I attended the Red Dirt Book Festival in Shawnee, Oklahoma last weekend. Shawnee is a small town about 45 minutes from Oklahoma City. The Festival is run by the Pioneer Library System, which means I spent a lot of my time with librarians. Those librarians have a wicked sense of humor and a love for all things books. Also, they know how to throw a party.
So. A few cool facts about Shawnee:
* It is the birth place of Brad Pitt. Bet you didn't know ol' Brad was an Okie, did you? His family still lives there, and he visits on occasion flying in by private jet. There's a little air strip in Shawnee. (That's not a cool fact, just a regular fact.)
* The Mabee-Gerrer Museum houses the only mummy in Oklahoma. I saw her, and her sarcophagus, and you know how I feel about Ancient Egyptian artifacts. They had quite a collection of items. The Thursday night reception was held at the museum, so I not only got to wander away and look all at the fabulous art, I got to eat delicious food and drink wine. (Told you those book babes know how to par-tay!)
* The Mabee-Gerrer Museum also houses a portrait of one of the Popes. It's the only one not hanging in the Vatican (though there is a copy there).
Out-of-town participants stayed at the Hampton Inn, which offered three things authors need: decent beds, terrific coffee (with real creamer options), and free Internet. Plus, there was an IHOP and a Cracker Barrel on either side. So, no Denny's or Awful House ... er, I mean Waffle House! The hotel also served a full breakfast every morning, and all the employees were super nice. I wish every conference hotel was like this one (you hear that, RT Convention?).
The Festival was free. If you wanted to attend a lunch or a dinner, you bought tickets, but all the programming was no charge. Some of the other authors in attendance were Jordan Dane, Sharon Sala, Mel Odom, Sandra Soli, and Charles Sasser. I've known Sharon since way back, and I adore her. Also attending was Mary-Theresa Hussey, an executive editor with Harlequin, and we had a great time hanging out. Of course, I would like her anyway 'cause she's a chocolate addict same as me. I also met Carol Dean Shreiner and her sister, Althea, who were both delightful. And here's a shout-out to ghostlorist Randy Russell, who cracked me up.
My panel was called Vampires, Werewolves, and Demons---The Sexy Side of Paranormal. My fellow panelists were Steven E. Wedel and Crystal Inman. OMG. They can so take a joke, and we had a great time. Steve tried to throw down with me about vampires vs. werewolves. He can take a punch ... line. Heh. Crystal was a bundle of energy, and hilarious.
I bought a Red Dirt t-shirt, which is made with real red dirt. Thank goodness Carol and Althea saw me buy it and told me to wash it a couple of times. Apparently the red dirt in the shirts have been known to turn the wearers orange. That would've freaked me out. LOL.
I had such a great time! This festival is the best kept readers secret in the mid-west. The next one is in 2011. Everyone should invade Shawnee to go to Red Dirt. It's pure awesome.
Now, two years is a long time, I know, but to give you a taste of Red Dirt, I have a tote FULL of books. Some are even autographed, including those from Jordan Dane, Sharon Sala, Steven E. Wedel, Carol Dean Shreiner, and Billie Letts. There is also an assortment of other goodies I had leftover from my swag haul at RT.
All you have to do is leave a comment. Tell me about your favorite meeting an author experience or your favorite library event or how much you love chocolate.