I’m still catching up from my summer Southern Book Tour and trip to the fabulous Decatur Book Festival over Labor Day weekend. On these two trips, I was lucky enough to several days in the Atlanta area—lucky because I could spend a lot of time with my Atlanta-based writer buddies Karen White and Wendy Wax (as well as some other-out-of-towners, Beatriz Williams, Karen Kendall and Eloisa James—who wouldn’t want to hang with this crowd?). At the Decatur Book Festival I enjoyed seeing my pal Jane Porter and finally got to meet some of my favorite authors for the first time, Susan Rebecca White, Karen Spears Zacharias, Lynn Cullen and Claire Cooke. Add those to all of the great readers and booksellers I met and you get one incredible summer!
Although Karen, Wendy and I are regular critique partners, it’s a rare for us all three to be in the same place at the same time. Most of our work is accomplished via email and telephone (when you all drink a glass of wine at the same time while on the telephone, it does count as not drinking alone). We do squeeze in an annual retreat…it’s always a working “holiday,” the best part being able to literally share a bottle of wine and some awesome Talente Sea Salt and Caramel Gelato (our new addiction thanks to Wendy’s discovery of it).
Both Karen and Wendy supported my Atlanta book store signings, taking time away from their own work to prop up a tired road warrior and share food and libations. As you may recall from my previous blog Forked in Nashville, Karen took advantage of my little granddaughter, Olivia Grabbyhands, facilitating the accidental “borrowing” of a fork from a local Nashville restaurant. That fork became my little memento of Olivia’s part in my book tour and now sits proudly in my office. Alas, my apologies now must be rendered to a restaurant in Roswell. After a wonderful book signing event at Bookmiser, several of us returned to our restaurant where we’d dined prior to the book signing for coffee and dessert (book signings always call for dessert). I foolishly left my purse at the table while I visited the ladies’ room … seriously, I’ve known Karen for over 17 years, I should know better. Later that night I received a text: “Have you checked your purse yet?” I now have a spoon to go with my traveling fork.
I’ve presented Karen with a challenge. I expect to discover the last piece in my full place setting, a knife. And I expect it to come from a different city than the previous two. But I’m not making it easy for her. My purse is not allowed to be unguarded in her presence. I double-check before leaving every restaurant. And I’m keeping my granddaughter away from Karen until she’s old enough to know that we do not remove things from restaurants that do not belong to us. As I said, I’ve known Karen for a long time. She’s dedicated to her pranks. She’s patient and cunning. I’m sure one of these days I’ll let my guard down and she’ll have her way. Maybe I’ll start carrying a fanny pack instead of a purse—Karen, a fashionista as well as a prankster, would be appalled on so many levels.