Why I better be remembered in the will

Hi all,

Forgive me for the lateness or rather untopicality, sort of, of this post. I had intended to post same almost since I set up this page and am just getting to it now.

For those of you familiar with my regular blog What I Know So Far, (not to worry, I'll be bringing that stuff over here, too) you know that the Barnes and Noble on 66th and Broadway in Manhattan is my new Mecca. This is precisely the knowledge used by my mother to get me to attend a book signing last Thursday given by one of her favorite wordsmiths Alexander McCall Smith, author of the #1 Ladies Detective Club stories. She couldn't attend because she was, ahem, busy. Her bridge class would not understand being blown off cause teacher wanted to play hooky. Whatever.

Now normally, you don't have to twist my arm to go to a book signing, but my mother has a considerable collection of the man's work which seemed to grow larger each time we discussed this outing. First it was only a couple of books (including a copy of his new one for each of us). Then it was about ten. You see this trip involved a sojourn on the subway not a trek in the car, so heft was of importance. Finally, my mom shows up at my house with almost twenty books. Oy!

I tell you this story--not because I committed matricide at that moment (though, damn I was tempted) or to bemoan the hernia that befell me from toting all those books (though that, too, was close), but because I had an extraordinarily good time.

Mind you, I started out with no interest whatsoever in Mr. Smith. I don't read cozies, set in America, South Africa, the Amazon, no difference. I want a body count, blood, guts, gore and mayhem. I had absolutely no interest in books that even their author admits nothing much ever happens. Besides, my mother wanted me to read them, which was exactly why I resisted.

However, I found myself completely charmed by Mr. Smith, serial novelitis sufferer. Turns out he writes three or four series, including some children's books. I loved his sere (beyond dry) wit and impeccable comic timing during his talk. I found myself peeking through the copy of his latest work my mother had bought for me and knew I'd be reading him, if not for the mystery for the humor, which I also love. Dang!

So lesson #1 for author readings--be entertaining. There's nothing worse that sitting stone-faced at a signing while an author tells you how wonderful he/she is.

And do you know Mr. Smith signed every last one of my mother's books. He seemed surprised that I was shocked. He said that it was an honor to sign such a large collection of his works and seemed perplexed that I as an author wouldn't know that. I'll leave it to someone else to tell him that for many authors, signing oogobs of books--especially ones not purchased at the particular event--is often not the done thing in America.

Lesson #2--if you can't be gracious as an author, at least try to fake it. .)

I took my books and myself back to the subway. Mom was most impressed at my finesse in getting all the books signed. Now she owes me big.

At least I didn't get that hernia for nothing.

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