Book Expo Arrival and Day One


As promised, I said I would write a series of posts about this years expo.

I left Minnesota on Tuesday May 10th at 5:30 am to drive to Chicago for the book expo.  I had decided that between driving to Minneapolis, paying for parking there, paying for luggage, and plane as well as cost of shipping books back – this could be a wash as I would just have gas costs and parking at the hotel.  For the record – it was more cost-effective to drive so I got that right.  YAY me!

I planned to arrive at the hotel around 2:30 with breaks for gas, bathroom, or food.  In reality – with the traffic in Minneapolis and then getting lost in Chicago for a stressful hour…. it was closer to 4:30 when I finally parked and met up with my roommate Candace of Beth Fish Reads.

After unpacking we walked around the expo area  a bit looking at all the great posters promoting books I was excited about….









Don’t those look great?  We finished up our day by going to eat at the pub in the hotel.  He had good food and a glass of wine, talked and caught up, and anticipated what was to come….  tomorrow we will talk about Day 1 of the expo and the Audie Awards!

Morning Meanderings… Coffee Around The World With The BEA Girls


Good morning all!  Happy Monday and all that.  I think I have made a full recovery from BEA over the weekend.  I did close to nothing yesterday… a little laundry, a little organizing, and dinner – that’s it.  I meant to mow the lawn… I never got there.

SO this past Friday evening, Candace (Beth Fish Reads) and Florinda (3 R’s Blog), and I, were having dinner together in Chicago as it was our final evening of the expo.  Kim (Sophisticated Dorkiness) was having dinner with her cousin who lives in the area. Florinda mentioned how sad it would be to go home and on Monday morning not be able to have breakfast with all of us like we had been doing the past few days.

This morning…. a series of planned texts went out to Florinda so we could make that happen.

PicMonkey Collage

Representing Wisconsin, California, Minnesota and Pennsylvania.  Breakfast around the world!

In other super news…. I have not unpacked the car from books yet.  LOL….I know, I know… today is the day.  However – I did open the back of the CRV today and pulled out the first book I touched so I could talk about a BEA book… expect LOTS of this coming up 😉  :

Ringling, book journey, book expo, ringmaster's wife, kristy cambron

The Ringmaster’s Wife:

Setting:  Turn of the Century Chicago World Fair (score!) and also the Roaring 20’s!  (Double score!)

Compact Synopsis:  Turn of the century, a young girl named Mable steps away from all she knows at her family farm and is swept into the World Fair where a chance encounter with none other than John Ringling, changes her destiny forever.

Fast forward 25 years later and the 20’s are in a literal full swing, Rosamund Easling boards a ship to America and crosses paths with none other than the now famous, Mable Ringling.  The encounter causes Rosamund to toss away all other plans and stay on with the Ringling Circus as a trick rider.

The Draw:  The gorgeous cover caught my eye, the synopsis made me buy the ticket to board this story as soon as possible!BEA1


  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (June 7, 2016)




That’s it for now… as promised, a post will come up today about the first day of the Book Expo.

Morning Meanderings… Return From The Expo (BEA!)



As many of you know I was in Chicago this past week for the Book Expo (BEA).  In the past, I have blogged from the expo – pictures, happenings, events….  this year, it was enough for me to just go.  I forgot my two boxes of business cards at home, and after that initial “DOH!”,  decided this was the year I would reconnect and took it easy.

I met up with my roommate Candace (Beth Fish Reads) on Tuesday late after noon after I drove the supposed-to-be-8-hours-and-is-actually-closer-to-10-hours drive from Minnesota to Chicago.  We made it to our room, organized and then had appetizers and a glass of wine with Florinda (3 R’s Blog) and Kim (Sophisticated Dorkiness).


As this week goes on I will give you a day by day break down of the who’s and whats of this years expo.  I will share about the show, about the Audie Awards (SQQQUUUEEEEE), narrator connections, publishing connections, fellow bloggers (!), and more.

