Thursday, July 30, 2015

RWA 2015 and NYC trip!

Hello everyone!

Yep, I'm alive! I survived RWA 2015 and my NYC trip! We drove back home on Monday and I've been settling back slowly into a routine :P I'm not going to do a day-by-day recap because that'd be too long for you and me... but I wanted to share some thoughts and pictures of the whole experience :P

RWA 2011 was such a great experience for me, that I knew I'd do it again. I chose this year, because it was once again held in NYC. Being able to drive to the conference is a definite plus because I get to save on airfare and can also bring back all the books I want :) Plus, I get to visit fellow bloggers Hilcia, Christine and Mariana :) Accompanying me this time around was my sister Emilie, my friend V and Ames. My sister and V have visited NYC many times, but always like to come back. As for Ames, NYC has always been a place she wanted to see... Plus, being there at the same time as some favorite authors and fellow bloggers, it was perfect timing.


As usual, we managed to squeeze in some outlet shopping... but the real focus of the trip was NYC and RWA 2015. One of the most memorable moments of the trip was the Jimmy Fallon Tonight Show taping. My sister is a big fan of Jimmy Fallon and we've been trying to go for years... but it never worked out. This time though, the stars aligned and not only was Jimmy Fallon taping while we were in town, but I managed to snag some tickets!! Wooohooo!!! There's a whole process to get tickets and even then, it's hard ^_^; We went to the taping with Ames and Rosie. I was a bit disappointed that we were in the last row, although we still had a good view. However, in the end, we were able to high-five Jimmy Fallon, so I guess those were actually good seats LOL. And bonus, not only we got to see the taping with guest stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Josh Gad and James Bay, but at the end, they also taped scenes for a movie - Conner4Real - with Andy Samberg! So we got to see that as well :P If we're lucky, we will be in it!!


Last time I was attending RWA in NYC, I didn't really get to sightsee ^_^; The days during the conference start really early, even more so now that the keynote speakers are scheduled at breakfast instead of lunch. If you go to every publisher signings, it leaves you very little time to actually attend to workshops and panels... and then, you want to hang out with your friends. This time, I was hoping to do a bit more... So I managed to go to the High Line Park with my crew as well as Rosie and L.B. Gregg. Also managed to go to the Empire State building and do a night tour bus. Not bad, no?





 We also managed to go to a Broadway show: Finding Neverland. I'm not a fan of Peter Pan, but I actually really enjoyed this one. The stage was awesome and some of the scenes were just breathtaking. My only complaint though was the volume... I had difficulty catching every word during a song because the music seems to be too loud. Still, great show in my opinion.


So this was NYC for me. Ames, V and Emilie actually saw a lot more :P It's funny because Emilie and I are used to being on the go during trips. I guess we're also fast walkers. Ames and V were troopers!! But after a couple of intense sightseeing days, I think Emilie has broken Ames' feet :P

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What about RWA? Overall, my experience was positive :) However, I do have some mixed feelings about it. I'll try to expand on those later...

For now, let's start with the Literacy Signing. It was crazy! LOL, but super well organized! There were close to 500 authors present for the Literacy signing, so you can imagine... I love how they did the queue this year. The Literacy Signing was on the 5th floor ballroom and we were directed to the 6th floor ballroom for the line-up. There were actual chairs so instead of standing, we could sit! That was really brilliant! We were also divided into section: A, B, C, etc. And when the signing started, they called one section at a time to make their way down the 5th floor ballroom. Everything was smooth and prompt. So, really big kudos to the organizers for thinking this up. I think each section was made up of approximately 100 persons and I know they started to fill section F. So 600+ people going to the signing to meet authors... Wowzer! I think this year, the Literacy Signing raised about 48000$ for charity, so that was awesome :)

Lining up for Literacy Signing

The Literacy Signing!

I managed to make it to all three breakfasts :) This year, the keynote speakers were Barbara Freethy, Julia Quinn and Nalini Singh. All three speeches were interesting... although I think Ms Freethy was the most enlightening. She talked about how she had to re-invent herself many times because of romance trends and why she decided to self-publish. Really interesting. Ms Quinn talked about how authors cannot please every reader and Ms Singh, about her first RWA experience and friendships in the industry.



