Wednesday, November 21, 2007



If you plan to be in central Connecticut or central Massachusetts for Thanksgiving weekend, I hope you'll consider swinging by one of my book events and saying hello. On Friday afternoon, I'll be signing at the Borders at the Meriden Mall in Meriden, CT. And on Saturday afternoon, I'll be reading from and signing copies of Into the Wild at the Borders on Route 9 in Shrewsbury, MA. Here are the details:

Friday, November 23rd from 1-3pm
Borders Meriden - Signing
470 Lewis Avenue, Meriden, CT

Saturday, November 24th at 2pm
Borders Shrewsbury - Reading/Signing
476 Boston Turnpike, Shrewsbury, MA

Now, to recap this past weekend...


For the past four days, I have been in acronym heaven:


Collectively, these stand for: Sarah Meets Lots of Incredible People. Individually, they stand for Teen Author Drinks Night, National Council for Teachers of English, the Assembly on Literature for Adolescents (anyone know what the N stands for???), and Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of Ame

Ready for some name-dropping? To protect the innocent, I'm only going to mention the authors by name (and I'm probably going to miss a lot, so apologies in advance)...

Teen Author Drinks Night (TADN)
Friday night: Hung out with YA/MG authors at a New York bar way cooler than I am (actually, both the authors and the bar are way cooler than I am, but both the authors and the bar are way too nice to comment on that). Met Pete Hautman, Mary Logue, Laura Ruby, and Tanya Lee Stone for
the first time. Chatted (okay, shouted -- bars are loud) with lots of authors I've met before including Holly Black, Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan, Coe Booth, Scott Westerfeld, Tara Altebrando, Lisa Ann Sandell, David Levithan, Sarah Aronson, Justine Larbalestier, Alaya Johnson, and more.

Yes, there was vodka pizza.

National Council for Teachers of English Conference (NCTE)
Saturday: Circled through the exhibit hall at NCTE, which was held in the Javits Center in NYC this year. (These big conferences all include an exhibit hall where publishers and other vendors have booths. Sometimes they give out free books.
Yay!) Talked with the wonderfully awesome people from Penguin Young Readers, as well as a whole slew of other amazing editors and agents and teachers. And of course authors -- see names above plus T.A. Barron, Kathleen Duey, Libba Bray, Bruce Coville, Sarah Mylnowski, E. Lockhart, Lauren Myracle, Jo Knowles, Cindy Faughnan, Robin Wasserman, and others. Had lunch with some wonderful educators. Had second lunch with some wonderful authors/editors/agents. (Note to self: just say no to organic chocolate chip cookies. I don't know what's inorganic about normal chocolate chip cookies, but whatever it is is closely tied to taste. Cassie and Sarah can back me up on this one.)

Sunday morning: more circling. Talked with more wonde
rful editors and teachers. Met authors Vivian Vande Velde, Elizabeth Winthrop, Elizabeth Scott, Emily Smith Pearce, and David Clement-Davies. Totally fan-girled at Brian Jacques and Gail Carson Levine. The latter conversation went something like this:

ME: Hi, I'm Sarah Beth Durst. I love your books. I've loved your books for a long time. I love books about fairy tales. I wrote a book that involved fairy tales. I'm a writer. I have a book. I love your books.


I was not exactly at my most brilliant. And I utterly forgot that I had my camera with me. In fact, I only have one picture from the entire four day extravaganza. It's this one of me and Vivian Vande Velde (who writes fabulously clever and fun fantasy books -- and also has the coolest name of any writer ever):

VVV and Me

If others surface on the internet or in my Inbox (hint, hint), I'll post them too.

Kidlit Drinks Night (or more accurately, afternoon)
Sunday afternoon: food and drinks. I treated myself to a lovely lunch at Sarabeth's, my favorite Manhattan restaurant, and then wandered down to Times Square (no particular reason -- I just like how shiny it is). En route back from Times Square, I heard someone say, "Hello, Sarah." I nearly ignored it because, well, it's Manhattan, and what were the odds of seeing someone I knew? Apparently, the odds were good because it was Jordan Sonnenblick (great author and great guy). So I dragged him with me to the next party, a Kidlit party at a bar called Faces and Names.

Again, I talked with a variety of editors, agents, and writers. Got to hear the story of how Newbery winner Linda Sue Parks shimmied against Collin Ferrell in an elevator, told by Linda herself. Also saw Rebecca Stead, Longstockings Daphne Grab and Lisa Graff, and School Library Journal blogger Betsy Bird.

Only thing I didn't like about this bar was the bathroom. I hate large single-stall bathrooms. I like to be in easy reach of the door in case the lock should fail. (Is this just me? Am I totally neurotic?) This particular bathroom faced the bar with no hallway or anything. If the lock had failed... It didn't, but I had terrible nightmares that night.

ALAN Cocktail Reception
Anyway, a troup of us headed from there to the Marriott Marquis in Times Square for the ALAN cocktail reception. (Did you know they have escalators at least as far up as the seventh floor? For some reason, I found this cooler than the glass elevators. Also cool: many of the taxis in New York are currently covered with paintings of flowers. That made me smile.)

