Saturday, November 24, 2012

Best Seller lists and etc.!

Hi, All!
     I'm terribly sorry I haven't posted in a while, but my schedule has been mostly a whirlwind -- and a *wonderful* one at that!
     Shell Games continues to sell very well, and I'm so happy and grateful for that.  It has been on several of the different Best Seller lists, a much welcomed and pleasant surprise.  I've also had readers send me messages about the story from as far away as Rome, Italy -- and as close to home as Muscatine, Iowa.  As a matter of fact, I've had more mail about Shell Games than anything else I've ever written, and I can not tell you how much I've enjoyed corresponding with those who have read the story.  I've also had many write to me to tell me they had relatives who worked in the early button industry and/or in the early labor unions in the U.S.  I have even had several relatives of those presented in the book write to me and thank me for bringing the memories of their loved ones back into the light.  For a writer, those are treasured pieces of correspondence.  Just knowing how a story has touched the lives of so many readers makes me smile so deep inside.
     I've been able to do readings and presentations about Shell Games across the country, and I'm now also scheduled to travel to the United Kingdom for a book tour in late spring.  I can't wait!  Just being on the road and meeting people is such a beautiful gift that comes with the publication of a book.  I feel so blessed -- and lucky -- to be able to do this.
     At the same time, a writer can not rest on his or her laurels.  There is always the *next* book to keep in the hopper.  As I stated in a previous post, I'll have a children's book coming out soon.  It was originally scheduled for the late fall, but it was decided it would probably be better to release it at the start of the upcoming summer (because I've been too busy with Shell Games events to devote the proper time and energy to another book release at the same time), and I agree with the logic behind this.  I'm also "knee-deep" in the background research for my next book for adults and young adults.  This next story will also be a work of literary nonfiction, and it will be set just before the American Civil War.  That's all the "teaser" I'll provide now, but I'll be giving additional details in future posts -- so stay tuned!
     Again, I'd like to thank everyone who has written to me about Shell Games.  Your words have touched me deeply.  Thank you -- and bless you -- for your kindness and support.
     I'll write more soon.  In the meantime, I wish all of you joy and happiness as the holidays approach.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Shell Games doing great!

Hi, all!
     The past few weeks have been so much fun.  I've been watching the Best Seller rankings via, and Shell Games continues to be on the list in its category!  It has gone up and down in the rankings, depending upon spikes in sales.  It has been as high as #5 and as low as #80 (boo hoo).  It has been mostly somewhere between 10-25 for the past several weeks now, and this has been so much fun for me to check this out.  As a matter of fact, I've checked this so often I may have to be de-programmed!  Interesting fact (at least to me!): The book sells much better in the morning than it does in the evening hours.  Wonder why?  It has just been so much fun having a book out there that people are enjoying.  I feel so lucky - and blessed.
     Yesterday afternoon my editor sent along the first review of the book.  This particular review source typically doesn't do anything more than "just the facts," but I'm still very pleased by the tone of what they had to say.  I'll list it here for you:

Got this descriptive blurb from BookNews yesterday:

Shell games; the life and times of Pearl McGill, industrial spy and pioneer
labor activist.
  Copeland, Jeffrey S.
  Paragon House, c2012
  978-1-55778-899-3    HD6079        $21.95  (pa)
Pearl McGill was an early-20th-century labor union activist in the small
town of Muscatine, Iowa, once the button manufacturing capital of the world.
McGill's union activities drew the attention of Helen Keller, who offered
McGill a scholarship to go to teaching college. McGill taught for ten years
before she was murdered in 1924 by an unknown assailant. In this account of
her life, Copeland (languages and literatures, University of Northern Iowa)
adopts the voice of Pearl McGill as the first-person narrator to tell the
story of her early life and her decision to put her own dreams of education
and teaching aside to fight for the rights of workers. An epilogue
speculates on her murder. B&w historical photos are included.

     One thing about working as a writer:  A person can't take too much time to bask in the afterglow of publishing a book.  There is always another project looming.....   My next book will be a children's book that will be published in late fall.  I'll provide information about it in an upcoming post.  In the meantime, I hope all of you are well and having fun as the warmer weather approaches.
     Take care!


