I’ve met many authors over the years. Most of them are great. Some have disappeared over the years. Others, well, let’s not speak ill of the others.
I posted some time ago on my YouTube channel about the time I met Neil Gaiman. It was a great meeting and I’d gotten a couple of things signed by him. It was a good time.
I’ve also had many books signed by authors I’m close, personal friends with.
Then there’s another category of author I’ve met, they’re friendly, and I support them either by buying their books, following them on Social Media, or I may even support them on Patreon. One author I support there is Tobias Buckell. If you enjoy short fiction, he puts out a short story a month over there and it’s well worth your support.
I’d met Tobias at Mysterious Galaxy in San Diego in 2016 when his book, Arctic Rising came out. I’d enjoyed his Crystal Rain series and figured I’d go meet him, buy his new book, and get a few seconds to say hello. He may not remember me, but I do remember him.
Now, I’d never met Tobias before. I’d never seen a picture of him before. I didn’t know who he was. When I got to the store, as I do, I bought a copy of the book. At the register was a many in the floppy had talking with the person behind the register. They stopped talking. I said I was there to see Tobias and I’d like to buy his book to show my support. The man in the floppy hat said “He really likes it when people buy his books.”
I didn’t know who this person was and didn’t respond. I can be awkward in situations like this when someone is making a joke. I looked at the person trying to ascertain his intent. Decided not to respond. Bought the book and went and took a seat in the store.
It wasn’t until Tobias came to stand in front of the crowd to talk that I realized it was the person in the floppy hat. I’d missed an opportunity to speak personally for more than one minute, with Tobias. When you get something signed, you rarely get more than a few seconds or a minute as they’re there to meet as many people as possible and you don’t want to hold up the line. I took a moment to apologize for not recognizing him at the door and he took it well. We joked, he signed my book. I went home happy.
Fast forward a few years.
When we rearranged the living room the last time, I put several of my autographed books on a shelf in the living room. I’m proud to own those books and having met those authors. Why not put them out instead of putting them into a box in the garage? I’m not collecting these to hide away. Right?
When we took our trip to Florida, Hijo (My Favorite Daughter’s boy) house sat for us. He brought over his puppy, Mya. A Heeler, Sheppard mix. Koda was also here. Koda sleeps when no one is in the house. Mya? She’s on the move 90% of the time. Even at night. She’s inside. She’s outside. She’s getting into trouble. When Hijo was in the house, all was well.
I think you know where this is going.
Mya got herself into trouble a few times when Hijo had to go to work. One time she tore up a small section of carpet. Another time she ate the welcome mat at the back door. One time she took a few books off the shelf and proceeded to reduce them to far smaller sections.
One of those titles was Arctic Rising by Tobias Buckell.
Now, I don’t monitor that shelf with any regularity. It did seem there was something missing from that shelf, but we’d rearranged recently and I figured I was missing something. Hijo felt TERRIBLE for signed books getting destroyed and, though he’d told us about all the other mishaps Mya had, he didn’t say anything about the books.
Hijo reached out to the authors to let them know what happened and ask if there was any way he could purchase a replacement copy and have it autographed. Two of the authors I follow on Social Media, but they’ve disappeared some time ago. Another was Neil Gaiman and I doubt a reply will be forthcoming. The last author, if you haven’t guessed, was Tobias Buckell.
One author replied and sent along a signed copy. Hijo had taken a picture of the signature and note in the book, and Tobias signed with the same note.
Thank you Tobias!
Mishaps happen. I’m not angry this happened. I wasn’t angry when a week after we returned, Mya went back to that same shelf and tore the dust jackets off 4 of my GFL novels by Scott Sigler (which Scott and A have generously said they will replace for me. Another awesome author you should be following). Since this happened and given that we’ve a new puppy in the house, we’ve moved things to where the dogs can’t get to them. Though I’m not upset, I’d prefer it not happen again.
Again, Tobias, thank you so much for replacing the book for me. As I said above, you might not remember me, but I do remember you. I wish I’d taken your joke better and spent a few minutes to get to know you. Hopefully there will be another time.