To this day, I’m a huge fan of the classic TV sitcom Seinfeld. One of my favorite episodes is when Jerry discovers that although he reserved a rental car, when he arrives to pick it up, it’s not there. “It’s not enough to take a reservation,” Jerry says. “You have to keep the reservation.”
I felt like I was going through my own version of that yesterday at the Kentucky Book Festival. My newly released Deadly Setup, a Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards silver medalist, had been selected as my “featured title.” Since I publish with a small press, I’d checked and double-checked that they’d have the book on hand and had been reassured that they would. So, I wasn’t prepared for the “Gee, sorry, we don’t have it.” I wanted to scream: “It’s not enough to accept my book for the festival; you actually have to provide the book!”
Nor did they have another of my novels, It Should Have Been You, that they’d promised to have available. Fortunately, I did have copies of Leisha’s Song and While I Danced with me, so the day wasn’t a total bust. And the bookstore’s events coordinator came by, apologized profusely, and offered a signing at the store, which I appreciated.
Still, I have to admit I was so frustrated!
On the other hand, yesterday had its wonderful moments. I do enjoy talking to readers, and my table partner, Bryan Prosek, was an absolutely delightful science fiction author. I also got to see one of my all-time favorite people, the brilliant poet Frank X Walker, who hired me as the counselor at Governor’s School for the Arts during the years when he directed the program.
Likewise, the day before at the Louisville Book Festival, I got to share a table with my dear friend Ellen Birkett Morris, the award-winning author of Lost Girls. And I reconnected with a poet, Kim Johnson (now Shaver) whom I taught with years ago at the Young Writers Institute.
There is something very special about spending time in community with wonderful authors and readers.
Even if there are those Seinfeld moments!