Texas, etc…

So I’m back from The Texas Book Festival, which was just so freaking awesome. It was my first time, I’d heard great things, and it totally lived up to my expectations. Win!

Of course, one of the BEST things about Austin is the food. At a pub around the corner from my hotel, I had these amazing Gardenburger tacos. SO good!

Would you think to put Gardenburgers in tacos? Neither would I. But that is the thing about Texas. They don’t follow ANYONE’S rules. So there!

I headed over to the Festival early, so I could check out the booths. When I saw this guy walking around, I knew I had to get a shot, if only to torture my husband, who is a HUGE Star Wars freak:

There are a lot of awesome things about my job. But mingling with Stormtroopers? That’s a big one.

I wrote here last week about how it was basically my GOAL at this festival to meet Tom Perrotta, author of Little Children, Joe College and The Leftovers, among other amazing books. So I made my way to the author tent before his event, where I stuffed my face with cookies (which were GREAT) to work up my nerve. Then he came in, I took a breath (and another cookie) and went and introduced myself. I think I MAY have been sweating, but he was so gracious and nice and appreciative and hopefully I didn’t make too much of an ass of myself. I was a little bit excited. To say the least. I wish I’d asked for a picture but again, did not want to scare him.

My plan was to go to Tom Perrotta’s event, then scoot out early to my own. But I got the times all screwy, so I ended up not being able to hear him speak. Fail! On the upside, I got to my event with Libba Bray SUPER early and ended up making friends with Melanie and Marilyn Keating, a mom and daughter who had come out to see me. They were Austin natives, HUGE readers (had just gone to the Teen Book Festival a couple of weeks earlier) and we just chilled on this bench, gabbing away for awhile. I’ve said it before: my readers=the best. Truly.

Then it was time for my event with the FAB Libba Bray, moderated by Sarah Pitre from Forever YA. I could not have asked for better folks to talk books, writing and pop culture with:

It was only AFTER my event was over that I realized the sign in front of me on the panel table had been tampered with. Nobody told me! I cannot say for SURE who defaced it but I have a feeling it was Jon Scieszka. I can’t prove it. But that is my hunch. To everyone who saw it, please know that I really DID want to be there! I promise!

After my event, I headed BACK to my hotel, where I bumped into superfamous writer (and fellow Penguin peep!) Jay Asher:

I also got to meet Ellen Hopkins for the first time (she is as awesome as you would expect).

Later, we had this Lit Crawl event at the Texas State Cemetery. Yes: a cemetery. At night! Spooky ooky! There were a TON of YA authors there, and we all did this fun mad libs sort of storytelling thing. I am terrible writing on the fly under pressure, but luckily everyone else was really good at it. Then it was BACK to the hotel to crash, as I had to fly out super early the next day. There were so many great parties happening, but as usual, sleep trumps all. That’s just how I roll.

I have ONE more trip for this Book Tour That Never Ends, which is coming up next month. I’ll be at the Miami Book Festival and ALAN at NCTE in Chicago. Whew! Once that’s done, I intend to come home, sleep for a month or so, then put on my Uggs and get back to work on the next book. Although just thinking that makes me tired. Maybe I just need more coffee. Or a Gardenburger taco.

Have a good day, everyone!