The Book Bogglers’ mischief hit the road on June 27, 2015 to Hampton, NJ for fun, games, learning and sharing our upcoming release, The Improbable Adventures of My Mischief: Archer and Fletch, Book 1 at the 2015 Ratfest New Jersey. For the uninitiated, Ratfests are 1-2 day events that combine the elements of a party, seminar, and family reunion amongst rat fanciers who, because we tend to live at great distances from each other, rarely have the pleasure of meeting. This year Ratfest was hosted by Branwen and Mike Resop, who opened their beautiful home located in a scenic wooded area to visitors from several states.
In between eating at a gargantuan buffet spread, a spirited and hilarious game of Rationary (based on the old standard “Pictionary), ensued in which teams took turns drawing rat-related pictures on a whiteboard for their team members to guess what they represented. Book Bogglers is proud to report we were on the winning side! Both winning and losing teams really won, however, as each player received huge gift bags containing a variety of fun rat themed items.
After exhausting ourselves with Rationary, we settled down for a seminar delivered by veterinarian Dr. Kim Somjen of Belle Mead Animal Hospital. Before earning her vet’s degree, Dr. Kim was a renowned rescuer and operated Kim’s Ark, an organization assisting homeless rats needing forever homes. Her topic was obese rats. As we rat parents can often go heavy on the treats, her presentation was a wake up call as to the problems obesity can cause in our ratties – particularly the males. The real life Archer is as tubby as he is represented in our book, so this Book Bogglers mischief member was rather sheepishly taking in all this information. Dr. Kim did admit that even though she knows the disadvantages, she herself is sometimes rather doting with the food and has her own pet obesity issues with which to deal.
After the health seminar, Ratfest’s Yankee Trader gift swap took place. Those who wanted to participate brought along a wrapped gift and placed it in a central area. Via a lottery where we picked numbers, each participant picked a gift at random and opened it then and there. However, people could “steal” another person’s gift if they wished. At previous Ratfests, raucously loud gift thefts took place, but the 2015 group was quite conservative in that respect and respected others’ new property.
More eating followed in preparation for a raffle that was to benefit a northeast rat rescue. There was an endless array of all types of items…the vast majority of which were rodent related. It was fun to see the excited winners and several winners were clearly going to have a difficult time getting their rat swag home.
Last but definitely not least, it was story time – provided courtesy of Book Bogglers. We had the opportunity to introduce ourselves, describe how our literary mischief was born, and to do a reading from Book 1 of the Archer and Fletch volumes. It was extremely gratifying to have such an appreciative and rapt audience! We’re so happy to have had a crowd to laugh along with the protagonists’ antics, express outrage at one of the villains, and ask for an additional reading after the planned selection concluded. We certainly obliged! It was also wonderful that many in the audience recognized characteristics of their own rats in the depiction of Archer and Fletch’s personalities. Especially as our heroes are based on a pair of real rat siblings, it was important to the Book Bogglers crew to capture the essence of beloved pet ratties in a way that is recognizable to their human parents. We appreciated the involvement of the guests during the presentation, and were very happy to answer questions about purchase of this volume and our plans for upcoming books!
Finally, no Ratfest is complete without the traditional Sunday morning brunch, which was held at the official Ratfest hotel, the Hyatt House. It gave one and all one more opportunity to exchange information and celebrate all things rat until we headed home to await next year’s event.
If you would like to check out the celebrations, you can go to the Ratfest website at http://neratfest.com/home.html. The Book Bogglers team looks forward to attending future events celebrating our favorite rodent
Squeekfully yours, Dr. Cindy, Archer & Fletch