Monday, October 29, 2007

From Panel to St. Petersburg

St. Petersburg Times Festival of Reading 2007-31

Taken at the St. Petersburg Times Festival of Reading:
Left: My messenger bag from Cafe Press holds copies of Covenant along with brochures, flyers, postcards, and business cards. My choice of color for the bag was between yellow, yellow, and yellow, so TripStone looks a little jaundiced. On the other hand, it's a great color for visibility.
Center: Poster, courtesy of the Festival of Reading.
Right: Tote, courtesy of C-SPAN's Book TV, which features interviews with authors of nonfiction books.

The complete Festival set can be viewed here.

Before the Festival, there was the Panel....

NaNoWriMo Kickoff Panel, Citrus County Library on Friday, October 26

NaNoWriMo Kickoff Event Flyer
Large view

Belea, Loretta, and I had a great panel at the NaNoWriMo kickoff. We make a very good team because (with some overlap) we write in different genres, use different processes, and mesh energies beautifully. We had enough material to take up the time if our audience was slow to chime in, but our audience was full of questions and the community room was filled almost to capacity. The event was scheduled to go from 10 AM to noon, but we went easily for another half hour.

We've got two more library events and a tentative third one that we're planning to do together. Many thanks to Director Flossie Benton Rogers and her staff for spearheading this kickoff!

St. Petersburg Times Festival of Reading on Saturday, October 27

After breakfast at the bakery and a quick hop to the post office to mail my thank-you card to the library I was on my way, listening to Weekend Edition Saturday until I lost my signal somewhere around New Port Richey. During the broadcast -- I think in an ad for All Things Considered -- I heard a snippet from an interview with Chaz Palminteri, who said (as closely paraphrased as I can remember), "It's not a question of knocking on the right door at the right time. You have to knock on all the doors."

I probably passed that quote along about half a dozen times at the Festival.

St. Petersburg Times Festival of Reading 2007-1

St. Petersburg Times Festival of Reading 2007-2

Above: Bus from C-SPAN's Book TV.

Most of the drive down was a straight shot on U.S. Highway 19, which pretty much parallels the Gulf of Mexico coastline. The sky was overcast throughout, with occasional episodes of drizzle or a steady light rain.

South of Hernando County US19 becomes more natural only because Nature abhors a vacuum. Three lanes travel in each direction, separated by a grassy median. The area to either side of the road resembles a strip mall, if you had a strip mall over 50 miles long. The speed limit ranges from 45 to 55 mph, but the stoplights every few minutes keep traffic from reaching takeoff velocity. In any lane, any space greater than a car length begs to be filled, with extra points awarded for avoiding the use of turn signals altogether.

St. Petersburg Times Festival of Reading 2007-4

St. Petersburg Times Festival of Reading 2007-10

By the time I got off 19 my legs needed a good stretch. I stopped to get my bearings and study my directions, because little turns remained and I'd have to pay close attention to street signs in a place I'd never been before. On a residential road with little traffic and a slow speed limit I pulled into a small parking lot, got out of the car, and did the kind of stretches I've done before and after my runs -- bending at the waist with my heel on the bumper, that sort of thing.

That got me an audience, which in this case was about half a dozen people opening their doors in the single-level, strip apartment complex I'd pulled into. I called out greetings, explained where I was from (about 85 miles away at that point) and where I was going, and said that I was stretching and would be off their property in about five minutes. One of the residents was a retired trucker, so he knew what I was doing and why. We all shared a friendly little chat about local accidents and then I was off again.

A short time later I pulled into the University of South Florida parking garage and joined the festival (held on the USF campus), wearing my fanny pack, camera, and messenger bag-o-books, brochures, postcards, flyers, and business cards -- and entered into Schmooz Mode. And I realized that, holy cow, I do take after my mother! I've got my father's Hermit genes and my mother's Schmooz genes. No wonder I get confused when they duke it out.

St. Petersburg Times Festival of Reading 2007-21

St. Petersburg Times Festival of Reading 2007-35

For the next five hours or so I flitted from booth to booth, showing off Covenant, handing out my materials, learning what other people at the festival were doing and getting their materials, and networking on the fly. Near the end of the day I was interviewed and photographed by someone from the university radio station, who will e-mail me if any of it goes online.

St. Petersburg Times Festival of Reading 2007-25

St. Petersburg Times Festival of Reading 2007-26

St. Petersburg Times Festival of Reading 2007-28

Above: The performer on the Storytelling stage is George Aldrich, "The Original Singing Pirate," joined by a few friends.

I'd passed up all the greasy food at the festival, but two sodas and a hot fudge sundae didn't quite make a meal. After I finished all my little turns and got back onto US19 -- by which time the traffic had ramped up to full throttle -- I pulled into a McDonald's for a quite good broiled chicken Caesar salad and coffee. I must be getting used to this promotional gig, because I sat at a table beneath an attention-getting metal wall sculpture and placed my messenger bag such that its imprinted cover faced out into the aisle.

One of the cool things about that bag is that when people ask me my name I can point to the imprint, which is easier to read than my cover-imprinted but gear strap-covered T-shirt. Then I ask them if they like science fiction. That happened during a conversation I had with a couple at McDonald's (they like science fiction) while we discussed subjects ranging from food to sports and beyond, including the sport of negotiating US19. They lived five miles away and pointed me to as-yet-little-developed Tarpon Springs with its beautiful and still-free nature park less than ten miles up the road. But by this time it was getting dark and I had to get home.

They wished me a safe drive.
I said, "You, too!"
"It's only five miles for us."
"Yeah," I said, "but look at the road you'll be on."

St. Petersburg Times Festival of Reading 2007-33/34

Above: Tampa Bay, seen from the USF campus.

Before I left for the festival I'd told Mary that I expected to be back some time between 8 and 9 PM. I pulled into the driveway around 8:10.

But the night wasn't over yet. There was the Moth on the Sun.

Moth on the Sun

The "sun" is a globe-shaped hanging lamp in our kitchen. Originally the moth was hanging out on the garage ceiling, near the power assembly for the automatic door.

Moth, Species TBD

I'm guessing this is a Small Mocis moth. Mary eventually caught it in an empty coffee can. I escorted it outside and set it free.

Next up: Citrus County Festival of the Arts, where I'll have Covenant on display at the Art Center booth. I can't sell any books there, but I can give out promotional literature.

Mom would be proud.

Deviations: Covenant can be pre-ordered from Aisling Press and from Barnes and Noble and Amazon. The Deviations page has additional details.


Post a Comment

<< Home