A Dinner With Romance Authors In Which I Expand My Vocabulary

Ever wonder what it is like to have dinner with authors?  I am sure you readers out there have fantasized about the intellectual conversation that would occur, discussing books and reading and all sorts of things.  And inside you would be silently fangirling over the fact that you were having dinner with authors (Ok maybe that is just me.  Sometimes I forget that I, too, am a writer).  It would be like those dinners with Oprah that she used to show, a book club of sorts and it would all be elegant and fancy.  BFF and I had a dinner in Boise with other authors, most of them romance authors as that is what most of my friends write, and let me tell you it was quite the experience.  Not at all like what you picture.  Nope.  Let me tell you, when you have a dinner with mostly romance authors, the conversation gets rather….well shall we say colorful?  I am giggling right now just thinking about the author dinner following the signing at Boise.  Pretty sure my sides hurt from laughter and my vocabulary is greatly expanded.

Most of my friends happen to be romance authors because that is what I like to read.  Romance and YA are my two preferred genres and the group of romance authors I am friends with have helped me immensely in this author world.  After the signing, we had a dinner that the book fest organizer arranged in a private room at the hotel and our entire group went to have dinner together.   The dinner was actually JUST our entire group of friends with a couple of spouses, a brother, and BFF included.  I knew then there would be shenanigans.  There was some talk of business and how to improve the next year’s event, but quite rapidly the conversation turned.  Let me tell you, romance writers have quite the …ummmm….vocabulary.  I believe there was some sort of question asked about how many words could we all come up with as an alternative for the word penis.  Oh lordy.  I am quite certain that the brother of one of the authors was not prepared for the variety and the quick way in which that question was answered.  Pretty sure I must have heard like 250 words used to describe the male anatomy.  I have read a lot of terms, being a romance reader, like “shaft” and “member”, but the term “pussy puncher”?  That was a new one for even me.  The funny thing was that it actually came from one of the three men who were dining with us, not one of the romance writers in the group.  And that was not the only thing we learned from the guys.

We all quickly learned that in the military, it is quite customary to go into the bathroom and discover intricate drawings of the male anatomy.  Complete with shading and detail drawn usually in sharpie.  Apparently the bathrooms is usually where these drawings can be found and new ones pop up every day.  What I want to know is how much time do these guys spend in the bathroom drawing such pictures?  One of the guys even described going into the bathroom to clean off the penises already drawn in there and finding quite the drawing on the ceiling of the bathroom.  I believe he called it the “Sistine Chapel of Cock”.  I have never laughed so hard in my entire life as BFF turned to me and said “Can’t you just see it?  Two penises almost touching like in the original picture?”  Hysterical laughter could be heard loudly, especially as just as the phrase “Sistine Chapel of Cock” was said again as one of the wait staff walked into the room to see if we needed anything. He quickly exited, his face turning a few shades of red.  Poor dude.  The conversation turned even raunchier after that and our poor organizer got lessons in all sorts of sexual things.  These are romance writers after all.  She also turned some amazing shades of red.

Just when the poor wait staff thought it was safe to come in and clear for dessert, the same waiter came in right as we were discussing another picture that was described as “Dick-A-Saurus Rex”.  The poor waiter turned a few more shades of red and shook his head at us as we laughed even harder.  I am sure he had some stories to tell as he listened in to our colorful conversation.  I wish I could tell you all the conversation that we had, but lordy it was raunchy.  My friends are loud, obnoxious and hysterical. Let me just say that I left that dinner with a great expansion of my vocabulary and sore abdominal muscles.  Also, I am pretty sure the organizer is regretting allowing us to all be in the same room together.  I wonder if she is going to ask us all back?

Oh yeah.  I didn’t die today.  I did learn new vocabulary for the male anatomy but I did not die.  I am the Fat Girl who learned all about the “Sistine Chapel of Cock” Running.  The experiment continues…



Book Signing Etiquette 101 Or Don’t Be A Dick

All this writing about Austin Book Fest makes me remember that I am about to be an author at the Boise Book Fest in October!  What?  I really hope that some of you readers come find me and Seester there and buy some books.  I would love to meet some of you!  That being said, let’s talk about going to a book signing and what you should expect or basically book signing etiquette 101.  I mean, we all know I have told you the etiquette for comicon and really a book signing also has some etiquette rules.  Not every one will be as courteous as you, but at least you won’t be THAT person at some event.  Main rule is this:  Don’t be a dick.

