Friday, September 25, 2009

Book Signings and S*E*X

Warning: The S*E*X word will be used and briefly talked about in this post. Not in graphic or personal detail, dear readers, but if you are squeamish, look away. You have been forewarned!

So most nights are pretty routine. I cook (or fix) something for dinner, make sure my son does his homework no matter how much he gripes, and run around like a headless chicken trying to get to my three children to football/cheerleading/Cub Scouts/Girl Scouts/fill in the blank with any number of activity choices.

But last night, dear readers, I actually got to feel like a real 'literary' adult. I went to a book signing with one of my favorite authors, Diana Gabaldon. I've been reading her now for a little over 13 years. I'm pretty sure I found out about her the summer I got married and devoured two or three of her five pound books shortly there after. In fact, I remember waiting for eight hours for the movers to show up while I was reading one the books in her Outlander series. Although irritated at their not showing, I was not in the least upset about getting to read all day long! And as luck would have it, a month or two after we moved to Nashville I found out she was coming to Green Hills to do a book signing. Since I didn't have children to worry about and had a husband who worked late quite a bit, I was there early and got a seat up towards the front on a lovely wooden bench. She spoke and did a reading and I just loved her in a very, "oh, she's a great storyteller, and wow isn't she so interesting, and oh my, she's a published author and oh so famous" sort of way.

Contrast this to last night. I had to cook dinner before 5:00, when I had to pick up my son from performing arts club, then get all three of them back home, fed and properly attired for football/cheerleading practice at 6:00. My husband, who is working on a project north of town, had to slog through rush hour traffic to try to get home in time for said practice and for me to make it to Green Hills by 6:30. This was the plan, but as I'm sure you all can guess, it wasn't quite executed. I got my kids ready, but not myself. My hubby got home about 5 minutes after 6:00 (when they were supposed to be at practice), and I still didn't have my books rounded up for her to sign. I made it out of the house at 6:13, only to have to return at 6:16 to get my camera. Needless to say, I showed up about 10 minutes before she spoke at 7:00 and got a really crappy seat in the back.

Just to set the stage, this woman has a cult-like following now. It wasn't no 1996, that's for sure. People came out of the woodwork (some of them came out of some very strange woodwork) to see her. I sat in front of a woman who had brought her six-year-old son with her. I found this mildly interesting at the time because Diana is far from a children's author. In fact, she is the opposite of a children's author. If you have not read her, dear readers, she has what one might call "a gift" for sex scenes. I'm not saying they are graphic, but they are, hmmm, how shall I put it? Vivid, descriptive, erotic? Yep, that about sums it up. Anyway, when I saw her back in '96, she told us that husbands of her readers fall into two camps, a.) they hate her because their wife gets a new book and disappears for a week to read all leventy-hundred pages of it and ignores him, or b.) they love her because they never get as much sex as when their wife is reading her books.

Needless to say, a children's author she is not. So, she talked for about 20 minutes, telling us how she wrote her first "practice" book (which is Outlander) that was not going to be read by anyone when she was 35 and was working two jobs and had three kids under six. *Okay, now I feel like a slug, and I can never use the "I have small children at home" excuse again.* And then she answered our questions. I asked her what time of day she wrote since she did have three small children, and she was just lovely and very encouraging to me and I felt so special until some crazy lady interupted her to ask another question while she was still answering mine, rude! And then she began her reading.

Well, I knew as soon as Claire (the main character) saw Jamie (her husband, the other main character) taking his spring bath in a creek and she followed him up a path in the mountains what was, er, coming AND I WANTED TO DIE!!! In my brain I am scream whispering the whole time, "She is not reading a sex scene. She is not. She can't be. We're in a book store. In public. IN THE SOUTH! She's going to stop before things go too far and not read an actual SEX SCENE in public." But oh, dear readers, she pretty much did. They didn't do 'the deed,' but Claire was doing something worse to Jamie than the actual deed when it comes to reading it outloud!

And here's the kicker. Remember, there was A SIX-YEAR-OLD LITTLE BOY SITTING DIRECLTY BEHIND ME! I promise you it was all I could do not to turn around, clamp my hands over his pretty little ears and sing the Lalala's to him myself. His momma was all ga ga and fainting over being in the same room with Diana, so I'm pretty sure she didn't have the good sense to do it herself. Did I mention I wanted to die from embarrassment. Even if the little boy had not been there -- and in her defense, there is no way she could have seen him in the way back sitting behind all the grown ups -- I think I would have been embarrassed.

Now don't get me wrong, dear readers, I am working on a book, and I am sure there will be a S*E*X scene or two in there. And frankly, I think there is nothing wrong with me reading or writing about "naughty married people stuff" as Joshilyn Jackson, another of my favorite authors, calls her sex scenes. But I cannot ever even fathom reading it outloud to a group at the Green Hills Mall where unsuspecting patrons are eating dinner at the cafe' next to us, unless I was drunk. And frankly I think an author showing up to a book signing intoxicated would be bad form.

Maybe it's just me. Maybe my Southern Baptist Roots are showing, but Have Mercy!


  1. Lori, I love Diana Gabaldon! I, like you, however, think it's in bad taste to read such scenes aloud in public places. Heck, I think I would blush reading them aloud to my husband in the comfort of our bedroom! You are correct in saying that she has a gift! LOL

  2. Wooooooooah. How very awkward. Well, I still err on side of the author. Those that read her stuff know what she writes, and there really isn't a need to bring a child to the reading. But still, can you imagine having to read that out LOUD?! And I love the encouragement you got from her. I'll just siphon a little bit.