Well, folks, before we get to pt. 2 of the recap, I have an important announcement to make...I'm going to the Shiva Bowl!
The answer to your question is yes: Aaron Galvin rocks at fantasy football.
In fact, methinks I might just organize a Salted league next year for any uber fans who think they have what it takes to beat The Commish. Anyone who thinks it's a good idea and wants in, hit me up: firstname.lastname@example.org We'll see what we can do. ;)
Anyway, the odds are against me winning this Sunday, but I have faith in my Indiana roots and that my QB Andrew Luck will lead me to fantasy gold. If not, it'll make for a loooong holiday with the Grinch.
On to the recap!
Thursday, Dec. 4th
Started this day with a return trip to a school I visited on my first tour. The same school that opened my eyes to the Montessori educational approach. Its students had blown me away with their engagement levels last time.
They didn't disappoint this trip either. The moment we sat down to discuss writing, the students locked in and didn't hesitate to participate in the discussion.
I loved every second of it.
My favorite part of the day happened when the students saw me carrying Taken With A Grain of Salt. Some of the guys ran up to me and immediately took the book. They looked it over, each of them trying to get their hands on it, while their other friends glanced up at me and asked: "Do you have more copies of this book with you today? I've read Salted like a hundred times since you were here last and I need to know what happens!"
Their excitement amped me up. I listened to them talk about Lenny and Garrett. How much they hated Kellen and root for Chidi. Honestly, I don't know which I like better - seeing new readers take a chance on my books, or coming back to hear them clamor for the next book in the series.
I still can't thank the teachers and school enough for inviting me back. Not just to see the students again, but for continuing to educate me. For any of you interested in learning more about this fascinating Montessori approach to education, check out Montessori From The Start by Paula Polk Lillard & Lynn Lillard Jessen, How To Raise An Amazing Child The Montessori Way by Tim Seldin, and Montessori Madness by Trevor Eissler.
They thought I might run out of books by the end of my tour. ;)
That definitely got a laugh from me, but I told them then it wasn't a bad call. This was only Day 2, but I'd already sold over 100 books. Not too shabby, eh?
The topic of discussion this night was a little different from my usual talk about the importance of voice, showing vs. telling, and grey characters. Since many in the crowd had read Salted, I talked on the character origins and series themes, specifically father-son relationships and slavery.
My favorite part is always the Q&A after. I love hearing what questions you as readers have about the characters and worlds they live in. Why? Because then it's a discussion. Not just me talking. Just a tip if you come see me at a future event.
Bring on the questions. I love 'em! :)
Friday, Dec. 5th
I'd been looking forward to this day for awhile because I would be visiting a new tour stop - Hamilton Heights Middle School.
I loved Gary's enthusiasm for teaching and his passion for students. Naturally, I agreed to visit his school and we've stayed in touch in ever since.
Arriving that Friday morning though, I learned it wasn't just Gary who carried that same passion for inspiring students. Their amazing librarian, Emily, did too! She gave the best introductory speech ever! Absolutely knocked my socks off and raised the bar for me to up my game.
This day had many great moments, but I'll give you two of my faves.
The first came when Emily told me they recently introduced the idea of National Novel Writing Month (also called NaNoWriMo) to their students. I too had only heard of this program earlier in the year and am happy to say I participated, (writing the rough draft for the Salem's Vengeance sequel).
For those unfamiliar with the NaNoWriMo program, it's a way for writers to both jump start their creative process and discipline themselves. You basically write a set number of words every day for a month. The program suggests banging out a rough draft of 50,000 words during the month of November, but writers can also set their own goals.
The teachers later learned some of the students were even meeting after school at Starbucks throughout November to encourage one another to keep writing.
How sweet is that?
It was an incredible feeling to see all those sixth graders' hands proudly shoot up when I asked how many of them participated in NaNoWriMo. I loved seeing their reactions when I told them that I too had been among their kind, toiling away during November to hit my goals. That we were all the same: we are writers! :)
My second fave moment occurred after the students had left for the day. I was signing books for some of the teachers when I overheard a couple mention Rapha House.
I pretty much dropped my pen.
For those of you who don't know about this amazing organization, leave my site right this second and check them out.
Thanks to my wife and other friends who brought Rapha House to my attention, I had the opportunity to witness firsthand the incredible good they do. Human trafficking is something many would like to ignore, but it continues to happen every day all over the world. If you can, visit the Rapha House website to learn more about what you can do to help fight child trafficking.
My point in bringing this subject up, however, is to highlight none of us ever know who we are surrounded by and our commonalities. Who would have guessed walking into the school that Friday morning that I would meet others who shared similar interests in an organization not many I've come into contact with know about?
After an amazing dinner with Gary, I headed down to 82nd street - (near my old Fishers stomping grounds) - for my first Half Price Books stop! I used to visit this bookstore when I lived in Indy (though they've since moved from their original location) so I couldn't wait to stop in for an author signing.
The staff was awesome, they had promoted the heck out of the event - I swear there were pictures/flyers of me and my books on every window and door - and they were even kind enough to set out a tray of cookies to entice would-be readers to stop and strike up a conversation.
Unfortunately for us all, the Indy weather decided to let it rip rain and cold on us.
I think it kept a lot of people indoors that night, but I had a blast nonetheless. Met and had some great conversations with new readers, saw some familiar faces (including my "evil" opponent for fantasy football dominance), and even caught up with a friend I haven't seen in years. Drew and I used to play Mario Bros. when we were tykes. Now, he's big into scuba diving and offered to send me some sweet underwater dive videos as inspiration for a little series you may have heard of... ;)
All in all, Day 3 of the book tour ended on a fantastic note!
Can't get enough recap? Click here to read about the next couple days of my tour.
Author. Actor. Rascal.