Friday, July 16, 2010

Beautiful Buffalo and a Book Title...

From lovely historic buildings, a golden dome and the grandeur of City Hall in downtown Buffalo NY to the people I met at the Buffalo Book Fair, the city certainly has a lot of beauty to go around. So, of course, does Niagra Falls. I’m traveling a lot this year, as you’ve seen, most of my posts have been recounting my various events. And I made a pledge that if I was going all over the country in one of the busiest years of my life, I’d try and make sure I’d see some beautiful, awesome things along the way. There are certain ‘bucket list’ sights one should see, and my love and I checked two of those off our list this summer already, the Grand Canyon and now Niagra Falls. (I’d seen the falls about 20 years ago, but seeing them with your partner- he’d never seen them- is even better). Yes, they remain as breathtaking as ever.

First, the fair. I loved that it was located in the heart of downtown Buffalo. Living in New York City certainly gives you an appreciation for events in the heart of an urban area and I get excited when I see it happen in other cities too. There were author readings, signings provided by the fabulous folks of Barnes & Noble and Talking Leaves independent bookstore, there was music and a lot of great workshops and demonstrations about healthy living and some great featured cookbooks. (One entirely about veggie burgers and I cheered.) I was asked to present my workshop Direct Your Book: Theatrical Techniques to a Blockbuster Novel in the Buffalo Library, which was staffed by the friendliest, most helpful people, extremely well-kept, utilized and organized, the downtown library is a real destination place. I was so honoured that the mayor, Byron introduced himself to the authors and is known for his literacy initiatives, if I lived in Buffalo he’d have my vote for sure. I had some very meaningful interactions with fellow authors like Sofia Quintero, (be sure to check out Efrain’s Secret, a really good YA novel) as well as the dynamic duo Virginia Deberry & Donna Grant. And I met some new fans, aspiring authors and other quite wonderful people as I signed some books. So thanks to Jennifer Parker for involving me with the fair, and to the Buffalo Book Fair board and friendly volunteers who made it happen.

The great thing about Buffalo is that it’s such a quick, very easy drive to the falls. When you drive towards the falls, the mist rising high into the air from their power is a striking and unusual sight. I forgot that one of my heroes Frederick Law Olmstead had helped design the parks around the falls and was oh-so pleasantly reminded. It was a warm weekend, perfect for getting misty-eyed. And for a parasol. Do bring your passport as its wonderful to walk along both Falls from both sides of the border.

I also got to look up to another of my heroes, Nikola Tesla, the man behind electricity and a thousand other things. I'm sort of (okay totally) obsessed with him which will lead into another novel some time in the future. His statue here is in front of the arch from his original Hydro-electric plant. He is a genius. If you don't know about Tesla, educate yourself. (Then watch David Bowie play him in the movie The Prestige and swoon.)
We did what simply has to be done; the Maid of the Mist, the powerful boats that take you along the American Falls and directly in the center of the Horseshoe Falls so you can be in sheer and utter awe of the power around you (as well as very, very wet if you want to be). And then the Cave of the Winds, (as for an actual cave, that collapsed in the 1930s and killed people, so no cave anymore) which is a structure that takes you to the base and up into the Bridal Veil falls so that you can touch them. Or, like Marcos and I, put your face in them, scream like little kids and then freak out by how many rainbows there are! The mist and water creates rainbows everywhere you look- which is just darn neat. There’s a hurricane deck where you can stand in what feels like just that. A safe way to experience what’s both terrifying and unspeakably gorgeous. Another instance of postcards only telling you half the story. There are some things in life you should just experience. Natural wonders are our top priorities in that category. I feel very blessed that my opportunities to talk passionately about my books have included such great adventures too.
My next trip? LONDON, ENGLAND! (My soul rejoices as I’m going home to my favourite place on Earth) Then a few days in FRANCE! Then GERMANY! I’m pretty beside myself. I’ll be doing a bunch of research for Strangely Beautiful #4 on the way. Dear Londoners! Please come see me
at my signing at Forbidden Planet! I’m so excited! Details here.

I’m certainly counting down the days until September 28th when A Midwinter Fantasy releases (now available for pre-order) and Rebecca and Michael get their due. Ohioans, I’ll be doing a signing the first week in October back home, so stay tuned for details.

And I’d like to take this moment to announce the title of the next in the series which has been making its rounds.


A prequel, this book will release in the spring of 2011. And because I am very, very hard at work on the book, that’s why I’ve been a bit radio quiet, you’ll hear from me again after my European adventure!

Blessings! Light the darkness!