Southern Festival of Books
This past weekend Hubbie and I travelled to Nashville, Tennessee for the Southern Festival of Books. I feel a real affinity for this region since I lived in Chattanooga for ten years (long enough that I root for Tennessee and the Titans). And of course, I have lots of children's book friends there too.
Have I mentioned how much I love doing book festivals? Truly - they're like big parties - especially for the authors. I got to hang with so many buds, old and new: Loretta Ellsworth and her sis Monica (LUV those two!); Hester Bass; Linda Ragsdale; John Hulme and Michael Wexler (The Seems); Sara Zarr; Genetta Adair, Tracy Barrett, Patricia Wiles, Alyson Lyne and Shellie Braeuner of the SCBWI MidSouth Region; Donny Seagraves; and more! Like I said - Par-tay! Although it was impossible to see everybody since many of our speaking times overlapped, and I actually missed a few friends who were also there, like Jessica Handler. GREAT line-up!
So, we arrived Friday afternoon under a cloud that looked much like the Kansas sky from the Wizard of Oz. Spooky! But it dried up just enough for us to go check out the main drag in downtown Nashville. Music, music, everywhere!
And we saw a celebrity - here's Stan with 'da Man.'
And since we didn't feel like driving any more - we ended up at Morton's for dinner. Woosie, woosie. Ran into Loretta and her sis in the bar first and we ended up talking about hypnotizing roosters. No really - supposedly it really can be done. It was a very "fowl" conversation - ha! (Stan is above showing off the Nashville pin we got in my author goodie bag. What a goof!)
Saturday I was on an author/illustrator panel with Alex Beard. It ended up being a very different kind of talk about working in this industry, creating a platform, and marketing. I really enjoyed it and am told the podcast will be available soon on the Humanities Tennessee Website. I'll link as soon as it's live.
Afterwards I got to sign some books then return to the same room to hear Elise Primavera!! Her work inspired me when I was first diving into this crazy business and it was so nice to meet her and say 'thanks'!
I also saw Sara, Donny and Hester do their things. Then several of us (mostly MidSouth SCBWIers) met for drinks and a wind up of the day. What a great group! Stan, Shelly and I headed over to the Author Party where we did more mingling and I got to meet Lacey Cook - my kind hostess for the festival. (Thank you Lacey!)
Sunday we awoke early (still on Eastern Standard Time) so had plenty of time to set up on the Children's Stage...
Get a load of what Linda did with it this year!!! She is so incredibly creative and I love that she shares too! Have you checked out my SOAP activity page? Linda created several of the fun things there! And be sure to check out her latest creation - The Peace Dragon website!
Anyhow - I had a great time sharing SOAP and PACO and handing out rubber duckies. Signed some more books... and then sadly, we were done. We loaded up the car and left on a beautiful sunny day. In other words, the sky was smiling too. What a great weekend!