Saturday, October 14, 2023

The Darkest Corner of the Old Dominion

L–R: William R. D. Wood, Joe Maddrey, James L. Hill, Valerie B. Williams, J. T. Glover, Charles Wood,
Sidney Williams, Old Dude, Mike Rook, D. Alexander Ward
An interesting weekend, this. On Friday, I headed out bright and early, bound for Williamsburg, VA, to participate in today's group booksigning at Turn the Page Bookshop, the writers all having work in Dark Corners of the Old Dominion — a brand-new anthology featuring tales of horror set in Virginia by authors from Virginia. On the drive over, I stopped to hunt a fair number of geocaches (ten or so, I think) as well as procure lunch at Indian Fields Tavern in Charles City, which Brugger and I had discovered on a previous Williamsburg trip. On my previous visit, after experiencing one of their burgers, I went into an excited Tasmanian Devil conniption. This one — the "Charles City Burger" — sent me into that same infernal state. That, my friends, was one of the best fookin burgers I've ever tasted. Whoa!

I had a reservation at Williamsburg's America's Inn, which is pretty close to the Williamsburg Premium Outlets, where the bookshop is located. Upon arriving there and attempting to check in, I ended up having problem after problem, not the least of which was the hotel guy being unable to create a key that would unlock the room door. The room itself didn't appear horrible, but the building was in lousy shape, the WiFi didn't work, and there appeared to be no way to produce a key that would allow me to get in and out of the place. In other words, it was a fucking dump, so I left, figuring I could at least try to get a refund by way of Expedia. My unsolicited advice is to NEVER ATTEMPT TO STAY AT THIS FUCKING DUMP. And now, given the wholly unacceptable explanation that just came in from Expedia — that I will get no refund because they cannot reach anyone at said fucking dump —  Expedia is on my permanent shit list as well. Be warned.

So, anyhoo, there was a Hilton hotel next door, and since it was late on a Friday afternoon and I didn't care to risk going on a wild goose chase trying to find a habitable room somewhere in the vicinity, I went ahead and checked into the obscenely expensive but assuredly superior lodgings at the Hilton.

Saturday morning, after a fair breakfast at the hotel, I made my way up to the bookshop, where I met friend and fellow author/editor Joe Maddrey, one of the Virginia antho's editors. Joe had paid Ms. B. and me a pleasant visit in Martinsville fairly recently. Soon, our other editor, Mike Rook, arrived on the scene, followed by a veritable deluge of authors loaded with their books. Ten of us, there were, and after a while, a few customers began showing up. Most happily, old friend and proprietor of Horror Drive-In Mark Sieber dropped by. It's always great to see Mark. Back in the dark ages, we used to meet in Durham at the Starlight Drive-In, almost inevitably when the weather was freezing cold. Those were some wunderbar adventures...

Sadly, the weather turned nasty and stayed that way all day, so traffic flow in the store wasn't what any of us might have hoped. Regardless, I managed to do reasonably well, and I believe everyone moved at least a few books. So, overall, to my mind, the event turned out pretty decent. Once we closed up shop, most of us migrated to the nearby AleWerks for a spot of refreshment. And, finally, Joe Maddrey and I trucked down to Fat Tuna Grill & Oyster House, where I found myself facing an utterly incredible surf & turf dinner. I believe Joe enjoyed his dinner as well.

I love hanging out with authors I like and respect, and that counts in spades for this bunch of folks. A couple of them, like Joe Maddrey and Sidney Williams, I already knew, and it was a pleasure to make the others' acquaintance. At the end of the day, it's not just the book sales but the company at such events that make them so worthwhile.
Mike Rook devaluing a passel of copies of Dark Corners of the Old Dominion with his autograph
Author J. L. Hill supporting his little buddy, Fred
Fellow author and tablemate, Sidney Williams, looking entirely too pleasant, while at the left-most edge of the photograph, author Charles Wood furtively slaps his moniker on some books. Yeah, he thought he was gonna get away with it...
Madness at the Alewerks!

No comments: