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This roller coaster journey of writing and trying to become a published author is unbelievable and amazing. I wish I could adequately describe to you how alive I feel here. We are two days in to the BookExpo America convention here in New York City. I tend to always feel more alive anytime I am in NYC so I did expect that to some degree, but this is something else entirely. In two days time, I feel as if I have learned a lifetime of material-and there’s so much more to learn! I also have learned some things about myself. I have realized that I was made for this literary world. I speak the language and love learning more about the business. When I am around it and in it, I feel like I have put on a second skin that fits perfectly. It is mind-boggling and wonderful and so much more. So much has happened the past couple of days, that I’m not really sure where exactly to start.

On Monday, Kallie and I jumped on a plane and headed to NYC. We had to go to Denver first, which I know makes NO sense but I don’t run the airlines so… Once there, our plane ended up being delayed. It put us in NYC about an hour later than planned but that was no big deal. One of Kallie’s friends, Laura, picked us up and drove us into the city, which was so nice of her. That night, the 3 of us (KP, Kallie and Laura) spent some time with a friend of mine from college, had dinner and drinks, that kind of thing, in Chelsea. The restaurant we ate at was named Cafeteria. It’s on 7th Avenue and it’s delicious. I had this amazing ravioli with pine nuts and parmesan. All of the dishes that came to the table looked fantastic. Laura’s fried chicken salad was not what you’d expect if you’re from Texas like me, though. It was more of a fried chicken southwest salad, complete with a buffalo sauce and tortilla strips. It looked delicious-it was just a bit of a surprise when it came out. Anyway, if you are in the Chelsea area when you come to NYC, I would recommend Cafeteria.

On Tuesday, we spent most of the day at the BookExpo America Convention (from here on out, it will be called the BEA). It has taken over New York’s Javits Convention Center, and I honestly have never seen anything like it. I had no idea there were so many people who were book crazy like me! The doors to the Expo opened at 9am, and you would have thought Neiman’s had just opened their doors for a 90% off whole store sale the way these people were tearing through book publishers booths. Each booth, which there are thousands of, represents one or many aspects of the literary business market. Some are publishers, some are distributors. Others are printers, authors, illustrators, etc. If you are looking for it, you can find it here. Most of the publishers’ booths, have free books to give out each day. It’s not just one or two books either. And people go at a mad dash to collect all of the hottest new books-most of which have not been released to the public yet. As I type this, I am coming home with over 50 (FIFTY!!) new books from Children’s Picture Books on up to Adult novels. Some are signed by the authors and some are not. Some of the authors I have had the privilege of meeting over the last two days, and some I haven’t. It has really been a whirlwind, and there’s still one more day!

One of the authors that I particularly enjoyed meeting was Katherine Paterson. She wrote books like Bridge to Terebithia. At this time she has two new books coming out. One is a Children’s Picture book called Brother Sun, Sister Moon. The other is a Middle Grade chapter book called The Flint Heart. Katherine Paterson has been a favorite author of mine for some time so meeting her was a thrill. Brother Sun, Sister Moonis based on the Prayer of St. Francis. The illustrations are amazing. I can’t wait to get it home to my boys and share it with them. The Flint Heart is one of those books that I can’t wait to read, even as a Middle Grade chapter book. If you like Karen Cushman or Gail Carson Levine, I believe this will be put into the same category. I am in the middle of two Young Adult novels right now (Wolfsbane and Linger), but as soon as I finish them, I am starting this book. While it’s a fairy tale, the main character is a boy, and for my family of 3 little men, that is perfect!

All of that aside, I have been meeting and schmoozing away for several things. The first thing, of course, is the children’s book that I am trying to get published. I have met with two publishers, and both meetings were very promising and went very well. I also met another publisher who has asked me to send her my manuscript, so I will be doing that as well. It has been amazing to see people’s reactions to my main character and the publishers’ reactions to the manuscript. I will not share all here as of right now because I am still processing, and there’s really only so much to tell. The most important thing is that they all liked it! One of them actually laughed in the right places and said, “It’s really a very good read, isn’t it?” in this amazing British accent (yes, a real one). I have been blessed beyond belief by God’s favor this week. Please continue to pray that all goes well here and that doors continue to open (or stay open because none of them were shut!!). Tuesday was a difficult day for me because my stress level was so high before my first meeting. I thought I was going to throw up and I had a migraine, but it really worked out splendid. It helped me believe in myself a bit more, and know that I am right where I am supposed to be. That is always a good feeling!

I am so happy to announce to you that I will now be writing for BookshelfBanter.com! The website delves into all things books, and the media that surrounds books. In the past, it has focused mostly on Young Adult and Adult fiction, but it will now be expanding to include Children’s and Middle Grade books too. I will be focusing on that area, and I am really excited about it. You can be watching for my reviews on Brother Sun, Sister Moon and The Flint Heart on the site in the next couple of weeks. Please go to their Facebook Page and LIKE them, or follow @BookshelfBanter on twitter, or check out the website! This is a fantastic site to get great book recommendations, now for your whole family!

 Today, was an exciting day of more meetings and the like. I met with another publisher who was so encouraging. It really was a joyful experience to meet with them! I met a wonderful adult fiction literary agent, who recommended I call a friend of their’s who is a children’s literary agent. She gave me her card and wrote his information on it for me. It was a surreal experience for me, and I can’t wait to contact him once I get home. There’s so much more to tell but it is going to have to wait because I am exhilarated and exhausted all at the same time. And I have to be up early in the morning to do it all again!

Thank you for your amazing support during this journey. It does not end once I get back to Texas. It is just the beginning, but I have learned that it is definitely a journey I am suppose to be taking. I cannot wait to see what happens tomorrow and tell you all about it! Praying that each of you has a day of wonder and bliss…

Staring Up,