18 Oct 2016
I just spent a perfectly good, sunny Saturday in a hall the size of a small baseball diamond, sitting behind a table and watching people stroll by.
And I loved it.
The occasion was the second annual York Book Expo 2016, held at the fairgrounds. Several hundred readers came out to stroll among the tables, look over the books, and talk to the people who wrote them.Like myself, even though I didn’t write most of the material found within my books. Those were Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers, Arthur Conan Doyle and a bunch of others. They weren’t there, except in spirit, but at least I was there to talk about them.
There was also Maria Snyder. She was what you might call the headliner. Her appearance was promoted along with the event. She gave a speech, and sat talking with fans for the rest of the event.
I remember her appearance at Cupboard Maker Books, the used bookstore and cat house in Enola.
Lest you misunderstand, I mean cat house in the literal sense. The owners host several cats from the local shelter. They wander about or perch on top of the bookcases, waiting to be petted. You can even take one home if you like.Every library needs a cat or two. They lend tone and encourage you to settle down and read a book. Preferably with them in your lap, purring like little buzz saws.
Anyway, when Snyder appeared there, she drew hundreds of fans willing to stand in line for up to a half-hour just to spend a few minutes with her while she signed their books.
Just to demonstrate the randomness of events, if they had come to the Book Expo, they would have enjoyed much more of Maria’s company. While she was the main draw and plenty of people came by to buy her books, there were times when she sat behind the table talking with the booksellers and authors who were set up near her.
We had a good time at the Expo. It didn’t start out that way. We had just come in and unpacked. I was talking to the booksellers and my wife came up to me with a look of irritation and said, “There’s FOOD at this event! They’re giving away Rice Krispie Treats down the aisle!”
I was in trouble. Big couple trouble.
You see, we have this thing we like to do at events. We give away Butterscotch crunchies, cookies made with Heath bar chips.
My wife tweaked the recipe so that it’s a perfect blend of the four major food groups: sugar, salt, fat, and Heath bars. The tongue never gets tired of the taste. Once you eat one, especially fresh from the oven, you’re hooked.
They’re the crack of cookies. When they’re hooked on our tasty treat, we give them the recipe. On the back there is an ad for our books.
As my wife wisely noted, people will throw away book ads, but they never throw away a recipe.
Anyway, my wife couldn’t remember if we gave away cookies at last year’s expo. She asked me to check with Demi, the organizer from Year of the Book. I followed my usual habit and kept putting it off and putting it off, and when she asked me again, I decided to rely on my memory and said foods were not allowed.
I was sure we didn’t have them last year. I even looked at the photos of our table to make sure.
In other words, I took a shortcut. One that led to a cliff.
So through no fault of Demi, Maria, my wife, or anyone else in the world but me, the event started badly. So bad that it would have been easy to assume the rest of the day was going to stay in that zone of badness and simply give up.
But we couldn’t leave; we had already paid for the table. So while my wife walked around and looked at the other tables, I played author.
I had my author hat on. My author shirt as well. And I talked to the readers and told them about my books. I even sold a couple.
Then she came back bubbling with news about a half-naked man she wanted me to meet.
I didn’t realize she had decided on replacing me so quickly.
I followed her directions and there he was. He was about my height and about my weight — although distributed in far more attractive locations. He was staring at me with his big brown … nipples.As you know, hot shirtless guys have been selling books ever since Fabio showed off his pecs during the Reagan administration. The magic did the same for Connie C. Scharon. She had published a couple romance novels that sold well, and this time picked this hairless hunk to grace the cover of “Captive Highlander.”
I’m not sure who was supposed to be the captive: the Highlander or his partner. I wasn’t going to ask. They’d revoke my Guy Card for that.
But Scharon told me, as she told my wife, that the hairless hunk propelled her book into Amazon’s top 100 where it stayed for several months.
He seemed to have an effect on more than just Scharon’s readers and my wife. When she went to the office supply store to pick up the sign, the girls behind the counter asked, “Did he have to go?”
To ease their anxiety, she gave them a copy of the digital file. I assume for training purposes only.
Scharon also told me that when she displayed the cover at a Pennwriter’s seminar, she told the audience that she had the digital artist change his eyes to blue.
Several of the women asked, “He has eyes?”
Personally, I can’t see the attraction, but I’m not going to argue with readers who bought Scharon’s book. Or my wife. I’m in enough trouble.
I’m just wondering if I can find a shirtless Sherlock for my next 223B volume.
Visiting At the Expo
On of the interesting things about doing a show like this is getting to meet other local authors and learn more about what they’re doing. I wish I had a chance to talk to everyone at the show, but I had just enough time to work my way down our aisle and stop at a few tables.
Pann Publishing looks like a relatively new small press out of Boiling Springs, Pa. They are accepting submissions in a wide range of genre fiction and nonfiction.Two authors sharing a table were Sheri Queen, left, and Rebecca Halsey, right. Queen’s first book in her Sleepy Hollow Hunter series, “Bounty Huntress,” is about to come out. Queen also participates in a shared world with more than two dozen other writers at the Hotel Paranormal. Rebecca Halsey writes, according to her website, “romantic fiction with the flare of jazz and a touch of noir.” Her latest book in the Hollywood Jazz series is “Notes of Temptation.”Jessica Eppley has three books published in her high fantasy “The Book of Siavon” series, the first of which is “The Ruby Child.” It is written for children from 8 to 12 years old.Anthony Regolino is a multi-talented actor, comedian and filmmaker from Lancaster who’s branched out into fiction. His first novel is “Canis Sapiens,” the first book in the Dingo Factor series. Also sharing a table were Ryan Griffin and Andrew Craven. Griffin was there with ”How to Publish for Next to Nothing.” Craven has several books out, including the science-fiction novels “Wintercity Crossing” and “Moshiah.”