Oh, WonkyTonk how I've missed you! I've strayed to Facebook and Twitter (insert country cheatin' song here) and yes, even American Idol. I'm a two-timing, social-networking lounge lizard. Now let's put all this behind us and pretend like nothing happened. . . .
But so much has indeed gone on in the last couple of months -- so much I want to share -- starting with BEA.
Off. The. Chain.
When THE SWEETHEART OF PROSPER COUNTY was first selected as one of the six Book Expo America YA Buzz books, I had no expectations and no real understanding of what would go down. I knew my editor would present the novel during a panel discussion. That was it. However, by the end of May, I was on a plane to NYC and preparing to attend the convention as well as present on a panel with the other YA Buzz authors. Think scared little country girl. (But stoked beyond belief.)
In some of my upcoming posts, I'm going to share a few BEA stories in detail. But here's an overview of my Top Ten BEA experiences.
10. Meeting Laini Taylor and Jim DiBartolo. They're so cute, and they collaborated on LIPS TOUCH THREE TIMES, another one of the YA Buzz books. http://growwings.blogspot.com/
9. Visiting with a member of Steven Tyler's entourage (Yes, Aerosmith Steven) who asked for a signed ARC of Sweetheart. I said, "Sure, walk this way." And I signed it in Pink.
8. Dinner with my agent, Michael Bourret, in Hell's Kitchen. I just really like him.
7. Meeting Cathy from Blue Willow Book Shop, a fab independent bookstore in Houston, Texas. Cathy had read Sweetheart, and I will treasure her enthusiasm and comments forever. http://www.bluewillowbookshop.com/NASApp/s
6. Hearing the heroic Richie Partington encourage my 13 year old son in reading. Priceless.
5. Sitting on a bench in Central Park with the hubby, talking about living the dream, looking up at the skyscrapers and remembering how I would sit on the tailgate of my grandfather's truck and make up stories as he drove across the pasture.
4. Seeing the SCBWI folks Kim Turrisi, Aaron Hartzler, and even Alice Pope (Children's Writer's and Illustrator's Market Guide) in the audience of the Buzz Panels. These people were the first to give me a chance, and they've been there every step of the way.
3. Listening to the legendary Jean Feiwel talk passionately about the thrill of bringing a book from manuscript to publication. (I tried not to lock my knees and faint.)
2. THE David Levithan introducing my novel by saying "If the Dixie Chicks wrote a novel, it would be Jill S. Alexander's THE SWEETHEART OF PROSPER COUNTY." I cried. Really. I've been a Chicks fan since Emily and Martie played on the street corners in downtown Dallas back in the '80s.
1. Listening to my editor, Liz Szabla, present our Sweetheart on the YA Editor's Buzz Panel. *goosebumps* Liz has always been encouraging, uplifting. She's always conveyed to me a strong belief in Austin's journey. But hearing her champion the novel to a sizeable crowd was one of the most proud and humbling experiences of my life. Definitely the highlight of my BEA.