Huzzah Hoover!

It started in Decatur.

A collection of attractive women approached me. That's usually a good beginning. By some random occurance of fate they'd decided to attend an early morning presentation of Dead Weight at the Decatur Book Festival. I told my little tales, remember engaging them eye to eye from the stage.

They came to the table where I was signing books, very few books, and asked if I'd come to Hoover for their Southern Voices conference. They mentioned money and expenses. I was there.

Later that night, with the clink of last call, we parted.

Five months later the plane landed in Birmingham. Jeremy picked me up at the gate. We drove to Hoover and a rather upscale hotel. My room was beautiful, there was a gift basket and wine. I thought there might be a mistake, perhaps I was getting the treatment reserved for the real authors like Emily Giffin. But she's blonde and looks better in heels (though as late night truths were told Neil White made a fabulous debut in dress at the Girlfriends Weekend in Texas).

I'd decided to attend the other presentations to be polite, but each was followed by another in a fascinating string, a synergy of authors (with one exception of the goof-ball pictured here).

Few, other than authors who experience these things in different incarnations, could really appreciate not only the thought and program of authors gathered, but the kindness and attention we received. Southern Voices was a perfect example of Southern Hospitality.

With a delightful dinner, we mingled and met our hosts. Then when all adults had retired, late in the night with the clink of last call, five authors raised their glasses in a salute to Hoover.