What I Learned At BEA (Book Expo America)

It can not be too early to start talking about BEA.. certainly we are about 8 weeks out (or is it 7) and I am already counting down the days!  😀

Last year I did something that was new to me and I can not wait to share it with you!  I too a flight from Minnesota to New York to attend BEA.  Now if you are anything like me, a little introverted… but really want to experience BEA – I want to share with you how I did it, and what I learned so if you are planning to attend this year (and SSSQQQQUUUEEEEEEE for you if you are!) I am hopeful that my experience can help you plan for an exciting trip.

First off let me just say if you are at all considering doing BEA but not sure…. and what if… and….. STOP IT.  Stop it now and go – RUN I TELL YOU, and get signed up.  Seriously…. BEA is about one of the best things I ever did for myself and I will rave about it forever.  😀

So here is how it went down for me last year.

So… I was fairly new to blogging…. heard the low rumbles about something called BEA and as I watched on Twitter I learned that BEA stood for Book Expo America and it was a big huge book event in New York that many book bloggers were planning to attend.  Honestly, I had never heard of such a thing before.  An event that was all books…. major books…. oh and those people I have come to chat with frequently on-line… yeah, they would be there.  I could actually meet them in person.


SO right there I am interested… but nervously so…. I have flown many places before with my family…. but never alone.  This was so unlike me to decide to jump on a plane and go to New York – a place I had never been… never thought about going to…. and seriously here came the questions…

Who would I know?

Where would I stay?

How would I get places?

How expensive would this be?

Was I crazy?  😯

But I really really wanted to go…. so…. first off I connected with someone I felt safe with.  I had never met Reagan from Miss Remmer’s reviews but we had chatted through comments on our blogs and on Twitter.  I knew she was from Minnesota (SAFE!) and was a teacher (SAFE!).  Through emails we both decided we were going to do this  and do it together.

As we looked at prices we discovered that New York hotels were not cheep…. so we decided to look for roommates.  But who?  We went on Twitter…. we posted on our blogs…. and people responded…. within a few weeks we had roommates and they had all sent me their share of the hotel room which I had secured.

They were:

Care from Care’s Online Book Club

Kim from Sophisticated Dorkiness

Esme from Chocolates and Croissants

All women who I had never met…. but we emailed each other… I peaked at their blog posts…. found them to be just like me… and we had a plan.

So – here is my advice:

Read up on anything you can on BEA – I read the BEA website forwards and backwards…. a group of wonderful bloggers all got together and did a post a day about BEA and their experiences and advice and I literally took notes…

the best advice I picked up from them and used was:

1.  Bring a large book bag to put your books in (seriously I can not emphasize this enough).  You will get book bags there, but if you have a large comfy bag that you can toss in a little coin purse, a bottle of water or two and fruit or a granola bar you are set! Do not plan on carrying a desperate purse – many areas of the Javits are crowded and extra baggage will be something you will regret.

2.  Dress comfy but nice…. you will be meeting authors and publishers and you are representing your blog.  It’s a hobby, but at BEA it is also like your business….Oh and wear comfy shoes – you will walk A LOT.

3.  There is food in the Javits Center but it is pricey… I ate the continental breakfast at our hotel and grabbed an extra piece of fruit/yogurt when I left… have a few snacky items to tie you over.

4.  Friends told my New York was super expensive to eat there and I was worried but honestly, I found it not to be bad… very similar to Minnesota.  Yes, I am sure you can find expensive places but even when we ate out at a couple nice places it was about 14 – $20 for a dinner, and on the low-end – we ate at an awesome Thai restaurant (what was it called Esme – Yum Yum?) it was about $12 and three courses that was DELICIOUS!  I can not wait to eat there again.

5.  Our hotel was a few blocks off from Times Square (SSSSSQQQUUUEEEE!!!!) and about 6 blocks from the Javits Center.  We walked everywhere and only used a cab a couple of times when it was dark to get back to our hotel.  we booked our hotel this year in the same area.

6.  ***DO NOT book a lot of things before you arrive.  Yes it is New York… yes there is much to see and do…. but this advice was priceless.  People asked me to book shows and events with them prior to BEA and I said no…. I am so glad I did.  Every night we were invited to have dinner with authors, with fellow bloggers, one night there was a book blogger party… all of this I would have missed had I filled my evenings with shows.  Instead, when I booked my stay, I booked it one day longer than BEA so that last day I could explore New York and do a show…. Esme from Chocolates and Croissants did this with me… we seen The King Tut Exhibit and went to Mama Mia…. it was awesome. 😀

5.  Plan your book mailings wisely.  Even though I had heard that at BEA you would be given books… I really had no idea.  None.  As soon as the doors opened that first day I was pushed with the crowd into the main area and into a table where a book was thrust into my hands.  Seriously.  I will never forget it… that book was I Am Number Four and I had never heard of it.

