Laini and I were invited to the A.L.A. Mid-Winter Conference by her publisher, G.P. Putnam's Sons, and her editor Tim Travaglini and we just arrived home from a FANTASTIC couple of days. The conference was in Seattle (which we LOVE) and the experience was just amazing. We had the pleasure of meeting so many generous, kind-hearted people -- from librarians (the "L" in A.L.A.), to Editors, to Art Directors, to Marketing, and on and on). It was an insider's event (with thousands of people) with limited attendance by authors and illustrators and we were thrilled to have been invited! (thanks Tim! :)
The event began for us on Friday when Laini had the honor of giving a presentation about "The Rise of Fantasy in a Post 9/11 World." She was up there with two amazing and prolific authors, R.A. Salvatore and Timothy Zahn, and they couldn't have been nicer guys! Laini had prepared a speech that she read to me on the drive up (making me get teary-eyed in about 1 minute as it covered topics like war, heroes in fantasy and the real world, her childhood, her family, and the question of whether or not we can ever have a "golden age" in our world's future).
After the three of them presented to a crowd of about 500 librarians from around the country (with some editors and marketing folk in the audience as well), we went back to the Penguin/Putnam booth where Laini autographed Advance Reader's Copies of her novel (which I did the jacket and interior illustrations for!).
While Laini was signing (and hearing about how others that heard her speech got teary-eyed!) I snapped a few pictures and then got a chance to mingle with some other editors from within Penguin as well as other publishing houses (and what a great bunch of people!).
So in addition to seeing people we've come to know and become friends with from attending other conferences (hi Mark!, hi Sara and Jaime!), we got to meet a bunch of new fantastic people that I hope we'll be able to see again soon at other gatherings.
What a great couple of days!
And here's the book amidst other recent and upcoming Penguin/Putnam releases:
Oh, and to top it all off, we got home and out of curiousity checked on Amazon.com and voila! my jacket artwork is on the site!! (sorry for all the exclamation points on this post)
Now I'm off to bed, then an early morning as I get back to work on the cover I'm doing for Dark Horse Comics! Very exciting as well and cause for one last exclamation point! I'll post the finished cover soon (as long as it's okay with my editor)