Sunday, January 23, 2011

Booksigning in NOLA--an apology

I've been wanting to blog about this since I got back from New Orleans Wednesday night but it was still too fresh and painful for me. After waiting five years to wrap up the series, the one night I was looking forward to the most was signing Shadowfever in NOLA on Monday. Dream come true kind of event. You know how when you anticipate something, you mentally project yourself into it and know just how it's going to go? I never once imagined the scenario that unfolded.

There we were in the beautiful Le Pavillon hotel with snacks and books and music and plenty of room to curl up and read. I planned to sign until midnight, hang out with you all, stroll around, try to pull an all nighter, then go right to the discussions.

Unfortunately on the flight down last Friday I sat with a group of people who were sick. They were throwing up and talking about having come back from some exotic country. I figured they had food poisoning and never gave it another thought. Until two hours before my signing Monday afternoon I began running a fever and started getting sick, too. I was flabbergasted. I was horrified. I sat on my bed and thought this can't be happening, I've been through a lot in the past few years but I just don't have the strength to get through eight hours of talking, signing and smiling while running out to throw up. I cried. Then I cleaned up and went to the signing and did my best.

It wasn't good enough. I only made it four hours. My wonderful team did everything they could to get me through it. I have very little memory of the event. I was running a fever and everything had the surreal quality of a dream.

But not dreamy enough that I don't remember the disappointment in your eyes. That's going to haunt me for a long time. After a few hours I knew I would barely be able to sign all the books so we had to get down to just a signature and no photos.

I have pictures in my mind of smiling faces that freeze, show a flash of total disappointment then quickly mask it.

You guys were amazing. You actually tried to make me feel better. And I was the one that let you down.

I was in bed by eighty-thirty Monday night, shivering, blankets over my head, sick as a dog. The next morning my doctor called in something to keep my stomach under control and I was able to do the discussions but not the way I'd hoped. I was supposed to fly back to Atlanta that night but had to delay my flight until I was well enough to travel.

I know how far many of you came to attend the event. I know how much time, effort and money you put into it. And I can’t believe I got sick! I can’t find a single gift in the lesson. Unless it’s this: I sat there, looking at you and I saw the disappointment in your eyes—then you turned back to your friends and were happy and laughing again—and it drove home for me what the Moning Maniac events are all about.

In the beginning we came together because of love of the books. But Monday night I realized that while we still get together around the books it’s not because of them, or me. It’s because of the magic you've made with your friendships and shared adventures. I had one of those moments where the universe goes still and you see your place in it, and it’s really very small, but a damn fine place to be.

I’m so sorry I wasn’t able to last for the whole signing. To those of you that didn’t get a full inscription and photos I can’t apologize enough. I feel terrible! I hope to make it up to you somehow in the future.

Karen

32 comments:

The Bondi Family said...

You know what this means, right?? It means we have to have another huge bash of a get together (summertime in NYC anyone??) where you have to be under quarantine for at least three days before the event. That way- no freaky weird foreign creepy crawlies!

So see- there IS a silver lining after all!

Scott Romanski said...

Sorry to hear that you got sick, Karen. I'm sure that everyone who attended completely understand.

Anonymous said...

You were great Karen! I was part of the last group to get signed & I could see in your face & eyes & body just how sick you were & how you were trying to keep it together. It was a pleasure meeting you & your staff was awesome handling the large crowds. Hope your feeling better & the book was everything I imagined. :)

Anonymous said...

Karen, are you absolutely certain it was disappointment that you saw? I rather think it was concern for you. People get sick and most people crawl into bed and stay there until they stop feeling weak as a noodle. When the news filtered down the line that you were very ill and valiantly insisted on trying to muscle through the signing; we looked at each other with concern for your health not disappointment. We trust your ethics and appreciation for us, your fans; you would never intentionally disappoint us. You look out for us and we look out for you!

Victoria said...

Karen, don't feel bad! We all love you and would rather you be healthy than have a signed book. You mean more to us than material items. And there really are a lot of great friendships that have formed through your message board. Some of those women are my best friends. And we all have you to thank for it because it was your wonderful talent that brought us all together. We love you, Karen. I hope you are feeling better and I am so sorry you had to get sick. I would say we should blame Murphy's Law, but maybe it would be more apropos to blame a certain character in Shadowfever. ;)

Eileen said...

