Bookstores and cameos…

Alfred Hitchcock loved to appear in his own movies. (I don’t remember him in any of those old and wonderful TV shows, though.) Other directors have done the same. Sometimes it’s a brief appearance by a famous actor in a movie. These appearances are called cameos. A real person from outside the story is playing a role inside it.

The same can be done in fiction books. I think the first time I put a cameo in one of my own books was with Prince Harry in The Golden Years of Virginia Morgan. I don’t know if all the royals making an appearance in Aristocrats and Assassins qualify as cameos. They didn’t ask to be there, and I was careful to make them look good for legal reasons. I expect Clancy treated Prince Charles well in Clear and Present Danger for the same reason.

Scott Dyson, one of my beta-readers as well as an up-and-coming author, picked up on the Prince Harry appearance in Golden Years. I didn’t really mention him by name, you see—only a British helicopter pilot with red hair stationed in Afghanistan. Scott catches things like that. That’s why he’s a great beta-reader (he’s a better author).

Inserting myself into a story could be interpreted as an ego trip, but I do it only for fun. On at least two occasions, I became Moore the bookstore owner—in Silicon Slummin’…and Just Gettin’ By and in Rembrandt’s Angel, my new novel that’s just been released.

The fun I had with these two cameos stems from the following: I love books, I especially love bookstores filled with new and used book, and I’ve always wanted to own a bookstore like that. When I was growing up, there were few bookstores—I’d buy my books at a dime store, cigar store, or stationary store, unless I made the trek to the local junior college’s bookstore (that’s a two-year community college for easterners). Most people didn’t buy books, in fact (myself included for lack of funds); they borrowed them from the public library.

That was the situation in my home town in California long ago and far away. When I became older and saw a little more of the world, I discovered multiple bookstores selling new and old books that were still in good enough condition to be read (I’m not counting all the used texts I bought at various colleges). I had a couple of favorites in Bogota, Colombia (the city has a population of millions)—those were in Spanish for the most part, of course. In the Boston area there were a couple too. In fact, there’s a huge one catering to used books on the Mass Pike hidden in the basement of a restaurant that serves turkey everything.

These are ideal places to talk about books. Some even have book signings and discussions with multiple authors of people from the publishing business. (Of course, I’ll do any of this almost anywhere in the local area if I’m asked, including book club meetings where members are reading one of my books.)

This yearning of mine, i.e. owning a bookstore that sells new and old books, is why I found Sombra del Viento (Shadow of the Wind) so interesting (you’ll find an old review of the book in my blog category “Book Reviews”). In this novel, the bookstore filled with old books is one of the main characters.

So here you have my apology for at least two cameos in my books. It’s not that I’m inserting myself into my own book to satisfy some narcissistic need. Instead, I’m making a bookstore into one of the characters—a character with character, in fact. The owner of that bookstore is just a caretaker of new or orphaned books looking for new readers to entertain. Adopting a book, whether old or new, can bring great satisfaction. Try it sometime.

***

Rembrandt’s Angel. To what lengths would you go to recover a stolen masterpiece? Scotland Yard’s Arts and Antiques Inspector Esther Brookstone goes the extra mile. She and paramour/sidekick Bastiann van Coevorden, an Interpol agent, set out to outwit the dealers of stolen art and recover “An Angel with Titus’ Features,” a Rembrandt painting stolen by the Nazis in World War Two. Their efforts lead to much more, as they uncover an international conspiracy that threatens Europe. During their dangerous adventures, their relationship solidifies and becomes a full-blown romance. Published by Penmore Press, this novel is available in ebook format at Amazon, Smashwords, Kobo, B&N, and Apple, and in print through Amazon or your local bookstore (if they don’t have it, ask them to order it). Great summer reading!

In libris libertas!

2 Responses to “Bookstores and cameos…”

  1. Scott Dyson Says:

    Thanks for the shoutout!

    I didn’t catch your cameos in either of those novels, however. So…maybe not so good after all! :-)

  2. Steven M. Moore Says:

    Scott,
    Hey, a 333 average is good anywhere in baseball!
    As for the shoutout, it’s well-deserved. Get busy finishing some of those projects you have. Your writing is very original and entertaining.
    r/Steve