A pretty, dark-haired girl in her twenties shyly stepped up to me. She waited while Alice finished her thought; Alice and I acknowledged her with smiles. “Would you mind signing this for me?” she asked as she held out a copy of my book.
Silly as it sounds, my heart really did do a little leap for joy. As I sifted through the pages to find the Title Page, I realized I had nothing but fat Sharpies to write with. She said her name was Donna, and handed me a pen. “How did you happen to find my book?”
“We were here the other day and there was a line at the checkout so I just picked it up. It was near the counter. I read some of it while I was waiting then put it back. When I got home it was still on my mind so I sent my husband back to buy it for me. Is it OK for you to sign even if I didn’t buy it today?”
I just looked down and humbly wrote her a short note of thanks.
The Holiday Book Fair has been a bit of a scramble but worth every tiny hitch. I have met some of the area’s, hell America’s, finest talent and been awed by their graciousness and kindness. Some I have gotten to know through phone conversations; the charmingly British accent of Eric Stanway, for one. Eric designed the poster and advertisements for the Fair. When I did my research on each author for the press release I noted Eric’s books have a fascinating dark side. He writes about haunted houses, murders and mysteries in New England.
Most of the other twenty authors were known only to me by email communications and my snooping of their blogs and web pages. Their personalities shown through the written words and I was eager to meet them.
I struggled Saturday afternoon and all morning Sunday with my last organizational task; name tags and table tents to identify the participants. I had a great holiday-themed form ginned up on the computer but the printer refused to coöperate. I even borrowed a printer from a friend and spent $50 on ink only to find it wouldn’t print either. Frustrated, I gathered up a handful of Sharpies and my papers and dashed out to the Toadstool Bookstore.
A few folks were milling around already as I marched in to the café where we were holding the book fair. I ditched my coat and began handing out name tags, Sharpies and apologies for the cheesy result after all my good intentions. The authors couldn’t have been nicer and thanked me profusely for pulling the affair together so quickly. My little pile of books was right by the entrance. I had a great view of the action and the pleasure of chatting with the New Hampshire Poet Laureate, Alice Fogel. I had no idea what the duties of a poet laureate entailed and was intrigued as she described her personal goal for her five-year tenure; education and efforts to bring poetry to the mainstream. There are national meetings for the state poet laureates. It’s a world I had no clue about but a universe I would love to immerse myself in. Like beekeeping, I think I may have found the cradle of creativity and very giving people.
I spent some time with Ken MacDonald, a newbie, one book author like myself. Ken is a wonderfully geek-type of engineer sort. His book is the “Pellet Stove Almanac,” a whole different demographic than I have thought of, a how to why to on heating with pellet stoves. For those of you not in the northern climates, it is a hot topic this time of year, (pun intended.)
The children’s books were beautifully illustrated and made me wish I had a grand-baby, just for a moment. Who wouldn’t be enthralled to sit with a book about Trouper, a three-legged dog by Meg Kearney or “Red Sled”, “Red Hat,” and “Bird Talk” by author/illustrator Lita Judge. I could never imagine writing such treasures.
I could go on for pages about the extraordinary writers I have met through this event. Suffice to say, it was more fun than ringing the opening bell for the Nasdaq.