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Baltimore Book Festival

Every email I’ve answered this week has started out the same: “Sorry to be so late getting back to you . . .” Man, I still feel as though I’m behind on nearly every aspect of my life! Editing does it to me, because I’ve yet to learn how to BALANCE my life.

Which is why I’m blogging about the Baltimore Book Festival so late! (Come to think of it, I haven’t yet blogged about my first book signing in May. Wow. I’m really behind!)

But, I had a fantastic time, and–I have to admit–it’s the first time I’ve ever gone even though it’s only a forty minute drive from my house. My family was supposed to go with me, but there was baseball that day and baseball always trumps writing. Sigh.

So I went alone, and managed to find a space on the fifth floor of the parking garage. But once I took the elevator down to the first floor, I realized I forgot my soda that was tasting pretty good. No big deal, I took the elevator back up, got my soda, took the elevator back down. Only to realize I forgot my festival packet. Grr. Went back up, got my packet, came back down. Only to realize I forgot my sweater.

Are you kidding me? Forget it and freeze or get it. Forget it and freeze or get it.

Went back up, got my sweater, came back down. What can I say? I was nervous. Once I finally stopped running back to my van, in heels no less, I walked to the festival to see this:

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Gorgeous, huh? But I soon learned my first lesson: Don’t wear high heels to the Baltimore Book Festival where there is a lot of cobblestone.

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I had to walk on my toes to keep from scuffing up my favorite heels, and it reminded me of when I tried to teach my mom how to walk in heels when I was in high school. She would walk on her toes, with knees bent and shoulders pressed back.

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After checking in and dropping of the sweater I would NOT need after all, (grr,) I checked out the author’s tent, where writers were selling their books. I couldn’t stay, though, because I wanted to support them all by buying a copy. But I did pick up a self-pubbed mystery that looked really interesting, and chatted with a writer named John L. Herman, Jr., who gave me a free copy of THE INNKEEPER TALES, that my husband is enjoying very much. Thanks, John!

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More photos . . .

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Don’t you love being around so many people who love books? Seeing how I had some time on my hands, I had lunch at a restaurant that had tables set up outside, and listened to some fabulous jazz. Very cool.

What else was cool?

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Seeing the schedule at the Children’s Bookstore Stage with my name on it!

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Okay, okay, mine was on the bottom. But you have to start somewhere, right? Or, as my husband lovingly lied, they saved the best for last. Aww! So sweet. (And so full of crap, but that’s what husbands are for.)

Nerd that I am, I wanted my picture taken by the schedule, so I noticed a cutie walking my way with a camera looped around his neck and flagged him down, asking if he’d take my photo. Then I noticed his name tag. Jeff Kinney. I started to stutter . . . Jeff Kinney . . . wait, aren’t you . . . DIARY OF A WIMPY KID! Oh my gosh, I LOVE THAT BOOK! Then I introduced myself and he said, “Oh yeah, Beauty Shop for Rent!”

COOL!!! He knew my book! (Of course, I was standing right beside the schedule that more than likely gave him that information, but in my warped fantasy world–he knew me and my book. One can dream, right?)

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So he took my picture . . . and then I went into the Children’s Bookstore’s tent to find . . .

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YAY! Had to take a picture of that!

Then it was time to go to the author lounge to wait to be escorted to the panel I was doing with Melissa Marr, Brad Barkley, Laura Resau, and Matthew Olshan. While chatting with Melissa and Laura, I noticed Dorothy Hamill by the beverages. Dorothy Hamill! Oh my gosh, she was my idol as a kid. I wanted to introduce myself–and tell her that I had her haircut once–but didn’t think that was too appropriate.

Soon it was panel time!

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Matthew Olshan asked the questions, and some came from the audience. Right here, I’m probably thinking of something to say . . .

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Blah, blah, blah . . .

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When doing panels, I always remember how it was when I was starting out, struggling with rejections and trying to find my footing. It was so discouraging to listen to authors who talked mostly about their successes, and the right turns they took, making it sound so easy. No, I wanted to hear about mistakes, wrong turns and struggles, so I would know there was hope . . . I’d get there some day. So I talk about the good things and bad things and how being published doesn’t give you an instant easy button.

The best part of the panel? When a teenager sitting in the front moved and I noticed my dear friend, Jim Proimos, sitting behind her. Aw! It was so sweet of him to come see me. We hung out after I signed a few books . . .

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And then I tip-toed over the cobblestone back to home. All in all, a great day, and many, MANY thanks to the Children’s Bookstore for inviting me! I had a total blast!

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