The BBF That Was
I went up to Baltimore yesterday, for the third and final day of the Baltimore Book Festival. (Alas, I didn’t make it up there the other two days.) I’ve been to the BBF a couple of other times, and yesterday was — hands down — the most gorgeous weather I’ve ever enjoyed there! (Not a huge amount of competition, alas. The first time I went, I was nearly electrocuted by the *rivers* of rainwater that ran through our tent, over the cords for lighting and microphones. And the second time I went, it was grey and soggy from previous days’ rains. Yesterday, it was clear-blue-sky and sunny for the entire day.)
I parked in the garage they recommend for authors and staff, and I was amused by the writers’ license plates I saw as I drove up the ramp, looking for a space. (There were about a dozen variations on WRITER, with different spellings and from different states.) Over at the hospitality suite, I immediately ran into Laura Anne Gilman (who was imitating my “smash and grab” trip of last weekend, only in reverse — she got an early morning train from NYC, spent the day in Balto, then headed home by train.) After making sure my former editor had enough caffeine to make it to her morning panel, I headed over to the Maryland Romance Writers’ tent.
Alas, I wasn’t able to participate in programming with MRW; my schedule had been up in the air when they were setting their schedule. I *was* able to visit with lots of friends, though. The tent was already filling with guests, even though the first panel had not yet begun. (I also got to commiserate with poor Laura Kaye, who was trying to figure out the best way to clean up after someone who had walked a dog — or maybe an elephant, judging by the pile left behind — on the edge of the MRW tent grounds. The owner had failed to clean up, and Laura had no appropriate clothes or tools for the job. I don’t know how the matter was ultimately resolved, but the grounds were clean when I returned later in the day!)
I next swung by the SFWA tent, where I had the good fortune to chat with Julie Czerneda, who was signing books. I lured her back to the hospitality house for a quick snack before her 1:00 panel, and we (along with Julie’s husband, Roger) toured the upstairs of the house — a gorgeous space with wood paneling, intricate ceiling paintings, built-in bookshelves that would make any author drool, and other fine appointments.
Ultimately, I caught up with Stephanie Dray and her white knight, Adam. We chatted until around 2:30, at which point they went off to peruse the festival, and I decided to take an early look (before my 3:30 panel) at what was going on in the Children’s Bookstore tent. It was a good thing I wanted to do that — times had been switched from what I had in my calendar, and my panel was actually at 3!
The panel went very well. Emma Casale, one of the bookstore employees (and an author of fantasy fiction in her own right!) was very prepared with discussion questions that we could all address. Jonathan Auxier was his usual entertaining self (although without yo-yo accompaniment this time!). Kit Grindstaff was brilliant as she launched her first novel. Maile Meloy and Eden Unger Bowditch each made their alternative-history-with-magic novels sound fascinating.
And then we got to sign books. I was *thrilled* to meet so many young readers (along with their patient, generous parents.) Much to my pleasure, I signed several copies of both DARKBEAST and DARKBEAST REBELLION to boys (who are sometimes turned off by the rather girly covers.)
All in all, it was a wonderful way to spend the day. I had an easy drive home (the Orioles game had recently let out, but fans were staying on the sidewalks when I drove by the stadium.) Now, I have a couple of weeks without a single book event (!), so I can write new stories…
How about you? Have you ever attended a book festival? If so, what did you like best about the event?