Sunday, May 31, 2009

BEA 2009 Trip Report (part 1)


BEA stands for Book Expo America, the annual convention of publishers and booksellers. AWESOME is just a word in caps.

Part One: Friday Morning at BEA

I woke up at 3am to catch a 5am train to reach the Javits Center in NYC by 7am to register before the 8am breakfast. This was early. Really early.

Train station at 5am. Dark out. Watching for vampires.

By 7am, there was already a line forming for the Children's Book and Author Breakfast. I tweeted about this and then noticed a tweet from Lauren Barnholdt with a photo of the line from approximately the same angle as mine. I also noticed the woman next to me was tweeting on her phone. Yes, Lauren and I were standing side by side simultaneously tweeting identical tweets.

Me and Lauren Barnholdt, after a bonding Twitter moment

Inside the breakfast room, I saw Jane Yolen and trotted over to say hello. She said my hair looked terrific. She immediately became my new Favorite Person.

Julie Andrews was the master of ceremonies. When she walked out on stage, you could feel the tension in the room mount as hundreds of people suddenly exercised massive amounts of self-control in resisting
the urge to break out singing "The hills are alive..." Tomie de Paola, in his speech, did not resist the urge.

Mary Poppins in da house

After the presentations, I scooted out to the bathroom and... (this is cool so please pause here for dramatic effect)... washed my hands next to Julie Andrews.

And summoning all my skill with words, I said, "Your speech was great."

Seriously. The woman was Mary Poppins, Maria, Queen of Genovia, and all I could think of to say was "Your speech was great."

And she said in her refined British accent, "Thank you very much."

It was a bonding moment.

I then headed out to begin the primary activity of BEA: walking the floor. For some, "walking the floor" means that you go down each aisle in an orderly fashion, observing each booth and seeing everything.
For me, "walking the floor" means walking in one direction, spotting something shiny, and veering off. If one isn't careful, one could confuse an autographing line for a bathroom line.

Anyway, I began walking the floor with Laini Taylor and Jim di Bartolo, the author/artist duo responsible for Lips Touch Three Times. (Grabbed an ARC. Can't wait to read. Also can't wait to read the next book in Laini's gorgeous Dreamdark series, Silksinger). Laini and Jim are both super-awesome, and I wish they lived on the East Coast so that I could see them more often.

We ran into lots of very cool people in our wandering, s
uch as:

Me, Laini Taylor, Meg Cabot, and Jim di Bartolo

and also:

Jim di Bartolo, Laini Taylor, Brandon Mull, Scott Westerfeld, and me


Me and Michael Buckley

Also Kate Schafer Testerman (a.k.a. Daphne Unfeasible), Josepha Sherman, and many others.

I also visited the Simon & Schuster booth, where I met several of the fantastic people who work there and saw this glorious sight:

Look! ICE!!!

And look closer:

It's shiny!!!

Coming soon: Part two of my BEA Trip Report: Friday Afternoon.

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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Off to BEA!

Off to the candy store of the publishing world, Book Expo America! For those of you who haven't been, BEA is an annual event where publishers present their upcoming books to booksellers, and authors claim to be "networking" to hide the fact that we're really just rooting through the exhibit hall looking for free books like pigs looking for truffles. Last time I went, I told myself that I was not there to collect books and therefore did not need to bring an extra bag. Naturally, that meant that I came home with several new bags filled to the brim with books. Bad Sarah. This year, I am bringing an extra bag.

I will be there on Friday and Saturday. If you're attending and see me wandering about, please come say hello! If you're not attending... I'm going to try to tweet from the event. (No promises. I've never tweeted while at an event before. I may get distracted by shiny things.) Anyway, if you're interested, you can follow my tweets here.

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Thursday, May 21, 2009

Sunshine State Young Readers Award

Feeling lots of love for Florida.

Into the Wild made the master list for Florida's Sunshine State Young Readers Award! I am so thrilled and grateful.

In fact, you might say I'm walking on sunshine...

Or perhaps you'd prefer this version...

Thank you, Florida!!!

In related news, I'm suddenly craving orange juice...

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Monday, May 11, 2009

MLA and LILC (Trip Report)

Last Wednesday, I spoke at the Massachusetts Library Association Annual Conference (MLA), and last Thursday, I spoke at the Long Island Library Conference (LILC). Slept about two hours on the night between the two events, but it was well worth it. I had a wonderful time at both.

