The Moment I Realized I Wasn’t A Star: My first signing at Book Expo America saw me signing 200 copies of The Thin Pink Line. But my second signing on the next day? I was in the – blare of trumpets heralding important capitalization! – Main Autographing Area. For those who haven’t been to BEA, this section is reserved for big-name authors, big-deal books and celebrities. Since I had a table there, I really was A Big Cheese now...right? Well, not exactly. There were about 50 people in line for me to sign their books. Fifty is a respectable number, right? On almost any scale, it would be, except for one thing: at the table to my left sat Al Franken. (He wasn’t yet U.S. Senator Al Franken back then, but rather, comedian/celebrity/author Al Franken.) Mr. Franken’s line? It stretched out across the hall, as far as the eye could see. I spent the next half hour signing books for my Respectable 50, laughing and talking with them all the while. [Note to anyone autographing books: smile, be personable, make people glad they came; you are not doing them a favor just by sitting there.] When I was done with my Respectable 50, though, I still had a half hour left before my signing time was up. What to do...what to do... I leaned across the space between myself and Al Franken, and said, “Hey, Al, how about helping a girl out here?” Then I indicated the difference between my lack of a line and his overabundant one. Recovering fairly quickly from his shock, Mr. Franken grabbed a copy of my book and held it up high, shouting to his line, “When you’re done here, go get a copy of” – pause while he squinted at the cover – “The Thin Pink Line.” The woman waiting next in line for Al’s attentions cast adoring doe eyes on him as she asked, “Oh, Al, is The Thin Pink Line really that good?”; to which Mr. Franken replied, “How the hell should I know? I never read the thing.” And yet, many people from his line did come over to my table when they were done with him. At the end of my hour, I reached across the aisle once more, this time with my hand held out for a shake as I said, “Good luck with your career – I think you’ll do fine.” I’ll never be a star anywhere outside of my own tiny little mind, but I do know how to make the most of things; it’s never the stuff that happens to you in life but what you do with that stuff.