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Wet Noodle Posse | Blog

Monday, May 08, 2006

How I Got Jennifer Crusie’s New Book

by Jenna Ness

I never buy in hardcover. I’m just too cheap to spend over twenty bucks on a book that I might not even like. But when I heard about Jennifer Crusie’s new adventure-romance Don’t Look Down, which she co-wrote with thriller writer Bob Mayer, I knew I had to make an exception of major proportions.

Jennifer Crusie is my all-time favorite author. Her stories are witty, warm and wise. That plus guns and alligators in a swamp, with a sexy former Green Beret? That wasn’t a risk – that was a sure thing. I decided to not only buy the book, but to go to the Desert Dreams conference in Arizona so that I could get it autographed. Perfect plan, right?

Not quite.

First problem: the Chaparral Suites hotel in Scottsdale, where the conference was being held, had a free cocktail reception every night. Free rum punch beneath the palm trees and desert blue sky! For the first time since the birth of my toddler, I had a whole weekend to myself, and as soon as the day’s workshops were over I headed for the bar. I got a rum punch for me, one for my roommate, and headed back to the room to take a much-needed nap.

Totally forgetting the booksigning. Aggggghhh!

The next day, I attended Jennifer Crusie’s morning workshop with Bob Mayer and was still kicking myself. But by some miracle, as I was checking out of the hotel and back to my regular, rum-punch-free life, I saw Jennifer Crusie. I went over to talk to her, and was completely blown away by how generous, funny, warm and enthusiastic she is.

Turns out they’d sold out of Don’t Look Down almost immediately at the booksigning the day before, so I felt a little less stupid about missing it. And I got something else – a photograph with Jennifer Crusie!! (Oh my God!!!!)

Once I was back home, I packed up my fourteen-month-old and drove to Barnes & Noble. There was the book, stacked right in the front with the other bestsellers! I snatched it up, savoring the feel of it in my hands. After eight months of longing, Don’t Look Down was MINE! I paid for it and hurried outside to pack up my Jeep Liberty so I could head home.

As I buckled my baby in her car seat, she was fussing and reaching for my car keys. I gave them to her and closed the door to put the stroller in the back.

Can you say stupidest mom of all time?

The instant I closed the door, I heard an ominous beep.

Clara had locked me out of the truck!

Panicking, I pressed my face against the window. “Press the other button, Clara! The unlock button!”

She tilted her head at me, puzzled. Then obligingly tried to fulfill my request and hit the lock button again.

Frantically, I tried to give her instructions about pressing the other button. Laughing at the game, she tried to hand me the keys, pushing them against the glass. “No, Clara! Keep the keys! The button!”

After awhile, she lost interest in the game. Especially since boring old mom wouldn’t even open the door to properly play. As if in slow motion, I saw her drop the keys to the floor. “Noooooo!!”

My diaper bag was on the passenger seat, leaving me without money or a cell phone. I had no choice but to leave my baby alone in the car while I ran inside Barnes & Noble. The sympathetic clerk handed me a phone and a phone book. Normally, I would have called my husband, but he’d just broken his ankle and couldn’t drive. It was like a perfect storm of tough breaks. I finally got the bright idea of calling a locksmith.

“My baby is trapped in the car! Please hurry!” I begged.

I went back outside to the car to wait. Clara was now howling, tears streaking her little face, and there was nothing I could do but lean my head against the window and try not to cry with her.

Several people stopped to offer help, including a kindly older gentleman who was heading into B&N with his young granddaughter. He offered to use a wire clothes hanger to break into my car if the locksmith didn’t come soon. I was seriously considering his offer when the locksmith’s van pulled into the lot. He’d made it there in a record ten minutes, and two minutes later, Clara was free and in my arms.

