VoyagerCon 2019: Definitely no YA romances to be found here

I went to VoyagerCon last night at Waterstones Piccadilly. When the event was announced I’d just been on an adult fantasy buying binge so I had books by 3 of the 6 authors to get signed. I will tell you right now though after meeting and listening to S. A. Chakraborty I’m regretting not buying and bringing her books. I met up with Steph, Sammy, Emily, Bethany and Daphne. We sat right up at the front which screwed us later when they started signing from the back.

My favourite panel was definitely Myths and Legends with R. F. Kuang and S. A. Chakraborty who were hilarious and had such interesting insights. When talking about writing different cultures Rebecca said she struggled to write white people in her book which is an interesting reversal of the norm. She also discussed writing about cultures she is a part of and said that while her book represents China as she experienced it not everyone agreed. In this instance she said she didn’t like this kind of gatekeeping as just because her experience doesn’t exactly reflect other Chinese people’s doesn’t mean it’s wrong. I could not agree more with this.

The next panel was with Anna Stephens and Anna Smith Spark who discussed Bad Ass Women. I loved Anna Smith Spark’s viewpoint on women not needing to be violent and warriors to be badass women. Her little anecdote about how the first page of her goodreads reviews for “A court of Broken Knives” is filled with pissed off readers who thought it was a YA romance had the room creasing. She guessed this happen because she’s a woman and her book has Court in the title. Anna Smith Spark also talked about how she got into writing and was open about the fact she has Aspergers which I loved. I have experience with Aspergers in my own family so I’m always in awe when I see someone with Aspergers doing public speaking and basically killing it.

The last panel was with Den Patrick and Patrick Newman who played a DND type game with the room. They handed round a sword to audience members who got to make a choice on how they would deal with various monsters and situations the authors described. All the monsters were also from the books of the authors at the con which I thought was a nice touch. This was so much fun and had some hilarious choices like selling Anna Stephens soul and looking a man up and down and saying “I’ve seen bigger and better”.

After the panels there was the signing. I brought 2 books for R. F. Kuang, 3 for Anna Smith Spark and 2 for Den Patrick. My first signing was with Anna Amith Spark. We got chatting about Aspergers and she recommended a book series to me with an Aspergers character who just is and it’s not about his struggles or anything. Which we both agreed is the best rep. I also said the boiling blood of a dragon killing someone was a nice touch and not one I had considered before. She was lovely and wrote messages in all three of my books.

I then went to Den Patrick and chatted about his game and how it reminded me of DnD. He told me to tweet him my favourite character when I’ve read the books.

Lastly I went to R. F. Kuang. I said I loved what she said about Altan being abusive and trash in her panel. AGREEE. In her panel she also said she’s a sucker for teacher pupil relationships and I said I’m the same. I love Rin and Jiang’s relationship and she wrote a little spoiler in one of my books for me saying “Jiang will be back”. I then gave her my Poppy War inspired metalmark from my shop and she loved it and said she never gets swag. We then took a photo together which honestly I hope never surfaces because I can’t imagine I look good with my shiny nose and been up since 5am dead eyes. It was so nice though another girl in the signing for Shannon next to me said she loved my metalmarks and I was honestly like is this real life?

So as usual I had an awesome time with Steph, Sammy, Emily and Bethany.

YALC 2019 Day two: Looked like the Slytherins had a party last night

Saturday at YALC

I got to YALC at 8:30am laden down with my two illustrated editions of Harry Potter and Vicious by V.E Schwab. They weren’t making people queue in the rain this time so we all waited in the lobby. A girl came up to me I didn’t know who it turned out I knew from Instagram which was nice. Honestly everyone should be forced to wear a name badge with their usernames because I don’t know who anyone is.

The stampede up to the YALC floor wasn’t too bad but people were queuing for the Infinity Son drop and running and blocking the lifts. It was so bad the publisher was banned from doing it again and instead had to raffle the last 100 on the Sunday. There was also a huge queue to buy books from Hodder to get an ARC. I thought stupidly that people were only being given one ARC for buying two books. But no you could actually buy 4 books and get 2 or 6 and get given 3. Which I think is a bit greedy and doesn’t really give everyone an opportunity to get one.