When my book bag became full I found Fed Ex on the main floor, boxed up the books and waited in line to mail the box to myself at home.  That first standard size box cost me around $30.  Later that day I discovered UPS downstairs which was a better set up.  There they had long tables and you could grab a box and write your name all over it and leave it down there.  Then you could make frequent trips to your box and fill it as the day went on.  When that box was full I taped it up and waited in line to mail it to me… around $40.  A bigger box, not bad but still… I could spend a lot at this rate.

Then I discovered the post office was about 8 blocks from the Javits Center.  Now this is a commitment as I hauled three book bags to the post office – however when I boxed up that large box (and I put everything in it, books, t-shirts, pins, pens, swag of all kinds) it was $18 to send the box to me media mail.  BINGO.  This is the way to go.  😀  I also noticed some wise people brought to the center pull behind suitcases that they filled and then wheeled to their hotels or post office… not a bad idea either.

7.  Absolutely invest in business cards.  I bought a box of 500 through Vista Print last year… I probably still have about 200 left but I gave out a lot of them to fellow bloggers, publishers, etc…  I paid around $19 for the cards and was very happy with them.

8.  My final advice… you can sleep when you get home.  😛 Keep your ears open, be friendly, meet people and go to where the action is.  I was tired…. but every night I had plans and that is part of the experience.

Me and two of my roomies: (R) Kim from Sophisticated Dorkiness, me, and Care from Care's On Line Book Club

I found book bloggers to be exactly who I felt they were by reading their blogs.  I did not meet one person who did not seem genuine.  We all chatted like we were old friends and I loved how we could recognize each other by our blogs…. I can not even put into words what an amazing experience this was.  I knew right away I wanted to go again this year and any other year if possible…

I am attending again with Reagan (Miss Remmer’s Reviews).  The only thing we are planning differently is that this year we are just doing us two in the room.  Our hotel room was extremely small last year (I never seen anything like that)… New York values space and every building is TALL – not wide.  Same goes for the rooms.  Our beds last year to my surprise, were full size…close quarters for a room full of girls I had never met before.  🙂  And the shower/bathroom time was interesting to get us all in and out.  It was good none of us spent a lot of time in the room.  This year it costs us more, but worth the space.

If you are planning to go – please let me know, I would love to meet you in person! I will be taking my laptop and I will be on Twitter throughout the event (#bookjourney).

Morning Meanderings… When You (I) Do Stupid Things

Good morning.  😀

I want to share something really really crazy I did the last few days and hopefully you can follow along with the craziness of this story…. it is kind of like a mystery so watch for the clues that I missed.  😉

Last Friday I rented How Do You Know from Red Box.  Owen Wilson, Reese Witherspoon, Paul Rudd…. what’s not to love?

Well Friday was the Missions Banquet which I had been working on setting up for several days and after the banquet a very (VERY) tired version of me came home around 10 pm.  Now, no matter how tired I am I can never come home and go right to bed… I actually need to wind down by either reading a bit or staring at the TV set.  This night, was the latter… I grabbed my Redbox movie, went to the DVD player, opened it… closed it… sat down in the recliner.

The DVD player was empty.

I went and looked in the Redbox case and sure enough… I was so tired I never put the movie in… but there was something else.  There were two DVD’s in the Redbox case.  Holy cats… someone had returned their Redbox movies and put two in the same case.  The second movie was The Ugly Truth.

I watched my movie… well sort of… I fell asleep in the middle and watched it again the next day, and then I watched The Ugly Truth too.  When I went to return the Redbox movie I called the 800 number and told them I had found two movies in the same case and what should I do.  They told me if I wanted to help out the person who did this and get that movie checked in for them – I could purchase an empty case through the Redbox and then put the movie in it and return it.  They gave me a credit code so I could purchase the empty case to do this.

