A couple of events and some out-of-the blue kudos for Around Florence got me to thinking once again about how life is full of surprises––and not all bad.
FAHS Wine & Chocolate Gala
On Friday, October 2, I was asked to participate in the Florence Area Humane Society’s largest fundraiser of the year—the Wine & Chocolate Gala. There are lots of goodies to eat and wines to sample. And many items are auctioned as well as tables filled with silent auction items.
I wasn’t sure how my little table of books would fit in. I was donating 40% of the proceeds to FAHS, but books at a wine and chocolate gala was a surprise to most attendees. I did sell six books—three to folks I knew and three to folks I didn’t. It was a good feeling to be able to donate a sizable percentage.
Oregon Authors Day
On Saturday, October 10, I attended a book fair in Coos Bay at the new Coos History Museum. This first Oregon Authors Day event featured 14 authors who had accepted the invitation to participate.
All was not ideal. It was held upstairs in a meeting room and set up with no space between tables to get in and out. Because another event took place downstairs in a larger, more accessible space at the same time, we were out of sight, out of mind. Only a handful of attendees made it upstairs.
Although it turned into quite a stormy day and the drive to Coos Bay was rainy, the weather there started off lovely with blue sky and sun between the clouds. That was very helpful in unloading books and stuff, but it didn’t last. The rain started about the same time that I felt hunger pangs and realized my lunch was still in my car, which I left at the far reaches of the parking lot. I had been up since 5:30 a.m. and by 11 a.m. could eat a super-sized whopper, but no food was available and I didn’t feel comfortable leaving my table or heading out into the wind and rain.
In spite of the downsides, it turned into an enjoyable experience for me after all. Because of only a few attendees, the gal in charge, Vernelle Judy, suggested we take turns reading aloud from our books during lulls. One of the first to read was Jonathan Thomas Stratman, a writer of mysteries. After only one chapter, I was hooked. Before the day was over, I bought that book. I also read from two of my books. Once from Devil Cat. I read the segment about Jetson visiting the vet and had everyone laughing again and again. And I read the first few paragraphs of the intro to Around Florence. I enjoyed reading out loud to the group. I wasn’t sure I would. I thought reading to a group of authors might be intimidating, that they would be super critical, but instead, they were great to everyone who read.
Another enjoyable aspect was the time to network with other authors. I got to visit with Joe Blakely and Hannah Contino both of whom had participated in the Florence Festival of Books, but I only got to chat briefly with each of them then. I also got to see James Boyle whom I hadn’t seen since my Gold Beach animal shelter presentation. Since then I had read his Deception Island thriller and thoroughly enjoyed it. Here, I had the opportunity to let him know.
But the person I most enjoyed seeing was Ray Allen. I hadn’t seen him for a couple of years. He has also written about the Oregon Coast bridges. So we have that in common. I have his Oregon Coast Bridges, which is most impressive. It covers 40 bridges from the Columbia River to the California state line and has become a great reference book for me. He is a fellow bridge aficionado and his book is my biggest competition to my bridge books.
I also got to meet some writers I did not know, including Carol Dare who has written a couple of books, including Daughters of Disaster about the early history of Red Cross nurses. I couldn’t resist and bought a copy.
I only sold three books, but thoroughly enjoyed myself. I also signed up to be on their planning committee for next year . . . I couldn’t resist.
Kudos for Around Florence
With the roll out of Devil Cat this summer and most coastal venues primarily interested in my bridge books, Around Florence has been on the back burner. So three unexpected endorsements in the last two days were like totally wonderful.
Just about 3 p.m. as we started to pack up on Saturday at the book fair in Coos Bay, a gal came rushing in asking for me. When she saw me, she positively gushed praises for both my bridge books. But what she wanted was Around Florence because she had heard such good things about it. And, get this, because I had written it, she knew she would like it. Man, I could have listened to her all day!
Then today I had my hair trimmed. My hairdresser Quinn has bought all of my books and had Around Florence in the waiting area. A gal came in and was reading through it while she waited. When she was called, she brought the book with her saying she was enjoying it so much she didn’t want to put it down. So Quinn introduced her to me. She was thrilled to meet the author! Who knew! Then an hour later, I met the young gal I buy a Mary Kay product from. After I handed her my check, she commented out of the blue. “I’ve been reading your Around Florence, and I’m really enjoying it.” Go figure!
It’s these unexpected moments that make all the work worth it.
Note: I’ll be in California visiting family and friends for the next few weeks. So no more posts until mid-November. Sir Groucho will have folks here in the house taking care of him and providing lots of TLC while I’m gone.