I ended up seeing Tube Girl again and told her what happened on the tube. We had a good laugh and she said she probably looked like a stalker. I didn’t get her name which is annoying but I did see her around a lot that day.

Early in the morning I went to go get a virtual queue ticket cos I figured the Schwab queue would be crazy. The queue for the VQ tickets was super long and ironic. My friends and I ended up waiting an hour and going back when nobody was there. I got tickets for Jim Kay, V.E Schwab and Zen Cho.

It was funny as before I went to YALC I really wanted to buy Zen Cho’s book but I didn’t have the first one in hardback and I like my editions to match. I was telling Emily who found some on eBay so we both ended up buying Sorcerer to the Crown and The True Queen and getting The True Queen signed together.

Me and Emily are definitely a bad influence on each other as we also ended up spending £20 on prints with Steph later on from Diana Dworak’s stand. I got myself an amazing Manon Blackbeak print and Mia from Nevernight print which I couldn’t resist tweeting to Jay Kristoff in case he was missing from his wall (he wasn’t). After that I went off to get my book signed by V.E Schwab. This is when I witnessed some pretty poor behaviour by an event organiser/volunteer.

A girl in front of me was trying to get in the queue but she didn’t have a virtual queue ticket. The guy told her you can’t queue without one and she should’ve got it in the morning. But Schwab started signing at 11am so it’s not unreasonable this girl hasn’t arrived at YALC before then. She was kicked out of the queue and didn’t get her book signed as far as I’m aware. It was never clear that a virtual queue ticket was mandatory and I only went and got one that morning because I knew she was a hugely popular author.

It wouldn’t be YALC if you didn’t spot some famous people (besides the authors of course). Throughout the weekend I saw Jason Momoa walk by alot and Alfie Allen with his dog who definitely chuckled when Emily yelled and pointed “Look it’s Alfie Allen’s dog”. Later one in the day I went down to Comic Con with Sammy to get her book signed by Tom Felton and we met Vicky from whatvickyread while we were down there.  Sammy’s friend Abby and I weren’t meant to stay in the queue right up to the signing desk but nobody stopped us so we kind of met Tom Felton too and I tried to sneak a picture which is DEFINITELY not allowed. I have to say Tom Felton didn’t look his best (hungover for sure) and at one point awkwardly stopped to pick a new song before signing Sammy’s book.

Back at YALC Sammy and I were trying to get her friend Abby a copy of Into the Crooked Place but by this time people had clocked onto the fact bats were being hidden and it was mayhem. As soon as one of the staff left to hide them they were followed and the bat was grabbed as they put it down. Luckily Abby did manage to grab one later when more were hidden again

My final signing of the day was Jim Kay who was LOVELY and very tired as apparently he was moving house. His table was right on the end of the green room where the door was so a fair few famous actors kept walking behind him and he joked he was missing it and I laughed because Zachary Quinto was talking to someone about 2 metres away.

I popped down to Comic Con again after that to have a look around and visited the Cake in a Jar stand where I bought Peel the Force their banoffee flavoured one.

Sammy, Emily, Abby and I decided to go to WestFields for dinner and afterwards I decided I wasn’t going to attend YALC for the Sunday as I’d done and seen everything I wanted to. I was so exhausted that night I fell asleep and woke up at 2am with no idea what happened.

Compared to last year YALC has definitely improved. Publishers and book boxes have definitely upped their game on what they have to offer and I felt like everyone had a fair shot. I think having virtual queues for everything was a great idea IF everyone had known about it and I preferred the way the signing area was set up compared to last year when queues were cut in half by stands.

I am actually thinking of exhibiting myself so maybe you will see my stand full of my metalmarks next year!

YALC 2019 Day One: It’s not YALC without a Jason Momoa sighting.

