Time for my epic MBA rundown. Once again, mostly in pictures. Because I had to be lugging that giant camera around in my bag for a reason. Day 1 of MBA involved flying to Chicago late in the evening and staying in the lovely swank Westin Hotel, who bent over backwards to find me food without preservatives in it for dinner. Which was good, because dying or barfing is a terrible way to start a book trip. I would show you pictures of the hotel, but they are boring. I would show you pictures of the sunset out my window, but it is standard sunset fare. Moving on.
Day two involved two school visits, both of which were fantastic. Witness the signage up at the first high school (they also had blue and white and red balloons). And at the second school, not only did all 150 students wear blue to the talk, but they covered the library walls with Shiver and Lament posters! I didn't get a pic of the most ominous one, which was a syringe of blood squirting blood (that's not spoilery to say that, is it?) but needless to say, it will never be forgotten.
(Sadly, at this point in the blog post, I had to consult my itinerary so that I could remember what it was I did next).
Which was to head to Millennium Park with my great Scholastic publicist, Samantha, to take pics of the Bean and eat a crab cake the size of my head. Neither my head nor the crab will ever be the same. Post crabcake, we headed to the amazing and famous Anderson's Bookshop for a book signing. The turn-out was absolutely amazing. By this point I was pretty slaphappy, and everyone was too shy to ask questions, so I ended up having a rather stream-of-consciousness conversation about werewolves and nookie and crying by myself. All was well. Anderson's was lovely.
Then sleep and, still in the company of Samantha, off to St. Paul for another day of school visits. First we met up with Tim, our (media) escort (I know, I'm juvenile. I just can't help being amused and introducing him as our escort. I'm sure he's never heard that before.) who took us to a great little organic restaurant. Normally being allergic to preservatives means that I lose weight while on the road. NOT THIS TRIP. Then a pair of high school presentations, and then off to the cultural hotspot of Minnesota:
THE MALL OF AMERICA.
This would be me and Samantha posing in front of the indoor amusement park at the mall. That was indeed amazing, but not as amazing as the Haagan Daas Belgian Chocolate Chocolate* ice cream cone that I scored there.
*Yes, it was not just chocolate. But Chocolate chocolate.
And we also got to see some early paintings by Charles Schultz at a barber shop where his dad worked. As an artist, I thought this was pretty cool. Those are prenatal Peanuts! When they were but twinkling in teen Charles' eyes!
Then off to a signing at the Red Balloon Bookshop. Which was great -- not only did some blog readers drive from Iowa to see me (and said they read Shiver on the way back by the light of a cell phone, which is an evocative image), but guess who else showed up?
Editor Yoda. That's right, my first editor from Flux (now at Carolrhoda). It was bizarre answering the "did your first book get snapped up right away?" question with him laughing in the background. This is a supremely bad photo of both of us but does prove that he was there. Go Andrew! He's terribly, terribly nice. And also rides a bicycle.
Then back to my hotel, the cleverly named St. Paul, which was . . . um . . . really nice. Really, really nice. Also, I had a twelfth story room and this was my view:
Day after (are you losing track of days yet? I did) I met with booksellers at a movable feast (someday if you meet me ask me about cats and sobbing), met up with a friend who fed me sausage pie (so good. so many calories. so good), and then finished up with a dinner with yet more booksellers and two of my favorite Scholastic sales reps and Samantha. Dinner topics included knights templar, 6 3/4" items of Twilight merchandise (I'm scarred), peopleofwalmart.com and new nicknames for me.
The next day could not live up in awesomeness to the previous days, but it did. Because I started out the next morning at a children's book author breakfast, where I met M. T. Anderson and Neil Gaiman. I told M. T. Anderson that I wanted to marry his book FEED and have dystopian babies with it. He looked afraid, but he couldn't get away before Publisher's Weekly took a picture of us together. Ah, Tobin, you cannot deny knowing me now!
By this day -- Saturday -- I was passed from the confident hands of Scholastic to the capable hands of Flux, in particular my rather funny and equally slap-happy Flux publicist, Marissa. Marissa was the one who supplied all of my needs on Saturday, such as fetching me a pince nez.
I think I may use this as my new author photo.
Then, basically I signed books for the rest of the day.
I signed them at the Flux booth.
At the formal autographing area.
At the Har-Mar Barnes & Noble with Kirsten Cronn Mills and Margaret Willey.
Then I was picked up by the same friend who made me sausage pie for a night over at her place and then Taylors Falls in the morning, for some research. The next morning, however, aided by cloudy skies and a general consensus that Taylors Falls was nothing like northern Minnesota, we decided to go walking in a swamp instead.
See, a swamp.
Where we found poky things:
More poky things:
berries to make you bigger:
berries to make you smaller:
berries to make you speak Slovakian, the latest language Shiver's been sold in (up to 25 now. insane? yes)
And finally the long road back home:
It's good to be back, at least for a little bit. I have details about the upcoming UK trip (including a London booksigning, UK peeps!) to come. And if you just can't get enough of my trip photos for some strange reason, you can always find more than I post here on my Flickr page.