Respect the Mouse

When Book Marketing gurus instruct us impressionable debut novelist to couple each and every vacation with a book marketing activity such as a book signing or author appearance I’m sure they didn’t mean a Disney Vacation-the mother of all vacation orchestration. But, I attempted it. I was invited to sign my debut novel, Soon and Very Soon in the Author’s Pavilion at my sorority convention in Orlando this past week . That gave me at least four days to hang out with Mickey, Minnie and the crew. What could go wrong, right? It is of course, The Year of a Million Dreams. I just had to unload the thirty books ( that I packed into a suitcase and passed off as my daughter’s checked bag) so my dreams would be fulfilled.

I took multi-tasking to a new level and had to make some hard choices in the process. More than anything you want everyone to have a good time on vacation. This meant ensuring that everyone had a chance to do what they wanted. Disney is for kids and my six year had whole-heartedly bought into fantasy from the time she watched the Disney vacation planning video. My husband wanted some much need down time and didn’t want to, “stuck with the kids” the whole time. I had thirty books to unload. Did I say that already?

We adapted a philosophy- Respect the Mouse. Respect the Mouse had come to mean nothing takes precedent over seeing Mickey in the faux- fur flesh. We had three Magic Your Way tickets for three days which only gave us entrance into the parks. The “Your Way” part did not mean a reprieve from the hefty admission price plus taxes and applicable fees. So, Respect the Mouse also meant you had better adjust your attitude to ensure that we all have a good time, especially at picture time.

A monsoon type rain on Day 2 throws a (no pun intended) monkey wrench in our excursion to Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Oh my goodness, don’t panic…spreadsheet schedules can be altered. Call the Bibbidi Boppiti Boutique and tell the fairy godmothers to change my daughter’s hair, nails and make-up appointment to Tuesday evening. Push everything back a day. Except the author’s pavilion is Monday and Tuesday 9am-9pm. I have to cut my time off at the knees.
Now I have less time to unload thirty books. I set up my booth Monday morning and try my best to sell my sorors on the story I conceptualized over ten years ago. I am amazed how relevant it is today in the emergence of mega-ministries and public break-ups of ministry power couples. But, I’m green. I’m so new at this expo thing that I am guilty of leaving my booth several times to get into the line and take pictures of my literary idols, Victoria Christopher Murray, E. Lynn Harris and Hill Harper, not to mention Sorority superstars such as former presidents and Honorary members- all selling their own books!

Before I know it a whistle is going off like the one that told Fred it was quitting time at the quarry in Bedrock . Decision time. Do I leave the pavilion and possible sells on the table to go in search of making my family’s Disney dreams come true? I’m feeling torn and my attitude begins to shift for the worst. Then I remembered our mantra- I’ve got to respect it. I’ve got to Respect the Mouse. I tell this to myself as I watch literally hundreds of sorors flood the pavilion as my departure coincides with the ending of an important session. I repeat the mantra the next day as I pack up my 20 or so books to trek to Downtown Disney and watch the fairy godmothers transform my daughter to Princess Shanae-nae with tiara and sandy blonde extensions affixed with combs and pins. Her Cinderella costume (that we carried with us) is snatching as her 6T body wears at the 2T-4T seams, but she is cute as a button, and very much a princess.

I realize these moments are priceless. If I had of stayed behind that table at booth 841 in the Orange County Convention Center Exhibit Hall I wouldn’t have been there to hear my daughter very coyly ask Mickey’s assistant, “Is Minnie, Mickey’s friend or girlfriend?” I would have never discovered that she is braver than me and willing to ride every roller coaster with her adventurous dad. I would never have heard her proclaim she had the best time ever.
In the end we had a magical time. I captured some fantastic photos with my digital camera, and yes, the smiles are genuine. All because we respected the mouse.

Sherryle Kiser Jackson
author of Soon and Very Soon
available at Barnes and Noble.com, Amazon.com, Target.com and Books A Million.com

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