I agree with Einstein: time is relative.

I’m no scientist. I’m no brain expert.

But here’s what I think, time passes quickly when we’re happy and productive or involved in something meaningful. Joy makes us buoyant and time, therefore, becomes lighter and easier to move.

When we’re faced with something terrible or unpleasant, the opposite happens. We are weighed down by depressed thoughts or depressing situations. We feel every moment because the pain it causes is real and we cannot do anything else but live in it. Time slows because our focus is on the moment.

Today, (I started writing this on the first flight of the fall trade show season) Kiffer and I are heading to New Orleans for the Southern Independent Booksellers Tradeshow (SIBA). We’re leaving a couple of days before the exhibit portion of the show begins. We’re crossing time-zones. Neither of us has been to NOLA and I have a list of things and places to see and experience. Little did I know, that we would be spending most of our time in the convention center. NOLA sights and sounds will have to wait for another time.

It is important that we arrive ahead of the exhibit time because TWO of Chanticleer’s authors’ works have been selected for the prestigious SIBA events and everything must be PERFECT:

  • Bernard Mansheim, M.D.’s Somerset award-winning novel, A Doctor A Day was selected for the prestigious Moveable Feast event at SIBA
  • Gregory Erich Phillips’ Chanticleer Overall Grand Prize novel titled Love of Finished Years was selected for the prestigious  First 180 Days event for books that will be published in January 2018.

Those of you who do a lot of traveling know that your bag cannot weigh more than 50lbs or you pay a hefty price. We had 3 fifty-pound bags plus personal luggage to lug around between the two of us. Our bags easily weigh more than the allotted fifty pounds each. However, eventually, we discover that a $20 tip to the Skycap helps to “lighten” the load.

Bossy, Bertha, Betty, & Biff

And those of you who read books know that they tend to be heavy. We’re representing 25 Chanticleer Authors and because books look better with a partner, I’ve packed two of each title. You might think that’s fifty books, but you’d be wrong. Most of our authors have two or three titles coming with us. Do the math.

I drop Kiffer off at the departure deck at SeaTac with the bags and park my van in the garage. When I catch up to her, she’s at the Alaska counter unpacking the bags… One of the bags is overweight and shuffling of its contents is required. By the time we reconfigure, the agent has closed the counter and we have to move to the next aisle to check in.

This is how our tradeshow adventure begins.

We are learning things about ourselves and each other – things we didn’t know before. Kiffer has started calling the luggage by name:  Betty, Bertha, Bossy, Birdie, and Biscuit. I cannot drink McDonald’s coffee. I tried. I can’t. Kiffer thinks I’m a bit of a coffee diva. I guess I am. Kiffer has graciously upgraded our seats to premier economy class – which means more leg room for both of us tall gals and free drinks. She knows how to travel and I’m grateful. After everyone is clicked in and flight safety drill is given, we’re in the air. It will be six hours before we land. Six hours.

This is the first tradeshow of the season. There will be three more plus auxiliary shows.

Sharon Anderson, Editor in Chief of Reviews; Gregory Phillips, a Chanticleer Grand Prize Winner; Josh Floyd of Ingram.

NOLA is sultry. It’s a city that beckons the visitor to ease on in and sit for awhile. It hits the high notes of the most compelling song and doesn’t judge anyone for anything. The police ride horses whose backs are as tall as my minivan back home. It’s a different world. I love the vibe and the beignets – the coffee and the company.

Beignets from Cafe du Monde, NOLA

In N’Orleans, all you have to do is pause for a second and someone will be around to chat you up on how your day is going and if you like the city they call home. It’s very Southern and for me, a Northwest native, it’s lovely. To Kiffer, well, being from the South, I can tell she’s feeling her roots as we venture from one restaurant to another looking for the perfect hush-puppy.


We’re off to Portland, OR next for the Pacific Northwest Independent Booksellers Tradeshow where two Chanticleer authors’ books were selected for the BUZZ BOOKs event. This time it was Kaylin McFarren of Portland for her Chatelaine award-winning romantic suspense Threads series and Seattle’s own Gregory Phillips, Love of Finished Years was selected – again!

From there, we hop a plane in Portland to head to Chicago for the Heartland Fall Forum. These are bigger shows than SIBA and I’ve increased my load of authors I’m representing. More luggage is required. We borrow Andy’s orange suitcase and name it Biff.  Once again, Kiffer is the proud mother hen when the Laramie Grand Prize winner, Sara Dahmen’s Widow 1881 (renamed from Doctor Kinney’s Housekeeper) was selected for Heartland’s prestigious Moveable Feast Event! 

Sharon hand selling to a PNBA book buyer!

After the Heartland trade show, we will split up and Kiffer will take our authors’ books to San Francisco for the show there and I will travel up to Surrey for the SiWC for the weekend. For me, it feels odd not being a part of the last trade show, but Chanticleer has been at the Surrey conference for five years running – it’s no time to stop now.

Kiffer refueling with coffee and Sharon proudly showing off Chanticleer’s Best Books Collection at the Heartland Fall Forum, Lombard, Illinois

Before leaving, my mother asked me why was I going away for such a long time. I had to smile, as long time means so many different things to so many people. It depends on what you’re doing, right? Spending a week in jail would be rough. Attending tradeshows? I know it will be over before I have had a chance to settle in.

My mother’s  question is valid, though. What do I hope to gain from being away from my family for most of September and October?  First of all, I expect this time away will work to sharpen my professionalism and further my career in the book industry world. I expect to meet new people, build stronger connections and learn with a little more certainty that I am capable and ready for this new and exciting adventure.  It is exciting to meet the some of the top executives in the publishing industry and mingle with the “Big 5” publishers. There is always a lot to learn and many networking opportunities.

Equally as well, I hope to increase the visibility of my (Chanticleer’s) authors’ work, widen their footprint, as it were, in the retail world of book-selling. I hope, through our efforts, they gain even more notoriety and, more importantly, benefit from more bookstores placing more orders for their work. I hope their books fly off those bookstore shelves because I’m not taking just anyone to these shows. I’m taking Chanticleer Award winners and those very special people who have earned the very highest scores from our professional reviewers. I’m taking the top books and the booksellers are pleased that we have vetted the books that we are exhibiting. We even had a Disney exec who was interested in Chanticleer’s YA and children’s book selections stop by the Heartland booth—she was looking for new content for Disney. She took away sell sheets and information—we will definitely stay in contact!

Book buyers would be crazy not to snatch these books up! And we did connect many indie booksellers and book distributors with Chanticleer Reviews’ best books!

We Discover Today’s Best Books! 

Endnote: I started this article on the plane to New Orleans and I was right, the Fall trade show season is over before it began! Time does have a knack for passing quickly when you’re having fun and are passionate about what you do!

Next up are the 2018 American Librarian Association trade shows and the Comic Cons—just around the corner…