I'd been looking forward to my library talk in Lyons, NY. I haven't done much face-to-face promotion this summer, and I had a wonderful time last summer when I did a talk there.
Doing any kind of "event" means lots of prep time. Assemble bookmarks, books, make sure I have my speech crib cards handy, iron clothes, curl hair, put on make-up. Jump in car and drive to event.
Monday was hot and humid. I mean humidity in the 90% range. It was a miserable day, but I managed to get a LOT of writing done. I usually average four-five pages a day. Monday I wrote 12. I was ecstatic -- except . . . I wasn't sure about those last 5 pages. Considering this was the climax of the book, they weren't all that tense or suspenseful.* But I had to think about the library talk and psych myself up.
We decided to eat at McDonalds rather than try to pull together a dinner before the 7 p.m. "event." (We usually don't eat supper until 7:30-8 p.m. anyway.) So as we pull into the Mickey D's parking lot, we notice the sky is going quite dark. As we're eating our Big Macs, the sky went really, REALLY dark.
As we walked out to the car, the first drops began to fall. We still had 25 minutes before I was supposed to be at the library, so we sat in the parking lot for about five minutes, then decided maybe we should get to the library and wait there.
We pulled out of the lot and headed toward the library. Before we got half a mile, the entire sky opened up and dumped millions and millions of gallons of rain on us and everything else. We could barely see the road (which was flooded). We could barely see the cars in front of us. The lighting flashed so fast, it was like there was a giant strobe light above us. We drove at about 3 miles an hour to the library where we found the parking lot flooded.
The library closes for "the dinner hour" so we sat in the lot and watched the rain, which didn't seem like it would EVER stop. Of course, my thoughts were not positive, but I put on a smile and grabbed my umbrella when the librarian came and opened the door. I grabbed my books and dropped ALL MY BOOKMARKS in a HUGE puddle. (Luckily, they were in a fabric bag, and didn't get ruined.)
I walked into the library and was met by the librarian. She was not hopeful, but told me I could hang around for five or ten minutes to see if anyone would show up.
No one did.
I was ready to stay another five or ten minutes, but the librarian was pretty sure the rain would keep her patrons away. But at least the library bought a copy of Dead In Red, and both the Booktown paperbacks for their collection. (They'd meant to buy them before now . . . but hadn't gotten around to it. These things happen.)
I'm definitely not the only author who has had weather foul up a talk. It was disappointing. But we headed home, had a drink, and I dived back into Dick Francis' STRAIGHT. After all, what's better than sitting in a cozy chair, with a whiskey, and a good book?
* I pitched 5 of those pages and tried again yesterday. I think I nailed it.