Approaching the finish line is the most exhilarating moment in any marathon*. Not because it’s over, but because that’s where you get to reflect on the journey and revel in what you’ve accomplished.
Also, it’s where people are cheering the loudest.
At the final Smart Chicks Kick It tour stop in Brampton, Ontario, we were greeted by one of the biggest crowds yet (400-500 people!). Some had waited outside the store since 8 AM, before it even opened. These Smartest-of-all-Chicks snagged front row seats and therefore spots at the front of the signing line.
The three-hour-long signing line.
Three hours! This was after readers had flown, driven, or taken the train from as far as New Brunswick and Cold Lake, Alberta (those two Chicks won special prizes for coming the farthest). We were amazed and honored by their dedication and stamina.
Not to mention their creativity! Check out this excellent handmade cami by Smart Chick Sophie, whose two friends also created complete awesome SC outfits.
Speaking of shirts, the fabulous booksellers at Chapters Brampton even made their own bright red Smart Chicks Tour tees! They gave one to each of the authors (I slept in mine last night after discovering hairspray had popped open in my bag and soaked half my clothes), and it made it easy to see their incredibly helpful and efficient selves amidst the mass of humanity on the bookstore floor.
In this photo (thanks to @BookWormGurl on Twitter for capturing it), you can see how they had to wind their way around the shelves, back and forth, like riders waiting to get on a roller coaster.
See that white light in the distance? No, it’s not heaven, it’s the end of the line (which I guess would make it more like purgatory).
The crowd was loud and rowdy—just the way we like them, and just what we needed. As you can see from these photos, those 3:30 AM wake up calls were no match for the rush of reader energy!
Left to right: Alyson Noël, Margaret Stohl making air quotes, Melissa Marr,
Jeri Smith-Ready, Melissa de la Cruz and Jennifer Lynn Barnes.
Missing is Kelley Armstrong, whom we were probably all laughing at.
Jennifer Lynn Barnes: Cute, evil, or (deadliest of all) BOTH?
Melissa de la Cruz (left) had no comment.
Melissa Marr astonishes a reader with her pen—literally.
Margie Stohl (right) sits still for two seconds in a row, and looks gorgeous doing it.
Meanwhile, Alyson Noël smiles behind her hair, plotting her upcoming Soul Seekers series.
Jeri Smith-Ready (right) overcomes her fear of balloons for the chance to sign with two of her idols, Kelley Armstrong (left) and Melissa Marr (center).
After the signing we went to the Indigo Teen Reads Awards, a teen-only party at a Toronto club called Six Degrees. They had a DJ, a dance floor, live music, and the best hors d’oeuvres ever—little Chinese food containers of macaroni and cheese (nom nom nom). As one reader described it, “Not just another book-nerd convention!”
Smart Chicks winners included Cassie Clare for Best Hottie (Jace, of course). Cassie videotaped her acceptance speech earlier in the tour, complete with a flying bra courtesy of (who else) Sarah Rees Brennan.
Crowd favorite Kelley Armstrong won Best Canadian Read for The Reckoning. Here she is with her lovely award:
It was the Smart Chicks’ last chance to hang out, with readers and each other, and we made the most of it:
Alyson Noël and Melissa de la Cruz
And what would a Smart Chicks post be without a shoe shot? Melissa de la Cruz wore these beauties to the awards show:
Whew, what a day! Now the tour is over, and the Smart Chicks are headed home—sleepy, sniffly, and absolutely ecstatic at how well the tour turned out. A reader on Twitter summed it up best: “It was the most fun ever! You guys are awesome for organizing something like that for us fans!”
And that, ultimately, is what it’s all about. The Smart Chicks tour was created for the readers. We asked them for city and bookstore suggestions, we offered posters and T-shirts they could get signed by all of us if they couldn’t buy or bring everyone’s books, we involved them in each event with games like “Marry, Shag, Cliff” and giving out prizes for answering trivia or driving many, many hours to reach us.
And when I say, “we,” I especially mean organizers Melissa Marr, Kelley Armstrong, Alyson Noël, and Jennifer Lynn Barnes. I just showed up at the end and tried not to embarrass the amazing women who offered me this chance to tour with them. I’m pretty sure I’ll wake up Monday and discover it was all a dream. (Of course, one whiff of my hairspray-sticky laundry will convince me otherwise.)
And now I leave you, not with one last goopy sentiment, but with two random quotes from the last three days.
Margie Stohl (regarding a bad cocktail): “This tastes like Old Spice. I feel like I just ate a guy in a fisherman sweater.”
Airport security guard to Melissa Marr: “Ma’am, you cannot bring a banana through the metal detector.”
*Note: I’ve never actually run in a marathon (or anywhere other than in my living room using the Wii Fit), but as an author, it’s my job to imagine how pretty much anything feels, so let’s just go with the metaphor, shall we?
- Jeri Smith Ready
It's hard to believe that the Smart Chicks Kick It Tour is over. We have followed this group of YA authors for the past month as they have sent reports back from the front lines. Melissa Marr told us about the Austin, TX stop. Alyson Noël filled us in on the events in Phoenix and Scottsdale, AZ. Melissa de la Cruz shared photos and trivia from Pasadena, CA. And author Carrie Ryan gave us an inside look at the tour's stop in Naperville, IL. For more Smart Chicks Kick It Tour coverage, be sure to check out the group's website and our fingers are crossed for a repeat performance next year! Photo credits: Vania Stoyanova, except where noted.
It's hard to believe that the Smart Chicks Kick It Tour is over. We have followed this group of YA authors for the past month as they have sent reports back from the front lines. Melissa Marr told us about the Austin, TX stop. Alyson Noël filled us in on the events in Phoenix and Scottsdale, AZ. Melissa de la Cruz shared photos and trivia from Pasadena, CA. And author Carrie Ryan gave us an inside look at the tour's stop in Naperville, IL. For more Smart Chicks Kick It Tour coverage, be sure to check out the group's website and our fingers are crossed for a repeat performance next year!
Photo credits: Vania Stoyanova, except where noted.