Well, on to better things...
The TLA, short for Texas Library Association, had their yearly conferrence in Houston this year, and as both an author/illustrator and Art Director I got to go and be part of all the fun and mayhem.
It was amazing! I think my fellow BloomingTree-ers will see past all the hard work and preparation and remember it fondly... in a few weeks! They claimed I lost it toward the end, but then I was sitting alone at my table talking to my new panda puppet, so they may have had a point.
It was a huge expo type convention that had ailses of booths for different vendors. Most of the vendors were publishers like Blooming Tree, showing their stock and giving out catalogs and ARCs, short for Advance Reader Copies. Our ARC was neat, it had the first two chapters of all the books coming out this year (minus the picture books). Little bunny Kung Fu was on the cover of both catalog and ARC, and I think could be declared this years unofficial mascot.
We had the toy bunnies all over the table, and the little guy literally stopped traffic. "Who is this cute little bunny? Um, and why is he in a karate outfit?" then followed by, "Little Bunny Kung Fu?! Like little bunny foo foo, oh bless my heart, and this is the book here?! I'll take 2 books, and 2 bunnies, why not? Ethel? Ethel, get over here and look at this rabbit!"
So, we sold out of all the books and bunnies that we had hauled down there. We would've brought more, but someone cautioned Miriam that it wasn't really a "selling" convention.... erm, WRONG! heehehe...
And Houston: What the heck are they calling Dallas the Big D for? Houston was much bigger than I remembered or ever knew. We stayed at the Hyatt downtown (I roomed with Madeline my editor... will she ever be the same?), and we hit fabulous weather... probably the freak 3 days of mild weather for the year. I had all you can eat sushi which passes for heaven on earth for me, and I even got to pay homage to Ikea... sniff... soon it will be in Austin, soon... must hold on...
The other vendors included library furniture companies and puppet manufacturers (see panda puppet mentioned above). There were also vendors for library computer cataloging systems, which was neat, and professional storytime people like magicians and ethnic/cultural storytellers. And everyone was giving out stuff: free yard sticks, free posters, free books, free greeting cards, free bags, free candy, free hats. All the little librarians were carting around rolling luggage to haul their loot in like it was the airport.
I also got to meet an author I'll be doing illustrations for Stacy Nyikos. We bought each other's books and signed them. I read her book Shelby to my storytime kids and they loved it! It's about a lemon shark, and it was a hit. I read Gilbert the Great and Five Little Sharks to make a shark theme. Hopefully we'll have her down from Oklahoma and she can do a storytime/signing at our stores in Austin.
And out of the blue, I was walking along not terribly observant when someone went, "Regan? Regan! Oh my word, I'm Suzi, Virginia's cousin!"
Now, I did know I had family in the Houston area, but I had no clue Suzi was a librarian or would be at the convention. I have to give her credit, because she put 2 and 2 together in about a nanosecond. She saw my nametag "Regan" and remembered that I had written a book, and with that she hailed me down. We had lunch and a real nice visit, and it was an unexpected treat on top of everything.
So that's my TLA blog entry. I'll post some photos, too. No one else at Blooming Tree may be ready for next year at San Antonio, but I got my puppets and bunnies and can't wait to wear my "author" hat for a few days!