This past weekend, I—along with 70 other Ontario book bloggers—made my way to the Watermark Pub in Toronto for the 3rd Annual Ontario Blog Squad Meet Up. What is this meet up, you ask? Each year the Ontario Blog Squad organizes a lunch event open to all Ontario book bloggers. It’s a chance to meet authors and industry professionals in a casual setting, swap books and recommendations and win prizes. But most of all, it’s a chance to meet both new and familiar bloggers face-to-face given that most of our relationships exist only virtually. As you may recall, I attended last year’s event (recap here), so I knew kind of what to expect…and this year’s event did not disappoint!
On my walk to the pub I was stopped by Terri (Read and Riot) who surmised by my book-toting-capable bag that I was a blogger and we walked the rest of the way together. When we got there the room was about half full but it filled up quickly. After signing in and getting an oh-so-helpful name tag, I found an empty seat—complete with a goodie bag of free books! Among the awesome bloggers at my table were Megan (Paperbook Princess), Vanessa (Bibliotechnicienne) and Kellie (Snarky Books). And in an instance of serendipity, I found myself sitting across the table from Teresa Toten, author of The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B, and her publicist from Random House, Pamela.
At each place setting was a sheet of book trivia questions, which I thought was an awesome improvement on last year’s event where the trivia questions were called out. Instead of struggling to hear both the questions and answers, we were encouraged to talk with the other bloggers to come up with answers. It was a great ice-breaker. Then our answers were put into a draw.
While we chatted, lunch was served and if you are ever in the area around lunch time, I highly recommend stopping by the Watermark for a bite because so far I have yet to be disappointed by the food. I had a starter salad, a delicious grilled-chicken club sandwich with fries, and…wait for it…a slice of peanut butter brownie cheesecake. Oh. My. God! Cheesecake heaven!
While we ate, I had the chance to chat with Teresa, who is a delight! She told us about school visits, her writing group and her writing in general. And she was very interested in us: what we blogged about, our reading habits, etc. And we had a great discussion of what “new adult” means and what kind of direction we hope to see from the category. Such wonderful, interesting conversation! Getting to talk with Teresa in a no-pressure, casual situation was definitely the highlight of the meet-up for me.
Between the main course and dessert, the girls from the OBS introduced themselves and thanked us all for coming. Then they drew names using our trivia answers for prizes that had been supplied by different publishers. My name was drawn and I went home with The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey on Blue-ray and DVD!
Before leaving, I met up with Christa (More Than Just Magic), Andrea (Cozy Up With A Good Read) and Sara (Geek Girl’s Book Blog) from Inaccurate Realities (in case you didn’t already know, I proofread the short stories for Issue #1). I finally got my hands on a finished copy of the first issue, “Fear,” and it looks amazing! So impressed!
All too soon, it was time to head home. On my walk back to Union I again ran into Terri, another act of fortune as I would have been wandering aimlessly around the station without her.
It was a wonderfully bookish afternoon and I can’t wait for next year’s event. Thank you , Ontario Blog Squad!