At the beginning of the month, when the Breathless Reads tour was announced, I emailed Once Upon a Time bookstore to see if it was going to be a ticketed event. Meaning you either had to spend so much money or just buy one book to get a number the corresponded to where in the line you would be. I mentioned that I lived in San Diego and planned on driving up for the event, so I wanted to make sure I didn’t need to drive up to the store before the event.
Maureen [who I’m pretty sure is either the manager or the owner] emailed me back. She basically told me that I was singlehandedly ruining independent bookstores by buying books online and that if I wasn’t going to support the event by buying something from the store hosting it, author events wouldn’t be able to continue. [All valid points, but not even close to answering what I asked]. After further correspondence, I was told a copy of one of the books for an appearing author would be left for me behind the counter.
Flash forward to the day of the signing. We got up to Montrose with 2 hours to kill. We headed straight to the bookstore to pick up my book. I went to the counter and told the girl that I was picking up a book on hold for the signing being held. There was an older woman standing off to the side talking with someone.
I won’t go into serious details because they’re long. And detailed. I will say that not only were the employees treated deplorably, I was as well. Maureen [who turned out to the the older woman off to the side] flat out told me I was lying about not getting a return email regarding a different matter. When the book that was supposed to be behind the counter couldn’t be found she said “God, it can be any copy. It doesn’t have to be behind the counter. Can’t you pick up a different copy?”.
If it wasn’t the last night for the Breathless Reads tour and the only day that some of the authors were going to be anywhere near me, I would have walked out the door.
The event started at 7pm and we went back to the bookstore at 6:20 or so and all of the seats had already been filled. I stood towards the back, but couldn’t see the authors where they were seated due to people standing wherever they could.
The event was set up like a panel, there was even a moderator. They had a planned set of questions that was asked to each author. Even though I couldn’t see the girls [I made my husband come in and take pictures for me since he’s taller] they are all super animated. They are all full of fun stories and giggles.
After the moderator questions has been finished, I figured that since I couldn’t see them anyways, I’d go and get in line for the signing while they answered audience questions. Because the store was going to have an intermission between the panel and the signing, I wanted to be close to the front to get done sooner to be able to start the drive home. As I walked out, I was told that I could start a line if I wanted, but there was no guarantee that the line would form after me.
The Q&A was finished and everyone did file out and get behind the few of us who were already lined up. While the store emptied out, they rearranged the set up so the four women were seated at tables. We walked up first and all four women were eating some gourmet cupcakes that had been provided.
We didn’t have a book for Marie to sign. I told her that we loved her and that we attended her launch party at MGRB. As I passed out the 5 books I had for the three women, I also asked if they would sign the lanyard the bookstore required for the signing. Before we left, I thanked all of them for their time and for going on tour for their books.
A bit off topic… Tahereh Mafi ended up making an appearance at the event. I was inside and my husband was standing outside. A guy [I think it might be her boyfriend, but I’m not sure] who came with Tahereh recognized my husband and asked were his “violent counterpart” was. We had met him at Tahereh’s MG Dark Days event and started talking to us when he saw me smack my husband after he made an inappropriate comment in a crowded bookstore.
Tahereh recognized me [squee!!], gave me a hug [squee!!] and then willingly took another picture with me. When someone noticed we were both holding our Kate Spade purses, she knocked them together and said “They’re friends!!” She is toooooo adorable.
All four women on the Breathless Reads tour are lovely. They are adorable and charming and tell the best stories. And while my experience with Once Upon a Time Bookstore was not one I would willingly repeat, all four made it worth the time and drive.