Pizzapalooza Continues…

Dearest pretzel bites,

Between grad school, a writers’ conference, the book release, and a trek up to Maine, the last month (summer, really) has been kind of a whirlwind. Over two weeks in August and September, I spoke to students in five schools in three cities, taught two cooking classes, and had a reading at the best little bookstore in Nashville (well, they might have to share that title with this one now).

I had every intention of posting pics and a recap after each event, but until there are more hours in the day (seriously, who do I talk to about that?), that was all they remained: intentions. Better late than never, I hope. Here’s what I’ve been up to, sending that Pizza, Love, and Other Stuff out into the world:

First, I had two stops in Memphis: St. Mary’s School and St. Agnes Academy. St. Mary’s was a blast from the past, a lot like the school I attended growing up. My 7th-grade English teacher is now the middle school principal there, so in some ways, it was a homecoming. I was a little nervous speaking to the ENTIRE 5th through 12th grades at morning chapel (I think accidentally said the word “butt” in church — oops), but I really enjoyed talking to the girls afterward.

The St. Agnes visit was a little more intimate. We basically sat around and talked books for an hour in their fabu library. Perhaps my favorite part (other than the girls’ really good questions), was their Easter egg-colored jumpers. I’m sure not one of these girls gets up in the morning psyched to put this thing on, but seriously, how cute are they?!

Next up, a cooking class and book signing at Super Suppers in Franklin. I used to work in the kitchen at Super Suppers, and you would be hard-pressed to find a kinder, classier set of ladies than these. The event was a blast, and I could not have done it without them (especially Phemie and Karen). I demo’d Sophie’s mother’s tomato sauce and then Karen taught them how to make Braided Pizza Bread (a Super Suppers favorite) while I signed books and chatted. We also tasted a few recipes from the book. I was thrilled to see some other authors there, including Courtney Stevens (whose debut YA novel, Faking Normal, I can’t wait for) and Rae Ann Parker.

Next, it was on to Hillsboro High School in Nashville, where librarian Hope Hall had me speak to several English classes. We had two surprises: pizza for everyone, thanks to Hope, and a signed copy of the book that I raffled away. I’m quite sure those students busily texting during my talk were just so overcome with excitement at meeting me that they had to take it to the Twittersphere immediately.

That night, a surprising number of brave souls dared the weather to come hear me read at Parnassus Books. Old friends and new were there. The highlight was surely when I stumbled over the words “giant luna moths.” That’s all I can say in this forum…

Finally, I rounded out my Tennessee tour with a visit to Litton Middle School. Courtesy of Humanities Tennessee, every student in their 7th and 8th grades (about 160) got a book! When I got there, the librarian, Ms. Bailey, had propped them all around the room like dominoes. It was a sea of Pizza, Love, and Other Stuff that Made Me Famous. And I signed every last one!

So, that’s what I’ve been up to. I’m hoping to set up some more events in the South and Northeast. Stay tuned!

And now, back to writing…