The MLA conference was in Springfield, Massachusetts, the birthplace of Dr. Seuss. This led to statements such as, "Take a left at the Lorax and head out through the Yertle gate." My hotel room had a painting of a Cat in the Hat statue. It also had those oblong pillows that serve no functional purpose that I can see, aside from bopping people on the head.

I was well-fed at the conference: a huge breakfast spread in the convention center lobby (with many very nice librarians), a box lunch in the ballroom (with two very nice librarians, Maureen Ambrosino and Sue-Ellen Szymanski), and dinner in an art museum (with lots more very nice librarians plus art). Good people + good food = excellent event.

In addition to meeting a ton of awesome librarians, I also had a chance to talk with Patricia McKillip and her husband. I pretty much worship Patricia McKillip's writing. I've reread her Forgotten Beasts of Eld more times than I can remember, and I'd just finished her lovely Bell at Seeley Head before going to MLA. She writes prose so beautiful that it leaves me with a case of serious sentence-envy. Turns out that she's as nice as her prose is pretty.

I did my presentation ("The Importance of Talking Cats: YA and Children's Fantasy") in the late afternoon. I talked about why I (in my totally unbiased opinion) think that fantasy literature is the best thing since sliced bread and promoted my firm belief that all novels can be improved by the addition of a talking cat.

Closed out the night with Game Night with the Youth Services Section, wherein I hung out with several cool librarians, including my host Sarah Sogigian, and demonstrated that I do not have a sense of rhythm whatsoever. I am really, really bad at Rock Band.

Woke up at 4:30am, dumped a LOT of gel in my hair, and drove to Long Island for conference #2. The Long Island Library Conference was held at Crest Hollow Country Club, a swanky place with so many chandeliers and fountains that even the elevator had a chandelier and fountain. Okay, it didn't really, but it was shiny. I think I was underdressed for the place, but the hair gel did save me from the crazy-author-hasn't-left-the-house-in-days- due-to-chapter-ten-kicking-my-butt look that I normally sport. I was able to check it in the reflection from the elevator.

I met my host, Kristen Todd-Wurm, as well as several other librarians at the CLASC (Children's Librarians Association of Suffolk County) table where they were selling copies of my books Into the Wild and Out of the Wild. Had a lovely time talking to them and signing books. After two days of talking with many librarians, I have reaffirmed my belief that awesomeness is one of their job requirements.

My talk was the last one of the day, but people came anyway, which made me happy. Perhaps they were just kept in by the deluge outside (it was the kind of rain that makes you check to be sure the animals aren't starting to pair up), but I'll take it.

I had a lovely huge projection screen for my slides and a presentation area so large that I felt as if I should spice up my talk with a dance routine. I resisted that urge, you'll be happy to know. Despite my childhood years of ballet, tap, and jazz, I am not what you'd call coordinated. Show me a coffee table and I will walk into it. And then I'll bruise for, like, three years. Anyway, I again espoused the virtues of my beloved genre while showing photos of myself that revealed my total dorkiness. I had a great time.

Afterwards, I returned home and proceeded to ignore my still-packed suitcase for the entirety of the weekend. All in all, an excellent two days!

Note to anyone who signed up at MLA to receive my newsletter: I cleverly lost my sign-up list somewhere in Springfield so if you added your email address during my talk (or didn't and would like to), please drop me an email at or use the newsletter sign-up form in the sidebar of my blog. Thanks!

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Monday, May 04, 2009

ARCs for ICE, and Librarians too

Got the loveliest present from my editor:

It's an ARC of ICE!!! An ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) is basically a paperback mockup of what the final hardcover will look like. It's not quite a finished copy since it's printed from the pre-proofread text and still contains typos and such. But that said, it looks like a book, it feels like a b
ook, it smells like a book (don't judge me...), and I am just amazingly thrilled to be able to hold this almost-finished version of ICE in my hands.

In my totally unbiased opinion, I think the final hardcover will be more beautiful than a rainbow at sunrise over the ocean with playful unicorns frolicking in the waves. [Scientist-husband points out that you can't see a rainbow and a sunrise together since the sun needs to be behind you to produce a rainbow. He apparently has no problem with the unicorn part
though.] Seriously. Lots of unicorns. Frolicking. Look here at the spine:

I have been petting it and cooing at it as if it were a new kitten ever since it arrived. I think I'm in love...

In other news, I'll be spending a large part of this week surrounded by librarians! This Wednesday, I'm speaking at the Massachusetts Library Association Conference in Springfield, MA. And on Thursday I'm speaking at the Long Island Library Conference in Woodbury, NY. The title of my talk: "The Importance of Talking Cats: YA and Children's Fantasy." Hee hee! I'm so excited.

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