pilgrim
  9. Disneyland in Paris
  10. Disneyland in Tokyo
  11. Visit Club 33 at Disneyland
  12. Sakura Matsuri in Japan
  13. Attend Sleep No More
  14. Wine tasting in Napa Valley
  15. Publish a novel
  16. Own a pink KitchenAid mixer
  17. Drink champagne in front of the Eiffel Tower
  18. Cultivate and maintain a garden
  19. Go to the Coney Island Mermaid Parade
  20. Learn to French braid hair
  21. The Doctor Who Experience in Cardiff
  22. See the Chicago Bean
  23. Go pumpkin picking
  24. See Shakespeare in the Park
  25. Go on a Jack the Ripper Tour in London
  26. Learn how to bake French macarons
  27. See the Yayoi Kusama exhibit
  28. Go skiing
  29. Go to Coachella
  30. Go to The Louvre
  31. Stroll through Central Park in the fall
  32. Complete NaNoWriMo
  33. Sakura Matsuri in NYC
  34. Stay in the Library Hotel in NYC in the Fairy Tale room
  35. Tour NASA
  36. Ride a train across the country
  37. Stargaze on the Highline
  38. See Stonehenge
  39. Kiss Andrew atop the Eiffel Tower
  40. Go apple picking
  41. See the Northern Lights
  42. Watch a sunset on a beach
  43. Go to all 50 states
  44. Climb a lighthouse
  45. Create a board game
  46. Fly in a private jet
  47. Meet R.L. Stine
  48. See the Acropolis in Greece
  49. Stand on the Equator
  50. Visit The Globe Theater in London
  51. Visit YouTube Studios
  52. Go strawberry picking
  53. Customize toys
  54. Carve Andrew and I’s initials into a tree
  55. Attend the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival
  56. Get married
  57. Kiss Andrew in front of the Christmas Tree in Rockefeller Center
  58. Visit NBC’s Rainbow Room and Observation Deck
  59. Attend a live taping of SNL
  60. Attend a live recording of Welcome to Night Vale
  61. Tour Pixar
  62. Tour Nintendo
  63. Meet George Lucas
  64. Tour Google
  65. Attend BlogHer
  66. Drink at the Met’s rooftop bar
  67. Learn how to use photoshop
  68. Visit the Glow Worm Caves
  69. See the Hollywood sign
  70. Attend a movie premiere with a red carpet
  71. Walk the Brooklyn Bridge
  72. Meet Michio Kaku
  73. Own a pair of Christian Louboutins
  74. Own a Chanel purse
  75. Style a fashion shoot
  76. Be styled for a fashion shoot by a celebrity stylist
  77. Attend an outdoor concert at Jones Beach
  78. Attend a farewell concert for a band I love
  79. Visit Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany
  80. Be thanked in the acknowledgements of a published book
  81. Meet Neil Gaiman
  82. Meet Stan Lee
  83. Get a Sandman tattoo
  84. Fall in love
  85. Help out at a fashion show
  86. Get published
  87. Be on a television show
  88. Be made fun of by Joel McHale on The Soup
  89. Have an IMDB page
  90. Speak on a panel at a convention
  91. Moderate a panel at a convention
  92. Live in Los Angeles
  93. Read all of the books I own
  94. Get a Harry Potter tattoo
  95. Attend San Diego Comic Con
  96. Attend Star Wars Celebration
  97. Attend Book Expo America
  98. Walk and shop along the Champs-Élysées
  99. See a show at the Moulin Rouge
  100. See the Cirque de Soleil Beatles LOVE show in Las Vegas
  101. Drink gluhwein at Rolph’s during Christmas season
  102. Go to the Labyrinth Masquerade Ball in LA
  103. Buy a vintage typewriter
  104. Visit The Last Bookstore in LA
  105. The Walking Dead Tour in Atlanta
  106. Visit Powell’s Bookstore in Portland
  107. Visit the Space Needle in Seattle
  108. Attend an event in the Great Hall at Whimsic Alley
  109. Visit the castle in Scotland that Hogwarts was based on
  110. Go to Star Wars Weekends at Disney
  111. Meet Peter Jackson
  112. Go to a Renaissance Faire
  113. Attend the Holi Festival in NYC
  114. Take a photo in front of the mirror fence at Storm King

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