Tag Archives: author signings

Event Recap – Ontario Library Super Conference 2015

For those of you who aren’t familiar with me outside of the bloggosphere and game journalism scene, you may know I’m training to be a library technician. Well, at the end of January, there is a wonderful event for library professionals to attend — the OLA Super Conference. The event focuses on a variety of sessions geared towards the various types of libraries, there’s a huge expo floor to explore, and there is always something happening. It’s not as big as something like BEA, but there’s definitely more of personal interaction at OLA then I’ve seen at other events.

I started my day over at Penguin Random House where in I chatted with the wonderful, always an amazing conversationalist, Vikki VanSickle. She is always a delight to talk to, and I always feel inspired afterwards because she is so passionate. She’s someone who cares about Canadian Literature, Kit Lit and YA and she knows her bloggers insanely well. As always, seeing Vikki at an event reminds me that I’m doing a bit of good in the world, and people like her are always great spring boards for good conversation and ideas.

At 10 am, Rachel Hartman was signing Shadow Scale. Let’s just say that was a mini dream come true. Seriously, I lovelovelove Seraphina, and Shadow Scale is one of those books that fans have been waiting a long time for. I haven’t read it yet, but it’s next on my list because I NEED TO KNOW.


 Ahhhh Rachel Hartman is so nice.

After the signing I headed down for the only session I was scheduled for, and that was #WeNeedDiverseBooks. The session discussed the importance of inclusion and how we are library professionals and work towards building our collections to support diverse literatures. A lot of children and teens want to be represented in literature and they want to be able to see themselves in the books they are reading. I ended up feeling so inspired, and I came away with a ton of great ideas and new authors to check out. Also, there was a presentation on Canadian First Nations Literature and I really need to go and seek some of those books out. Great presentation and panel over all.

Then it was back up to the Expo floor, where working on my assignment happened, sort of food happened, and then it was offer to Raincoast Books to meet Courtney Summers!


Meeting Courtney was a big deal for me. We’ve talked for a long time on Twitter about video games, horror, and all kinds of crazy. The week leading up to OLA was a lot of silly tweets about who was sexier and OMGTHIS. She makes me laugh, and she writes some of the most amazing and thoughtful books out there, so of course I had to go and show my support and grab a copy of All the Rage (which I devoured might I add already). Next time you are in town Courtney, you are letting me take you out to lunch. 😛

After getting my hugs, video game talk, and fangirling, I rushed over to see another person who I’ve been having mad twitter conversations with: Sam Maggs!


I heart Sam Maggs, and she knows it. She helped participate in a feature I ran over at RPGamer for Valentine’s Day called Inquisition de Amore. The feature had a ton of authors and other journalists sharing a dating profile for their Inquisitor from Dragon Age: Inquisition. Sam was very enthusiastic about the project. I may have also sent a bucnh of my classmates her way because in all seriousness The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy really is such a fun read. Sam’s voice has such confidence and enthusiasm and she really makes you smile along the way. She’s a loveable soul and I’m happy we finally had a chance to meet.

After seeing Sam, there was more running around, more vendor flirting, and a ton of books being picked up. One of my professors even attempted to scope out my bag because she was impressed by the pile. Here’s the haul for your enjoyment!


Huge thank you to Penguin Canada, Random House of Canada, Raincoast Books, Scholastic Canada and Harper Collins Canada for all the wonderful new books for me to read and review. Also thank you to all of you for your kindness, your approachability and your enthusiasm. There’s nothing better that dealing with publishing folk and authors who love the same things you do and want to share it on a similar level. Seriously, you gotta admire that.

At the end of the day, my feet were killing me, I was popped and all I wanted to do was get some dinner and go read some of my new books. I did a few other things at the event, such as a resume workshop, talking to other professionals and playing around with new software, and it was a great experience overall. I will definitely be going to the OLA Super Conference again, hopefully not as a student, but as someone attached to a library. Here’s hoping, right?

The end of the day was spent at the Loose Moose. Let’s just say, All the Rage and I made good friends that day. My husband who came to meet up with me afterwards, well… he wasn’t too happy with the new pile of books, but at the same time, he’s loveable and listened to all my stories over beet and nachos. I cannot wait for next year’s conference!


Happy reading! 🙂

INSPIRE! Toronto International Book Fair! – Saturday & Sunday!


