In which I visit Las Vegas

For the next couple of months I'm on a book tour with my friends Cat Patrick, Sean Beaudoin and Kevin Emerson. We're calling the tour You Are Next, and we're going all over the West Coast. Check out my Events page for more details--I'd love to see you!

Meanwhile, Las Vegas.

I'd never been. I'm not a gambler at heart. Nor have I attended a bunch of wild'n'crazy bachelorette parties (though there was the one where we gave away stripper tilt pens and almost caused a family scandal).

That said, I was beyond excited to visit Spring Valley High School and the YAllapalooza Book Festival at Centennial Hills library, and the weekend was one of those rare times when the real experience beats out the expectations.

The trip started off a bit rough. When we were waiting in the airport lobby, a group of half-dozen or so birthday party revelers let us all know they were drunk, loud, and eager to make the flight feel like Animal House on wings.

My seat happened to be directly behind them, and they were so very loud I considered taking my Sharpie out of my bag and drawing eyeballs on the bald head of the guy in front of me, who wore a Seymour Titties T-shirt. I restrained myself, though. That's my book-signing pen, after all.

We arrived in one piece with intact eardrums, and soon after were at our hotel.

The view from my window. Nice!

The next day, we were up early to meet two groups of great readers from Spring Valley High School.

Sean Beaudoin, me, Cat Patrick, and Kevin Emerson (plus our coffees)And here we are, in the library!

The students here had excellent questions about writing, and many of them were writers themselves (including one self-described Bad Poet. I REALLY want to read his work.)

The next day we headed off to the Centennial Hills Library for YAllapallooza, where the You Are Next crew and a bunch of other authors, including Lindsey Leavitt, Suzanne Young, Tera Lynn Childs, and Nancy This is me and Rachel. Hi, Rachel!Holder met with readers, answered questions, handed out PEZ, and signed books.

We did take time out for an impromptu photo shoot with Cat Patrick and Suzanne Young, who have a new book together called JUST LIKE FATE. I made them do all sorts of things--"lie on the ground!" "think about tumbleweeds"--but in the end, this turned out to be our favorite photo.

Cat Patrick and Suzanne Young, authors of JUST LIKE FATE

I had some great conversations with readers and librarians, a surprising number of which involved "Dr. Who," which has been a hit around my house for ages. And I can't wait to go back. Thank you, Las Vegas!

My kids at Comicon, dressed as a Dalek and Dr. Who

And here's a huge thanks to Crystal Perkins, Barnes & Noble, and the Centennial Hills Library.