Saturday, June 29, 2013

ALA = A Lot of Awesome

Hey all,

So this weekend I headed up to the windy city - Chicago, IL - to attend the American Library Association's annual convention. What a blast! I'd never been before - though I'd been to TLA (Texas Library Association) convention a couple times.

It must said: librarians rock. For reals.

So I flew up to the convention Friday morning and decided it would be interesting to take the train to my hotel instead of a cab. What I didn't realize was that the Blackhawks victory parade was going on that Friday and the entire state of Illinois had come to town to cheer the players on.

As a Bruins fan originally from Boston, this gave me the sads.

But I rallied and made my way through the crowds. (Thanks iPhone mapping for pointing me to the totally wrong address, BTW.) I finally made my way to the hotel... and realized something was going on. Like a major "something."

Like the actual Stanley Cup was in the lobby bar of my hotel. And all the fans had gathered to see it in real life. 

Poor Boston girl!! 

Anyway, I rallied and met up with the lovely PJ Hoover and Madeline Smoot and we headed down to the Convention Center and got our badges so we'd be ready to enter once the doors opened. 

In case you can't read it, my shirt says, "Cool story, Bro. Needs more dragons."

Since we had a little bit of time we decided to grab a drink in the adjacent hotel bar. There, we saw Cory Doctorow, author of such awesomeness as Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, Makers, For the Win, and Big Brother.

I get asked a lot if, as an author myself, if I have other authors that I can't help but fan girl. Well, Cory is one of those authors--for a gazillion reasons. My favorite of which is he's perhaps as big a Disney freak as I am. Perhaps even bigger. Which, if anyone who knows me in real life is reading this, is saying A LOT. Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom is one of my favorite books ever. And For the Win is about the gold mining/virtual economy created by MMORPG video games. Seriously, I could fan girl all day. 

I quickly texted my friend Bobby in Florida - who had introduced me to his books years ago. He "Disney Dared" me (long story) to go talk to him and get his autograph for him. Since Disney Dares are more binding than even double dog dares, I was left with no choice. 

So PJ (who, like Cory, also writes for Tor) and I made our way over and chatted with him for a few minutes. He was super cool and approachable and we talked Disney and he commented on my Mickey Mouse painted toenails (painted in honor of my daughter's 2 year old bday party last week.) So it all turned out well and I'm pretty sure I didn't come off too much like an idiot. 

And I got a photo. And Bobby's autograph. So yeah. Disney Dare in your face!

Someday I'll explain the Disney Dare thing. Someday I'd like to write a book on Extreme Disney. But that's for another day...

Once my fan girling was complete, it was time to head up to the convention hall. Since we have "exhibitor" badges we got to wander the floors a little early - before anyone else was allowed in. Now I have been to a lot of these industry conventions over the last few months - IRA, TLA, BEA, etc. But I was shocked at just how many free books publishers had earmarked for librarians. Seriously it was a major bookapaloza. And a little insane. 

I tried to restrain myself and only take books I *really* wanted and leave those that I only *kinda* wanted for the librarians. But it was tough, man. 

Also note: do not be in the path of librarians who are after said free books. Holy crap. They opened the doors and I was pretty sure I was going to be trampled to death. 

That said, I love the enthusiasm madly. 

That night I met up with Ally Carter and we went to Gino's for some real Chicago deep dish pizza. Sadly after a 45 minute wait for a table, they informed us it'd be 45 MORE minutes if we wanted pizza. We settled on chicken parm which was also good. 

After that we met Sarah Dessen and Laurie Halse Anderson for drinks. I had only met Laurie once and had never met Sarah so that was cool. Sarah has a 5 year old daughter who's hair is as curly as Avalon's. 

After that I headed back to my hotel room to sleep. Thankfully the crazy hockey fans and the Stanley Cup had left the building. 

The next morning I woke up and headed to breakfast. I ate this ridiculous thing called Red Velvet french toast at a restaurant called Yolk. Oh. My. God. It was like eating cake for breakfast. So. Good.

Then we headed over to the convention center. My signing was at 10am. Now usually I wear a dragon shirt to these signing events, but today I decided to go in a little different direction - channeling the Doctor and the time-travel aspects of my book. 

Needless to say, cool librarians are cool. And everyone freaked over my Doctor Who/Choose Your Own Adventure story mash-up. 

What else can I say? The signing was amazing. I met amazing people. We gave out lots of ARCs. It was a bit bittersweet since this is the LAST arc signing of Scorched before the release. That said, it's kind of exciting to know the next time I sign books they will be REAL HARDCOVER FINAL COPY BOOKS!


And now I'm at the airport, waiting for my flight home. The trip was a bit of a whirlwind - but in all the best ways. Thanks to everyone who came out. And to all those who have been buzzing Scorched to their friends and colleagues. I couldn't have gotten here without you.

And I'm So. Excited. about what is to come next!


1 comment:

Sheena-kay Graham said...

You had an awesome time and yeah being around an opposing team/fan celebration can suck but you stuck it out.