Please Karen, don't feel bad at all! You had no control over getting sick and I can't believe you made it through at all now, knowing how sick you were. Trust me, everyone was so anxious to get their hands on ShadowFever and start reading that we barely noticed that something was amiss. Selfish, I know! I was afraid that I wouldn't even be able to wait in line for you to sign my book once I had it in my hands. ;) But I did because I wanted to thank you for the many hours of entertainment that I've gotten from the Fever series and the amazing times that I've had discussing it and reading theories on your forum, not to mention the great weekend that I had in New Orleans with my sister and my friends and all the Maniacs. Thanks for pushing through the signing when all you wanted to do was crawl into bed!

Cheryl R / dejapig said...

"It wasn't good enough"? Please Karen, never again use those words to describe yourself in any form or fashion...unless maybe your tap dancing is not up to par? ;-)

Of course you were severely disappointed that illness pruned back fulfilling your expectations of the event, but I don't know a single soul in attendance who was anything but 1) delighted to be there, and 2) greatly concerned for your health and well-being. May I suggest that in your fevered and delirious state you imagined disappointment IN you that was actually concern FOR you?

Healthy or not, you rocked our world...in NOLA, before NOLA, and if the stars align, for many more times after NOLA! Looking forward to the next Moning Maniacs gathering!

Sheila said...

Karen,
We are so glad you were able to hang in there as long as you did! There will be MORE books and MORE book signings! (please, please, please!). We'll have chances formore pix. Besides that, my buddy Geni might actually get to actually attend the next launch, instead of her stand in as Geni-on-a-stick! Btw, Geni-on-a-stick had a great time getting her dance on down at Bourbon Street! ;) ivemet some fantastic new friends thru your books. Thank you so much!
Sheila Beene, Team Josie

Angela said...

So sorry you got sick Karen! I can imagine how disappointing it was for you, after waiting 5 years for that event. I hope you're feeling better!

Denise said...

Karen, although I couldn't make it cuz of surgery, I am SURE all the moning maniacs understand! You have given us so much with your books, that time with you is just the cherry on top- nice to have, but not really the most vital part! Hope you are feeling better (btw, just to laugh, my husband was actually there at the Pavillon on business, knew how much I wanted to be there, and tried to get to see you but got to the bare just after you left!)

Bamafever said...

I have to agree with the others, NOT disappointment, but concern. My hats off to you for sticking it out as long as you did and making the signing at all. I only made it a few hours after the signing and had to stop and get motel for two days from being so sick myself. It was a wonderful experience so don't even worry on any of our accounts. Who can be upset, we get ------- grilling? ;0

Anonymous said...

Karen,
It breaks my heart to think you felt we were disappointed in you. That couldn't have been farther from the truth. I remember sitting there watching you as you tried so hard to make your fans happy knowing how bad you felt. Trust me we could tell how hard it was for you. I don't think I've ever really respected someone more in that moment. You were amazing to even try to give us what we wanted. The ironic thing is I did get food poisoning that weekend. I missed the vampire/ghost tour and hanging out with everyone at the Dungeon. I was so upset with myself. I had waited months for this mini vacation and I missed everything and so did my friend because she didn't want to leave me like that. Karen with the brief sadness I felt after a few months of looking forward to something I can't imagine how devastating it was for you. You must know this though....it wasn't disappointment IN you....it was disappointment FOR you. That I can PROMISE you!! Best wishes Karen. See you at the next event. :)
Natasha W.

Anonymous said...

This was my first book signing. I had the most wonderful time! Me and my two best friends attended and met some amazing people. I am so sorry you were ill. We had no idea and just kept talking about how kind and nice you were during our drive home. I am so hoping you decide to do something like this again! We had an amazing time! The book was everything I was hoping for. We had you a little gift and forgot it in the car (and didnt want to get out of line :)...) Stay well, get plenty of rest and relax - we need you well to keep us all entertained and on the edge of our seats! Misty

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry you were sick! What a disappointment for you. I agree with what someone else said that it wasn't disappointment but concern for those who were waiting in line to have book signed .

I agree with whoever suggested everyone getting together later this year in NYC in spring. It would be so much fun.

I loved Shadowfever and already looking forward to next book. I hope it's about Ryodan. Best wishes!

shetiggerr said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
shetiggerr said...

My friend Debbie and I had a great time in NOLA. So sorry you were sick! Unfortunately we can't always control our bodies. Even being sick you were very gracious and signed our books and our Kindles. We were not disappointed at all.

Lori

Anonymous said...

