Wednesday, June 27, 2007

ALA - Saturday, June 23

Saturday June 23

We headed over to the Washington Convention Center in order to get first dibs on the loot…er…visit the exhibits. In the registration area I ran into the other members of the red and white vertically challenged writers’ club and had to take a photo. Here’s me, Mary Pearson and Nancy Werlin.

Nancy Werlin provided a two-minute orientation as we descended to the exhibit floor. For example, when snagging roomy carry bags from a vendor, do not make eye contact. Martha and I ran into Gail Giles and she tipped us that we could snag free galleys of Right Behind You at the Little, Brown booth. There were also wonderful pickings at the Harper-Collins booth. By then we were in total exhibits mode, so if we saw someone with something cool, we’d ask where they got it and hustle over there.

Had lunch at a French bistro with Debby and Jody, passed out postcards and bookmarks to librarians from Michigan. Debby went to meet with her editor and we went back to the convention center for my signing at the Hyperion Booth at 3 p.m. It was very cool, met multiple Hyperion staffers and librarians and book lovers from all over. Here I am in the booth with Donna Bray, Executive Editor at Hyperion Books for Children.

When the signing was over, zipped over to the Scholastic booth to get in line with a thousand Harry Potter fans (well, older than the typical HP fans) to snag the Harry Potter bags and bookmarks they were giving away.

Here’s my haul from the first day.

Monday, June 25, 2007

ALA - Friday June 22

Friday June 22nd

Whoa. This idea of “blogging from ALA” business is harder than it seems! First of all, I took an involuntary tour of greater Maryland on my way in from the airport on the Super Shuttle. Missed a lovely dinner with writing friends Martha Peaslee Levine, Jody Feldman, Debby Garfinkle, Mary Pearson, and a chance to meet the Newbery “honored” Cindy Lord.

I checked in at the lovely Monaco Hotel, dumped my stuff, and hoofed it down to the Renaissance Hotel in time to hear the last couple of speakers at the Printz Reunion, Walter Dean Myers and Ellen Wittlinger. Sadly, didn’t get to hear Laurie Halse Anderson and the others.

I rendezvoused with Martha, Jody and Debby, who were kind enough to stick by me while I wolfed down multiple canap├ęs at the Booklist YALSA 50th Anniversary cocktail reception. Christina Getrost, the teen librarian at Stow-Munroe Falls Library stopped by just as my blood sugar began to normalize. Two glasses of wine and I was feeling restored enough to walk back to the hotel, though perhaps no longer blog-worthy.

The Monaco Hotel was once Washington D.C.'s General Post Office, built in 1839 by Robert Mills, the same architect to design the Washington Monument. It’s really cool—full of marble and pillars—kind of like a small-scale palace. Except people kept asking where our hotel was, and I kept having to say F and 7th . Which sounded like F-ing 7th. And they’d say, why, is it really far away?

Here’s my roomie Martha on the roll-away bed in her tiny alcove. Notice that she is between me and my computer so there could be no blogging that night.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Blogger in Training

In my last post, I mentioned that I was going to be at ALA. So my friend, Kate, who is NOT going to ALA, asked, Are you going to be blogging from ALA? I said, Erm, Sure. And she said, With pictures? And I said, Erm, Sure.

I'd seen Nancy Werlin's cool blog from the National Book Awards
and had read blog posts from BEA.
I could do this.
I dutifully downloaded the little Blogging from ALA Annual logo. I even went to the Blogger FAQ page and read through the part about how to create links using html before I shamefacedly navigated away (it's still in my browser history, though).

I wasn't going to admit to Kate that although I had taken plenty of photos with our digital camera, I'd never actually downloaded any to my computer. I'd left that up to the Resident WebMaster (RWM). So I asked the RWM if he would show me how to download photos from the camera to my computer. This launched an hour-long software download and tutorial session so that I could download photos, brighten, darken, resize them, crop them, fix red-eye, and paint out any facial blemishes.
I was definitely born too soon. Now I'm wishing I could go back to high school.