I went into the store and returned the movie I had rented, then purchased a case and tried to return the second one.  It wouldn’t go in the machine.  Every time I did it a message came on the screen that the barcode had to be facing out… it was.  I tried about 6 times and then frustrated, felt this is what must have happened to the other renter and why they put two in the case.  There was no one around to help me so I took the movie with me, planning to call Redbox again and let them know I could not return the movie.  By now I am a bit frustrated that I tried to do something good to help out the other renter and still could not return the movie.

Then – this morning as I readied myself for work I went downstairs to grab a movie that Chance and I had rented from the video store and a Netflix DVD paper that was sitting by the DVD player, good I thought, I will get this in the mail too…. I looked at the title on the paper case, it said….

The Ugly Truth.

No way….

So in case you did not catch that…. the whole time (THE WHOLE TIME) the “extra” DVD I thought was in the Redbox case was one I had rented from Netflix.  I believe what happened is Friday when I was so tired instead of putting my Redbox movie in the DVD player, I pulled The Ugly Truth out of the player and put it in the Redbox case on top of the one I rented.  Then when I opened the case… I apparently surprised myself with the two DVD’s and did not recognize the one being my Netflix rental at all.

How hilarious that I tried to return it to Redbox and was unable too…. thank goodness I could not find anyone to help me as if I could have turned it in to someone to handle for me I would have – and then I would have had to find it again to get it to Netflix…. can you even imagine the mess I would have had?  😛

Morning Meanderings… I Know Patterson Gets A Bad Rap but…

Good morning.  Wednesday already?  Does it seen like the days fly by or is that just me?  Tonight a meeting, Thursday I am helping Chance get ready for the weekend, and Friday is the home show which I run concessions for each year for this weekend to raise scholarship money for kids.


I have to set up tomorrow night and honestly, I need a zap of energy to pull this one off well.


*sips coffee*



I received an email from Amazon this morning about Patterson and it actually surprised me how much of his books I have read throughout the years.  For those of you who think he is incredibly gory and graphic…. he can be…. but he is more than that.  He is also a great mystery writer – the Michael Bennett series (Step On A Crack, Run For Your Life, Worst Case and Tick Tock) are about an Irish detective who has 10 adopted kids with his wife who recently passed away.  This series is good and clean.

If you have not seen Patterson’s Nicholas Sparks side…. you may be amazed to know he has one…. his book Diary for Nicholas was read by me one summer in one sitting.  I meant to pick it up and see what it was about…. I read it straight through and was pulled in by a book that I felt was very “not Patterson style”.

I never got into the Alex Cross books…. but have enjoyed the movies.

His book Honeymoon we read as a book club a few years ago and for my standard review question of “what did we learn by reading this book?”  We joyfully laughed and agreed that we had learned to kill someone with scrambled eggs.  😛

I guess what I am saying here is that Patterson is not just heavy hitting mysteries… yes, I too laugh at the jokes about his short chapters and know that he cranks books out like a popcorn machine.  I read recently that he has a long conference table in his office with several manuscripts half written on it.  While some frown about this – I can not complain, even when he is writing with other authors what he is producing is pretty good.

Recently I listened to the first of the Womens Murder Club books….and liked it.  Currently I am reading Sundays at Tiffany’s for book club and have to be reminded that this is indeed a Patterson book.

I didnt wake up thinking I was going to talk about James Patterson this morning… but, the beauty of the Morning Meandering is you never know what you are going to get…. sometimes, it surprises me too.  😀

What do you think of James Pattersons books?  Like them?  Hate them?  Have you tried any of his non mysteries?

Sundays at Tiffany’s Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas Honeymoon Run for Your Life
Worst Case Swimsuit The Beach House I, Alex Cross

Movie Review: Limitless

Eddie Morra, is broke, dirty looking, unfocused and down on his luck.  He is contracted to write a book, but can not seem to write a word.  He spends his days snoozing, occasionally boozing, and basically wasting air.  His girlfriend has just told him that enough is enough and she needs to move on.  Eddie…. can’t blame her.

And then Eddie runs into his ex- brother-in-law who asks him to catch up over a beer or two.  As they talk, Eddies brother-in-law says he can help Eddie with what ails him and offers us a clear pill in a small bag.  At first Eddie refuses, he may have many faults, but drug use is not one of them.  It’s clean, Eddie is assured.  They call it NZT and it just makes you clear-headed, taps into that 80% of the brain that we do not use.

Eddie eventually thinks what does he have to lose, and takes the pill.  Minutes later – his life changes forever.

Clear headed, Eddie can recall everything he has ever seen on tv, read in a book, learned, experienced…. he is filled with energy and writes his book in four hours.

