First of all, let me assure you that I did not come up with that moniker, but it is what I am known by to all my wife’s fans. She even has a blog about it (thanks, honey). You see, my wife is internationally best-selling author, Maggie Adams. I’m very proud of her. She dared to make her dream come true. Not many have that courage. And her books appeal to men as well as women. But, back to the nickname—it happened a few years ago when I walked into her first book event and I began to get the furtive looks as I sat next to her. When someone asked if I was her cover model, she dubbed me attractive over forty man. She gets quite a kick out of it. Me, not so much, but I like to think I’m a good sport, and I love my wife, so I let it ride. After all, my real name is Ned. Ned Bugger. You can see why my wife chose a pen name, right?
So here I am, trying to be unobtrusive at yet another event. Why do I go? Because it’s my job, to my way of thinking. Let me be clear—I know my wife can handle the boxes, the set up, the tear down, and everything in between. I don’t want her to have to. I’m the chauffeur, the roadie, for lack of a better word, and the gopher for her and any other author that may need some help. Let me tell you, it’s work! Depending on the level of the event, it can be a few minutes or a few hours for setup. I make it easier on my wife so she can concentrate on the actual event. It’s my contribution to her craft, in a manner of speaking.
There is another reason I stick around. Truthfully, I get a kick out of watching my wife interact with her fans and author friends. I’ve noticed some authors who sit quietly, waiting for booklovers to show interest. Not my wife! She’s up, making eye contact, talking a mile a minute, her animated smiles drawing in strangers to her work. Her books are great, don’t get me wrong, but she is that first impression, and she knows it. She glows with pride and confidence when she talks about her books, making that connection with the booklover that I never could in a million years. People are instantly drawn to her. She swears it’s the chocolate candy she keeps on her table, but I know differently.
I don’t stay too long after the event starts, mainly because I’m useless at that point. I try to find places in the area in advance, so I can bide my time checking out the cities I’ve never been to. It’s helpful to have a car, but most larger cities have some sort of transportation system, and I look in advance of the event at what the city has to offer. I check in via cellphone at times to see if she needs something, then head back when I know the event is closing, to load up what’s left. This is usually a much easier job. Most folks are all-business at this point and want to head out to relax.
My wife isn’t too particular about events and venues. We’ve stayed at five-star hotels and sketchy motels, whatever is close to the venue. Part of the fun is checking out the local hotspots and eateries. I’ve heard some authors complain about hotel facilities, etc. in the past, so this is my advice—do a little investigation before you book. Just because the event is at a particular hotel doesn’t mean it will suit your needs. If I can find a hotel near a beach or lake, you can bet we’re staying there. It’s her job, but it’s my mini-vacation and I always take advantage of the amenities available. I’ve been to Kennedy Space Station, laid on a quiet beach, had a ghost tour at a castle, found a car show down a main street, and watched the cruise ships come into harbor.
Sometimes, I think I cramp her style a bit when it comes to author only gatherings, but she doesn’t seem to mind. I’ve been photographed for a blog’s “Silver Fox Saturday,” asked to be a cover model, and questioned about being in a Dominant/submissive relationship with my wife (I guess I have that look about me). I take it all in stride. I’ve even been a stand-in for the male in a book trailer. Like the title says, it’s an adventure. I’ve been lost for six hours trying to find a distillery in Tennessee, taught a quick lesson in how to properly set a table for tea to volunteers at an author tea party (thanks, Mom for the knowledge) and chased not once, but twice, flipflops that fell off my wife’s feet as she waded into the ocean.
I’ve also had to fend off advances to my wife. She’s been hugged, kissed, asked to sign a boob, expressed she was the “perfect package” by a woman who kept touching her jacket, and called “one hot mama” by a lady at the beach. The men gather as well, but only a few have taken it upon themselves to ask for a hug in my presence. Mostly, they want a picture. I’ve taken so many photographs of her with fans, I should have my own photography business. Again, it’s an adventure.
Now we’ve come to the after parties. Some are simply a gathering at a restaurant to have dinner and chat with the authors my wife hasn’t been able to greet. She loves to talk, so this takes a while. This is my favorite kind of after party. I grab a drink, find a place to sit, and let my wife chat the night away. My least favorite is the “theme” parties which seem to be all the rage now. If I possibly can, I avoid these at all costs. This is where the advanced planning comes in handy once again. My wife can dress up like a ‘80’s dancing queen if she wants, but I make sure we’re staying at the venue hotel so I can relax in our room, well away from Swatch watches and Scrunchies. It also helps to grab a room with a microwave, a mini fridge, and local food delivery options. It will probably be a late night.
Finally, there’s the send off festivities. Usually, it simply means a certain restaurant or the lobby where the authors, fans, and the rest of us gather to exchange one last hug and any info we forgot to impart during the weekend. Sometimes, this includes breakfast and a short Q & A session on things to do better next year or what the authors liked/disliked about the event. Then more hugs, wishes for a safe trip, etc. Have you noticed the pattern? My wife’s a hugger. I, however, am not. I load the bags and wait by the car. For however long it takes us to get home, I listen to my wife chat about the event, the sweet fans, and the photos taken that are already on social media, and eventually, she winds down and sleeps. Another successful adventure completed.
If you think I’m exaggerating, I invite you to see for yourself. If you were wondering where we will show up next, we will be at Writers on the River in E. Peoria, IL, on July 20th (there’s a casino in walking distance); Romance Rendezvous Book Blast in Cedar Falls, IA on Aug. 24th (new adventure I’m investigating now); Penned Con in St. Louis, MO on Sept. 12-14th (zoo, beer tour, Arch); and Show Me Your Books in Kansas City, MO on Sept. 19-21 (BBQ, bars, ballgame). I also know that we are heading to New Orleans, London Ontario, and possibly Chicago in 2020. It’s all one big book adventure for my wife. For me, I’m happy to be along for the ride.