Tuesday, October 23, 2007

My Weekend: Comedy/Tragedy

By Tamra Norton

Why is it in life that when something fun and good happens, it seems that something sucky and rotten is lurking around the corner? Okay, I'm not always a pessimist. Actually, I tend to be a half-full kind-of gal. But this weekend, with the fun and good, definitely came the sucky and rotten!

First I'll write about Friday night--for the most part, fun and good!

Friday night after a nice early dinner out with my hubby, I dropped him off at home to watch a shoot-'em-up video with our teenage son, while I ventured into the heart of Houston with the three little guys and their friend to attend a much anticipated event--the book signing of Obert Skye, author of the Leven Thumps series, published by Shadow Mountain. I was especially excited to attend this book signing because a few of my author friends, James Dashner and Jeff Savage each have a fantasy series of books coming out with this same publisher, and I wanted to see what my friends have to look forward to in their near future (and, of course, I have to dream that I'll be there too some day!) Also, before "Mr. Skye"--a pen name--became famous for his Leven Thumps series, he was an author for the LDS market...just like me! We're practically cousins, right?

So after 45 minutes of driving through Houston traffic, we arrive (thank goodness for car DVD players). The signing had been in full swing for an hour already. The Garleia B&N was buzzin'! A line of crazed kids and dazed parents wound around the interior of the lower level of the store. We bought our books and found our spot in line...and waited. And waited. At some point during all this waiting, my 9-year-old son's name was called over the store's PA system. He'd won a Leven Thumps 2008 Tour t-shirt (as seen in picture--the little guy on the left). On the back of the black t-shirt was listed several dozen cities--your basic rock concert t-shirt. How cool is that?

Finally, after an hour trying to keep four kids from tearing up the B&N, we made it to the front of the line and our two minutes with Obert Skye. Not wanting to appear the schmuck, I first introduced my kids--the real reason we were here, right? Mr. Skye was gracious and shook each of their hands, asked their names, chatted a bit and commenced the signing process. In the middle of his scribbling, it was a quiet moment, so I figured now was my chance. The author bonding would begin.

"I write for the LDS market," I squeaked.

"How do you spell your last name?" He was still writing.

"N-O-R-T-O-N" I replied (He was signing, "To the Norton Kids.")

When he finished signing, Mr. Skye looked up at me, extended his hand, and said, "It was so nice meeting you." And turned his attention to the next anxious kid in line.

What?! No, exuberant exclamation upon encountering another fellow author? But our roots were planted in the same LDS market soil. We both even wrote humorous stories. Surely he felt the connection!

But no. No trace of exuberance. No hint of connection. I'm honestly not sure he even heard a word I said about writing for the LDS market. I was the bazillionth parent he'd encountered that night. I might as well have said, "I like to eat fried Spam," and his reaction would have been the same. It had been a long night for Mr. Skye--I could tell by the slightly glazed look in his eyes--from exhaustion, no doubt. So I forgive him and will let him off the hook. This once. He was great with the kids and in the end, that's all that matters, right? (sniff)

We went home, and that night started reading our new book.... And I'll admit--that night when I went to bed I had dreams of B&N lines, crazed kids, dazed parents, concert t-shirts, and perhaps my own slightly glazed eyes at the end of yet another long night signing books. (sigh)

This was my Friday night, and this post is already too long. I'll write about my Saturday sucky-and-rotten night next week. You won't want to miss it--even though I wish I'd been spared from it's total suckiness.


Tristi Pinkston said...

Okay, Tami, I dare you -- the next time you're at a signing, tell the author you eat fried spam. I'll be waiting for the report. :)

Jeff Savage said...


We definitely want you in the club! Having seen long signings like this only secondhand, maybe I'm just really naive. But if I ever am not just thrilled to death by people who come buy my book, I have given my wife permission to kick me in the rear as hard and long as it takes until my eyes reopen. Siging books is pretty much 7th heaven as far as I'm concerned.

(Standing around waiting to sign books. Not so much so.)

Tamra Norton said...


Like I said, Mr. Skye really was kind and gracious--especially to the kids. I'd just hoped we'd have some author-bonding moment. Didn't happen...and I'm sure it really wasn't the time or place with two more hours worth of anxious kids waiting in line behind us. Still, it was fun to see the excitement of that night, and I REALLY hope to be in his shoes some day!

Can't wait 'til your Houston tour!

And Tristi--I take your dare!

James Dashner said...

I still think it's too good to be true. If I have a signing like that, I'm pretty sure I will drop dead on the scene.

At least I'll be smiling.

Tami, you're not doing so bad yourself!

Ajoy said...

The scene you describe is eerie! It reminded me of the book signing my 10 year old son and I went to at B&N, for Obert Skye, for Leven Thumps, and my 10 year old was called over the P.A. and won a T-shirt as well! Weird huh? Almost the same night repeated. But I did say almost...I didn't have Mr. Skye go deaf on me. hehehe

That would be embarassing! grrrrr

I will say that I was impressed with Obert Skye and how he spoke to each person in line, took photos and made everyone feel important. My son asked for his T-shirt and his books to be Obert did so. Very cool.

I suppose you now know that when you are in his place one day...slip on a hearing aid to enhance voices! teehee

Josi said...

Yeah, nothing like humble pie to go with the spam. If it makes you feel better I had the exact same experience with the exact same author. AND I'd built it up with my kids that we had the same publisher. he was nice, but not interested. It was my kids that couldn't figure out what was wrong. Last time I tell them I'm somebody

Sunbum said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
elasticwaistbandlady said...

I loved this post....all suckiness aside. Especially the admission that you like to eat fried SPAM. I was like, "Oooooh, this must be LDS Author confessional hour!"