Karen, We all love you and it was certainly not disappointment that you saw in anyone's eyes...it was concern for you and your health and concern for how disappointed we knew that you were because you were sick...we all knew how much this past week meant to you and every Maniac there wanted that for you...YOU ARE OUR SHINNING STAR...never forget that for one minute...bonnie(bap7249)

EmbracingKatrina said...

I agree with everyone else here. We were disappointed...in the illness, not in you. I can't imagine how you pushed through the signing during that illness. I am grateful to have gotten your signature and to have been able to attend the discussion. Thank you!

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

How sweet are you to worry about everyone else! Looks like you need not to have worried. Get healthy and be happy that everyone enjoyed themselves.

Phil said...

Dissapointed fans? Stop it. Now. Bad Author! Bad! Five years---five years you slave away and grind and work and fight to satisfy your fans--no, not just satisfy, but give them the best and most intense personal experience they will ever have. Five years you refuse to compromise your artistic vision, even refusing piles of money to reveal pieces of your work, so that your fans will have the ultimate reveal together, so we can share the passion in a blazing conflagration of love and togetherness.

You can feel a bit sad that you were unwell on the day; you can feel disappointed that you didn't get to hang out with the ladies all night, but don't you dare apologize for not giving all that the fans wanted. Don't. You. Dare.

You give love. You share Neil's amazing time and talent. You have changed hundreds--thousands--of lives. You created the Masterpiece everyone wanted. I know authors. I know authors who don't give a rats petunia once "The End" is typed and the check clears. Those authors don't inspire the all-out, above and beyond dedication that you do. Remember that, and enjoy the afterglow.

You are OUR dirty dreams, Karen. And we would do anything for you because you inspire us with what you give first. Lesson over. Drink wine now.

Anonymous said...

I really hope you are feeling better Karen. I had tears in my eyes reading your apology; you really are eloquent. I would never wish that situation on anyone let alone one of my favourite authors, but you made me feel a little better. I was feeling depressed because I couldn't afford to join you in NOLA, but I would have been so disappointed if I had and(through no fault of your own)you weren't able to spend any time with the Moning Maniacs. Now, I can hope for another book signing/discussion that I will perhaps be able to attend. I'm sure your fans who attended enjoyed their time in New Orleans. God bless and keep you in good health. P.S. Please keep writing the Highlander books. (Pretty please, with a cherry on top!)- Donna L.K.

Victoria Lynne said...

Darling Karen, listen to Phil. And everyone else who's trying to tell you the same thing.

Here's the gift in this problem--you are the catalyst who has brought together members of a very large family, a family not born of the same blood, but of respect and joy in one another. (And I know damn well you know where I poached that from). We love you for it. That family was grieving for you and your experience in NOLA even as we celebrated the end of this particular journey. And we've spent the week since consoling each other that the geographic distance that separates us all from one another is at least eased a bit by the wonders of the Internet, of your boards, and Facebook and texts and cell phones. This is what you've created, over and beyond the writing of a few books.

I've been to dozens of conferences and events for both work and play. I've learned and grown from those events, but I've never come home from them with additions to my soul. From Fevercon and now from NOLA, I've gained heart-sisters (and yes, a brother in Phil--LOL!) I never could have imagined such a thing. And I know I'm not alone in feeling this way.

You, m'lady, are the Alpha and Omega of all this. Believe me, any disappointment I felt was in being helpless to wave a wand and fix it all for you.

I'm so glad you're feeling better. Big hugs!

--VictoriaP

Sara said...

So sorry you were sick, Karen. Sounds like a nasty bug. I can't imagine how you made it as long as you did, feeling as bad as that. I agree with everyone else, I'm sure people were disappointed and concerned for you and not with you. I hope you're feeling much better. (((Hugs)))

Melissa said...

Being one of the people at the event I will say I was NOT disappointed. You looked feverish but were amazing! Through it all you chatted with us as you signed, you smiled at us and for me, even commented on my necklace. FOR ME, again, it ...was as much about meeting others, sharing the conclusion of Mac and Barrons journey but also about meeting you and seeing the brilliant mind that created this wonderful journey. Some may be disappointed but I was not and look forward to the next book signing in NOLA!! Your team was also great and Leiha was wonderful and direct, LOL, as she guided you through the hallways to get the 15 minute breaks you needed. You were there for the Q&A on Tuesday morning and that also was WONDERFUL and enlightening!! ;)

Kate Midkiff said...

