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January 9, 2008………. This evening my book signing was at A Great Good Place for Books, a small, intimate book store in the Montclair District of Oakland, CA..  This was my second discussion gig and I used the same presentation from Monday, but revised it to improve the flow of information.  We had a reasonable attendance and I sold several books.  One thing to note is that each store has a different seating arrangement so I suggest authors get to their gig at least a half-hour before show time to get situated. Before I left, I signed the store’s stock of my book so Kathleen, the owner, could sticker them with "Signed by the Author" to help boost sales.  I do this at each book store, too.

 

Afterwards, my friends Susan and Steve, who live in the area, hosted a small gathering at their home.  Steve makes the best pizza!  Yum, yum.  Susan and Steve are members of the Contra Costa Home Winemakers Group, as we are, and we all shared the fruits of our labor.  Yum, yum, yum.

 

Alas, my photos from this evening went poof in cyberspace. I thought I had downloaded them into the computer and my husband cleared the flashcard by the time I discovered my error. Boo hoo. One thing I like about our wine making hobby is that I get to design our labels. The bottles above are from the book release party last November. We didn’t bring sparkling for this party but the labels were the same with the cover of the book. If you want to see more of my labels and some of our awards, you can go to www.bentleycellars.com . I’m ashamed to say that it is a bit out of date, but last year was just as successful as what you’ll see on the website.

    

January 5, 2008……….Book store signings and events are each unique and I've met many wonderful people.  This evening I was at Book Passage in Corte Madera.  This was my first signing to do a discussion with Q&A before the signing but I wasn't nervous.  I put together a series of lessons from my journey and the story.  I had 17 people in the audience, the most to this date.  Not bad for a Monday night on the first day of many people going to work after the holidays.  The NBC cameraman showed up to film the event for use in my Dateline story that should air in March.  This is the first event where I had a glass pitcher of water with ice and lemon and a real glass of water on a tray next to the podium.  Very nice! 

I feel honored to have presented at this store where many famous authors have appeared over the years.  In fact, Jimmy Carter will be there in February.  The events person treated my husband and I to coffee in the cafe before the event.  It was fun to sit there and watch people pick up my book from a center display, purchase it, and leave.  They weren't even coming to the event, yet they bought my book!  At the end of the event, Book Passage gave me a thank you gift of beautiful note cards with an imprint of my name.  Very classy.

BOOKSIGNING AT BARNES & NOBLE


I haven't gotten the photo of this event from my friend so here's a filler....Sierra my office cat


December 14, 2008……….This time my book signing event was at the Barnes & Noble in Antioch.  It was a rainy day but the customers were in a jovial mood.  A long-time friend came and sat with me most of my two hours.  The CRM treated me to copious cups of coffee and shared homemade cookies.  I did quite well with sales and even had a gentleman buy the book.



December 13, 2008……….I spoke at the monthly meeting of the California Writer's Club, along with two other members.  As I started my talk I pulled out a large time clock and set it for my fifteen minutes.  That got a laugh.  Then the seconds whizzed by as I talked about marketing and publicity in my publishing journey and the fact that marketing starts the day you decide to write the book because you have defined an audience.  We all jumped when the timer went off with its extra loud r.r.r.i.i.i.n.n.n.g.g.g..  I feel so privileged to be in the company of talented authors.

BOOKSIGNING at CREDIT UNION



December 2, 2008……….I was at a credit union in Antioch, CA..  This was one of the disappointing experiences.  I have known many of the members for quite a few years but not that many showed up.  It was in the evening but it was not raining and most live in the area.  I felt sorry for the staff that set out refreshments and manned the office after closing hours.   However, I didn't let it dampen my spirits and I enjoyed all who came in for a signature and a brief visit.  It had been several years since I had seen some of the cheery faces.

BOOKSIGNINGS – THREE DAYS IN A ROW

        Here I am at Barnes & Noble in Pleasant Hill, CA

November 28 - 30, 2008……….This was a whirlwind of activity right after Thanksgiving.  On Friday I signed books at Barnes & Noble in Dublin, CA..  The Christmas shoppers were out in force and my table was set up near the entrance.  While I didn't sell that many books (I had been warned that you don't sell a lot at book signings) I took the opportunity to observe human behavior.  There were those who saw my table and made a point of walking down the aisle that didn't pass my table.  Others walked right by but kept their eyes straight ahead or in the opposite direction, as if I had a communicable disease.  As a newbie, I didn't realize I needed to be more outgoing and engage the customers as they walked by, not just give them a welcoming smile.  But I was learning.

On Saturday I signed books at Barnes & Noble in Pleasant Hill, CA..  I was part of our California Writer's Club event where several of our members had their books available. It's our annual fund raiser for our Young Writer's Contest held each May for middle school children in our county. I did better with sales at this event.  I was learning.  I had to reel the customers in so they would pause by the table. 
 "Hi.  Do you like true crime or memoir?  If so, you might be interested in my book.  It's a true story."  I also had several people show up who had already read the book and wanted to meet me.  They had such kind these to say about how the book inspired them.

