Tales from a Booksigning

I had a booksigning for Choose Your Doom:  Zombie Apocalypse yesterday at the north Colorado Springs Borders (Chapel Hills), and it went well.  I didn’t sell all the books this time, but that was because there were 100 of them.

It was pleasant.  I talked to a lot of people.

I talked to a girl whose father seems to see her as frustrating and unintelligible and rebellious – I don’t know, maybe he can’t resist teasing her even when she’s not there.  She was polite and soft-spoken, and we talked about comic books, among other things.  She’s been reading Captain Mar-vell from the Marvel universe lately and recommended it.

I talked to a former boss about her daughter, who is at Whitworth University in Spokane, and the humans vs. zombies game they play up there.  Someone’s nominated to be patient zero; if patient zero touches you, then you’re a zombie, etc.  The only way to stop it is by throwing a balled-up sock at the zombie, which is then frozen for 15 minutes.  I laughed and laughed, the way she told it.  Earlier, the same woman had bought a copy of CYD for her other daughter, who is a zombie fan, and had to come back to pick up a copy for this daughter, who had decided that zombies were now fun.  She was also sending this daughter running insoles, although for a different reason.   She bought me a Zen calendar (they were on sale; who could resist!) so we could continue to exchange the idiotic saying that come up from time to time.  Today’s is, “When you’ve got it, there’s no place for it but a poem.”–Wu Pen.  Apparently, Wu Pen originally said that at a poetry reading wearing a beret and interjected the words “cat” “man” and “got it?” in the quote, which has been cleaned up for the calendar.

I talked to a guy who works with my husband and his son, who looked to be in fourth grade or so.  He used to want to be a writer, but now wants to be a soldier.  His father said that you could do both, and I confirmed this.  I started describing Nymphos of Rocky Flats to them and realized that it was probably not appropriate for most fourth-graders to read but laughed and told them anyway.  When I’d gone to the bookstore earlier in the week, two of the sellers had been describing zombie porn up in the horror section, and I’d smiled and nodded until I realized they were talking about Mario Acevedo’s Undead Kama Sutra and other books, and then I’d had a good, loud belly laugh and said that no, they weren’t porn.  Also, the fourth grader wanted to know how to get past writer’s block.  I told him as best I knew.  He smiled and nodded (but in a way that made him look like he had ideas), and I felt like I had done good in the world.  I love talking to kids about writing.  I love it.

Someone recommended I watch Zombie Stripper, but now I can’t remember who it was, which is frustrating.

A group of friends from separate sources all came in at once.  One of them is kind of shy, and I was worried that I would drive him off, but he outlasted the loudness of the others.  Italian women = loudness all around, even when they’re making fun of a couple of butt-pale German women.  The guy who made sure I got hold of unpasturized apple cider when I wanted to make hard cider teased me for not getting mine bottled yet; I made fun of him for not even starting yet.  Neener.

I now have a stalker.  That’s okay; I know her.  As long as I don’t threaten her shoe collection or talk smack about any of her hockey players, I’m safe.

Two local guys came in; they’d just been to a motorcycle shop and a gun store, and those places were busy, too.  I had this feeling of deja vu the whole time I was talking to them, but they didn’t know me, so I must not have known them from anywhere, either.  They were like something out of a Guy Ritchie movie, Colorado Springs style, very witty and quick on the conversation.  I want to steal them for a book; too bad I didn’t meet them before I wrote CYD, because they would have been perfect for it.

Some friends brought their baby; I tried to touch him, and he started crying.  Ah, if you know me and little kids, you know that my heart broke a little at that moment.  Soon enough, though, as soon as we established that lady no touchee, he was flirting with me.  He flirted with a little girl in another stroller, who flirted back.  Best baby pick up line ever:  Da da goo ah!

I talked to a friend and met his teenaged daughter.  They were picking on each other, in a good way, barbs that were more like two brothers punching each other in the shoulder to see what they can get away with than anything else.  He described me as “the weird one,” and she said, “Not compared to my friends,” or similar.  I had to laugh.  Later I told her that I’d tried very hard to be normal in high school and that it hadn’t worked out, and I was glad.  She also bought a Cassandra Clare book, The Clockwork Angel, which I haven’t read.  I was jealous.

There was a shy teenaged boy who wanted to grab the book off the table and run before I could sign it.  I teased him until he let me sign it, then made him hold still for another two minutes while I showed him the secret code and the picture of the duck-headed zombie man.  Then I let him go.  He almost ran to get away.

I talked to some friends that I’d forgotten to invite to the next cooking party and told them to bring their granddaughter for a sleepover.  Then I talked to their granddaughter, who is in third grade, about musicals, scary movies, and Green Day.  She tried to convince me that I needed to watch The Ring, but I still maintain that I like books better than movies.

I didn’t keep track of how many books I sold, and there were some people who brought in books that they’d bought over the net earlier but wanted signed.  Anyway, I signed the remaining 81 books (out of the 100 that they ordered), bought a blank notebook and a copy of Dan Simmons’ Drood, which I have wanted for quite some time, and went home.  I looked at my mail, which included a short story rejection.

We went out to eat at Three Margaritas, which is where the comfort food for our household lives.  I talked to Lee about going to Scotland; we haven’t changed our minds.  It won’t be this year, though, unless there’s some financial miracle.  I checked my email and saw that the short story “maybe” has turned into a “we want to buy this.”

A good day.


Good Enough


Game Night


  1. That sounds like a really good day!

  2. Now that sounds like an ideal book signing. I imagine tumbleweeds rolling by and cobwebs dripping from my poised pen.

  3. When in your hometown, invite all your homies 🙂

  4. Glad it was such a good day! Congrats on the story acceptance, too.

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