Armchair BEA 2013: Introduction

May 27, 2013 Uncategorized 39

armchair_bea_button I really wish I was in NYC with my fellow bloggers who are attending BEA (Book Expo America), but alas I can’t be and I’m more than happy to be a part of Armchair BEA! BEA for those who don’t know is the largest book trade fair in North America. Publishers, industry experts, and authors along with book buyers, librarians, and bloggers also attend the event. It’s a great opportunity to showcase upcoming book titles, talk trends, and for some sell and buy international rights. BEA really is the event of the year for those in publishing.

Armchair BEA coincides with BEA and those of us who cannot attend will be participating all week in various virtual events. To kickoff Armchair BEA, we have an introduction post! 🙂


Q. Please tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? How long have you been blogging? Why did you get into blogging?
Hello everyone! I’m Jessica and I’ve been blogging for a little over 10 months, but going on 6 months on my own. Although Literary, etc was established in June when my friend Arlinda suggested it, I didn’t take it seriously. A few months later, I was asked to be part of a blog that was being created and the first 2 words in their name were my suggestion. I left in early December due to scheduling conflicts and different agendas. It wasn’t an easy decision to make, but in hindsight, it was the best decision for me since we’ve gone in different directions.

Going on my own was a difficult decision because suddenly I had no network and had to start from scratch. I questioned if I wanted to continue, but I really enjoyed the friendships formed talking to others about books. I love that feeling of recommending a book and someone really enjoying it.

Q. Where in the world are you blogging from? Tell a random fact or something special about your current location. Feel free to share pictures.
I’m based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Wasn’t raised here, but did my senior year of high school in ABQ and decided to stay for university. What I can say about New Mexico? Locals often refer to her as the Land of Entrapment (A play on the state’s official nickname, “Land of Enchantment”), because you want to leave, but there aren’t enough job opportunities to expand one’s resume and hence being stuck.

Q. What are you currently reading, or what is your favorite book you have read so far in 2013?
I just finished C.J. Daugherty’s Night School and about to start on David Morrell’s Murder as a Fine Art.

My favorite reads of 2013 include: Ania Szado’s Studio Saint-Ex, Bee Ridgway’s The River of No Return, and Lauren Willig’s The Ashford Affair.

Q. Tell us one non-book-related thing that everyone reading your blog may not know about you.
It could be considered book related, but I’m going to pretend it’s not. I have a Master’s in Medieval History from the University of Glasgow (Glasgow, Scotland) and my area of research is Medieval warfare with an interest in 14th century England. My master’s dissertation was on Nicholas Upton, an English cleric who wrote a book about heraldry and the art of war. I focused on Upton with regards to ransoms and duels and also did a compare and contrast with his French contemporaries. I’d love to pursue a PhD, but the job market in the Humanities isn’t very good and at this point, I see the PhD as a personal goal rather than a necessity.

Q. If you could eat dinner with any author or character, who would it be and why?
This is a difficult question because I have several favorite authors I’d want to meet. I’m going to narrow it down to living authors. For mystery / suspense / thriller writers I’d pick Gillian Flynn, Charles Finch, Chelsea Cain, and David Morrell. All four write and approach a murder scene very differently. I think it would be fun and interesting to see how these four would interact.

For historical fiction writers, it would be Deborah Harkness, Bee Ridgway, and Eloisa James. Even though Eloisa James technically is a romance writer, I’ve included her in the list because she’s a professor along with Harkness and Ridgway. Imagine the wonderful conversation you could have with these three about writing and handling academia.


Are you participating in Armchair BEA? If so, let me know and I’d love to get to you know you!

39 Responses to “Armchair BEA 2013: Introduction”

    • Jessica

      Attending BEA in real life would be awesome, but then you have to factor in the cost of travel, etc. I’m happy for those who are attending.

      Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

  1. Michelle @ In Libris Veritas

    Oh wow, that’s such a cool major! I understand what you mean about the job market opportunities though…I was an Anthropology major. I’m thinking of going back and changing it to either English or History, I’m undecided right now though. English will help more but I’m much better with History. I hope things get better for you so you can pursue that PHD though!

    It’s great to learn more about you! 🙂
    Michelle @ In Libris Veritas recently posted…Armchair BEA Day 1 – ClassicsMy Profile

    • Jessica

      I was warned by a professor who had a cynical outlook on academia. I’ve known what the market is and keep hoping it will get better, but it doesn’t look that way besides I’m not leaning towards teaching. You have an anthropology degree? That’s cool! I was going to be an archaeologist, but I have a slight sun allergy so no go. I just got word that I got into my undergrad uni’s museum studies certificate program so I might do it (they are now stating I have to an enrolled student in order to attend). Let me know if you decide to go back for English or History!

      Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

    • Jessica

      I’m jealous of those in a PhD program, so let me be green with envy at the moment for you. 😉 Enjoy your program and take advantage of all the workshops, conferences, publishing that you can. Make those connections and you’ll have a slight lead when it comes to hiring because you never know who is on the hiring committee.

      Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

    • Jessica

      Thanks for letting me pretend! 😀 Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

  2. Livia @ Butterfly-o-Meter Books

    Oh, yeah, definitely loved The Ashford Affair myself 😀

    Wow, your masters sounds really cool! I do agree studying any further in humanities should be done just for your enjoyment, because it’s so not in demand right now. After I got my masters I had to be realistic about pursuing a PhD, and despite being entirely interested in one (and encouraged by teachers&such), I had to go with “not yet”. It’s something we’ll be able to do sometime in the future, I like to think. As things look right now, it would be an expense not an investment, sadly… 🙁

    And on that cheerful note, lol, it’s been nice to find out more about you 🙂
    Livia @ Butterfly-o-Meter Books recently posted…Armchair BEA: Introductions and Classics LoveMy Profile

    • Jessica

      I wrote to Lauren after I read The Ashford Affair and told her I cried buckets of tears in that scene with Addie outside the door while Bea tells Fredrick about the baby. Ugh, heartbroken!

