I flew in Monday night, where my dear friend John Picacio picked me up and we went out for pizza and beer at Barbaro. We both had a big week ahead and this was a great way to take a moment to spend time together, as well as to prepare for the days ahead.
Then Tuesday morning, bright and early, off to Hector P. Garcia Middle School, where I presented to the 170 or so students of their sixth through eight grade all at once. They were a great group of kids and we had a wonderful time. Thanks to Stacie Tharp, Library Media Specialists, for reaching out and making this happen.
Afterwards, I discovered my hotel was located half a block from one of my favorite restaurants, Acenar. Then I roamed the Riverwalk for a bit, though not enough to
Then that afternoon, Carolyn Denny (of the Keystone School) picked me up and took me to speak to the Alamo City Reading Council, a group of educators and others interested in promoting children's literacy. I gave a talk to the council, followed by a book signing. With cookies and lemon squares!
And then the council board took me out for a fabulous dinner at Mi Tierra Restaurant & Bakery, which is open 24/7, covered in Christmas lights year round, and full of roving Mariachi bands. It was a really fun evening with fun people!
Wednesday I went to San Antonio Academy, a private military school for boys. I gave three presentations, to their sixth, fourth, and fifth grades respectively, interrupted by a lunch with a select group of students. The school previously held an auction, and my new friend Thomas' parents won, so he and 11 of his friends joined me for pizza and Mexican food in the library. Thomas' very cool mother even brought a Thrones & Bones themed cookie cake from Great American Cookies. (I think next time I revise louanders.com I need to add a page just for cakes!) This was my longest day, from 9am to 3pm, but a very fun and rewarding time. Thanks to librarian Elizabeth Snow for making it happen!
Hot Joy, and Indian/Thai fusion restaurant, where we had edamame, spicy hot wings, and something called a Chicken Tikka Masala Taco, which wasn't really anything like chicken tikka masala or tacos but was absolutely delicious. Then we hit Bar 1919 for a quick drink. It was there that I discovered the pleasure of Prairie Artisan Ales' Bomb!, an imperial stout aged on coffee, chocolate, vanilla beans, and ancho chili peppers, and named a RateBeer Top 100 Beer in the World for three consecutive years!
But no rest for the wicked (or the good or the tipsy) because we were off to the Henry B. Gonzales Convention Center to load in the first of the supplies for the incredible Worlds Beyond Gallery that John was helming. We worked for several hours loading in, then one of us at least called it a night.
Thursday John got me early, we ate breakfast burritos on the move, and then we spent the morning hanging about half of his gallery space. Then we rushed to the Keystone School, which John himself attended from 1st to 3rd grade, for two presentations to their third and fourth and then fifth and sixth grades respectively. It was so great that John got to see my presentation in a school that was formative for his own journey as a creator and artist! And in between presentations, library Carolyn Denny and Jeanette Vilagi, Head of Lower School, treated me to a fabulous lunch at La Fonda. (Thank you!)
Thursday night was preview night for Alamo City Comic Con, where I "helped" John in his booth. Then it was back to the con hotel, Hotel Indigo San Antonio-Riverwalk, where I had a drink with Bruce Coville, one of the six authors, myself including, coming in for the Young Adventurers programming. Bruce is the author of over 100 books! (I kept saying "over 60 books" but you know what, that's true too. 100 is more than 60.) He's also a charming, witty, funny, interesting guy and great writer.
Friday was the day-long Young Adventurers Writing Workshop, from 10:30 am to 8pm, featuring writing instruction from (in order) Matthew Cody, myself, Melissa Marr, Bruce Coville, Holly Black, and David Liss. I sat in on everyone else's workshop (as did most of us), and it was a fantastic day! Bruce blew us all away, both with his performance-based presentation and with his ability to remember every single
Saturday was the first of the open-to-all "Fan Days", two days of programming featuring all the authors above in celebration of middle grade fiction. We had some great panels, one of the highlights being Writing Process and Writing Schemes: How to Write One Million Words In Your Sleep, as well as Melissa Marr's weapons demonstrations. The day ended with a private party hosted by John Picacio and Sara Felix, president of ASFA, for all the Worlds Beyond artists and Young Adventurers authors. So so glad John and Sara put our two groups together! And glad we got to hang with John, Todd Lockwood, Ruth Sanderson, Brom, Jeffrey Alan Love, and Peter Mohrbacher, amazing artists all!
Sunday was another day of Young Adventurers Fan Day programming, after which we were all well-and truly exhausted. I was in bed early and out even earlier. But what a convention, what a group of talented folks, and what a week!
Tremendous gratitude to Alfredo "Apple" De La Fuente, Wes Hartman, Austin Rogers, and everyone who made Alamo City Comic Con the amazing event that it was. You took great care of us and we really appreciated it. Also, a huge huge huge thank you to Andrew Torres, the Community Relations Manager at the Barnes & Noble Booksellers located at The Shops at La Cantera for facilitating book sales at every one of these events, for me for the week at the schools and reading council visits, and for all of us at Alamo City Comic Con. And finally, thank you to all the librarians, students, and fans who made this a phenomenal, unforgettable visit to a fantastic city!