And now, part two of my INSPIRE! Toronto International Book Fair adventure. You’ll be getting both Saturday and Sunday in this post because I feel super chatty and don’t feel like doing another post afterwards. Anywho, Kiki and I got up stupid early and went back down to the convention for Day Two. When we arrived, we hung out a bit in the Penguin-Random House booth, wherein we (and by which I mean me) tackled Vikki VanSickle. Kiki went off to watch Debbie Macomber’s talk on the Main Stage and I… coloured colouring pages with Vikki. We coloured purple dinosaurs, pink dragons with spots, and we had an adorable eighteen month baby hang out with us. She kept hanging me markers. For some reason. She was SO CUTE!

After that, I ran over to the Main Stage and found Kiki. After Debbie Macomber’s talk, she went to get her books signed while I wandered about. I bought my husband the newest William Gibson book, which I will share a story for that later. We wanted around, found an amazing booth for a Caribbean book store called A Different Booklist. The ladies working in that booth were insanely passionate about the books they were selling, and I ended up buying The Chaos by Nalo Hopkinson from them! Then Kiki went off to line up for Astronaut (or rather Awesomenaut) Chris Hadfield.

I ended finding Entangled Publishing, in my alone time, who were basically GIVING AWAY their books, and the lady running that booth was a complete doll. She gave me a pile of books! And then one of their authors was signing and she gave me a signed book (I ended up with two, one for Molly, which Brutus may have… ate the side of, I am sorry he autographed it). It was fun to just chat with them about romance novels, though I admit, it’s not a genre I generally enjoy. But, I decided I am totally going to give all the books I got a chance.

Then I was wandering around and I saw Dav Pilikey, author of the “Captain Underpants” books on the TD Kids Stage and let’s just say, he both a fabulous reader and public speaker. he drew artsy fartsy for all the kids in the crowd and tested their “Captain Underpants” knowledge, and man those kids were insanely smart. Also, I want his new book that’s coming out, “Dog Man” because it’s The Dark Knight Rises… only it stars a dog. Can we say win? I also met someone I went to high school with and we ended up hanging out quite a bit at the event, which was insanely nice, though I may had been a creeper about it at first (what can I say? I can be socially awkward).

And then it was time to meet William Gibson. The conversation I had with William Gibson was as follows (well the paraphrased version in which Sam comes across super duper awkwardly).


I met William Gibson. He was lovely.

Me: HI! Nice to meet you! My name is Sam!

William Gibson: Hello, Sam.

Me: My husband and I love your books and we bonded over them, though truthfully, I think the only reason my husband married me is because I have a first edition of “Neuromancer.”

William Gibson: I’m pretty sure that makes you a keeper.


William Gibson: *goes back to being awesome*

Me: *texts picture to husband* “William Gibson called me a keeper.”

Husband: *texts back* “Yes you are.”

Lets just say, it was a treasured encounter. Turns out, however, Kiki had a treasured encounter as well, because Chris Hadfield hugged her. Life was perfect in that moment. After that, we went to Harlequin to see Amanda Sun and she is still the cutest ever. I also ended up with a signed copy of “Rain” thanks to Kiki. Then we said goodbye to Amanda, and headed home due to being tired and pooped.

THEN SUNDAY HAPPENED. Kiki picked me up in the morning and her mom joined us! We ended up wandering the event and ended up back at Entangled and they gave us smutty books this time. We ended up with signed copies of “Into the Fire” by Amanda Usen and its sequel. Then we proceeded to take pictures of each other reading the darn thing. Holy steaminess, Batman. Let’s just say, I can’t decide if I will be reading it or not, but I may have giggled through the first few pages because Kiki dramatically read them. We also met Eric Kim, who is a fantastic author and artist and he signed copies of “The Complete Plays of William Shakespeare adapted by Eric Kim” which was HILARIOUS. My favourite in the book? His version of “Titus Andronicus” (which is my favourite Shakespeare play. Yes, I’m a horrible person.) If you can find the book and you love Shakespeare, READ IT.

Then lunch and more wandering around happened. Somehow I ended up losing Kiki and her mom and ended up at Erin Bow’s reading, and she was reading from “Sorrow’s Knot” and let’s just say I was tearing up because damn that book hurt. Here’s our review! I also ended up meeting her and she signed my copy of Sorrow’s Knot, though we admittedly talked about about how she makes people cry in her books (“Plain Kate,” anyone?). She apparently enjoys feeding on people’s tears, but she is an amazing lady and she HUGGED ME.


