Friday, June 27, 2008

Book Signing for a Good Cause

Fantasy Fest, Carrollwood Barnes & Noble 1

On June 21 I joined authors Tracy A. Akers, Michael Darling, Glenda Finkelstein, Chris A. Jackson, Steven Mather, K.L. Nappier, Carrassa Sands, Bo Savino, Andrea Dean Van Scoyoc, and M.B. Weston at the Carrollwood Barnes & Noble "Fantasy Fest" in Tampa. Together we raised funds for the Egypt Lake Elementary School and are already scheduled to do another event at Carrollwood next year.

Mary is currently under intense chiropractic treatment for gicked gluteals and other pains, so it was touch-and-go as to whether I could make this festival. She'd had a few days of severely limited mobility, of the sort that gave us an added appreciation for Campmor's porta-potty (sheer luxury during our two-week stay in an Appalachian Mountain Club cabin years ago), large underpads (Mary immediately began contemplating their automotive maintenance value), and disposable undies. When I told Mary that the side-tear releases on this last item fed into my bodice-ripper fantasies, she quipped, "In that case, get 30 boxes!"

Fortunately, Mary's condition was considerably less scary last weekend, thanks in part to her realization that aspirin is better for her than ibuprofen. By completely masking her pain, ibuprofen gave her illusory freedom of movement. Aspirin is more of a disciplinarian, reducing inflammation but also warning her, "Don't do that yet."

So, at once pumped up about the festival, concerned about Mary, and thankful to our friends who offered assistance just in case, I tooled south....

Before the event, several of us shared a "shop talk" lunch at the Piccadilly Cafeteria, where Glenda and Tony Finkelstein gave valuable guidance on book promotion at signings and conventions. The advice I put immediately into practice was: Stand. Just because I have a table and a chair doesn't mean I have to use the chair. I'd already gotten into the habit of greeting and welcoming people (nobody believes I'm shy, but trust me, I am). Doing so standing up provides an additional draw.

So too my buttons (visible in this entry). I also had Electric Velocipede #14 and Riffing on Strings on display. Riffing on Strings was also for sale at the Barnes & Noble.

Fantasy Fest, Carrollwood Barnes & Noble 2

Going widdershins from my table:

Steven Mather:
Fantasy Fest, Carrollwood Barnes & Noble 3

Andrea Dean Van Scoyoc:
Fantasy Fest, Carrollwood Barnes & Noble 4

This shot shows Riffing on Strings displayed on the wall above the far end of Andrea's table:
Fantasy Fest, Carrollwood Barnes & Noble 5

Tracy A. Akers on the left, K.L. Nappier on the right:
Fantasy Fest, Carrollwood Barnes & Noble 6

Another shot of Tracy:
Fantasy Fest, Carrollwood Barnes & Noble 7

M.B. Weston:
Fantasy Fest, Carrollwood Barnes & Noble 8

Chris A. Jackson:
Fantasy Fest, Carrollwood Barnes & Noble 9

Michael Darling:
Fantasy Fest, Carrollwood Barnes & Noble 10

Glenda Finkelstein doing the stand-and-greet thang...
Fantasy Fest, Carrollwood Barnes & Noble 11

... and with her husband, Tony:
Fantasy Fest, Carrollwood Barnes & Noble 12

Bo Savino (a.k.a. A.J. Rand) with her coauthor, Carrassa Sands:
Fantasy Fest, Carrollwood Barnes & Noble 13

Bo and Carrassa were celebrating the launch of their contemporary science fiction novel, Sky Gold.

Fantasy Fest, Carrollwood Barnes & Noble 14

In-between the book-selling and signing were drawings for prizes, interspersed with author readings. This event marked the first reading for at least one author. I've done spoken word performances for decades and I love that venue (my debut was a rendition of Walt Whitman's "O Captain! My Captain!" almost 40 years ago, at a public reading held at my grade school). Each of our performances at B&N last Saturday drew customers to our part of the store, and it was neat to see our audience standing and listening attentively to what we'd produced. At least one copy of Covenant sold on the strength of my own reading.

Thanks to Nicki and Brett for opening their home to me on Saturday night and Sunday morning; for great conversation, food, and lodging; and for their flexibility, because I was ready to drive back north right after the event if necessary. Mary assured me that she was doing fine.

Sunday's driving weather, like Saturday night's, involved sweeping bands of torrential downpour. I had my defroster on full and slowed to a crawl, especially as I approached the World's Stupidest Intersection (it really needs a 50s-era roadside attraction sign) at next-to-zero visibility. It's at a road work site, which means the stupidity should be short-lived. In the meantime, one must jog right at a critical juncture to avoid a head-on collision (but not too early or you end up in the construction), and then jog back left to execute a left-hand turn. Logic dictates that an accident would most likely occur by a driver traveling in the same direction I was, but weather trumped logic that day. Fortunately, I was traveling at around 5 mph. and was well back from the stop line when I had to lean on my horn to tell an approaching driver (s)he was in the wrong lane. That car scooted over as fast as it could without drowning.

Frankly, we need the rain around here. I keep telling that to myself as I drive Mary to her thrice-weekly chiropractic appointments. It's also a great way to learn where all the big puddles are.

Mary wanted to see what was happening behind her back, so I took a video on June 23. Here are some stills of her adjustment at the hands (and gizmos) of Russell Lewandowski of Russell Chiropractic:

This Takes Some Adjusting To

Thanks to Michelle L. Devon for posting her interview with me. Michelle's interview with K.L. Nappier, who was also at last Saturday's festival, is here.

Covenant, the first volume in the Deviations Series, is available from Aisling Press, and from AbeBooks, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Book Territory, Borders,,, DEAstore,,,, Powell's Books, and Target. The Deviations page has additional details.


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