Thursday, December 31, 2009

Author Meets and Eats

Hanging my head in shame and staying home because I'm not a famous, rich, successful whatever is boring. It is so much more fun to get out and mingle with people. I'm not sure when I discovered this, though, but it didn't come without a lot of resistance on my part.

I used to hide at home, certain the world would think less of me because everybody knew that I dropped out of college when I became disabled. They also had access to my current bank balance and knew, I mean really KNEW, how close to zero I rode things. As far as I was concerned, everyone was intimately aware that I was a loser, right? Well, that's what I used to think, because that's what I believed about myself.

How stupid.

For the past few years I've been attending writers conferences, pushing myself to abandon these foolish fancies and face an inconvenient truth: People actually like me.

I know. Weird, huh?

So when I learned that my friends, Brodi Ashton and Bree Despain, were hitting every author event in the valley and getting invited to dinner, I thought, "Hey! I like dinner…" and decided to do the same. I haven't been invited to dinner yet, but I'm sure the invite will come any day now. I have to first convince all those authors that I don't eat with my feet.

It might also help if I finish a manuscript or two. Speaking of which, despite raging ADHD, I have started and finished a children's picture book manuscript this month. I call it "Take a Hike!" and I am very pleased with it. It's the first new picture book I've done in a long while. The others have been reworked to death. Today I will send it off to an agent I have a two year old, dusty rapport with and hope for the best. It starts off like this:

Oogey Boogey.*

I just know it's going to be a hit.

In the meantime, here are photos from two events I've been to. I take great pride in the fact that none of the people depicted are laughing at me.

James Dashner's THE MAZE RUNNER launch party:

(cc) Douglas Cootey

James Dashner regales the ladies with tales of Southern bosoms while Sara Zarr waves at fairies.

(cc) Douglas Cootey

This was taken soon after Emily tried to convince me that I needed several copies of her book to study and learn from. Carol agreed, and was shocked that I only owned one copy of CHOSEN ONE. I bought half a dozen to cement our friendship. Regrettably, that left Emily out in the cold.

Brandon Sanderson's Wheel of Time book signing:

(cc) Douglas Cootey

Eager fans, including Santa's elf, listen to Brandon Sanderson discuss the writing process for The Gathering Storm.

(cc) Douglas Cootey

Q & A at the Barnes & Noble in Sandy, Utah. I didn't have much time to talk to Brandon, but we quickly caught up. The highlight of the evening was that he not only remembered my face from a year and a half ago when I took his class, but that he didn't have security escort me off he premises. Bonus!

This Saturday is Bree's book launch at The King's English Bookshop, so I'll be there and hopefully won't be put to shame by my more social daughters. It is my hope that I can eventually feel comfortable at these events, maybe even smile a little, and learn to love my life a little bit more. And if these authors don't ever return the favor by coming to my future book events, at least I hope they'll invite me to dinner. I won't be a pig. With my foot in my mouth all the time, I don't eat much.

* Not actual text. This joke backfired on me as several of my writing group friends were convinced this was a brilliant beginning to my new book. This surprised me seconds after I was shocked to learn they actually read my blog. I have hereby promised to write a book using these words, but may never share with them the actual text of my current manuscript since it can only be a let down. After all, how can reality compete with the splendor of "Oogey"?

And now that my imagination is engaged, I envision a tale about a sick monster sent out to scare children but not feeling quite up to the task.