I did warn them.
"Don't point that thing in my direction," I squealed, covering the lens with my palm, "It looks valuable and mine is a face suitable only for radio."
They laughed, told me not to be such a wuss, to sit still, smile sweetly and 'enjoy' having my picture taken.
So I did. The flashes from the cameras, camera phones, ipads etc. lit up the spines of the books watching silently from the shelves all around us. I relaxed into it; ignoring the camera as I chatted and signed copies of my books, pretended no-one was filming when I stood up and made a speech about the power of words and the magic of imagination, had almost forgotten that the click and whirr noises were coming from a camera as I read an extract from the book I was launching, Demon's Blood.
We nibbled on Summer Rolls, dipped Chicken Satay into lime and chilli sauce, sipped (or guzzled!) wine or apple juice. The book launch was over. I relaxed and had fun.
And then I got a call a few days later.
"Those photos I said you could have for your blog? Erm...there's a problem."
I got into the car and drove to his house where he was staring sadly at the screen of his computer.
"What happened?" I asked, sitting down beside him. "What's going on?"
"I'm so sorry," he said. "It seems that there's a problem with the memory card...the photos are lost."
I looked up to where the huge camera sat glaring at me from the shelf; I remembered the violence of the flash as it had gone about its business - catching pieces of my soul behind its lens, trapping my image on the memory card and locking it away forever.
I turned to the photographer. "I did warn you..."
Pics that survived my Medusa-like abilities, from the local paper - with thanks to the Coleraine Times (to my knowledge their photographer...and his camera...survived the encounter!).
Huge thanks to everyone who came along and helped to launch my new book. It was great to see so many of you!
To the wonderful folks of Waterstones, Coleraine for allowing me such a wonderful opportunity - I truly appreciate all your support. And to 'Whoosh' who catered for the event (your food was absolutely incredible. I've had dreams about that lime and chilli sauce!) and my mum and dad who provided wine and juice to wet our whistles (love you xx). That was another night to add to my list of 'things-I-never-imagined-I'd-be-allowed-to-do-and-I will-remember-forever'.