Road trip

I just got back from two weeks in Philadelphia visiting my gentleman friend, you know, the one who wouldn’t let me give up? Without his nagging, er, I mean, his encouragement, Murder Under the Microscope would never have seen the light of day. I think he’s beginning to realize that he’s created a Frankenstein. When I visit him, when he visits me, I spend most of the time writing. He doesn’t seem to mind. He’s read both my books and has been suitably impressed.

Up until now, however, I’ve never dragged him to a book signing.

It so happened that one of my favorite authors, Lisa Scottoline, was having a book signing at the Barnes & Noble on Rittenhouse Square last Wednesday, a location within walking distance of my friend’s apartment. How could I not go?

My friend insisted on coming with me. He didn’t have to. He wanted to. I think he enjoyed it. Lisa and her daughter, Francesca Serritella, have written their fourth book together, this one called Meet Me at Emotional Baggage Claim, and both of them were there to sign copies. Lisa likes to arrange her book signings like a book club, where everybody gathers and sits around while they tell us about writing the book and answering questions so that we all feel like a great big happy Italian family and everybody hugs and they sign the books and we all go away happy.

I told Lisa and Francesca that they make everybody wish they were Italian, and they hugged me and let me get my picture taken with them. I’ve had business cards made up with pictures of one or the other of my two books on them, and I gave Lisa one of each and told her my publishing woes. She gave me some good advice which I plan to take. One word: Amazon. I didn’t know they published, but apparently they do.

If you haven’t had occasion to read any of Lisa’s murder mysteries I strongly recommend that you do. She’s a lawyer, and her characters at the Philly law firm Rosato & Associates are great girls, all kickass in their own special ways, and the South Philly Italian influence is hilarious. You will love the Flying DiNunzios, based of course on the Flying Scottolines. Her other books are great too, and feature women of similar fire and courage to the Rosato girls.

Which leads to another idea I got from Lisa. She calls her two ex-husbands Thing One and Thing Two. Well, I can’t do that, because I’ve only had one Thing. I can’t use Fang, because Phyllis Diller did that, and I can’t use Killer because Flip Wilson used that (although that’s the reason Toni and Hal have two dogs named Killer and Geraldine). One friend suggested Smudge, because that’s so insignificant it can be wiped away with a little 409, but I hardly think a 30-year marriage is insignificant. Another friend suggested Ugly McNasty, but my ex-husband, as curmudgeonly as he could be, did have his good points. So I’ve decided to just call him Himself. It has a certain British grandeur, a lord-of-the-manor-ishness about it that appeals to me, that my mom and Toni’s Mum would appreciate, and all things considered, really says it all.

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