No, Sponge Bob isn’t an author (not as far as I know), but he remains a rock star with most every red-blooded kid out there. So while there were scads of folks at Edgewater Mall yesterday, many were parents who’d brought their kids to see Sponge Bob and other cartoon characters. Actual book buyers at the Biloxi, Mississippi Books A Million were in somewhat short supply, but it was great to see Laura Golovin-Greer of Ocean Springs and her adorable daughter, Sasi. Maybe I should have gotten Sponge Bob to hang around my signing table and act as if he’s a big fan of my Oakdale suspense series.

Laura, Joe, and Sasi. Not pictured: Sponge Bob

 It was great to visit Bay Books again, which was my next stop. Bookends was a wonderful little independently-owned bookstore in Bay St. Louis until it was wiped out by Hurricane Katrina, and owner Susan Daigre chose not to rebuild. But Kay Gough and her husband, Edward, opened Bay Books several years ago in a charming location just blocks from the water and once again gave Hancock County readers a wonderful outlet to find local and regional literary treasures as well as the national best-selling books.

New owner Jeremy Burke is continuing author signings that tie in to the Bay’s Second Saturday each month, and I was delighted to sign alongside Poplarville, Mississippi native Whitney Miller, who was crowned the very first MasterChef winner after Season One of the popular FOX television show. Whitney’s cookbook, Modern Hospitality, is a hot item after the national television exposure, and folks poured in to pick up copies. Many buyers were kind enough to plunge into my Oakdale series, too. My in-laws, Charlie and Vicky Staehle, have lived in Bay St. Louis for years and did their usual great job in spreading the word to their friends about their son-in-law’s new book. 

Charlie, Joe, and Vicky