Yikes! It's bedtime of my first day home from leg 1 of the Torso Tour (as we're calling it now--note similarities in covers for our recent books) and I still haven't managed to post to my blog! No way I'm going to be able to report on everything. Libba has been doing a find job on her blog--check that out, and I'll try to fill in details here, enhanced by some visual aids, because I adore them so.
Maggie and I have a day at the beach! Or an hour anyway. She and my mom joined me at the fabulous Asilomar teachers' conference. Because my schedule was so insane after that, she and my mom went home. My first night away from her EVER. Okay, there might have been some tears. On my part.
Stock signing at Book Passage--I was speaking to Paris (I hope I remembered your name, love!) about the PA contest (which was supposed to be announced yesterday--sorry, we picked the winners but needed to alert them first before I post it here) and how the winner gets a phone call from me, among other stuff. I asked her if she thought that was silly, and she said, "No, I'd love to get a call from an author." So I borrowed Libba's phone, called my phone, and let Paris talk to Libba. And, voila! I know, I know, my charity is depthless.
Lindsey, a fan who came to our stock signing at Copperfield's in Petaluma, asked us to sign her shoes. And to illustrate our undying devotion to our fans, Libba and I turned around and kissed her feet. Naturally.
At the Girls' Middle School, Walter the Giant Librarian asked us how long we'd been together already. When we mentioned this was our first real event together, his jaw dropped. Clearly, Libba and I were womb mates at some point, separated at birth. Libba was shipped off to Texas while I was put into suspended animation only to reappear a few years later in Utah. It's the only viable explanation. Occam's Razor, baby.
It's so fun being with that sassy molassy Ms. Bray. After much discussion, hours of planning and plotting (k, not really), we decided to officially Wing It. So pretty much we each ust grab a mic and just chat. And we've been ending each event by singing a rousing, off-key rendition of "Total Eclipse of the Heart." And so what that neither of us actually know the lyrics? Or much of the tune? That doesn't stop us! It's their fault for giving us a microphone in the first place. Seriously, what are they thinking? I've been laughing so hard the past few days, I'm losing my voice.
Ack, I'm spacing on the name of the school where this was! (We went to so many awesome schools. Seriously, teens are smart and funny and wise. It's thrilling to witness.) But they saved us a parking space, complete with orange cone and sign. I believe this was also the school where Libba and I showed off our high kick routine. Hmm...that one didn't get a repeat...
All the girls (and boy! Yo London) at the event were so fun and smart and noteworthy. But I have to give a special shout out to Jessica and her mother, who drove 3 hours to attend and had to stay in a hotel that night (a school night!). And of course Ms. Jasmine and her mother who flew in from Texas. Yes, that's right, Texas. And their flight was delayed, and they rushed in halfway through the event. Talk about stress, but they made it! Jasmine, our heart-rending rendition of "Total Eclipse" was especially for you, baby.
So, Libba and I clearly have an issue--we can't pass by a photo of each other without applying a little grafitti. Here I turn Libba into a gypsy, her natural state. After giving me some very stylish shades and teeth, she has me shouting my new catchphrase: SHAZAM! That's right, step aside Captain Marvel.
Here I am at the airport for an early morning flight from San Francisco to Seattle. Yeah, I'm hauling Libba's luggage in addition to my own, but it's a small price to pay for the privilege of traveling with her highness. I didn't realize I'd also be asked to massage her feet and wash her underwear, but really its my privilege. Seriously. I swear. It is.
A great event at All For Kids. All week, Libba and I took turns worshipping the booksellers and librarians we met. And fans. And authors. And teachers. It was a love fest all around. The book business is just freakin' cool. People all week were giving me gifts--birthday gifts, just-because-I-love-your-books gifts. I mean, I get to do my dream job, and people are giving me presents? How cool and yet surreal is that? I am way too blessed. Here I am with one of many unbelievably cool readers, Miss Erin, one of the Little Redders and a powerful force on the teen book scene in her own right.
Here we are resting in our luxurious accommodations. Okay, really it's a back room while we waited to go on for our event at the University of Washington bookstore. Pooped is a good word for our current state. It'd been just a touch crazy, with meals grabbed on the road and not a whole lotta rest time, and it may have gotten to us just a tad. We were doing some Q&A that night when a darling girl asked me a very simple question, "Where did you get the idea for Princess Academy?" And for some reason, I cracked. And I began to laugh. And Libba began to laugh. And we could not stop. We were sobbing with laughter, doubled over, complete lunatics. Seriously, I was eyeing the door to make sure no one was coming for us with straight jackets. It took about five minutes to calm down, and when I tried to answer the darling girls very legitimate question, I said the phrase, "Tutor to the princesses." And Libba said, "You just said tooter." Then back it came. My stomach hurt all night.
Booksellers Stesha and Leah pose in Victorian garb with the queen of gothic Victorian fantasy herself, Catherine Zeta Jones. Oops, I meant, Libba Bray. She's just so darn foxy, I get those two mixed up!
I forgot my camera the next day unfortunately and there was one visual I really wish I had--Libba trying to wheel me in on a dolly for our presentation at Third Place Books. I was scared out of my wits, and I was also laughing so hard I couldn't breathe, let alone try to clamber off of that thing. K, I laugh a lot normally, I think. I live with Dean Hale, for goodness sake. And I have a toddler. Plenty of laughing going on, I assure you. But I think I laughed as much in a week with Libba as I did the previous year.
Two stories to illustrate: We're on a small plane from Seattle to Portland--a very small plane. A frighteningly small plane. With propellers. And Libba and I are trying to distract each other to hold back the terror. So to help, I search my brain for the happiest, most carefree song I can think of to calm our fears. So I start to sing "Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy." And while I'm singing, I'm thinking, who was it that sang that song? Libba as gone white as a sheet. She says, "That was John Denver. You know, he died on plane." Of course we spend the rest of the flight naming everyone we can think of who died in a plane crash and singing their songs. My but there were quite a few.
I'm at the Seattle airport and haul my suitcase onto the scale. It's just a might heavier than it was a week ago, as I've passed through a dozen bookstores since and just may have picked up a few books on the way. I'm sure you all find that shocking. The agent tells me, "It's ten pounds too heavy. Can you remove some objects?" So I reach in and pull out my copy of The Sweet Far Thing. I'm about to pull out some more items when the agent says, "That'll do it." Yes, that's right. What I'm trying to say is, after you purchase and read Libba's book, it's usefulness won't stop there! it will serve as a most excellent doorstop, or to weigh down your hot air balloon, or cement a few together to hold back the flood waters.
Okay, so a quick day trip in Portland. Here's Libba at A Children's Place showing the great workout you can do with two copies of her newest tome. You lift and swing, lift, and swing, and chant "It's sweet, and far, it's sweet, and far..."
Then home again. It was ecstatically wonderful to be with my cuties again today. I was away from Dean and Max for an astonishing 9 days, and Maggie for 5. Ouch! I'm leaving again in 2 days, and the only thing that keeps me from being terrified is knowing I'll be basking again in the presence of Ms. Bray.
What can I say about Libba Bray? She is beyond fabulous. She is completely genuine. She is honest and sassy and dark and light and naughty and nice. And I want to keep her in my pocket. Or perched on my shoulder. Just nearby. Sometimes I forget which of us is which. Then I worked out a system to remember--She's the foxy one. I'm the one with half-price jeans.
Whew--it's not complete, but it's as good as I'm going to get, 'cause I'm pooped. But I'm sure there's one burning question you're all dying to get answered before I retire, so I'll take care of that now--yes, I got bangs.