Yesterday was my first time at NAIBA, and I was invited to attend their Movable Feast luncheon, a speed-dating style format for authors and independent bookstore owners and buyers to meet and for me to talk about CHOSEN.
I arrived in Atlantic City the night before, just coming off Washington DC with barely a day in between events, a day filled with my boys' soccer games and juggling groceries/childcare/homeschooling plans for while I was gone, and J off getting his certification to coach Hayden's hockey team this winter. I intended to just take the same suitcase from DC and, finding it zipped by the door and being my usual handful of minutes late, grabbed it, only to find upon arrival at the hotel, that various key items had been unpacked. Like shoes. And shirts.
I wish I could say this sort of thing never happens to me, that I am always perfectly organized and on time, but those who know me and love me are nodding along. Like Hayden's first away hockey game as goalie, when I proudly remembered his huge equipment bag, and snacks and warm clothes for the little two, not to mention all three kids but forgot... the stick.
Luckily, there were Atlantic City outlets just a quick cab jaunt away and I am now the proud owner of some adorable Steve Madden heels.
I had grand illusions of a dreamy night holed up in a hotel room, just me and my almost-complete second manuscript for hours of alone time and revision, but ended up stomach sick, likely too much caffeine, not enough food, etc. Again, I wish I could say this is a unique situation, but this happens too often when I forget to eat. So it was a bowl of soup and saltines and ginger ale, and my first dose of TV in (three?) years, Dancing with the Stars. I realize I am not missing much.
In the morning, I signed two hundred books to go in the swag bags and then had an early lunch with the other authors from the feast.
I know this sounds so starry-eyed and silly, but sometimes I can't believe this is my life, that I end up sitting across from the guy who writes the Big Nate books my older kid is just silly about and hearing the backstory between Lincoln Peirce and Jeff Kinney, or catching sight of Nick Bruel, the guy who writes the "Bad Kitty" books Max is learning to read on.
I mostly listened during the pre-luncheon, to stories of how other people came to the business, like the inspirational human-rescues-dog-who-returns-the-favor story of Larry Levin and Oogy. Oh, and Lincoln Peirce signed his Big Nate book for Hayden, complete with cartoon embellishment which looks not too unlike Hayden himself. (When I picked Hayden up from my dad's and gave him this, he promptly devoured it, stopping only for exactly seventy-one minutes of soccer practice.)
And then came the luncheon. I couldn't help but feel as I enjoyed all the presentations of my fellow authors, as I bopped between tables at courses, meeting booksellers and buyers, arranging more book clubs (stay tuned Pittsburgh and Rehoboth) as I met people who had actually read the book and loved it, that I have officially moved to the Grown Up Table.
I will say it again: some days I still cannot believe this is my life.
I went home with a staggering swag bag of new books I cannot wait to read and share with my family. Leave me a comment here if you want recommendations or to hear more about these fabulous upcoming titles.