The day dawned gloomy and overcast. After the mini-heat wave which gave us a taste of the summer weather to come, we were glad to have a bit of a chill in the air. After loading the car up, Denny and I headed out to make the 80 mile drive down to the San Diego Children's Book Festival. I, for one, was hoping the weather would stay a little on the chilly side. A little gloom never hurt anyone, and I tend to melt in the heat. As we were approaching San Diego, horror of horrors, precipitation was falling out of the sky and landing on my windshield. I didn't want the weather to be that gloomy.
We arrived at the book festival, which was held in a location where no GPS could find, nor MapQuest or Google Maps. According to one of the other authors who attended, the only site which had proper directions was Yahoo. I put the approximate address in the GPS and decided that once we got off the freeway, I'd pull off and we could pull up the internet really quick to see if we could find better directions. It turned out that wasn't necessary as the festival coordinators had the way marked very well with signs. We parked at the Library and then walked across the street. Although a short distance, the walk was quite lengthy as the area was fenced in and there appeared to be one way in and one way out, which included going to the far edge of the parking lot (for authorized people only), then back through the parking lot to the stairs (or ramp) and then to your booth. The AuthorsDen booth was along the backside of the park where the book festival was being housed, and toward the street end, so as the crow flies it wouldn't have been far at all. We dropped off the first load of stuff and I sent Denny on ahead and told him I'd meet him at the car. He had quite a bit of a headstart and decided to go back the way we came in. I figured there had to be a shorter way, and sure enough I found it. Denny was surprised to see me coming from the opposite direction and catching up to him as he prepared to cross the street.
The weather did manage to make a turn for the better during my signing and the gloomy clouds gave way to sunshine and a nice breeze. Denny and I found a nice table under an awning to have our lunch to get me out of the sun for a bit. I also had to go back to the car and get my floppy orange hat that I wear to the Titan games on Sundays to keep my from getting too much sun on my face. (We had already put sunscreen on before arriving at the event.)
My signing times were 10:00 - 10:30 and 3:00 - 3:30, so since the festival opened at 10:00, I was the first one up. I brought my laptop so that I could play my book trailer for Misfit McCabe, which worked out fairly well. Unfortunately, unlike the LA Times Festival of Books, at the opening of the San Diego Book Festival, actual customers were sparse. Afterward people did start coming in and there were a fair number of people in attendance. There were a lot of families with young children, moms and their small children, and babies in strollers everywhere. What was interesting was that while there were children's books and children's authors there, we did see quite a few young adult books on display and young adult authors, however, the actual young adults in attendance were very meager.
Denny and I took the opportunity of this being a smaller venue than the LA Times festival and caught a few of the featured talks on the stage. DJ McHale spoke about his Pendragon series and he was quite entertaining to listen to. DJ also read an exerpt of chapter 1 from a new series that he is working on. To me it sounded much more like a prologue than chapter 1, but as he explained it was a very rough draft. I gave him credit for having the guts to share something at that stage of the writing process, something he confessed he had never done before. I'm not sure I would have the courage to do that. We also sat in on the session of Mad Science, and that had a great deal of audience participation. The Mad Science guy (sorry I don't know his name as we caught it after it started) was choosing kids from the audience to come up and help him, and every time he asked for volunteers, a young teen in a bright pink shirt with a paperbag hat decorated with caution tape practically leapt out of her chair to stick her hand in the air. Unfortunately, he simply was choosing from the next to the back row, and her hopes of being selected continued to be dashed. As he was winding his show up, he asked for volunteers, and of course, her hand shot straight into the air, and Denny and I then put our hands in the air and began to point at her. She was so excited to have been chosen for the task. So, you're welcome, Danielle.
Even though I didn't make any sales, the day was not a total loss. I was glad to have the chance to reconnect with children's author Mary Coe and to meet her family, as well as meet and talk with authors Janice Lease, Gayle Martin, and Shirley Woods. I also made some additional contacts while handing out more bookmarks. As with most things in the authorship game, you cast out your offerings and don't know whether or not there will be any returns until later. One good contact made was with Edward Pyne of the Union Herald Tribune. Edward saw Denny and I walking by with our t-shirts which have the Where in the World is Misfit McCabe? map on the front, and a picture of the cover for Nowhere Feels Like Home on the back, and he was intrigued. We chatted for a few moments and the end result is that Edward is in the process of starting up a new website which will have author interviews, and after he gets the website up and running, he would like to interview me. Which, if it comes to pass, will be quite exciting.
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