Friday, August 21, 2009

Abilene Book Signing Goes to the Dogs

Left: Mardi and me, Wayna Polk, Tommy Wideman; Below: Janlyn Thaxton, me, Margaret Hoogstra When I moved from Abilene seven years ago, I never dreamed I'd be coming back for a book signing--my own.

But when Glenn and Carol Dromgoole, owners of Texas Star Trading Company, graciously invited me to sign at their store during Abilene's Dog Days of Summer ArtWalk, I jumped at the chance. (Below: Me with Glenn)
The best part was seeing several of my former Abilene High and Jim Ned High colleagues, former students, parents of former students, and old friends. I regret we didn't have more time to visit. And I'm also sorry I didn't get pictures of everyone, but my manservant was equally busy greeting old friends and taking care of Mardi, our little diabetic poodle.

Now that I've weathered three book signings, I should feel like a veteran. But I've discovered that signing books is more difficult than writing them--you actually have to think about what to say. On the spot!

Some people can't walk and chew gum. I discovered long ago I can't talk and think at the same time. No telling what I've written in people's books, but a few stand out in my mind.

One woman wanted me to sign only my name so she could read the book first, then give it to a friend as a gift.

At the Abilene signing, Alex, a small, brown dog, brought his human companion along. Alex checked me out by sniffing my hand, and I assume he approved because he bought a copy of Dog Nanny and wanted it personalized to him. I hope he enjoys reading about the antics of two standard poodles with Texas big hair. Not so sure what he'll think about the romance part.

So far my favorite signing was dictated to me by another former Abilenian who was purchasing a book for her elderly mother. The signature line went something like this: "Ann Whitaker, wife of Bill Whitaker, former front-page columnist of the Abilene Reporter-News." Guess that shows me how I rank.

Hope some of you will come back on September 26 when we return for the West Texas Book and Music Festival at the Abilene Civic Center.
And here's a link to the AR-N Web site if you like to look at pictures of dogs.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Great Dane! And I don't mean Hamlet

Though the headline is a tad confounding, if you keep reading, all will become clear. Yes, this is an old trick to entice you to keep reading. I'm a former English teacher. Enough said.

It was like old home week today at Waco's Animal Birth Control Clinic monthly shot clinic, where I signed copies of my romantic comedy Dog Nanny, released in June.

First of all, a former student I hadn't seen or heard from in 31 years showed up. Then my friend Patty, former colleague from Abilene High, appeared with her friend Sunny from nearby China Spring. (Photo above: Sunny, Patty, me)

In between, several local dog lovers dropped by:

Cyndi McDonald, my favorite dental hygienist (is that an oxymoron?), whose name I finally learned to spell--though I had to look up "hygienist" just now and probably will again

Shirley Whitaker, my mother-in-law, who wanted me to know she "supports me" (gotta love a MIL like that)

Bruce Kabat, my former editor at Waco Today magazine

Betty Hall from the local Romance Writers of America group (thanks, Betty)

Sandy Sanchez (an author herself), wife of Waco Tribune-Herald editor Carlos--of the same last name--and mother to Alec, Armand, Avi, and a couple of rescue dogs.

And my husband Bill, who, among other things

--took pictures
--ran over to Target and bought chocolate Hugs and Kisses (which promptly melted in the 100-degree-plus temps)
--didn't flinch when I referred to him as my "manservant"

Meanwhile, several wonderful volunteers for the ABC efficiently herded a hundred or more dogs and their humans through the parking lot, under the awnings, and into rooms of the much-too-small clinic. It's a precision performance you have to see to believe.

In case you haven't been keeping up, the ABC really needs money so they can give the go-ahead to start work on their new building. And they really need a building of their own so they can move from their present cramped quarters.

So BEST OF ALL (see why below**), I sold 25 copies of Dog Nanny, which is a phenomenal amount considering I'm not Janet Evanovich (though as I mentioned in my previous blog, I wouldn't mind being her, but only after I've first lived as Cher through one Las Vegas concert).

**Proceeds from sales of Dog Nanny are going to the ABC for its MUCH-NEEDED BUILDING FUND.

A final note of trivia from my four hours as a Janet Evanovich wannabe:

A woman I mentioned earlier (whose name I promise never to reveal) made this comment. "I can't believe they can spay and neuter all those dogs so quickly!"

When I explained that today's clinic was only for injections, tags, and microchipping, she clasped hands to her bosom and drew a deep sigh of relief.

So did the (intact male) Great Dane who'd been eavesdropping.