I love booksignings, actually, as I've said before, especially when they're held in a locally-owned bookstore (not a "big box" chain). A shop filled with books is a congenial place for me. There is an atmosphere full of the promise of knowledge to be revealed in bound pages, along with chilling suspense, sheer thrills, chronicled explorations of earth, space, and spirit, and the stimulation of simple intellectual contemplation. It's so much the better with the addition of an author promoting her or his literary contribution, and even better when they are someone I know. It's such an engaging place that I modeled a scene after it in my little novella, A Single Step.
So on a Wednesday after work, I stopped by the building-on-the-hill, that contains the Lemuria bookstore. I entered and passed through a upper floor courtyard of bistro tables where I noticed people had been sipping wine. The drained wine glasses whispered of enjoying a moment in a happy atmosphere. I do understand that and wondered who served the wine. From there I entered Lemuria itself and embraced the welcoming ambiance of book browsers and low conversations. People were milling about and already forming a line to the booksigning. I found John's book in a stack at the counter, bought it, and took my place in line.
I could see the local mystery lovers were out in force, and they are a sizable force in Jackson. My wife worked for a time at a public library and quickly discovered that the mystery genre was the local favorite far-and-away. James Patterson is very popular and, of course, John Grisham. Police procedure and crime mysteries seem to dominate more than say, gothic mysteries and even romances. John Floyd built his career on writing short stories in this genre, so he has a solid following here, built on years of publishing his short stories in national magazines and several book compilations.
The line to the signing passed by the History and Spiritual section so I perused titles like William Faulkner and Southern History and Mostly Ghosts. A man came up behind me and started talking to the man in front of me. I tried to be unobtrusive but the narrow space, and my desire to stay in line, made me a forced audience. They didn't seem to mind and the guy in front launched into a telling about the wealth of King Solomon in tons of gold and its discovery or hiding or some such. The guy behind me seemed to understand and make affirmation. I was uncomfortable about listening and so only half did so, and I really couldn't tell whether the conversation was Biblical or archaelogical. The books around me made me think of the latter, and I decided a response, if I was called upon to make one, would be something like:
I think Solomon's gold was stored in a mine in Africa and found by a dude named, Quatermain.
As it was, the line moved forward and I didn't have to say anything, but I did let the guy behind me go ahead so they could talk unobstructed. I figured the wait wouldn't be long, anyway. While his friend talked to John, the guy noticed the cap I was wearing, which had Block Island, Rhode Island, printed on it, since that's where it came from. He asked about it and I told him the island was a resort area I had visited a few years ago. He wondered if that was where all the rich people lived up there. He knew there was some town in Rhode Island where they all lived. I guess he was thinking of Newport but I couldn't come up with that at the time.
When it was finally my turn, I entered the little "lounge" area where Lemuria lets authors hold their signings. I had a nice little "catch up" talk with John as he signed my book. The short of it was that he's still teaching his classes and writing tons of short stories that will come out in future compilations, and I'm still working on my first novel.
I said goodbye, so others could take their turn, and headed for the exit, holding up my book and receipt as I passed the employees at the counter who seemed to note that I didn't have a bag (well, they didn't give me one).
So that's the way it went. It was a nice diversion from my normal routine and a moment of literary inspiration. It was great to see John again and I look forward to reading his book (yes, I'll do a review). Seeing him living the author's life and producing books, charges me to renew my own efforts. I intend to do all I can to see my first Dentville novel finished and released in 2015. I'll follow that quickly with a novel (or novella) about geoengineering that I mean to be my contribution to the fight to stop it. I'll keep up this journal (weekly; I know I've been tardy of late), and I'll have a major redo on my website to facilitate the distribution of my books and make it easy for people to follow me.
I will strive to keep my website and social sites active, and keep you up on the progress of my literary offerings. Meanwhile, I recommend you check out Fifty Mysteries, especially if you are a fan of crime mysteries and clever plotting.
I expect, after the first of the year, to be freed for a time from the tyranny of the 8-to-5 and go full speed ahead on a number of writing projects. I hope you'll come along for the ride and, who knows, maybe I'll have my own booksigning one day.