Picture drawn by Maggie Stiefvater, 2009. Header made by S.F. Robertson, 2010.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

PAYA Festival Recap

So I'm the late one when it comes to recaps. There's a ton more and I'll link to them all (well, all the ones I know of) below so you can see many more pics and accounts of the festival.

Anyway, the day started out kinda sucky. Along the way, I realized that toll booths were a part of my route up to West Chester, PA. I hate toll booths with a passion (you really should've seen me in the car; I was literally yelling whenever I saw a toll booth) and usually keep them out of my Mapquest directions but forgot to do so this time. So I tried to stop by a gas station with an ATM and had to go to THREE stations just to find an ATM. Also, they do not do cash back when you buy items. What's up with that?

Finally, I got one and took out a $20, thinking that would be enough for a silly toll and I'd have money left over to buy a meal somewhere and then use the rest for something else. The first toll booth was just $2 and I handed over my money and she gave me my change and all was well in the world. While stuck in traffic, I decided to count out the money I got back because it felt much heftier than $18 should feel. Do you know why that was? It was because I had gotten $23 back. The lady had given me a $10 along with 13 singles instead of a $5. I was so happy- I made a $3 profit at a toll booth! YAY!!

Well, then came the next two tolls, which sucked $9 total out of me. WHY ARE THERE THREE TOLL BOOTHS WITHIN A 40 MILE STRETCH OF 95?!?! WHY?!?!?! That's really what PO'd me. I don't mind paying a couple dollars but 3 booths in one hour, amounting to $11 spent? No, I don't think so. If I were a richer person and could therefore throw money around, I'd just throw a bunch of singles or something at the toll booth employee and be like "HERE! THIS IS WHAT YOU WANT, RIGHT? JUST TAKE IT ALL!!!" I know they're just doing their jobs but it's not as effective when I go to my politician's office and do it.

I don't understand why they can't just tax us a bit more and get rid of toll booths altogether. We already pay taxes, what's a little bit more? I also heard from my mom that VA's governer (or whatever he's called) is looking into making VA a toll booth place. I said to her "If he does, I will go and kill him." I will never want to drive again. OK, that's a lie, I love driving too much to give it up. I will just be utilizing Mapquest's Avoid Tolls checkbox more often then.

I seriously will get to the actual event soon, just one more thing. So while I was dealing with toll booths and traffic, I was texting Skyanne (the founder of PAYA and who put the whole festival together) who informed me that everyone there already was laughing at my texts. I have this image in my head of bloggers and authors alike in a huddle around Skyanne's phone whenever I texted her. I have no idea who she relayed my texts too, but I hope whoever they were that they don't think I'm crazy. Here are two texts I remember sending:

"Toll booths suck! I wish they would all die a slow, painful death."
"Well, I'm glad you are all able to find mirth in my misery."

OK, so the actual event. I got there like right at 1 when the signing started. Do you know when I meant to be there by? 11:30/12. Yes. I was LATE! And also missed lunch. As soon as I got there, I bought my books- Sleepless by Cyn Balog, The Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin by Josh Berk, and Rae by Chelsea Swiggett. After that, I went and found Skyanne, Kristi, and Steph Su. Skyanne ran up and hugged me. Kristi probably hit me in my arm because she likes to abuse me and I'm too scared to stand up for myself. :P

Kristi and I spent the day joined at the hip except for the times when we weren't together which wasn't often. We stalked authors, got our books signed, and drooled over hot authors (Jon Skovron, Andrew Auseon) from afar and then did go say hi and chat with them after we gathered our courage (we are both shy people). It was funny to watch us because we were like "OMG is right down there. Should we go say hi?" We spent several minutes talking about going up to say hi to Josh Berk because Kristi wanted to touch his hair (see her recap for explanation) but didn't want to seem weird, creepy, or stalker-ish while asking. We did eventually chat with him and got some funny pictures. We had a slight problem with mine, but it ended up being very useful because Josh put two photos of me and him together to create a little show.

During the first hour, I got to meet Cyn Balog, who I've been chatting with for so long and we've been wanting to meet up for forever. We didn't get to chat as much as we would have liked but we got to hug and chat for a few while she signed mine and Kristi's books. That was the only author I had a book for, so I mainly followed Kristi around cuz she either brought or bought everyone's books, lol. Once we were done with that, we hung out in the hallway and got to talk to a few authors, like Holly Nicole Hoxter (who recognized me right away and I feel very bad for not having gotten to her book yet) and Josh Berk. We also got to chat with some bloggers and occasionally the mother of those bloggers. Kristi, Steph and I spent some time talking with Veronica, mother of Anne, who runs the blog Potter, Percy and I. It was really fun, though I went mute because I am shy and didn't think I had anything to contribute to the conversation (this happens a lot, lol).

