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June 1st, 2010

I was on the road last week, in New York City for BEA. For the majority of the world not obsessed with publishing, this is Book Expo America: the major industry trade show here in the states. Every publisher you can name has a booth there, and most of them are giving away free books.

I was in the Harlequin booth for 45 hectic minutes with Terri Brisbin and a bunch of other series authors, furiously scribbling my way through two cases of the Pleasurably Undone! anthology that Terri and I are in. We developed a fairly good rhythm, early on, passing the books back and forth between us, trying to get the correct spellings on the personalizations, and generally puzzling the readers, some of whom had just gotten on the end of the line and were waiting for pot luck.

This was a nice change from RT, a couple of weeks ago, where the readers had to pay for the books, and were being a lot more selective. I spent large portions of that three hours trying to slip my shoes off without offending the public. I settled on sticking my bare feet in an empty book box.

Of course, that sort of behavior puts you at risk of being asked to stand for a picture, and staggering up, with one foot caught in the cardboard, kicking around under the table for your shoes.

Risky.

But when the stock is free, you do not have time to worry about your shoes, because the line is long. While I like to think I that, as far as the writing goes, I put a lot of effort into turning out a quality product, when I am free, I am a literary genius and damn near irresistible.

As is everyone else. When I was not behind the table, I spent the rest of the day trying to find free books of my own to get signed. And I developed a pretty good routine of showing up at the table, just as they were running out of stock.

Timing is everything. And I didn’t have it.

I managed to get a handful of free comic books, to bring back for #’s 1 and 2. Including a copy of Witchblade, which had them looking at me like I’d lost my mind, or at least my parenting skills.

Apparently, when she first transforms, she is undercover as a hooker. It explains a lot about the costume.

In the evening, The DH and I went to the Harlequin cocktail party, which was in the rooftop lounge of the Dream Hotel, on 55th and Broadway. There we sat with Terri Brisbin and Leslie Kelly while Waitresses dressed like Robert Palmer’s backup dancers schlepped up and down the stairs with free Cosmos, Fiji Water and hors d’oeuvres.

Do I want the seared tuna with aioli? Of course I do. And what’s Aioli? (Garlic mayonnaise. Aioli is a word that hasn’t reached the Midwest yet. But judging by the number of times I heard it, it is used in New York restaurants as a password, to separate the locals from the tourists).

I had been telling #1’s girlfriend that New York was a great place, but not really like Sex and the City.

Well, that party kind of was.