Yesterday it was spring in downtown Charlottesville, Virginia.
Today, it is spring no more. I have daffodils and crocuses and purple pansies somewhere under that snow.
Yesterday, I attended the Festival of the Book in Charlottesville, VA.
And today, I am enriched. One of the MANY things I walked away with was a renewed sense of just how incredibly smart these women are. They are business savvy, well-read, modest about their success as writers, and just wonderfully approachable.
Again, what amazingly smart women... and funny! And I have to share a lovely anecdote. I took up a post as greeter at the door where I met four women who mentioned they had just driven in from Nashville, Tennessee to attend the Festival. (Yes, they all drove from Nashville, and one of them had flown in from California.) I invited them to meet and greet, assuring them that romance writers are notoriously friendly. When one of them came back to the welcome station a moment later, I asked if her daughter, (who had come specificially to meet one of her favorite authors), had had the chance, the woman was so happy. Her daughter was engaged in a one-on-one conversation with her author crush and delirious with joy. She said, "you were right. Everyone here is just so wonderfully approachable. We're coming back next year!"
And check out the panelists for the third panel, "Strange Brew: Paranormal Authors 'Spell' Out their Secrets". Jeanine Frost, Kim Harrison, Pamela Palmer, and Vicki Pettersson.
Okay, I confess. This talk conflicted with another talk I wanted to attend a half-mile away on the other end of the downtown pedestrian mall and I almost didn't attend this panel. I almost made one of the biggest mistakes of my life!!! They were hilarious! And when they spoke, the lights in the room dimmed, because all that brilliance was drained from the lighting and channeled right out of the mouths of these women. Yowza! Note to self: go to their blogs and "follow".
These ladies do it all, making "romance sizzle" through suspense... and freely sharing their talents and their secret sauce for success.
This was all on the heels of my jaunt Friday night to hear Rita Mae Brown and Dorothea Benton Frank having a "Conversation Between Old Friends" as part of the Festival of the Book. Of course, twonk that I am, I was so absolutely star-struck I could not produce two coherent words strung together when I went to their book signing. Here's how gob-smacked I was. I vaguely recall walking up to the table where they were signing, waving my cell phone in front of their faces and saying something like, "camera, phone, I got. Take picture?"
And look at the results:
I'm a moron. But that's what happens when you're standing in the presence of two women who write classic novels! I felt like a flippin' party crasher. RITA MAE BROWN AND DOROTHEA BENTON FRANK!!!! That's like being in the presence of Gertrude Stein... and then, in walks Eudora Welty. Sheesh!
But here's my second attempt - a passable photo of Rita Mae Brown and a lovely capture of Dottie B.F's. (ha ha - I can pretend) glasses. And there she was being so wonderfully photogenic.
Some day, maybe I can be as poised as the remarkable women I had the absolute privilege of hearing speak.
Note: I have more photos, some better, many worse than the ones above. Please feel free to "lift" the photos from this blog post. (Deep voice.) "I hereby grant thee the right to distribute these photos from the Festival." Attribution of a link to my blog, while a lovely thought, is not necessary in this instance. And drop me a line if you are one of these authors, moderator, representative of the FOB, or just some random attendee who was too paralyzed by crush to say more than "camera, phone, I got. Take picture?" and then you found that your camera had no batteries. I'm happy to share the pictures I took.