Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Books, Books, and More Books (All that and Big Hair Too!)

Oh, my, where to begin? First, with the tireless Kathy Patrick, author and book festival organizer extraordinaire. She gets authors and book lovers to come to Jefferson, Texas the third weekend of January every year, and I for one am here to say I'll be back any time she invites me (and maybe even when she doesn't!). It's fun, it's illuminating, it's wacky (see photo).

But, what it's most about is BOOKS. Loving books, reading books, finding new authors, reconnecting with old favorites, and spreading the word about the power of BOOKS. So, here goes . . .

New writer friends include Virginia Boyd, author of One Fell Swoop, Janis Owens whose most recent book is The Schooling of Claybird Catts, Darnell Arnoult, and her book Sufficient Grace, Lynn York author of The Sweet Life, Debbie Rodriguez author of the memoir Kabul Beauty School, and Paulina Porizkova and her debut novel A Model Summer.

Each of these books is now competing to be read next and I promise to post my raves about all of them.

I lucked into reconnecting with Ellen Baker (whose book Keeping the House I blogged about last summer) and Cassandra King, bestselling author (most recently of Queen of Broken Hearts) who generously provided this newcomer with a fabulous cover blurb.

These are smart, funny, friendly women. Good writers, too (but that goes without saying). We ate pie (lots of pie. Pie is heavenly. You've got to love a town that has a restaurant called HOUSE OF PIE.), barbecue, and jambalaya. Oh, and I do believe that some wine was also consumed.

The book festival--which was attended en masse by book clubs from all over--included all sorts of author chats and panels. One of the best aspects of it all is how "down home" it is. Readers and writers mingle non-stop (over pie!)--which seems right since readers are also writers and writers are huge readers. The culminating event is the "Ball of Hair"--and I can't even begin to explain it other than to say it's an absolute hoot--that's where the pictures were taken.

Okay, I'm off to read (and probably run to the grocery store).


Lynn York said...

Nice photo, Judy. I notice that you didn't quite get ALL of your hairdo in the photo. Remind me, was there also a bird on top?

So nice to meet you! We had a big time!


Therese said...

What's a girl gotta do for an invite to next year's ball? What great fun!

And what great people--I met Lynn a few years ago (she came to NCSU to talk with the wannabes--hi Lynn!) and have heard lovely things about Darnell, and am looking forward to our panel with Virginia in Virginia.

Thanks for sharing.

Judy Merrill Larsen said...

Hey Lynn--as far as I know, there was NO bird in my hair--but there sure could have been! It was a blast, wasn't it? I say, same time next year--are you in?

Therese--Oh, baby, you would LOVE it! We'll talk, okay? And we'll have so much fun with Virginia. Every nice thing you've heard abotu Darnell is true, too.

Carleen Brice said...

Gee, I barely recognize you! I see not only big hair is needed but also big make-up! :)

Guess what I got from Fed-Ex today? Copies of Orange Mint and Honey!! Whoo hoo! And whoa nelly.

Judy Merrill Larsen said...

Oh, you noticed? (I did say, when I first saw my make-up job, "You all made me up to look like a drag queen."). A crazy time all around.

And HOORAY for your books! Is it starting to seem even a little bit real? Take a deep breath and get ride for a wild ride.

Carleen Brice said...

You bet, it's starting to seem real. Lots of conversation of late with my editor and publicist! :)

Lisa said...

There is nothing like dressing up with a bunch of other women and acting crazy! Why don't we get to do that more often?