ALA is the American Library Association conference. I went for the first time last year when it was in Chicago. It was my first big trade conference where I got to meet a bunch of authors, people in the publishing industry and of course librarians! It is not quite as big as Book Expo America (BEA), which is a more generalized publishing industry show, but I had just as much fun. Mainly because I adore librarians. They were my heroes growing up and still are and I often ponder going back to school for library science if this whole writing thing doesn't work out. Basically any place where I get to go a be among fellow book lovers totally rules!
I didn't have as much to do at ALA as I did at BEA. I was really only there on one day, Sunday. I stayed the weekend with the fabulous YA author Jeri Smith-Ready, who has become a dear friend and mentor to me and I always love hanging out with her. I spent Friday night at her place and then we went into DC to spend Saturday night at a hotel because we had to get up so early for the YALSA Coffee Klatch on Sunday morning. We watched the World Cup match in our hotel room because Jeri's a big fan and then we went out to dinner with this lovely group of bloggers, librarians and authors:
Well, that was the original group (and a photo I stole from Tiff since the the following three photos are the only ones I have...). Then Amy Brecount White and Holly Cupala joined us. Here they are with me and Jeri (it goes Amy, Jeri, Holly, and me):
There's Amy and Holly with the awesome Book Chic who I was very excited to see again:
And here is Jeri, Holly, Book Chic, and me with Tiffany who helped arrange this whole dinner along with the lovely Harmony from Harmony's Book Reviews (I know of course that Harmony is not her real name, but am protecting her privacy so her dad doesn't hate me, lol!)
Here I am with Harmony at ALA on Sunday. We hung out a lot that day, which was so much fun because she is incredibly awesome! Seriously, I love meeting teens as committed to books and reading as Harmony is. She has been working hard on something called Bringing YA to PA, which is going to result in a big festival on August 21 in West Chester, Pennsylvania, which I will be a part of (and hope to have official details to announce soon). Basically she just inspires me. And she was a total sweetheart and took the books that Jeri and I got at ALA that day with her because we were going to a Hole concert that night and didn't want to lug them along. So yeah, here I am with Harmony. She just plain rules.
So I spent most of the day hanging with Harmony, but the main reason I was there was a (way too freakin' early!) morning event called the YALSA Coffee Klatch where YA authors like me (and lot more that are way way cooler than me like Melissa Marr, Laurie Halse Andersen, Elizabeth Scott, David Levithan, John Green ummmm yeah, talk about fangirl meltdown!) speed date with YA librarians. So I get to tell the librarians about how awesome I think they are for doing their job and also about my books and hope maybe they will deem my books worthy to pass on to more teens. Tiffany caught me in the speed date action:
And then here is a group shot she took, though I was on the left side so I'm cut out:
I didn't have a signing or anything so the Coffee Klatch was my main event and once again I really enjoyed it.
After that, I went into vacation mode. Jeri and I along with Lindsay, one of my best friends from college went to see Hole that night.... which was unfortunately incredibly disappointing. I'm not even gonna talk about it disappointing. Well, all I'll say is this review from the Washington Post pretty much sums it up and that I've seen hundreds, maybe close to a thousand concerts over the years ranging from tiny basement gigs to arena rock shows. My favorite concert of all time was Hole in October of 1994 at the Metro in Chicago. My worst concert of all time was Hole in June 2010 at 9:30 Club in DC. I'm going (because I already have tickets) to see them again on my birthday next week in St. Louis. I really hope that show goes okay.
Other than that, the rest of my trip was all about hanging with Lindsay since she's been living in Asia for the past three years and happened to be home in DC while I was there. I can't say how much I miss that girl. We have so many of the same habits, pet peeves, and guilty pleasures. I wish she lived (much!) closer.
So that was my ALA/DC trip. If you have photos from ALA, please post a link so I can check them out since I suck at taking pictures lately.
My next trip is pure pleasure. I'm going down to St Louis Monday-Wednesday to see some good friends and celebrate my birthday with them at the City Museum and the Hole show (currently, I am more excited about the City Museum which is like a big playground for grown-ups). Then the following week, I am disappearing into the wilderness with my mom and my critique partner for a writing retreat. Man, I need it!
What about you? Any vacation plans?