Well, here we are, just a little over a month after the release of The Eleventh Plague. It's been a pretty crazy month with events in Decatur, New York, Virginia and Chicago. Highlights so far?
Sept.1 - Release Day! - My wife Gretchen and I head over to the Barnes & Noble in Union Square and quickly find out that there's a company policy against taking pictures of books in the store. Who knew? Things got a little tense with one very rule oriented B&N employee until Julia Sarcone-Roach, picture book author and and B&N bookseller (below picture at left), swooped in and rescued us. She overruled her co-worker, let us take pictures and then had me sign all their stock. Thanks Julia!
Afterwards Gretchen and I hit Craft for dinner. If you're a Top Chef fan, this is Tom Colicchio's flagship restaurant. The dinner was out of this world. One of the best I've had. If you're in the neighborhood don't miss it! Also made for many good posing opportunities.
Sept. 3 - Decatur Book Festival - This was an incredibly well run event in a lovely city. It was in no way diminished by the fact that it was roughly 8 million degrees out when I was here. The highlight was definitely meeting, doing a panel with, and then drinking beer with fellow Crowe's nester Jonathan Maberry. It was quite something for this newbie to see a real pro at work. I definitely made a lot of notes to self while watching him do his thing.
Sept. 17th - Fountain Books in Richmond VA - Headed back to the old hometown for a store visit and my, gulp, 20th High School reunion. The folks at Fountain Books were awesome, very welcoming and super knowledgable. I got to sit around with their also very knowledgable customers and just chat about books. What could be better? I also got to met the delightful Susan from Wastepaper Prose and took what is so far my favorite tour pic yet!
The reunion was good too. Odd, in the way that I imagine any HS reunion is odd, but a good thing to have done. It was pretty amazing looking at all of these adults and seeing the ghosts of the adolescents I knew.
Sept. 24th - Anderson's Book Conference - I was pretty nervous about this one. Not because of the conference itself but because this would be the first time I would do school visits. Guys, I was an assembly. Just me. Turns out I had nothing to be nervous about. The teachers and principals and librarians were amazing and the kids…oh the kids. They were just great. I was lucky enough to talk to a about 150 high schoolers then 200 7th graders and another group of 250 8th graders. They were energetic and interested and super smart. I learned a lot from them about how to do these sorts of things. Mainly, to keep your presentation focused, fast paced and interactive. Also, if the school gives you the option of being up on a stage, behind a podium and talking through a mic? Avoid it if at all possible. I found that it was great to be down on the kid's level and as close up as possible. It seemed to keep it friendly and intimate.
And then at the conference itself I got to do panels with Ilsa Bick and Lisa McCann and meet Michelle Hodkin, Elizabeth Miles and many awesome librarians and book sellers. Also hung out with folks like Patrick Carman, Coe Booth,Sarah Darer Littman and publicist extraordinaire, Lauren Felsenstein.
Oh and! In the hotel in Chicago? Dude! TV in the mirror in the bathroom!
All in all this has been an amazing month. Couldn't imagine a better way to launch a book! And there's more to come. In the next couple months I'm heading out to Redondo Beach CA, Connecticut, Miami, Chicago and Texas! You can see all upcoming events on my brand spanking new website!