OK maybe I'm just a little bit giddy about being part of the UCF Book Festival, the only cool literary event we've got going on in Central Florida. I've always been so jealous of all the bloggers that have book festivals happening in their backyard. The authors! The signings! The panel discussions! The blogger get-togethers! Heck, we don't even have an indie bookstore in Orlando anymore.
So God bless the folks at UCF for making this grass roots event a reality, and working their tails off to try to make it a huge success. In the process of their planning, they made a conscious decision to embrace book bloggers, and I'm proud to be a part of it! You won't find a greater lover of books and supporter of reading than a book blogger. Joining me in the official blogging capacity is Heather at Raging Bibliomania and Jenny at Take Me Away.
The event was kicked off with an author reception held at the UCF Barnes and Noble on Friday evening from 6pm to 8pm. The bloggers three arrived not really knowing anyone. As we stood scoping out the crowd, my eyes bugged out and I whispered to my friends: "Oh my God, Eleanor Brown (author of "The Weird Sisters") is standing RIGHT BEHIND US!". She was deeply engaged in a conversation with another woman who had her back turned to us. So with the ruse of getting a glass of wine, I meandered by and struck up a conversation. My eyes bugged out again when I realized that Eleanor's friend was Lori Roy, who just released "Bent Road" (reviewed a couple of days ago by Jenny here, and ordered on audio from the library by me yesterday). Soon the five of us were chatting, gushing over their novels. Eleanor was SO incredibly happy and open, she felt like an old college buddy. And both authors love to participate in book club call-ins, so take note!
We also were thrilled to catch up with Susan Gregg Gilmore, who Heather and I met at SIBA. She was as gracious and beautiful as ever, I had to tell her how much I loved "The Improper Life of Bezelia Grove", and we promised to meet up on Saturday.
There was a formal presentation as well, given by the President of UCF, John C. Hitt, and Dean Sandra Robinson. They talked about the construction of the Morgridge International Reading Center at UCF, and about their plans for the festival going forward. We were then treated with a reading by Maxine Paetro, a collaborator with James Patterson, of the creepy prologue from The 7th Heaven.