When I was little, my father always took me to the bookstore. To me, going to a bookstore was like being at Disneyland. In the same way I was overly excited to attend Book Expo America held at Javits Center in New York City. I have been very excited about this for quite sometime as I learned that we would be privileged with visits from stars, such as Neil Patrick Harris. We all know that whichever events he hosted, it was guarantee a legen… Wait for it–dary! Yes, legendary! As a fan of this hit TV series, How I Met Your Mother, how could I pass up this opportunity? So many other famous authors would be there, and plenty of books are waiting to be discovered. Being a children’s book writer myself, this is almost like a golden ticket for me!

I had a premium ticket for the Author Breakfast, located at Special Events Hall. I arrived around 7:20 AM since the event started at 8. I must encourage you to buy yourself a premium seat with breakfast and special entrance, because people start to line up quickly. Depending on your budget, there are three options: regular seating without breakfast is the cheapest, but you will be in the last group. A better option is to get a round table and breakfast, that’s a little upgrade from the regular ticket. You can have breakfast, and also have a closer view to the stage. So, I picked the best option, which is premium seat, located close to the front row.

Once the ceremony started, the moderator paid tribute to Dr. Maya Angelou, the memorable American author and poet who, sadly, passed away recently.

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Later Neil Patrick Harris was introduced and he talked about his debut “Choose Your Own Autobiography,” which readers get to be Neil Patrick Harris and choose their destiny. “You can be an actor, like me, and host The Tonys. You’ll become friends with Sir Elton John. It’s, like, amazing!” He went on with many more examples. Neil made the entire audience laugh and giggle. I bet everyone’s day had been made. Anjelica Huston was up next and talked about her second book, A Story Lately Told Coming of Age in Ireland, London, and New York. She talked about growing up as a teenager Ireland, moving to New York, and her early career in acting, and being in the shadows of both her famous father and Jack Nicholson (ex-famous boyfriend.) She went on about how she had a wake-up call after an accident; it made her grateful and turned her life around. She wrapped up with a beautiful speech that she now enjoys a simpler life, happy gardening, and even just a glass of wine.

Lisa Scottoline, a New York Times Bestselling author is releasing her new book Betrayed A Rosato & Associates Novel. She gave a wonderful speech in a most humorous tone while telling her audience a hilarious introduction to her life. Her new book, Betrayed, is about the unstoppable team returns with a lawyer, Judy Carrier, taking the lead in a case more dangerous than she could have imagined.

Lisa tipped her audience, current or future writers that it matters that the story you write is true. You’re standing up in front of the jury and trying to convince them with truth. Truth has a ring and it connects you to your readers.

“If you write something that really, really true, you will find something in your life connects to the book and book becomes an intimate thing. You feel their souls and you connect that way.”Lisa Scottoline

The Author Breakfast ended with Tavis Smiley talking about his new book, which is coming in September 2014, Death of A King: The Real Story of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Final Year. He stressed on things America had to deal with during Dr. King’s time then and the same we still have to deal with now, which are racism, poverty, and militant activism. His speech at Author Breakfast was moving and encouraging. I left special Hall feeling very pumped and encouraged, more than ready to work on my second book. It was a very great experience being in same room as these well established and creative writers.
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After Author Breakfast, I went to check out Book Expo Exhibit, and stumbled on the line to meet, Jane Yolen, author of “The Plague of Unicorns,” at Harper Collins Christian Publishing booth. While waiting for my turn, I started to notice someone who looked so familiar and turned out that person was an actress, Barbara Rosenblat, who plays the character Miss Rosa, an inmate with cancer, in Orange is the New Black. Her one-liner, “No one fucks with cancer,” is quite memorable. It turns out she is a friends of the author, so I watched them chat and asked if she was in OITNB, which she told me Lin Tucci was her bunkmate. It was quite a surprise because I didn’t expect to see someone from my favorite show to be walking around BEA. Later I met Lisa Scottoline, the author of “Betrayed,” whom I just saw at Author Breakfast panel. We talked about the panel and I told her I was so moved by her speech. She thanked, hugged me and guessed that I was originally from Thailand, which was correct. I asked her how’d she even know and her answer was “I read a lot.” and winked at me. I stopped by so many booths and got so many free books. I would rather go back to reading from actual books again, instead of reading from my phone.

All in all, I consider my first day at BEA a success. I encouraged everyone who plans to come next year to map out where you want to visit to make the most of the event. I highly recommend the premium, if it falls under your budget, since you get a much better view and don’t have to wait in line, which people start to form early. Until next year!

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