BEA-FloorBookExpo America is ending. It is Thursday, May 27, 2010. I’d be barraging you with facts, but I boxed up my notebook and sent it home with my leftover books, from my signing from 2 p.m. on at the HWA (Horror Writers’ Association) booth. I’ve been to this for about 5 or 6 years now. I remember that the first one I attended was in Chicago and my book Both Sides Now was coming out, so that would have been 2004. I took my daughter-in-law (Jessica) that time and we ended up meeting one of the founders of Lightning Source and I arranged a book tour of the Hastings Bookstore chain.

Then, the event was held in Washington, D.C., one year, and this allowed my spouse to accompany me and visit various monuments while I trolled the aisles of this largest-in-North-America book event.

It was held in New York City most times, and, because the publishing industry is here, it was finally decided that it would remain here permanently.

Last year’s BEA was very dismal and scaled-back. People were cutting down on all unnecessary expenses and the entire mood was blacker. I helped man (woman?) the BEA booth and heard Captain Sullenberger. Our booth this year was in a much better, more heavily traveled spot, and I had a signing time from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. I wondered if anyone would know me or know about my book.
For whatever reason…(and most said it had to do with reading the BEA information in the programs provided online)…I had an abundance of signers. I haven’t counted yet, but I think I easily had at least 50 people come asking for my book, and I got the e-mail information of all but a handful, so they can be notified of future books, which, in my case, will be the third volume of Ghostly Tales of Route 66: Arizona to California, coming out any minute, and, after that, It Came from the ‘70s: From The Godfather to Apocalypse Now. From now on, all dedicated blogs will have PayPal capability, because one never knows if one’s publisher has distributed the book as widely as one would like.

While here, I managed to take in the play “Fences” with Denzel Washington. I was in the middle of the second row and the production was amazing. (It received a standing ovation.) I will write more about this, but not until my boxed-up-and-mailed-home notes are back in my possession.

After schlepping my books to the Jacob Javits Center and dropping them off at the table on Wednesday, I arrived this morning with my trusty dolly (for eventually moving the remaining books to FedEx) and my bookmarks, business cards and post cards, plus the piece I put together that will go out in a mailing to the active, voting members of HWA some time in June. (Probably after the Printers Row Book Fair and the Glen Ellyn Book Fair.)

Because the time was condensed from what used to be a 5-day event, there was not enough time to hit museums, but I did get in a play (see above) and I attended the Breakfast and Lunch today, in addition to signing for 2 and ½ hours.

The breakfast featured Jon Stewart introducing Condoleeza Rice, who has written a new book that focuses on her family and upbringing. I have many notes of the witty things Stewart said, but those will wait until I recap same back in the Quad Cities. John Grisham was also on the panel, as was the writer of Water for Elephants. Her new book features apes that are being communicated with via sign language and computers at the Ape Institute in Des Moines, Iowa, so I’m going to be interested in reading this one. (Water for Elephants is being made into a movie now.)

The afternoon M.C. was the very same comic that Sean Leary has done articles on recently, the co-star of “King of Queens” Patton Oswalt, who appeared at the Hilltop Theater and was accused of (allegedly) using other comics’ material. I noticed that, this year, instead of an entire book, we got a chapter, at best. Jon Stewart provided a chapter only. Likewise, Patton Oswalt provided only an autobiographical chapter that dealt with his appearances in a comedy club near Vancouver, where the owner tried to stiff him on paying for his hotel room. It was not riveting reading, and I have read all of it, since it was only about 10 pages long. (Last year, we were given South of Broad by Pat Conroy, and I still haven’t finished that huge book, one year later.)

At the noon luncheon, Patton Oswalt introduced Christopher Hitchins. I had just entered the stairwell with Christopher Hitchins, who was holding a drink of something at the time. (It reminded me of the time I ended up in an elevator with Mickey Rooney and his 8th wife, because Mickey took the wrong public elevator on his way to speak.)

Hitchins, who writes for “Vanity Fair” recited limericks. Yes. Limericks. He comes across as a bit of an effete intellectual snob, and apparently this is the way he wishes to be viewed. I do read his stuff, and I occasionally enjoy it. I remember one particular piece about vacationing in Iraq (one particular part that is “safe”) and I remember thinking, “Yeah. That’ll happen…….not!”)  Hitchins left rather quickly to “catch a plan to London” and we were left with a very bright fellow who, in writing about the future, invented the term “cyberspace,” supposedly, and had such a monotonous, droning delivery of what I’m sure may well be a brilliant book that I gave that book to table mate Ellen Datlow

I did keep the ape book and Christopher Hitchin’s, which is entitled “Hitch 22”, but I’m not in the same hurry to read it as I was to read the sequel to “1,000 Splendid Suns,” the author who spoke at least year’s BEA.

I’m at a Holiday Inn on W. 26th Street that is brand new and very nice. My only complaint: no bathtub.

After I boxed up my unused books and the new ones mentioned above, I took the lot to FedEx to mail home. Then, I went to a nearby McDonald’s and ate a burger, since I couldn’t get a cab for an hour. The cab delivered me back to my room and, after going from 6 a.m. till now (11:00 p.m.) I’m calling it a night.
More later from home.