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  • Writer's picturePeter Sexton

getting the hang of this

Authors: James Francis Gray, Peter Sexton, and Sheila Lowe.
Authors: James Francis Gray, Peter Sexton, and Sheila Lowe.

Thursday, May 3, was the Latino Business Expo at Seaside Park in Ventura, CA. It was my first time at this event, invited by my friends and fellow writers, James Gray and Sheila Lowe. I have to admit, navigating these events is still a little strange for me. While I'm not frightened by the thought of public appearances, they aren't something I usually go out looking for. I'm a writer, I'm happiest at my desk, either typing away at my computer (like I'm doing now), or putting fountain pen to paper and doing a little writing freehand. But I'm not Stephen King or Dean Koontz or Michael Connelly, these books aren't going to sell themselves. So I need to put myself out there to meet future readers.

Superman with my book.

Like Superman, here. I'm told he thinks Shelter From the Storm is "the cat's meow." Those were his words, not mine. Well, okay, they were mine. But I'm pretty sure that's what he would have said if he actually talked. In truth, Superman was just such an awesome dog that I wanted to have a picture of him with my book.

I think the most exciting part of events like this for me is that moment when I've just convinced a future reader to buy my book. It's a high like no other I've ever felt, when an absolute stranger says, "I'll take it." Or, like the one young lady who stood at the table and read two-and-a-half pages and then looked up and asked: "Do you take plastic?" with an excitement in her voice that almost brought tears of joy to my eyes. I've said it before, the best part of writing for me is having an audience for my work. I think it's like when you go somewhere special, like a museum or historical monument . . . if you go alone, it's simply something that you've done. But if you go with someone else . . . well now it's a cherished memory. You know what I mean? For me, that's what writing is like. I love writing for myself. I enjoy my stories, even though every single time I read one, no matter how "final" it is, I always find things I want to change and improve. But when they're read by others, especially strangers, who subsequently tell me how much they've enjoyed them, now I've moved the story or book into the realm of cherished memory.

Me with Jim Slazer

As it turns out, not only was this my first Latino Business Expo, it was the first time for Jim Salzer, as well. I've been a customer of Jim's for decades, both in his record store and his video store. So when I saw him walking by I had to say hello and take advantage of the photo op. Of course, standing next to Jim illustrates just how short I am. Ha ha!

I met a lot of new people here, and made a few new friends. This was my third event (the second most successful), and I wish I could say that it's easy and a total piece of cake. But that would be a lie. Put me in my cave with a notebook and one of my fountain pens, or at my desk with my computer, and I'm in my zone. But sitting (or standing) behind a table with my books stacked on it, hoping that the stack is significantly smaller before I pack up to go home ... that still scares the crap out of me. I guess I'm just pretty good at hiding it. Oh, and the bar was behind us on the right. :-)

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