The most disappointing thing for me this time around is I wasn't able to make it to many workshops/panels... mainly because I chose to go to the publishers signings. They were 12 publisher signings and for most of them, two were held at the same time... so technically, 7 seances. I was able to make it to a few, but I wished I could have gone to more.

Laura Griffin & Brenda Novak on RS


Robyn Carr chat and Sharon Sala chat

Alas, I missed the RITAs. It was a tough decision, but I elected to spend time with Ames and V and did the night bus tour. I was seriously tired anyway and so many of the books nominated, I haven't read.

So, RWA... Honestly, I feel I didn't enjoy RWA this time around as much as I did in 2011. However, I don't think it's the conference itself, but more me. RWA 2011 was a new experience and so it was awesome. This time not being my first rodeo, well, it changed things. Also, the circumstances are different. I'm still reading a lot of romance books, but am not as involved in my blog, am less plugged in the blogosphere. I went to RT and RWA and I prefer the atmosphere at RWA better because it's quieter, less chaotic because it is a professional conference. It's meant to be for people in the industry, but at the end of the day, I'm not part of the industry. I don't feel comfortable to run up to one of my favorite authors and gush to them in the lobby, elevator or hall. I think it'd be easier to do so if I was at RT where there's a lot of fans, but at RWA? Also, I'm a small blog and I like to stay away from all the drama and kerfuffles. I like having a little distance between me and authors... I write on my blog how much I love them and their books, but I seldom send mail... Most of them, I don't follow on FB or Twitter. As a result, I don't have much of a relationship or connection with authors and I think it makes it hard when I'm at RWA because nobody knows who I am. Don't get me wrong, everyone is very nice... but you can't help but wonder if you belong.

For now, I'm thinking I'd like to attend one more RWA that is not held in NYC... because the attendance is just sooo high in NYC. I'd like to see if it's different when it's being held elsewhere :P I'd also like to do another RT... and then, I think I'd be good :) Because there are just so many times you can meet your favorite authors before these meetings are no longer special... Speaking of meeting authors, I was so happy to get to see  Nora Roberts and Laura Florand!! Definitively one of my highlights of RWA 2015.


And of course, it's always nice to reconnect with friends :)






Monday, June 29, 2015

Where is it?!

So, I had a little moment of panic this week-end and thought I'd share it all with you... because I know you guys will get it :)

I've been running out of space in my room for books - LOL, I know most of you get THIS - and so decided to make some space. My dream is still to re-organize my closet, but since we're having guests arriving on Wednesday for two weeks, I didn't have time to re-haul the closet... But I could make some space! I have a dresser in my room and on top, I've been storing DVDs and CDs and lately, stacking up hardcover books. Well I don't watch DVDs as much and simply don't listen to CDs anymore... So my plan was clearing up the closet top shelf so I could store the DVDs and CDs in there and have the whole dresser for books! Oh and the jewelry box I've gotten for my birthday last year and which has been gracing the floor every since ^_^;

Everything was going according to plan and Sunday morning was the fun part - re-arranging the books! :P I needed space mostly for the new hardcovers I have acquired in the past couple of years. (There's just too many paperbacks ^_^; I'd really need to purge to fit them all in the bookcases) So the authors I chose to go there: Ilona Andrews, Kelley Armstrong - everything I got starting from Waking the Witch, Anne Bishop's The Others series, Jim Butcher's latest, Kay Hooper's latest trilogy, Nalini Singh's Psy-Changelings hardcovers and finally, Maria V. Snyder's Magic Study. I added a few orphaned hardcovers, my favorite Nora Roberts re-reads and Jim Butcher's Codex Alera series. The latter's paperbacks are different format, ugh. 