Erin Bow: Amazing lady or crusher of souls? The answer: both!

And then finally it was time for Maggie Stiefvater. She was on the Main Stage and she is wonderfully crazy. She talked about the Gentleman’s Club convention that was happening next door, how The Raven Boys came to be, why she is a spooky person, and she even answered fans questions. I actually asked a question too, probably the most important question of them all.

Me: Hi Maggie! I have a question for you: why IS Gansey’s face so fancy?

Maggie: …. I was not prepared for that question. *turns to Chandra, the host* YOU DID NOT PREPARE ME FOR THESE QUESTIONS!

Maggie explained the tiny spoiler behind Gansey fancy face, but it made Kiki and I happy. We immediately texted Molly, and here was that conversation:


Molly is favourite. Best co-blogger ever. Kiki also told her how we were “looking out for her best interests.” Needless to say, Kiki’s mom looked like she wanted to read Maggie’s books after that presentation. Then we went to the “official signing” which I got my copy of “Sinner” signed.


Candid with Maggie! She asked if I liked to cry, but I’m pretty sure she feeds on tears.

After that, Kiki and I wandered over to Beguling to see if Ryan North was signing, which HE WAS. Years ago, at an Anime North long, long ago, he found out my name was Samantha and I was carrying a T-Rex toy. He asked me for my picture because T-Rex in Dinsoaur Comics has an imaginary girlfriend name “Samantha.” Well, I showed him the comic, told the story and let’s just say he reminded me that my name was STILL PRETTY, as according to T-Rex:



And then I went over to Scholastic for the super awesome more personal Maggie Steifvater signing. I was able to get many Christmas gifts signed, discuss “The Raven Boys” with a lot more detail (she wanted to know who was the “Raven Boys” drug dealer and who was each of my friend’s fave Raven Boy) and she’s a lovely, lovey person. WE ALSO HUGGED! But I met the real Gansey Fancy Face in person. LOOK HOW CUTE WE ARE!


The real Gansey Fancy Face. Huge love to Jessica for taking the picture.

And after that, the book fair was pretty much over. Will I go again next year? Absolutely. I really had a great time and it was just such a blast to meet a lot of the authors, make new friends and just be in a place that made me super happy the whole time. Seriously, I wouldn’t trade these experiences for anything. Plus, I got to meet so many of my favourite authors in one spot, and really? How cool is that. I’m sad the book fair is over, but I am looking so forward to see who is going to participate next year.

INSPIRE! Toronto International Book Fair! – Friday!



The Toronto International Book Fair happened last weekend and I was fortunate enough to go for free thanks to Random House Canada and a giveaway they held on Twitter. I have to say, what a fun event it was! Not only was able to meet a ton of interesting authors, watch some fantastic panels and speakers, but I was surrounded by books, books, and more books. Books are a wonderfully intoxicating thing, ya know? Also huge thank you to Vikki VanSickle for allowing me to hug her every two seconds. She is the best!

On Friday, I bolted from my classes and made it out to the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. When I got the event I wandered around and eventually I sat in on Eric Walters’ panel, “The Seven Sequels” which he hosted with Sigmund Brouwer, Norah McClintock, Shane Peacock, Richard Scrimger, and John Wilson. Let me tell you, this panel was absolutely brilliant. Not only did they talk about all fourteen novels in this series in less than a hour, but it was basically a whirlwind comedy act wherein they made fun of each other and their characters, but also discussed how one can weave such a large story together when the right people are involved. John Wilson is an adorable Scottish man who is at his most adorkable when he says the word “Scooter.” Eric Walters is a meanie (but I love his books and I think he is hilarious, so that is OKAY!).


