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Thursday, February 3, 2011

Author Love

Ah February, the month where hearts turn to thoughts of love...for our favorite authors of course!  In my humble unesteemed opinion, authors are worth their weight in gold.  A good author can take us places in a blink of a reading eye, to exotic locales and eras where we never thought we'd visit.  They do it very cheaply too, and they can repeat the process over and over.  Great writers help us take our minds off our troubles for a while, and they can accomplish this sans the next-day hangovers and occasional blackouts-what a deal!
Me and Kerrelyn Sparks
  I have great love and appreciation for all my favorite authors, and thanks largely to Facebook and Twitter, I can contact them anytime I want, and they are always so wonderful and gracious.  Last July I attended RWA for the first time and got to meet many of them.  Believe me, I was on Cloud Nine!  
In retrospect, that was actually quite brave of me since the first time I tried meeting a favorite author I was left completely heartbroken and devastated. To this very day, I can no longer  bring myself to crack open any of his books.
  It was the early 1990's, and I was a huge fan of a very popular Christian fiction author.  One day he came to a church in Tucson to give a presentation.  I was so beside myself with excitement and anticipation that I could barely stand it!  I arrived at the church and found him speaking with a young woman in her early 20's.  The two of them were busy chatting away, and I stood off to the side waiting for him to finish and acknowledge me.  I was no more than a yard away.  Never once did the author take his eyes off the young woman to look up at me, or to his "handler" who was walking around the room talking to other folks while keeping his eye on his "ward".  He was probably his agent or something similar.  Well, I kept waiting and waiting as the time for the presentation to begin drew near, but the author and his captivated fan were still going strong.  The "handler" guy-for lack of a better term-came over to me and said that the author didn't have any time to speak with me, but would I like these lovely autographed bookplates from the author?  I accepted them graciously, and was quickly ushered away.  I sat down in my chair stunned, completely numb as my mind kept racing over the events that just transpired. Okay, he had time to chat the ear off ONE person, but could not be bothered with me?  Did I do something wrong?  Did I act like a weirdo?  Did I smell?  What???  While I sat quietly and listened to his presentation, tears kept welling up in my eyes.  I kept thinking, "How could you not even acknowledge my existence when I'm standing *right here*, love your books so much, have purchased every one, and have shared them with everyone willing to listen about them too?"  I would have accepted even the smallest token of acknowledgement from him; a smile, a simple "hello", anything to take home with me and remember forever!  I also recall thinking that he was much shorter than I expected, and how ironic that he turned out to be "small" to me in so many ways, sigh.
Jennifer Ashley and me.
   It's a good thing I did not allow that experience to deter me at the literacy book signing at RWA in 2010. I would have missed out on meeting my current favorite authors who bring such joy to my life.  Several were new to me; I had only read one book of theirs before attending but they already had my heart.  Their books make me a better medical technologist because when I come home from a hard day at the lab I can read their novels to relax, laugh and become refreshed before another day of work.  Even though I joke that when I go to work I "have to save lives now",  THEY save mine! 
Me and Bonnie Vanak.
  So from the bottom of my heart, thank you to Kerrelyn Sparks, Lara Adrian, Bonnie Vanak, Jennifer Ashley, and Terry Spear-you all have my heart!  To Lara, I am so looking forward to meeting you this year in NYC! BIG hugs to you all!
  I'd love to hear from you all now, have you met your favorites in any way? What is it that you especially like in the way they communicate with you?  Thanks for sharing!


  1. Excellent post. Many years ago before the age of email (Yes. I am THAT old.) I wrote a letter to one of my favorite authors, Jean M. Auel, writer of The Clan of the Cave Bear series. I never really expected to hear from her, why would a busy author take the time to write back a little nobody like me? But I so wanted Ms. Auel to know how much I enjoyed her books. I'm pleased to report, Ms. Auel sent me a warm reply - hand-written, friendly and down to earth. I still have that letter tucked in one of her books and I'll never forget the graciousness of that lady.

  2. Hi Marianne! I can't believe the nasty reception you receive from that popular author. That's terrible! One thing that always impresses me about authors is when they are totally professional... I remember an RWA literacy booksigning when Susan Elizabeth Phillips ran out of books to sign. Instead of leaving, as many authors do, she sat and graciously signed bookplates and talked with people. She became my model for booksignings.