See, what happens is that most of my hardcovers are in the second row on my shelves ^_^; That means every time I want to read them, I have to remove the paperbacks in front in order to reach them. Having this space on my dresser just improves accessibility so much! Anyway, everything was going well... till I realized I was missing Written in Red by Anne Bishop. Just couldn't find the book. Looked where I usually keep the Anne Bishop books, looked under the various piles of books I have in my room, looked among the hardcovers that I had removed from the dresser. Just couldn't find it. Was so annoyed that I even posted it on FB - which I rarely do. Sent a message to all my friends to see if I had lent it out. I remember re-reading Written in Red earlier this year and my fear was to have forgotten it somewhere... but then, when I read hardcovers, I remove the dust jacket. There was no dust jacket anywhere, so I either lent it to someone or it was somewhere in my room. 



I'm usually very good at keeping track of my books. Yes, there is a lot of books in my room, but I know where most of it is :) I rarely buy the same book twice by accident - usually, it's on purpose LOL - because I remember what I own and where it is. So to say that missing Written in Red was frustrating was an understatement. I pretty much looked for it the whole day. At the end, I looked at the only spot where I keep hardcovers that I haven't looked for... and of course, lo and behold, there was Written in Red. The reason why I didn't look there earlier is because it's the mystery shelf and the only hardcovers that I have there are the In Death books ^_^; I even remember thinking "It won't be there." LOL. Guess it was the only space that fit a hardcover book left before I started stacking them on the floor and then, on the dresser LOL. 

Anyway, that was my mini-adventure. Ever happened to you? Looking for a book and not finding it? And what do you think of the new set-up? Wish I had taken a picture of before :P

Friday, June 26, 2015

9th Blogiversary!

Hi everyone!


how are you doing? I've been meaning to pop in and write a post for a while and today, June 26th, I realized it was my blog's 9th Blogiversary... Although I don't know if writing a handful of posts in the past two years can still count as blogging ^_^; Still, I've been around blogland for 9 years!! Kind of hard to believe :)

So, let see what's new since I last posted... Not much really :P My parents went to Cuba for a week and came back brown caramel ^_^; And that's with sunscreen!! We took the opportunity to paint the guest bedroom/office during their absence. It needed it as you can see from the pictures LOL. It was initially my sister's room when she was young and she chose the color and pattern more than 15 years ago. Let just say my parents are enjoying the new color :)




Otherwise, I've been kind of in a slump. Reading, but always having difficulty picking the next book. Well except when Shards of Hope by Nalini Singh came out. That one was an easy pick :) And I ended up really enjoying Shards of Hope. I'm also excited for her new story arc. By the way, what do you think of a book with a regular Psy? Someone that wouldn't be powerful in the Psy society nor super strong psychically? I'd be curious to see how a mid-level Psy with a regular life adapts to the new era. Anyway, just an idea.


I've also realized that I'm burned-out on contemporary romance... which is a problem since it's the genre I usually gravitate towards. Perhaps not every contemporary romance books, but for sure this particular trope: heroine escaped her hometown and for whatever reason - family, career implosion, etc. - has to come home and of course, faces her ex-boyfriend/husband or the crush that ignored her. I was actually updating my calendar for new releases and while reading blurbs, there were just soooo many books with that trope. It seems also that sport romance is on the rise... and those can go either way. I don't know, is it too much to ask for main characters that are happy with their lives and jobs? I'm also looking for romantic suspense books with cops and FBI agents, so if you guys have suggestions. Still a bit tired of military RS ^_^; As for UF, I don't know which new series I should dive into. On the very bright side, I just read Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway and had a smile almost all throughout the read. Perhaps that's what I should do right now, YA....

So what keeps me occupy lately? Well Masterchef Australia. I really love that show... I like the camaraderie between the contestants and witnessing their growth. This season has been pretty good :) I've also been trying to scrapbook. My parents are celebrating their 35th wedding anniversary this year and my sister and I wanted to do something nice. Except that we keep butting heads on ideas and stuff ^_^; Hopefully, we'll get it done in time... and of course, there's my constant struggle with my room. It's gotten a bit out of hand, especially with the scrapbooking. I really want to purge my room, but the reality is that I don't have the time and space to do it. We are having guests starting next week and guess where I am going at the end of July?...

Yep, I'm going to RWA again!! I can't wait!! Who's going?! I can't wait to see everyone :) I have a few friends tagging along as well, so this time around, I'm going to try to explore NYC. So much fun ahead!

