"The notion that such persons are gay of heart and carefree is curiously untrue. They lead, as a matter of fact, an existence of jumpiness and apprehension. They sit on the edge of the chair of Literature. In the house of Life they have the feeling that they have never taken off their overcoats."
- James Thurber, My Life and Hard Times

Sunday, August 16, 2009

There's a lot to celebrate

Meeting people is so much freakin' fun!

Wow, didn't know I had that in me. It's Sunday morning and I had a rather late night because my hubby was watching a movie in our bedroom that kept me awake so I didn't get to sleep until 2 or so and then I had to get up early because the cat repeatedly jumped on my torso to get up and feed her and this is all probably TMI, huh?

The main thing is that the Placentia Library event yesterday was a lot of fun. Everyone was happy and helpful, and Jeanette Contreras, the library director, was just perky as the devil, hugging me like a lost sister. I got there early and set up my booth.

Nice, huh?

Since my book is titled Freezer Burn, they set me up in the "freezer section", next to the Sno-Cone booth, and gave me a cooler filled with freezer pops to hand out. They even gave me a student volunteer, Manuel, who loves to read mysteries, and would have sat and read Freezer Burn instead of handing out the pops, until I convinced him to get his job done.

(Poor Manuel - very nice kid, but this seems to be a theme of his life. All students in the Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District must complete 40 hours of community service in order to graduate from high school. Manuel will be a senior this year. Saturday was his first community service project. It is mid-August and he has 35 hours to go. Good luck with that.)

It was a great day. There were craft booths, rides, free food (I'm talking pasta with marinara sauce, salad and bread!), movies, storytelling - Jeanette and her staff went all out to get the community out for a celebration.

From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., I talked to so many people, my head was nearly spinning with euphoria. People came up to talk about my column and buy a book. The volunteers came up to talk about my book… and bought my book. I even sold a book to the couple in charge of the pony rides. Trust me to find the horse people in the crowd.

I only have a couple of slightly-less-happy-than-I-wanted complaints. First, let's just say that sno-cones, freezer pops and books don't always mix. Small children wanted to come and pet my gnomes, sno-cones in hand, and then come and run their sticky little fingers across my books. One small child leaned into my gnomes and spilled her sno-cone on the green felt.

My exact words: "Oh. That's… no bueno."

S'Okay. Felt cleans. I think.

Also, the freezer pops were encased in plastic and had to be either snapped open or clipped with scissors. As a kindness, I brought out a pair of scissors for Manuel to use. Unfortunately, my young friend, being a typical boy, was not always careful about his aim, and got juice all over one of my boxes (empty, thank God) and the flat container where Dino rests when he is not being employed. I hope I can get the goo off, 'cause I don't know where to find another flat box like that.

This brings me to Mr. Martin, whom I adore and wanted to include in this event. He was, as always, a delightful and gracious guest, until the winds kicked up. No amount of heavy boxes and wedging could keep him upright when the breeze blew through the courtyard. He spent most of the last hour close to my side so I could catch him when he fell. After all, what are friends for?

One of the people I met came as a complete surprise. As he bought one of my books, he told me that he supports writers at signings whenever possible because, as a horror writer, he hates doing signings and would pretty much rather be eaten by one of his own monsters (okay, I'm exaggerating here, but he really hates signings). I asked what he wrote, and he told me two things: one of his short stories was made into an episode of Masters of Horror, about George Washington being a cannibal, AND he was made uber-famous when USA Today reported that Stephen King was reading his book when he got struck by that minivan. What he didn't tell me was his name - he asked that I autograph his book to his dad, who loves to read mysteries.

Of course, I went home and scoured the Internet for "George Washington cannibal". Turns out I had been talking to Bentley Little, horror-author-extraordinaire, discovered by Dean Koontz, championed by Stephen King, author of over 20 novels… yeah, THAT horror writer. Holy guacamole! Even better, he was such a lovely person, he said he'd tell his dad to read my book in public and every so often exclaim, "Wow, what a great story." How sweet is that?

I immediately made plans to get my book into a famous person's hands, then run over them with my Chevy Venture. (Just joking, people! Cancel that call to the FBI!)

When the day was done, I had sold 20 books, raffled away a basket for the library, and felt a great contentment, for being in the midst of such a pleasant community, speaking with such good people.

Ah, I love my life!


Ali said...

This was a fun entry to read! I'm so glad that the event went well. And my goodness, what a small world it is. Oh, and I highly approve of both horse people (I always find them, too) and Dean Martin.

EchelonPress said...

What a great post. If you people get a chance to meet Gayle anywhere, you must jump on it. She is more fun in person than she in in her writing and Blog.

Karen Syed

Gayle Carline said...

Oh, and admit it, Karen, I'm pretty dang entertaining when I write, too!

Nick Valentino said...

That rules Gayle! Awesome job! You're an inspiration. Actually all the Echelon people are... I'm starting to read Freezer Burn today at lunch! Can't wait!


dino martin peters said...

Hey pallie, how nice of our Dino to be part of the library gig...and how great of you to takes such good care of him...but likes who wouldn't wanna have our Dino so close to 'em? Glads the library scene went well for you inspite of snow cones and freezer pops....

N A Sharpe said...

Excellent!! What a great celebration - of the book and the new found fame for the town. I am so glad it was such an amazing day - you deserve it. BTW, great pose with Deano!

Nancy, from Realms of Thought…

Diana Black said...

Gayle, I wish I'd been there on so many levels! You are so fun to read and like Karen said, I bet you're just as much fun in person.

So glad you enjoyed your day...because at the end of the day, that's what it's all about.


Regina said...

What a great day!

I love that you were set up in the "freezer section!" I would have been cracking jokes all day long about that one. (Or maybe until I started getting death glares from the people stuck around me. Case in point, I work at a Renaissance Festival, and we were open when Hurricane Hannah rolled through last fall. I discovered that there's only so many times you can exclaim "Holy Hannah!" in a day. After a while, people start getting twitchy. haha!)

Patricia Stoltey said...

Fun post, Gayle. Sounds like a great event with great people.

Just finished reading Freezer Burn, folks. Funny, well-written mystery with a fine plot and excellent characters. I like Peri! Hope you have another one in the works, Gayle.

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

It's fun to read about such a busy, fun and productive day!

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

I just wanted to let you know I've awarded you the Superior Scribbler Award on my blog.

Proud Member of ALA!

I support fair and equitable library access to ebooks and so should you.