First off, look at the rules set by the book signing.  If it says you can only bring in a certain number of books by an author, then try to stay at that number.  If you have more than the allowed number, be courteous and get out of line and get back in.  Seester and I stood behind a lady who not only pulled out about 20 books, but also had bags and bookmarks and all sorts of stuff for the author to sign.  I understand that bloggers might want a lot of stuff signed to give away, (I mean I am a blogger too remember? Plus, I have a book blog on Facebook called Devouring Pages) but at least try to notice that there are others behind you.  It was super frustrating to us as we had other authors to see at ABF, and this bonehead had to take up our time as well as that author’s time.  It had to have been overwhelming to the author to watch her pull out that much stuff out of her bag like it was Mary Poppin’s bag.  Where did she keep it all?  At most signings, authors have their books for sale anyways so you can always buy them there, providing they don’t run out.   But really, be considerate of the other fans in line behind you.  Now is not the time to start an hour-long conversation about a plot point in a book or about why the author killed off your favorite character.  That is what email is for.  On the other hand, if you have something you want to gift your favorite author, then bring it.  I watched a friend of mine bring Rachel Hollis a framed scripture quote for her baby nursery and Rachel was super excited and grateful for the thought she put into the gift.  (A side note….I once sent Rachel Hollis a shit ton of Tootsie Rolls because she told me how much she loved them….no joke.  I am kind weird like that.)  Authors love meeting their fans, taking pics and just getting to know some of them that they have met online.  Just don’t be that weird creepy stalker book person who tries to clip a lock of their hair or something (SOTL Man I am looking at you).  In other words…Don’t be a dick.

Stalking author Sara Ney…don’t be fooled.  She likes it.

Now that we have talked about bringing in books to a signing, let me tell you something…put them in something you can carry.  A lot of people I know bring those rolling crates to put their books in as they walk around.  Those are great, till it gets super crowded in the venue and you start running over everyone’s toes and slamming them into people’s calves.  This might have happened to me a few times, just saying.  Seester had one to start at the beginning of ABF, but as it got crowded, she opted to go leave it in the hotel room and use a bag.  I have even seen people with wagons.  Yes….WAGONS full of books.  Can you imagine the amount of money that is in that one wagon?  I mean for reals….a wagon?  To me that is a little crazy.  I realize that this might be the only time you might see the authors, but a wagon?  I was just happy to talk a little with some of them and take a pic even if I didn’t have a book for them to sign.  But bring a wagon?  Hard pass. Don’t be that dick.

Don’t be afraid to tell an author how much you loved their book, how much their writing means to you or even be afraid to speak to them like I am.  I admit that I am not the best at doing this part because I get overwhelmed and nervous, but look at what happened when I picked up Party Girl by Rachel Hollis!  I became her newest stalker!  I mean newest fan…yeah that is what I meant.  BFFE actually made it a goal of hers to read one book by every author at ABF so she could see if they would be ones she would want to get a signing from while she was there.  It was an amazing goal and I think she accomplished reading at least one book by every author.  Who knows….you might find a new favorite author to binge read.  Soon, you are reading everything they read, following them on social media, setting up secret shrines and sending them a shit ton of Tootsie Rolls in the mail.  Not that I have done any of that besides binge reading….yeah not me.  Excuse me while I go shut the door on the closet to my Colleen shrine.  Don’t go all Anne Wilkes from Misery on them and kidnap them and make them write you a book (hmmmmm…..this is a new thought to do with Colleen), but by all means tell them what their writing mean to you.  I saw a girl get overwhelmed by meeting Amy Harmon at ABF and she started crying because Amy’s books meant so much to her.  As an author, this is the highest form of compliments…we all hope to actually touch just one person.  I mean if it ends up with someone so obsessed with you that people end of creeping in your bushes and taking pictures to sell to People magazine, then that might be a problem.  Or is it?  I love a good stalker as much as the next person.  I might even encourage them….if you stalk me, it’s ok to tell me. If you get served a restraining order, then you will know it is time to back off.  Rachel Hollis (I swear I am not a stalker) made this fantastic video about the types of people you meet at a book signing and it is spot on so I am going to share it with you here.