    It was wonderful meeting you in Orlando last year and looking forward to seeing you again in NY!! (Where I won't have to walk to the hotel conference in 90+ degree heat, lol!)

  3. My favorite all-time author is Barbara Cartland...I got hooked on romance books by reading her novels. Never met her and she's now gone. Looking forward to seeing lots of now favorite authors at RT and many to choose from! Love Julie Garwood...we live in the same area.

  4. Maeve-that is wicked awesome! What a treasure you have there-kudos to you! And "little nobodies" like us a actually have a lot of power collectively when it comes to book purchases!

  5. Yay Bonnie-the woman who has my heart-lol! That's a great author story about S.E.P., we should all use her as a model. It was great meeting you-and THANK GOD we won't have to trudge around in that heat-that was such a drag! Is it June yet???

  6. Oh Marianne, I was so hoping you were going to say that you actually met her-bummer! What a great legacy she left. I'm really looking forward to meeting you and so many others too! Thank God April is coming; I'm really tired of winter-lol!

  7. My only contact with one of my faves was years ago when I was looking for a book I'd read as a library check-out. I loved it so much I checked it out several times. Years later, I couldn't remember the title to find it. This was before Smart Bitches (maybe I'll email them the description w/ a plea for help) b/c I'd buy that book in a skinny minute. Anyway, I was convinced that Johanna Lindsey had written it and emailed her through her web site.

    She actually replied and said it wasn't one of hers but she'd love to read it. She suggested I write the book. And that was several years before I'd ever sat down at a keyboard to pound out my first book.

    I'd have tried writing the book but I'm still convinced it exists and that I didn't make it up. I could be wrong, b/c my hubby says I can make up whole conversations with him and convince myself that they really happened.

    Anyway, GREAT POST. Shame on that author for ever, ever missing the opportunity to talk to someone who enjoyed his work.

    I've never gone to RWA, but its my understanding that the organization - in the past - hasn't treated indie authors on a par with those published by traditional houses that used to hold all the power. Has RWA ever changed its stance to recognize today's reality where a book is a book? I'd love to go when RWA comes around - which it will, I'm sure- but I may have to wait a little longer...

    Like I said, great post, but then you always "give good blogs."

    Quacking Alone

  8. Awww, shucks Mary Anne (shuffles feet) thanks so much! What a dilemma you have there about imagining the book vs. really reading it; my hubby also says that I imagine conversations-lol! I think it's just selective hearing on the part of those carrying the "Y" chromosome, but whatev! Good luck with Smart Bitches-fingers crossed! I haven't been in RWA long enough to realize the disparity with indie authors, but I do admit that smaller houses seem to more inclusive. Hopefully, "the times will be a-changin" soon!

  9. Marianne, what an experience! And major props to you for not telling that 'handler' exactly where he could stuff those bookplates! It speaks volumes about YOUR character, as much as the 'famous' author's actions spoke about HIS. Talk about a walking ego! Pretty 20-something yr old? Really? Doesn't take much imagination to guess WHY he was spending so much time chatting her up.

    I am so looking forward to the RWA conference. I live in NY and am planning to attend this June. It would be fantastic if we could meet up at some point. By then I'll be in hunting mode trying to land an agent...if I'm lucky! LOL!

    I have a booksigning scheduled for a B&N this coming Saturday, Feb. 12. This will be my 3rd in 4 months, and to tell you the truth, they're not all what they're cracked up to be...unless you ARE a well known author! But regardless, your anecdote will be fresh in my mind prompting me to be both gracious and grateful. Hey, you never know who you might meet across that table, right? It's like my mother always said, "It doesn't cost anything to be nice, and the rewards you might reap are invaluable."

  10. Thanks Marianne, I think I was just too stunned to be anything more than numb at the time! It *would* be great if all of us "All Day All Night" divas could meet up at RWA. So cool that you already live in NY, makes the trip easy for ya! I've been to several local book signings and I know what you mean, hut still, to the folks who do show up it IS a big deal! Ah, mothers, they always know best! Good luck and enjoy your signing!

  11. What a great idea!! We should see if a bunch of us could meet up...we could take the place by storm! Watch out RWA, the MARIANNEs of Romance are a-coming!!!!


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