Tuesday, October 03, 2006

SCBWI Houston

On Sunday, I took some time to put together a handout for the SCBWI-Houston monthly meeting. I think people like a handout. That way, they don't have to take notes. They can just relax and let the speech sink in.

GLS decorated the house for Halloween. Bat lights in the foyers, black and orange candles, autumn tear-drop crystals in the chandelier, lighted haunted house in the fireplace, and so on. We could use some pillows, I think, but many decorative efforts are foiled by the cats. That night GLS and I watched "Desperate Housewives" (what is Brie thinking?).

Yesterday, we drove up to Houston. We took TX-71 to I-10. On 71, I spotted: a Batmobile (didn't look official); the future site of the new Hyatt Resort; a sign past La Grange that read "God Loves You--Praise Him;" more signs against fences in favor of various candidates for election; big ranches; red cattle. At I-10, after sunny skies, we hit an apocalyptic-looking bubble of a thunderstorm and passed bumper stickers that read "Someone Else For President" and "I'm Funkier Than You."

GLS and I had dinner with GG, her husband Jim, and VB at Pappadeaux near the Houston Community College campus where the meeting was held. I had a gator appetizer and crayfish etouffee with dirty rice.

The meeting itself was friendly and upbeat with a crowd of about 40, including DE and MW. We gave away a number of ARCs--some duplicates and others titles we'd already considered for recommendation, noting that they weren't the final books, discouraging resell, and encouraging writers to "make some noise" if they found a book they liked. After each speaking, GLS and I answered questions and read Santa Knows (Dutton, 2006).

We spent the night at GG's house in the Woodlands, highlighted by her new kittens, Spot and Truman, who spent much of the night walking on us in the guest room (not that we minded!).

The drive back on 290 was better--more ranches, many with American flags on the gates; more cattle (white and red); miniature horses; donkeys; PJ's Folk Art Studio; and a drive-through liquor store in Giddings (do such stores exist outside Texas?). Bumper stickers included "Stop Executions" and "Save Our Springs."

Spooky Links

Spine-tingling Halloween Treats: reviews by Deborah Hopkinson from Book Page. Highlighted titles include: What Are You Afraid Of? Stories about Phobias, edited by Donald R. Gallo (Candlewick, 2006)(excerpt); Scary Stories by Barry Moser (Chronicle, 2006); and All Hallow's Eve by Vivian Vande Velde (Harcourt, 2006)(excerpt).