Last Thursday, Speed-dating, the Safe Way!

A few months back I received an email from a fellow author who lives in the Seattle area, Mary Buckham (author of “Break Into Fiction“). She informed me about an event which was intended to promote authors and their works to librarians in the King County Library System (KCLS). Mary invited me to this event and described it as a Librarian/Author Speed-dating Event. Right away I was hooked. The event, sponsored by the Greater Seattle Romance Writers of America of which I am a member, would be held in Issaquah at the KCLS Service Center.

As days closed in around this speed-dating event, my excitement grew and grew.  I decided to stay over that night and spend the evening after the event in a pet-friendly room… yes, I dragged Robert (our Westie) along for the ride… and not try to push my gas tank all the way from the ferry landing in Anacortes to Issaquah (a bit SE of Seattle), make an appearance at the event, which ended at 9 p.m., then high-tail it back from the metropolis to Anacortes all in one day. I felt tired when I left the island and exhausted by the end of the event.

Anyway, when I showed up at the hotel I had already driven around Issaquah for about an hour searching for this ever-elusive spot, a one Homestead Studio Suites. By the time I finally found it and checked-in, I had a total of 15 minutes to get to the KCLS service center which was approximately 15 minutes away. I still needed to wash my face, change my clothes, put on some make-up and pee (sorry but these are the facts), AND feed Robert! I hadn’t had a chance to eat yet and hadn’t had a bite since before we left from the ferry, about six hours prior so I had this niggling little grumble talking to me by then. All I could manage was to feed Robert and change my clothes. I dropped the idea of make-up and just slapped on some lipstick. And, when I went to change my clothing, the blouse that I originally thought was actually a blouse, was really only a vest! And, when I put it on it fell uncomfortably (for me, anyway) lower than normal and kinda made me look, and this is the only way I can explain it, “booby.”

Luckily, I had a jacket to throw over it but, really, I looked like the slut author from Friday Harbor… those Islanders, ya know! I mean.

Well, I finally get there, 10 minutes late, with all my gear (books, mugs, t-shirts, tote bags, raffle tickets, promotional flyers and my most selling face on) balancing in my arms looking like a mountainous pile teetering on the brink of crumbling all around me. I reach the door where several people are mingling about, most of whom I’ve never met before. But, luckily I see a cohort, Deborah Schneider. Deborah Schneider, if you don’t know, received the RWA Librarian of the Year Award in 2009. It’s quite an honor. I met Deborah at a workshop I was offering through the KCLS for NaNoWriMo in November 2009. She pointed me in the direction of my table. I set my goodies down and the event begins.

It went something like this: “Hello!”…. blur, blur, blur, blur, blur, blur… DONE!

Each set of interested librarians came to each author’s table–there were approximately 40 or so of us and about 10 to 12 tables–where each author pitched their work to the librarians. Then, there was a table shift every 15 minutes for librarians to move on to the next author.

By 9 p.m., I felt exhilarated, yes, but also like my brain had been dipped in bleach. I couldn’t remember what I’d said to whom or even who had come to my table! I mean, I remembered faces (of course) but every name fell into a flotsam of my now squishy brain.

Deborah wanted to take some photos, so, all of the authors lined up in a this oversized hall, snap, snap. And then all of the librarians lined up, snap again. Luckily, again, I stood in the back behind someone else secretly (or maybe not-so-secretly) hiding my ever-present bosom.

We had about 10 minutes or so to mingle. That’s when someone came up behind me and said, “Hello Susan, I’ve been wanting to talk with you.” I turned and it’s this blonde gal who looks familiar but I’m trying to place from where she looks familiar, like I’ve seen her photo before but the name just isn’t making it all the way to my frontal lobe.

I turn and we both hold out our hands to shake. “Hello!” I said.

“I’m Barbara Vey.” Author of the very popular blog offered through Publisher’s Weekly Beyond Her Book.

“Oh my god. I’VE been wanted to meet you too!” I said, gushing out my excitement and worrying she might think me some giddy groupie. But, Barbara was genuinely wonderful and fun to talk with. And, when a young author came up between us, she said to me (no lie)…

“Someone wants to talk with you.”

No. Barbara. Not me… someone wants to talk with YOU!

Anyway, the night felt magical in that way, like, when you wake up from the best dream ever, and you keep trying to remember all of the great stuff that happened and you grab at it but it seems just past your fingertips? That’s how this night felt.

Oh. And, thankfully, no one pointed at my stupid vest under my jacket and screamed, “Inappropriate Dress! Inappropriate Dress!”

So, thank you, everyone for being so kind at this wonderful event that will remain in my mind and heart for many years to come.

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