Today I just wanted to share that the Expo was a good decision for me to attend.  It was good to get out of the house for a while and function like I used to.  I have a long ways to go to coming back into some form of me, but this was a good start.

It is so easy to get caught up in the reconnecting with Publishers and people you have worked with in the past with reviews and write ups.  It is also easy that while you are talking with these publishing houses to accept the 3, 4, 5,… books that the know you will just love and the pitch for these books leave you thinking that you must read this book.  Their enthusiasm is contagious. I mention all of this because what i will share with you as this week goes on is how you go from driving to the expo with a few audio books in the front seat to keep you company (thank you Karen White you were an excellent road trip companion) to this….



LOL.  Some people thought this would be pretty funny to stage my car and make it look over flowing with books.  Anyway, stay tuned… there are plans and posts for these books as well as a save the date event (June 9) my 7 year Blogiversary where there will be the usual BEA giveaway packages to celebrate bloggers all over.

Until then… happy reading.


Morning Meanderings… Setting A Pace


Wednesday morning here in Minnesota.  Yesterday I had lunch with my Aunts and they were chatting about an article I had written for a local magazine that had just come out that day.  I was unsure what they were talking about until they explained further and it was something I had written in early March when life was well… not this one.  I had completely forgotten about the article although I knew I would have written the magazine release date down in my agenda.  My agenda that I lived by day to day with all my “to do’s” and my “where I should be’s” and my “don’t forgets”.

Now that agenda lays under a pile of papers on my kitchen table.  I only open it if I must to check on the dates of something.  Now I can’t stand living by an agenda because it reminds me of the me who filled up all my time DOING DOING DOING and honestly for whatever reason it reminds me of who I was and this new and fragile me doesn’t like that busy person.

Even though I know it does not change a thing.

Now I live by a rule of if it gets done – it gets done.  I want to complete things, I do… but my focus is not there.  I am careful with my heart right now and I know I am not strong enough to charge ahead and make things happen.  Perhaps someday, but hopefully not to the extent where I was… living by an agenda.


Today I have a friend coming over for coffee.  This after noon another friend is coming over to work on my hosta garden with me and plant the two bleeding hearts I bought for Mother’s Day.  Tonight I have the City Library Board meeting…. my first one since…

That’s enough of an agenda for me.

Many of our bookish friends are at the Book Expo that opens up today in New York.  I am excited for them as this event has been one of the highlights of my year every year since 2010.  I hope this one is also amazing.

Have a good day everyone.

Morning Meanderings…. In The Quiet


It was with a heavy heart this morning that I read the email of my confirmation of my flight out this morning from the Minneapolis Airport to New York for the Book Expo.  The flight left, but I was not on it.

2015 would have been my 6th year in a row of attending the expo.  I love the people, the pace, the books, the friendships, the general buzz of the publishing world.  Yet  I knew a week ago that as much as I wanted to go and be that person – for this year I am not her.  Thank you to my wonderful roommate Candace (Beth Fish Reads) for being so understanding. I absolutely will miss hanging out with the good friends that I have met in the years of doing this event and I am hopeful that we will all be together in 2016.

Bitter sweet?  You bet.  Yet I know I am making the right decision as hard as it is. For those of you attending, please take lots of great pics and send them my way – I want to feel like I am there even if I am not.

My house…

is quiet.

The dogs are sleeping in random spots around the house and I am at my laptop with my COFFEE and wondering what this day will bring with it.  I woke up in tears but that is not really unusual these days other than the fact that I am amazed that I have the tears to cry every single day.  On the flip side of that, as I look at Justin’s picture… I know he is worth every single tear and many many more.  If I cry for every bit of love I have for him.. then I will cry forever.

Over the weekend Al and I went to our cabin on the North Shore.  It was nice to go but as you can imagine also another hard step as the cabin is filled with so many memories.  I read and I slept.  I had no cell phone coverage in the area so I had nothing else to do but just BE.  I finished the Butternut Lake series which turned out to be just the right level of read for me.  I am now working on William Kent Krueger’s Tamarack County.  With William (Kent) being a Wine and Words author this year I wanted to read more of him.

