The day began as a Friday (which, coincidentally, is how it ended as well). I was scrambling around all morning to make sure I had everything I needed, and also to make sure that my author friend Tiffany Trent had a place to sleep when she arrived. Worst case scenario: she sleeps in Loki. Best case scenario: the washer and drier conspire to make clean sheets available.
By the time she arrived, I had finalized her non-Loki sleeping arrangements, and off we sped towards Williamsburg -- two and some hours away. Much heckling occurs. On the way, one of my crit partners calls with insanely good but secret news that I cannot reveal. So I'm pretty much flying high as a kite by the time we get to Williamsburg. Tiffany uses her parking karma to find us a spot right behind the store (those of you who have visited Colonial Williamsburg will know that this Does Not Happen). And then we walk around the side of the store and find this:
A giant Window of Shiver!!! Please note, from left to right: Box of Shivers, Tiffany Trent, Maggie Stiefvater, GIANT POSTER OF MY COVER.
After dropping off the box of books, we meet up with Girl Reporter, Kelly Fineman
Wolf: I want to kill your girlfriend!!! Me: Oooooh, bring it! etc.
I was not the only one who had been having fun with the puppets, it seems. Because turning around, I found that some secret twin of mine had already been rearranging things:
I did not encourage that dinosaur to bite that horse's butt. It was already in process when I got there.
So onward we went to Wythe's Candy Store, the one that I based the candy shop scene in Shiver off. I went in to pick up the $25 gift basket that I was going to raffle at the launch. I lean against the counter, trying not to goggle at the caramel apples, and the following conversation ensues:
ME: I'm here to pick up a gift basket?
CANDY SHOP GIRL: Are you the book person?
ME: *thinking oh God have I become a character!?*
CANDY SHOP GIRL: I mean, author?
ME: *palpable relief* Yes.
CANDY SHOP GIRL: *heaves up giant gift basket that looks like it may exceed Maggie's debit card limit*
CANDY SHOP GIRL: This is about $75 worth of candy.
ME: *continues goggling*
CANDY SHOP GIRL: We wanted to donate it to you, because of all the great publicity you've given the store. In the newspaper, and everything.
ME: *will never stop goggling*
TIFFANY: *thinks "say thank you, Maggie"*
ME: WOW. Thank you. Thank you! I goggle!
CANDY SHOP GIRL: I see that.
Anyway, Tiffany attempted to then make off with the basket, but Girl Reporter tackled her and we made it successfully to the store in time for the signing to start.
Left to right: Tiffany, Kelly daughter #1 (name omitted for extreme youth), Kelly, Me, GIANT GIFT BASKET, Daughter #2, Girl Reporter
And um, there were a lot of people there.
No seriously. A lot. See?
Anyway, so Beau, the absolutely fantastic coordinator of the event, announced me and a ton of prizes that he had brought, including a stuffed Sam (in wolf form, not boy, before you get excited) which he hid in the store for a scavenger hunt. He was incredibly generous and incredibly organized and pretty much the reason why it didn't devolve into a mad, candy-grabbing free for all.
So I did a reading.
Me reading something pretty like "I remember lying in the snow, a small red spot of warm going cold, surrounded by wolves."
Me reading something suspenseful like: "I thought she was the most beautiful girl I'd ever seen, a tiny, bloody angel in the snow, and they were going to destroy her."
Note how weird and square my chin goes when I'm reading. Huh! The things we learn about ourselves.
Anyway, there were two surprises there for me . . . first of all, a fan arrived wearing a Shiver shirt she'd made herself (plus she'd driven HOURS AND HOURS to see me). I died of the awesome. And then asked for a photo.
And then the following happened. Cathy, one of the booksellers, took me aside for the following conversation:
CATHY: Your sister needs to see you. In the, um . . .
BEAU: The um, dorm section. Over there. That stuff. Books. And stuff.
CATHY: Yes, that's exactly it.
ME: Right now? During the launch?
CATHY: Yep. Indeed. For sure.
ME: Okay . . .
*journey to the dorm section
CATHY: I thought you might need a break.
ME: *thinking that i must look like crap or possibly had drooled during the reading without noticing* I'm okay?
CATHY: Oops, looks like your sister isn't here.
ME: No #$@t, sherlock.
CATHY: And actually, she never was. We just wanted to get you out of the party area. Because we have a little surprise.
ME: *please not a pony*
It was not a pony. It was this:
Which is a giant cake of my book cover. That was preservative-free and delivered from an hour away, just for me. Beau had even asked Scholastic for permission to use the image. In the history of presents for Maggie, it goes in the top five. It was absolutely brilliant.
Then we raffled the wolf loot, the candy basket, and a free library visit before going onto the actual signing. Dozens and dozens and dozens . . . actually, I think Beau told me it was 60 or 70. The number didn't really matter, though, because by this point I was so amazingly cheerful with the world that things like integers hardly seemed important.
And then my husband showed up with my kids -- he'd driven the two hours with them to come and surprise me -- and I was pushed over the edge of Very Happy to Insanely Happy. Off we all went with my family (parents and siblings included), Beau and his retinue, Tiffany, and Girl Reporter.
It was pretty much bloody amazing. I can't really say it any better than that. In between the launch and Jackson's video of/for me, I'm feeling like, karmically, it is time for me to do something cool for someone now.
Just as soon as I write a few thousand words.