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Day 2 at Book Expo is always where something clicks and changes for me. Maybe it’s because I actually brought food with me (as opposed to Day 1, when I didn’t and spent the latter half of the afternoon starving!).  The thing about BEA is that you have to be ready to change gears on the fly. For instance, I had big ideas about the Tim Gunn signing (fugeddaboudit — I didn’t even lay eyes on the dapper fellow) and then tried the Harlequin mass YA author signing only to be deterred by another crazy-long mobbish line)

Those misses freed me up to hit another one I really, really wanted: Michael Ennis‘s signing for The Malice of Fortune at Random House.  I worked with Michael at Texas Monthly back in the day (we won’t go into the actual number years of that day), and I’m always scouting for authors with Texas connections so I can write about them in future blog posts. Plus the idea of a literary thriller with the dynamic duo of Leonardo da Vinci and Niccolo Machiavelli is just plain intriguing! So that was a big score, and it was fun to see Michael.

Joy Preble at the Soho booth (photo from Joy’s blog)

As I was standing in line, I noticed an author signing ARCs of The Sweet Dead Life at the SohoPress booth for its new Soho Teen imprint; her book had a blurb comparing her with Cynthia Leitich Smith, so that caught my eye. After getting Michael’s book, I stopped there and we chatted. Turns out the author was Joy Preble, who lives in Houston and is one of Cynthia’s mentees —  the kicker being that Cynthia had told me about Joy a couple of weeks ago! So that was a lovely serendipitous BEA moment!

I roamed a bit more and then dumped my books in my box in the shipping room. Looking for a place to sit and indulge in my lunch (from Whole Foods Market, of course!), I decided to check out the Neil Young line, convinced that the closest I’d get would be taking a picture of the line. Lo and behold, there was noline and plenty of open seats. So I supposed you could say I had lunch with Neil Young and Patti Smith! (Look for a session recap soon.). Total goosebump moment (not to mention a flurry of text messages to various family members!).

I sneaked out a bit early to try to make the Dark Days signing with Veronica Roth (author of two books on my do-not-pass-Go-read-these-books list, Divergent and Insurgent) and Bethany Griffin (Masque of the Red Death), but once again was stymied by another mob pretending to be a line. Regrouping, I headed off to see if I could find one of my agent friends whom I was trying to connect with. Nothing doing there either.

So it was off to the Digital Zone to scope out ideas for my forthcoming e-book venture (details later this summer). Nice visits with Autography and Link.Me. I’d had the start of a chat with Kobo earlier in the day as well about the new Kobo Writing Life self-publishing portal. I meant to get back to talk with Mark Lefebvre, who created the program, but will have to make that a post-BEA follow-up.

Then I zipped over to the autographing area to meet Kevin Powers, a University of Texas Michener Center grad with a BEA Buzz novel I’m looking forward to, The Yellow Birds (Little, Brown, & Company). This could be the breakout novel on the Iraq War; Ed Nawotka at Publishing Perspectives called it his most memorable book from BEA! Look for more on this later this summer; I’m planning an interview Kevin around his September launch date.

I infiltrated the Press Room to meet up with my friend and NY host Rick Dunham of the Houston Chronicle, and from there it was on to “Inside the Mystery Writers Studio,” with a powerhouse lineup up of Nelson de Mille, Brad Meltzer, Michael Connelly, and Michael Koryta. For all of the crowds clogging the floor and authorgraphing area, I was surprised the Downtown Stage wasn’t SRO for this biggie. What a stellar session (diehards can watch the online replay here; again, my outtakes TK!).

Then it was BEA Serendipity Moment #2: I’ve been a big fan of John Edward (the psychic, folks, not the disgraced former senator and presidential candidate) for a long time and was intrigued by his upcoming novel . Even though his signing was ticketed, no one was in line by the time I got there, so I walked right up and now have a copy of his new book. He was as nice as can be!

Sergio Troncoso

Then I caught Texan Sergio Troncoso just as he was clearing out of his signing table and snagged a copy of Crossing Borders: Personal Essays (Arte Publico Press). As a bonus, I saw my pal Marina Tristan from Arte Publico. Another nice double reconnection!

Then I ran into Barry Morris from Austin Public Library. Barry’s another friend I always bump into at BEA, and he told me about another Austin author Katherine Catmull, so I raced over Penguin to get her galley of Summer and Bird.

That did it for me. I finished off the day by having a wonderful catchup dinner with Melissa Bullock, who manages Macmillan’s author events team, at Kefi on the Upper West Side. Good food, good friends, good conversation, good books — what could be better for a book lover?!

BEA Day 2 Scorecard

Favorite galley du jour: All of those mentioned above!!!

Biggest miss of the day: Those Dark Days girls, Bethany Griffin and Veronica Roth

Favorite swag: Zero, zilch, nada!

Missed authors: Julie Kagawa (AGAIN!) and Tim Gunn

Celebrity sighting: John Edward and Stacey London

Dog sightings: Cute little service dog at one of the booths

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Tally: 5 (I spotted 2 more on the Upper West Side!)