Scourge of the Mall Wedding, A Booksigning, and Kim Visits Some Shoe Stores

Today was really fun!  The same friend that likes my maternity pants, Dawn, invited me to a book signing for a debut author she happens to know from college.  I’m a sucker for a book signing.

In fact, Brad Meltzer may or may not be the father of my oldest child.  I went to the 2001 signing in Boonsboro, MD with my Noraholic friends, talked a load to Brad (yes, first name basis) in March, popped out a baby in December.  I love booksignings. A lot.

We meant something to each other, once upon a time… Okay, not really, but he’s a really cool guy.

So, fast forward to present day and Jeff Salyards was signing at Barnes & Noble in Oak Brook Center (IL) this morning for his Fantasy debut “Scourge of the Betrayer”.

Jeff Salyards, like Brad Meltzer, has no hair.

It isn’t something I’d normally choose to read, but I’ve heard a lot of great things about this book.  My friend has been talking it up my TBR pile for a bit, and I do love an opportunity to buy stuff  support a new author.  I bought my copy and Dawn, Joyce and I roamed the store.  Joyce pointed out that Dolores Umbridge was working incognito, having left her pink suit and collector kitten plates back at Hogwarts.  I wasn’t quite seeing it, so I asked her a question about the signing.  It was Dolores!  Hateful witch.

BN can benefit from some friendliness sensitivity training in some locations.

So, we made our way over, not knowing what to expect.  I enjoy the two different audiences at signings:  the fans who love the work, and the writers who love the craft.  This signing was an interesting mix of both.

These are the sorts of people you’ll find at a Jeff Salyards signing.

It was neat to see the trickle of people who wandered in.  There was a guy front and center who talked and talked.  He wanted balloons, kites, caterpillars and a love story in the second installment.  He was funny, and helped keep the flow going.  Turns out, I think it was Salyards’ uncle.

Uncle Buck was also an uncle.

A BN employee came in late, on her day off, because she was enjoying the book a lot.  She said another employee recommended it.  I loved her comment that she was always the lone geeky girl playing D&D with all the boys.

The Dungeons and Dragons woman must have been the one taking the picture here.

Another guy in the front row sounded like a fellow booksigning junky.  He previously worked at a bookstore and had met a bazillion big name authors.  All of them.  He’s even met me.  He had great things to say about Scourge.  He compared the writing to a lot of names I’m unfamiliar with, seeing as I pretty much only read cereal boxes and smut the classics anymore.  I heard George Martin thrown around a lot, but I haven’t read “Game of Thrones” yet either.

Ah, yes, I did get a pic of him. There he is.

There was a couple there, with the dude writing some legal handbook for family law.  Maybe something else, not sure.  It sounded like blah blah yadda kjhewrj snooze.  I didn’t immediately see how it applied to me and let my mind wander.

There were a few other people, then the three of us.

Dawn knows her books. She says the character development in this one is stellar. Run, don’t walk, to the nearest bookstore…or whatever. Walk if you want. Seriously — I’m not going to know.

Beginning authors don’t have big publicity machines filling seats, so he probably set the signing up and did all the legwork himself…plus a full-time day job and a wife and three kids.

Something like this, but not a groundhog. If this groundhog writes a book though, I’ll attend his signing too. What’s not to love about a groundhog one man band? (One hog band? You know what I mean.)

Jeff talked from 11 to 11:45am, and I was disappointed when he said he was going to wrap up the talk and start signing.  He was really funny, which is a hook for me.  He spoke about his process, and how it was an on and off, ten-year race to the finish.  He spoke about how he had to edit out @ 250 pages, and how working with agents and editors altered the end product.  I find all that fascinating.  Actually, I had a lot of questions but didn’t ask.  I hate that.  I should have spoken up.

But this is how it feels. So I don’t usually.

Though this is his first book, he spoke about the contract being for three books, but he’s picturing a four book story arc.  WTF will we do for book four?!

My biggest take-away was to study screenplay writing for help honing dialogue skills.  As a wannabe, my dialogue skills pretty much suck.  I’ve said before that my characters really just enjoy a good companionable silence.  They just sit together, quietly.  Not talking.  Sort of like a silent film, but in book form.  I rock it, hard.

Sitting in Silence. I wrote this book! These are my characters! Why won’t they talk to each other???

Anyway, my friend really loved the book.  If there’s one thing I know about her, it’s that she knows her books.  Her recommendation goes a long way with me, so I was happy to pay for the hardcover *and* Kindle version.  I think you should too.

Scourge of the Betrayer. Google the title for reviews. I’m not even quite sure yet what it’s about, but it sounds great!

So, I haven’t read “Scourge of the Betrayer” yet, but the reviews are excellent.  I’ll keep you updated, random blog reader, what I think of the actual story, but the cover is beautiful.

Jeff Salyards was a fun Saturday morning date with friends, and I hope he has more local signings so we can go back and listen some more.  I hope I’m not pregnant again.  My mom never did have the talk with me, so it’s all kind of a mystery.

Salyards in action. Booksigning? Nailed it. Can’t wait to see how his story unfolds.

Anyway, in addition to the fun talk, on the way out of the store and into the open air main part of the mall, there was a wedding.  A wedding!

The bride wore some trashy blue shoes, people were stopping to watch, strollers strolled by, some weirdos were taking pictures.  It was…odd?  I don’t understand why a woman would decide to tie the knot at the mall, unless she was in a contest for least romantic place to shackle yourself in matrimony while wearing ugly blue hooker shoes.

Mall wedding. Nailed it.

I thought about that a bit while strolling the too-expensive-for-me shops.  I went into two different stores that were just shoes, which was life altering.  This past year I wore my Keens every day except maybe three snow days, from last summer to present day.  I realized today that I can wear other shoes, not just my lesbian hiker shoes.

I bought two shirts and two tank tops!  They aren’t from Target!  My sister didn’t pick them out!

I’m making all kinds of progress as a human being.  I was out with friends.  I bought clothes.  I was inspired to write more.  I was locked out of my house.

Oh yeah.  Thanks to Kelly for helping me get back into my house without having to throw a brick through the window.  If your husband hadn’t shown up, I was going to wet my pants.

Just like that.


  1. Jeff said,

    May 27, 2012 at 2:44 pm

    From that small, remaining shred of unbiased part of me, wow, I am thoroughly impressed, again. I have never seen so many facts and opinions so cleverly intertwined in one setting. I am so inspired, I am now off to take our children to the urine- and fecal-matter-saturated shores of Lake Michigan (nod to previous post), although, I have a feeling I’ll be going down the road plagued with nagging inadequacies from being in the shadow of clever, bald authors. Shall I get an extreme haircut, and dust off the typewriter?

    • May 29, 2012 at 10:11 am

      Thank you! MWAH! You have no basis for being plagued by inadequacies. You are in the shadow of no one. Well, no nonfiction people anyway. 🙂

      We don’t have a typewriter to dust off, but I might recommend buying me an iPad, which I could then loan to you for your writing endeavors. ??

  2. May 27, 2012 at 10:02 pm

    […] is a write up from someone who attended that cracks me up, and captures what it was like from that perspective. […]

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