I hope to put up some reviews this week.  I have quite a few to write and like the little “mind breaks” that talking books creates for me.  In the meantime know that I am still here on the other side of the screen – maybe not at full capacity, but I am here.

Blogiversary YEAR 5!!! Biggest Giveaway Of The Year!


Holy smokes???  5 Years!  I never thought that when I started this “on-line book journal” (that’s what I thought I was doing in the beginning), that it would take me on this AMAZING adventure ride!  This year I would like to list a few things that have changed in my life in the past 5 years mainly due to this little project website I call Book Journey:


  • I was asked to write for a local magazine after an editor seen my reviews here

  • I learned about the Book Expo in New York by reading other blogs and have just returned from my 5th year attending, representing this blog site.

  • I have met the most incredible people through blogs and then in many cases, in person which blows my mind, and they have become great book friends – you all know who you are 😉

  • 3 years ago I did not have a library card :shock:, but reading other blogs helped me realize that this is an important part of our community and I have since carded up, became President of our local Friends Group and was put on our City Library Board.

  • I have participated in World Book Night the past three years

  • I have been asked to speak on panels around Minnesota and beyond (most recently at the book expo!) on blogging, writing, and reaching readers

  • My advocacy for books has risen times a zillion…. I will talk books any day… any time 😀

  • I have learned A LOT about social networking, blog “curb appeal”, and advanced my knowledge of the internet.

  • I have written a book and have connected it to publishing houses.  *fingers crossed*

  • I have made wonderful relationships with the Publishing world and have learned much.

  • Don’t even get me started on the wonderful authors I have had the privilege to meet and talk with.

  • Myself and a team created the Wine and Words event in Brainerd Minnesota, a literacy fundraiser and I invited authors I knew from the expo to come and talk books…. and they did.  (My heart overflows with gratitude!)  The event was such a success last year, that we are doing it again this fall and 5 authors are coming again.  ♥♥♥

  • Just yesterday I was called by MALF (Minnesota Association Of Library Friends) and asked to be nominated to be on their board.

Non of this would have happened without Book Journey.  Sure, pre-Book Journey I was a reader, but nowhere near to this extent or involvement.  I think those of you who have book blogged for a while can relate to what I mean. 🙂  For this… all of the above… I am so grateful.


Enough about me.  This blogiversary is really my celebration of YOU!  The readers!  Because seriously… as much as I enjoy talking books… I LOVE LOVE LOVE talking about them with you.  I love your comments, your questions, your occasional emails, and honestly… I love it when I see Book Journey on your sidebars (if you blog) – to this day it gives me a little “SQQQUUEEEE” inside that you enjoy reading my crazy ramblings here enough to add me so others may come visit too.  You are what makes Book Journey a well…. Book Journey.  You are why I get up in the morning with COFFEE CUP and turn on my laptop and share with you the inner workings of my day, life, work, wins and fails, and the books I am reading.

Thank you.

For today only, as in past years… I offer up a set of giveaways.  A few of these books are duplicates from the expo, many are from my personal stash.  I will add what is in each group shortly here – right now I just want to get this post up (I meant to write this last night but instead went with a friend to the movie Fault In Our Stars, then out for appetizers and to chat and got home after midnight.  *oops*  😉  Winners will be announced tomorrow morning – Sunday June 8th.


BookJourney, Blogiversary, Book Expo












As per tradition,

For those of you who have come to my party the last few years, the basics are pretty much the same… to be entered for the great giveaways (pictured above), simply leave me a comment here telling me how you traveled to the party, and what virtual gift or food item you brought with you:  For example, you may have come by freight train to the party and brought with you Twinkies … (really be as crazy as you want… I love the fun imaginative comments!) For a little bonus if you would like to share how long we have known each other (blog or otherwise) and if you are brand new to the house of Book Journey – feel free to share that too!  I love new friends!  :D


BEA: Author Breakfasts


The continuing Book Expo 2014 posts.  If you missed any the others were: Blogger Con/BEA Bloggers,   Harper Collins Gathering and Party


