Walking into the Borders store, we paused to find my book along with other ones featured for tonight, in the vestibule, with the sign above mentioning each of the authors there tonight. My name among them. My husband, Dennis, had to take a picture, of course.
Striding in, the notes from a young woman who was killing her notes—and sounded like a cat being murdered—but played a pretty good guitar, flooded my ears over the speakers in the coffee corner. I headed for the bathroom first. I wanted to get my game face on . . . and do some aerobic exercises.
Nerves humming, I waited for Dennis and together we glided toward the coffee area where two author tables were set up for us—two at each table. People were clustered all around the coffee area, and around the seated authors. Once I would like to get here two hours before, so I have the upper hand!
One of the authors was standing there talking to the other two over the screeching cat woman on the mike. Daniel, the co-creator of this Author's Nite Out, strolled up and I greeted him with a hug as usual, since he is my Border's pal who has been setting me up with these book signings.
I was seated next to Mr. Ronald Martelet, who had written Propeller Head, a collection of short stories—all of them true—about being a local pilot instructor, and was self-published with Lulu. He lives in the nearby town of Hinkley, retired for 21 years as an engineer with Sears Roebucks, and was also a flight instructor for small planes. We learned, as the evening progressed, this man takes to the slopes in Colorado every year, and flies an ultralight that takes a direct path over our house on some Sundays. He jogs, and does some kayaking. If I were to take a guess on his age, he had to be in his 70's. To look at him, you wouldn't think he'd do down hill skiing at his age, or kayaking. But he's fearless, I guess. You'd have to be if you get into something that takes you up 500 feet on a lawn mower engine.
The other two were the only authors there who were published by traditional publishers. They had both gone through the query/rejection point of gaining an agent—and got one, and then got a publisher through them.
Henry Perez, whose debut book, Killing Red (Pinnacle), is a “riveting thriller”. He hails from West Aurora, and also works for the Daily Herald in Chicago.
Tessa LaRock, was the only author among us who was out of state—Pennsylvania. Her book, Semus Bracelet is an action/adventure, and a little bit of romance, about a young Egyptian boy who discovers a bracelet of the gods of Egypt. She had just been to Florida, before that she'd been to South America, and has a second book coming out soon. Both authors, Perez and LaRock were on tours, Perez was about to leave to middle America, and told us later he was going to be at book signings in Florida, and Arizona—in July.
I liked Perez who had an easy way about him and knew a lot about the publishing industry because, as we learned during the interview, he'd gone to a number of book signings, and picked the brains of the authors before he even began his book.
Commotion around my table before I had even got comfortable in my chair, hemmed me in. Mr. Martelet had taken a seat beside me, and I guess he was a little amazed at how I had one person after another flow up to my table and grab a book. It sort of looked like I had a lemonade stand at first, and some thirsty people crying for my attention.
Jennette—I don't know her last name—who had ridden my bus for years, had made a point of coming tonight, after I gave her another reminder. She is something of a world wide traveler. She'd been to Russia, Turkey and India, and had brought me presents from the last two places. The elephant from India—a good luck charm—sits on my computer. A shawl from Turkey is tucked away in my cedar chest.
While I was chatting with her, Jenny—again, I'm not up to date on her name, since she'd gotten married—came in, her cherubic cheeks flaming wonderfully, as she claimed “I got your book a few days ago, you know to check it out? I love it!” And she brought it to my table where I signed it, but peeked to see what page she was on—page 38/39. She then thrust one in front of me and said she was buying another one for a friend. Cool!
Almost as soon as I was finished with her, two more women came up and I recognized Roseanne Theisen (who once worked in a gift shop, next to the craft store where I worked—we worked under the same bosses). Anyway, we hugged, she saying how proud she was of what I'd accomplished, and there were a few more sentiments thrown in, I can't even recall. She introduced her sister, and I gave her a hug too. They wanted to get a book for a niece who was graduating, and liked anything with witchcraft, vampires and demons in it. I had it all right there, and thank goodness she is 17! My book cover gives the impression it's a children's book, but it's not. It has a lot of adult situations throughout.
After all the hugging of friends, I settled down and wrote something in each of their books, and then they each had to get going. People don't usually hang around long, after they buy your book.
It was probably a bad night to pull people into a bookstore, since I'd noticed people were having graduation parties here and there as we drove into town, and there was a folk music festival down the road at the park. I was sure glad I'd given my friends dates of this book signing, and reminders, or I'd have had no traffic at all.
My “photographer” even showed up. John Z. who had come to my first book signing, snapping away, I thought the paparazzi had found Brittany Spears and Madonna under my table that night. But it was just a guy who works with me, taking picture after picture—and later gave them to me on a disk.
Daniel later asked if he was someone from the paper. “Nah, he's just my personal paparazzi,” I told him. He chuckled.
After that, people did come by the author's table and checked things out. My book cover tends to grab people's attention, even from afar—the unicorn sort of pulls them in. One young gal—she looked like she might have been 16 or 17, came up, and picked up the book, but I wagered the price threw her. ( $18.95 retail is a bit of a sticker shock on my book's selling mark, but I have no control over the marked price at the bookstore at all.)
When the last note died from another 2-person band—who were very good—Daniel brought all of us up to the corner where two mikes were set up, and chairs. We each had a turn to tell our story of how we got started in writing. Daniel put questions to us, and we each had our say about the industry, about bookstores, about book signings, and at one point he took off his head set, saying “These are going to be really sensitive questions”, and asked about other bookstores, how they did book signings, and if the other authors had ever been to any where there were more than one. Each responded that they'd been to a few where two, even three had been there. But tonight, we had music, as well as art, and books represented.
All in all the signing went well, for my second one. I have another one in ten days, at a coffee house up town. Bands which played tonight will be there, plus some others. I don't expect a lot of sales that night either, but I'll have control over what I sell my book at, since it'll be out of hand. I'm hoping to move a few that night.