Of course, he returns to the brother-in-law to get more of this miracle pill, but finds that his brother-in-law has been killed.  Eddie searches the apartment and is able to find the hidden stash of the NZT and starts taking it daily.

He starts working out and getting in shape, he gets his scraggly hair cut and looks good.  His brain works so fast he is able to comprehend stock market changes and starts making money, thousands of dollars a day…. but it is not fast enough.  Eddie takes out a “loan” from a shady character who threatens to skin Eddie if the money is not returned.  Eddie uses this money to make larger investments and the money rolls in…. people take notice and soon Eddie is working for the biggest financial dude in the world…. he has everything he needs and money to purchase things he doesn’t….

but Eddie is not the only one looking for NZT and he soon learns that people are watching, and he starts to find hours missing that he can not account for and learning that others who have been on the drug are either dying or dead.


I LOVED this movie and I have seen it twice. Fast action, and while I am no advocate for drugs – there is a message within this movie that really makes you think about unlimited power and what happens when it is in the wrong (and right) hands.

When you see all that NZT does in the movie, how much a person can accomplish, how much it opens your mind up… you can see the draw… especially for a guy like Eddie who really can not sink much lower.


Part of it is honestly I really enjoy this actor, he’s quick, he’s witty, and easy on the eyes.  (Yes… I said it).  😛  I thought he had just showed up on the radar in the last couple years when I seen him in movies like:  A Team, Valentines Day, He’s Just Not That Into You and in Hangover.

Then the other day I was watching Failure To Launch on tv and noticed that he played the roll of one of Mathew McConaughley’s friends….

Bradley Cooper and Matthew MacCoughley in Failure To Launch

and I was surprised and I had not picked up on that.  I also found that he played in Yes Man, with Jim Carrey.  Now that just makes me like him even more as here he was pretty much this supporting actor who someone seen potential in.  I like that.  I have always rooted for the underdog.  It’s just my way.

Jim Carrey and Bradley Cooper

I think we keep an eye on Bradley Cooper.  I bet there are more big roles coming for him and I think he is just getting started.

I highly recommend if you are a movie lover, go and see Limitless at the theater.  For this book girl (who seems to be lacking in the reading department lately…) this move was an awesome break from a long movie free winter.


Morning Meanderings… When The Song Gets Stuck In Your Head

Good morning.

So… this weekend Al and I went to see Limitless.




I know?  Addict right?

I really loved this movie and I don’t know if it is because all winter long it felt like I was starving for a good movie at the theater and none were to be found, or if it was – as I believe…. that awesome.

For whatever reason… I have one of the songs stuck in my heard from the movie.  Whats funny is it took me three days to find it….

In the movie they do not play the whole song – only the upbeat “Ba dah dah dah dah”…. hummed it, sang it, danced to it, Googled it

could not find the title of the song….


Then yesterday – determined…. I searched and had to listen to each song in the movie to get it.  And found it.  I wasn’t a big fan of the whole song… but it is growing on me and now has entered my IPOD nano (Podette) to be used when I work out.

Funny how that happens…

Don’t laugh.  It’s stuck… stuck in my head.

Have an awesome day – when I have time… I plan on reviewing the movie.  😀

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

It’s Monday!  What Are You Reading is where we share what we read this past week, what we hope to read this week…. and anything in between!  D  This is a great way to plan out your reading week and see what others are currently reading as well… you never know where that next “must read” book will come from!

I love being a part of this and I hope you do too!  As part of this weekly meme I love to encourage you all to go and visit the others participating in this meme.  I offer a weekly contest for those who visit 10 or more of the Monday Meme participants and leave a comment telling me how many you visited.  You receive one entry for every 10 comments, just come back here and tell me how many in the comment area.

Last weeks winner:

Jennifer from Rundpinne

Congratulations!  Please choose an item out of the PRIZE BOX and email me your choice with your mailing address as well!   journeythroughbooks@gmail.com

**Yes, I am behind again on my mailing of books – they are going out this week… 😀

Here is what I accomplished this past week:

Jimmy by Robert Whitlow (incredible (but underdeveloped) audio about a young handicapped boy with huge faith

Cutting For Stone by Abraham Verghese (Bookies book and food review – awesome book, AMAZING food – and I added recipes!)

Weekend Cooking:  Crock Pot Pizza Pasta (oh yeah…. I said it….  recipe is here!)