 Sigmund Brouwer, Norah McClintock, Shane Peacock, Richard Scrimger, Eric Walters and John Wilson

The second panel I attended was called “I Don’t Give a Damsel,” which starred Gayle Forman, E. Lockhart, Sarah Mlynowski, and Meg Wolitzer, and was hosted by Elaine Lui, also known as Gossip Laney from CTV’s “The Social.” (Who also made have upset the crowd when she spoiled parts of Gayle Forman’s upcoming novel, “I Was Here.” Oh the faces on the crowd!). These amazing ladies discussed what it’s like to write strong female characters, the difference between realistic vs. “likeable” characters, and the big bad F-word we all love, “Feminism.” I loved a lot of E. Lockhart’s responses to the questions, especially how feminism is an important word that we shouldn’t lose sight or hold of. It makes a lot of women who they are, and we need be able to embrace that word without fear. Needless to say, I found myself nodding a lot with the discussions that were had. Also Gayle Forman is an adorable spaz, who flails her arms and is just really, really cute. I also loved a lot of Meg Wolitzer’s insight and a lot of the research she brought into discussions, but she is an amazing woman to talk with (which I will get to in a sec).


Elaine Lui, Meg Wolitzer, Gayle Forman,  Sarah Mlynowski and E. Lockhart.

So INSPIRE had a policy that I am not going to bring up, but needless to say, it upset and confounded a lot of the fans who went to the event. A lot of the authors felt very conflicted, so did a lot of the publicists and publishers, but let’s just say I did get into a bit of trouble that Gayle Forman got me out of. I had my copy of “Sisters in Sanity” with me, which if you don’t know, is an out-of-print novel, and it also happens to be my favourite of Gayle Forman’s books, mostly because I think it’s her most unique. When i got up to meet her, she smiled at me and said “You’re the girl with Sisters in Sanity.” I nodded, and pulled out the book, and told her this was the one I wanted to get signed, but I didn’t want to disrupt the policy that had been put into place. She then announced that she would sign it, and if others had books in their hands that weren’t bought at the event, she and the others would sign them too. She made me smile, and we talked for a few minutes about how “Sisters in Sanity” is such an unloved novel (or as she put it, the child no one loved and only sold 12 copies of). Needless to say, she HUGGED ME, and I was just beyond happy. SEE? SEE?!


Gayle Forman loves Sisters in Sanity! AND SHE HUGGED ME.


E. Lockhart also HUGGED ME! And asked if I had “contraband books.” She signed my copy of  The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks and the book she co-wrote is Sarah, “How to Be Bad.” 


I am sad this picture is blurry and I don’t know where I was looking, but Sarah Mlynowski is a cutie and I loved her.


And finally, Meg Wolitzer! 

And now to share my Meg Wolitzer story: so when I was chatting with her, she asked me if I was a writer. I explained to her that while I’m not a fiction writer, I’ve been writing in the games industry for over five years as a reviewer, editorialist and features writer, and she smiled at me. She told me about how she’s learning to play games and how she fell in love with Gone Home! She wanted to pick my brain for more emotionally charging games, because apparently she is writing a novel that is using games in it. She also asked me about #GamersGate and she was just amazing to talk to. Very thoughtful, asked tons of questions, and I was more surprised she wanted to talk to me about this kind of stuff. We also discussed “Belzhar,” which I need to get off my butt and read.

Finally, after that, I met up with Kiki and we wanted some more around the show floor. We found out that Debbie MaComber (aka our moms favourite author) was signing over in the Penguin booth and can I just say she is the nicest, cutest lady EVER? Because she totally is.


DEBBIE MACOMBER! She was so cute and was like “I need to try and look like my author photo but it isn’t working!”  It was also nice to be the same height as someone in a photo.

Then we realized Kate Beaton was signing! She put out these super duper cute tea towels (and we both got one). I ended up buying a copy of “Hark! A Vagrant!” which I didn’t own (but I have her other book), and this happened…


Yes, Kate Beaton drew my dog, Brutus, in my book. It says “Brutus is a love champ.” I nearly died of laughter when I saw it. I adored it. Then we hugged and pictures happened! (But no, I will not show you guys our ugly face photo. NOT HAPPENING. DON’T ASK. Only Kiki has proof.)



After meeting Kate Beaton, Kiki and I decided we were super duper pooped from all the book fair fun and we went and grabbed Japanese food and headed back home. Home had Brutus snuggles, a mom sobbing about how the new Debbie book signed ON HER BIRTHDAY was the best thing ever, and then there was also lots of tea.

Hope you enjoyed my Friday recap. It was made of a lot of feelings, flails, and books. Check back for my Day 2 & 3 recap coming soon! (Or you know, tomorrow.)

