I Left My Heart in Decatur...

Happy Labor Day everybody! The bosslady isn't letting me have the day off, but that's okay. I'm leaving for Ireland in a couple weeks and I'll be there for a MONTH so I can have a proper vacation then. Came back late last night from the Decatur Book Festival. It. Was. Amazing. There were so many wonderful authors and book bloggers there. I'm not even sure where to begin. I guess I should start with The Gold Star Award for Awesome, which goes to Stacey from PageTurners and Vania Stoyanova for taking such good care of me and the other YA authors in attendance. I pretty much called Stacey the second I arrived because I was lost (shocker!) so she helped me find the author check-in. Vania arranged welcome dinners/breakfasts for a bunch of us authors. I pretty much stalked them the entire weekend. I'm going through a bit of withdrawal today because I can't text either of them to say "What are you doing NOW? Can I join you?" Yes, we authors can be a needy bunch.

Saturday night I got to meet some fab authors (can't believe I didn't get a photo of us!): Myra McEntire, Stephanie Perkins, Jackson Pearce, CJ Redwine, Rachel Hawkins, and Victoria Schwab - how about that for dinner companions? (Of course I spent most of the evening talking poor Stacey's ear off).  Beth Revis stopped by, but I was on the other end of the table so I only got to wave to her. Next time!

Vania hosted an awesome breakfast with a bunch of us and I got to meet some awesome book bloggers. I love book bloggers. Seriously, I'm not pandering. I genuinely have nothing but the utmost respect for people who want to spread their love of books. I guess that's from being the daughter of a librarian! What can I say, I was raised well...

I got to see the Witches panel with Rachel Hawkins, Jackson Pearce, and Victoria Schwab. It was hysterical. Those guys were cracking me up. Who knew witches could be so funny? (Especially since I was scared of the Wicked Witch of the West when I was a kid.) But halfway through their panel I thought, "Crap! My panel is coming up. Better get your A-game on, Eulberg!"

I've been looking forward to my panel for months. I'm huge admirer of my fellow panelists: Stephanie Perkins (LOVED Anna and the French Kiss and can't wait for Lola and the Boy Next Door), Terra Elan McVoy (Terra and I worked together back in the day at Scholastic and have kept in touch. I recently read her latest, The Summer of Firsts and Lasts, and it's SO good, highly recommend it! PLUS, Terra is the Program Director for the DBF so she was responsible for having me there, I was so honored to be invited!), and Jennifer Jabaley (finished her Crush Control on my flight to Atlanta, the book and Jennifer are so much fun).

After the panel, I went down to the signing where I met so many awesome people (I'm aware that I keep using he words "awesome" and "amazing" but I only preach the truth!). Award for best t-shirt goes to Crys who showed her love for the one and only Miss Austen.

I'll admit, when I first saw the shirt I thought, "Oh, I wonder if she's read Prom & Prejudice yet, and if so, that she doesn't hate me!" I know there are a lot of Jane Austen purists out there who don't like it when people do retellings, but so far I've had nothing but positive interactions with fellow Jane Austen fans and Crys was no exception!

I also found out from Karis that Prom & Prejudice AND The Lonely Hearts Club both made the Summer Reading List of a local Middle School. This made me REALLY excited because I haven't heard that before. I made it, Mom! (No seriously, I totally forwarded the link to her. She'd be pretty proud of this, I know I am!)

Sadly, it was time for me to go home. Not before I got a photo with the infamous Stacey!

I can't believe that I didn't get a photo with Vania. That's so not right. Luckily, I'll be stalking, I mean seeing her soon and we'll change that!

Thank you to everybody who came out to the panels and signings, the Decatur Book Festival committee and volunteers for making everything run so smoothly, and, of course, Scholastic for sending me (especially Emma in publicity, aka my airport buddy). You guys ROCK!

XOXO, Elizabeth

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