First off my journey to YALC 2019 started with me deciding not to even go. I caught a train on the Thursday night and it was cut short and was only taking me to Doncaster. I was then told I could travel to Sheffield and then St Pancras but my sister sent me a screenshot that they were all cancelled.

Cue meltdown and me getting off the train halfway to Doncaster and waiting on a platform for half an hour for my boyfriend to pick me up. My boyfriend and hero offered to drive me down to London himself but by the time he got to me and down to London and back it would’ve been 2am. He had work at 8am.

So he took me to Pizza Hut and we planned a cute weekend and I accepted not going.

Until the next morning when I saw the trains were running normally. The biggest reasons I didn’t want to travel on the Friday was getting stuck at some random station all day and having my suitcase on me all day. I decided missing out because of a suitcase was childish. I dived out of bed, got dressed and woke my boyfriend up to tell him I was going.

We raced to the bus stop and missed the bus to the train station, but instead of accepting all the signs from the universe I shouldn’t be at YALC this weekend my boyfriend drove me to nearest train station. On the train down I noticed there was already some controversy brewing at YALC. Everyone was forced to queue in the rain and they were let in one by one. Meaning some people got to all the freebies while others were still stuck on the queue #drama.

I finally got to YALC at 12 and I met up with my bookstagram besties Emily and Sammy. Sammy had bought me The Dragon Republic and the Priory of the Orange Tree print that Illumicrate were selling because we didn’t think I was going to make it. I thought I would need to pay her back but she let me keep them as a birthday present! I then went round and entered all the raffles with Sammy for Darkdawn, Kingdom of Souls (not for me I was giving it to a friend as I was lucky enough to get one already) and the stack Illumicrate was giving away everyday.

I ended up buying two pins from Fable and Black at the Illumicrate stand – one for Vicious and another for Priory of the Orange Tree. Illumicrate were doing a lucky dip with every purchase as well as entry into two raffles one for the day and one for the weekend where they would email the winner. The girl before me in the lucky dip pulled out a white disk and got to choose from two sets of coasters and a set of cards from the ACOTAR special edition box. I commented to Sammy that I would 100% choose the cards and I remember the girl in front picked the coasters. Then it came to my turn with the lucky dip and what do you know I pulled out another white disk and got to choose the cards as my prize.

I also visited one stand (forgot the publisher) who were giving away an ARC with every purchase and I just missed out on Midnight Beauties (Steph who was with us picked up the last one) and I got Wild Savage Stars instead.

Later on in the day Sammy and I happened to walk by the Hot key Books stand just as one of the women was telling a girl that to get an ARC you had to find a “rubber something”. I told Sammy this then as we walked forward Sammy spotted rubber bats on the big tables in the events area. She grabbed one and then pointed one out to me behind a sign. We had found these bats before they had even announced on twitter that you had to find them to get an arc. So at 2 we went back and claimed our copies of Into the Crooked Place by Alexandra Christo.

I didn’t have any books for authors that were signing that day but I did stand with Sammy in one queue and got talking to this girl behind us. Turned out she was staying in Loughton and I was staying in South Woodford (On the same tube line) and she said “oh well maybe I’ll see you on the train back” and at the time I laughed but I knew I was leaving early to see my friend so I definitely wouldn’t see her.

One thing you should know about YALC as it’s super common to see celebrities from the London Film and Comic Con because the Green Room they all chill in is on our floor. So instances of Jason Momoa walking by saying Good Morning are not uncommon which is pretty cool. I did most of my celeb sighting on Saturday however when we discovered the entrance to the Green Room. More on that in my next blog post.

I left YALC at 3pm to have dinner with my friend at Westfield in Shepherds Bush. When we got the tube about 4 hours later I remembered what the girl had said and I told my friend. Less than ten seconds later THAT same girl from YALC got onto the tube and sat down next to my friend. I don’t think I’m telling this story right but it was hilarious at the time and a pretty freaky coincidence.