Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Skulls and Dancing, or: My First ALA!

ALA stands for Awesome Librarians are Awesome. You knew that, right? Secondarily, it means: American Library Association. Not everyone is familiar with the first acronym, but they should be. 

Of my first ALA summer conference (I went to Midwinter five years ago), I say this: two days was not enough. Next year I hope to go for the whole thing, and pillage far more books, and meet far more librarians and bloggers and authors and bookfolk. Next year it is in Anaheim, so bonus Disneyland! But next year shmext year. Let's talk about this year.

There was dancing! 

this happy blur is Ames from Little Brown, me, Carrie Ryan, and agent Jane :-)

There were skulls! And jars of teeth. Jars of teeth.

And there were books! What is better than books? Here is part of my exciting loot pile:

Ooh, where to begin?

Things kicked off Friday evening at 5, when the convention center opened its doors. You guys, I seriously wish I had filmed this. I am not joking when I call it "the running of the librarians." It was awesome and hilarious and passionate. Jim and I were already inside with Alvina, ogling the lovely Daughter of Smoke and Bone mountain in the Little Brown booth.

(Mountain built by Alvina. These book towers are an art form. Check out this one for Bunheads:)

Hi, Daughter!

So anyway, there we are and the aisles are empty one moment, and then 5 pm hits and ... they let in the librarians. They really were running! Racing! To get to certain booths that had giveaways scheduled right then, be it of particularly coveted ARCs, or free T-shirts ("Authors are my rockstars," yeah) or whatnot. For the first half hour I think we just kind of wandered around following the enthusiasm. Ooh, what's that line for? What are they giving away there? Etcetera. There was so much fun shwag! Jane got a beautiful little cutting board engraved with something like I love books. Not everything is free, but A LOT is free. 

Chief pleasures: 1) Seeing friends; 2) Witnessing friends' books in their natural habitats; 3) Discovering new books. 

Here are some friend books:

Sarah Beth Durst's Drink Slay Love, in Simon & Schuster booth

Suzanne Young's A Need So Beautiful at HarperCollins

Stephanie Perkins' Lola and the Boy Next Door at Penguin

I got to meet a couple of lovely bloggers who've written beautiful reviews of my books in the past. Here's Sarah at GreenBeanTeenQueen. Check out the pink!

And Sondra of Sonder Books:

I met author Veronica Roth, too, and got a signed copy of Divergent, a new YA distopian that's getting all kinds of bzzbzzbzz.

And then it was time to go to dinner, and from dinner to ... the Daughter of Smoke and Bone party!!!

Oh man. To Victoria Stapleton and Zoe Luderitz at Little Brown who put this shindig together:


It was of the awesome.

It began with ... the coolest invitation EVER. Look at this.

It's Karou's sketchbook!!!!!!!!!!! With her address and everything!!!!!!!!!

And inside, besides being an invitation ... it's a preview! The first four chapters:

Why yes, this is the first page. If you squint, perhaps you can make it out ...

And it came just in the mail like a little book, not even in an envelope, which somehow made it seem all the cooler. I LOVE this invitation!

Little Brown, you guys rule.

And then, before we even got to the party, they gave me a cool headdress to wear:


"There" was The Republic in New Orleans where, rumor has it, Anne Rice has her Halloween parties. True? I don't know, but I can imagine it. It's a great venue, all moody and blue.

There were carnival masks and skulls everywhere, and ... the cocktails! Two special drinks had been concocted for the event, the "smoke" and the "bone." I can tell you that they were both delicious!

There was a bone reader present, and a tarot card reader too!

But the best part? Librarians! 

These ladies below comprise the ILOA, that is: International Library of Awesome, whose motto is Stercum Venio in Vestri Mens Ut Vos Lego. Or:

"Sh** happens in your brain when you read a book." Yep.

Here's my sweetie with agent Jane, who is wearing the necklace we got her in Morocco. 
Jane is the best. The best best best.

Oh man, happy sigh. Bookfolk, bones, cocktails, weird blue light, my book cover enlarged all huge on the wall and animated with wisping smoke. What more could a girl want?

You ask? What more could there possibly be?

Well. The party tapered into ... an '80s dance party!

Oh yes it did. 

And Little, Brown folk can dance, let me tell you. It was just so fun, so fun, so fun.

Jim had to split to the airport bright and early the next morning to go home to Clementine, while I stuck around for one of my favorite activities ever, which is: signing books!

Can you kind of tell I like it? You know, by my jaded, world-weary expression? 
Ha! Huge dork grin is more like it.

So there's my first ALA, hopefully the first of many. And now I am back home, semi-settled in the new house -- at least with enough of a space excavated from boxes to get to to work, and working I am, in the thick of the sequel to Daughter and loving it! 

Thank you so much to my fabulous publisher for the trip to New Orleans, and to all the amazing librarians who put books into people's hands all day every day. Librarians are my rock stars!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

New Orleans!

Hi there! Ah, wireless is connected, so I am no longer trying to snatch filaments of signal out of the air. Also, the radiators are up and running and the jumbles of this-n-that are diminishing, the cardboard box population decreasing steadily. Slowly, but still. So much to do, and we cannot attempt to conquer it all at once. Little by little, we will get settled in.

Meanwhile, New Orleans!

I had been twice before, in the early '90s for Jazzfest both times, and both trips were great and filled with music and food. Maybe some drink.

This visit began with a cocktail, a "pineapple upside down cake martini," at K Paul with lovely Little Brown ladies Alvina, Victoria, and Zoe, and my agent Jane.

This was a very quick trip, less than two days really, and no music was involved. Instead: books! But more on those in the next post. For now, how about just the strolling portion, some glimpses of the city?

Cafe Du Monde. Beignets, cafe au lait (in this case, iced, which I recommend!), and lots and lots of powdered sugar. Essential New Orleans. Jim and Alvina and I met up with Carrie Ryan there (author of the too-awesome Forest of Hands and Teeth and its sequels).

Alvina Ling and Carrie Ryan

I only knew Carrie over email before, but am so glad to have spent time with her. She was an instant kindred spirit, so lovely and fun. And darn it if she doesn't live on the opposite coast. What's with North Carolina, yo? So many awesome people live there (Steph and Jarrod, you know who you are). Come West, friends, come West! 

And Alvina, so great to hang out with her too. Did you hear she has been promoted to Editorial Director of Little, Brown Books for Young Readers? Go, Alvina! WOOT! 

Post-beignets, it was all strolling in the muggy warmth (which was not the misery I feared), with some half-hearted window-shopping thrown in.

You know how I love and covet chandeliers. 

Such a colorful and blooming place.

Cafe Amelie courtyard. Note to self: go there next time.

We happened upon a film crew, the young guy interviewing the guy in red, and I overheard this exchange:

"So is it true that when you were young you pretended to be blind?"

"Yes, it's true."

Someone told us it's for the show Treme but I don't know that for sure.

And that's about all the out-and-about we had time for.

Oh, but one last thing. We *did* find our way into a candy shop ...

We got some pralines to bring back home. 

Jim *may* have had a chocolate-dipped marshmallow skewer (no sprinkles though :-)
and I *may* have helped him eat it.

And then it was back to the hotel ...

... for a little nap before hitting the convention center for the 5 pm opening (aka "the running of the librarians") followed by: dinner and THE AMAZINGLY AWESOME DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE PARTY. Next time :-)

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