Last weekend I spent some time in Baltimore for one of my favorite bookish events of the entire year – the Baltimore Book Festival! This is my second year attending and I’ve had an AMAZING time each year. Now, granted, a lot of that has to do with the people I’m with but we wouldn’t have the chance to spend time together if it wasn’t for this event, so I give credit where credit is due. 🙂 Also, I have a few extra books I had signed by the authors at this event and I’m giving them away below. Good luck!
Do you know what I love most about the Baltimore Book Festival? It’s so freaking chill. Seriously. What other event gives you the opportunity to not only listen to your favorite authors speak but also interact with them one-to-one (without other readers breathing down your neck)? None of them. I’ll admit, I didn’t spend a lot of time this year or last listening to the panels, but it’s not because they weren’t amazing. It was just because I value getting a chance to spend time with my author, publicist and blogger friends more. This year I only listened to one full panel and part of two others, but what I heard was fantastic. I spend most of my time at the Maryland Romance Writers Stage and that’s where my focus will be for this post, but believe me when I say there’s something for everyone at this event.
As much as I wish I could’ve spent the entire weekend in Baltimore and been at the Inner Harbor Friday, Saturday and Sunday, that just wasn’t in the cards so I packed up my car with ALLLLLLLL THE BOOKS early Saturday and headed up to Baltimore to see everyone. I was so excited even the shitty traffic between DC and Baltimore didn’t get me down.
The first panel I attended – and the only one I actually paid attention to the whole time – was New Adult: Hot New Genre, Hotter Heroes featuring Jay Crownover, Toni Decker, Jen McLaughlin/Diane Alberts, Megan Erickson, Jamie Shaw, Tessa Bailey and Jennifer L. Armentrout. I loved this panel. I mean, not only do I love the authors, but I LOVED the direction the panel took. It started out as talking about the heroes but got a little derailed (and I was THRILLED about it) by discussions of slut-shaming and how ridiculously hard readers can be on women in books. Both of those are things I feel incredibly passionate about and have talked at length with authors and other bloggers, so I loved hearing most of what the authors had to say about it.
Not long after the conclusion of this panel – and after I got allllllllll the books signed – I went to lunch with Tessa Bailey, Jillian (of Read-Love-Blog) and Katie, a publicist from Entangled Brazen. We hit up TIR NA NÓG in the Inner Harbor. We also started the meal off with an Irish Car Bomb (my first!) and had a great time talking about books and hot men and all that good stuff. Jay Crownover, Diane Alberts, J. Daniels and Laurie (of Literary Gossip) were a couple tables over and once our meals were done and the place cleared out, we joined them for more drinks and more chatting. (And just a little bit of WVU football on the TV for yours truly.)
We headed back to the tent for Tessa’s panel, The Road To Stardom: Hitting The New York Times Bestseller List, which was honestly more geared towards authors than readers, but it was still an interesting listen. Plus, afterwards I got to say hi to Rachel Harris again and I just adore her. I had to pick up a few of her contemporary romances to add to my shelves.
I also FINALLY got to meet Christine Manzari! She wasn’t on a panel, but there as an attendee and I SO ENJOYED getting to chat with her for a good, long time. You know, she wrote one of my favorite books of 2015 so far. (*cough* Hooked *cough*) We talk quite a bit online, so meeting her face-to-face was definitely a high point of the day!
The next panel, Tackling Taboos In Steamy And Erotic Romance, was fantastic. (I mean, I do love my steamy romance.) Tessa, Robin Covington, Stephanie Draven, Laura Kaye, Kelly Maher and Carrie Ann Ryan were hilarious. The best part, hands down, was when Tessa and Robin noticed a SUPER hot, built guy walking past and Jillian followed him and brought him back to the tent so they could talk to him. I laughed until I nearly cried.
Shortly after that panel concluded and I said my goodbyes, I headed out for dinner with Jen Armentrout, Jay, Megan, Diane and some blogger friends. We met up with Steph (of No BS Book Reviews), Kelly (of Belle of the Literati), Stacey and Marj (I’m not sure which blogs either of them are with!) at Kona Grill and ate all the yummy deliciousness. (Yes, the 21 Day Fix was put on hold for this
meal. Day.) Dinner was good. The company was better. We talked books and men – as you do – and all kinds of other things. There were rumors of a game of Cards Against Humanity post-dinner, but I ended up leaving to drive back to DC so I can neither confirm nor deny.
So, yeah… pretty much one of the best bookish days ever. Anytime I find myself surrounded by authors I love, day-drinking and watching my Mountaineers on the TV, I’m gonna think I’m in nirvana. If you live near Baltimore, or are even willing to drive a couple hours for a WONDERFUL bookish event, I can’t recommend this one highly enough. The authors are so accessible. It really is one of my favorite events of the year. I’m already anxious for next year’s.
No wrap-up post is complete without a roundup of all the pretties I got signed. Most of these came straight from my shelves, but I did pick up a couple on-site because … well, I wanted to. I had a MASSIVE stack for Jen to sign because I didn’t have hours to kill in her line at ApollyCon, but the stacks for other authors were much more reasonable. Except Jay’s because of those GORGEOUS UK Marked Men covers. *swoon*
*sigh* So many pretty books. Such a wonderful bookish day.
And now that you’ve made it this far… how about a giveaway? This one is US only and will end on November 1. You can find the rest of my giveaway policies on the Rafflecopter and on my giveaway policy page. Good luck!