This weekend was made of awesome. Stuffed with books and wrapped in fun. Like my last post pointed out, making arrangements took a little effort, but once we secured babysitting for the three smaller members of my circus, Hubsy & I were on our way to Columbus, Ohio for the Ohioana Book Festival. Best getaway weekend this year.
This was no amateur show. The Ohioana had volunteers and staff flowing from the ground and walls, possible parachuting in from the sky. They were *whispers* everywhere. It was amazing. And they had answers! Which is the schiz-nit because you know I had questions. It was, afterall, my first rodeo. I felt like I needed a neon pink tee announcing “New girl here!” But they had me covered. There were a trillion signs directing traffic, happy workers assisting the signs, a line up of local food trucks scenting the air with Oh-My-YUM! The tables were set, gift bags in place, name tags secured. Despite the size of the building, all rooms were clearly marked, the schedule was maintained. I mean, I seriously wanted to blow a whistle, line up those mega-hundred workers and volunteers for a personal hug at he end of the day. *Amazing*
I traded a ton of emails preceding the event with Beth Poley, who with the help of (holy cow! fierce and fabulous Harper Teen,YA author of A Touch Mortal, and A Touch Morbid, Leah Clifford) I got to meet at the reception. Yes. As if the event wasn’t enough. During the event itself, they catered in Starbucks, and breakfast and lunch fpr the authors. Serious. There was no end. Then, the governor’s mansion hosted the authors at a reception following the event. Right? *shakes head* Amazing. And I found Beth to tell her, she deserves a total spa day for all that effort. Authors and patrons noticed. I drooled. *Swings giant foam finger* I’m her new biggest fan *creepy whisper* For real. She rocks. Like a lot. A. Lot.
Also, I was introduced to my new obsession, Jeni’s Ice Cream. I even got to meet Jeni. She’s like a local celebrity there. Her ice cream is the talk of the town, everyone in Columbus knew who I meant if I dropped the name “Jeni.” It was fun. I tried it more than once. They always knew. After the reception, Hubsy and I walked down to High Street in the Short North District where we stayed at a beautiful B&B. There was a line up the side road where we walked and all the way around the corner at 10pm-ish. Club opening? Fancy black tie restaurant? Nope. Jeni’s. We walked for what felt like miles around the district talking and taking pics. Then, wound up at Jeni’s. I tweeted. It was delicious. Twitter knows Jeni, too. You can follow her @jenisicecreams
All in all, big praises to the in-laws for an incredible weekend with Hubsy. It was *perfect* on all counts. I gained 5 pounds without a doubt. Met people I will never forget and a few I didn’t think I ever would in person. Example: Imagine my surprise when my favorite YA author/blogger/mommy/tweeter/girlfriend showed up and introduced herself? Yeah. Shock and bliss ensued. Mindy McGinnis and her gorgeous daughter gave me yet another *squee*. If you don’t know Mindy, she’s the mastermind behind Writer Writer Pants on Fire Blog. You must meet her. She’s as beautiful in person as you imagine. Genuine, kind, witty and fun. Meet her immediately. You will thank me.
Yeah. I was starstruck this weekend. In awe. Humbled. Amazed.
I even got to participate in a panel discussion on suspense & mystery writing with one of my favorite cozy writers, Amanda Flower. She was seated next to me all day and answered my 1,001 questions on publishing, murder and more. I get to see her again soon, as I will be attending Bouchercon, the World Mystery Convention in October. *Clapping wildly*
In conclusion, *coughs* If you live near a book festival, GO. I encourage you. Ohioana was free and open to the public. There were childrens’ authors, a giant character roaming around, Kent State University students and facutly had a room for the kids to get hands-on in some fun activities and hear readings from the children’s authors. Kids had a blast. Parent’s were thrilled. What a great family day out. Definitely don’t miss the one headed to your area. If it’s half as delightful as this one, you’ll be sorry.
Does your town have a book festival?