I had a ball the past few days, mixing it up with librarians, authors, editors, publishers at the Texas Library Association conference in Houston. My signing on Thursday with Penguin went well; almost every copy sold. I signed again on Friday with Texas Overlooked Books, where I sat alongside the talented Rob Espinosa.
Here are a few highlights:
— Chris Barton's contagious enthusiasm about the field of children's publishing, and especially about his forthcoming book, The Day-Glow Brothers. Chris wore that excitement all over his being-- figuratively and literally speaking. I hope he'll still hang out with us once he goes big-time.
— Getting mobbed by six librarians, three minutes upon entering the exhibit hall the first day. (I think it was the "author" name badge).
—The disabled guy who rode the exhibit floor with copies of my artwork hanging from the front and back of his cart. I didn't stop and tell him I was the artist.
— Drinks with my roomies and Mark Nobleman. Mark is the author of Boys of Steel.
— Sharing drinks with my August House editor, Liz Parkhurst and author Toni Simmons (whose book I will begin illustrating later this year). Also present were a host of August House authors and storytellers, including Tom McDermott. I hope Liz wasn't disappointed; I am not the outgoing humorist as one might assume from reading my Facebook updates.
— Getting celebrity treatment from the wonderful folks at Penguin.
— Turning a perfectly ruinous lunch fiasco with Diane Roberts, Sue Ward and Chris Barton into a totally fun time (long story).
— Testing out my new GPS Navitator, which impressed the heck out of Kathy Duval and Varian Johnson, who followed in a car behind mine. No one — including myself — knew how to get where were going for dinner. But the navigator got us there.
— Meeting two of the ReaderGirlz Divas. How did I ever miss Justina?!
— Having a librarian spill coffee on me during the Black Caucus breakfast, and then having her invite me to speak at four of her schools in May.
— Having Dr. Loriene Roy go over-and-beyond to get a last-minute seat for me at the Black Caucus breakfast.
— Getting lost on my way to the Black Caucus breakfast, and then getting directions from a librarian, who turned out to be the outgoing President. She expressed her interest in having me speak at next year's breakfast.
— Chatting with friend, author Spelile Rivas, who was at the publishers reception — not as an author, but as a librarian! Huge career change she's made since we last spoke. Good for her!
For fear of leaving someone out, I won't even try to list everyone I ran into. But it was so nice to see and chat and celebrate with the wonderful group of people that make up the children's literature community in Texas.
P.S. I lugged my camera around that conference for three days, and did not take one picture. Duh. Which explains the photo of my exhibitors badge.