Get to your signing early.  This is a great piece of advice I learned from experience.  Especially if there is going to be 1200 people at the signing.  You might think that getting there at 7 am for a noon signing sounds insane, but I wanted as much tie as possible in the signing.  I wanted to make sure I had the full four hours to meet people.  Talk to people in line.  You ill find people who like the same authors you do and might be crazier than you over them, discover new bloggers to follow, and maybe even meet some new best friends.  Book signings are a fantastic way to network if you are an author and even if you are attending as a reader.  You can meet people in PR, advertising, editing, bloggers…you name it and they are at a book signing.  It can be a great way to jump-start a book blog or get advice on getting started as an author.

I am going to encourage every one of you to join me at a book signing or find one of authors you like…it really is an experience that you will never forget.  Authors are people too, as I realized when I watched Colleen Hoover go into the bathroom last year and thought “OMG!  Colleen pees too!”  Don’t be surprised if they know you after talking with you online or seeing you at a couple of signings.  I am lucky that my name is so unconventional (Thanks Mom!) that a lot of authors remember it.  It creates a great conversation starter sometimes.  But find one near you, go by yourself or with friends and fangirl out.  Just remember the key piece of advice:  Don’t be a dick and have fun.

Oh yeah.  I didn’t die today.  I did decide to share with you book signing etiquette and maybe encourage your stalking a bit because who doesn’t love a good stalker but I didn’t die.  I am Fat Girl who sometimes stalk authors but is NEVER a dick Running.  The experiment continues….


Adventures at Austin Book Fest

In March, I went to Austin for a second year to attend Austin Book Fest and had some fun adventures that I need to share with you!  You might recall that last year this is where I met Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher for the first time, forgot how to speak English, and met some of the bestest group of friends ever.  I got to meet up with my book friends again and meet some more amazing authors, as well as spend time with Colleen which is like a dream come true.  Have you ever been to a book signing?  Well, I am here to tell you that it can be the craziest thing you will ever experience.  There were 1200 bookworms at this signing and at times it felt like it.  Yes, that is right….you saw that number correct.  1200.  Book signings can be so much fun.  First off, you meet other people who like the same authors that you do and this creates instant friends, no matter where you all live.  Plus, if you are an author, like me, you get to meet other authors, talk with them and get some fantastic connections in this weird world of publishing.  It was quite the adventure, let me tell you.  And I had the best group of friends around to traverse it with as you will find out.

Now, at ABF this year,  I had the pleasure of sharing a room with four other book nerds:  my Seester, BFFE, Calliebear (who went with us last year) and my #soulmate. This is a new person I need to introduce you guys too, actually.  She is one of my book friends who I swear we were meant to be friends.  We have so much in common it is scary, hence the name #soulmate.   Four of us met up at Dallas airport and then picked up Seester to drive up to Sulpher Springs to the Bookworm Box that night to hang out with Colleen Hoover.  How has this become my life?  This is something I frequently thought throughout the weekend as lots of things happened to me that I have no idea how they actually occurred.  I was going to get to see the Bookworm Box in person which was something I was looking forward to so much.  I even got to see my books on the shelves in the store, which was amazing.  Completely beyond words.  The first night involved squees of joy, hugs, laughter, pizza, dancing around the store, interrupting Colleen’s live broadcast and cramming 5 girls into a tiny hotel room.  I might have almost killed my #soulmate as I tried to go to the bathroom and almost fell on top of her on the roll away bed.  But luckily, we all survived.  There was hotel hallway shenanigans and we might have been those loud obnoxious people in a hotel room at 11pm and for that we apologize but really we could not control our laughter as BFFE and I looked so gorgeous for bed complete with Breathe Right strips and my hair rolled up in socks to curl.



Friday, the five of us traveled to Austin.  Let me say that was a fun road trip filled with singing, eating everything we could find, laughter and reading.  It got a little weird when #soulmate turned to ask me what I was reading.  I looked at her and said “A sex scene from your book.”  #awkward.  We laughed a good deal over it though.  We checked into our bigger room in Austin that also included a roll away bed but one I would not kill #soulmate in when I went to the bathroom.  We met up with all the rest of our book friends and so much laughter and fun occurred.  We even threw a surprise baby shower for one of them that night.  This group of girls are some of the best people I have ever met.  I even ended up in author Mia Sheridan’s suite drinking wine with her and her husband and wondering again how this was my life.  There was a lot of shenanigans I can assure you.