So that's it with me for now. What about you?

Friday, May 15, 2015

This and that...

Hi there :)

So it's been a few weeks since I last posted. The good news is that I've been reading! Actually, this week, I've been on a roll :) A book a day! Woohoo! It's been a long time since that happened. Unfortunately, none of these books really compelled me to write a review. So I thought I'd just let you know what's been going on with me :)

Back in February, my work place moved. Montreal has been building 2 super hospitals - one for the French system and the other, English system, Basically, they're merging a few hospitals into a huuuuge one... and the research institute where I worked moved in there as well. It was quite the experience - especially since, of course, research was the first to move. The move itself went quite smoothly, but the rest... Let just say that people who take decisions never listen to the right people ^_^; The whole organization was a mess and there are some issues with the new buildings. Sigh. We were scheduled to move beginning of February and ended up being delayed by 2 weeks... which is fine, as long as we're told. And not just the week before while we're packing!! Also, you'd think the super hospital would be huge. I mean, it is big, but you're merging 3.5 hospitals into 1 and just looking at it, we already know it's too small.... Oh and the road work. Seriously, couldn't they have done it at the same time while the hospital was being built?! Instead of waiting till the hospital opened to start it. There's an overpass right next to the hospital that is going to be closed for the next two years. They still haven't figured out the light configuration to access the hospital. Anyway, I'll spare you all the details.








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I've started going to the dentist again ^_^; Apparently, it's very common for the dentist to fall into the cracks when people become a young adult. You know, when you start having your own insurance and taking charge of your own life - making your own appointments. Well for me, the dentist fell into that crack for about 10 years ^_^; Oups. The good news is I didn't have any cavities. I did need some gum treatments, but overall, nothing major - especially considering I haven't been to the dentist in so long. The only thing though is that I had to remove my wisdom teeth. All four of them. Grrrr. I had braces when I was younger and was told that I wouldn't need to because my wisdom teeth came out straight and all. In the end though, it seems my jaw wasn't large enough and so, they had to go. Seriously, is it only me or dentist offices are quite pushy? Can't I think about it? Do I have to take that decision right away? I was able to brush it off for a year due to insurance... but yeah, had to do it and it happened last Friday. Once again, I was quite lucky. They were all  half-out already, so I guess it wasn't as bad and so, I didn't bruise, didn't swell that much. Pain was quite low and stuff... And now, a week later, I'm almost all recovered :) Except I'm craving all sort of food LOL.


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I've been on a spending spree ^_^; For my birthday, my friends decided to go shopping LOL. In the past year, we had a Premium Outlet opening near Montreal and so, that's where we went. Didn't go crazy, but did buy a few tops at Banana Republic. Then, last week-end, Bench was having a sale - 30% off on everything in-store... and I went a bit crazy. And now, of course, for this long week-end, they're having 40% off. Sigh. I'm so tempted to go back!!





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Let's talk books now!! This is a discussion topic I've been keeping up my sleeve for a long time and just never got around to talk about ^_^; So why not now? :P


Last year, during the Chapters closing sale, I was looking for two particular YA books - On the Fence by Kasie West and Breathe, Annie, Breathe by Miranda Kenneally... and this came to my attention. Ever notice how author's names on the spine of YA books are not prominent?! Actually, a lot of books only have the author's last name on, not even their full names! And not very big. Most of the time, it's the title that takes up most of the space... Why is that?! If the cover is out, then sure, it's easy to find the book you're looking for... but when there's only the spine?! It's not as if I know what the spine looks like to be on the look out for it.


While in romance books, there's much more balance on the spine, between the author's names and titles. In fact, in some instances, the author's names are even bigger. I think it makes it easier to look for books. Also, I find it's a weird marketing strategy...

What do you think?

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Okay, gotta run... I'm late for work. But last question, it's a long week-end here in Canada and I think in the States as well!! What are your plans? I have a surprise birthday party on Saturday and get-together with my cousin from Quebec City on Sunday. Otherwise, going to relax, read and perhaps shop LOL.