It was during BEA 2011 when I decided I simply had to go and experience it for myself. When I signed up to attend this year, I can’t say that I didn’t hope to meet a particular narrator* in person (although I never worked up the courage to let him know directly that I would be in New York City at the same time he was). Even with that hope in my heart, the audiobookish events that took place in during BEA 2012 were beyond my wildest dreams.
I’ve been in close contact with narrator Xe Sands since what seems like forever. We decided to room together while we were in town and she was the first person I met in the city. Despite having never met in person, seeing her outside of Penn Station was like seeing an old friend again. My only regret – well other than bashing her head in with the door of the cab – was not getting a picture of just the two of us. Next time. Yes, there will be a next time.
After dropping my bags off at our hotel, Xe and I made our way to the APA Mixer. As much as I was paying attention to where she was leading me, Xe could have been taking me to my ultimate doom. I was all a tingle knowing that I was about to enter the mysterious world of audiobook narrators. My nerves were set to ease the moment I saw Anne Flosnik and we both erupted into squeals. That woman is delightful. I also met David Drummond, the narrator of Follow the River, an audiobook I’d just listened to for Armchair Audies. This man and I have been through more of our fair share of scalpings together, so it was nice to meet in person.
After we’d finished talking, Xe led me to another room where I was introduced to Johnny Heller, Jo Anna Perrin, and, well, that particular narrator.* Last year I wrote a couple of audiobook reviews for Johnny and Jo Anna’s website Abbreviated Audio. It was a pleasure to meet them in person. I got to meet Robin Whitten, the founder and editor of AudioFile Magazine (which you must subscribe to if you love audiobooks!), Grover Gardner, and several new-to-me narrators. I felt like I was in audiobook heaven. The wonderful evening was capped off by dinner with Xe and Anne.
The next day I attended the BEA Bloggers Conference. It was across the hall from the APA Conference and it was all I could do not wander off in that direction. I held myself back because I knew I’d meet Jill and Tara from AudioGo at my conference and because Karen White had invited me to the Tantor Audio party that evening. I was looking forward to meeting her and Jennifer from Tantor as well. The party was held at The Time hotel. If I ever go back to NYC, I will take a picture of the front door because that was the door Neil Gaiman held for us as we arrived! [Insert many loud squeals from Xe and me here]
The party was great. I met Karen White, who is just as lovely in person as she is online. Jennifer, my Tantor contact, was busy, but I enjoyed getting to meet her as well. There was also met Susan Ericksen, Amy Rubinate, Robert Fass, Stephen Crowley, Tavia Gilbert, and Dion Graham. Robert Fass has actually been to Roanoke and spoke highly of it. Stephen Crowley was charming and I couldn’t remember the name of the audiobook he narrated. Dion Graham was nothing less than a doll.
The narrator who shall not be named* was there as well as Johnny Heller and Jo Anna Perrin. I mention this because Mr. Heller was less than impressed with my Neil Gaiman squee-fest. So much so that he took to mocking me and made me cry. Yes, he was an evil man to make me laugh so hard that tears were streaming down my face. Thanks for ruining my moment with Neil, Heller! LOL!
After attending the equally wonderful Harper party, where I got to meet Erica Barmash in person (love her!), so many of my favorite book bloggers and friends, the authors behind Charles Todd, and got yet another peck on the cheek from Simon Van Booy (what a night!), I met Xe, Johnny, Jo Anna, Robin Ray Eller, Simon Prebble, and that other narrator* for dinner. I was exhausted, but happy as can be. Having Simon Prebble pitch his audiobooks to you is quite fun. I only wish I had remembered him from As The World Turns. Ah well.
Now we’re moving on to pictures. On Tuesday, Jenn from Jenn’s Bookshelves, Jenn from The Picky Girl, and I went to lunch with several lovely ladies of audiobooks. To keep us separated, we went as The Three Shades of Jenn:
We ate lunch with Xe, Karen White, Hillary Huber, Tavia Gilbert, and Kathe Mazur. It was such a nice break from the Javits Center for me (I was a bit overwhelmed to say the least). It was so nice to get to know everyone a little better. The conversation was good, even if I did inadvertently embarrass the heck out of myself. What can I say? It’s a family trait and we all got a good laugh out of it. The ladies were all preparing for the Audies that night. It was fun to be a part of that day. Jenn (Picky Girl) took a picture of the table before Tavia and Kathe arrived, but I think you can see that we had a good time.
Wednesday brought my BEA experience to a close and it ended with some wonderful audiobook goodness. First, I touched a freaking Audie Award at the Hachette Audio booth (my favorite audiobookish place on the BEA floor). Then, I attended the APA Audiobook Tea and I loved every minute of it. I got there before it began and got to talk to Tracy and Tara from AudioGo. I love them. They make me happy. The program consisted of a panel of three authors moderated by an audiobook narrator. This year, the moderator was the wonderful Dion Graham (who, by the way, is everyone’s boyfriend – even Daniel Handler’s). The authors were Lee Child, Debbie Macomber, and Daniel Handler. The speeches were interesting and, in Daniel Handler’s case, hilarious. He had experience narrating his own audiobooks and he used it to demonstrate why he should never narrate an audiobook. I laughed until I cried. After the authors finished speaking, the floor was opened to questions. Of course, one attendee asked Lee Child about his opinion of the casting of his movie. Child answered that he was okay with the choice, but I loved how Dion turned the discussion back to audiobooks. He reminded the woman that regardless of how she felt about the movie, the Jack Reacher she knew and loved would always be there through Dick Hill’s narration. Bravo, Dion!
After the event, Tracy and Tara helped me get a nice picture with Dion. For the record, he’s my boyfriend, too!
Audiobook Lover in the City Giveaway
BEA Week was a whirlwind week of audiobook delights. I kept thanking my lucky stars. I’d like to pass a little of that good fortune on to you. I have four audiobooks to giveaway (one gently listened to and the others new) that were narrated by one of the wonderful people I met while I was in New York. To enter my Audiobook Lover in the City giveaway, simply comment on this post by 11:59pm on Sunday, July 1st. I’ll announce the winner on Monday, July 2nd.
The winner receives audiobook copies of:
Angelina’s Bachelors narrated by Xe Sands
Yossarian Slept Here narrated by Karen White
Say Her Name narrated by Robert Fass
Rampart Street narrated by Dion Graham
* More on that specific narrator later this week…