Monday, November 26, 2007

They either read my blog or...

I have unfairly maligned them. Who? Abercrombie and Fitch. Passionate readers of this blog (if any exist) will recall that back in 2005, I posted on "trusting your audience," using A&F as an example of a store from up north that, unfathomably, tries to sell wool and sweatshirts here in central Texas in September (when the average temp. is still in the mid-90s).


A couple months ago, Cyn and I went to the mall (sadly, yes) to do some clothes shopping. I needed a pair of khaki trousers and was having a hard time finding any that fit (The customer base seems to be several inches shorter than I).

Finally, in desperation, after visiting four stores, I decided to go into A&F. Now, I have never actually owned an article of clothing from A&F and it's been a number of years since I have been in the place (and never at this particular mall) and so was completely astonished. No, not at the fact that the store has the look-and-feel of a just-out-of-college pick-up joint where they also happen to sell clothes, but at the fact that the ONLY long pants they had were jeans, and these were outnumbered by about twenty to one with shorts.

Shorts. In late September in Texas. Imagine that.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

It's that time of year...

Can you believe Christmas is only a month away?

Cyn and I are recovering from an intense fall of out-of-town events and speaking engagements. These have included Wrangling with Writing, Star Lit, Kansas Book Festival, National Book Festival, Texas Book Festival, Sam Houston State University Children's and YA Literature Festival , and the Native American Heritage Festival in Norman. Oh, and Cynthia finished up a revision of her novel Eternal.

We had a quiet Thanksgiving at home. Breakfast was hearts of palm with salmon sashimi with deviled eggs. A light mid-afternoon snack involved cheese and smoked salmon. Dinner was a roast turkey with giblet-bread stuffing, green bean casserole, sweet corn, and cranberry sauce.

Our last event is a signing of Santa Knows at the Barnes and Noble Westlake at 1 PM on December 2. See you there!

Monday, November 05, 2007

SHSU and Texas Book Festivals

This weekend was a whirlwind of books and authors and festivals. On Friday, Cyn and I drove up to Huntsville for the Sam Houston State University Children's Book Festival. We had dinner in The Woodlands (where we also stayed) at Macaroni Grill with the conference organizers, workshop leaders, and the other keynoters, Joan Bauer and Mo Willems.

We were up at 6:30 the next morning for breakfast and the drive to Huntsville (where they have a 70 foot tall statue of Sam Houston). After a quick set up, Cyn gave her morning keynote speech on gothic fantasy and Tantalize. Joan Bauer followed with a moving discussion of Story and her trip to Kazakhstan.

We then retired for lunch and book sales and signing, while the workshops were going on. After lunch were more workshops and then I delivered my keynote, followed by Mo's speech, which included a discussion on the entirety of the picture book as a work of art (He also showed how to draw Pigeon).

After more book sales and signings, we packed Mo into the car and high-tailed it back to Austin for the Texas Book Festival. After only one wrong turn, Cyn arrived in the nick of time for the "Not for Required Reading" panel at Alamo Drafthouse. Other panelists included Austinites April Lurie and Brian Yansky; and Sherman Alexie, Adrienne Kress, Perry Moore, Neal Shusterman, and Jacques Couvillon.

The theatre was sold out and the crowd was enthusiastic. Attendees included authors Linda Sue Park, Mark Mitchell, Frances Hill, Kimberly Willis Holt, and Gail Carson Levine. Several of us (Linda Sue Park, Neal Shusterman, Varian Johnson, Lindsey Lane, Brian Yansky, April Lurie) then went for a late night dinner at Magnolia Cafe.

The next day, Cyn was on a panel titled Tough Girls, with April Lurie and Adrienne Kress
and moderated by Julie Lake. The conference room was overflowing and the crowd was treated to insights into the authors' creative processes and behind-the-scenes looks at their books.

By this time we were completely exhausted, but later in the evening, we briefly stopped by a party hosted by Cyndi Hughes at Nuevo Leon.

Many thanks to everyone involved in organizing both festivals! We had a terrific time and your work is greatly appreciated.
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