A Rainy Day in Seattle — I’m trying not to panic. Lugging a serious dose of nerves, a 50-count box of chapbooks, and my 12-pound computer case, I just got lost in the wrong hotel. Now I’m lost in the right hotel, it’s getting close to show time–I’m supposed to be giving a 25-minute talk on creating fiction from reality–and I can’t find the Left Coast Crime convention, let alone the Madison Room, or wherever the heck it is I’m speaking. I check the map in my back pocket one more time. It’s a maze, I tell you! A maze! I’m sweating profusely, there’s a line from a Rolling Stones song playing in my head: “What a drag it is getting old,” and I want to slink back to my own hotel and jump into bed. I’m a writer, not a pitch man. At least Mick Jagger is older than me. And then I turn one more corner into a new room. Hey. It’s full of people carrying books. A banner-size black and white sign looms forcefully against one wall and–oh, my–the sign has my name on it. I walk over in a bit of a daze. A little fuzzy. This sign with the famous writers’ names listed on it has my name, too. Gee. The talk scheduled before mine is still in progress as I slip inside the Madison Room. At least I think it’s the Madison Room. Good thing I have a few minutes to catch my breath. I’m obsessed with that sign listing me among the speakers and authors here to impart wisdom. I haven’t fooled anybody like that since I sold my prom date on–oh, let’s skip that one. I listen to the speaker a few minutes and suddenly it dawns on me. A moment of raw clarity. I’m finally starting to understand the mindset here. Jack Getze is not just a man anymore, an old newspaperman and stockbroker who finally sold a novel. A guy who lives in New Jersey with his wife, two twenty-something kids, a chocolate lab, and a half-wild, stunted cat that appeared under the car one day. No, not just a man. Jack Getze is also a product. Worse, he’s a brand new product trying to break in against hundreds of popular and established products. I’ve got to sell, baby. Make them like me. Make them want to read my book. When it’s time, I tell 20 crime fiction fans about the things in my novel based on reality–a man being dragged overboard and killed by a Giant Bluefin tuna; a man living in his car because of slashed income and a vindictive ex-wife; a stockbroker marrying the widow when a rich client died. And I tell them about the reality at the very heart of Big Numbers–a man who hates the way he makes a living. I speak some about myself, how many unpublished novels I wrote before Big Numbers; how, right this minute, I am living my dream. Having the time of my life. And that, if being the author I’ve always wanted to be means showing and selling myself to attract readers, that’s what I will do. Next time, at home on the Jersey Shore, I drop by local book stores in hopes of setting up signings for March and April. On April 18th, The 2007 Big Numbers World Tour heads for Sleuthfest in Miami Beach. Glad you’re on the bus –Jack Getze

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