One of the little bonuses of the Book Expo is you have an opportunity to attend Author Breakfasts.  These breakfasts are charged above the Expo fees, however if it is an author that you are really interested in, it is a fun time.  You can pay a breakfast that includes seats that are closer to the front, or you can pay a smaller price to sit in the farther back seats without a breakfast.  When I go, I sit in the farther back seats as to get good seats at the breakfast you need to wait in a line for an hour or more and I am just not that great at line waiting 😀

On Thursday Morning, the breakfast line up was Neil Patrick Harris (the draw for me), Angelica Huston, Tavis Smiley, and Lisa Scottoline.  Neil. was incredibly funny and engaging.  He was everything I felt he would be so really made this breakfast pop:

Really, take the time to listen to this clip – it is AWESOME.

When you attend these breakfasts, you usually get a copy of some of the speaking authors books and this breakfast included:

Neil Patrick Harris, Sheila DeChantal, Book Journey, Book Expo
We did not receive the whole book, it was a small sample of the book but one I will be interested in when it does come out in all of its glory 🙂


Angelica Huston, book expo, Sheila DeChantal, Book JOurney

On Friday, I attended the Children’s Author Breakfast.  I know right?  Why would I attend the Children’s Author breakfast?  I review few children’s books, I have no small children at home…. oh… I know why….

Jason Segel.

Do not judge me…. 😉

Another one worth watching.  I will wait….


Ok, awesome right?

The books included with this breakfast were:

Jason Segal book, Nightmares, Book JOurney, Sheila DeChantal, book cover
Cute right???


baby bedtime, mem fox, Sheila DeChantal, book journey

And, I have to plug one more author, Jeff Kinney who is the author of The Wimpy Kid series.  Now these are not books that I have read, but after listening to Jeff talk at the expo – delightful, funny, and a bonus surprise for me… I may need to start watching his books.

Grad another cup of coffee… this one is well worth the watch as well:


Do I recommend the breakfasts?  I do.  If you are interested in any of the authors who will be speaking, you get a great seat to hearing them chat about their books and you get to hear some great insights into their lives (seriously, listen to Jeff’s BEA talk above… at the end he has some pretty amazing plans that all stem around his love of books).





Morning Meanderings: Bitter Sweet Days and a Whole lot of Happenings Here

Morning Meanderings, Book Journey, Sheila DeChantal

I interrupt the BEA posts for a quick update on a lot of great things coming up here, in life, and a bit of sadness too.

Let’s just get the sadness out of the way.  Today is the 18th anniversary of the loss of my mom and my step dad to a car accident.  Every year,I never know how it is going to hit me.  There have been times, this day has been while I was at the EXPO, and busy is good.  It’s the days like today where I am home, and planning what I will do today where it is a little harder.

Moving on.


What’s happening here?

The Book Expo books arrived yesterday.  That’s a SSSQQQUUUEEEE.  I have not opened the boxes yet.  I have a tradition where a friend of mine comes over with her daughter Camryn (the YA reviewer) I have tabbed above, and we go through the boxes together.  They help me sort and we chat books and the expo and I enjoy the experience with other book lovers.  I will be posting highlighted books soon.


Camp Benedict, book journey, Sheila DeChantal

Camp Benedict.  Camp starts on Monday.  I am off next week from Monday afternoon on.  This weekend I will be working on our “One Word” project which is our theme this year… positive thinking.  I love the theme and I look forward to a pretty amazing week.

blogiversary, Sheila DeChantal, Book JOurney

My 5 year Blogiversary.  Now that is exciting!  I am going to put the post up tomorrow – June 7th, and we (please come!) are going to have some fun as we have in the past years.  I will be having BIG giveaways and an all day celebration here of book goodness.  5 years wow…. how did that happen?



