This past weekend Gail and I traveled to Washington D.C./Arlington, VA for ApollyCon 2018. As a first time attendees I really wasn’t sure what to expect. I mean I know I saw a lot of people posting pictures of a lot of books, but to be honest I truly had no idea what I was in for.
With ApollyCon starting on Friday we had decided to get a flight on the day before so we could get settled, hang out and meet some friends. Mother Nature wasn’t loving our plan and Boston was threatened with a lot of snow to take place Wednesday all day to Thursday early morning. My fair of the snow was not getting to D.C. since there are always flights there. I was more concerned about getting to the airport in the AM. Tuesday night we decided to get a room at the hotel by Logan and thus our adventure began.
I met Gail at the hotel carrying 19 books and all my clothes for the weekend in one small suitcase and a shoulder bag. (How I manged to pack the way I did amazing to me, but beside the point.) The room we had had a fantastic view of the Boston skyline and was really just gorgeous. After we were settled in we walked to the airport and found a place inside one of the terminals before security to have a beer and decompress the work day. When I tell you Logan was a ghost town it was a ghost town. I have never seen it like that. Anyway, after our drink we went back to the hotel and had dinner and then went to sleep unsure what the morning would bring us. Spoiler alert…we got no snow. 😀 It was snow showering when we were on the plane and the plane needed to be deiced(that was a new experience) but that was the end of our weather problems.
We landed in D.C. roughly around the time we were supposed to which was nice. We weren’t able to check in to the Hyatt right away but we did were able to leave our bags at the hotel and went a grabbed lunch and get a lay of the land. We ended up craving Thai food and found a delicious place not far from the hotel. After fueling up we went back to see if our room was ready. Luckily it was so we were able to go and get comfortable and relax before ApollyCon registration opened and our dinner reservations at The Smith with Miranda Kenneally and her husband. It had been about 2 years since I had seen Miranda, the last time I was in D.C. actually, so as soon as I knew I was going to ApollyCon we knew we were having dinner. It was really fun to catch-up and be able to hang out for a while.
After dinner everything just seemed to be timed perfectly. Suzanne Young‘s plane was landing and she would be at the hotel soon and Jen was going to meet us in the lobby so we could a) finally see each other again after 4 years and b) to pass on her cupcakes she made. (Side-note: DO NOT EAT THE CUPCAKES. You can never go back when you do and you will want them ALWAYS.) We all kind of ended up being back and available at the same time so it was one of those unplanned, perfect kind of nights. And Suzanne is just as awesome as I thought she would be and I was so happy to get to hang out and meet her finally.
Friday was the first day of ApollyCon if you had a Titan pass (we did). There were panels and then a Titan only signing. Gail and I decided to attended just one panel so we could get some sight seeing in and then head back for the signing. We went to the YA Contemporary panel and it was a lot of fun. We listened to Julie Murphy, Kami Garcia, Katie McGarry, Rachel Harris, Robin Talley and Brigid Kemmerer talk about love and romance and writing. And at the end we were given pouches from Book Beau and wooden coasters from The Bookish Box as fun swag.
When the panel was over Gail and I decided to head to the Smithsonian since I had never been. We went to the American History museum and saw some really cool stuff. I just took a sampling of photos but some of my favorites were seeing the flag that was the inspiration for the Star-Spangled Banner, Michelle Obama’s dress, a cool NBC mic, and an Apple Computer. When we finished with the museum, since it was a gorgeously sunny day, we walked the National Mall to the Lincoln Memorial before heading back to the hotel.
I’m not going to lie, the signing was a little overwhelming. There were people everywhere and wheeled carts and bags and people carrying books. The space was pretty big, but there were a lot of people in the space so in parts it was very congested on that first time. I’m not a huge picture person so I didn’t get photos with authors but I did go and say hi to Christina June and had books signed by Suzanne, Cristin Terrill, Brigid Kemmerer (the sweetest!), and Sarah J. Maas (who looks so adorable pregnant). Oh and I stopped by Katee Robert‘s table to tell her how much I loved The Last King. These authors were all on one side of the room. The other was definitely tougher to navigate. There were a lot of really popular authors in this space and a lot of people. For this particular signing area there was some chaos on this particular day because I think it was unexpected how many people would want books signed in that particular room. I think I manged to get 2 done then and got out.
After that Gail and I decided to have a low key night and went for a walk around the hotel, not really all that hungry and then came back and met Lizzy Mason in the lobby for a drink and a chat. Seriously guys, I CAN NOT WAIT TO READ HER BOOK!
Saturday morning we got up early to eat breakfast and went to Arlington National Cemetery, another place I hadn’t been. We walked around and went and paid our respects at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier (catching a ceremony while we were there) and to the burial place of President Kennedy and the enteral flame (photo is courtesy of Gail). It was a very somber place but also really beautiful and I’m happy I got to go.
After that trip we made it back to the hotel in time for the next signing which was opened to all. We were allowed into the ticketed area at 1:30 but the general signing area was opened at 12. We each had 4 books to get signed. After stopping by and saying hello to Suzanne, Christina and Robin Talley we got into line at around 1 for the ticketed author area. We were really nervous how it would go considering how crazy it was the day before with less people. I’m so happy to say that it was so organized and the volunteers and staff did an amazing job making changes from the day before. There were still lines and chaos, but that is a given at any big signing like this. They really made it easy and I didn’t feel overwhelmed at all like I did the day before. Granted it took 4 and a half hours to get 3 books signed (I wasn’t able to get Cora Carmack), but all in all it went really smoothly and I got to meet Jay Crownover, Emma Chase and Jennifer Armentrout.
When the signing was done we grabbed some pizza and got to repacking our stuff (our flight was Sunday morning) before the All Decades After Party. Naturally I went wearing a denim jacket, rolled jeans and my NKOTB tee shirt bringing myself back to the last 80s/early 90s. Really the party was a lot of fun. We drank and danced (thanks to the girl that requested The Right Stuff and said I had to dance) and just generally had a good time just being by and with other bookish nerds.
In conclusion, would I do it again? Gail and I already started to talk about how we can hopefully get Titan passes for 2019!