Anyway. As noted, we were in town for the festivities surroundingrj_anderson 's North American book launch, which was a great success. Albeit as far as I can tell she really needs to work on her auteur 'tude, because she insisted on being characteristically down-to-earth and gracious and witty to everyone, which is probably going to backfire big-time when she starts dealing with the movie rights.
For the moment, thought, schwing. The report from the source is here, and has pictures, including the one of the yummy cake, which happened after the equally yummy pizza. My kind of party. One of the blue cake butterflies (they're actually rings) is sitting on my desk beside me as I type; my conscience is hastily laying plans to donate it to one of the little girls in our congregation...while other sections of my brain are looking sceptically at the My Little Pony Happy Meal toy sitting beside it.
On a more adult level, we also had the welcome chance to check out the UK edition - the one actually called Knife, with gorgeous cover design by Brian Froud. It haz shiny!
We also met the author's family, who are...well, the kind of family you'd expect to have produced the author of a modern-day faery story. Right down to the cat Snickers, whose pics do not do justice to her beauty, and who gives the distinct impression of being a walking LOLCat waiting to happen. Just lovely people, all of them - not least because amazingly tolerant of overdressed strangers with impaired social skills scoffing kiddie cake decorations. Then again, at regular intervals one of the actual kids would come racing through the room playing superhero and/or demanding more cake, so I was feeling right at home. In all respects, a great time.
We also had a decent time in Stratford itself - dashes in out of the rain and all - shing being the really splendid type of travel companion who responds to 'Hey, let's check out this Inuit art gallery!' with 'OK.'
They've done a nice job of keeping the place antique but not overly twee, ie. no umpteen pubs called 'The Queen's Legs' or like that. Quite a pleasantly diverse set of shops, really, including one called 'The Chocolate Barr' (which must be mentioned because yes, I can in fact be bought off with smoothie samples), and a couple really decent bookstores [glances over at sale copy of Antonia Fraser's Mary, Queen of Scots now sitting on desk, sighs contentedly].
And above all, I now have a minty-fresh copy of Faery Rebels: Spell Hunter sitting on my desk, with the author's signature in front and my name in the acknowledgements in the back. This was not something that ever would have occurred to me, five years or so ago, hanging around a mall with Rebecca waiting for Kalan Porter to appear; although her having brought choc-chip cookies did give me an inkling that here was someone out of the common...
...yeah, pretty much.