Prepare yourselves for long post, many photos, little sense.
My awesome helper Debbie. The event had over 70 volunteers helping behind the scenes. Debbie was assigned to me. I gave her my camera and she saved the day, snapping some awesome photos. Thanks to Debbie and her cute sister Connie!
We had a lot of signing to do. Each of us signed about 150 books for giveaways and 1000 posters. (Stephenie signed 600 books). Here are Janette Rallison, James Owen, and Dean Lorey hard at work. Huge thanks to Bloomsbury and Walker who donated all of Janette's and my books for the event! BLOOMSBURY ROCKS!
...so he could model it on stage for the audience. PJ Haarsma is his handsome escort. Can I tell you how seriously awesome these guys are? Everyone was awesome. I'd say, "Hey guys, how about we do ___" and they'd say, "Sure, why not?" I was in heaven.
Twelve authors, reclusively hiding,
Were quietly doing their writing,
But when cancer messed
With their Book Babe's breast,
They emerged from their caves to go fighting.
They unsheathe their pens for this battle,
And cages of monsters they rattle.
So, cancer beware,
You haven't a prayer
Against Janette's cheerleader's prattle.
The robot dog's up for a scuffle,
The playing card soldiers, a shuffle.
Even Morgan LaFey
Gets into the fray.
And what could survive this kerfuffle?
Oh, cancer, the West Wind is blowing.
The dragons and gorgons are lowing.
You cannot unhinge
And that rascal Edward is glowing.
The cancer has got to be shrinking
In fear that a Softwire is linking.
Mull and his ilk
Sip magical milk,
And guess what the vampire's drinking.
Then after this awesome poem, Brandon Mull added:
Roses are red
Violets are blue
Backstage, we found ourselves huddled in a perfect circle, circle, so why not do an Eight is Enough shot? Clockwise from the pink: Laini Taylor, Brandon Mull, Chris Gall, Janette Rallison, Stephenie Meyer, Shannon Hale, Dean Lorey, PJ Haarsma, & Jon Lewis. Hey, we make nostrils look good!
James Owen on lead, we did Aretha Franklin's "Baby I Love You," with Laini, Janette, and Brandon joining Jon and I on back up. Let me preface by saying, we had never rehearsed all together, the backup dancers had never heard that version of the music before, and we couldn't hear the music for most of the dance. It rocked.
After the Adam Watts Band and their amazing set, I introduced the authors. Apparently they all called each other and said, "What are you wearing? Jeans and a dark shirt? Okay, I will too." Here I believe Brandon and Jon are doing a chest butt? Probably?
I'd introduced everyone and we were moving on, getting ready to start the authors' panel, when Jon said, "Haven't you forgotten someone?" I looked at my list--no, I was sure I'd announced everyone. He pointed at the empty spot at the table and the name STEPHENIE MEYER. Oh. Whoops. Yeah...so, I'd forgotten Stephenie, who was waiting patiently in the wings to hear her name. I could not stop laughing, as you can see. She had to wait a while longer.
And the rest of the panel, as named. I think this may have been my favorite authors' panel I've ever done. We all agreed beforehand, "No long rambling stories, keep it quick and light and fun." And we sincerely had fun. No obnoxious self-promoters here. Every single author was a sincerely nice, generous person. We laughed a lot. What fun.
And on to the raffle. All the authors had donated at least two signed items. Lots of books, some prints. Dean Lorey blew me away by raffling Nightmare Academy 3 manuscripts, an early draft and a final draft. The book isn't published yet. Talk about a sneak peek! At one point (I can't remember why) I mentioned how difficult it was for Stephenie to have to go to the New Moon set and observe the wolf pack, who occasionally do push-ups before going on camera.
I breathe on the Host skateboard deck to increase its value. Jon's looking around, trying to figure out what was going. The audience had started to laugh hysterically and with some alarm. We finally found out that Adam Kump and his bandmate were helping to throw Hoto Skate t-shirts into the audience, and one had pelted a baby in the head. I guess you had to be there.
Jon was the auctioneer, and he was so overwhelmed by the generosity of the winners, he just had to give them hugs. The auction blew us away. Here was the going price for the fantastic items Stephenie donated:
Twilight ARC - $1500 (I think)
The Host skateboard deck - $1200 (I think)
I can't remember how much the marked early ms of The Host and Eclispe went for
Forever Dawn epilogue - $5100
Eclipse prom dress - $5500
Lunch with Stephenie (not at Taco Time) - $6500 (two winners)
At the end, we wanted to leave the audience with a story, so we improvised one, each of the authors taking one sentence (most definitely unrehearsed, if there was any doubt). The audience gave us the title "Stephenie's Dress" and the genre "horror." Let's just say that story will never be published, but we made ourselves laugh anyway. Here Brandon finishes it off with aplomb.
Laini poses with Janette's book My Fair Godmother, as she and the cover model both sport rosy locks. Laini really is a darling, kind, sweet, wonderful person. I was kidding about the caution earlier. (No, really...BEWARE!)
Thank you a TON to everyone who pulled off this feat! As emcee, I was up in front and it might have looked like I was leading the pack, but that was not the case. I was honored to be included, and there were dozens of people off-stage contributing tons of time and talent. And it paid off. We raised a significant sum of money for our friend. The online auction is in full force. New items are put up every few days. I have four items that will make an appearance, so keep watch. Thanks all!