1) People showed up! You may laugh at my anxiety, but authors fear the unattended book signing like they used to fear searching for a friendly lunch table on the first day of a new middle school. I was grateful to see tons of familiar faces, friends who waved and hugged and bought books and laughed at the right places during the reading. Thank you, thank you.
2) The people who couldn't show up still ordered books! Yup. I had a large basket of pre-ordered copies to sign, and as I went through them, I kept breaking into a big, goofy smile at the sight of each name. What fun that faraway friends went the extra mile to support the signing. Big hugs to each of you.
3) I did a craft project for the signing! (Those of you who know me are fainting.) It could hardly be featured on Etsy, but I made a collage of pictures of military families.
You can see it beside me in this picture. Having who I wrote the book for next to me helped me focus. How could I be nervous when military kids are kind and brave each day?
4) I brought props! Here's a close up of my table:
---little green army men, of course, guarding the book of LGM photos that my agent, Tina Wexler, gave me as a publication gift
---a REMOVE BEFORE FLIGHT tag
---a container of folded paper stars like the ones Gari makes in the book (My daughter made these particular ones. They were passed from hand to hand and oohed and ahhhed over.)
---the fabulous teacher's guide written for me by Natalie Lorenzi, who was in attendance. (Yay, Natalie!)
---other books about military families, including Rosanne Parry's Heart of a Shepherd and Jimmy Gownley's fourth volume of Amelia Rules! graphic novel series. I also held up Jon Scieszka's Knucklehead because the book is hilarious and features little green army men!
---my YES wristband given to me by my husband, which I'm wearing, as well as the As You Like It necklace that was a tribute to my theater background in high school.
---the yellow roses are courtesy of dedicated OPERATION YES supporter and fabulous friend, Jama Rattigan of Alphabet Soup.
5) For the reading itself, I chose the scene where Miss Loupe pretends to be rowing a boat and leads her class in a jody call from atop the Ugly, Ugly Couch. I recruited young actors from the audience to shout out the responses to the jody call as the students in Room 208 do, and when it came time for Miss Loupe to obey St. Peter's command to "drop down, granny, and give me ten!" I complied with pushups as my lovely friends counted. (You can see a picture of my pushups here at Jama's blog, along with other pictures from the signing, including one of my husband with Cornelius Bear!)
6) Hooray for Books! owners Trish and Ellen, plus helper Kristy, were unfailingly gracious, helping me set up and providing brownies for everyone. At the end of the signing, they extended an author discount to me on the copy of Robin Brande's FAT CAT that I had called ahead to reserve. And they also gave me a check with a matching donation to Musicorps! Thank you so, so much.
P.S. If you still want a signed copy of OPERATION YES, Hooray for Books is standing by. Call them at (703) 548-4092. I live close to the store, so I can personalize your request.