Thursday, April 19, 2012

Media Interviews

April 19, 2012
Hi, all!
I've recently had the honor and pleasure of being interviewed by quite a few members of the media. Shell Games is doing very well, and many folks are interested in hearing more about the story. Hot-Links are not allowed on a blog site, so I'll list a few of the links; then, all you'd need to do is "copy and paste" the addresses into your browser, and this should take you right to the interviews.
I've done several National Public Radio interviews - -and some state-wide talks as well. I even got to do one show that was streamed out over the Armed Forces Radio Network so that our men and women serving across the globe could hear a voice from back home; I was so, so proud to be part of that show.
And still more good news: Shell Games is still an on-line retailer Best Seller! After peaking at #5 on, it was still at #23 when I got up early this morning -- and it was up the ranks on several other indexes as well. So, I want to thank everyone for their interest in the story!
I'll now try to post a few of the links:
A. This first one is to an interview I did with the wonderful host of Iowa Public Radio, Charity Nebbe. The interview gives away, in my opinion, a little too much of the story, but Charity really did her homework before the interview -- and it shows. Here's the link to the interview:
NOTE: If that address does not take you to the site because of the way your computer works, you can go directly to the archive at Iowa Public Radio at the following address and simply scroll down to April 9, 2012, which will have an icon you can click on to listen to the interview. That main address is as follows:
B. I just posted on my Author Central Site a video of me talking about Shell Games. It is a silly video, but I did it in one take! Well, I'm not sure that is necessarily a good thing....... Still, I hope you enjoy it, especially the part where I keep pulling "clues" to a murder. The link is as follows:
C. My favorite radio personality of all-time is Don Marsh. To me, he is the Best-of-the Best when it comes to interviewing authors. Don is, in a word, ELEGANT in his approach to a piece of literature. I recently had the pleasure of being interviewed by Mr. Marsh for the "St. Louis on the Air" program, which was broadcast out over NPR. The link to that program is as follows:

I hope you enjoy the interviews and the video!

More soon......


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Best Seller!

April 17, 2012
Hi, all!
Shell Games has taken off like a rocket! I know that book rankings are fleeting at best (and a writer can't let his/her head get too big about such things), but last weekend Shell Games hit #5 on the on-line retailers list, officially making it a Best Seller. It is already dropping in the rankings, as happens to most, but for that time period I was on Cloud 9 -- and I'll never forget the feeling of waking up and seeing one of my books on the list. Ah, this was a dream come true for me.
The initial responses to the book have also been beyond my wildest dreams. The reviews on have been wonderful, and comments on other review sources have all been very complimentary. A writer never knows what the reaction will be to a book, so hearing these kind words is especially wonderful. I've also been doing quite a few book events and signings, and in most places the book has sold out completely. I did a presentation about the book and a signing last weekend, and 95 copies sold in the blink of an eye - -and everyone wanted me to sign the books for them, so my hand was plenty sore near the end, which is a beautiful woe to have. Also, it's a good thing I can write with both hands! I'll attach a picture of the event last weekend to this post. I had a wonderful time.
The presentations I'm doing for this book are quite different from what I have done with my other books. I'm trying to delve more into *how* the story came about -- and *how* I chose to write it (literary nonfiction). I have been giving a short powerpoint presentation to show as much visual detail as possible about the birth of the book. Then, I've chosen a couple of passages to read to give a flavor for the book. I have then had "audience participation." That is, I have been bringing "whizbangs" to the events and have been passing them out to those in the crowds. For those of you who don't know about these devices, a whizbang is a button on a string that can be wound up so that the button spins around and around on the string as one pulls the string back and forth. These whizbangs were used by workers in the button factories described in the book to help keep finger and wrist injuries at bay; so this is part of the "history" described in the story. The folks attending the presentations have had a great time with this. I'll try to post directions for making a whizbang in an upcoming post.
I'd like to take this time to thank all my readers for their support and kindness as Shell Games was released. I'm glad so many of you are enjoying the story, and I look forward to hearing from you. Also, if I'm in your area, please come to the book event -- and I'll teach you how to use a whizbang!
I'll write more soon. Take care -- and Happy Reading!


Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Shell Games officially released!!!

February 28, 2012
Hi, all!
I am so excited! Shell Games has been released early! It is now available from bookstores and I'll shortly begin quite an extensive book tour to help promote the book. As a matter of fact, I have events coming up that will range from talks/readings on National Public Radio to television events to the more standard presentations at bookstores and libraries. I'll post a listing of these events in an upcoming post. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy Shell Games. I love the story -- and I hope you do, too! As soon as you finish reading the story, please write to me and let me know your thoughts and reactions. I'd love to hear from you.
More soon!