Elegant young women greeted me at Toronto’s Muzik Pool Bar for Kobo’s End of Summer party, while I silently wondered if I’d be able to find the two people I knew, and if it was rude to glom on to them.
Fortunately, author-editor-Kobo director Mark Leslie Lefebvre had positioned himself right near the entrance, and it turned out that I knew one of the people chatting with him: Robert J. Sawyer, the premier Canadian science fiction writer, whom I’d met at World Fantasy in 2000. They introduced me to a third writer, Andrew Pyper, who said, “I’m not a colourist, but I like your dress.”
“Thank you! I had to decide what to wear for ‘summer casual.’” I’d chosen a swirly, asymmetrical, lime/lemon/blue dress.
“I’d say you nailed it.”
There! At least one man who liked my dress and two more who made agreeable noises.
Robyn Baldwin quickly pulled us away for pictures. “The photographer is here.” She was wearing a half-sleeved, shell pink sheath dress that fell above the knee.
“Where should we pose?” asked Robyn.
“By the pool!” said Mark. Did you know that “water” is “fisherman’s daughter” in Cockney rhyming slang? That’s your contest clue for the day. For riddle #2, figure out the story location, translate the Cockney rhyming slang into English, and start Googling.
So we did a few quick pictures, and then Robyn headed off for some water, and I hung out with Mark a bit before he had to meet other people. I hit the bar. I was going to have water, but then I asked the bartender if they had girly drinks.
She raised her eyebrows. “I’ve got strawberry daquiris and pina coladas behind me.” Usually, those tanks are filled with slushies, but at a pool bar, they’ve got beach drinks.
“Perfect. Strawberry, please.”
Then I took a deep breath and wandered over to two other people sitting alone. “Hi,” I said to the woman. “I don’t know anyone here, so I’m introducing myself to strangers. My name is Melissa.”
Diane said hi. She was a journalist who freelanced for all major Canadian newspapers and magazines, and had sold her first article to The Medical Post! Kind of like me. She was looking for food, so I advised her to stand up beside the bar, where the servers circulated, and while noshing, we met Fabio from marketing.
Diane asked why we liked e-readers. Fabio liked downloading things instantly. Personally, I like that, plus they’re light, I can highlight the witty and hilarious things that people write, and yep, e-ink is easy on the eyes, and the battery lasts much longer than on my phone.
I like paper books, too, because I’m an impatient reader, and I find it easier to flip until something catches my eye, and then I read it. If the book is good, I’ll read it all the way through, but otherwise, mmm. I’m in and out.
I also found it funny that everyone would basically say, Who are you? Where are you from? And how are you connected to Kobo? Kind of like going to a wedding and people want to know how you know the bride or groom.
My answers made no sense, on the surface. “I’m a doctor-writer. I’m from far away. Yup, I came here just for this event. Well, it’s because I’m connected to this promotion that I can’t tell you about until September fifth.”
People were politely puzzled and slightly intrigued, I think.
Then they rounded us up for the speech.
I’m used to boring speeches, but this was a dynamic one. President Michael Tamblyn introduced the CEO, Takahito Aiki, and entertained us with a speech about how they’re the David in a Goliath world of e-readers, but they’ve held their own and pioneered their own way. Plus, did you know super-readers love to read in the bath or on the beach, so they end up wrapping their Kobos in Saran Wrap and Zip Loc bags, only to have them float away?
Therefore, da da da dum!
Introducing…the synchronized swimmers and the Kobo Aura H2O, the world’s first underwater e-reader!