Oh, this makes me want to cry. I can understand your disappointment. And yes, I can also understand the disappointment of those who didn't get the full experience they hoped for. That said, this situation was beyond your control. We all know you didn't plan it and that you certainly didn't want it. The fact that you endured so long--with a smile on your face--speaks volumes. You give so much of yourself beyond the writing. Granted, we're spoiled and we love all you do, but it's icing on the cake.

You mentioned fans turning to their friends and laughing. What a gift! I had the opportunity to go to FeverCon. I knew no one and had a room by myself. It was fine. I was excited about the discussions and meeting people who knew the books as well as me. I left with a new, AMAZING group of friends. I've kept in touch with all of them. We've laughed and been silly. We've cried and helped each other through difficulties. I still can't believe I met them only a few short months ago. When I went to NOLA, I had three roommates. It felt like a junior high slumber party--so much fun. We read and laughed and shooshed each other. We dog-eared pages, so when we were all caught up, we could discuss a particularly funny or poignant moment. I have you to thank for these memories. And I'm not alone.

So, while I hate that you were sick, and that you feel so awful about the way things went, I mostly feel thankful. Thank you for providing wonderful stories with incredible characters. Thank you for introducing me to my new friends.

And I thought Shadowfever was FANTASTIC!

Anonymous said...

I know you were disappointed that it didn't turn out as you planned. But that's life. You could have just stayed in bed. Instead, you signed all our books and answered our questions. Your energy was amazing. And you gave us the book which was even better than I imagined. So we had fun and your staff out did themselves to make that happen. I was more worried about you. But I agree with the Bondi Family- this means we have to get together for another bash to celebrate the book when you are in perfect health. Hey, we can even have a PJ party and reread the book. You have nothing to feel guilty about- at least not concerning the book signing in New Orleans.

Libby Ann S. said...

aww *hugs* Karen. Hope you're feeling 100 % now. I wasn't there, but I can imagine how hard it must've been sick and trying your best. You tried, that counts for something. I'm sure the ladies understood. We love you. :)

I'm surprised more people didn't get sick. There's a bug going around. I mean, really going AROUND. I have friends on the other side of the world who were sick as a dog and hurling left and right.

Ellen Sandberg said...

For some reason, my comments at 1:44 went down as anonymous. Let me just add, I agree with Phil as well. You did a great job with the books. The care you take and the concern you have of your fans is amazing. I was only disappointed that you didn't have the time you hoped for. I hope you are feeling much better now. And I am still on board with the Bondi Family suggestion.

Anonymous said...

Karen: Thank you for an AMAZING book it was truly a miracle: it exceeded any expectations I had. I love Mac, but Barrons was such a gift!! Thank you for New Orleans and le Pavillon...and bringing together the Moning Maniacs, such a pleasure meeting others who were as obsessed as I was with the Fever Series. You are an awesome writer, my favorite and it was such a pleasure meeting you, and getting a chance to hear your comments and getting a chance to ask questions. It was a wonderful time, and I can't wait to have the chance to do it again with your future books. So relax, and basque in the love of your work that we all have.

Toni said...

Don't even sweat it! None of us were disappointed in you at all! You did the best you could and the effort you made was 100 times bigger than what most of us would have done in your situation. We all get sick... and you had a major bug attacking you! Don't be so hard on yourself. You are amazing!

Anonymous said...

I was another with tears in my eyes reading the apology. How can you thing that we were disappointed? I was in one of the earlier groups that went in and you did the best anyone in that position would do. I was sick also but had the best time at my first signing ever. I am so glad you chose NOLA for the signing. I and my sister are two people who were sooo not disappointed. Vette

Anonymous said...

Karen, you are one of the sweetest people to beat yourself up over this so much, but I have an inkling how you feel. I'm so glad you realize that your gatherings have become so much MORE. Sadly, I missed this one. I had my reservations and plans all down. It was to be my first and I was bringing my daughter-in-law who I have hooked on your books, but I had to cancel a couple of weeks before. I didn't cancel my order with Octavia though and I received my 3 books signed by you yesterday! They are gorgeous! I don't know if you signed them while you were still sick. I hope you waited until you felt a bit better as I REALLY know what it feels like to suffer through something for those you care about. Either way, your signature in this special book means all the more for knowing about your NOLA experience. It will be alright. As others have already said, this means we have to do it again. Hopefully my plans won't fall through next time so I can finally meet you! KiaG