Texas Book Festival 2012 recap

Over the weekend I joined hundreds of other authors and 40,000 visitors to Austin for an action-packed book fest.

My events took place on Saturday. I started the day at the Authors Breakfast at the Governors’ Mansion. A cold and windy breakfast!

I drank lots of coffee, chatted with the docents inside the house and, of course, took photos of the nineteenth century restoration decor. I also met Stephen Tobolowsky, one of the celeb judges of the Literary Death Match.

Following the breakfast, I was whisked off by my wife for a breakfast I could eat (no substantive gluten-free options at the breakfast!). She cooked, I ran through my piece over and over again in my head. Usually you read from your book, so you needn’t worry about forgetting your lines. Well, I demonstrated something from my book, so I needed my hands and eyeballs for other things, and I had to tell the story about why you might want to pay attention, how to do it, and offer enthusiastic encouragement for future endeavors. That’s a lot to remember even when you can do the task at hand in your sleep.

Yes, I folded a fitted sheet in the Literary Death Match. The judges, Amelia Gray, Owen Eggerton and Stephen Tobolowsky offered hilarious commentary inspired by my linens. I survived—and enjoyed!—my first large, on-stage performance. (My wife filmed it, and we’ll be posting it to YouTube soon!)

Alas, my longstanding friendship with Stephen did not sway the outcome of the LDM, Kambri, who taught the audience profane sign language trumped all, even a unicorn.

Bob Shea reading at LDM

It’s cool, though. She deserved the medal.

We were ferried off to sign books immediately after.

Stephen and his wife, Ann

My next engagement involved sipping drinks and mingling at the Authors Cocktail party at Texas Monthly’s 17th floor office. That was fun.

Quick sips they were, though. I met my co-panelist in our LitCrawl event, The Hip Girls’ Guide to Everything. Kayte Terry is a dear and a maven with all things paper, to boot! She did a Kirigami Wall Flower demo, and showed folks how to alter that project to make the holiday fave, snowflakes, the right way.

I led a pickled peppers demo after Kayte’s presentation.

We signed books and then high-tailed it to Cheer Up Charlie’s to catch the second LitCrawl session, a presentation of Five Things, featuring Texas Book Festival visiting authors, and founder Amelia Gray. 

Then there were tacos, a LitCrawl afterparty, and a full day of quiet time and recuperation!