Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Rowdy Ladies: Signing books and having the time of our lives

Me at a booksigning, laughing, getting rowdy. Observe the man in the background, trying desperately to keep his mind on what he's doing despite the commotion.

by Mary Margret Daughtridge

I had another blog on the subject of humor all written, but this was too good a story not to share.

I don't have a group shot of us but picture a group of women, all shall we say post-mature, but only one whose hair has been allowed to gray. Pictured are the publisher of a monthly wellness newspaper, a physician, the owner of a car dealership, a neurofeedback therapist, and me, a novelist.

One time I arrived late at the upscale restaurant where I was meeting them for dinner. “You made it! Did you have any trouble finding us?” they wanted to know as they scooted over to make room for me at the table in the large dining room.

“Not a bit." I shook open my napkin. "When I got here, I realized I didn’t know what name the reservation was in, and I couldn’t think of how to describe you, so I just asked the hostess, ‘Have you got a table with a bunch of rowdy ladies at it?’ She led me straight to y’all.”

They all laughed. Rowdily. Rowdy ladies we are, and Rowdy Ladies we dubbed ourselves.

Singly we sometimes behave ourselves, but together we are not quiet. We went to the opening of “Mama Mia.” At the end as the credits rolled, we led the audience in a sing-along. Having the time of our lives!

They think having a writer of sexy novels in the group is the coolest thing. I often try out ideas for sex scenes on them—these women blush at nothing—but I also depend on their expertise in more mundane areas.

Before I ever wrote the first word, they helped me hammer out the premise of SEALed with a Ring, and they each were resources I could take various scenarios to and ask, “Could this really happen this way?”

I couldn’t have written it without their help. I thanked them all by name in the acknowledgements for SEALed with a Ring. In particular I thanked Elva, a larger than life, black-haired, buxom beauty. It’s her knowledge of how to run a car dealership that fleshes out the character of the heroine, JJ.

The Rowdy Ladies get together for dinner every couple of months, and I saw them last Saturday night.

After we were served, Elva spoke up. “Oh Mary Margret, I showed my girlfriend where my name was in

your book. She was so excited she went out and bought twenty-one copies. She bought up every one around here and had to go all the way to Roanoke to find the rest.”

Wow, I’m thinking, twenty-one copies. What a salesperson Elva is! She must have convinced her friend the book is something special.

“Why twenty-one exactly?” Julie the newspaper publisher—who thinks in terms of circulation— asked.

“She’s going to give them to her friends as presents…” Elva inserted her trademark belly laugh “…and she wanted me to sign them.”

“Seriously? You mean, she wanted you to autograph them?”

“Yep.” Grinning, Elva acknowledged the chuckles around the table, and then went on. “I thought to myself, if this is my fifteen minutes of fame, I'm going for it. So I did it. I signed them all!”

Much as I love a bon mot, much as I enjoy witty ripostes, this is the kind of humor I like best. The kind based on good times, good friends, and a rich appreciation of character.

Probably not the kind that will make you laugh out loud, or laugh long. But hopefully the kind that will bring a smile to your face. A smile that lingers, a smile that sweetens the rest of your day.

So what are you doing, who are you with, when you're having the time of your life?


  1. Great post, MM!

    I have to say that kids say and do the darnedest things. From the mouths of babes...embarrassing and funny. We had a carpenter working on our house who had shoulder length hair one time. In OK, most men kept their hair short, so it wasn't usual to see long-haired men. My young daughter asked him, "Why is your hair so long?"
    "Because I'm a girl," he said back.
    Her eyes widened. "No you aren't," she replied, very serious like.
    :) I raised smart kids. :)

  2. You know those friends you've known for years and you might not see them for months and then when you get together it's like no time at all has passed? That's when I have the time of my life. I've even been a little rowdy now and then. Yes, there might have been cocktails involved...

  3. Sounds like the Rowdy Girls have a great time together, MM, and are very supportive of each other. Thanks for sharing them!

  4. Mary Margret, the photo of you laughing is fantastic! I have only seen your serious professional photo, and since I know how loose and funny you are, it is a treat to see you as the "real" Mary Margret. I will carry that image with me now :)

    Yes indeed, our friends are the best. My sister is my best friend, and I also have several best friends who aren't sisters in blood but are in my heart. They keep me sane and keep me laughing. Thanks for sharing that.

    My daughter, who works at Target, has checked my novel out many times and loves the response of the buyer when she says her mother wrote it. The best was the lady who after getting over her unbelief (Emily's co-worker had to verify!), she asked Emily to sign it! Emily was so stunned, but the lady insisted so she did, and to this day I think that is her highlight of my whole writing experience. :)

  5. Oh, by "loose" I meant as in "carefree" and "friendly" - but if the other definition applies, you can keep that as a hidden secret for only those women friends of yours to know for sure. ;-)

  6. I was at a writers conference this weekend having the time of my life with other writers, my agent, and my critique partners. There are days when my CPs and I laugh so hard, it's difficult to breathe.

    It's the same with my family and friends. My life is blessedly full of laughter. I can't imagine it any other way.

  7. Looks like a lot of fun!

    Or as an author friend of mine said at a group book signing last year..."Put a bunch of authors in a box of rocks and a good time will be had by all."


  8. Terry,
    I adore kid-sayings. And so often, they are asking the very thing everyone else would like the answer to. :-)

  9. Shana, I do know those kinds of friends and they are the very best!

  10. Kathryne,

    Glad you could see how supportive they are even though I didn't dwell on that. I'm blessed by their friendship.

  11. Sharon,

    Glad you liked the pix. It's probably closer to representing the real me. Anyway it seemed appropriate for the topic. People heard the commotion and came from all over the store.

    I loved that Emily was also forced to autograph your book! Now I wonder if it's a more common occurrence than I thought?

  12. Robin,

    Having the time of your life with writing friends--oh my!

    If I'd known how much fun hanging out with romance writers could be, I'd have done this years ago.

  13. Ash,

    Just had lunch with two writer-friends. One is a volcano-stranded Brit. We had a blast. (Although I must tell you, they were much better behaved than the Rowdy Ladies--but then, almost everyone is.)

  14. Love the idea of the friend signing the books!

    One of my critique partners ended up getting published before me. When she was researching her book, I connected her with a friend of mine who sent her a few emails to help with minor story details. When the book came out, my friend was tickled to death to be named in the acknowledgments -- even though she'd never actually met my critique partner.

    Give those rowdy ladies a hug from my own pack of rowdy ladies here in Oregon!


  15. Mostly, I'm with my friends at work. To offset the often grim circumstances in the ICU, we find humor wherever we can. Laughter truly is the best medicine!

  16. Thanks for sharing such fun good times, and making me smile.

  17. Ah, MM, how great is that - to have a support group like this AND to be able to share the fun with them!

    Gotta love 21 copies sold!

  18. These are all such great stories :) I know I get incredibly excited (and humbled) when you lovely ladies put me in your acknowledgements! Same goes with Deb and Dom--we're always so surprised!

    As to when I'm having the time of my life: it's two different times; when I'm surrounded by those I love and trust, and sometimes, when I'm completely alone with just a good book or my notebook!