On Sunday I was at the Borders in San Ramon, CA..  This was another awesome day....not necessarily in book sales....but in the women who came in to meet me, some with tears in their eyes as they shared their terrible experiences with their own antisocial men.  I wrote the book to help others and it was heartwarming to see that desire being fulfilled.

CLAYTON BOOKS EVENT - SUNDAY, NOV 23

 
 
It was a perfect day for a book signing.  The sun filtered through the colorful autumn leaves and there was not a cloud in the sky.  There could be no weather excuse to keep readers at bay.  I walked through the door of Clayton Books and Joel, the owner, immediately called to me and said that people had come in that morning asking for my book -- people who did not even know that I would be in the store later that day for the event featuring eight local authors.

At 2 pm, the event started out with two at a time going to the front table and giving a five to ten minute talk about the book.  I hadn't realized I was to give a short talk but since I would be number three it gave me a few moments to gather my thoughts.

I've given many speeches, to larger crowds than the twenty people who sat before me, so what followed was a surprise to me.  I got very emotional asI started to give a short synopsis of the book.  My voice began to quiver and I choked on my words.  I briefly stopped, took a deep breath and continued.  Then I read the short passage where I'm flying out of DC after the murder attempt.  When I finished I worked my way to the back of the crowd.  Several people holding one or more of my books indicated they needed to leave and asked if I could go ahead and sign.  I slipped quietly to the front of the store, sat in one of the comfortable black leather chairs and signed away.  Later, after the speaking was done, and the chairs had been cleared,  I took my place at one of the tables that had been set up for the authors.

Later Joel told me he sold all but three copies and he had me sign those.  Then he really surprised me.  He said that several people told  him they were disappointed that I had not spoken longer, so he asked me to come back in January and do an evening event where I will be the only author.  Yippee!

Also during the event the editor of a local newspaper, The Concordian, asked if I could do a follow-up interview for him.  I said sure and I think that happens next week.  The publicity train just keeps rolling along. 

Happy Thanksgiving!
   

EDGAR* AWARDS


 
Every now and then I do a Yahoo! search on the title of my book.  Imagine my surprise when I saw a link saying that my book had been submitted for an Edgar* Award!  I immediately clicked on the link http://www.mysterywriters.org/?q=Home and found out that the Edgar* Awards are considered the most prestigious in the genre.  I am VERY excited even though I found out that most publishers submit their new mystery and crime genre books and to be submitted is no big thing.  Well, I think it's a BIG thing.  To be on the list means that I had a book published.  That's a feat in itself, isn't it?  There is a committee that reviews all the entries to select the five nominations for the award in several categories (sounds like the Academy Awards!).  On the Mystery Writers webpage, click on Awards & Programs in the left column, then Current Submissions.  I'm in the Best Fact Crime category.  If you scan down the list you'll see that Ann Rule has also had a book submitted.  I feel quite honored to be on the list!  Keep your fingers crossed for me.  The nominations are announced in January. 

Thanks for continuing to follow this amazing publishing journey that I'm taking.

* Edgar is a registered trademark
 

I GOT THE CALL FROM DATELINE NBC

 
Last Thursday I got an email from Caitlin Brown, my publicist at Berkley Book, saying that DATELINE NBC was interested in my story.  I said a few prayers, kept my fingers crossed and did three extra good deeds for the day.  On Friday I received another email.....DATELINE will do my story.  I let out a yell and Rex ran into the room to see what was happening.  He was glad I hadn't seen a mouse (I'm terrified of a scrambling mouse and can emit loud noises if one scampers by me).  I immediately picked up the phone and called Caitlin and kept my next series of screams to a low volume.  It's another "Oh my God" moment.  I'm waiting to hear from a producer from the show to find out what the next steps are going to be.

In the meantime my Internet radio interview yesterday went great.  People ask me if I'm nervous when I do this kind of event.  I say no, it's just like having a conversation with a friend over the telephone.  Since Rex has his computer in another room he was able to listen to the broadcast.  My sister called after the show.  She lives on the east coast but she had been able to tune in.  Oh, the wonders of the Internet age!

SIGNING BOOKS AT M IS FOR MYSTERY


 
I had my first bookstore event at M is for Mystery in San Mateo, California, on Saturday, November 8, 2008, at 2 pm.  The weather was rainy outside but it didn't dampen my spirits.  Thank you, Ed, for inviting me.  I shared the venue with the lovely author Robin Burcell, the author of five mysteries including her latest "Face of a Killer."  We chatted back and forth and then answered questions from the audience.  I felt relaxed and enjoyed every minute.  When we started to sign books a woman holding two copies of A DANCE WITH THE DEVIL approached me and shook my hand.  She repeated over and over how honored she felt to meet me.  It turns out her divorce lawyer had called her and asked her to attend the event because he's used my law twice...in two different courts...to keep her abusive husband from collecting alimony.  I'm often asked how many women I've helped by changing the no-fault divorce and, quite honestly, I don't know.  But now I can say for sure that I helped one woman.