Fun in the Sun

I just had to share this fun photo booth series of moi and my husband, taken on Saturday night at my BFF’s wedding reception. What a gorgeous weekend, and how lucky we were to be on Nantucket, one of the most gorgeous places on earth, celebrating the union of our amazing friends!

Tune in tomorrow for a very different post: I’ll be revealing before and after pics of our summer-long landscaping project. If you like “yard porn,” you’re in for a treat!

On the Road with OTTO

I spent this past weekend in lovely Saratoga Springs, NY, where my husband (the inspiration for OTTO) and I attended the opening of an amazing Porsche exhibit, “Porsche: 60 Years of Speed & Style,” at the Saratoga Auto Museum. The great staff at the museum are fans of OTTO, so they set me up with a signing at the exhibit opening’s cocktail party. I ended up selling lots of books, and meeting lots of great car people!

If you’re in the area and love cars, you should definitely check out the exhibit. While I signed and schmoozed, my husband ogled the extraordinary cars on display, including this aluminum-bodied Porsche Gmünd Coupe, a 356 model that was crafted in a sawmill in Austria.

And take a look at this 918 RSR Hybrid, Porsche’s new hybrid supercar.

The next morning, we returned to the museum in our 1967 911S and met up with other Porsche drivers for the Fall Ramble, a rally through the Adirondacks. My husband was in his happy place, behind the wheel, as we toured some amazing fall scenery and twisty, Porsche-friendly roads.

Here we are, driving in caravan behind a particularly-zippy GT3.

I happily volunteered to act as navigator, even though the directions were two pages long…

…and, as it turned out, were missing a crucial turn. The caravan soon broke up, and both of our phones were out of range, so we were hopelessly lost for a while. Yikes! Eventually, we found our way to our destination, a lovely hotel on Lake George, where we enjoyed a very German lunch (schnitzel and German potato salad and Black Forest cupcakes, among other delicacies). While we were there, we got to meet Porsche racing legends Vic Elford and Joe Buzzetta, and I signed a copy of OTTO for Joe’s new grandson. What an honor!

I’m getting really spoiled with these amazing weekends. I hope you’re out there having fun, too!

Bookish Babes in Burlington

Another great weekend, thanks to the good folks at the Burlington Book Festival; the amazing Phoenix Books, which cheerfully and tirelessly sold books at the event; and the other writerly ladies with whom I shared a dinner table, a stage, and a VERY large panel: Elizabeth Bluemle, Jo Knowles, Erica Perl, Tanya Lee Stone, Linda UrbanSarah Aronson, Sarah Albee, Jeannine Atkins, Cynthia Lord, Ammi-Joan Paquette, and Kate Messner. Oh, and a BIG thanks to my husband, for driving, and being all-around awesome.

After a rainy drive through most of lower New England on Saturday, we were welcomed by a beautiful afternoon in Vermont. The above photo is the view from our swanky hotel in Stowe, where everyone seemed to walk around in their bathrobes, having just had spa treatments or a dip in the humungous pool. Not one to resist a trend (or a temptation), I indulged in a very, very luxurious pedicure.

Afterwards, we met up with some of our fellow book festival peeps for dinner. Wine was imbibed, locavoracious (is that a word? if not, it should be) burgers and salads were eaten, and lively conversation was shared. What a treat, to be able to spend some downtime with such smart, funny, lovely people. And I finally got to meet Erica Perl, after many years of appreciation from afar!

Did I mention how great our hotel was? Well, the bonus was that it was close to the Cold Hollow Cider Mill, where my husband and I were able to enjoy a good, nutritious Sunday breakfast of warm apple cider donuts and coffee. Already, my day was off to a good start. And it only got better!

Here I am inspecting the roster for the day (and ignoring the extra space in my last name). What a line-up! I’m so honored I was able to be a part of it. And specifically, I got to present my books alongside writer and bookseller Elizabeth Bluemle! I read from UGLY FISH, she read from the amazing My Father, the Dog, we chatted about what inspired our stories, and then I read from OTTO: The Boy Who Loved Cars. My favorite moment was when I’d just opened UGLY FISH to start reading, and a little tyke in the audience turned to her mom and loudly asked, “Mama, is she DONE yet?” Ha!

Here’s a shot of moi in action (I always have a weird look on my face when I’m photographed reading UGLY FISH, because I’m in the midst of doing all the voices):

Afterwards, I participated in a “super panel” featuring all of the participating children’s authors (except for David Macaulay, who was probably still receiving fans in his very long signing line). We talked about “craft” books we recommend (Bird by Bird, one of my own faves, was a common choice), our journeys to become writers, funny kids’ books we like (currently, I’m loving Jon Klassen’s I Want My Hat Back, and not just because it’s published by my alma mater, Candlewick), and if we could think of any male middle grade or YA novelists who write from a female perspective. On the spot, we could only come up with Kevin Henkes (Olive’s Ocean and Junonia). Can you think of others?

Then I signed some books, met some terrific new fans, and it was time to get back on the road for a very, very long drive home. Thankfully, Vermont gifted us with some pretty stellar weather, so we got to enjoy some sublime scenery. All in all, it was a perfect weekend filled with friends and fun and fabulous books. I can’t think of a better way to welcome the fall season.

Lucky moi

Above: Card from my grandmother. Yes, I just got this over the weekend, and not when I was twelve.

Thanks to everyone for the birthday wishes. I’m still processing the events of the past weekend, which included trips to Connecticut and NYC, an all-star cast of friends and family, a deluge of prosecco, a red velvet cupcake (consumed yesterday at exactly 2:58pm, the very minute I was born), and one VERY thoughtful husband.

Also, I purchased a little something for myself: a signet ring with the date of my birthday engraved inside. It’s my new favorite thing.

I’m feeling very lucky, very loved, and very young at heart. And I’m grateful for all of you, who continue to make all three possible.