Fabulous, Flamboyant (Bold!) Day at the L.A. Times Festival of Books
Today was the day I was (maybe) going to wear the cobalt blue sequinned one-shoulder very short outrageous dress, the cobalt blue cape, and the star-shaped blue sunglasses. Today was my panel at this huge L.A. book fair to talk about my novel Cobalt Blue. But getting ready to go to the USC campus, my nerve wobbled.
I had already put on a more demure outfit when I decided to call home and say good morning to Husband Bob. I told him I wasn't giving out book-cover cards in the crowd again today — it was too hard yesterday — and I wasn't wearing that outfit; it wouldn't go over well.
Somewhat to my surprise, he said, "You took it out there to wear it." But the other writers didn't seem to be doing any promoting of themselves and in fact many introduced themselves simply by first name. He said, "They're just being cool."
I asked, "Do you think I'm being a wuss."
He said, "You're just tired." Translate: wuss.
So I put on the whole shocking get-up and spent an hour or so giving out a couple of hundred cards to strangers in the crowd. And this time it was fun. I was in costume and somehow that made me comfortable. A few people even came to me and asked for the cards.
And then the biggest step: I entered the the Authors' Green Room where writers congregated and hung out, the place where others were being low-key and non-promotional. I immediately found that wearing an ice breaker makes a big difference. Today for me, it was a terrific party. It also helped that I was hanging out with my publicist Kim Dower of Kim-from-LA and her assistant Jessica Kubinec. They introduced me to folks. Other folks introduced themselves to me. I had a wonderful time.
And then off to the panel. Friends I hadn't seen in a long time turned up. And a pretty good crowd showed up, even though we were speaking at the same time as Anna Quindlen and Jamaica Kincaid. Having a mild-to-medium case of microphone fever, I enjoyed the panel discussion with novelists Jillian Lauren, Erica Bauermeister, and Teddy Wayne, and moderator Barbara DeMarco-Barrett.
Moral of the story: a touch of cobalt blue is not enough. Dive in!