Book friends really are the best friends….good thing they are as nuts as me.  Shenanigans.      I love these girls

Saturday came the signing and believe it or not, book nerds started lining up at 5:30 am for a signing that started at noon.  And we thought our group getting down there at 7 am was early!!  Knowing there were 1200 people in line made us all get up early and be obnoxious together for hours.  Seester and I even took the opportunity to walk through the line and handed out our bookmarks to people.  Hey!  Free advertising!!  Finally, we got to go inside and the chaos of a book signing ensued.  We had studied the floor plan earlier so we could make a game plan but that soon all went to shit as the room became over crowded and Seester and I couldn’t people much longer.  A group of our book friends and us decided to take a break and ate lunch for an hour because it was insane and then headed back in once the crowd had thinned.  The authors even offered to stay longer than the signing lasted which says something about them.  I can’t even imagine how bad their hands had to hurt and their smiles must have felt plastered on as they had to take picture after picture and sign a million books.  I met some amazing authors and met some more book friends this year.  And my group….well….let’s just say I found my pack of weirdos.  BS girls…we are totally a gang.

The amazing authors I met:  (top row) Mia Sheridan, Amy Harmon, Tara Sivec (bottom row) Chelsea Cameron, Sophie Jordan, and Kim Holden.  These women all make me want to be a better writer.  Also ignore my stoob rolls in these photos.
BS shenanigans continue amidst the chaos.  Someone might have farted.
Oh Sara Ney….how I love to stalk you.  Some call it stalking, I call it love. And no one else thinks we are as funny as we do. #selfiequeens
My #soulmate. She is like the other sister I never knew I had.  And a kick ass writer.  Even if you read a sex scene she has written while she is next to you in the car.  #awkward

If you ever get a chance to go to a book signing, then do it.  Even if you only know one author…do it.  You will discover new authors for you to read, make new friends and hopefully find your clan of weirdos like I have.  It will be an experience you will never forget.  You might even get to hang out with one of your idols like I did with Colleen Hoover.  Now excuse me while I go add more pictures to my secret shrine of her in my closet.

Oh yeah.  I didn’t die today.  I did get to experience a book signing with the best group of friends I have ever met on the internet and discovered that I want to be a better writer but I didn’t die.  I am Fat Girl missing Austin Book Fest and my BS girls Running.  The experiment continues….


How I Forgot to Speak English When I Met Two of my Favorite Authors

I did something super exciting and super nerdy last week that I cannot wait to tell you all about.  I went to a HUGE book signing in Austin, TX!  My Seester and CallieBear all decided to go meet some of our favorite authors and CallieBear and I flew into Dallas to meet up with Seester and then road tripped down to Austin.  I had never been to a book signing before (besides my own) and so I was thrilled because two of my absolute favorites were going to be there…Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher.  These two gals really touch my soul with their books and I am lucky to have had the opportunity to wallow in their greatness.  I can only hope to someday grow up to be just like them.  Seester is a pro at this book signing thing so CallieBear and I leaned on her to show us the ropes.  The other thing is that Seester has already met them and is on super good terms with Colleen Hoover as she was on Nightline with her a few years ago (LUCKY!  I also hope to be more like Seester when I grow up).  So off we went to meet our favorites…more on the road trip later…that is a whole separate adventure.  I could not wait to talk to these two…little did I know I would forget how to speak English around them.

When we arrived at our hotel in Austin, we decided to go hang out in the lobby with all the other book nerds and see who we could meet and such.  I mean, you really do make instant friends at things like this as you are all there for the same reason and we knew some of the gals from a fan group we were all part of were also gonna be there.  We were all wearing nerdy book shirts and I was wearing one that in particular all Colleen Hoover fans (or CoHorts as we are also known) would understand as it is the model Nick Bateman (scheduled to star in a movie adaptation of one of Colleen’s books) stating No Pants Are The Best Pants.  I mean….we all know they really are.  I frequent this philosophy as does Pocket GF.  Upon arriving to the lobby, who should appear but Colleen Hoover herself with treats for the fan group.  I immediately became an introvert and starstruck at the same time.  I didn’t even know what to say as she greeted my Seester and hugged her.  She turned to me and said “You must be her Seester! OMG…I love your shirt and I must have a picture with you in it to send to Nick Bateman!”  I am pretty sure I just gave her the super scary smile that might also look like I want to murder her in her sleep or just stand by her bed and watch her as she snores away like an utter creeper. I might have mumbled something unintelligent like “Uh huh. ok I love you and want to steal your soul in your dreams” if you had been able to understand what I was truly saying.  I am almost certain it came out like this “Screech! Quack! Spit flying everywhere as I talk superfast in some unknown language!”  Literally, I forgot how to speak English or even make sense when I did speak.  When she offered me a cake ball, I might have said something like “I like to put balls in my mouth” and inwardly cringed as I could not get myself to shut up.  Also, there might have been a little bit of a code Wet Pants as I was sure I was gonna pee with excitement.  I was afraid she would take pity on Seester’s obviously mentally impaired sibling and pat me on the head, but instead she invited our group to join her and we moved over to where other gals who COULD speak English were sitting and hanging out.  Colleen was even glad to pose with us for some pictures although I am sure she was still thinking I was mentally impaired in some way and wondering why Seester could not control her spaz of a sibling.  Really.  I needed some serious help and was hoping the next day at the signing would be better and I would not make a fool of myself.

