Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The UCF Book Festival in a (rather large) nutshell

I think I've made enough of a nuisance of myself raving about the 2nd Annual UCF Book Festival here lately, but I can't let it lie until I 'splain out all the awesomeness that I experienced last weekend. 

So I talked about the Author Reception already, that was held on Friday evening.  That was a fun way to kick off the festivities. On Saturday morning at 9am, they were open for business!

The committee made a concerted effort to make this event much bigger than last year.  One of their objectives was to get local bloggers in on the fun.  Heather (Raging Bibliomania) met Susan Wegmann, an Associate Professor at UCF, at SIBA last fall, which paved our way into this opportunity.  Heather provided my name and Jenny Reed's (Take Me Away) to her, and suddenly we were the festival's official bloggers.  We were provided our own blogging suite and a full page ad in the schedule booklet.    
















Above from left to right:  Jenny Reed, me, Heather Figearo


Our suite overlooked the floor of the arena, where the book signings and booths were stationed.  Before the author panels started at 10:00, we scoped out the goodies.  Heather and I bought literary t-shirts from Literary Threads, as well as some bookmarks and some books.  (We're helpless.)





The first panel on my agenda was called "Who Put the Thrill in Thriller", and was attended by mystery thriller authors Tom Lowe (The 24th Letter), Daniel Palmer (Delirious) and Tim Dorsey (Electric Barracuda).  Sorry for the low lighting...we had ambiance.     







I love crime novels, and these guys fulfilled my homicidal, blood-spattered expectations.  My first reaction was...Daniel Palmer, son of Michael Palmer, was quite the handsome dude.  I've been really wanting to read his latest book "Delirious", about which we got some juicy background.  I was more than shocked, however, when he brazenly revealed to us the bad guy of his next novel "Helpless".  How dare he?  He didn't think we would remember this fact once the book is finally published, but trust me, I will.  I wanted to run out of the room screaming with my fingers in my ears.  The real hit, to me, was Dorsey.  I've listened to one of his books (which all take place in Florida) "Atomic Lobster" on audio, and it was freaking hilarious.  His protagonist is a Dexter-ish serial killer with a conscience.  Now I know why his book was so funny.  The guy about made me pee my pants for the entire panel. I wanted to buy him a beer.

My next session, and probably my favorite (sorry I didn't get a picture), was called "Blood and Poison Across the Centuries:  True Tales of Crime & Science".  This session was attended by Holly Tucker (Blood Work), Douglas Starr (The Killer of Little Shepherds) and Deborah Blum (The Poisoner's Handbook). Have you ever wanted to know what it would be like to dig through foreign archives, old moldy boxes and autopsy notes from the 1800's and solve a cold case?  These guys have done it.  Not only that, but this trio acted like they'd been on a publicity tour with each other for three years, they were just lobbing the conversation back and forth seamlessly.  I was SO MOVED by their panel, I went out and bought all three of their books and missed half of the next session so they could sign them.  (she says as she stares at her mountain of books that threaten to fall and crush her)    
The last session I attended was called "Family Secrets", which featured Lori Roy (Bent Road), Susan Hubbard (The Season of Risks) and Eleanor Brown (The Weird Sisters).   




This was a fascinating panel because Lori and Eleanor both just published their debut novels.  Lori used to be an accountant (yay number crunchers!), Susan was a seasoned professor and a writer of both short stories and novels, and Eleanor, well, she was Eleanor!  Like I said in my post Saturday, she is real and candid and hilarious.

After all was said and done, it was time to get the Central Florida blogger community (hot damn guys, we actually HAVE one!) together for an end-of-festival celebration.  As all of you bloggers know, you don't really need to have met someone in real life to have a two hour conversation with them the first time you meet them.  We reflected on the festival, our blogging lives, the books we are reading, and about Florida's bugs.  The poor husbands sat at the end of the table and just shook their heads.      












Left to right:  Jenny's husband and Jenny (Take Me Away), me, Liz (Cleverly Inked), Heather (Book Addiction), Heather (Raging Bibliomania), and Michelle and her husband (My Books, My Life).

So there you have it.  I am already getting excited about next year, and what the festival will bring.  The bigger it gets, the more authors we will attract, and the more attendees will come.  If you are within a driving distance of Orlando (or can figure out a way to coordinate a trip down here at the same time) you must come in 2012.   

