Friday, May 27, 2011

Book Expo America -- What a show!

I had been initially reluctant to travel to Book Expo America with ChiZine Publications' publisher Brett Savory because it would have capped off a busy two months traveling to New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Cancun, Austin and Kalamazoo -- with another trip to England scheduled for late June. No, this wasn't my book tour -- though it should have been. These were a series of research and conference trips (and maybe a vacation) to look at medieval manucripts, learn more about a Stanford-based project to develop tools to view and transcribe digitized manuscripts, and to present on medieval puns. Fun stuff, but unfortunately I blew out my ear drum sometime around my third plane trip and I've been hobbling toward a slow recovery ever since.

I don't normally travel like that. Except, well, recently.

so I initially said that I needed some time to recover, sleep and work on my writing. But Brett used his publisher puppy dog eyes, and so I reluctantly agreed. What a experience!

Imagine a city of people who love books.

Imagine they eat, sleep and breath books -- librarians, agents, sellers, buyers, readers, writers -- all jostling through aisle upon aisle of pavilions stocked with faux carpets, lava lamps, couches, and mile upon mile of books. Imagine all your favourite authors hanging out, just handing stuff out to people who happen by. Imagine Richard Curtis, agent to Harlan Ellison, Greg Bear and the like, handing you his card and saying he'll shoot an e-mail your way. Imagine getting a newly signed Chuck Palahniuk novel with a similarly signed pack of jalapeno pepper seeds inside. Imagine walking past Flava Flav and Tyra Banks and John Lithgow just because they are there.

Cool stuff, kids, really. I'm hooked.

And that's just in the convention. Other trip highlights include telling ghost stories and writing a musical set in Beaver Kill, NY on the long drive down with Halli Villegas and crew, having Nicholas Kaufmann explain what a scrod is and why it's not so strange to eat it, and watching the talent Brett Savory break dance in Times Square.

Welcome, my friends, to the greatest business on earth...