So here’s the breakdown of costs in acquiring Jennifer Crusie’s new book:

Airfare to Arizona: $320

Hotel plus conference fee: $410

Locksmith cost: $40

Plus “thankyouthankyouohthankyou” tip: $20

Book at Barnes & Noble, minus 20% “bestselling hardcover” discount: $20.96

So all in all, the total cost of getting Don’t Look Down was $810.96. And now, having read it, I’ve just gotta say . . .

. . . it was so, so worth it.


At 1:23 AM, Blogger Prisakiss said...

Jenna, your post was too funny. As a mom with three daughters, I completely sympathize with the "in hindsight, would I have done that?" mentality. :-)

Glad to know Clara is no worse for the wear, and that Jenny Crusie's book is a "keeper". 'Cause your story is priceless!


At 9:54 AM, Blogger Colleen Gleason said...

Oh, Jenna!!! That was priceless, but how horrible for you!!

Enjoy the Crusie book! I love her stuff, and it's on my TBR pile too!

(And Pris, aren't you supposed to be on your way to the Bahamas???)

At 1:19 PM, Blogger Karen said...


Too funny. Please give Clara a kiss for me.

I've only locked the keys in the car one time. It's an experience I don't want to repeat!


At 3:02 PM, Blogger Trish Milburn said...

Oh, Jenna! This happened to my niece one time when she was a baby and my BIL locked her in the car. She was howling, poor baby.

But your posts are always so excellent. Very entertaining.

At 4:42 PM, Blogger Diane Perkins said...

You tell a great story, Jenna. The part I liked best was the "thankyouthankyouthankyou tip" Ever thought about being a writer (g)???
You poor thing!!! Poor Clara!!!

At 7:33 PM, Blogger bridget said...

Jenna! Another fabulous post. I laughed, I cringed...Hope you send Ms. Cruisie the link; I don't know her, but I bet she'd love it!

At 5:01 PM, Blogger Tori Scott said...

Jenna, I totally sympathize with you. As the mom of four, I've ended up with my kids locked in the car a time or two, once with the engine running and I was terrified one of the kids would get the bright idea of climbing into the front seat and putting the car in gear.

Glad to know the book was worth it in the end. Gotta get my hands on a copy.

At 10:29 PM, Blogger Jennie Lucas said...

Thanks, Pris, Colleen, Karen, Trish, Diane and Bridget! And Pam -- *shudder* at the thought of kids driving away in a running car and being locked out --- aaaaahhhh!!! At least I knew that Clara was safe, even though she was miserable.

I'll never make that mistake again of giving her my car keys and shutting the door. That was just world-class brainless!!!

At 8:27 AM, Blogger Tori Scott said...

Jenna, my propensity for locking myself out of my car is the reason I now own a car with a keypad on the door. Even if I lock my keys inside, I can still get in. But after the locked running car incident, I got one of those magnetic key holders and stuck a spare under the bumper!

At 11:43 AM, Blogger dee said...

As a huge Crusie fan, I can totally understand this.
I agree, you should post a link to this on her He Wrote/She Wrote blog. She'd probably give you a big "Poor Baby", and you KNOW how cool THAt would be!

So so glad the baby is none the worse for the experience.

At 3:17 PM, Blogger Cherry Red said...

Hi Jenna,

Poor Baby! What a great story. Poor little Clara, though.

I seldom buy in hardcover either, but I too make an exception for Jenny. DLD is a great read.

Dani posted the link in JCF (Jennifer Crusie Fans). I think you're about to get inundated with cherries. I see Dee's already beat me here. :)


At 4:02 PM, Blogger Jennie Lucas said...

Hey, Dee and Kim! Fun to have a couple of the world-famous (or at least RWA-famous) Cherries stop by! And Dee, you're so kind to suggest I post the link on the He Wrote/She Wrote blog, but I'm feeling a wee bit too intimidated for that. Me, post something on Jennifer Crusie's own blog? *cough* Maybe I'll get up the courage later. =)


At 9:14 PM, Blogger bridget said...

Jenna, noodle thwacks! You go post it, girl! Don't I recall someone blogging in these pages about "I dare you"?

wink, smooch.


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