Iowa Extravaganza!

In which I travel over 500 miles in two days, meet countless friendly Iowans, and accost two teenage girls on their way to prom. Yes, it was that kind of weekend.

Friday morning:  woke up at 5:30 AM, showered, wore heels with my blue jeans, and loaded the car with way too much stuff. Kissed the boys goodbye and hit the road.

First stop:  Dubuque, Iowa. Picked up my copies of River’s Edge AND posters AND bookmarks. All of these were designed by the brilliant Rod Karmenzind!

Two-sided bookmarks and new posters for book signings!

Two-sided bookmarks and new posters for book signings!

Next stop (not counting the gas station, because nothing exciting happened there): Van Meter, Iowa! I talked to the awesome 4th graders at Van Meter school for about an hour. They had a ton of great questions, and we discussed everything from FFA to pets. And maybe a few things about writing.  😉

Van Meter 4th graders!!

Van Meter 4th graders!!

The whole visit was arranged by Van Meter’s extraordinary librarian, Shannon McClintock Miller. You can read Shannon’s version of events at HER BLOG. She’s smart, funny, and incredibly nice. Many thanks to Shannon and the 4th graders for your time and attention!

Shannon and me, farm girls united!

Shannon and me, farm girls united!

Next stop:  to visit a writing friend, Kellye. So good to see her after a two-year drought! We had LOTS to catch up on, and she spoiled me with a great supper. Thanks for the wonderful visit, Kellye!!

Last stop of Friday:  the old stompin’ grounds of my friend/editor Ellie Ann. The bad news is that Ellie had to cancel her trip to Iowa—her poor kids came down with the flu. I was so sad not to see her, but taking care of your kids is a priority. The good news is that I was still able to stay with Ellie’s parents and siblings, who are among the sweetest and kindest people I’ve ever met. Had a lovely chat with Paul and Cathi that filled me with light and hope for the world.

Saturday morning:  woke up at 5:30 AM. This was becoming an unpleasant trend. But Cathi brightened the morning with her smile and a five-star breakfast. MANY thanks to her and her family for hosting me!!

From there I went to Ankeny Authors Fair from 9:00 to noon. This was an event organized by Kirkendall Public Library, and they did a fantastic job. About 45 authors came, offering a wide variety of books.

Ankeny Authors Fair! Part of the room inside the Pinnacle Club.

Ankeny Authors Fair! Part of the room inside the Pinnacle Club.

I met several new people and got to see some I already knew: Roland, Mark, Thelma, Sandy, Paul, Jen, Sydney, and Jaden. Thanks so much to everyone who came—I really appreciate the support! I love talking to writers, librarians, and readers!

L to R: Sophia, me, Rebekah. Hope you enjoy the books, ladies!!

L to R: Sophia, me, Rebekah. Hope you enjoy the books, ladies!!

After the fair was over, I got to eat lunch with Thelma and Sandy (thank you!), and then I began the long trek home. Along the way I stopped at Hy-Vee to get a few groceries. In the parking lot I saw two teenage girls in prom dresses (surprising trivia about me:  I’m a tomboy, but somehow a sucker for prom dresses). I instantly thought, Photo Op! Without stopping to think about how crazy I’d look, I grabbed a copy of River’s Edge and my camera and ran across the parking lot before the girls could leave. I said I was giving away a free copy of my new book. One of the girls took it warily, eyeing me with suspicion (rightly so—don’t take candy from strangers, people). Then I asked if I could take their picture. They agreed, probably thinking that the faster they got this encounter over with, the faster the crazy lady would leave.

Hope you had fun at prom!

Hope you had fun at prom!

Notice that the book is on top of the car. Maybe they were afraid it had my germs on it, and crazy is catching. But perhaps they’ll read it anyway, just for kicks. The moral of the story is: nowhere are you safe from River’s Edge and my camera, not even at Hy-Vee on your prom night.

Soon afterwards I was home, and glad to be there. But I had SO much fun visiting with SO many great people! Thanks for the extravaganza, Iowa!

Tune into the blog tomorrow for giveaway news and the launch party for River’s Edge!! WOOT!!



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