Wednesday, January 7, 2009

When Hand Cramps are Fun

Some of the most fun we’ve had has been at the book signings. We’ve set up our table of books, muffin samples, and always several studs at over a dozen Barnes & Noble Booksellers from Corona to the Grove in Los Angeles, along with several wine tastings, fashion shows, and vendor fairs. All were exciting, as we were treated as celebrities of sorts—people asking for our autographs, people bringing us drinks, people acting impressed by our book. At each, I just kept thinking, “But I’m just a lowly ex-Catholic school teacher. Are you sure you’re talking to me?”

If I had to choose my favorite signing so far, it would have to be the Barnes & Noble in Rancho Cucamonga. Not only is this my hometown, but it was scheduled for the evening of the KCAL newscast (yes, that was a very busy and exciting day!) so word was out that we would be there. When I arrived, I was escorted to the signing area that had been set up toward the middle of the store. As I turned the corner, I saw something that took my breath away: A line of people. And not just a line, but a roped off line, like you would see at Disneyland. There was actually a need for rope! Whoo-hooo!

Quite a few of the models were able to attend this event as well, so store manager eventually had to set up three tables to accommodate all of us. For two hours straight we had people waiting, book in hand, evidently thrilled to have us scribble our names on the pages. Once again, I paused a half-second to take it all in, and it became overwhelming. I choked back the tears, partly because I didn’t want to look like a total dork in the middle of a Barnes and Noble, and partly because I was still wearing the false eyelashes from the TV interview, and I was afraid they’d start to melt off, mid-signature. But it was memorable moment that is forever burned into my mental scrapbook.

Another fun memory of that night came about halfway through the event. Lee, our Secret Center Muffin man, who had been featured on the newscast, had stepped a few feet from the table to take a short break. From the front of the store came a loud and very excited female voice yelling, “There he is!” The owner of the voice came charging across the store and stopped directly in front of him. Suddenly, she dropped to one knee and blurted, “Will you marry me?!” Lee, in his calm and unassuming way, helped her up to her feet, thanked her, and quickly pointed out his wife, Mairi who was nearby and laughing. I’m just thankful that both Lee and Mairi have been such good sports about all of this. Stud Muffins’ goal is to make people happy, not break up marriages.

I don’t think I’ve ever signed my name so many times in such a short period of time. There was a point were we had three events in a span of a week and a half, and while very thrilling, it finally took its toll. Shortly after the last one, I had to sign a credit card slip at a store. Without thinking, I did it with my fancy signature flourish I had practiced for the book, handed the slip back to the store clerk and said, “Thank you, and I hope you enjoy it.” When she gave me a strange look, I realized what I had just said. Embarrassed, I didn’t take the time to explain my response. I just took my bag and left quickly.

Hmm, I wonder if Rachael Ray has ever done that when she was buying her jumbo pack of toilet paper at Walmart?


Rene said...

I remember when you did the one at Border's down at Victoria Gardens because it was featured in the Bulletin. I knew about the book through Publisher's Marketplace but had no idea you were local to me.

I bet those are fun signings.

Judi Guizado said...

Hi Rene,

Yes, they are truly a blast. I'll let you know when we have another one close by, and maybe you can come down. I'd love to meet you, plus you can get a chance to meet some of "my boys" from the book!

(P.S. Enjoying your blog. I don't feel so alone in this crazy writer/mother profession of ours!)