An Awkward Book Fair

Before anyone notices it and comments, yes, I have a series cozy mystery addiction in addition to skeezy romance books. You caught me. When Vivien Chien followed me back on Instagram, I almost wet my pants because she’s my favorite cozy author.

Anywho, my county library has a huge book sale every year that lasts three days and covers a convention center/concert arena floor. I usually have my “Friends of the Library” card up to date so that I can get early access, but had to settle for late access this year since I’m a horrible author/reviewer and totally forgot to support my local library. I also volunteer in most years, and didn’t this year. That’s another demerit in my local library support record.

In addition to not having early access, my husband was out of town and I had no sitter for a very surly child that I had to take with me. I’m talking crying, complaining and asking me when we can leave when we approached the first table. I took her away from sniper training (aka videogames that are probably age-inappropriate but we’re hoping for an e-sports scholarship someday) and you’d think I had asked her to eat poop. Damn me for making her leave the house.

We approached the paperback romance table, and I was so tired of the complaining, I asked her to help me find some books. So, my nine-year-old started looking through the romance books and pulling them out.

One of the volunteers looked at me about the time that I said, “No, that’s too clean for mommy. I need cheesy or dirty stuff.”

Let’s just say that I was happy to see that my kid looked very confused.

The volunteer working that table came over and pointed out that I was the inspirational/Christian romance section, which prompted a response of a grimace and, “Oh Dear Jesus. No!”

So we moved to the section with the dirty or cheesy stuff. Thankfully, displeased child decided she’d had enough bullshit and didn’t even help me, deciding to just stand by me rolling her eyes. At least she wasn’t looking at the covers in this section, which made me feel like a marginally better parent than my own mother who hid her smut-coverd books in the bathroom cabinet right by the maxi pads where no male and no female that wasn’t of menses age could find them. Then, displeased child started asking (repeatedly) when we were leaving. Have you ever tried to immerse yourself in finding books with a displeased child with you?

At that point, the only thing I could really do to keep her from complaining was bribe her with Chic-Fil-A if I could look for a measly fifteen minutes. Apparently, anti-gay chicken sandwiches resulting in guilt so bad that I donate an equal amount of money to The Trevor Project every time I go through the drive-thru was the only way to appease her.

With a new countdown started and fifteen minutes to search an entire convention center for books I want to read, I started to sweat like I was on Supermarket Sweep. However, I started for find some books such as…

I even found some Ashlyn Chase. I’ve heard good things about her work, and I write paranormal romance. I should probably read more of my own genre. Anyone read her?

The volunteer at the cheesy smut table came over and asked if she could help me. (Not going to lie..when I volunteer at the sale next year, I’m going to ask for that job.) I said that write a blog and review romance books. (Yes, I know I haven’t blogged for awhile. I’ve been trying to get Arson ready for launch.) I told her I didn’t need any help, though, and I’d just look around.

About that time, a woman approached the volunteer looking for LGBTQ romance books. I let them have a conversation for a bit, and the volunteer told her she hadn’t seen any. The woman’s face kind of fell, and I heard her sound disappointed. The volunteer told the woman that she’d look in the boxes that hadn’t been put out yet, but these were donations by people in the county and we probably just didn’t get a lot donated.

This woman’s face was so sad, that I left Gollum and marched over to at total stranger to talk to her about LGBTQ romance books…like one does in a predominantly red state.

“Excuse me, I couldn’t help but overhear. What kind of books do you like?”

Woman: cricket face and her eyes got really round.

As soon as the words came out of my mouth, I knew I had crossed some sort of line. I felt it was akin to going up to someone at Dairy Queen and asking their favorite genre of porn.

I decided to just go balls deep and keep going, though, because I feel it’s important to commit after you start something. “Do you like mm, ff or are you into some bisexual menage?” (Don’t worry, Gollum was about 20 feet behind me at the fantasy/sci-fi table looking at something else at this point.)

Woman: “Well, I like mm.”

Me: “Oh, hell, I got you. These are the authors that write mm if you want to look for them.”

I then proceeded to give her a complete listing of mm authors that may be on the table because they’re mainstream. Then, I gave her a complete list of indie authors on Amazon as she got her phone out and furiously typed as she nodded.

Now folks, she could have been typing the names I gave her, or she could have been FB messaging a friend that was back at the paperback fiction table to come save her from the crazy lady at the paranormal romance table. It’s kind of a crap shoot. I like to think it was the former, and I helped her find new authors.

She thanked me. I told her good luck and found Gollum to get in the tally line.

Then, I learned something. Even if you have a perfectly pleasant conversation with someone about what kind of trash they read, after you leave the conversation and stand in line near them, you avoid eye contact.

It’s kind of like that time I saw my gynecologist at the soda station at Taco Bell and couldn’t say hi because she’s seen my vagina. I think I mumbled something like, “You like Dr. Pepper” and walked away.

She got in line two people behind me, and I haven’t faced forward that quickly and averted my eyes that quickly since Tom Lutes farted behind me in the third grade line for the drinking fountain.

Moral of the story, if you recommend cheesy romance books and learn what kind of genre people read to get off, make sure you’re far away from them in the tally line.

Next year, I’ll be sure that my husband can watch the kids while I volunteer at the pnr table. Then, I can have all the conversations about threesomes, blue alien dicks and milking farm erotica that I want without having to stand in the tally line with the people buying the dinosaur erotica.

If you’ve read any of the books I got from the book fair, comment and let me know your thoughts.

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