Best part of the evening was that all the authors got to wear bright red pins that said "Author! Author!" I put mine on and swore never to take it off. (Okay, it's off now, but I wore it the whole train ride home.) I talked to more teachers, librarians, editors, and yes, more authors: Michael Buckley, Debby Garfinkle, Maureen Johnson, and others previously mentioned.

Penguin Family Dinner
The lovely Penguin folk invited me to the Penguin Family Dinner, an annual post-NCTE tradition. Other authors in attendence included Laurie Halse Anderson and Sara Ryan. We went to the restaurant next to the ice rink at Rockefeller Center. I wish I'd saved the menu. It had the Penguin logo on it. Very cool. In fact, the whole dinner was very cool.

I had to scoot out right after dessert (which was the largest slice of cheesecake I've ever seen in my entire life) to catch the last train to Long Island (which I did make -- yay!), but I returned to NYC the very next evening for...

SFWA New York Reception
On Monday, I headed back to New York for the annual SFWA NY reception, which was stuffed to the gills with writers, editors, agents, etc. Authors I talked to included Marvin Kaye, Bud Sparhawk, Roger MacBride Allen, Bill Wagner, Leigh Grossman, Keith DeCandido, Laura Anne Gilman, KZ Petty, David Keck, Beth Bernobich, Rose Fox, Diane Turnshek, Alexandra Honigsberg, Glenn Hauman, Terri Osborne, Paul Witcover, Delia Sherman, Ellen Kushner, Jane Jewell... I'm sorry, but I'm not going to remember everyone. Suffice it to say, lots of awesome people were there!

Here are two of the highlights: first, I got to hang out for a while with Jane Yolen (amazing person and author of something like two billion books -- okay, maybe only 200+). Second, I won one of the door prizes (a bottle of wine and a Society of Illustrators T-shirt) for being the only person in the room with a first novel published within the last twelve months. They handed me a microphone and told me to say my name and book title. It was all I could do to resist performing the Snoopy Dance of Joy right there while shouting, "I'm real! I'm real! I'm real!"

Snoopy Dance of Joy
I did do the Snoopy Dance of Joy as soon as I got home. And I kept my husband up until 3am on both Sunday and Monday nights, giving him the play-by-play report on the events. :)

Next up: Thanksgiving. Hope you all have a marvelous Turkey Day!

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At 8:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, Sarah!

It was great to meet you at NCTE. By the way, that's what the "N" in ALAN stands for: NCTE. So that makes ALAN the "A"ssembly on "L"iterature for "A"dolescents of "N"CTE. (Which is an excellent reason to shorten it to ALAN.)

The only picture I have of us is just about identical to the one you have.

I absolutely understand your reaction to meeting Gail Levine. The one time I met CJ Cherryh, we had that same conversation.


At 9:13 AM, Blogger Jordan S. said...

Wow -

Like you and VVV, I always gush when I meet an author whose work I admired before I got published. My favorite opening in such a situation is, "I . . . uh . . ." Then I grovel, bow, scrape, and drool on my shoes for emphasis.

Anyway, it was great seeing you again. Thanks for dragging me up the block.


At 11:56 AM, Blogger Rose Fox said...

It was great to see you!

I'm always amused to be referred to as an author, and in such good company, too. Granted, it's not wholly inaccurate--I have a couple of stories in tiny anthologies--but it's hardly my primary vocation. I wonder why so many people think of me that way. Is it just the company I keep?

At 12:51 PM, Blogger Erin said...

I've met Gail Carson Levine, but am totally jealous about the Brian Jacques encounter - my friend and I were OBSESSED with his books a few years ago.

And yes, VVV has the coolest author name ever.

At 5:35 PM, Blogger Sarah Beth Durst said...

Vivian: Great to meet you too! Hope to see you again at a future event.

Good to know about the N. I like that a letter in the acronym actually stands for another acronym...

Jordan: Great seeing you again too! Very glad you stayed clear of shrimp this time. :)

Rose: My trusty friend Google led me to a mention of your stories. :) Great to see you at SFWA!

Erin: Someone took a photo of me and Brian Jacques... I'm hoping it surfaces somewhere so I can post it...

At 5:42 PM, Blogger Rose Fox said...

Google isn't wrong, but I'd rather people thought of me as a journalist who occasionally dabbles in fiction than as a failed author resigning herself to a career in journalism!

At 12:20 AM, Blogger Diane Turnshek said...

Hi, Sarah,
Lovely seeing you at the SFWA New York Publishers Reception. You looked amazing. I didn't take many pictures, but I've got one of you up in my live journal gallery here.

I had a great time. I was showing a few of my former Alpha students around and listening to the conversations that followed. Tom Doherty told them why he picked TOR to put on the book spine. GVG and John Joseph Adams explained the three level rejection letters from F&SF ("Didn't grab my interest" "Didn't hold my interest" etc.). Good stuff!

Diane Turnshek

At 9:56 AM, Blogger Sarah Beth Durst said...

Diane: Great seeing you too! You looked lovely as well. Thanks for the photo! I failed to take a single picture while I was there. Glad to hear you had a great time! I did too. I really like that reception. Lots of fabulous and friendly people. I'm already looking forward to next year.


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