The Handmaid and The Carpenter – Elizabeth Berg comes through with this short audio about the courtship and marriage of Mary and Joseph


Dracula by Bram Stoker (mmm  hmmmm, first time :D)

It was not the successful reading week I had hoped for… I had plans to crack open a couple other books and it just did not happen.  So… I will try again this week.  😀

Here’s is what is hopefully brewing over here this week:

I am not even going to give you the synopsis on-line or from the back of the book because really – it does do this book justice.  Basically – Jane has an imaginary friend names Michael… Jane’s life as a child is a mess.  Her mothers ego and riches outshine everything and she really has little time for her slightly pudgy daughter – including forgetting her birthday.  Jane’s dad is barely in the picture showing up on major holidays but really having no clue as to who his daughter is and with his new wife and life… does not have the time to learn about her.

Jane’s only real friend…. isn’t real at all.  Michael is her constant companion, always there to encourage her, to laugh with her – to share life with her.  Jane adores waking every morning knowing she will “see” Michael again.

And then on Jane’s 9th birthday Michael tells her that it is time for him to go.  Heartbroken Jane begs for him to stay but Michael says that the rules are he can only stay until the 9th birthday.  He tells her not to worry thought as tomorrow she will wake up and not remember him…

Flash forward twenty years…. Jane now works for her mother in a large successful production company.  She has a loser for a boyfriend, and still battles self-esteem issues.  As Jane goes about her life writing and producing the play she always had hoped to, unfortunately with her mother’s money backing it up as well as her mothers opinions, Jane has no idea that she is being watched….

He can not believe it is her.  It has never worked this way before, but yes, he is sure it is her… her walk, the way she pushes her hair back… it has to be Jane.  Michael can not believe his luck.

Hmmm?  Sounds good doesn’t it?  This is our Book Club read for April and I am digging into it already and all I can say is so far – WHOA!  I am liking this!  😀

And really – this is pathetic… but I am not starting anything new beyond this as I have to catch up on the books I have said I was going to read for the past two weeks.  Truly…. I must 😀

HOWEVER – I am excited to see what you are reading!  Add your link to your post of It’s Monday!  What Are You Reading and I will try to get over and see you and encourage you to check out some of these posts as well – they are fun to read and you may just find a blog or two you want to follow.

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So this is Dracula by Bram Stoker

A naive young Englishman, Johnathon Harker travels to Transylvania to do business with a client, Count Dracula.  At first enticed by Dracula’s gracious manner, Harker soon discovers that he has become a prisoner in the castle. He also begins to see disquieting facets of Dracula’s nocturnal life. One night while searching for a way out of the castle, and against Dracula’s strict admonition not to venture outside his room at night, Harker falls under the spell of three wanton female vampires, the Brides of Dracula. He is saved at the last second by the Count, because he wants to keep Harker alive just long enough to obtain needed legal advice and teachings about England and London (Dracula’s planned travel destination was to be among the “teeming millions”). Harker barely escapes from the castle with his life.

After showing his true and terrifying colors, Dracula boards a ship for England in search of new, fresh blood. Unexplained disasters begin to occur in the streets of London before the mystery and the evil doer are finally put to rest.

Hmmmm…. well… I listened to this because I have never read Dracula.  I know, its true!  And well… it really wasn’t what I was expecting.  I had no idea that Dracula was set around a real estate deal…. and a ship.  And I had no idea this book was mostly written in journal/diary entries.  In my head… it was all about spooky Dracula in his castle, inviting people in for oh…. I don’t know… appetizers?  😯

How freaky to think this creepy book was written over one hundred years ago….. that’s about a hundred years before vampires became cool!  Oh and when I say creepy, I mean it with all due respect….. creepy good… yah know?

Vampires Then....
Vampires Now

Historically, the name “Dracula” is derived from a secret fraternal order of knights called the Order of the Dragon, founded by Sigismund of Luxembourg (king of Hungary, Croatia and Bohemia, and Holy Roman Emperor) to uphold Christianity and defend the Empire against the Ottoman Turks. Vlad II Dracul, father of Vlad III, was admitted to the order around 1431 because of his bravery in fighting the Turks. From 1431 onward, Vlad II wore the emblem of the order and later, as ruler of Wallachia, his coinage bore the dragon symbol. The name Dracula means “Son of Dracul”.


I am glad to say I have experienced Dracula.  Check that off my lifetime to do list 😛

Amazon Rating

The 2011 WHERE Are You Reading Map had been updated to include Dracula

I purchased this audio at Barnes and Noble