This post will be long, so grab your coffee (or, if you’ve got a Starbucks nearby, your Vanilla Bean Frappuccino) and relax. But come on; face it. With a subject like that, you’re curious enough to read on…
In May, I attended the Heart of Dixie Readers’ Luncheon. Readers’ luncheons are a great way for authors to meet avid readers and for those avid readers to meet their favorite authors. The luncheons are absolutely wonderful! And the signings that follow are also a real treat for authors, so if you’re an author, make plans to attend, and if you’re a reader, do the same. My 2006 event schedule has three reader luncheons: Heart of Dixie in Huntsville, Alabama (done for this year, but catch it next year), Georgia Romance Writers in Atlanta and Southern Magic Romance Writers in Birmingham.
Okay, now that I’ve advertised, let me move on to what happened after the Heart of Dixie luncheon in May. Following Lori Wilde’s fabulous advice, I always carry a few copies of my newest book when I travel. You never know when the woman next to you on the plane will mention loving romance, and you can offer an autographed copy. Or in the case I’m about to describe, when you’re leaving a reader luncheon and happen to have two copies in hand.
After a terrific luncheon at the Holiday Inn in Huntsville, I exited the hotel and saw a female chauffeur circling around the back of a limousine to open the door for a gentleman. She smiled. I smiled back. Then I decided, Hey, I’ve got a couple of my books in my hot little hands; maybe she’d like a copy. So, venturing completely out of my comfort zone, I ask, “Do you read romance?”
The guy’s eyes do that little “pop” kind of thing where I can tell he’s surprised I asked, but then the woman answers, “Yes, I do.” I explain that I’m a romance author and have a couple of my books with me, then ask if she’d like a copy. She was very excited and asked for one. Meanwhile, the man steps over as well and listens to the lady ask me what I’m doing at the hotel. I tell her about the luncheon and about my book, and she’s as cute as she can be asking questions, getting excited about the autographed copy, etc.
Then the man (nice-looking, now smiling broadly) admits that he misunderstood me at first. He thought I asked, “Do you need romance?” Need, read; hey—they rhyme. And it turns out that he thought I was some sort of overdressed prostitute. He said he’d never been asked “quite like that” or from someone dressed “quite like that.” (I had on a pantsuit.) He laughed at himself for making the assumption, then told me his wife reads romance and that he’d love to give her an autographed copy. I autographed a copy for his wife, had a nice chat with both the chauffeur and the man, then left feeling pretty darn good.
Later (much later – Memorial Day), a friend of mine in Huntsville called to ask me if I had any idea who the man was in the limousine. I was floored. How did she know I met the guy in the limo? She wasn’t there. Then she explains that she met the chauffeur at a Memorial Day BBQ. The woman was telling everyone at the BBQ that she met a “famous author” and was loving the book (fame is obviously in the eyes of the beholder). Then, to my buddy’s surprise, the lady pulls out a copy of Good Girls Don’t from her purse. My friend told the lady that she knew me and had actually attended the readers’ luncheon that day. Then my buddy said, “Well, she said that the Diamond Rio guy was tickled with the copy for his wife, and she laughed about him thinking you were some sort of overdressed groupie waiting for him at the hotel.”
Diamond Rio Guy??? Uh, yeah. Marty Roe, the lead singer from the group, is a really nice fellow and now has an autographed copy of Good Girls Don’t for his wife. Naturally, I DO love the group and should have recognized him, but I wasn't exactly looking to meet a star at the time.
And btw, when I told my teenagers and hubby about this, I complained that—once again—I missed a Kodak moment. I didn’t get my picture made when I met someone as famous as Marty Roe. Then my youngest son, fifteen, pipes up and says, “But Mom, he didn’t get his picture with you either!” (Did I mention fame is in the eyes of the beholder?)
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