life and times of angel

[recap] Ontario Blog Squad 2nd Annual Meetup!

(Let’s just all pretend that I didn’t lose my camera’s USB cord and that this recap is up in a super timely manner. ‘Kay? ‘Kay.)

On November 3, 2012, the seven organizers of the Ontario Blog Squad kicked off our second annual meetup! As crazy as the last few months have been for all of us, the day itself was absolutely brilliant. The Watermark Irish Pub was lovely enough to have all 76 of us for the afternoon, and it was wonderful.

Photo by Wendy @BlogOntario

One of my personal pre-event highlights was getting to see my lovely imouto-chan, Meghan of Coffee and Wizards, again! She came all the way from Windsor to: watch the new Lizzie Bennet Diaries episode (WE WAITED A WHOLE 26 HOURS JUST TO SEE DARCY TOGETHER OKAY) and talk books. (And with one video, I turned Meg into an Arashi fangirl, but that’s a whole different Pandora’s box that we can talk about.)

Photo by Wendy @BlogOntario

If there’s one thing being part of the Ontario Blog Squad has taught me, it’s that no matter where they go, book bloggers always come home with more books than they arrive with. This event was no exception, and I’d brought a small rolling suitcase in case I needed to lug a bunch of books home. It was not enough.

Here’s the thing you have to understand: the Canadian publishers are so so generous and supportive when it comes to book bloggers. I’m always grateful for what I personally get from them, but their response to this event blew my mind. Not only were there ARCs for some highly anticipated spring novels, but they were also kind enough to provide finished copies of books from our VIP author guests. And it didn’t stop there: we also had an entire table full of door prizes, swag and Frenzy magazines! (In case you can’t tell, being an Ontario blogger rocks.)

After some mad running around and last-minute checks, we started welcoming our awesome attendees! Even Meg ended up as an honourary “organizer.” Once people started arriving, they didn’t stop arriving until it was just about time to officially start the event.

Photo @BlogOntario

I know I wasn’t the only one who was starstruck because of all the lovely guests at the event. Not only did we have the fabulous Shannon and Vikki from Harper Collins Canada, but Dan from Raincoast Books stopped by as well! Lindsey of Random House Canada is pretty much a staple of OBS events and we love seeing her, plus she brought along Pamela (also from RHC). Michelle of Simon & Schuster came for the afternoon with VIP author Elizabeth Miles in tow all the way from the U.S., and we were just as delighted to see Amy from Penguin Canada and Melanie from HBG Canada!

Grace O’Connell, Brian Francis and Shannon from HCC

Jen W introduced our wonderful VIP authors, and the excitement in the room jumped with every name:

  • Lesley Livingston – Starling/Once Every Never (Harper/Penguin)
  • Allison Baggio – Girl in Shades (ECW Press)
  • Brian Francis – Natural Order (Random House)
  • Grace O’Connell – Magnified World (Random House)
  • Susin Nielsen – Dear George Clooney (Random House)
  • Maureen McGowan – Deviants (Marshall Cavendish Children’s Books)
  • Joanne Levy – Small Medium at Large (Bloomsbury/Penguin)
  • Elizabeth Miles – Fury/Envy (Simon & Schuster)
  • Cinda Williams Chima – The Heir Chronicles/Seven Realms (Hachette)

After the introductions, we got down to the most important part of the event–hanging out with everyone! As I’d been running around making sure everyone had their name tags, I relaxed with some super good friends of mine: Meg, Christa of Hooked on Books and Sara of Geek Girl’s Book Blog. Brenna of Esther’s Ever After and Andrea of Andrea’s Good Reads snuck over to our table a few times during the afternoon as well. I always have a fabulous time hanging out with these ladies, even though we were all in a daze from the massive crowd and awesome books. Lindsey of RHC fangirled with us over Justin Bieber and One Direction, which if you didn’t already know, is a big part of why we’re friends.

After everyone got to eat, we started a trivia game prepared by Wendy and Christa. I really enjoyed seeing people cheer as they got the right answers, especially since some of the questions were challenging. And even if they didn’t win anything during trivia, the massive amount of door prizes we raffled off ensured that most attendees, if not everyone, walked away with something shiny. It was basically an afternoon of warm fuzzy feelings for all of these awesome bookish people.

Photo by Tiff @YAReads

Wendy and Michele joke around as they raffle off prizes

Bloggers relax during the raffle

As long as the wait was for the event to arrive, it ended all too soon. Everyone scrambled to get photos with their new friends and the amazing authors who hung out with us the whole afternoon.

Katie and Lindsey, aka my One Direction buddies!

With Elizabeth Miles!

With Lesley Livingston!

With Terri, who I don’t see often enough!

Before the mass exodus, Lesley Livingston closed the event, thanking everyone who came on behalf of all the authors. Of course, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who came. This event would not have been even half as fun without all of you, and we’re all so grateful for your support and excitement.

Thank you to the publishers, who never fail to stun us with their generosity and support: Raincoast Books, Thomas Allen & Son Ltd., Random House Canada, Simon & Schuster Canada, HarperCollins Canada, Penguin Canada, Kensington Publishing, Harlequin Teen, Scholastic Canada and Hachette Book Group Canada. Thank you to our fabulous VIP author guests–you made the afternoon so exciting! Thank you to my fellow organizers for all their hard work! And THANK YOU TO EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU WHO ATTENDED. You are the reason we do this, and we hope you had a great time!

Photo by Tiff @YAReads

Jen @ Lost in the Library | Nicole @ Nicole About Town | Christa @ Hooked on Books | Wendy @ A Cupcake and a Latte | Michele @ Just a Lil’ Lost | Liz @ Midnight Bloom Reads

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