The Arizona Road Trip of Awesome Recap!

Hi again! If you’re familiar around these parts, you probably know that I went to Arizona last week for the Tucson Festival of Books and in doing so, participated in the ARIZONA ROAD TRIP OF AWESOME (ARTOA), but you may not have known about all the hijinks I got up to. So in the interest of entertaining you, here’s a little recap post with some fun pictures. It was an AMAZING trip and if you’re at all able to go to the festival next year, I highly recommend it, although hopefully the weather will be a bit nicer. Arizona owes me some sunshine-we Canadians don’t get near enough, especially in March, so I’m a bit sad that I didn’t get my fair share on this trip. That said, it was still a great time, as you can see below.

First, as on every good road trip, we had a great driver, the lovely and safety-conscious Lisa McMann. She’s a very good driver and not just on the driveway. After she picked me up, we also collected fellow road-trippers, A.S. King (referred to hereafter as ‘Amy’) and Heather Brewer.

Lisa driving

All road trips require food and this one was no exception-we had a great dinner with some Phoenix area friends.

L to R – Heather, Faith, Amy, Robyn, Me, Amy Dominy, Jim, Lisa

After the dinner, we headed over to Changing Hands where we sat with a full crowd for Amy’s event. She engaged the audience with her readings and great stories.

Amy Reading

Then we tried on hats.

She's a good egg.
She’s a good egg. Get it? She’s got a chicken…never mind.
Heather with something on her head
Never before has a flamingo been so regal!
Is that a shark on my head
Is there something on my head?

And as it turns out, someone was celebrating a birthday during the ARTOA

It’s the birthday girl!

On Friday, it was off to Tucson, but first, we made a stop at Casa Grande for some school visits. Lisa, Amy and Heather headed to the high school and I had the extreme pleasure of meeting up with the wonderful Jennifer Nielsen and we did two school visits together. For this newb, it was a high honor indeed to get to present with such a funny, engaging professional.

Jennifer presenting to a riveted crowd
Jennifer presenting to a riveted crowd, while I sweat it out, waiting for my turn.
Hiding behind my book. Kids are scary! I’m just kidding. Kind of.
Don’t those books look good together?

And then we were off to Tucson. While Amy, Lisa and Heather jetted off to a swanky dinner, where I heard they had steamed burgers (that can’t be right?) Jennifer and I were joined by the lovely and hilarious Elizabeth Eulberg. We ate at this place that served the biggest bowls of food I have ever seen. Seriously, that was A LOT OF FOOD. Then we got freaky weird fortunes. I would share them with you, but I have since lost them, and anyway, what happens at Pei Wei, stays at Pei Wei.

Saturday was all about the Tucson Festival of Books. It was a cold, drizzly day, but that didn’t dampen the spirits of the many book lovers who came out.

Teen & Author Meeting Place

“This here itinerary I’m reading from is so awesomely detailed and helpful. Whoever put this together is clearly a genius.”
“Tomorrow’s my birthday and I hope to have a cake THIS BIG.”

I started my scheduled part of the day off with a signing at the Mostly Books booth with Lisa. Jody, Tricia and the other staff were great – thanks for hosting us! While there, I sat next to Hilary Davidson and through chatting, we realized we’re both from Canada – only an hour apart. Hilary now lives in New York, but still, how cool is that?


Yes, it’s dorky, but seeing my name up there on a cool sign got me all emotional. You know you’re special when someone puts your name on a sign that isn’t just a scrawled whiteboard. Anyway, the 1pm panel was great and very well attended. Somehow, Lisa got me to tell one of my most embarrassing high school stories. I’m not going to tell you what it was, because what happens in the Kiva Auditorium, stays in the Kiva Auditorium (thankfully). Our moderator, Gail, kept the questions coming and engaged the audience in Q&A-thanks, Gail!

Maylan and Me
Thank you to my author host, Maylan!

My second panel was all about writing humor. My co-panelists were Linda Urban and Elise Broach, two fine ladies I’d never met before. I do know Linda from Twitter, but it was especially nice to meet her and Elise in person. It was kind of weird meeting my co-panelists just minutes before our session, but very quickly, I realized they were professionals and we’d be great. We got many thoughtful questions from the audience and it went very well. Thank you to moderator Jennifer for the excellent questions and keeping everything running smoothly.

Linda Urban, Elise Broach and Me.

I also got to meet Tom Leveen again (we met very briefly at NCTE in November) and the lovely Erin Lange, a fellow Apocalypsie. We share the same publisher and even editor, so it was great to meet up. We didn’t have a lot of time to chat, which was a bit sad, but means I just need to return to Arizona again.

All in all, it was a great trip. I love author events where I get to meet colleagues and other book lovers and if you throw in some travel, well, I’m in. Thanks to everyone who made the ARTOA truly awesome.