      I wanted to do the PhD right after the masters because I was in the UK and it was only going to be 3 yrs vs the 6 in the US and my advisor in the UK said no, to go home and think about it. With the job situation, etc I’m glad I waited. You’re right about it being an expense right now especially since funding is only going to a select few. One reason I went abroad for the master’s was because it was going to be cheaper vs the 3 years out of state.

      Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

    • Jessica

      I get the warm fuzzies that they liked something and we can discuss it. I mean even if they dislike it, conversation is good.

      Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

    • Jessica

      If you do end up checking out The River of Return, let me know. I’d love to get your thoughts on it!

      Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

  3. Melissa @ Harley Bear Book Blog

    Wow Medieval History sounds like a hard study, but interesting. I didn’t know you started out coblogging. I had considered it once or twice, but I am a control freak and enjoy being able to do whatever I want on my own blog lol. Plus like you said scheduling could get confusing. When I hear New Mexico I think of High School Musical. I think that movie took place there. haha. Hope you’re enjoying BEA so far. And you def need to read the Lux series!
    Melissa @ Harley Bear Book Blog recently posted…Armchair BEA 2013 IntroductionMy Profile

    • Jessica

      Co-blogging is good, if everyone is there to handle the workload equally. When I left, I had 20 reviews compared to the 2-3 that the other 6 had, so yeah there wasn’t a balance. I did a lot of the work and despite the blog being touted as a “different genres,” type of blog, it was primarily romance and erotica. In the end, I wasn’t a good fit and if I was going to continue doing most the work better put that energy somewhere else. I’m saddened they refuse to acknowledge me as a founding member and that they pretty much turned their back on me. :shrugs: I learned a few things and walked away a better person.

      hahaha High School Musical. Freddy Prince Jr and Neil Patrick Harris went to the high school my sister did.

      Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

    • Jessica

      Thank you! The primary bones of the layout come from Nose Graze’s design but the header and the color tweaks are mine.

      Ah, I love knowing what other’s are studying. It’s awesome and it’s nice to know other academics. I’m like you-if I could I’d be a professional student. haha

      Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

    • Jessica

      I was given a flowchart that lists jobs you can get with a history major. That was probably true oh 25 years ago or so, but not anymore. I did a double major as an undergrad (history / communication) so I would be prepared for not getting a history related job. Alas that hasn’t worked out.

      Ah I love Agatha Christie! I always fail to include her and her books until someone mentions her.

      Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

  4. Andi @ Estella's Revenge

    First, you have the COOLEST degree ever! And I love New Mexico, though from the sounds of it, there are the down sides. Albuquerque is beautiful and I attended the TX/Southwest Pop Culture conference there several times in grad school.
    Andi @ Estella’s Revenge recently posted…Armchair BEA: IntroductionsMy Profile

    • Jessica

      I was at kid playing with swords and armor one day at Edinburgh Castle. The only woman in a room full of men dressed as Medieval knights asking them questions and trying on things. LOL! New Mexico can be beautiful. I just wish there were more economic opportunities.

      Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

    • Jessica

      It’s funny how Medievalists change their interest over time. I started out with an interest in Saint lives and canon law, but have moved more towards the study of warfare. I agree about reading books and learning history. So much love there!

      Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

  5. Sandy @ Somewhere Only We Know

    Welcome to Armchair BEA! You have a way cool awesome degree! I didn’t even know you could get a degree in such a thing, but I guess it makes sense. I haven’t read any of the books you said were your favorites for the year, so I probably need to check them out! Good luck with the rest of your Armchair BEA experience.

    Sandy @ Somewhere Only We Know
    Sandy @ Somewhere Only We Know recently posted…Armchair BEA 2013 – Day 1 Part 1 – IntroductionsMy Profile

    • Jessica

      It depends on the university and if they have any professors who study the Middle Ages. I got lucky that my undergrad uni has a Medieval Institute.

      Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

    • Jessica

      I’m glad you liked Studio Saint-Ex. It’s one I want to own when it comes out, but I want a signed copy!

      Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

  6. Nise'

    So glad to see The Ashford Affair on your favorite reads list. I look forward to reading the book.

    • Jessica

      When you’ve read The Ashford Affair, let me know your thoughts. 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

  7. Deborah Carney

    This is my first year of ABEA and I love reading all the intro posts. I haven’t been to your city yet, but it’s on my list of places to visit. I’m currently south of Phoenix, where it is dry and hot. After having our house destroyed by Hurricane Sandy, I *like* dry and hot!

    Nice to meet you and hope to keep in touch!

    • Jessica

      You’re a neighbor! 😀 I’m sorry to hear about your house! Glad you’re liking the dry / hot weather. I think you’ll really like the very mild winters AZ has. The only downside is fire danger and the smoke the winds pick up.

      Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

    • Jessica

      I actually met him at a public lecture. A friend pointed him out and I was helping with the event but didn’t pay attention. Afterwards he came up to talk to the department head and we chatted a bit. He use to attend the medieval lectures a lot, but I’ve heard since the show has aired, he’s stopped attending. I’m looking forward to just saying hi to him and crossing my fingers I can get a short interview.

      Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

    • Jessica

      I’ve always wanted to visit Alberta! I hope you’ve been able to pick up some great recommendations.

      Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

    • Jessica

      I’m sure most states have a city / town that just keeps people there against their will. Ooooh let me know what you think of Night School! I’m still not sure what rating I’m giving it…leaning more towards of a 3 out of 5.

      Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge