Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Queen of the Night

She's so popular that at RT her reader fans lined up by the hundreds to have her autograph copies of her bestselling novels. And like an idiot, I just walked up to take a photo.

Why was that idiotic? Well, Laurell K. Hamilton is so popular -- and has had the misfortune of dealing with such less-than-well-mannered fans -- that she needs to travel with a bodyguard. Who, politely asked me to show credentials then shoot a shot in a way that wouldn't aggravate LKH's strobe-induced migraines. I SO didn't want to be the one to give her a migraine.

It's the sad truth, one that goes hand-in-hand with the fact that authors today have become rock stars: Some fans want so badly to know what goes on in their lives, to feel close to them, they go overboard.

How close do you want to feel to the romance writers
whose books you love? Why?
Have you had a "Fangrl" moment?
What right do we have to "make friends" with celebrities?

Encore! Our boy, Travis Greiman, place First Runner-up, in the RT Mr. Romance contest! I'll have photos and more TG news coming soon...

Encore due! I had the pleasure of meeting many e-girlfriends and reviewees including Luann McLean (Wild Ride) and Janice Maynard (Suite Fantasy), and new friend Karen Kelley (Texas Bad Boys), at the RT author book signing. Literally hundreds of your favorite romance authors in one place, signing books and being nice and silly.


Anonymous said...

Oh, yeah! I've had slavering fangirl moments (oh, God, must you remind me *groan*). Last year in the elevator at the RWA conference I actually told Heather Graham, "Oh my God!!! You're Heather Graham!!!"(As if she didn't know...).

And when Maggie Shayne graciously commented on my cover quote for my debut book, I gushed all over her and blurted something along the lines of "You're Maggie Shayne. You ARE a cover quote!!!!" (Brilliant, right?)

There are other episodes, too embarassing to be hauled out for public consumption...

Julie in Ohio said...

I have not had to pleasure of actually meeting my favs face to face. However, knowing my intense shyness, my eyes down cast and cowering in a corner is where you would find me. Pathetic,huh?

I just found out the Julia Quinn is having a booksigning about 2 hours away from my home. She is my absolute fav. I was so excited when I found out. I was trying to see how I can get there and who will take care of the kids,etc, but then reality hit and I think, why bother? What could I possibly say to her? "Uh, Hi. I'm a huge fan." How many times has she heard that! I probably couldn't even look her in the eyes. I'm still tossing the idea around. I have until July to make up my mind... and change it 10 times.

I love the idea of these conventions but I know I won't ever go. I find that I much more open online than in person. *sigh*

So, all you authors out there, you don't have to worry about me being a stalker, or being a pest. I wouldn't have the guts for it. You just have to put up with my antics online and I'll try to control myself here as well. *g*

ver: Laugh Alot. Laugh Aloud. You Included.

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

Hey, JulieO: I would go to meet JQ in a minute. I haven't met a writer yet who doesn't enjoy hearing that readers appreciate their work, myself included. Writers do signings for that reason, to meet readers and let them know they appreciate their patronage (and want them to buy more books).

Sometimes I even feel like a stalker when I'm emailing back and forth with an author I'm reviewing. :)

Now I know we're supposed to call readers readers. But come on. We're fans. Once you go past enjoying one book, and on to reading a series, visiting a blog, you become a fan. And I think we should embrace the term the same way we're learning to take back the term "romance reader" and make it our own.

Eve! I've already shared my Christina Dadd and Connie Brockway fangrl moments in one of the very first blogs here. I can only imagine what I'm in for at the national convention in July.

Bellas, it's a couple thousand industry folks, writers, editors, publishers, etc.

The one thing that happened at RT that I hadn't thought about in advance was meeting authors who's books I wasn't able to review. We talked a little bit about why, and they were so gracious. But I really wanted them to know how I struggle with the whole thing. Unless they didn't really care. In that case, I just handed em a cosmo.

Julie in Ohio said...

Michelle, as for your question of what right do we have to become friends with celebrities. I'm confused by this question. Aren't celebs people? Isn't that like asking what right do we have to become friends with anyone?
I have an introvert issue but I don't think that celebs are that high and mighty that normal people shouldn't be able to engage them in conversation.

Kris said...

Julie, I did the same thing. I was going to drive over to the book signing if I could this past weekend, but then I thought, If I actually got there, what would I say. I would probably just stand in a corner and gawk. I feel closer to the authors that I read their blogs and comment and stuff, but if I was actually in front of them, i would have no clue what to say without sounding like a dimwit. So I did not go.

ver: oh, the girl you under quoted

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

Hey, Kris. I so want to reiterate that authors love to hear about how you like their work. You don't sound like a dimwit to me. And I always, always go over convos I've had with favorite authors in my mind, angsting over what I should have said. :) And more often shouldn't have. [I've really got to learn not to say everything that comes into my head, ya know? But then again, maybe not).

I agree, JulieO, about the celebrity thing. When a "star" wants to make money by being in the limelite, I don't think they should complain about the pressure and inconvenience of fans. (Do it in private with friends, therapist, etc.)

The problem of celebrity is a new one to writers, I think. Certainly some have loved the limelite, Truman Capote, etc.

But the internet has given fans access to writers like never before, and romance fans like to make connections. All Absolutely Appropriate. Earns loyalty, sells books, touches lives.

That said, one simply cannot assume that stalking, cyber-stalking, etc, won't happen to one's self. I am hardly a celebrity, but even I have had some pretty creepy experiences with e-mailers. Knowing how some fans can hack into personal info is frightening.

But I love what we have here at RBtheBlog, and won't give it up. It's too much fun getting to be e-friends and sharing stuff with youz.

Julie in Ohio said...

I don't want to say celebs shouldn't complain about fans, because I do feel bad for them when they are trying to have a quiet dinner and are bombarded with autograph seekers. I think the paparrazi is out of control.
But under controlled circumstances like conventions or booksignings or down by the pool at a public hotel, I think anyone who is confident enough should definitely be able to go up to celebs and talk.

Michelle, you are definitely royalty in my book.

Anonymous said...

I'm going to a Sherrilyn Kenyon booksigning in June. She is one of the reasons I write, so I hope I don't loose my mind when I see her and try to throw my arms around to go in for the big hung.

Anonymous said...

hug lol (my toddler is sitting on my lap 'helping' me type)

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

No, Rene. In light of the Kenyon books I love, I think you got it right the first time. If you take it out of context and apply it to her heroes, especially in her last novel. :)

angelina said...

I like what Julie in Ohio said about how it would seem pointless going out of her way to meet Julia Quinn because she would have nothing to say to her. Many fans, I think, are looking for the authors to give something to them: a moment of their glamour or insight or just a connection that can make the fan walk away feeling special. I think that want from so many people would be exhausting. I'm met some well-known authors who have to be so closed off and protective because so many strangers want and expect so much from them. It's a strange dichotomy because to be a writer, you have to enjoy being alone, being closed off in a little room with nothing but you and your computer (type-writer, notepad, what have you) for hours on end. Then at a signing, you're expected to be exciting, witty and glamorous with a new stranger every 30 seconds. The thought of that is TERRIFYING. I respect the women who can do it with patience and class.

Here's how I react as a fan: Dennis Quaid wearing nothing but a bathing suit once strolled past me at Mandadaly Bay in Las Vegas. I yelled, at the top of my lungs, "OH MY GOD IT'S DENNIS QUAID."

I am so cool.

Julie in Ohio said...

Ok, I don't think I'm coming across right.

I WANT to go and meet JQ. I would totally drive for 2 hours just to spend 5 minutes in her presence. Even if she didn't do anything but smile and say "Hi". Honestly, I would be OK with that.

My problem is that I would be a nervous wreck. I know it would be unwarranted, which is why I'm still considering it.

I feel for these authors who are expected to be witty and humerous at every turn because their books are. That is huge pressure.
It is alot easier to have a character be a comedian than be one yourself because that is the character's personality not necessarily yours.

Now having said that, I have read a couple of blogs that JQ has done and she was certainly witty and humerous. Now is that her or is that her alter ego? I don't know. What I do know is that I love her books. She has a way of creating facinating characters that you just want to know, even secondary characters come to life.

Now, do you think I could say that her? Not on you life. I would stutter all the way through. Did I mention that I have stuttering problem? Seriously. It comes out in force whenever I have something I really want to say. It makes talking a challenge.
However, it doesn't stop my fingers from working. *g*

Heather Waters said...

I had the chance to meet Julie Garwood in Reno at the RWA conference last year. I ended up sitting and talking to her for a few minutes in the piano bar and ended up weeping lol. Then, (to my later horror) she introduced me to her best friend and I actually said, "You're so lucky to be Julie's Best Friend!"

Later I realized that sounded horrible, as thought it wasn't possible for Julie to be the lucky one to have this really nice woman as her friend....

amy kennedy said...

Angelina--LOL. Bruce Springsteen walked past me at the MOA and nothing could come out of my mouth--Because it was locked in an open position--we brushed shoulders. Talk about fangrl moment. I almost peed my pants.

JulieO you're thinking about it way too much. I think if you didn't go--no matter how nervous, giddy, thrilled you were--you would kick yourself. I know they're human, but you know what--there is something in meeting someone you admire. Go for it.

I adore Laurell K. Hamilton.

ver: unfortunitely for x-tra guards persistant fans will-out.


Julie in Ohio said...

I just reread my posts and I just want to clarify something.
I am not a nut case. Well not any more than anyone else. *g* It is just my rambling that I'm still trying to control.

Michelle, you really need to activate those time limits on posts. That would go a long way for me not to embarrass myself with my constant rambling. I think the final Jeopardy theme is a good idea. *g*

angelina said...

Julie, you're coming off perfectly right. I liked that you said you would be nervous because you felt you had little to offer HER. But I think many fans expect the author to give to THEM. I didn't mean to imply that you had that expectation. Quite the opposite in fact. Does that make sense?

Vivi Anna said...

WEll, we'll see how I do at RWA when I get to meet Gena Showalter, and Kelley Armstrong...both absolute sweethearts that I've had the pleasure of having a few email conversations with...but meeting them face to face...I'm sure I'll act like a dork...:-)

Or I might just hug them really tight until they have to get someone to come in and pry my fingers from their bodies...

When I had a book signing recently, I was more enthralled with readers that actually wanted to pay money for my book, then they were of me....LOL

*two dirty ladies ranting luxuriously*

Anonymous said...

Julie, LOL on the nut case.

As for knowing things about authors, for me it's like seeing my favourite radio personality -- I'd just as soon have a faceless voice if that makes any sense.

I'm not so keen about meeting authors or knowing too much about them because it interfers with my reading and suspension of disbelief. I don't mind saying how much I liked a specific book if I'm in contact with the author, but too much info is too much for me.


Monica Burns said...

Speaking as an author who loves signings, I heartily encourage you to go see JQ Julie. There's nothing a writer loves more is to hear someone gush over their books. I had a wonderful experience in Louisville last Oct, when a reader told me she'd made an extra special effort to come to the signing because I was there. I wanted to die from the intense pleasure. So like Michelle said, writers love fans coming to a booksigning. Yes we like selling the books, but who doesn't like to hear people say wonderful things about one's children.

Michelle, you've not reviewed my book, but that's ok, I know you'll review something of mine in the future. And no, I can't explain how I know that. I just do. *smile* I would really love to hook up with you in Atlanta without you feeling any networking pressure. Simply a get to know you better moment. *smile*

BTW has anyone one wondered where Atlanta got its name? I was looking at it just now and I'm thinking Atlantis. Ah, the workings of my mind amazes me sometimes, and my friends simply roll their eyes and shake their heads. LOL

word ver. =
Remember Walt, Xylem just beats toadstools

Monica Burns said...

oops forgot fangrl moment comment...got Paul Newman's photo and autograph when I 8, even then I thought he was hot. Of course it was easy to be forgiven my excitement. Then I got to meet George Takai at a ST con. But thinking back, I don't think I've had a moment where I was embarrassed. But then maybe I've never worried about it, because I know they'll never remember me, unless of course I did something beyond outrageous. Isn't there a movie moment like that?

Manda Collins said...

Hmmm...all good questions. This is an issue I go back and forth about. I do think that the web and blogs and email have given a false sense of intimacy between authors and fans, but at the same time I think it's not a bad thing. The authors get to know how much they are appreciated and the fans get to feel, for lack of a better term, "touched by greatness."

Like Michelle, I can't help but feel a little stalkery from time to time when I'm interacting with authors. Mostly I think this anxiety is a sign that I'm not sure where the line is and that I am being careful not to cross it. Which is a good thing because if I weren't worried about crossing the line, then I would be a stalker!

Julie, I'm not sure what to tell you about Julia Quinn. I'm sure she'd appreciate meeting a fan, but do what will make you the most comfortable. Just because authors have book signings it doesn't mean you are under an obligation to go:)It's all good.

Michelle, I think you do a great job navigating these new waters. And I'm grateful for this cozy space you've made for us Bellas to congregate in!

Ver: Xavier says please have an apple now, Fran!

Anonymous said...

Vivi - Kelley Armstrong is an absolute doll. Very gracious. Very kind. Even to rabid fangirls like me, LOL!

Kelley Nyrae said...

I personally would enjoy meeting some of the authors I love to read. Just to pay them my respects and let them know how much I enjoy their work. I agree with you that they enjoy hearing that from their fans. But you have to draw a line. Somethings are appropriate and some are not. Just because I enjoy an authors books doesnt mean I really know her, or have anything in commone with her. I think sometimes it is hard for people to draw that line. REading an authors books doesnt make me her best friend. It makes me a fan of her writing. But being a fan, it really feels special to shake that authors hand and let her know what her books have done for you. How they make you feel ect. It has to be done in an appropriate manner and under the right circumstances. If I go to a local resturant and see an author dinning with her family. In my opinion it is not appropriate to interrupt her. That is her time with her family ect. At a book signing, convention, ect as long as you can approch them going crazy, pushing people out of the way, and screaming at the top of your lungs, I think you should be ok.

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

Poor JulieO. How misunderstood do you feel right now? We get everything you're saying. This is definitely a case of internet writing not being able to replace subtle inflections and meanings, no?

Manda: your point is the exact one I was hoping someone would make. There's a safeguard we all rely on in real life -- celeb and plebe alike.

It's our worrying about crossing lines, our senses of decorum, that keeps us from "crossing the line" on-line and off.

I'm glad you enjoy coming here. I know I do, especially when I should be writing. Like now.

And has anyone noticed I rarely do the word ver cause I'm so bad at it?

Manda Collins said...

Oh, and Julie, you're not a nutcase:)

As for fangirl moments, outside of cyberspace I haven't really met any famous folks. Only saw Newt Gingrich in the airport once, but that doesn't really count I don't think!
Ver: Walt woke up zonked under kilt.

Manda Collins said...

Glad to be of service, Michelle! Now get to work! *grin*

Don't worry about word ver. Though it does surprise me how often they use x and z! Surely this isn't all random...

kexsf...can't do it, man...

amy kennedy said...

JulieO, never ever listen to me.

That said, sometimes I can barely stand to even comment on squawk radio, just because. But here I feel so safe. So, I love chatting with the authors who like to chat here as well.

Kelley Armstrong is one of my favorite authors and I just got Gena's Awaken Me Darkly--very cool. Vivi Anna they will think you're marvy.

ver: Veronica, Ray and Yasmine were fools

Stacy~ said...