Word on the Street, Toronto – 2014

This year I was FINALLY able to make it out to Toronto’s Word on the Street, an event that happens in five different cities across Canada and supports Canadian literature and literacy. Considering the downpour that occurred before the day started, I was so pleased that the sun came out and everyone was able to go out and simply enjoy the event.

circusThe first event I hit up was for Rachelle Delaney’s The Circus Dogs of Prague, which I reviewed on the blog back in April and was quite delighted by. What they had for children was a dog trainer who did tricks! And let me tell you — the kids loved it. There was even a little circus tent and an obstacle course, and finally after the show the children were allowed to make friends with the dog. It was pretty awesome and very clever.

I also had the chance to meet Rachelle Delaney, who is the author of The Circus Dogs of Prague and The Metro Dogs of Moscow (which I got signed and sadly, haven’t read yet!) . Let’s put it this way, I got a ton of new books I cannot wait to read that I really need to make the time for.

katemilyFrom there I made my way to Emily Pohl Weary and Kat Kruger’s readings at the This is Not Shakespeare Tent. Emily read from Not Your Ordinary Wolf Girl (which I reviewed last year and LOVED) and Kat from her book, The Night Has Fangs. Werewolves were the topic and both women discussed how to create convincing werewolves characters that are not the stereotypical hunk macho men (or women) we see in YA currently. It was an awesome panel and Emily called me out because she saw I had a copy of A Girl Like Sugar in my hands, which was one of the first books she ever wrote and published. It’s a very important novel to me, one that is well loved and well worn, and it was such a pleasure to finally meet her and chat with her. I had Kat sign her book for me and we discussed lots of Haruki Murakami (<3) and I’m really looking forward to giving it a go.

lesleyAfter tons of wandering about, I made my way to Gail Gallant, Lucy Leiderman, and Lesley Livingston’s readings, each of them reading bits from their novels. The three of them were fantastic speakers and great readers too. I may have also bulldozed my way to get an ARC of Transcendent, since there were only four of them up for grabs. Needless to say, I’m not sure I’m ready for Mason and Fennrys’ adventure to be over quite yet (I fear lots of ugly sobs). There was definitely lots of paranormal discussions afoot during this panel and a lot of the discussion was really excellent.

After that, it was time for Megan Crewe to read from her new novel (that isn’t even releasing until October!), Earth & Sky. The excerpt she selected has me absolutely pumped the read the novel, as it’s got lots of time and space travel, really solid characters (by the sounds of it) and she was just a fantastic reader. There were also an ARC giveaway as well, but I’m naughty and I already had one, which I then got signed after the reading. I also finally met the wonderful, Vikki VanSickle, who is my book angel and ARC drug dealer (she knows I love her). It was so awesome to finally chat in person, and we got into a long discussion about how awesome the Baby-sitters Club is. IT’S STILL AWESOME (and no one be hatin’ on Mary Anne around me!). It’s amazing how some franchises still hold up and can be read by other generations, and that one still is quite beloved.

Finally, I went to my last signing of the day, which was to see Lesley Livingston (she told me she saw me bolt for the ARC earlier in the day. I am such a fangirl), Lonathan Llyr, and Steve Burley. I also go see them when I’m at an event and they signed my ARC of Wiggins Weird, Book 2! Which is not out, but yes, I will be reviewing it. I was SO THRILLED to see so many children with copies of How To Curse In Hieroglyphics in their hands. It was definitely my favourite middle grade read of last year, so hopefully the sequel stacks up (and it will because Artie is the best.)

And that was my day at Word on the Street! There were so many amazing vendors and street food, and it’s amazing how this event grows every year. Even though it was my first one, it certainly will not be my last by any stretch of the imagination. It’s always a pleasure to talk to those who write some of your favourite books and get some insight into what goes in the process. Hopefully Word on the Street 2015 will be just as awesome!


Me with Emily Pohl Weary! (and Sugar)

samrachelleRachelle Delaney! (Tail wags~!)


Megan Crewe!

samvikkiVikki Van Sickle, Book Angel and fellow BSC member.

And that’s my wrap-up! I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I did writing it. Let me know in the comments what some of your favourite author meeting experiences were! I’d love to hear about them! (Did you see River finally met Rainbow Rowell? SHE DID!)