Another year, another birthday, another Los Angeles Times Festival of Books.
My signings were on Saturday … my birthday on Sunday … my postponed birthday dinner was last night. This year’s FOB was special because my sister-in-law Jane is visiting from Massachusetts and is a devoted bookophile and former bookstore owner. It was also special because my granddaughter and fellow booklover Remy (almost 4) came for the very first time!
I started off signing at the Whale of a Tale bookstore booth, which hosted the Penguin authors. I was paired with Ingrid Law, (above) author of one of this year’s Newbery Honor Book, Savvy, which I can’t wait to read. I don’t like the photo but I like Ingrid … and she’ll be on the faculty of this summer’s SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) as will I!!
Due to a wonderful serendipity, following our signing was Judy Schachner (Skippyjon Jones – yea!!!!), whom I met in late 2007 and with whom I shared a mind-bending and memorable flight from Yakima, WA to Seattle. I think we are bonded for life thanks to that flight and it was great to see her again. I had a second signing with Ed Decter, screenplay writer extraordinaire and middle grade and YA author fantastico.
I also got to schmooze with writer friends Lisa Yee, Julia DeVillers, Michael Reisman and got to meet the awesome illustrator Jarrett Krocosczka and family who, it turns out, live fairly close to sister-in-law Jane.
The family (husband Frank, sister-in-law Jane, daughter Rebecca, granddaughter Remy) segued to Kate Mantilini’s in Bev Hills for dinner, minus son-in-law Gary who was ailing with the flu but NOT the swine flu. We missed him but soldiered on without him.
However, my birthday took a sad turn when our next door neighbor, Donald Specht, passed away early Sunday morning. Don was a jazz musician and composer as well as a writer and he will be greatly missed. Our hearts go out to his wife, Mary, our dear, dear friend. In addition to writing a kabillion arrangements and commercial jingles, Don once penned The Betty Song, for which I am eternally grateful. And there was also Tropical Nights at the Birneys (a tango). I will share soon.