Tag Archives: Karen Spears Zacharias

Welcome Shopsitter Kelly, and Humiliation Contest Updates

embarrassedThe entries continue to roll in, and they are side-splitting, sweet-tea-spitting, pants-peeing funny. Books are a noble calling, be it writing or selling-and it can go wrong in so many interesting ways!

You have until Sunday at 11:55 pm EST to enter your host or author humiliation story. Scroll down to Monday’s blog to get the rules and prizes.

If you’re visiting the blog, enjoy checking out the independent bookshops profiled on the BOOKING DOWN THE ROAD TRIP page. 3000+ still going strong in the States alone!

Today, we welcome Kelly and her daughter Rachel, who will be shopsitting while I’m in Scotland for a week. In their honor, I’m rerunning a blog for last year’s shopsitters, giving them a taste of what they’re in for:

When shopsitters tell their friends about coming to The Little Bookstore, reactions tend to divide into “Can I come too?” and staging an intervention.

We sympathize. Preparing the shop guide, we find ourselves typing bald statements like “When Valkyttie gets angry she pees down the bathroom heat vent.”

Will they even read the rest, the tried-and-tested wisdom of our cleaning guru, herself the owner of an angry kitty, plotting kitty, grrr, grrr, grrr? “Put a paper towel on the duster stick by the vent, swish-n-soak, then spray shaft with Heather’s magic elixir. Make sure it’s off first or you wear the elixir.” Or will they run in terror from a bookshop whose CEO is a pissing-mad eighteen-year-old Scottish cat clever enough to maximize effects?

Given corporate culture today, perhaps peeing down a shaft is not that bad, and having no boss is part of our bookshop’s fun. The place is yours: do as you will! The shop guide is assistance, not direction.

Jack and I wonder how Kelly and Rachel will react to the section “COLORFUL LOCAL CHARACTERS,” explaining the crazy psychiatrist, the schizophrenic man who believes he has PhDs in–among other subjects-canoeing and radiology. How ’bout Mr. S, a customer whose spider tattoo wraps around his bald head. Fixated on Fred Saberhagen, Mr. S keeps saying “BEE-serk-ER,” like a French surname, despite Jack’s efforts. Six foot six, hands like banana bunches, Mr. S picks up foster kittens and coos to them as he wanders the shop, fur baby curled purring against his chest.

Then there’s the back-scratcher hanging in the kitchen. Without it, you can’t turn on the light. One night Bert got this essential piece of equipment in his mouth and Jack and I chased him through the shop, screaming, “Drop it! Don’t chew!”

I’m not even going to talk to you about finding the light switches in this place, Kelly. They’re ALL behind bookshelves, so I’ve listed the titles you should look for.

As for dog chases, the guide tells how to recapture Bert and Zora should they slip out. [Equipment: two leashes, raisin-less breakfast bars, and a car key, kept in a Ziploc pouch at the back door.] It’s the kind of thing one doesn’t think twice about until explaining to someone else….

So, welcome Kelly and Rachel. And have fun while you’re here! I’ll be in Scotland if you need me.

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AUTHOR HUMILIATION CONTEST ANNOUNCEMENT

embarrassedFor those who’d like to see them, last week’s EDIBLE BOOK CONTEST photos are here: Tales of the Lonesome Pine LLC

We are pre-empting the Monday Book (but I’ll run one Wednesday or Friday, depending on whether Jack gets me a  blog from his Scottish tour this week) to bring you

THE AUTHOR HUMILIATION CONTEST!

It all started when a fellow writer online described her recent arrival at a Very Large Bookstore in a Big City to tout her Very Good New Book. Karen Spears Zacharias had the following conversation:

Asst. Manager: I had no idea you had an event here today.
Me: Wow. Really? It was in the newspaper and on television. We’ve been corresponding about this for months.
Asst. Manager: My boss didn’t tell me.
Me: Embarrassed. Humiliated. Diminished.
Asst. Manager: Snotty. Bugged. Annoyed.
Me: This book is local. It won the Weatherford.
Asst. Manager: What’s the Weatherford?
Me: Best in Appalachian Fiction.
Asst. Manager: I’ve never heard of that.

Her post sparked a veritable wordslide of other authors describing similar incidents, and an idea was born.

My 500th blog post will be next Monday. In honor of this earth-shaking occasion, Karen and I are announcing a contest: send us, in 500 words or less, your author humiliation moments. Are you an Author who arrived on the wrong day? Walked in to find your event cancelled? Discovered they were expecting someone else? Tell us about it, or any other mortifying circumstance.

Or take it from the other end. Are you a library, book festival, individual, or bookstore that has hosted an event that just would not get on track no matter what? Or a first class A88-hole? (Y’all know what an a88hole is, right? Similar to an a**hole, only worse.)

Jack and I have looked at book signings, author visits, and all that glamorous stuff from both sides now: as the people with the book AND the people with the bookstore. We’ve seen a whole lotta love and silliness from each, so don’t hold back. Tell us your story.

First prize winner in the author category gets a 5-day stay in my writing retreat cabin, in eastern Tennessee. (Sorry, you have to pay your own way there, but the place is free and we’ll even throw in a bottle of wine. Buy your own milk.) You pick your dates.

First prize winner in the author hosting category gets a signed copy of every entering author’s book. That’s the fee for entering, folks. When the winning host is announced, you are REQUIRED to mail, at your expense, a free copy of your autographed book. (Winners may donate their books to another address if they prefer.)

Second prize for both categories is an autographed copy of Karen’s and my book; third prize… how about a free kitten?

We’ll run the first place entries next Monday. The top ten after that will get blogged once a week, probably on Saturdays. And the MONDAY BOOK will return after this coming Monday.

The rules:

Entries are due by Sunday, June 29, at 11:55 pm EST.

Send entries to jbeck69087@aol.com, with tagline specifying author or host humiliation entry.

Entries exceeding 500 words (not including title) will be disqualified.

Don’t use real names in identifiable locations. We haven’t got enough money to be worth suing, but a88s tend to do that when reality invades the self-sphere. “A Barnes and Noble somewhere in America….” is fine. Make it part of the creativity to keep the names fun and clean.

Keep all entries family friendly. Some kids read this blog.

This is cheerful therapy. Don’t just vent; entertain.

Have fun doing so.

greyAnd remember, it’s okay to talk about the embarrassing moments. Many authors have put themselves into utter self-humiliation, and gone on to live happy lives.

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