Remember that snarky thing I wrote a while back about how dull book signings can be? Forget everything I said. I signed books today at Circle Books on St. Armands Circle in Sarasota, and it was delightful from start to finish. Never mind that there was an art festival going on that caused a massive traffic jam, never mind that Guiliani was speaking somewhere and causing more traffic jams, and never mind that St. Armands doesn’t have parking places for that many people. Somehow readers who love Dixie Hemingway managed to squeeze their way through the crowds and find me anyway.
The first nice surprise was that Suzanne Beecher of DearReader.com and her husband Bob were waiting for me with a bag of Suzanne’s famous chocolate chip cookies. Suzanne wasn’t feeling well, but she’d driven over to St. Armands anyway because she wanted to contribute cookies to the event, and Bob was there in case I needed help parking. I was whelmed over by their thoughtfulness.
Stephenie and Julian Sasse had driven from Tampa, and brought a framed certificate of the “Board of Directors of the Blaize Clement Fan Club of Temple Terrace,” with photographs of each member of the board — otherwise known as the “Furry Crew.” The President of the fan club is Farley, a rescued greyhound. The other board members are MacCavity, a yellow shorthaired cat, Mao, a tortoiseshell, Miss Kitty, a black and white tuxedo, and Charley, a young big-eared dog pictured wearing his superdog cape. Or maybe it’s just a warm sweater. At any rate, they’re all beautiful and sweet, and I was touched at the time and effort that Stephenie and Julian had put into getting that certificate ready.
And then there were all the people who’d read the first two books and couldn’t wait to read the third. Two women had despaired of finding a parking place and left their car parked way over on Lido Key and walked. That’s a trek, and I was humbled.
Maybe it’s because Even Cat Sitters Get the Blues is the third book in the Dixie Hemingway Mystery Series, but everybody who came to get a book actually wanted to be there! And they bought paperbacks of the first two books to send to friends and family. Some of them bought several copies of the first two books as gifts. The Circle Books people kept bringing out stacks, and I kept signing, and people kept coming. The best part wasn’t that books were selling, it was the enthusiasm of the people who had read them. They “got” Dixie, they got the meaning of the pets, and they wanted more.
That’s the kind of thing that makes all the solitary hours in front of a computer worth it. It’s the kind of thing that makes you remember why you write — because you crave a mind-to-mind connection with other people. And when it happens, it is the most fantastic feeling in the world.
Thank you, Circle Books, for setting up that signing and making it so comfortable for me. Thank you, Suzanne and Bob Beecher, for your support and for the cookies. Thank you, Stephenie and Julian, for coming so far to bring me your Furry Friends’ photos. And thank every one of you who came out to get a book signed. You made this day truly memorable.