Suzanne Kleid is invincible. She writes for McSweeny’s and blogs about lit on Bay Area PBS Station KQED’s website. She has a day job slinging books. Seeing her selling Bukowski to British tourists, you wouldn’t think that she was one badassed SOB, but she is. At Book Expo America last weekend, I, Count Dante, The Deadliest Man Alive no less, applied a devastating chokehold to her and look... She laughs—not even fazed by the expertly applied submission! She’s no-selling the move just like The Undertaker!
Count Dante's most dangerous hold is no match for Suzanne Kleid, bookseller.
I was in LA for Book Expo America last weekend. I stood at the ECW Press booth at the LA Convention Center in full Dante drag on Saturday morning and applied chokeholds and full nelsons to bewildered booksellers and hapless librarians. You can see several pics of my path of destruction by clicking here for ECW’s Picasa gallery of the event. But after terrorizing all those who dared to stray through the Independent Publisher’s Group (my book’s distributor) section of the convention, the tables were turned on me by Claire Thompson of Turnaround Publishing Services, who cranked on this extremely painful arm bar on yours truly...
That's gotta hurt!
After I was done hawking Beer, Blood and Cornmeal to the entire North American literary community, I surrendered the ECW booth to Edward Winterhalder, celebrity biker and author of The Assimilation from ECW Press. Winterhalder had the most amazing pitch line ever. "Do you know any Harley riders?" he'd ask every book dealer who passed by. "Do you want to make them owe you for the rest of their lives?" This line worked every time. He just had the charisma. He drew people to him and gave away every last one of his books while me, with all of my expert grappling, only managed to move about half of mine. Winterhalder's got the hustle. You (and I) could really learn a lot from him. I was in awe.
BEA also gave me the chance to finally meet some people from ECW Press who, up until now, have only been voices on the phone. I got to hang out with Simon Ware, ECW Press Publicity Director, who's done a smash up job handling BBAC's media relations. I also met ECW co-publisher Jack David, who really did a lot for me by giving the green light to my weird wrestling memoir. If I didn't say it enough times this weekend, thanks Jack. Here's a shot of me, Winterhalder and Ware. One is a biker from Oklahoma and the other's a literary publicist from Canada. Can you guess which one?
One of these guys works at a publishing house.
After standing around and meeting book people all day, I strolled over to the Pantry on 9th and Figueroa for an open-faced beef sandwich. This was the same sandwich that I ate at 3am the morning before getting my ass handed to me in the only Gracie Jiu-Jitsu tournament I ever entered. What was I thinking. That Pantry sure makes a good gravy smothered beef sandwich though. It's worth the agony of defeat, but on Saturday it just tasted like... Victory.