I have to say the number one thing that struck me about Wichita. The people are really, really nice. I mean, really nice. Polite, helpful, friendly, always ready to help and pitch in. Traveling with Niki Burnham, who hails from the Boston part of the country, and me coming from the West Coast, we met in the middle–and discovered where all the good manners have gone too. Now I am not saying there are no good manners on the coasts, but when you are just struck dumb by how kind people are, then you realize what is missing back home.
And with that said, I have to say the trip to Wichita was really a lot of fun. From the moment I met Niki in the Dallas airport–pity the poor women in the row in front of us trying to sleep–because we spent the hour or so flight catching up. By the time we got to the Hyatt Regency in downtown Wichita, the restaurant was about to close so we took our luggage to dinner, and ordered up what you should be eating in Kansas. Steaks. And the best darn steak I have ever sunk a tooth into. Gosh it was good. Fed, tired and looking toward a flat out busy day, we found our room and got a good night’s sleep.
Waking up to this view. Yes, the view does go on for a long, long ways. Read this as a polite way of saying, the place is flat. And the walkway along the river goes all the way into downtown and must be really lovely in the summer when the flowers are blooming and the trees have leafed out. Like Seattle, Wichita is still holding onto winter–with both hands.
The big shock came when we went to stuff the goody bags for the librarians and asked Jeanne down at the front desk to bring up our boxes. I knew I had two that I had shipped, and Harper Collins said they would send some books, and Niki thought she would have one from Houghton Mifflin and RWA had promised to send some copies of Romance Sells. Then the knock on the door came and we discovered 14 boxes of goodies that we had to sort and stuff into goody bags. It was an embarrassment of riches, but we got to work (nibbling on the lovely fruit and cheese plate Jeanne sent up because she took pity on all the work ahead of us) and stuffed 50 + bags of books, shelf talkers and all kinds of goodies, including promo packets from Jane Porter.
Needless to say, our talk became a big hit–because we lured them all in with our great swag. The talk was fun and over before it began, but it was great to share all the wonderful RWA resources with the librarians, talk about the library programs we’ve done (like this one,) and share your list of authors with them. I have never been so proud of all of you as I was when during the Q&A one of the librarians asked how she could find new authors or make recommendations. I held up your list and told them it was “reader approved.”
Speaking of the list, I did promise one of you a gift certificate for helping compile that list and the winner is Teresa K. Congrats Teresa, and thank you to everyone who contributed.
Oh, and if you are a librarian putting together a conference or a reader’s advisory meeting and would like me and Niki to come speak, please contact me and I’ll let you know all the particulars of what we have to say.
Coming up on Thursday: Autographed Books! Get Your Autographed Books!