The only down side of being an author is that I spend way too much time at the computer hanging out with my fictional friends. But, I am happy to say that for the past few weeks, I have been leaving my technological child behind and going on the road to meet some of my wonderful women readers. My fist stop was the Sebastian Women's Club where I was greeted by Sara Dessureau, President of the GFWC Sebastian Group. I spoke at length about LIFE IN THE LAND OF ‘IS' since it is a memoir of Lani Deauville, a woman listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the world's longest living quadriplegic, and Lani also happens to be a Sebastian resident.
In April I did my first speaking engagement at the Villages which I discovered is a delightful town of 110,000 residents. I was scheduled to speakto the Lake Sumpter Ladies Group, but upon arrival I was also greeted by a reporter for the town newspaper and their TV Station newsman. It was a whirlwind of activity that resulted in a taped interview that was broadcast the following week and a feature article in the MIX SOUTH, a supplement to the Daily Sun.
Since this was not a book club, I assumed that few, if any, ladies had read my books, but I was pleasantlysurprised to find that several of the ladies had read not just one book but both novels and they were filled with questions – not only about the characters and backgrounds of the the stories they had read, but also about The Twelfth Child, the book scheduled for May release. One of the questions that almost always pops up is how I came up with the idea for the book – this is especially true of Spare Change. I told the truth of how the idea came to me…we were visiting friends on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, a narrow strip of land where you can drive for miles without seeing anything but scrub brush and farmland, and seeing a place so remote made me think that a murder could happen out here and no one would hear it. That was the birth of an idea and a year later I gave birth to Spare Change.
I have to believe the group enjoyed my talk because just weeks later I was invited back to the Villages to speak to the Bailey Trail Ladies. One of the interesting things about this group is when I asked (and I always do) how many members of the audience read on an e-reader like Nook or Kindle – it was probably 75% – 80% who did.
It's wonderful to see people moving over to the e-readers. The e-reader revolution has put a major crimp in the monopoly that the big six held on the publishing industry. E-readers level the playing field and enable the independant publishers to offer great books at a more reasonable prices. One of the other things that I personally love about both the Kindle and Nook is that readers can download a free sample of a book that they're considering. That 15 or 20 pages enables the reader to see whether or not they would enjoy reading the book. This has become my preferred method of shopping for books, and I hope it will become yours. And yes, a free sample is available on all four of my books, so enjoy.
Upcoming events include lots of book clubs and Women's Groups…
SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS 2013
January 3 – Cocoa Beach GFWC Ladies
SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS – 2012
November 14 – Legacy Book Club
November 7 – Coral Gables Ladies Club
November 6 – Cascades Book Club
June 25 – West Palm Beach Women's Club
June 15 – Fort Lauderdale GFWC Group
May 10 – the Villages, Bailey Trail Ladies Group
April 2 – The Villages, Women's Coffee Club
March 26 – Sebastian Women's Club
March 15 – PGA Book Club
February 28 – EastPointe Country Club
February 14 – Sisterhood of Temple Beth El Israel
February 8 – Evergreen Book Club
February 7 – GFWC, Vero Beach Women's Club
SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS – 2011
May 13 – Vero each Yacht Club
February 18 – Palm Beach Writer's Group
January 20 – Monarch Country Club
SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS – 2010
December 7 – Lundmann Book Study Group (80+)
November 18 – National League of American Pen Women, Boca Raton
November 17 – GFWC, Women's Club of Stuart
September 15 – GFWC, Port St. Lucie Women's Club
September 8 – Sisterhood of Temple Beth El Israel, PSL
April 21 – Cascades Women's Group
April 17 – Westside Baptist Ladies Annual Tea (350 attendees)
April 13 – PGA Island Club Readers
April 6 – GFWC, Vero Beach Women's Club
March 24 – Brandeis Book Study Group
March 3 – Treasure Coast Writer's Association
February 11 – RWA (Republican Women Aware) Vero Beach
February 8 – Singer Island Book Club
February 5 – Art in the Park Book Talk
January 21 – Casey Women's Book Club
January 14 – Soroptimist International, Port St. Lucie
January 12 – PGA Philanthropic Educational Organization
SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS – 2009
November 4 – Bodega Blue Book Club, Vero Beach
October 5 – PGA Island Club
April 23 – PGA , Savoy Book Club
March 23 – Vero Beach Book Center
February 21 – AAUW Vero Beach Annual Author Fundraiser (200 attendees)
February 11 – AAUW of Stuart at Evergreen Country Club
February 9 – PGA Ladies Book Club
January 21 – GFWC, Stuart
January 17 – Book Talk, Delray Library
January 10 – DAR Regent's Conference, Wellington (100+ attendees)
‘Tis the season for lots of book talk events and revisiting some of the lovely ladies I have spoken with in previous years. On Tuesday of this week – Valentine's Day – I had a sweetheart of an afternoon. First I visited with the Sisterhood at the Temple Beth El Israel, and then I attended our local book club meeting. Both groups were delightful and fun to be with. Our book club discussed the current read – Saving Cee Cee Huneycutt by Beth Hoffman, which I am pleased to say is also Southern Fiction–a genre growing in popularity–hooray! If you liked Country Music before Country was Mainstream, maybe it's time to give Southern fiction a try.
In this photo I am flanked by two of my hosts at the Sisterhood – Linda Chasen and Ruth Bornstein. In my talk with the ladies, I presented my latest release SPARE CHANGE and treated the ladies to a reading that introduced Olivia Ann Westerly, the protagonist of Spare Change . With her many superstitions and delightfully Southern quirks, Olivia has a wonderful voice which gives me an opportunity to offer up a hearty helping of Southern charm to listeners. And, it seems I am not the only one enjoying Olivia's voice because SPARE CHANGE is still in the #1 spot on the Goodreads list of Best Unknown Books. It is such a thrill to see this book taking off as it has. Yesterday I received a request to speak at a PGA book club gathering in March when the group will discuss Spare Change, their featured read. And, in the fall, I will be revisiting the fifty-member Cascades Book Club as they have also selected Spare Change as one of their monthly reads for the 2012-2013 season.
And, as if all this excitement weren't enough, last night I was notified that FC Edge, the amazing ad agency responsible for all of my cover designs, received a GOLD ADDY for the cover design of SPARE CHANGE. ..more to come once I have all the details.
If I'm dreaming, please don't wake me.
Me with the “Needs-a-Name” Book Club
The absolute most fun an author can have is to visit with a book club comprised of more than a dozen fun-loving gals who are brimming over with comments and conversation. The book club I visited with on Wednesday, February 8th was at Evergreen Country Club and hosted by Joyce Humboldt. I can hardly find words enough to tell of the wonderful time I had.
I have to start off with a big shout out to Ann Rogak who introduced the ladies to my books, and then add another shout out for Holly Duquette, who suggested “Cracks in the Sidewalk” as the monthly read. A few of the gals brought their copy of the book for me to autograph, but many of them had downloaded the book to their Kindle or Nook and could take advantage of the bargain price the e-book format makes possible.
When Ann and I arrived at Joyce's home, the fragrant aroma of coffee was wafting through the room and the ladies were already gathering. After a few minutes of conversation, they quickly settled into a meeting mode, took attendance and proceeded with a brief discussion of upcoming reads. A few minutes latter, we began the discussion of “Cracks in the Sidewalk” – which I am pleased to say, all of the women enjoyed reading. They commented that the story was unbelievably tragic and were interested to learn the core truths behind the book. After explaining that I didn't have the heart to write the story until the woman, who is Claire in the book, was reunited with her grandchildren, the gals became interested in knowing what prompted me to write other novels.
Once that door was opened, we talked about so many aspects of writing and of an author's life. One of the questions was – who is my favorite author? Truthfully speaking, I don't have a favorite author – I have dozens of ‘favorite books' but I quite often love one book by an author, but not necessarily the next one. I suppose for me, it's all about the story. The conversation meandered down many pathways during the meeting and I can honestly say it was one of the most fun book clubs I've been to. When all was said and done, I did a brief reading from “Spare Change” and then Joyce served a lunch that was memorable. Were I to have a Tupperware tub in my handbag, I would have been sorely tempted to smuggle out a bit of that wonderful chicken salad peppered with chunks of pineapple.
As for the title of this story “Needs-a-Name” Book Club – well, when I asked the gals what the name of their club was, they said they had no name for it and asked if I'd make a suggestion. Here are a few that I sent to Joyce for their consideration – but stay tuned and I'll let you know if they choose one of these or came up with something much more unique…
PAGETURNERS, WORDBIRDS, FICTION FRIENDS, COVER GALS, LIT LADIES, WEDNESDAY'S WORDS, STORYBOOK SISTERS, and the inevitable BOOK BABES. There were a few more, but we'll save those for next time.
This has been a great week despite the onslaught of rainy weather (and frizzy hair.) On Tuesday I was privileged to speak at the Vero Beach GFWC (General Federation of Women's Clubs) and it was a delight to revisit these wonderful women. I addressed this group two years ago and after I did a reading from “Cracks in the Sidewalk” many of the members read the book and were now ready with lots of questions about the story and characters. The most frequently asked question is always: What part of the story is true and which parts are fiction? It shocks people to learn that the character named JT in the book is portrayed as he actually was. He is indeed the character women love to hate (and justifiably so!)
I also shared a brief overview on “Life in the Land of IS…the Amazing Story of Lani Deauville, the world's longest living Quadriplegic” which will be released in late February and much like me, the listeners were awed by the personal and professional achievements of Lani Deauville. One of the members mentioned that she had a brother-in-law who was also a quadriplegic and she wanted to get the book for him. “I think it will show him that all things are possible when you dig down and take hold of your own determination,” she said. I, of course, promised to let her know as soon as the book was available.
In all, in was a wonderful visit and I would like to thank Sars Dessureau for inviting me to speak to the Vero Group this month and again at the Sebastian GFWC on March 26th.
In keeping with my policy of giving back to the community, 10% of any book sales at the event is returned to the Club to support their many charitable endeavors.