Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Local author makes a tit of himself.

I was sitting on the bus (W3 to Finsbury Park) reading my current paperback. The bus pulled in to the station. I reluctantly closed the book, The Middle Sister by Bonnie Glover, and looked up to see a friend already standing, making her way off the bus.

She pointed at me and shouted (and, yes, I mean shouted): ‘I know that man. He’s a local author!’

This was very funny. I was embarrassed, but not enough to blush. I’m a forty-five year-old man. I don’t blush as easily as I used to.

‘Hi, Jane, how are you?’ I returned.

I sort of lifted the cover of my current paperback, so that people would see it and want to check it out, thinking, ‘Hmm, I saw a local author reading that. It must be good.’ Don’t know if anyone noticed, or cared.

Fast forward to the end of the day. The tube part of my journey this time. I get into the carriage, which is not so full, even a few seats. But I decide to stand. There will be others who need a seat more than me.

But I do lean. I take out my current paperback, can’t wait to get back into it, and lean against the side of the carriage. I lean my shoulder into the side of the carriage. And somehow, by my leaning, I set off the passenger alarm.

I try to push the alarm handle back in, to stop the noise, to stop the people staring at me with hatred and contempt. I hope to God the Disgruntled Commuter isn’t watching.

But the alarm handle won’t go back in. And the noise won’t stop. There’s an announcement from the driver. Something about the train will be delayed due to a customer activating the passenger alarm. At least I think the word is customer.

And I find that, even as a forty-five year-old man, I am still capable of blushing. I want to hide my face. But I think it’s better to hide the cover of the book I’m reading. I don’t want it to suffer from being associated with me. ‘Hmm, I saw some twat who set off the passenger alarm reading that. Can’t be any good.’ Sorry, Bonnie.

The driver came and reset the alarm. He was very nice about it, unlike the other passengers who continued to stare at me malevolently for the rest of the journey. Or so I imagined. I didn’t actually look at any of them, of course.

Hey, but there must be something wrong with the design of that passenger alarm, though, that you can set it off just by leaning? That’s my excuse.

I've just realised I've written a whole plog entry without mentioning my book. I must be losing my touch.

8 comments:

Richard said...

Roger,

You're killing me, Mr. Local Author. Very funny vignette!

Personally, I want to be known as the local town drunk, but I really can't stand the taste of most alcoholic beverages, which undercuts the authority of the title, I'm told.

Still, I would slouch proudly and display my brown paper bagged bottle if someone in Santa Fe were to point ME out and declare: There goeth the town drunk!

It would sure beat being the village idiot, my current local title.

Thanks for visiting my new blog at Satori Kick .com

Linda Donovan said...

Trust you to bring humor to the page. Great way to start my day, for sure!

How goes the sales on the book? With the Christmas season coming up, maybe there are those who'll buy books for presents! I know our local bookstore knows my name. They can smell how much money I have in my wallet, because I'm no sooner in the door than they have all these recommendations. I'm going to have to ask them about stocking some Zoers books. Yours, Richard's, Tom Saunders, Ed Touchette's, Bob Arter's ... the list goes on.

I'm off to Alan Bairds ZoBooks to see if I can print the list.

Will you sign copies sent to you, by the way? And return them, of course!

roger said...

Richard, so you don't like the taste of most booze. That means you do like some. What are we talking about here? Cherry brandy? We need to know.

Linda, unfortunately my book will not be out in time for Christmas. It's published April 2006. So there are no sales, as such, yet. I am trying to encourage pre-orders though. On top of that, I don't know when and if it will be available in the US. That all depends on rights sales, I think. Hmm. No idea how that's going. No news is no news.

I'd love to sign a copy for you, of course, though there must be an easier way than you sending a copy from the states, for me to send back. Let me think about that.

Richard said...

Roger, I've always enjoyed a good white or black russian. Margaritas go down well, too. And my girlfriend lets me sip some of her Newcastle occasionally, which I'm beginning to covet.

The Cowgirl bar in Santa Fe mixes a frozen margarita that kicks my ass. Two, and I'm out.

Yes, I'm a lightweight. But my liver is still a contender.

Linda Donovan said...

I've done the across-the-pond author-signed books two ways. First, the author uses part of his personal stash, for which I pay the cost of the book and postage; second, I purchase the book on Amazon, but have them ship to the author, who signs it, and magnanimously bears the cost of the return postage (for the visibility of sales on Amazon, you see). :D

Either way works for me, but what I'm after is what gets YOU the best mileage with your publisher.

Also, if you wish, I can see if a few of our local small bookstores would like copies before they are generally available in America. I can wink, tell them I know the author. Then send them signed, so they can't return them.

Let me know if you'd like me to find someone willing to take a chance on some signed, first-edition copies. Then tell me how many you'd be willing to send me (and I'd send you a cashier's check in pounds sterling).

roger said...

Those frozen margaritas are killers, Richards. Mainly because you don't think you're drinking something alcoholic but just enjoying a slushy (or whatever they are called.) I envy you your liver. Mine has grumbled occasionally after the odd heavy night.

Linda, what can I say? That's an amazing offer. Do you think they would be interested?

I might contact you privately to discuss the details on this, if that's all right. (There may be a way of doing something through the publisher?)

Roger.

roger said...

Richard - looks like I've already had a couple of frozen margaritas when I typed your name in the last post! Sorry!

Richard said...

Roger, no worries! Spelling my name should be the least of your worries.

You have a book to plug! Er, plog!