Sunday, June 29, 2008

Lovin' California

Today I’m writing from inside the Desert Palms hotel in Anaheim, California. I’m sitting right now in the lobby, looking out from a sunny window at Katella Avenue by Disneyland. My family was with me earlier in the week, where we spent two days at the big “D” and California Adventure, and stayed overnight in the Staybridge Suites. We had an incredible time. Disneyland is immaculate, beautiful, and continues to upgrade its rides and entertainment while still holding on to the classics we all love. I’m a nutty Disney fan. Have you ever seen those commercials where the parents are there with their kids and suddenly they turn into kids, too? Yep, that’s me.

Anyway, we went on a ga-zillion rides, especially our favorites like Indiana Jones, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Space and Splash Mountains. We loved trying out the “Hollywood Tower of Terror” and “Soaring over California” from California Adventure. But the highlight of our trip was the fulfillment of one of my childhood dreams. We ate dinner at the Blue Bayou restaurant. It’s the one that you see with the colorful lanterns at the beginning of the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. It wasn’t cheap. But the memory was worth every penny.

So at the end of our trip the kids all went back to stay with their other parents (you know, the musical houses game that children of divorce have to play) and my husband returned home while I stayed in Anaheim for the ALA Convention. (ALA stands for American Library Association). Imagine an enormous convention center filled with exhibits from every publisher you’ve ever heard of in your life, and three times that number of publishers you haven’t. They are all proudly displaying their books, new and current releases, and designating their award winners with big stars. They also have their most celebrated authors signing books, many of which they give out to participants for free or very reduced prices.

Today I had the opportunity to meet Mo Willems, and was very excited when he remembered COOL DADDY RAT and described the artwork by Mike Lester and said he liked it. That ROCKS! I also got to meet Nancy Paulsen of Penguin Young Readers and many editors, authors, and marketing people from HarperCollins and Putnam. It was fun to see my books on display. I didn’t do any signings…I’m still a newbie. That’s one eye-opener for new authors who go to these things. You think with two or three books you might be considered a “real” author, but you realize you’re still quite a ways from being real. You’ve got to have more than a handful of books to be given signing time.

Shannon Hale was there with Nathan Hale, and I got a copy of their new graphic novel. (I’ve always thought that term was weird because it sounds like a book full of indecent stuff. But it’s really novel in illustrated form, a bit like a sophisticated comic book.) I’ll be driving back home Tuesday with Rick Walton, Mette Harrison, Will Terry, and Nathan Hale. Great authors and illustrators. Great company.

Oh, and I’ve got enough autographed books to cart home that I’m sure to make one big long scrape along the freeway, paving a trail from Cally back to the Utah mountains.

2 comments:

Michael said...

I'm soo jealous, we need a disneyland trip. Funny you mention the Blue Bayou restaurant, when I went there on a double date with Erin(and our bro John and his date), she insisted we eat there and I had such a problem with the price and the 2 hour wait, when you have only one day to be there it's a bit different.

Missy said...

OK, note to self read all of the blogs b4 you ask questions. I am glad that you had fun at Disneyland, Tige and I were able to take Maklee in May and we had so much fun with her. I too am a disney fanatic and it was such a big deal for me to take her for her first time there. I could go every single year if I was able.