Yesterday, I reviewed a terrific book called STANDING STILL by Kelly Simmons. In my review, I mentioned that I thought it would make a great book club discussion book and that Ms. Simmons is very gracious about meeting with book clubs.
I am so glad that Ms. Simmons has stopped by today and is sharing with us some of her more "entertaining" visists with book clubs!
Five Awkward Book Group Moments
For the most part, visiting book groups to discuss my debut novel, STANDING STILL, has been immensely pleasurable, even after nearly a hundred visits. People have been warm, welcoming, intelligent and fun. I have, in turn, tried my best to be prepared, intelligent, energetic, and entertaining. But . . . .there have been a few missteps on both sides.
Awkward Moment Number One: The Early Bird. I didn’t mean to be so prompt – but there wasn’t any traffic and there was no coffeeshop nearby to kill some time, so I thought, what the hell, I’ll arrive exactly on time. So what, right? Promptness is next to cleanliness which is next to Godliness, right? Wrong. No one was there. The food wasn’t there. Even worse, the wine wasn’t there. Horrors! Oh well, there were three dogs for me to pet.
Awkward Moment Number Two: The Scofflaw. Often, people want to buy autographed books for their friends and relatives. (I don’t want to come across like an Avon Lady so I keep them in my car unless someone asks.) And since I don’t take credit cards, I often end up with a check or two. And once . . . . yeah, you got it, Insufficient Funds. Add in the bank fees and the money order fee and that poor woman ended up re-paying me nearly $70. Hope she liked the world’s most expensive book!
Awkward Moment Number Three: The Loose Lips. It’s inevitable that the discussion veers away from books, and one night at a group a few hours from my home, a woman said, “Oh, I knew a girl from college who lived in your town. She went to some snooty high school called ______. Do you live near it?” Gulp. That’s, uh, where my oldest daughter, um, goes to school, uh, actually.
Awkward Moment Number Four: The Secret Ingredient. Oh, it’s delicious, you have to try it, have some of these too, Donna makes them from scratch and they are addicting, here take one! Wow, is that, uh, green pepper hiding inside? Cuz I’m allergic but no my throat won’t close up I’ll just uh, hey, is that the powder room over there by any chance?
Awkward Moment Number Five: The Dissertation. Once, just as I was putting on my coat to leave, a woman came up to me and handed me a manila envelope. “I will probably regret giving this to you, but so be it,” she said. I assumed it was a manuscript she wanted feedback on, and was too afraid to ask. I smiled and tucked it into my book bag, always happy to help a fellow writer. The next morning I was stunned to find a ten-page paper chastising me for all the grammatical errors in the book, and citing all the applicable grammar and usage rules that applied. Ouch!
Everybody puts hors d’oeuvres in their mouth at reading groups – but sometimes we also put our foot there. Have you?
STANDING STILL is now in paperback, and Kelly’s on the road visiting book clubs when she can -- and offering an exclusive Book Group DVD when she can’t. For more information, see her website: http://www.bykellysimmons.com/, or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I am thrilled to announce that Ms. Simmons has agreed to send one lucky reader an autographed copy of her novel STANDING STILL! Please leave a comment with your e-mail address telling me why you'd like to read this book for one entry. To double or even triple your chances, you can blog about this contest with a link back to this post or tweet about it! This contest is open until Wednesday, March 18th at 11:59 p.m. EST. I will announce the winner the following day. This contest is open to those of you with U.S. mailing addresses only. Good luck!