Oh how absolutely cool! I adore Janice & LuAnn - met them last year at Lori Foster's get-together and will see them again this year. Very nice and friendly ladies. I interviewed them and Karen Kelley at my blog:


Shameless plug....LOL

Stacy~ said...

Oh shoot I forgot to say what I was originally going to say, which was that I am the biggest dork, yet I went and met the one author who I just worship - Suzanne Brockmann. I was star-struck.

I went by myself - it was about an hour away - and I was soooo nervous and felt like an idiot, but she was so nice and gracious and funny. Her husband Ed was there, as was her best friend Eric, who is a complete riot. I am so glad I went. I would encourage anyone to go to a signing. It's a wonderful experience.

I think some authors allow readers to get close enough to be friends, mostly by sharing their lives and reciprocating. Last year I sat at a table with Shiloh Walker and Lora Leigh and met Jennifer Crusie and Rosemary Laurell, Dianne Castell, LuAnn and Janice. I ate breakfast with Lori Foster. I chatted with Erin McCarthy and her best friend Eddie who recently got her book published. It was informal and fun and relaxing and I loved every minute of it. I'm seriously not bragging, but I want to stress that if someone as introverted as myself can end up in these situations, it can happen to anyone. And I don't feel that it's a "right" to be friends with an author. I look at it as a privilge because they are the ones who are taking more of the risk with their readers because they are in the public eye.

Heck, if any of you want to see a picture of me, Janice Maynard has one of me at her website winning her gift basket last year. I am also in a picture with Tori Carrington (Lori & Tony) from their Baklava Express tour last year. It's surreal, but oh so much fun. And I'm excited to be going to RWA this year!

ver: all babies quit your tantrums

Julie in Ohio said...

Thank you all very much. I have almost made up my mind for the 6th time to go to the booksigning. I would love to see JQ and at the very least let her know I'm one of a million fans who adore her.
And I think Monica has to right idea about if I make a fool out of myself, well, she probably won't remember me anyways so who cares?


But I'll just beat myself about it on the way home. *g*

No, Amy, you are right. I will be angry at myself if I missed the opportunity. Do you know how many authors I know that come to this area? Neither do I. To my knowledge, this is the first. Usually they go to the big cities, and JQ likes to stay out west.
I'm over thinking again.

ver: Zachary's dog arrived round rear by Xavier.

Julie in Ohio said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Michelle B said...

Ah, this is a topic I've thought a lot about though not recently! I wrote my first college term paper on the right to privacy. It's something I've always been interested in.

That said, I have enjoyed interacting with authors online, though it is definitely not something I expect. I feel it's very generous of them to take time out for their fans:) I love when they share bits and pieces of their lives, but I totally respect their right to privacy.

I have definitely had a "fangirl" moment of my own, though not with an author. I was a discus thrower on the track team through high school and college. When I was 18 and a freshman in college, I got all giddy over an Olympic athlete (Dan O'Brien). I felt like such a dweeb after asking for his autograph. It pretty much was the end of my autograph seeking days (well, day really lol).

The weird thing is that now, looking back, I had other friends (my coach was an Olympic discus thrower for Great Britain and I had writing class with Tiger Woods) that same year who were just as, if not more, well known and I didn't act like a fangirl around them! And I knew them before the fangirl episode. Weird, huh?

Anyway, the point to my rambling story is that because I felt like such a dweeb that first time, I generally try not to act like a fangirl. I just remind myself that celebs are human just like I am:) And I try to put myself in their shoes. Would I want a screaming lady running after me with a camera asking me to sign something? Not really lol!

amy kennedy said...

Michelle b such a good point--it's so funny how one person can put us in a dither and another not.

Kelley Nyrae said...

I agree with you Michelleb and Stacy. It is about respect of their privacy. I enjoy my chats on line as well but dont expect them. I feel lucky when it happens. I still cant believe it sometimes.