 

23 comments:

Melody said...

Wow, I'm here green with jealousy after reading your post. Sounds fun and it's so wonderful to meet up fellow bloggers and listening to those authors speaking about their books and so forth.

Heather @ Book Addiction said...

I'm so happy we got to meet! It looks like you guys had an incredible time at the festival, I definitely plan on attending next year. :)

rhapsodyinbooks said...

Sounds so fun! But I can't believe that about the spoiler!!!

Jenny said...

Great wrap up! I agree it was so fun and I can't wait for next year!! April 21!! Did you want to read Delirious (Daniel Palmer)? I lent it to my parents but once I get it back I can send it to you to read. I would have been so upset if the ending of that next book was spoiled for me. I almost went to that panel so I'm glad I missed it because I do want to read the next book. Is that the one about sexting?

Zibilee said...

I also had a hard time believing that that author spoiled his own book, and it's a good thing that I didn't attend that panel or I might have just blurted out something rude! It was a really great weekend for me, and I really would love the opportunity to do it all again. Finding out that there was a blogger community in Central Florida was not too shabby either! Fantastic recap post!

farmlanebooks said...

It is great to hear you have a Central Florida blogger community. I hope that it thrives :-)

It sounds as though you had a fantastic time - especially if you were inspired enough to go out and buy their books. I hope 2012 is even better.

Darlene said...

Wow, that is just awesome! I may have to move out to Florida yet. I miss way too much out here. I'm glad you guys had such a good time and thanks for this great post. At least I can live vicariously through you. Lol.

Martha@Hey, I want to read that said...

What fun, I'm not even the least little bit jealous (alright maybe a little bit). I wish I were closer. I'm shocked someone would reveal a spoiler like that. You'd think they would guard details.

Kathleen said...

This sounds SO FUN and you know the particular sessions you attended are right up my alley! I wish I could come to one of these. I'll be in Orlando in 2012 for a tradeshow but not in the right month...darn it!!

caite said...

golly, you are becoming like...famous! lol

Anna said...

Looks like you all had a wonderful time. How cool that you a blogging suite!

Alyce said...

What a fabulous event! I've enjoyed seeing your posts about it.

Ti said...

I've learned that you cannot attend the panels if you don't want to know any spoilers. Lots of times you've read the current book and expect them to talk about that one and then wham...they talk about an older book (that you haven't read) or one they are working on and then completely blow it for you. Yann Martel did to me last year.

Our festival is coming up but I'm not sure if I will go or not.

Beth F said...

Arghhhhh on the spoilers. Anyway, sounds like so much fun. Love the location of your room.

bermudaonion said...

I love these posts! The event sounds like so much fun and I'm sure y'all showed them how great bloggers are!

Julie P. said...

What a fun post! I wish I could have been there!

Daniel James Palmer said...

Dang! My bad Sandy! I'm so sorry about that flub. I guess I got so caught up in the craft discussion I forgot all about my obligation as a suspense author to . . .well . . . build suspense. Hopefully you can forgive and maybe (just maybe) forget. Anyway, chalk it up to a rookie mistake. I really wanted to impart those attending with useful information about the craft. To quote Mark Millar, "Artists, no matter how good their intentions, are always slower than they think."

Eleanor Brown said...

It was so great to meet you! I'm glad it was a good experience all around. I bet when the reading center opens next year it will be an even better festival!

Jenners said...

This sounds so coll...and thanks for the photo of the blogging suite! I was so curious about it. And what kind of author tells who the bed guy is!??? Not cool!

Amy said...

The Book Festival sounds fantastic, Sandy! So good, in fact, I might have to take a trip to Florida next year!
I was curious to know if you met Tim Dorsey so I was thrilled to read that you heard him speak and he was very funny. Since I read and reviewed his book Electric Barracuda which was hilarious and clever, I've wondered what he's like in real life.

It's awesome you were able to get together with several book bloggers, too!
Thanks for posting about your time at UCF Book Festival.

Michelle (my books. my life.) said...

Nice wrap up. So glad we got to get together. Hope we can do it again soon.

Liz @ Cleverly Inked said...

I wish I could have made it to the UCF event as well. It's on my next years calendar.

Melissa said...

Sounds like an amazing event!!

But I can't believe the author spoiled his own book?!? I wouldn't forget that either...