Pretty Is As Pretty Does

Victoria Schwab and Me
I heard that all the time growing up - especially on days I contemplated my knobby knees and bespectacled eyeballs with self-loathing and disdain. It was about looking pretty back then.

These days I'm happy when I remember to brush my teeth. Pretty and all the things I attribute to it have a whole lot less to do with hair color or fashion, and a whole lot more to do with the state of someone's heart. A pretty heart is easy to spot. I encountered a few over this past weekend at the Decatur Book Festival.
Me and Saundra Mitchell
As a writer, and a relative newbie, I was a little anxious about going to Decatur. How would I draw the line between fangirl and professional? What would I say when I met all those authors? What if I squealed, or worse, peed in my pants, when I saw Cassie Clare? What if I introduced myself to Saundra Mitchell and promptly belched? What if, when I finally met Rachel Hawkins, she deemed me completely UN-amazeballs and turned on her heel, leaving me to cry into my five-dollar, street-vendor Yuengling?

Things like this have happened to me before people.

And then, I met them. And the majority of them were perfectly lovely. 

I was telling her she smelled
"really nice"!
Not just to me, but to everyone at the festival. Other authors, publishing people, book bloggers and fans. I wasn't uncomfortable at all. I felt like part of the community, and generally happy to be there. It seemed like everyone else did as well. And I learned a little something about kindness.

I think it hit me when I watched Cassie Clare handle a signing line longer than the state of Georgia with grace and humor. Or maybe when Kirsten Miller told us at breakfast how she sold her first book, and the email she wrote to Neil Gaiman to request a blurb. Or it could've been that sweet hug I got from Carrie Ryan, or when I listened to Cinda Williams Chima calmly discuss Ohio at dinner, like I was her neighbor or something. (I was not calm. I was belting back sangria.)

Then there was Christina Gonzalez, who agreed in about one second flat to help me finesse any scenes in my books that involve Cuban culture. And of course, the AMAZEBALLS Rachel Hawkins, Michelle Hodkin and my traveling buddy Victoria Schwab. Basically, all of them were NICE. And KIND.

It makes a difference.

Consider this. If I like a book, I'll suggest it. If I like a book and the author is kind to others, either in person or online? I'll hand sell it. After this weekend, I have quite a few books to put into reader's hands.

In addition to many wonderful writers, I was finally able to put a face with the name of so many Twitter/online friends. Vania Stoyanova, Shelli Johannes-Wells, Lori at Pure Imagination, @WritingLeigh, Krista Ashe, Regan Leigh, and I know I'm forgetting people. They were lovely, and I look forward to watching great things happen for all of them. I'm still going on the energy I got from laughing and talking with them.

So, to sum it up, my weekend in Decatur brought me to this conclusion:

If pretty is as pretty does, everyone involved with the Young Adult book community is drop-freaking-dead-gorgeous. On the inside, where it counts.


Rachel Hawkins, Myra McEntire, Victoria Schwab


  1. All those people rock. I've never "met them," per se, but if they're anything at all like they seem on Twitter, than they rock pretty hard. Glad you had fun! :D

    (word verification? Nomfail. Evidently it failed at nomming.)

  2. Aw, I enjoyed meeting you, too. :) It was a great time! (Especially for my first festival EVER. ;))

  3. What an awesome post! Sounds like a great time. Wish it was closer to me. Meeting Myra's on my bucket list. ;)

  4. Dude, I am only sorry that I didn't get to stay longer and meet moar peepz with you!!!!!

  5. That's a nice sentiment and all about beauty being whatever you said, but I'll still take the girl with the nice pair of legs. And then pray she's got a great personality too.

  6. What a great weekend for you! I wish I could've been there, but had I been, I would have been just as nervous and excited to meet you as the others :D

  7. I'm totally going to just insert Sophie and I some where in one of your pictures. That way we can say we finally had our girl's weekend! LOL

    I love the pictures and I so wish I could have made it!

  8. Nice post. Glad you had a good time. You should try coming to BEA in NYC sometime. Authors and ARCS galore. I'm total fan-girl there, inside and out.

  9. I love this post! This is exactly how I feel. I was very nervous about meeting and having breakfast with all the amazing people, but everyone was so kind! It was amazing! I can't wait to do it again next year!

  10. I, too, have found this to be so true! YAY!

  11. YOU were beautiful and wonderful! I can't tell you how much it meant to me that you made me feel welcome. I hope to see you again soon! (Like, on your OWN panel of AWESOME someday!) xoxo

  12. You speak so many Trufax. So, so many gorgeous people at the DBF, inisde and out! Love you! And SHAVED MEAT. (No. Never, ever letting it go.)

  13. You guys look adorable!!! Especially you and Saundra!! And OHMGOSH, the wine glass photo!!! LOL!!! Love it! << See I'm all about exclamation points, so deep is the love.

  14. The coolest part is that sometimes writing feels SO LONELY and ISOLATED - it's nice to come up for air. When you add tremendous people (and shaved meat) it makes those lonely days worthwhile.


    Oh no, Rachel. I'm not letting go either.

  15. I know this comment is filled of stalkery-weirdness, but I'm going to say it...I saw you at the Decatur book fest and I didn't know who you were at the time, but saw mundie moms retweeting all your tweets so I got curious & looked you up!I was only able to come up from SC to see Cassandra but I had noticed a bunch of ladies taking pics behind Cassie while she was signing annnnd that's where I connected the two. Enjoying your blog & can't wait to read your book. :) I hope this didn't scare you. :\

  16. Oh Annie! I love it! No, no stalkery-weirdness at all, just deep, deep gratitude that *I* didn't scare *YOU*.


  17. Great post! The book festival sounds like it was great. I'm jealous! (And I agree about "pretty is as pretty does.")

  18. You are too stinking cute! I'm glad you had a great time. You DO have a beautiful heart! (alright, that sounds creepy but I mean that you are such a genuienly sweet person.)

  19. Love the post! I was there, too, and I had a freaking blast. So many awesome authors! I stumbled into Little Shop of Stories (the little children's bookstore right there) on Sunday afternoon and they had whole tables of signed books and it was all I could do not to walk away with a copy of everything.


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