Amazing Giant Bugs in Atlanta: Georgia On My Map

I’m typing in the air conditioned comfort of an old, high-ceilinged, civil-war-style house in downtown Atlanta, GA — have you ever seen Gone With the Wind? It’s like that, only instead of Rhett Butler, it’s just us inside. The house belongs to our friends Ayesha and Dave, but they’re not here either–coincidentally, their already-planned vacation coincided with our visit (at least they told us it was coincidental…) so they’re off in parts unknown. Still, they let us use their glorious pad in their absence. Thanks, guys!

Here’s a picture of us in Frisco, NC, before we left. Also, a picture with Leslie Ann Lanier of the wonderful bookstore Books To Be Red in Ocracoke, NC. A must-visit if you’re a bibliophile on the Outer Banks.  The ‘Red’ in the store’s name comes from Ann’s hair.  Isn’t that cool? 🙂

Two days ago we left North Carolina’s Outer Banks at 9:30 AM and drove all day, arriving here after midnight. Believe it or not, it wasn’t too bad a trip. The kids were happily involved with the backseat DVD player (many thanks to my parents for providing that!), and Karen and I actually got a chance to talk. Weird, huh? We ended up stopping at South Of The Border (, a Mecca for weary travelers of Interstate 95. There we had a fabulously fun 24-story elevator ride up into a giant Mexican sombrero. Que barbaro! 🙂

I love Atlanta! Such nice people, such nice weather, good coffee–it’s got it all. And Evan, Lucy, and Zoe are fascinated by the GIANT bugs we see everywhere here in the south. I need to take a photo. They really are somethin’ to see!

Yesterday we were given the royal treatment by the Barnes and Noble in Alpharetta, GA. Before I spoke to readers, they had a ‘dragon’ — a big ol’ lizard — as the opening act.  I never opened up for a reptile before. 🙂 Here’s a picture with Cindy Rittenhouse, who runs the amazing children’s/young-adult section and Rachel, a high school junior and future star critic.

The Little Shop of Stories, a fantastic independent book store in Decatur, GA, did an absolutely amazing window display about our road trip. See the pictures below — although they don’t actually do justice to it. Still, can you believe this? In the last photo I’m also shown with store co-owner Dave Shallenberger, who did the artwork, and Terra McVoy, store manager. Thanks, guys!

Here are Elle Race and Regan Foster of Storyville, a lovely book shop for younger kids in Duluth, GA. They served lemonade for my visit–a very nice touch.  They’re a new bookstore in the northern suburbs of Atlanta — Good luck to them! 🙂

Some fun news: Check out the Publisher’s Weekly Web site – we’re the lead article! 🙂 Here’s the link:

A Note added by Karen:  A highlight of our stay in Atlanta was that we met up with one of my best friends from high school, Karen Sytsma and her family!  I haven’t seen Karen in 20 years, and we hit it off as if we see each other everyday!  Karen and her sons Josiah and Caleb followed us to all the bookstores, and we got a chance to visit her husband Mike at work!  Josiah showed the kids a dragon lizard called Beowolf…a relative of the giant iguana we saw earlier.  All these lizards in Atlanta, is it a requirement to have one?  What a great visit!!

Tomorrow we’re off to Jackson, MS, via Birmingham, AL. 🙂

Happy travels!


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