In the second hour, Kristi and I got books signed by Holly Nicole Hoxter, Josh Berk, Chelsea Swiggett, and Andrew Auseon. It was so fun to see Chelsea, who I adore, signing her own book. Go Chelsea!! Kristi got books signed by other people too. Andrew was actually running late and I told Kristi how sad I was that he wasn't there because I'd brought my book of his with me. And OK, maybe someone else heard me too, but anyway, when Andrew finally showed up, and I was in the hallway when this happened, so I saw him pass right by me, I had three people in the span of two minutes tell me he had arrived. I was like "I get it, he's here!" LOL. I then went and grabbed my book for him to sign and went in. We chatted for a few minutes, mainly about how awful traffic was on 95. After I went away and was hanging out with a multitude of bloggers (btw, Steph Su actually came and got Kristi and I and said "I have some bloggers who really want to meet you." Now, even though I'm sure no one knew who I was and they just really wanted Kristi, I still felt famous, lol), Kristi asked if I'd gone to see Andrew yet and I was like "Uh yeah, right after you guys told me he was here." She hit me in the arm because she wanted to go with me since she didn't have a book for him to sign but wasn't sure if he'd even remember her from the blog tour she took part in for his newest book, Freak Magnet. But we got to hang out with him for a few minutes more and he recognized her so that was fun.

Wrapping up the day, there was a group author photo though two or three authors were missing from it. And the raffle was held- Kristi yelled out the winners' names (she was really good at that) and I held a notebook and checked off each prize as it was given away. After most everyone had left, I took part in the Crescendo Cookie Blogger videos for Fallen Archangel because the two lovely ladies who run the site were there. Mine hasn't gone up yet but when it does, I'll link to it. There may even be some bloopers too! Not of me because I'm a professional reader and don't mess things up, but the others had some good bloopers. :P It was a really fun experience and I'm so glad I got to be a part of it! It's really all thanks to hanging around Kristi and Steph Su.

Before I left, I was able to grab some hardcovers from the Library room, which I'll be donating to my library, as well as an ARC or two. I helped package the leftover books up and take them out to the car. I know it may be hard to believe, but I can lift heavy things. BEA and ALA prepared me for that moment, lol. Then I called my parents to get a toll-less route back, though I still got caught in traffic like 40 miles from home. Le sigh. It took me an hour to go like 4 miles; I went through a whole CD (Mizundaztood by Pink), for crying out loud!

Anyway, that was my PAYA experience and I can't wait for next year's! It's gonna be awesome!

1) Cyn Balog and Shelena Shorts signing books
2) Josh Berk taking his hand away from my hair- the animated gif can be found here- http://twitpic.com/2js3bs
3) Skyanne, Kristi, and I
4) Myself, Cyn Balog, Kristi, and Skyanne
5) Skyanne, myself, Jon Skovron, and Kristi. Jon and I are making our "crazy faces" (his idea)
6) Blogger pic! Jamie, Steph, myself, Anne, Jenn, Kristi and Christina
7) The majority of the authors there for PAYA with Skyanne in the middle
8) Another blogger pic- Chelsea, Steph, Kristi, Skyanne and myself (notice I am wearing my big ass boots whereas all of them are wearing flipflops).

More PAYA Recaps-













Most of this list was stolen from Josh Berk's post where he did a roundup too.


  1. Looks like you had an awesome time!

    You need to come to a signing here in Louisville with me!!

  2. I had a blast at PAYA! It was great meeting you. I'm already looking forward to next year! :)

  3. First off - it cracks me up that you said you were shy when I was talking to you and Kristi and Steph. I didn't think you were being shy, I thought you were just super cool!

    Second - I'm with you on the toll booth thing. I spent almost $40 on tolls that day. From Pittsburgh to West Chester is over $18 each way. Course it was worth it and I'll do it again in a heartbeat...but still.

    And finally - I also love how you called out the Kristi Fame thing! She really is a superstar in the blogosphere. She's like the YA version of Cher...no last name necessary!

    I loved meeting you all and I love even more following you on your blogs and getting the chance to see the world through your eyes! You're awesome, James!

  4. Dude, I have to go through all of those tollbooths whenever I visit my mother in law. It's downright ridiculous.

    I took the "back roads" to PAYA though. It was a relaxing toll-free ride. I know this doesn't help you now! :)

  5. PAYA was so awesome! I'm so glad you came, even though you were EPICALLY LATE! lol It was actually more like me laughing at your texts and everyone wondering what the heck I was laughing at, but it was still funny.