We have some really amazing independent bookstores in Salt Lake City, one of which is The King's English. I know that throughout the country independent bookstores are struggling, but my sense of it is that the SLC area stores are doing okay. I hope so. I'm an equal-opportunity book buyer. I buy books everywhere.
The King's English (TKE) is really terrific to local authors. I had my big FRUIT OF ALL EVIL kick-off event at TKE, and the booksellers were (still are) wonderful.
Here's the thing, though: *I* wasn't amazing. At all. In fact, I kind of sucked. As I looked out at the good-sized crowd who'd come to the signing, I got unbelieveably nervous. That has never happened to me before. I'm not shy. When I was younger, I was kind of a ham. I really don't have much difficulty talking to groups. I used to lead large meetings, and I was always able to make people laugh and relax. I've never been so overcome by nervousness than I was that night. I tried to tell myself to relax and slow down, but I know I didn't. As I read from the book, the only thing I could think about was the sheen of sweat that was building on my face - yes, on my face. How horrifying.
Anyway, I made it through and vowed to be better if I ever did anything like it again.
I've been to a few signings but really not many, and only one of the authors spoke before they signed. She was brief - spectacular, but brief. After my signing, I told myself I would go to every signing in town just so I could learn how to be better. At the time I made this deal with myself, I had no idea Rita Mae Brown would be visiting SLC, but I was thrilled when I found out. She was here Tuesday night.
Together, Ms. Brown and her cat, Sneaky Pie Brown, write mysteries. Cats and mysteries go together like - well, it might be better to say that peanut butter and jelly go together like cats and mysteries. There's a big market for these types of books. I haven't read everything she's written, but I'm definitely a fan of Ms. Brown's. I went to her signing just to see and meet her. I didn't care if I learned anything.
And, I learned more from Rita Mae Brown than I have from any author. She was stunning - intelligent, funny, irreverent, confident, kind, and so happy to be there. She talked politics, history and animals for almost an hour. She is passionate (in a friendly, connecting way) about every word that comes out of her mouth, even if some of those words don't have anything to do with her books. I simply loved her. I'd like to be just like her when I grow up. Hopefully, I'll do a better job the next time around. If I do, most of the credit will go to Ms. Brown. Thank you.
After mentioning Casey Daniels last week, I dove into her newest, A HARD DAY'S FRIGHT. Loved it. She's "got" me, though. Somewhere along the way, she hooked me and I'm not letting go. The ending literally put me in a panic (yes, I take these things seriously) but it all worked out. Can't wait for the next one.
Also, after last week, I finally read a book I've had for a couple months. Heather Webber commented on the blog last week; this reminded me that I hadn't yet read her February release, ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY. I have no idea why it took so long for me to read it. I thoroughly enjoyed the first two books of the series. And, I loved this one too. Heather is really gifted at creating characters. She'll be debuting a new series in January. She'll be Heather Blake for that one. I have been fortunate to get to "know" Heather, but cross my heart, I wouldn't mention her books if I didn't think they were terrific.
Hope you have a great week.