The first conference was Texas Library Association in San Antonio. Having never been to San Antonio - nay, never having been anywhere in Texas - I didn't know what to expect. But Texas delivers, man. The people were super nice, the cabbies were uber-chatty (in a good way), and the conference organizers are some of the best I've encountered so far.
I have a ridiculous amount of highlights to share with you so stay with me, folks:
- Hanging out with my fabulous publishing friends at Liberty Bar. It's hard to describe but it's this bizarre building, almost an Old West homage to the Leaning Tower of Pisa. I was introduced to Shiner Bock, which all my Texan friends told me I had to have, and it was every bit as awesome and refreshing as I had heard. But the stand-out was the venison burger - holy crap, it was out-of-this world.
- Meeting the ladies of Oops...Wrong Cookie. I've been a fan for awhile and it was fantastic to meet them in person. When I say to all of you, "Hey, stop by and say hi to me in booth #2222", I have to confess that I never believe anyone will. Shows me that I need to stop underestimating bloggers! This was a huge highlight for me, as evidenced by the happy-dance I did when Patti introduced herself!
- Meeting Ryan Smithson, author of Ghosts of War, who signed in our booth and spent quite a bit of time with us during the week. I've met people that served in Iraq before but, for some reason, meeting Ryan was just incredibly poignant for me. He's incredibly smart and bright and has so much to say and so much to add to the conversation (the conversation, of course, being teens serving in the military). It was an honor for me, truly, to spend time with him.
- Dinner out on Thursday night. A couple of us took out Sophie Jordan for dinner ( What, you haven't read Firelight yet?! The directions are easy: get yourself to a bookstore come September and buy a copy. You won't regret it. Or if you've read an ARC already, let me know what you think). But our reservation was canceled because we were too late. So, long story short, they were ridonkulously accomodating and set us up in their "sister" restaurant, Zinc. And we had our own little table in this little alcove on the patio while the rain fell five feet away - it was private and fun and intimate. In short, everything you want an author dinner to be. It's a HIDEOUS picture but feast your eyes on the truffled Parmesan fries:
Need I point out that this photo does NOT do them justice?
- This is a walking town. Seriously, you could walk everywhere, which was just heavenly. I can't say the same for my next conference recap...
- Lastly, the Watermark Hotel. I can't recommend it enough. Remember the line in Ferris Bueller's Day Off? "I love driving it - it is so choice. If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up." He could have been talking about the Watermark. Is there a better place to stay on the Riverwalk? I doubt it**.
San Antonio, I love you...just as others who have come before me have declared. I will gladly return...in 2013! Can't wait!
Eat, drink, and look forward to your next Shiner Bock.
* When will someone finally perfect the sarcasm font?!
** Keep in mind that it's the only hotel I've ever stayed at anywhere in Texas. So no disrespect to other San Antonio hotels.