Monday, October 20, 2008

Book Em, Damned-Ro

This past weekend, Mrs Death and I drove up to Waynesboro, VA, for Book Em, an event sponsored by the Waynesboro Police Department to promote literacy. It was a day-long affair, held at Kate Collins Middle School, where 60-plus authors—some local, some from as far away as the UK—gathered to sell and sign books. The early morning crowd was anything but—easily the smallest I've seen in the three years I've been an attending author—though I can't say as I was suprised, given the state of the economy. Hell, I can't afford to plunk down money to buy books. In fact, I probably would have been surprised to see a turnout as big as in past years. However, over the course of the day, patrons arrived in ebbing and flowing waves, occasionally pretty much filling the gymnasium where it it was held. I managed to move a few books—about the same number as I did last year—so, even after Book Em takes its 40%, I more than paid for my trip up there.

Book Em made for only a small part of the trip, though. Of special note was getting to hang out again with good ol' Andrea Locke's face, Elizabeth Jones (pictured), who writes kiddie fiction—and quite well; she's an Edgar-award winner. Anybody remember Andrea Locke? She was the magazine reviewer for Deathrealm magazine. I think everyone knows at this point that Ms. Locke was actually no less than five individuals, and Ms. Jones was the only female in the bunch (and the only one who didn't actually write reviews). Back in the good old days when she and her family lived here in town, we used to do a lot of camping together. I think this was the first time we've seen each other in a decade. Gad.

Other highlights include hanging out with the Beth Massie/Cortney Skinner dynamic duo; Beth's sister, Barb Lawson; Matt and Deena Warner; and Joan Vander Putten and her husband Tom. Joan was—way back in the darkest 1980s—a regular attendee of Ms. Massie's infamous Pseudocon and a bona fide Deathrealm author. We attended a rather bizarre production, called the River City Radio Hour, in downtown Waynesboro,which featured an SF/comedy skit penned by Mr. Warner himself and a howlingly funny diatribe by the right-irreverent Ms. Lawson. All good fun, and the local talent is in no way lacking.

No trip would be complete without geocaching, and Mrs Death and I did some considerable hunting—on the way up, while there, and on the way back. Much to our delight, we discovered that the Warners have become involved in this most sublime activity, so we spent yesterday morning caching around Staunton, VA, which is one of the most beautiful little towns I've ever encountered. I think our total number of finds for the weekend came to 38, give or take a couple. And I must say, it's always heartwarming to be a couple of hundred miles away from home, find a cache, and discover in the logbook the signature of one "Night-hawk, Oak Ridge, NC." Night-hawk is a local State Farm agent.

It's true; he's not unlike a bleedin' good neighbor.

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