Tuesday, November 6, 2012

RECAP: Ontario Blog Squad Meet 2012

Watermarrk Irish Pub
Credit: Ontario Blog Squad website
"Are you sure you want to go? I wouldn't be caught dead going into a room full of people without plans to meet anyone."

This was the question my mother posed the evening before the 2nd Annual Ontario Blog Squad Meet Up, which would take place in Toronto the following afternoon. (Nov. 3rd, 2012). I'm not exactly a social butterfly with big groups of people when I get away from the computer and I think she was a bit worried I would feel bored or out of place.

Despite all of this, I told her that yes, I was going, and then I started to form a (last minute) set of plans.

I'm sure you've noticed it's been quiet here at I Write, I Read, I Review. That's because I've had a bit of a flare up with my hands and I've been unable to type. Plus, Mom borrowed my camera to show friends images of Coco and Trixie's puppies, so I didn't have it, either. How does this relate to the Meet?

Simple: I didn't feel up to making my swap list until the night before.

Knowing I would need to figure out a way to not chicken out by 10 a.m., I woke up at 5, got on Twitter and made sure people knew I had books and I was coming. Kinda hard to change my mind once I knew people would be looking for me. :)

This worked out extremely well. I did a swap with Giselle @ Book Nerd Canada, another with Siobhan @ Confessions of a Reading Addict. I also gave two books to Chrystal from Snowdrop Dreams of Books (whom I'm attending the Apocalypse Tour with at Belleville Chapters next weekend.)

After packing all my stuff for the event, we made it to the Watermark Irish Pub with only a few minor problems:

1) Slippery underground parking stairs: I hate these things with the fire of a thousand suns.

2) I forgot my video camera (again) and left it in the glove box of our Tiberon.

3) The GPS decided to start giving us the silent treatment as we entered Toronto, which resulted in several choice exchanges between Dad and the various cars trying to share the road with us. (Ah, tradition? *shrug*)

Despite all of this, I arrived in one piece and on time. (Yay!) I got my goodie bag (which I wasn't sure if it was polite to peek at so I waited until someone else did.) and then froze like a deer caught in headlights: Uhh, where am I going to sit?

People Joined Me. Thank God. I had no idea what I was doing when I came
into the Pub! *laughs* (Credit: Tif @ Mostly YA Lit.)
I was soon joined by author Allison Baggio, Paul @ Scoop's Mental Propaganda, Andrea @ Cozy Up With A Good Read and Brenna @ Esther's Ever After. Our table was pretty interesting, since there was a broad range of tastes in books, and in how we interact with them. (Whether that was writing them, publishing them, writing stuff based on them, etc.) Since I'm both a blogger and a (future) author, this worked out really well for me. Memorable topics included how different The Casual Vacancy is from the Harry Potter books, how long it takes an idea for a story to truly be born, the importance of revision (and that it should not be rushed) and favorite books read within the past year. (That means I got to talk about The Selection. That's always good.)

Since my vision is crap, I will admit that I did rely a lot on people finding me. (Note: Next year I need to do better at looking for people.) I managed to get all the books I brought for specific people *to* those people, which was one of my main goals during the event.

Author Maureen McGowan. (Credit: Mostly YA Lit)
I think the most interesting conversation I had, beyond my table and those I had planned to swap things with / give things to, was chatting with Maureen McGowan, author of Deviants. She signed a post card for me at the Meet Up, and if all goes well (read: every copy of the book isn't sold out on Saturday) I'll be getting her to sign a copy of Deviants at the Apocalypse Tour.

We talked about writing, the potential decline of dystopia as a leading trend in YA and how trends should not be the driving factor of what an author writes--what matters to the author, and what will allow he or she to tell a story he or she truly cares about, should be. She was actually interested in hearing about Sealer's Promise (which I wasn't trying to heavily promote here, but it did come up) and seemed to think the premise was interesting. (Yay!) I'm going to say I balanced blogger Kat and author Kat well at this event, though whether others would agree is not something I could know. ;)

The Ontario Blog Squad Meet Up 2012 was an absolutely awesome experience and I am glad to have taken part. I think that the Blog Squad did a fantastic job in organizing a great event full of great conversation, fabulous food (I had the soup, fish & chips and chocolate ice cream with whipped cream and strawberries. Yum!) and a ton of amazing books thanks to the generosity of publishers and authors. I had a ton of fun getting to know some interesting people while talking writing, reading and blogging.

If for some reason I'm asked if I'm 'sure' I want to go next year, I can now confidently answer, "Yes.".

NOTE: Keep an eye out for this week's Shopaholic Sunday, where I'll be sharing what I swapped, what I got in my Goodie Bag, what I've purchased the last few weeks and what I get at the Apocalypse Tour. It may possibly be my biggest Shopaholic Sunday post ever. 


  1. So glad you had a good time! It was nice meeting you briefly when you walked in :)
    The other girl is Brenna from Esther's Ever After! (http://everafteresther.blogspot.ca/) :)
    Andrea is from Cozy Up with a Good Read (http://andreasgoodreads.blogspot.ca/)

  2. Kathy - it was so nice to meet you. And I can't believe we live this close and have never met before. I am looking forward to Saturday for the Apocalypse Tour! I'll be there will bells on!


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