I practiced on this iris photo
The one on the left is the original photo
The one on the right is cropped and resized

That's the thing about technology. I LOVE IT LOVE IT LOVE IT. I would not have any books out if not for technology. But nothing is ever straightforward. I just want things to work. I don't want to download any printer drivers. I don't want to go to the Help menu, and I certainly don't want to access any online help desks where the person speaking via undersea cable in a heavy foreign accent claims his name is Chip.
So if you are an iris, and you appear in my blog, rest assured you will be resized, cropped, and any red-eye eliminated.
Otherwise, you're on your own.

Monday, June 11, 2007

What to Wear, What to Wear

OK, so after my whining posting of last week about not getting to go to BEA, I AM going to the American Library Association conference in Washington, DC. This is my first ALA conference and I’m doing a signing at the Hyperion Booth for Warrior Heir and Wizard Heir on Saturday. I’m also thrilled to be going to the Caldecott-Newbery Banquet (or is the Newbury-Caldecott Banquet.)

So here’s the problem: What to wear? I asked my contact at the publisher, and she said, “Black is good.”

Here’s the data:

I’m from the Midwest, and the conference is on the East coast, plus there will be all these NYC publishing types there. They all wear black, right?
The banquet is black tie.
My hotel is ~1/2 mile from the convention center and I’ll be walking back and forth.
I’m vertically challenged and my bodily contours are, shall we say, redistributing themselves.
My typical dressup fashion look is a cross between throwback flower child, gypsy’s night out and high bling
I don’t go to these kinds of events often, so I have to be aware of the cost-per-wear factor

Cocktail Dress Criteria
Flattering to short person with redistributed contours
Sexy, but not too sexy
Inexpensive, but looks very expensive
Comfortable (does not require constant strap and infrastructure monitoring and adjustment)
Emphasizes what I want to emphasize
Downplays what I want to downplay
Available in one of the three malls I frequent (requires no visits to formalwear stores)
Ironing? What’s that?
Totally in context with whatever my table-mates will be wearing

Shoe Criteria
Very comfortable for walking long distances on pavement
Look good on my feet
Very high heel
Inexpensive but look very expensive
Sexy. Just. Sexy

So after searching my three malls (one of them twice) and trying on scads (Midwest term) of dresses, the one dress that fit, looked good, emphasized, de-emphasized, etc. is…black and white polka-dot.

Does polka dot have anything to do with polka? Here’s what Wikipedia says

Polka dot is a pattern consisting of dots. Polka dot patterns are quite variable: they range from a series of dots that are equally spaced and sized to a random arrangement of multicoloured dots of different sizes. Polka dots are most commonly seen on children's clothing, toys, and furniture, but they appear in a wide array of contexts. The pattern rarely appears in formal contexts, however, and is generally confined to more playful attire such as bathing suits. Occasionally white on black regularly spaced polka dots appear on more formal clothing.
While polka dots are ancient, they first became common on clothing in the late nineteenth century in Britain. At the same time polka music was extremely popular and the name was also applied to the pattern, despite no real connection between them.

I’m doomed.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

A BookExpo Wallflower

Am I the only one who feels like she's home cleaning the bird cage on prom night? I can't open my email box without stumbling over enewsletters and blog posts from those lucky folks reporting from BEA. They range from social butterflies trekking from pahty to pahty in the Big Apple to those working the convention floor, Blackberries in hand, slinging ARCS and catching them, spreading rumors, and rubbing shoulders with the great, including Alan Greenspan, Rosie O'Donnell, Alice Sebold, Stephen Colbert, and Ian McEwan.

So I read that Jeff Gomez, director of Internet marketing for Holtzbrinck Publishing said in his Thursday session that writers should be spending two to 10 hours per week online promoting themselves in electronic communities. And I'm thinking, I don't have two to 10 hours. It's too easy now to skip off into the virtual community when I supposed to be nailing a difficult revision. I'm still trying to shake that self-Googling disease. And now Jeff Gomez says I'm not doing it nearly enough! Sigh.

But I can do this--not every day, but maybe once a week. I've been speaking to people one by one via email--now perhaps I can talk to lots of people at once. We'll see.