Had a wonderful time in Tucson, and learned how authors work a Book Festival. Helped that I was with some real pros: Kris Tualla, Morgan Kearns, Deena Remiel, Tami Vinson, Donna Hatch, Gini Koch, Erin Quinn, Erin Kellison, Lynn Rush and others. We even braved the rain and hail together–not something book-friendly.
I’ve not been to Tucson, except for soccer and volleyball tournaments when my kids were playing competitive sports. Those days were usually lost in a food and adult conversation deprivation black hole. There were other authors there I would have loved to listen to, like Diana Gabaldon, Larry McMurtry and Jodi Picoult, but I manned my books, and gave out over 500 bookmarks and 400 red wristbands. Yes, I sold some books, but I met some wonderful people. A lot of our conversations were about their military careers, or careers of their family. Often people came up to me after many generations of military service. Very moving for me, personally.
I stayed at the Arizona Inn, 90+ rooms on 14 acres. All single level, with a library to die for. I lost myself sipping tea by firelight in the evening, gulping coffee at dawn. I imagined I was one of those like the Roosevelts or the Senator John Kennedys (who it was said left his bathing suit behind – now there’s a story – where did he leave it? LOL), and Clark Gable. From the golden age of past players. I wouldn’t know today who was important, so I nodded and smiled and pretended I was one of them. Fun. Really fun. It’s definitely a place I’ll bring my husband back to some day.
University of Arizona is a beautiful campus, and, except for some people with yellow placards saying we were all going to Hell (well, some of my reviewers have said that too and it hasn’t happened yet), I enjoyed my little stay on my little 28″ of the shared tabletop under the tent. Even managed to get a little sunburned in the rain. Go figure. A California girl getting sunburned in the rain.
The airport was fun too, as I gathered with a group of other authors doing the Tucson to San Diego run, on our ways west to different parts. We shared a view of each other’s book trailers, and had a small crowd gathered around the computer plug ins. I realized it was a wise thing for some big named authors to ride Southwest like I did. One explained to me he did it so he could pass out bookmarks. And he’d sign them. The girls loved it. I filed that one away for when I get to my goal weight.
The movie of being there was still playing in my mind when I went to see Jodi Picoult in my part of the country, and she had just come from Tucson. I felt like that was my dessert for all the hard work it took lugging books, bookmarks and dog tags around on wheeled suitcases. Where I could sit back and be entertained, instead of saying things like, “I got Hot Navy SEALs here,” between the “I got Hot Baseball Players” and “I got Hot Christian Guys.”
I needed to do this. I needed to do something I wasn’t used to doing, to break out of my comfort zone. And my treat was to listen to a very wise and wonderful writer inspiring me to get back to the keyboard and begin writing the next chapter.
There are some times when I miss the “big” stuff of high profile real estate. But not many. And this weekend was one of those that I didn’t miss it at all. I got to stay in the fantasy of my own choosing, sharing a time with others doing the same, putting our hooks out there and fishing for those elusive readers on a personal, one-at-a-time basis.
And I declare it good.
What about you? What did you do last weekend?