And here we are again in the lovely Columbia, SC. If my math is correct, this is our 6th year in attendance. I am always thrilled to come back here because this is one of our most successful and fun festivals. This year I am really glad to be here this year because back in MD it is snowing and colder than…well cold.
This is one of my favorite book festivals because this area has some seriously loyal readers. We have a group of people that come and see us every year to buy all of our new releases. For me that is the ultimate compliment, because we have been seeing them for four or five years now and they are always excited to see us and to meet new authors.
When we first started attending the SC Book Festival we were placed on the very back wall and things were pretty dismal. But the coordinators listened to those of us back there and they designated that last row for the author signings. The other good thing that happened when we first started attending is that we met historian and author Richard Cote. He befriended us and the next year he requested that they place us next to him. The good news there was that he was on the main aisle as attendees come in the door. So we moved on up. Things have gotten better every year since. The bad news with that is that Richard is focusing more on his writing and no longer attends the festival. We got to keep our new space, but we miss Richard and his wit and charm tremendously.
So I drove in on Thursday so I could rest up for Friday set up. I am not as young and spry as I used to be and need the recovery time. So I got into town, checked into my hotel and spent the night in bed with Andrew Gross. Not only is Andrew handsome, but he is extraordinarily talented. And all of you with your minds in the gutter, you should be ashamed of yourself. I am reading THE DARK TIDE and if you follow me on Twitter you will know that I usually only get to read in the potty (and Andrew was okay with that), but I made the jump and actually packed his book to bring with me. I just couldn’t leave him at home.
Teresa Burrell, author of THE ADVOCATE is my actual roommate on this trip and she arrived at 5 am this morning, via Amtrak from FL. I did manage to fall back asleep for a couple hours, but then I had IHOP on my mind and we had to get up and go to breakfast. If anyone wants to butter Teresa up, IHOP is her favorite breakfast restaurant.
After breakfast we met Sam Morton, author of DISAVOWED and the recently released, and very controversial Young Adult novel BETRAYED at the convention center to set up our booth. For the record, we are in Booth 102 in the Columbia Convention Center.
As I was checking in I ran to my favorite SC conference gal Nancy who always makes me smile.
I got another pleasant surprise when my most favorite children’s author, Bobbi Hinman, came strolling up the aisle. If you have small children who love books, you MUST visit http://www.bestfairybooks.com. She is the author of THE KNOT FAIRY, THE SOCK FAIRY, THE BELLYBUTTON FAIRY, and the upcoming coming THE FART FAIRY. Bobby is one of the neatest people ever and I was so thrilled to see her and hubby Harry.
Soon after, superstar Nick Valentino, author of THOMAS RILEY, a super cool steampunk novel, showed up to set up his display. If you have never met Nick or seen him in action, you definitely need to come by our booth and meet him. It is well worth the trip.
With all the work out of the way, it was back to the hotel room where I have been holed up and doing some brainstorming with a few authors. But now I think you are probably all bored senseless and I should close off.
I’ll be popping in again tomorrow to let you know how our first day of sales went. Don’t forget to stop in and see us.