Writing is not all book signings and fabulous rooftop parties. But sometimes it is. I figure this is the yin to the yang of spending hours in the chair typing away by my lonesome.
This year was my second Book Expo America and this year I was not quite so gob smacked. The Javits Center is filled with books and more books and products related to books and more books. For me it is like Christmas morning. Then add to that celebrity sightings, signings by notable authors and free books! If there is a Nirvana for bookworms, this would be it.
I was asked to sign at the Harlequin booth this year. It’s not really a booth. Don’t think lemonade stand but more like a large open store set in the center of it all. The Harlequin Booth includes all the August releases, a conference room for meetings with buyers, smaller tables for smaller clients and a high central counter for book signings. My editor was there, opening books for me. For me that is a bit like having my boss act as my valet. I had such fun meeting the librarians and booksellers and other publishing professionals who came to the book signing. Those books disappeared very fast.
I was dressed up for the occasion, but was not foolish enough to wear heels. Good thing that, because my pedometer indicated I clocked eight miles that first day. That included exploring the Javits Center and in the evening a party at a lovely venue, a rooftop hotel in midtown with a fabulous view of the Chrysler Building. I spoke with many folks including CEO Donna Hayes and the CFO. There were a few familiar faces as well, fellow authors, some from the same series I write.
I didn’t get much sleep that night and was up and back at BEA on Friday to sign at the Romance Writers of America booth. I sat between Heather Graham and Kristen Callihan. Again the line of readers went by in a blur of smiles and laughs. I got a copy of Kristen’s book WINTERBLAZE which I’m reading now. Great opening!
Afterword it was back to the Harlequin Booth to meet up with my editor for a lovely lunch. Lunch includes some business, some catching up and dessert.
After all my obligations were finished it was time to round up a few free books of my own. I was very good on day one and only picked up one book, an uncorrected proof of Dani Shapiro’s, STILL WRITING, The Perils and Pleasures of a Creative Life. I’ve started it already and it’s great. On day two I showed no such restraint. I snapped a few photos of Jim Carrey who was signing his children’s book.
I stood in line for Bill Byrson’s new book, ONE SUMMER, and again for T. Colin Campbell’s nutrition book, WHOLE. I gave up only when I could barely lift my bag and was considering starting another. Instead I dragged myself to the curb and discovered no cabs to be had on that Friday afternoon. I aimed for a cross street hoping to catch a cab there. No luck. I considered the twelve block walk to Grand Central stretching out like before me like the Mohave dessert and then considered crying when who should come pedaling around the corner–a bicycle livery.
I’ve never been in one. He pulled over. We haggled, agreed on a price and away we went. It was hot, but the bike ride was better than air conditioning. I have never, ever had a more pleasurable ride or so exciting a one. Dodging cross-town buses on a bike is not for the faint of heart. My Knight in shining armor wore a tee shirt and had calf muscles like steel. He got me to the train.
When I made it home I weighed my book bag—22 pounds.
I was so foot sore that had I been a horse I would have had to shoot myself to put me out of my misery. Makes me glad to get back to spending hours in the chair typing away by my lonesome.