Monday, October 29, 2007

Busy, busy, busy

It has been a crazy, busy, exciting week here at Vroman's.

A week ago Saturday the Southern California Independent Booksellers Association Author Feast and Trade Show was held at the Biltmore Hotel in downtown L.A. , and a great many Vroman's employees attended. Attendance at this fun annual event was up so much, in fact, that SCIBA had to add some extra tables in the dining room to accommodate all the booksellers, authors, and publishers -- tables in a terrible location, where we couldn't see or hear most of what was going on up at the podium! (I know because I was seated at one of them.) No matter: the authors who dined with us were great sports, and we all joked about being at the "kiddie table" and threatened to start a food fight. During our soup course, mystery writer Don Winslow regaled us with stories about his career as a private investigator. I have a strong stomach, so Jeff Swimmer's (A Field Guide to Household Bugs) little chat while we ate our entrees didn't faze me in the least. I ignored my dessert in favor of listening to children's author Frank Beddor relate the tale of how he spit on a student during an author event at a school. It was a fine evening of author conversation that I probably enjoyed more than I would have at a table with a better view of the official goings-on.

Monday and Tuesday were spent setting up and then operating a booth at the ginormous Governor's Conference for Women in Long Beach. This was our second year participating, and we learned so much last year that set-up and clean-up this year ran like clockwork. Among the many authors speaking (and then signing books in our booth) were Elizabeth Gilbert, Nora Ephron, Thomas Friedman, and Linda Ellerbee. Attendance at this event was down 14% from last year, due to the devastating wildfires, but it was still a great conference.

Thursday evening was a wonderful homecoming for Linda Urban, who used to be Vroman's events coordinator. I had the pleasure of working with Linda for -- oh, about a decade, I'd guess, and we're good friends as well as colleagues, so her success as a writer is absolutely thrilling for me. A large crowd filled with friends, current and former Vroman's booksellers, customers, and admirers filled our events space, where Linda read three chapters from her delightful children's book, A Crooked Kind of Perfect. I hope she had a fraction as good a time as I did.

Finally, on Saturday afternoon, our beloved buyer, Sherri Gallentine, married her longtime beau, Rich Zanteson. The happy couple are leaving for their honeymoon in Spain today -- wish them well!


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