FAN-tastic day at the Livingston Parish Book Festival

I totally missed talking #kidlit books with kids at book festivals, especially those who are inventing stories of their own. 📚🎣

One girl, barefoot and about ten year old, engaged me on a story she was writing about saving another girl of her age from a house fire. The details were so clear that I asked her if she had ever witnessed or experienced a house fire. It was all in her head. Wow, such vivid storytelling at such a young age. We continued talking for about ten minutes … spooky stories, funny stories, fishing stories (well, I had to do my lil book plug). But in the end, I made sure she walked off with a copy of The Craziest Fishing Tale on the Bayou … on my nickel : )

So why do I write? Because I wish I had someone to listen to all of my overactive imaginative tales in my youth. Days like today make all the hours of ‘butt in chair’ worth it.

On the day, my recent book signing visit at the Louisiana Livingston Parish Book Festival in (you guessed it, Livingston Parish, Louisiana) featured keynote speaker and recipient of the 2015 Newbery Medal for The Crossover, Kwame Alexander. But I was also joined by other fellow SCBWI Louisiana/Mississippi book selling creators Denise Gallagher, Karen Konnerth, Michael Verrett … and my good friends who came to visit Pat Hefler, Phina Schloegel and Marti Dumas (as pictured in the collage above).

Thanks @mylplinfo for a great book festival today. Until 1023 … #keepwriting #keepreading #yall

The Big One That Got Away at the Big Bass Rodeo!!!

Well, this one story is, promise and cross my heart, totally for true.

If you don’t believe me, then maybe this picture will show you what I’m talking about.

You have one shot. Where do you throw your lure to catch a bass?

March 26, 2022, I spent the morning at the 73rd Big Bass Rodeo in New Orleans City Park … which is the oldest freshwater fishing tournament in the country.

HAD A GREAT DAY FISHING WITH MY FRIENDS, Simon and his nine year-old son, Blake. They had a blast catching blue gill and fishing for a bass that was just as stubborn as the crazy tale I’m about to tell you.

On the day, I caught three largemouth bass: a 2.05, a 1.85, a .79 … and the last one is the pic of the gal (fourth) that’s hiding under the top algae. I flipped my lure just behind the middle bass’s tail (above) … and wella … hooked the biggest of the three.

I reeled her up to shore, had my hands on her when she threw the hook, flipped out of my hand and onto the bank a foot below. Naturally, I stepped down after it, sank in the mud about a foot, had her in my hands again for one last wiggle and then … SPLASH … I dove half way in after her. In the end, she got away and I was full of mud.

“Look, I pulled the bass man in the water.” 🤣🤣🤣 I could hear her and the two smaller bass laughing at me.

I caught the one on the right, 2.05 lbs. So how much do you think the big gal weighed (on the left)?

Turns out, the top three bass in the tournament weighed in at 5.5, 4.5 and 3.69 lbs. So I wasn’t that upset to have been a towel away from possibly getting in the Top 3 (towel meaning I usually carry a hand towel to grab bass to avoid EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENED).

LOL

In the end, I didn’t make the Top 3 in the Bass category , but I did leave with a new Craziest Fishing Tale, with my good friends Simon and Blake.

Til next year, City Park 🎣💙

Dad About Town: 5 Things I’m Loving Right Now

Very cool read about dads and daughters as recently seen in NOLAFamily.com magazine, January 2022. Read article here >

Here’s the article if you can’t see from the image.

Dad About Town – Gary Alipio

5 Things I’m Loving Right Now

Some know creator Gary Alipio as a digital marketer at the Academy of the Sacred Heart. Others know him as children’s book author of The Craziest Fishing Tale on the Bayou and volunteer kidlit advisor for SCBWI. But most know him as DAD of Melina, aged 12, a self-taught illustrator. “She’s fearless with the pencil,” says her dad. Together, they bounce all sorts of artistic ideas off one another, creating things that just need to be shared.

ROAD TRIP

I spent several young birthdays with relatives down at Jean Lafitte Public Boat Launch and Rosethorne Playground. So, when it comes to road trips, crabbing is a fun time and tasty dinner, too. 865 Jean Lafitte Blvd, Jean Lafitte

NAMASTE

Our pandemic hobbies were pretty safe: walking the Lake Pontchartrain levee is our recharge the batteries time. On a good day, you’ll find clovers galore or be graced with the presence of a bald eagle. 

FOODIE

It’s never a question of if but when. Shogun sushi is our go-to for any occasion, especially takeout for staycation movie marathons.  2325 Veterans Memorial Blvd, Metairie

CREATIVITY

I’ll type letters … what my daughter calls writing … while she works magic with pencil on paper or digital pencil on an iPad. “If her creations were real, oh, what a bizarre world we’d live in!!!”

LOCAL

From swan boating to picnicking to fishing, City Park’s Big Lake is a popular getaway for us. Come spring, there’s a fishing pier and shaded trees along Bayou Metairie … plus lots of BASS. 

Whatever you do with your tyke, kid, tween or teen, open their eyes to new experiences … just be prepared to call it quits if they don’t like it. “OH, AND HAVE FUN!!!”