SoCal Book Tour recap (Part 1)

In a word — fabulous!

So fun to meet new friends (and old), and get to talk to my readers.  And all in such a lovely setting — beautiful, sunny Orange County!

I kicked things off with a Friday morning visit with the fabulous students at Lone Hill Middle School in San Dimas, and after lunch with a friend headed over to Mrs. Nelson’s Toy and Book Shop in La Verne for a signing.  Here I am, looking ridiculously pleased with myself (book tours tend to do that to an authors):

As for Mrs. Nelson’s — what a BEAUTIFUL store!  I fell in love with it immediately.  They sell totally cool literary-themed T-shirts, among other things (like, um, books).  The staff is warm and friendly, the store bright and colorful and inviting.  I could have set up a cot and moved right in.  Instead, I signed books for readers like these two lovelies who drove ALL THE WAY FROM PALM SPRINGS to see me:

Take a close look at the books they’re holding.  They brought along their treasured, well-worn copies of THE MOTHER-DAUGHTER BOOK CLUB and MUCH ADO ABOUT ANNE for me to sign.   The pages were dog-eared; the covers nearly falling off.  Do you have any idea what an honor it is to know that your book is so loved?  I practically burst into tears when I saw them…

Thanks, girls.  You totally made my day!  (And thanks, too, to your mom for driving you all that way!)

After the signing, I went out to dinner with some Betsy-Tacy friends.  In case you didn’t know, in my new book HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS, the book club is reading the Betsy-Tacy series.  They’re wonderful books, and they’ve introduced me to a whole lot of wonderful new friends who are fans of author Maud Hart Lovelace.  We had a great evening talking about — what else? — books.  (Oh, and by the way, I’m going to be speaking at the Betsy-Tacy Convention next summer in Minnesota, so mark your calendars!)

Saturday was equally wonderful.  I was invited to be a speaker at the Mission Viejo Readers’ Festival this year, which is a huge honor.  Check it out — they even post their authors on the electronic billboard that greets people as they drive into town:

I was sitting in the car at the stoplight with my sister and brother-in-law and my wee niece, and we saw the headliners flash onscreen (Cornelia Funke!  Linda Evans!  Molly Shannon!) … and then all of a sudden, there was little old me!  You should have heard us all screeching.  My head swelled up at least three sizes — it’s a wonder I was able to get out of the car.

I’m glad I could, though, because the festival was amazing.  The staff treated us authors (and our families) like rock stars.  We had special parking spaces.  We each had an escort.  And we even had a “green room” with treats!  I got to talk to a ton of my readers, which was the VERY BEST part, including a lovely mother-and-equally-lovely-daughter who had driven from SACRAMENTO to see me.

SACRAMENTO.

That’s, like, an eight-hour drive. I was speechless.  And honored.  And, well, speechless.

I also got to meet amazing people like FANCY NANCY illustrator Robin Preiss Glasser.  She’s not only talented, she’s beautiful.  And she has a sparkly tiara.

Another person I got to meet was Wendy Mass.  I’m a big fan of her books.  And I practically swooned when I found out she used to write for one of my favorite TV shows:  Monk.  (Which isn’t on any more, something I consider tragic.)

As for the icing on the cake — literally — the Mission Viejo Readers’ Festival gave each of us authors some thank you presents to take home. We got a framed print of our book, complete with their festival logo on it (I can’t wait to hang it on my office wall), AND we got a bundt cake from “Nothing Bundt Cakes,” which must be an ultra-cool bakery because the cake totally rocked.  Somehow I scored the Red Velvet cake, a Southern specialty that earned me brownie points with my brother-in-law.  He grew up in Mississippi, and it’s his favorite.  Isn’t it gorgeous?

THANK YOU, Mission Viejo!  I had a blast!

Tomorrow:  Part II — Orange County Children’s Book Festival and beyond!