Audiobook month, Bookjourney

Audiobook Month.  YAY!  Did you know that June is audiobook month?  I am excited to kick off a lot of fun posts and giveaways next Tuesday thanks to a wonderful group of narrators who will be sharing some fun things here.  There will be giveaways, gift certificates, and more.  Audiobook lovers and those who are not there yet, this is going to be FUN. 😀



I actually have so many posts to write I have a list!  Next up in book expo posts will be the Author Breakfasts, then a random picture post of the expo floor etc with wrap up thoughts.


Today while working on Camp Projects I will be listening to audio.  I hope to get in a bike ride today and possibly tonight see the Fault In Our Stars Movie with Friends.


What will you be doing with your Friday?


Wednesday Evening At The Book Expo in New York – Harper Collins

BEA BUZZ, new york, Book JOurney, Harper COllins

Here is the second of my Book Expo Week posts.  Yesterday I shared with you what the “BEA Bloggers” event was like, and today I want to talk with you about the amazing publishing company that is Harper Collins.

Harper Collins is one of the highlight events of the Book Expo.  They do such an incredible job on sharing what the “hot titles” will be.  I wish I had my notes from the Harper sneak peek of upcoming great reads but I am pretty sure I packed it into a box and the books… have not yet arrived. 🙂  I will have to share in more detail at a later date.

Basically what happens at this event is that the different divisions of Harper stand up in the front of the room and share 2-4 titles each of what they are excited about that is coming out.  There is something about someone gushing about a book isn’t there?  As I looked at the different titles and covers there may be one that does not really speak to me… but then when someone is sharing the excitement of the book… I pick it up again.  How can you not react?  😀

One book that really caught my attention was The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton, releasing August 26th of this year.

Gush worthy cover yes?
Gush worthy cover yes?


The cover is GORGEOUS.  And listening to the description of the book and the bidding war that went on to win this book (Harper won!) makes me sooooooo curious and EXCITED about this book.

And of course, at Harper is where I get a chance to see my BEA buddies!  I am always thrilled to see Kathy from Bermuda Onion, Julie from Booking Mama, Swapna from S Kirshna’s Books, Gayle from Everyday I Write The Book,  Nicole from Linus’ Blanket (who I was on the panel with), Candace from Beth Fish Reads (roommate) and of course, Alison from Alison’s Book Marks.  (I could kick myself for not getting more group pics!)

If you know my Alison story, you know that we met at the Book Expo at the Harper Collins Party in 2010.  We read a lot of the same books and on line, are always sharing audio book suggestions.  After that first year and having a picture taken together it has become a standing joke with us that we must get our “Harper Collins picture!”  And… we always do:

harper Alison

from left to right: 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and  2014.  I change….she does not 😀  Always a blast Alison!

And then of course there is the Harper Collins party… a combination of the publishers, authors, and bloggers.  It is such a BLAST!

Harper Collins, BEA, Book Expo, Book JOurney, Sheila DeChantal

Harper Collins, BEA, Book JOurney, Sheila DeChantal
Right up front left is Gail from Ticket To Anywhere and center is Kristin from Always With A Book!


Harper collins, Book Expo, Book JOurney

Adriana Trigiani, Dorothy Benton Frank, Stephanie Evanovich, Book JOurney Sheila DeChantal


So that is my Harper Collins recap for now.  More on the books coming up!

Have a super day everyone 😀

What book has your attention today?

Wednesday At the Book Expo: Blogger Con – BEA Bloggers

BEA BUZZ, book expo, BEA, Sheila Dechantal, Book JOurney

Good morning!  As promised, there will be Book Expo recaps and this is the first one.

Last Wednesday was the Blogger Convention Day of The Book Expo.  This year they called it BEA Bloggers.  The whole point of this day, which is actually a prequel to the expo, is a chance for book bloggers to educate themselves on topics that are relevant.  Such topics this year were:

  • Design 101 Creating a Picture Perfect Blog
  • Design 201:  Taking Your Blog To The Next Level
  • Software 101:  Best Blogging Tools
  • Technology 201:  Ad Works
  • Beyond The Blog – Introduce Yourself To Vlogging and Podcasting
  • Blogging And The Law
  • The Publishing Process – How Bloggers Have Changed The Game
  • Engaging Your Readers – Taking Your Writing To The Next Level

The panels were combinations of bloggers, publishers, media….  trying to get a good mix of opinion.  The 101 sessions were designed for newer bloggers and the 201 more advanced.  I spoke at the final session of the day, Engaging Your Readers.



