I do RT09 (not really)

10 May

After two weeks, I’m finally putting down my impressions from the insanity that is a book signing involving more than a couple hundred authors, and ten times as many fans1. As I mentioned before, the energy in that ballroom (conference room? whatever it was) was extraordinary.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me backtrack a little.

Ann Aguirre picked me up early on Saturday, so that we would have some time for breakfast before she had to start setting up for the signing. We had met face to face, for the first time after over a year of emailing and chatting, only that Tuesday. Let me tell you that Ann is a very funny person, as well as very down to earth. Hell, she made us dinner and everything!

(Yes, epic failure of my hostess skills-don’t tell my mother, please)

Anyway, Ann had to be inside the…well, the ginormous room for quite a while before, first, the convention attendees, and then the general public could enter, so I waited in line for a while. What does one do when standing around without a book (really, it would have been a bit like bringing a lump of coal to a mine, you know), but people watch? And so I did.

For the most part, the people around me were vibrating with excitement while they talked to each other, with the occasional island2 here and there, such as the lady who spent over half an hour looking straight ahead with earphones on. There were a number of couples there, which cheered me and made me smile, and many people were dragging suitcases full of books to be signed3.

It so happened that while waiting in this line, I was standing within a few feet of the author entrance and managed to read a number of name tags that made me squeeeeeee!!!!

(quietly, mind you, no point getting security to throw me out before the signing, you know)

I thought that it would be rather uncouth to approach them before the signing. I mean, many of them were carrying coffee cups, boxes of promo stuff and or books, asking where the restroom was-not conducive to a nice chat with the fans, wouldn’t you say? So I thought, “I’ll just wait until I’m inside, then seek them out.”

Ah, the innocence!

I didn’t get to see most of them when I finally made it to the conference room.

But I must backtrack again.

I did make one exception to the whole ‘not being uncouth’ thing. Dakota Cassidy needed to cross the line to step outside the hotel for a few moments, but when I recognized her, I did squee. “Miz Cassidy!” The poor woman must have thought the crazy had gotten loose, but gamely replied, “Yes!” so I said, “azteclady!” and she gave me a hug.

And then made for the door quickly, heh.

Poor thing, I really didn’t mean to scare her. (Sorry, Dakota)

Anyway, we waited a bit; then the convention attendees filed in-quicker than I thought, given their numbers-and then us, the general public who were there only for the signing. At the door we were given a list of authors signing their books and a diagram of the room and the setup of the tables: alphabetical order, left to right-the anal retentive in me was happy. Happier yet because I had a list of authors I wanted to meet-and I had promised three other people to get them stuff and give their regards to a number of authors as well. All in all, I think there were close to thirty names on that list (pen names not included).

I entered the room, which was already packed (did I mention all the convention attendees get in first?), and stepped to the side, to study the layout of the tables and to locate all those authors in the diagram. And it was then that I started to lose it.

First of all, the noise. A couple thousand people talking to each other and over each other at the same time in an enclosed space (big but still) equals noise. Not like a night club to be sure, but a humming noise that makes it impossible to hear one’s own thoughts.

Then, the energy and enthusiasm! Man, oh man! There were people of all ages and tastes and professions, and they were all there to share their love for the written word, romance novels in particular. I don’t have the words to convey what that is like.

And then the crowding and lines in front of many an author’s table. Sometimes there was just no way to pass between two such lines, so going around was more efficient.

Sorta.

I tried to stick to my plan, I tried to check my list. I tried to remember that I wasn’t supposed to buy books. (You can stop laughing now. Really. No, seriously, you can stop now.) I tried to remember what I was supposed to do or get for others.

Gah.

My brain, it shut down, and before the first hour was out I was moving around like a zombie.

For example, I ran into Angela James4 and Barbara Caridad Ferrer, in front of Deirdre Knight’s table. It took me a full 20 hours to realize that at no time did I acknowledge Ms Ferrer’s self introduction. Which means: huge and humble apologies, I’m a mannerless oaf.

