There are a lot of writers that I really like, and there are a few that I absolutely LOVE. These are the writers who create characters that crawl into my psyche and take up residence. They tend to write series with ongoing character arcs. I suspect that's how a great character finds his way into my heart. He starts out as a bit player in someone else's story and starts to grow, having his own point of view scenes until he has to have his own story.
I am pretty sure that I have mentioned Suzanne Brockmann here before (ya think?). She does this character thing as well as anyone I can think of, although she's just kind of tied up her Troubleshooter's series for a while. I am anxious to see what is next, and to try to figure out how she does it.
My other hero-author is JR Ward, creator and WARDen of the Black Dagger Brotherhood and Fallen Angels. Lover Unleashed was, um, unleashed a couple of weeks ago. I LOVE those vampires. They are big, bad, kinky, damaged heroes. At first I was kind of horrified at the dorky names: Wrath, Vishous, Zsadist, Phury, Torhment...really? But I got over that and the names started to seem normal-ish, to the point that I'm thinking I might have to rename a couple of my kids. In true fan-geek fashion, I bought a copy of Unleashed for my Kindle so I could read it right away, but made plans to attend the signing she held in Cincinnati on April 9th.
I live in Northern Kentucky, and the Barnes and Noble where the signing was is about a 40 minute drive from my house. The signing was scheduled for 2 p.m. on Saturday, which was right between The Sam Stanley Experience's boy scout pancake breakfast fundraiser and prom. Since the Prom Date Goddess lives in Cinci, I thought, Well, lets head out around one, get the book signed and I can get TSSE to PDG's by 4, no problem.
Wrong! Have you heard the adage, Man Plans, God Laughs?
We got to Barnes and Noble at 2 on the dot. Sligtly later than 357 other rabid JR Ward fans. I know this, because I got a line ticket that was number 358. TSSE immediately got nervous.
"Mom, we are never going to make it. Can't we just skip it?"
"No. I just paid $20 for a hard copy of this book that I already have on my Kindle, I'm going to get it signed. I love this writer, I want to be her when I grow up."
So we got in line, somewhere in the religion section, and began slowly, slowly inching around the periphery of the store. I was amazed at how many people were there, how many DIFFERENT people, all humming with excitement. I have to confess, I had some preconcieved notions of what a JR Ward fan would be like. I expected mostly young goth/ comic-con type women with dyed black hair and multiple piercings, tattoos and boots. And there were some.
There was one pair of girls who had home-made BDB t-shirts with their chosen warrior's name on the back (for those of you who are not in love with a Brother, here's the deal: In the Black Dagger Brotherhood, a male has his bonded female's name tattooed on his back during a mating ceremony. Any true hard core female would totally get her male's name on her back, too.). What was really awesome was that they had a guy with them, presumably a boyfriend, who was also wearing a BDB t-shirt. I didn't get close enough to see who he had on his back, but I was quite impressed that he had been roped in to appearing in public.
Meanwhile, Sam was getting more and more nervous about getting to PDG's on time. There was a couple behind me in line, who seemed very much like average middle class suburbanites. Like me. Turns out they were very much like me. I am all about meeting people who are different than me and finding common ground, but I am not prejudiced against soccer moms, so we started to chat. They actually live about a mile from me. How crazy is that? We had driven separately, 40 minutes away, to meet in line at Barnes and Noble. I complimented Jim for being such a good husband and willingly suffering through the experience. Not that The Big Guy wouldn't have done this with me, I just didn't ask him.
Behind Jim and Dawn were the most surprising fans of the day. Two handsome young men in their thirties, getting books signed for their wives, who were at a Pampered Chef party. My comment to them, "Oh, boy. You are getting SOOO lucky tonight!" Which they both agreed was part of the plan. One of the guys had read the books and liked them. His comment: "Lots of violence and sex. What's not to love?"
A few steps further and TSSE and I had made it past Religion, into History, and there was no way in hell that we were going to make it all the way to the travel section, where the WARDen was holding court, before we had to leave. Dawn and Jim graciously took my book and I gave them my cell phone number. I figured I could run TSSE to PDG's and get back before Jim and Dawn got to the head of the line. I didn't need to bother to stick around to take prom pictures, that's what PDG's parents were for.
What happened instead was that Jim called just as I was pulling in to PDG's driveway. They already had the book signed. Would I like them to drop it off for me when they got back to KY? How cool was that?
I am very sad that I did not get to bask in the aura of one of my favorite writers, but the sad thing is totally cancelled out by everything good that happened. TSSE got to PDG's on time and I was able to stick around and watch the preparations and the arrival of the limo and meet PDG's parents and neighbors. I got Dawn from the bookstore's email address and we are going to talk books. How 'bout those warrior vampires...not only saving their own species, but uniting humans across the tri-state!