First off the Keynote Speaker was author and Twitter gal, Maureen Johnson.  If you are not familiar with Maureen’s work, she is a YA author who has written 13 Little Blue Envelopes, The Name Of The Star, and Scarlett Fever just to name a few.


Maureen Johnson BEA Book JOurney

Maureen as always was funny, sharing some moments about writing, and engaging readers.


I then went into the The Design 201 group with Hafsah Faizal from Icey Designs.  Apparently (new to me) this is a site that helps you design amazing blogs… and they are beautiful – I checked them out.  I did not pick up a lot from this session.

Next up I went to Technology 201:  Ad Networks.  This is a subject I have been curious about and my pal Florinda from The 3 R’s Blog was the moderator.  If you know Florinda, she is this sweet gal and I believe… is 4′ 8″.  Yup…. she is short.  🙂  Before her panel she said to me, “I wonder what I will look like behind the podium?”  I suggested we go find out before the people started coming in for the session.  We went to the front and she stood behind the podium.


Florinda 3 rs blog Sheila Book JOurney

We had a quick laugh together, and Florinda decided to moderate from the table:



Swapna from S. Krishna’s Books was also on this panel.  This panel discussed a few options out there for advertising on your blog – not that it will make you rich and you will leave your day job, but if you are considering bringing in a little money from your site.  Swapna has sold ads herself on her website and said it is a lot of work to keep up on.  Jason from Litbreaker was also on the panel (3rd one in) and he explained how Litbreaker works.  Litbreaker is the only ad I currently have here at Book Journey.  This panel did a wonderful job of answering questions and sharing insights.

I skipped out on the Vlogging session and the Blogging and The Law session.  These were at the same time and I do not see myself vlogging any time soon, and I have in on a law session before, although I did pop my head in to see if there was anything new they were discussing.


panel 3

Then, our group was up.  We had a fun panel.  Mandy Boles was our moderator, Nicole from Linus’ Blanket, myself and Jason from Mediander (which I need to look more into).  Our task was to share what other posts we wrote besides book reviews, different ways to format your posts to be more eye appealing, and how to use social media to enhance your posts.


Some of the highlights that came out of our panel was:


Have post titles that are engaging and make people want to click to see what you wrote.


Asking questions at the end of your post, or writing posts that encourage discussion will create comments


If you are looking for people to read and comment on your blog, you need to put yourself out there on social media – Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instigram, Storify, whatever works for you. Comment on other blogs. Join in on meme’s.


Make your comments on posts good. Do not say “nice review” and PLEASE do not add your links to your own posts or blog in the comment. Comments should encourage conversation. Mention your thoughts on the same book, or something you particularly found interesting about the post… if your comments are interesting people will go to your blog to check out what you are writing.


Keep your blog current – try to post at least 4 times a week.


Tag your photo’s that you use in your posts – do not leave them listed under 72.jpg, but change that to include your blog name, maybe your name, author and book title if it is a book pic… this will drive more traffic to your blog when people search images.


Write beyond the books – interesting bookish topics, book club discussions, author events, etc… If you do not know what to write about look up what people are searching for that brings them to your blog.
Break up posts with pictures – always when writing reviews add a picture of the book. Long posts should have another picture in it to break up the wording. We are a visual society.


Font matters, change it up in posts.


Posts should not be longer than 800 words. If you have a long post – consider breaking it up into a series.


Try to set up a tracking on your blog to see what is receiving the most attention.

Set your posts up to go automatically to Twitter when you write them, add them to other social media as well.


I am certain I am not recalling everything from this session this is just my recollection.  Everyone had such great input and I think we did ok. 🙂


So that was the blogger convention.  Next BEA post will be about Harper Collins… the books, the excitement… the party!  Stay tuned…. 😉