My apologies for being a bad, bad blogger and only posting once in September! I had a busy, wonderful, rich, full month and would love to give you the highlights here:
TWIN CITIES LIVE
I was honored when Twin Cities Live television host Elizabeth Ries chose The Blessings of the Animals for the Twin Cities Live Book Club. (That's Elizabeth in the third photo with me). She announced the choice at a "preview party" held at Common Good Books (a bookstore owned by Garrison Keillor), where I met with wonderful Minneapolis readers, ate perhaps the best chocolate chip cookies ever, and spoke to an audience in by far coolest venue I've had yet—in a little grotto in front of a fountain and pond.
Elizabeth is an animal lover bigtime and we bonded immediately. Seriously, I felt like I'd known her forever. Was lucky to get to dine that night with her and her wonderful producer, Anna, at the Cheeky Monkey Deli (is that a great name or what). Learned all about Elizabeth's dog, Henry, and her former cat, "Spicy Ries, may he rest in peace."
The next day, I got to appear in front of my first live TV audience on Twin Cities Live (sharing my hour with Toby Keith and a Real Housewife of Orange County). Elizabeth interviewed me about the book and everyone in the audience got a copy of Blessings in their swag bag (signed by me).
I had a great time, made all the more great by the fantastic company and transportation of Susan Walker of the Midwest Booksellers Association. Thanks, everyone!
GUEST AUTHOR AT MIAMI VALLEY SCHOOL
I had the distinct, unique, and wonderful honor of being Guest Author at the school where I used to teach fulltime—the Miami Valley School in Dayton, Ohio. I discovered it's a very different experience speaking to an audience who knows you and knows you well. I spent a Thursday addressing the entire Upper School (who had read Blessings for their summer reading assignment) then visiting English classes. On Friday night, MVS hosted a public event with delicious appetizers and wine. To the students I spoke about my evolution as a writer, and to the Friday night audience I spoke more in depth about the evolution of Blessings as a novel.
The MVS community has been so supportive of me and I'm grateful. Huge thanks to Rachel Moulton, Sam Wagner, and Susan Strong for making this happen and inviting me to be part of your Visiting Author Series.
REASONS TO BE HAPPY
In September, my wonderful, incredible, kickass agent Lisa Bankoff sold my first young adult novel! Reasons to Be Happy will be published by Sourcebooks Jabberwocky in the Fall of 2011. That's right—this time next year I'll have another book out in the world. I'm over the moon! I'll fill you in more soon.
ELLEN GOODMAN AND THE DANGEROUS DAMES OF DAYTON
If my September cup wasn't overflowing enough, I was invited to emcee the League of Women Voters' 90th Anniversary Celebration—Dangerous Dames of Dayton...which included getting to introduce the keynoter, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Ellen Goodman. I managed not to make a fool of myself and gush too much. She's a writer I greatly admire. Her talk was excellent— inspiring and sobering. I had the good fortune of sharing her dinner table, along with Ariella Perlman (daughter of Itzhak Perlman)—artist, jewelry designer, yogi, flutist, and entertaining dinner companion. A lovely night. That's me, Ellen Goodman, and Ariella in the first photo.
In addition to all the above-mentioned blessings, I met with several book clubs, began teaching two classes at Word's Worth Writing Connections, harvested my overflowing garden, and managed to get back into a writing groove after all this travel. I'm trying to savor every moment and not take any of this bounty for granted. Love and thanks to all of you for making my new book's launch into the world so special and memorable!