On Saturday, May 11th I made my way down to the Convention Center for the first ever book festival in Albuquerque. I planned on attending Friday morning to see Robin Pernini’s panel, but unfortunately, I forgot I had a meeting I couldn’t reschedule.
Saturday was a busy day with lots of author panels. The first was a discussion with Darynda Jones and I didn’t know what to expect. I know Traci from Mad Hatter Reads mentioned that Darynda was very nice. Before her panel, I had some time to kill and browsed one section where one author kept trying to sell me his books by asking me questions. So he’d say, “Do you know why we get the rule of thumb? No? It’s in the book.” Every response he was, “It’s in the book.” At one point he said to me, “Take a picture with me for $25 and you get a free book!” hahaha, nice try! Then I came across S.S. Bazinet’s booth where I thought one of her daughters was the author because she was talking about the book like she wrote it. I met Bazinet when I bought her book, Vampires Suck But You Don’t Have To and I entered to a win a $25 Amazon gift card. So imagine my surprise when I checked email the following Monday to see I won the gift card from her publisher!
I sat on Darynda Jones’ panel after meeting with Bazinet. It was a fun filled hour and afterwards she answered a few reader questions. As I walked over to Page One’s booth to get Darynda to sign two books I came across the LERA booth! LERA is New Mexico’s chapter for Romance Writers of America (RWA) and I loved the ladies at the booth! I got to meet Jeffe Kennedy and she mentioned how we were wearing the same color shirt (a royal blue). She said I missed Katie Lane, but I could take a signed book and anything on the table. I joked about taking the table with me. I chatted with the ladies for a bit when I had to leave in order to catch Darynda. They reminded me of the LERA panel at 2 pm and I promised I’d be there. So meeting with Darynda one on one was fun. She happily signed Third Grave Dead Ahead and Death, Doom, and Detention for a future giveaway. When I mentioned I hadn’t read her books, but wanted to she handed me a copy of First Grave on the Right and signed it for me. I paid Bookworks for the copy and promised Darynda I’d see her later in the day.
I consulted the guide and realized T.J. English was about to talk and went to sit on his discussion. It was fascinating and he told a tidbit about his experience trying to obtain a visa to travel to Cuba. The only downside is I wish I had the chance to get a book signed by him. Afterwards I sat on the Mark Rudd and James Tracy, activists for social change, “Rage Against the Amnesia Machine” panel. It was interesting and a bit strange. During the Q & A, Tracy got into it with an attendee and he disagreed on her stats and said not to believe what the American government says. It was pretty heated that during her rebuttal he cut off her off and moved on. I felt bad for the woman who quickly packed up her bag and left. I checked the time and noticed it was close to 2 pm and decided to see a few more booths. Before I knew it, it was 2:30 and I was missing the LERA panel and I hurried over to the designated room. The LERA panel was fun! I wish I had been there for the entire thing instead of the last 20 minutes. It was insightful to see what authors thought of the romance industry and answered a few questions. Lucky for me afterwards was the David Morrell panel.
Now David Morrell was the highlight for me! My father is a big fan of the Rambo films and so David was here to talk about his newest release, Murder as a Fine Art. He talked about his journey as an author and he was engaging! You can really tell he was a former professor by the way he carried himself. He signed a few books afterwards and I waited a bit, but he was taking his time and decided to see the last of the booths I missed before having him sign a book. On my way to another booth, the LERA ladies were there and I stopped to chat with Shea Berkley and Robin Perini about swag. Then Shea and I talked about bad boys in YA since she writes YA and it was fun. I picked up some more swag and apologized to Robin for missing her panel. Off I went to catch David Morrell only to wait in line for another 30 minutes. The hold up? The lady in front of me is an author and was asking him all sorts of questions regarding publishing and how to go about it, etc. He was kind enough to smile at her and when he noted the time, he kindly asked me to approach. We chatted for a bit about his book and then I noticed Bookworks had First Blood, the first Rambo book, and he signed it for my dad and even gave me a signed card for him that features him and Sylvester Stallone.
So in a nutshell that was the Southwest Book Fiesta. In the end, it was geared more towards writers than readers. I met some interesting authors and a few I promised to contact, but haven’t had a chance to do so.
+Meeting David Morrell, Darynda Jones, Jeffe Kennedy, Shea Berkley, and Robin Perini (heck all the ladies of LERA).
+Meeting Clifford the Big Red Dog
+Being stopped by a few authors who asked for a card because they heard a “book blogger” was present.
+One author thought I was trolling for free books when she heard I was a blogger. Then she kept asking for my stats. I was uncomfortable sharing those stats because her demeanor changed when I asked the cost of her books. She gave me a copy of her book for a review and my review queue is extensive that I’m not sure when I’m going to get around to it.
+Festival more for writers than readers
I’ll post the discussion recaps for Darynda Jones and David Morrell later this week or next week.