Wow, we had a very full weekend, which was marvelous, because it was beautifully sunny and possibly our last truly summery weekend of the year. We got outside a bit and did some touristy things, since a lovely friend was here from New York, a friend who became a friend on our recent trip to New York and also happens to be the Scholastic publicist in charge of bringing Lips Touch to the attention of the world.
[Hi Sheila Marie!]
Sheila Marie took care of us when we went out to Book Expo, and she's just fabulous, so we were thrilled to learn she was coming to Portland for PNBA -- that is, the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association conference. Mouthful, that is. So, this weekend was my first regional publishing trade show, and it happened to be held just minutes from our house, which was convenient, since Jim and I were scheduled to sign Lips Touch on Friday, and Silksinger on Saturday. (by the way, Silksinger comes out this Thursday!!!!!)
The regional trade shows are basically the place where the publishers' regional reps (for example, Scholastic has 7 reps that cover the entire country; I don't know if that's standard or if other publishers have more or less) show new books to independent booksellers. (There are in-house people who sells directly to the chains). So regional shows are a great way to meet the fabulous indie booksellers in your part of the country. And of course, the fabulous reps! I mean, the rep's enthusiasm for a particular book is hugely important -- they're representing a lot of titles, after all; an author hopes a rep likes their book and talks it up :-)
These were Clementine's first book signings, and we had a *plan* for her to snooze through them and just look peaceful and adorable in her sling all the while. Plans, ha! She snoozed, all right, up to the very second we were sitting down at the signing table! Like a little baby dinosaur hatching from an egg, she came awake with all her cute little growls and cries, and we had to shuck her from her peanut shell and jiggle her about, and Jim ended up holding her in one arm the whole time, while I signed and then held open books for him to sign. It was pretty cute :-) And afterward we went to dinner with Sheila Marie, who by the way was at PNBA not for the show itself so much as because Scholastic had an author/illustrator who was a guest of honor: the wonderful Mark Teague, whose picture books I've long loved. Do you know these books?
Written by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Mark Teague, there are a slew of them, and Mark has many more books besides, and his latest is his first novel, The Doom Machine. Oh, and the Scholastic store in Soho has a giant replica of one of Mark's dinosaurs:
How awesome is that?
So we went to dinner with Sheila Marie and Mark and the Scholastic rep, Chris, who was also lovely. (What is it about book people that they're all so great?)
See how Clementine is asleep in that picture?
That is not representative of the evening. Whoa. Let's say that this dinner was our first unsuccessful outing with the baby dinosaur :-( She was asleep in her peanut shell, but unlike all other meals out we've had so far, this did not last. She woke up . . . unhappy. The dining room where we were was up a long flight of stairs, and I got my exercise taking her in and out, and exercising my child-bouncing muscles! I even had to sit, for lack of a better place, indian-style on the lawn of the house next-door to the restaurant and nurse her there. (It was a gorgeous evening, so that was kind of fun!) When it was Jim's turn to take her out so I could choke down some food, he said later she screamed so much on the street he thought people would think he was stealing her. Ha ha! Anyway, whew. She did fall asleep, and we managed to have some time where we both got to sit at the table and enjoy the company.
The rest of the weekend was really nice and full. After our Silksinger signing we took Sheila Marie over to the west side of town for a picnic in the Rose Garden -- one of Portland's most famous spots. They're the test gardens for the International Rose Society, and they look down over the city. Fantastic spot, amazing flowers.
Again: perfect weather, and I was so happy for a last chance to dress Clementine in her summery clothes before it cools off:
And of course the picnic involved cupcakes. Can't have a picnic without cupcakes!
We also plundered around the Pearl District, including Powell's, where we happened to run into Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi -- they were in town on a Spiderwick tour, but were just shopping, incognito :-) Jim and Clementine and I did go to see them speak the next morning at our neighborhood children's bookstore, A Children's Place, and they were fabulous.
Tony draws like a maniac, and not only did he do big drawings to give away to kids who could answer Spiderwick trivia, but he draws a character in every single book he signs, and so fast! Amazing. In our book he drew Thimbletack :-)
And yes, Clementine did snooze peacefully through the whole event, as she did through dinner and even post-dinner gelato.
It was really a splendid weekend of sunshine and books and signings and coffee and robots . . .
. . . (Thank you Heather--different Heather than the skull sweater!--for the knitted robot; that makes three plush robots which constitutes a formal "collection") . . . and cupcakes and gelato and pizza and strolling and buying art supplies and on and on, and now we're back to normal: overcast skies and the need to WORK. Whew. So now I need to stop blogging away my work window of Clementine sleeping and get some "writing" done. Cheers!