"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

Monday, September 29, 2014

Meeting a friend

Let's be clear: Tod Goldberg doesn't need a lick of exposure from my little blog. He's written over a dozen books and his latest, Gangsterland, is gathering adoring reviews from places like Kirkus, Publisher's Weekly, and the LA Times. He's a writer from a writing family and directs an MFA program at UC Riverside.

He doesn't need a leg up from me - he's already in the saddle.

I met him this weekend at the monthly OC Sisters in Crime meeting, where he was an engaging speaker. It was difficult to end the meeting, since I was having such a great time listening. True confession time: I don't always buy our speakers' books. I try to, mostly if they are on Kindle, but I have a lot of on my e-TBR pile. Yesterday, though, I bought one of Tod's books just for the autograph.

He was that good.

In between our formal meeting, I got to have a few chats with him, on various subjects and of varying lengths. I found we have some things in common:

1. We both love the Monkees. I'd run to the meeting after working all day at a horse show, and when I got dressed at OHMYGOD-thirty, I grabbed my purple Monkees t-shirt from the closet. Tod told me a very funny anecdote about Micky Dolenz while we shared a little Monkee-mania.

2. We both hate conventions but love writers conferences. Okay, this little tidbit made me want to dance with glee. I'd love to tell you all that I adore Left Coast Crime and Bouchercon and really, I DO love meeting my friends there, but the truth is that if I'm not on a panel, I spend my time wandering about the venue, wondering what I'm doing there. I'm just a sad little fish out of water. The only fun to be had is to sit in the bar and offer people a seat at my table. It's like a revolving door of famous and semi-famous and wanna-be-famous faces.

Writer's conferences are where I feel like I've found my tribe and we can talk about the creative process, and the marketing process, and everything in between. We can be witty and stupid and laugh because we kind of trust each other.

So for Famous Name Tod to admit conventions are a little depressing and he'd rather go to a conference and be energized, made my little writer's heart squeal, "YES!" We spent a few moments talking about the Santa Barbara Writer's Conference and all the people we both knew.

3. We both like bacon. Okay, to be honest, that's a no-brainer.

I was really impressed by Tod and plan to read more of his work. And that, Dear Writers, is how you establish yourself. Yes, you have to write good books. But when you meet people face-to-face, it's important to put on your Friendly Author Personae.

Have you met an author that was so personable, you went out and bought their book immediately? Have you ever met one that made you want to toss their book at their head?

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