(This is something else we can keep amongst ourselves and not tell my mother, okay? Thanks)

They told me where SBSarah was, and off I went to meet her and squee, then turned around and left-without realizing that the person sitting to her right, smiling and making eye contact with me, was Jaye Wells, who was also on my list. *slapping forehead* I had reached the other side of the humongous, crowded, noisy room before it dawned on me that, Wendell and Wells? Yeah, side to side. Back I went with my “dear lord, I’m an idiot, forgive me” face. Ms Wells is as cool in person as she comes across in email, by the way. She laughed with me (not at me) and we chatted a bit.

Shortly after that, barely two hours into the signing, I realized that a) I really couldn’t hear my own thoughts, and b) I had a tote FULL OF BOOKS signed to me that I was going to have to pay for. Panic hit and I got out before I could sink deeper into trouble. Ann, bless her, found me outside after she was done. We went to lunch with Laura Bradford5, Lauren Dane, Megan Hart, Anya Bast and her husband, James. While we were leaving for lunch, Ms Ferrer stopped us and introduced me to Alyssa Day, who wanted to meet me.

After lunch, since Ann was tired, we packed up and drove back to my house, ending the amazing experience that was my first ever book signing (what a way to pop my author signing cherry, huh?)

A couple of things that made a deep impression, through the fog in my brain:

First, the two elderly ladies who approached me to ask where I had bought my small “autograph journal” (one of those small purse notebooks one can buy for $0.50 at a drugstore) because they hadn’t brought anything for their favorite authors to sign. Since I had only used the first few pages (that list of authors I mentioned before) I tore those out and gave it to them. Let me tell you, their thanks and their smiles will be with me for a long, long time. Ladies, if you read this, it was entirely my pleasure.

Second, the smiles on the faces of the people who recognized my handle-which I had printed on the nametag I had on-and the many spontaneous hugs I got from them. I cannot tell you how amazing it felt to be recognized and welcomed by you. Thank you.

Here’s a list of the people I remember meeting (because I wouldn’t be surprised if I’m leaving someone out here-did I mention that my brain turned to mush? So please don’t be offended if I missed you):

Lauren Dane, Michele Bardsley, Dakota Cassidy, Cynthia Eden, Larissa Ione, Gennita Low, Kaleigh Jamison, C.L. Wilson, Beth Williamson, Beth Kery, SBSarah, Jaye Wells, Olivia Gates, Vivi Anna, Dana Marie Bell, Mary Burton, Jackie Kessler, Kim Lenox, Kate Poole, Deirdre Knight, Angela James, Barbara Caridad Ferrer, Laura Bradford, Anya Bast, Alyssa Day, Megan Hart.

~~~*~~~*~~~*~~~*~~~*~~~

1 This last number I’m pulling out of thin air-for all I know it was twenty times as many, I just know there were many many many people there.

2 Think Simon and Garfunkel’s I am a rock here

3 Like an idiot, I didn’t bring any of mine to be signed, and I particularly regret not bringing my three Desires by Ms Olivia Gates. She lives in Egypt after all, and it’s not like she often has the opportunity to sign her books and interact with her fans.

4 Who is absolutely, stunningly, gorgeous, people (her pictures don’t do her justice at all), and she’s nice on top of that. Talk about an unfair universe! 😉

5 Who I had met inside, who I had engaged in conversation, and to whom I never gave my name, handle or connection to Ann *slapping forehead again* so she had to introduce us.

~~~*~~~*~~~*~~~*~~~*~~~

The authors whose pictures I’m posting are: Ann Aguirre, Cynthia Eden, Gennita Low, Beth Williamson, Lauren Dane, Alyssa Day (with Barbara Caridad Ferrer in the background), Olivia Gates and Larissa Ione. [Several of the pictures I had taken got eaten by my camera (don’t ask, I’m a Luddite and the gadgets know it, drat it all!) and on top of that, I forgot to take pictures with several people I wanted pictures with. Did I mention that my brain turned to mush?]
Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: