Sunday, January 11, 2015


By Mike Long

A Facebook friend recently told me of an incident with a friend's husband. He was a dead ringer for Kenny Rogers, and at some event a woman rushed up to him and gushed, "You're that country singer. I love your music. You're… don't tell me... I know it… you're CHARLEY PRIDE!" The man graciously signed her napkin as Charley Pride, the great black country singer. That story called to mind the fun some of us have had at events of our own.

At my first signing, the first buyer asked me to sign one for her dad, and spoke his name. I wrote, "Otis-Best Wishes," and signed it. She said, "Aww-he don't spell it thataway. He uses a 'D' instead of a 'T' – but I'll take it." I gave her another one and have yet to find an 'Otis' to give the mistake to. ALWAYS ask them to spell their names.

At a Civil War reenactment in Aiken in 2010, two ladies came in the 'book tent' to browse. My first novel has a mounted Confederate officer on the cover, and the first lady asked if that was a picture of me. I said, "Ahh, no ma'am," so she shrugged and walked away. Her companion picked up the same book, turned to the back cover and read the blurb and my bio, then asked if the book was about my wartime experiences. When I shook my head 'no,' she left too.

The author beside me witnessed the whole thing and said, "Mike, I believe they thought you looked pretty darn good to be 170 years old."

He then told me that a week earlier, he'd been at a reenactment in Virginia and had a sign in front of the tent, announcing, "LOCAL AUTHOR. Book signing today." Two ladies stopped and studied the sign, then came in and put down their bags of kettle corn; each of them picked up one of his books, signed it, put it back down, smiled at him and left. He said he guessed they didn't get out much.

At my most recent signing (a gun show in Columbia), a fellow picked up my two novels and asked if I knew the man who wrote them. I smiled and said I did know him, and asked if he'd like to meet him, while offering my hand. He said, no, he'd met him already and he lived up around Greenville. I replied that I really did write them and that I live here. He said, "No, this was another guy. Up to Greenville." This occurred (was) with two large photos of me displayed on the table. Never did win him over. The man beside me said, "You can't fix stupid."

I told my author friend John Huffman about that latest episode, and he had to top me. Seems he was dining with his bride in a Western Sizzler when a woman charged their table and said, "Oh my goodness, you're the man who wrote them books, aren't you?" He said he in fact was, and relished the attention that was generated. The woman said she had one of the books out in her car and asked if she went and got it, would he please sign it for her? He of course agreed; she came right back with a copy of my novel, No Good Like It Is. He signed it as McKendree Long without batting an eye.

I wonder if that was up around Greenville...


Sarah Herlong said...

Great stories! It could make a book in itself...the Adventures of Mike Long! By the way my dentist's name is Otis...maybe he would like your book.

Dr. Kasie Whitener said...

Readers really do have the best intentions, don't they?

Great stories, Mike! Keep your sense of humor about it all.