I'm certain high-minded literature was being discussed somewhere during the annual trade show of the Southern Independent Booksellers Association (SIBA).
But it wasn't at Booth W-42, where I was stretched out on the floor inside a mock chalk outline, drumming up business for myself and my fellow Sisters in Crime, authors of murder mysteries.
That would be me, left (photo by Ellis Vidler), displaying an appalling lack of shame when it comes to book promotion. Really, would Flannery O'Connor ever have stooped ... er, reclined ... to such a stunt?
Of course, it was the last day of the trade show, which took place this year in Greenville, S.C., Sept. 24-27. I might have been a bit punchdrunk by then. Acting all erudite takes a toll.
Did I mention the clear liquid in the jar in my hand was moonshine? At least that's what Jerry Alexander, looking on in the picture, said it was. And he should know, since he wrote Where Have All Our Moonshiners Gone? A former newspaper publisher and deceptively sophisticated-looking gent, Jerry manned the booth next door to Sisters in Crime. Along with his books, his display's central feature was a moonshine still. That, and a chicken feeder that dispensed Hershey's Kisses.
I loved the trade show. My Southern-fried books fit right in. I'm pleased to say I introduced the latest, Mama Rides Shotgun, to lots of booksellers who might not have otherwise known about the Mace Bauer Mystery Series.
My titles earned a few laughs (Mama Does Time was the first in 2008; Mama Gets Hitched comes out next year). That's saying something in this crowd, considering some of the other books being touted to the Southern bookstore owners over the weekend:
Will Jesus Buy me a Double-Wide? 'Cause I Need More Room for My Plasma TV, by Karen Zacharias.
Suck Your Stomach In and Put Some Color On, by Shellie Tomlinson.
Looking for Salvation at the Dairy Queen, by Susan Gregg Gilmore.
People say you can't judge a book by its cover, and maybe not by its title, either. But just try to pass by any of those titles in a bookstore without at least pulling it from the shelf.
Of course, there were plenty of serious literary offerings as well. But I was too busy lying on the floor and trying to wrest chocolate kisses from Jerry's chicken feeder to report on any of those.
Maybe next time. The SIBA trade show in 2010 will be in Daytona Beach. Just don't count on a high-minded analysis from me if they hold it the same week as the Daytona Speedway hosts NASCAR.