Book Tour Days 7 & 8 – Playing Catch-up with popcorn and bunnies

So I’ve been on the road for a week. Things are officially starting to get blurry.

Let me play catch-up quick, before I forget everything.

Day 7 was Monday and Monday was….. checks notes…. Chicago! Right!

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Windy City with big shoulders!

(Want to know where that phrase came from? Poet Carl Sandburg’s poem, “Chicago.”)

Image and video hosting by TinyPic My Author Nanny in Chicago was Judy, who might look like a mild-mannered knitter, but has the driving skills of Mario Andretti and a photographic memory for bookstores, schools, and the locations of every bathroom in Cook County.

Chicago was three school presentations (Hello Highcrest Middle and King Lab Middle School!), a phone interview,

Image and video hosting by TinyPic an internet-radio (I think that’s the right expression) interview with Barnes & Noble (will be on their website next week),

four stock signings,

Image and video hosting by TinyPic a quick chat with Laura and Gillian from Booklist and Book Links, and then

an evening trip to the airport, much muttering at the Departure Screen as my flight out of the city was delayed, delayed, and – finally, stepping foot on the soil of Nebraska for the first time in my life. I was picked up at the airport in the middle of the night by terrific Omaha YA librarian Paul Christopherson.

Picture the Tired Author, struggling down the hotel corridor, the wheels on her suitcase gone funky, her backpack slipping off her shoulders, her little mind whining “Why? Why are we still awake? We never stay up this late!”

Tired Author fumbles with her room key, drops it, fumbles again, and finally – finally opens her hotel room door. And the room smells like……

A giant bag of popcorn from Vic’s, a local institution, was waiting in my room along with other goodies and gifts.

Vic’s Popcorn should become standard issue in hotels across America, as commonplace as coffee makers and tiny bars of soap. Please forward this idea to the necessary CEOs immediately.

Omaha was another crazy day, but good-crazy because everyone in Nebraska is friendly and sweet. Probably because of the popcorn. Omaha technically wasn’t a book tour city. I was there in my guise as a YA Author, brought in to talk to teens about my books by the good people of the Omaha Public Library System. Chris Crutcher and Terry Trueman had been there before me, which meant that not only did I have big shoes to fill, but they were big, smelly shoes.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic I gave a couple presentations at the home of the Mustangs

Image and video hosting by TinyPic had fun with the girls who hung out after the presentation,

Image and video hosting by TinyPic then headed to Benson High for lunch and afternoon presentations.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic When you are invited to lunch at Benson High by Deb the Librarian, you should go.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Students from their culinary arts program prepared a feast for me: spinach salad, hashbrown casserole (every bit as delicious as it sounds), chicken Wellington, winter vegetables, and tiramisu that tasted better than what you are overcharged for in most restaurants. The entire meal was amazing. AND they gave me a sweet birthday present and card.

AND I met their mascot (because I have this thing about mascots)

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Yes, folks, that’s right; the football players, basketball players, field hockey players, nay, all the students at Benson are proud to be called “The Bunnies.” The name came from the number of rabbits that lived on the building site of the school when the land was bought in 1911. Several generations of students have found tremendous pride in being Benson Bunnies. In fact, when given the opportunity to change the mascot a while back, the measure was voted down. They are Bunnies and they are proud. Which delighted me so much.

Fired up with Bunny Pride, I gave two presentations, enjoyed another good meal with the committee of librarians who brought me to Omaha, then headed to the evening’s presentations, which I was sure would be a small but intimate group of popcorn lovers and cornhuskers.

More than 200 people turned out, including two vans full of students from Boy’s Town, many English teachers (collective noun = a correction of English teachers or a subtext of English teachers?) and many, many grad students. (Would that collective noun be a fatigue of grad students?)

I was stunned and grateful. The rest of the night went by in a flash. Somewhere in there I got a few hours sleep, was driven back to the airport by Paul the Valiant Librarian, and now I’m back in Chicago. Well, Naperville, to be specific.

TONIGHT’S EVENT! COME SEE ME! Wednesday, October 29 at 7:00 pm: Anderson’s, Naperville, IL 630-355-2665

TOMORROW’S EVENT: Thursday, October 30 at 7:00 pm: Harry Schwartz Bookshop (Mequon store) 262-241-6220

11 Replies to “Book Tour Days 7 & 8 – Playing Catch-up with popcorn and bunnies”

  1. Benson Bunnies rock! That’s a mascot right up there with the “Fighting Quakers.”

    So, o Traveling One, would you recommend becoming a well-established, dedicated author as a way to see the world? [kidding!]

    Collective noun for graduate students: “A pretext” or perhaps, a “context.” I’m going with a subtext of English teachers. A correction of copyeditors.

  2. Hooray for Thursday!

    I’m so excited that you’re going to be appearing at Harry W. Schwartz. I can’t wait to see your presentation and to read Chains!

    Karen McQuestion

  3. funny fact i wanted to share with you- i’ve been dying to read chains but am bogged down with college coursework- there is time coming up over thanksgiving and last night when my roommate went to the bookstore i couldnt resist- i bought chains but purposely left it in her car so i can keep myself from reading it when i should be writing papers 🙂 ooo, thanksgiving. not soon enough.

  4. There was also a little group of aspiring MG/YA authors in the audience last night–and you were fabulous and inspiring! I don’t know how you do it so many times in one day.

    And yes, we are serious about popcorn here in Nebraska. We even hold informal debates–Vics vs. Colby Ridge! The problem is our cheeks are so full of popcorn we can’t speak clearly enough to form a coherent argument, so we just wander off together to watch a football game instead.

  5. I can’t wait to see you tonight at Anderson’s. I got my ticket more than a week ago and was still number 16! I hope you don’t get tendentious for all the book signing.

  6. I have a question. When you have an author nanny, where does she come from? Your publisher? The bookstore or library that you are visiting? Rabid fans that follow you around and buy you popcorn?

    I think that it sounds like a lot of fun to shepherd authors around so I was curious.

  7. The technical term is “author escort”. They have their own companies and publishers hire them to make sure authors don’t get lost when traveling. They are the best thing since sliced bread!

  8. Here via , who pointed me this way because I’m an Omahan! Cool to see Benson and Millard North on here, and I’m so glad you enjoyed the city. Feel free to come back anytime.

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