What a Week!

Happy Monday! This is my last Monday as a teacher for this school year. Until next Monday. When I have to go to work. But no children will be involved. Just me, some co-workers, and my sweet attitude about already being back to work. This week I'm doing a giveaway, so keep reading…

I had a GREAT time at the Wal-Mart Shareholder meeting Friday. I have a bunch of celeb pics to share, but those will have to wait. Let me tell you about my Saturday. I was kindly invited to the Library Center in Springfield, MO, to Teen Book Mania by awesome tween/tween librarian and blogger The Green Bean Teen Queen. The event was to include lunch with their cool teen library council (it's like Student Council…for the teen readers), a panel Q and A session, and a book signing. I have to get honest and admit that I like to avoid book signings. It's just not my comfort zone, and life is too short to be THAT uncomfortable. (Story: two years ago I was at a multi-author signing at Mall of America, and I kept leaving my station to visit The Gap and buy orange juice. But in my defense, I was set up RIGHT in front of a candle and soap store, and I think the fumes killed a few brain cells.)  Anyway, I was a little anxious about this event, but Sarah, the Green Bean Teen Queen, asked, and I would probably drive to Springfield to mow her yard if she asked. And you know what? It ended up being the best day. (Not a single stinky bar of soap in the place.)

I drove to S'field and found the Library Center. I noticed right away there was an Andy's Custard right across the street.
It was like a sign from the heavens. Like, “Jen, I'm here for you. . .and so is Andy.” My main thought was that I could never work at the Library Center. Because I would always be walking over to Andy's and spending all my paychecks. And being in a constant state of brain freeze.

I went inside the library and was immediately greeted by Sarah. We'd never met in person, but it was like I already knew her!! Because I did! We've become online buddies the last few years, and I was excited to meet her face to face. Mano y mano. (That means short girl to short girl.)
Sarah y moi 1
Isn't she cute? Love that pink streak in her hair. Those library teens LOVE her. She's doing great things there and great things for our books.

Other fab YA authors were there as well.
Teen Book Mania 004
(far left) Holly Schindler, whose first book just came out, A Blue So Dark (and I got you a signed copy! Read on…)
Me (and my frizzy hair)
Sarah, brilliant YA librarian and event planner of things like Paranormal Masquerade Balls. (Can you imagine how fun that would be?)
Brent Crawford, author of Carter Finally Gets It, and one funny guy
Brian Katcher, author of Playing with Matches, also one funny guy and an elementary librarian as well. (Photo ripped off from Sarah)

We ate lunch with the teen council. Each author was assigned two teens to be our “hosts” and be at our beck and call. I thought about asking my girls, Eileen and Jessica, to finish writing my next chapter, but thought that might be bit of an imposition. We had just met, after all. After lunch the teens led us on a tour of the library. It's a GREAT facility.
It looks like a mall from the outside. Just another reason to love it. And the teen library area is amazing. I forgot to take pics tho. But it's fancy.
After the tour, we four authors were introduced and got to walk inside the conference room on the red carpet. . .
We sat at a table at the front of the room and the teens and public were invited to sit in and ask us questions. My favorite question was “Who would win in a fight between Harry Potter and Edward Cullen?” Oh, the answer is soooo obvious. I won't give you my full response, but it required hand motions.
teen mania
I did mention that the fact that Edward, who is 300 years old (give or take a century) still lived with his parents. One of my many reasons I'd put my money on H.P. (picture stolen from Jessica)

This is one of my teen buddies, Eileen.
She took a few pictures for me. As I was signing books after the Q and A, she asked if I wanted a picture of the bowl of M&Ms. I thought, “This is a girl after my own heart.” Who WOULDN'T want a picture of a bowl of M&Ms?!
I'm thinking about cropping my hand out and framing that candy.

Here's a pic of me signing away.
I'm only posting that because a few people wanted photographic evidence that I did indeed attend a book signing and not bail and go to a mall.
As my stepdad says, “It was a curly hair day.”

After the event, I went to a health food store. I had hoped S'field would have a Whole Foods, but they are like the town I live in and are neglected by the likes of a Trader Joe's or WF. And I was all out of disgusting gluten free bread. Before I got back on the road, I visited the store's bathroom. I really appreciated the large message about fiber on the wall.
You can never get too much fiber education. In the john.

It wouldn't be my life if I didn't get lost on the way home. I pushed a wrong button or two and confused the GPS and it took me home via the back roads of farm land. At one point it had me go in a nice circle that led me here.
Mighty fine gravel hill there.

Later on down the road it told me to turn a sharp right. Which would've led me here:
Lumber mill.

So that's my little trip. Thank you Library Center of Springfield, Missouri. I love my “What Page Are You On” tshirt and coffee mug and the fun memories of the day! I also loved meeting a few local school librarians at the event as well. Librarians are some of my favorite people. (Or media specialists as they're called at my high school. Librarian=dirty word.) And it was great to hang out with other authors. Except I left with ALA envy. Two of them and Sarah, the librarian/media specialist are going to ALA in a few weeks in D.C. I must find a way to get into this gig one year. I hear you can't pack any clothes in your suitcase because you need the space for all the books you're gonna bring back.

Author Holly Schindler had been plugging away for almost eight years at becoming published before she got the call. Her very first book A Blue So Dark released last month! I haven't got to read it yet, but when I saw the cover, I knew I had to get a signed copy for you.


Here's what it's about:
Fifteen-year-old Aura Ambrose has been hiding a secret. Her mother, a talented artist and art teacher, is slowly being consumed by schizophrenia, and Aura has been her sole caretaker ever since Aura's dad left them.        Convinced that “creative” equals crazy, Aura shuns her own artistic talent. But as her mother sinks deeper into the darkness of mental illness, the hunger for a creative outlet draws Aura toward the depths of her imagination. Just as desperation threatens to swallow her whole, Aura discovers that art, love, and family are profoundly linked—and together may offer an escape from her fears.

Sounds good, eh? Everyone's books at TM sounded great. I'm going to have to order Brian and Brent's books as well. I could tell they're all about a little bit of irreverence themselves. But being we're all a little girly around here (even you men…you know who you are), I grabbed a copy of Blue So Dark. To get in the running to win this signed book, leave me a comment and tell me one thing you're planning on doing this summer. I'm doing a little traveling to Georgia and South Carolina. What about you? You have until Thursday night at 8 pm cst to let me know!

Have a great week!!!


Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 52 comments
Rachel - June 25, 2010

I just read your free Kindle book and wanted to know more about the author so I hopped over here and read your blog. When I saw you’d been in Springfield I wanted to mention Mama Jean’s, but I see your friend Sarah already did. I would love a Trader Joe’s though!

ugg classicol - August 2, 2010

why the teas in my eyes,becuse i love it so deeply.


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