CallieBear and I like balls in our mouths....
CallieBear and I like balls in our mouths….
Me and Colleen Hoover...scary creeper smile included
Me and Colleen Hoover…scary creeper smile included

The next day was the big event and I was bound and determined to be able to talk to Colleen Hoover like a normal girl and dispel the myth that I never completed more than third grade.  After standing in line for about 90 minutes to see Tarryn Fisher and Colleen Hoover, it was finally my turn to see both of them.  I almost peed my pants in anticipation.  I really should think about investing in some sort of bladder control product.  I mean..for reals.  It is a real issue…haven’t you seen the commercials?  I got up there and I was able to actually talk to Colleen using real English..whew!  Then I turned to Tarryn and it happened again….I froze and spoke gibberish or some sort of secret language that in my mind Tarryn understood perfectly.  I might have started doing an interpretive dance to get my point across about how much I love her and her books.  A restraining order might have been filed.  I might have died of embarrassment.  What the heck was wrong with me that I could not form words?  Who knew I would turn into some laughing idiot that giggled nervously the entire time I was standing there.  I swear they are gonna ban me from any of their other signings.  Ugh.  We spent the rest of the day meeting other fantastic authors that I discovered I could speak English with and then we made plans to go to the meet and greet that night.

At the meet and greet, a lot of the authors were mingling around with their fans and this was so informal and fun.  I got to stop and chat with several of them.  I decided to run up to the room because I had a headache so I got in the elevator and who should get in with me?  Tarryn Fisher!  My immediate reaction is to text my Seester which read “OMG! I am in the elevator with Tarryn freaking Fisher!”  She turned to me and started to talk…oh no….I felt the scary creeper smile coming on my face and I felt like the character in Misery. Tarryn was probably afraid I was gonna trap her in my house and hobble her with a sledgehammer.  I again could not form words and just nodded with my creeper smile in place.  Of course, when I got out and joined Seester and CallieBear, I immediately went on and on about how she had been in the elevator with me and CallieBear told me how she had this great conversation with Tarryn.  I stated how I wished I could do that when Tarryn herself came over to talk with us.  I told myself to get it together and immediately opened my mouth…SURPRISE!  I could once again speak English and apologized for looking like a scary creeper in the elevator.  She just laughed and told me she gets like that too and graciously took a picture with me and hugged me.  I was so glad I was able to form words this time and not be a complete weirdo.

Why do I always look like I am trying not to pee myself?  The beautiful authors Tarryn Fisher and Colleen Hoover trying to not look scared of me
Why do I always look like I am trying not to pee myself? The beautiful authors Tarryn Fisher and Colleen Hoover trying to not look scared of me
Tarryn Fisher and I after I learned how to speak English again...I still have the scary creeper I might tie you to a bed and hobble you smile
Tarryn Fisher and I after I learned how to speak English again…I still have the scary creeper I might tie you to a bed and hobble you smile

One important thing I learned from going to a signing as an author…be as gracious to your fans as all these authors were, interpretive dance and all.  And I can only hope someday that someone gets as fangirl over me as I did over them.  I can only dream.  Thanks ladies for inspiring me as an author, ripping out my heart and crushing it with your words, and helping heal my soul with your books.  You two ladies are some of the baddest asses out there and I am glad you didn’t take out a restraining order on me.

Oh yeah.  I didn’t die today.  I might have become a babbling idiot when meeting my two favorite authors, but I didn’t die.  I am Fat Girl doing interpretive dance and trying to learn English while meeting Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher Running.  The experiment continues…