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No, not THAT kind of love.

This devastatingly handsome guy is Gustavo. He runs the book department at the Hastings store here in Billings, Montana. I’ve known him since way back in February 2009, when I showed up with my sad little self-published debut novel and inquired about a consignment deal. He gave me one. Sold a few books for me. Let me do a signing. Always paid up, too.

Now, the nice thing about getting to know Gustavo then is that I know him now. We’re Facebook buds. We have a lot of other friends in common. When we run into each other around town, we chat awhile. And when he says, “Hey, your book sold out,” and I say, “Sounds like it’s time for another signing,” he’s all for it. So that’s what I’ll be doing Saturday at the Billings Hastings (1603 Grand Ave.) from 1 to 3 p.m.

He even made me a cool little sign:

Here’s the deal: You write alone. You fret alone. You try to find an agent or a publisher alone. You grind on your insecurities alone. But when the book finally, blessedly comes out, you’re not alone. You get to meet readers. You get to meet booksellers. If you work hard enough, you get to talk to reporters and radio hosts and Elks groups and book clubs. Life is about relationships, and man oh man, is that the truth with books. I didn’t get to know Gustavo because I cravenly want to sell books (although I certainly do). You can’t fake it. He’s a good man, and he’s supported me and my book, and I’m damn well going to support him and his store.