Sunday, October 4, 2015

On the road again!

October 3, 2015
Hi, All!
    The past few months have simply flown by.  I've continued to stay incredibly busy with book readings and events related to Ain't No Harm to Kill the Devil.  I've mentioned this in previous posts, but in the case of this book, the "timing" of the publication could NOT have been better.  This year, 2015, is the 150th anniversary of the end of the American Civil War, so the book, which is set in 1856 just before the war, has been a favorite of book clubs, history groups, and a organizations devoted to the preservation of the Civil War in particular and American history in general.  I'm still booked fairly solid to do book readings all the way up through the holidays, which is a wonderful circumstance for a writer.  I absolutely love going out to visit with readers, so the time on the road is very precious to me.  The real treasure of being on the road is meeting so many wonderful people at each stop.  This summer I met and worked with docents at historic homes, historians at many different types of archives/records centers, and have met with the nicest people in book clubs of all types.  In short, this was a *wonderful* summer.
    I suppose it is time I also mention I have a new book coming out in March.  This book was written specifically for those who have written books (or wish to write one or are in the process of writing one) but who have not had experience conducting book readings, promotions, and events.  Many people feel a great sense of accomplishment and relief when a book is finally completed.  However, in today's world of publishing, getting the book published is only the first step in the process of "getting the book out there."  My new book, which is titled I'm Published! Now What? -- An Author's Guide to Creating Successul Book Events, Readings, and Promotions, draws upon my thirty years of experience in writing books and preparing for book readings and events.  In the book, I discuss and give recommendations for what authors (both new authors and those who are experienced as well) can do before, during, and after events to build success.  I believe the advice will help writers with an area that is learned, sadly, all too often by "trial and error" (with great emphasis on the ERROR part....).  The book will also be heavily illustrated (pictures of my life on the road)
to help demonstrate the main points presented.  So, look for the book in March.  Even for those who haven't yet written a book, I think all will find the stories "from the road" entertaining and enlightening.
     I wish everyone a magnificent fall (my favorite season)!
     More soon.....

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Book Tour Fun

June 23, 2015
Hi, All!
     I just returned from a 2,500 mile book tour, which is one of the longest stretches I've done in the continental United States.  I had a *wonderful* time. The stops along this tour were the important Underground Railroad depots and historic homes I mentioned in Ain't No Harm to Kill the Devil.  The crowds were excellent at each stop, and the discussions following the readings/presentations were so much fun.  This year is the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War, so people are right now very interested in anything related to that conflict -- which made my book a perfect "fit" for the celebrations and commerations taking place all across the country.  While on the road, the rainy weather seemed to follow me everywhere, from Lake Erie right down through Kentucky.  Sections of Interstate 90 were even flooded and closed around Cleveland!  Actually, the storms didn't bother me one bit.  As a matter of fact, the lightning and thunder made for a good backdrop to the discussions of this volatile time in our history.
    I'm also always encouraging other writers to make the time to enjoy each region traveled through while doing book events.  On this trip and other recent travel, I've been able to see some pretty interesting places, including the birthplace (cabin) of President Grant, the boyhood home of President Taft, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the Louisville Slugger factory (where Major League Baseball bats are made), and even the Bush's Beans factory in Tennessee.  I'm going to attach three pictures to this post.  One is of a "critter" who wanted to have breakfast with me one morning in the Smoky Mountains, one is of me and one of my best friends (Ron) at the Bush's Bean factory (Ron is inside the giant bean can!), and the last is of the world's largest baseball bat at the Louisville Slugger factory.  I love being on a book tour, but I also love stopping to see the local sights/sites as well.  Making these stops and meeting new people are two reasons that being an author is so special and fun.
     Ain't No Harm to Kill the Devil is still selling very well (thanks to all of you who have purchased it!).  It is really heartwarming to see how the story is touching the people who attend the book events.  I tried to make a part of our history come alive, and it is so wonderful to see that coming about through the readers.
    I also want to wish all of you a wonderful summer.  Have fun -- and be safe!


Tuesday, April 7, 2015

New Orleans Book Events

April 7, 2015

Hi, All!
     Ain't No Harm to Kill the Devil is still selling very well, and I've been doing quite a few book events related to it.  Plus, I now know I'll be doing what I believe will be a really fun book tour in June.  Basically, I'll be retracing, in a way, John Fairfield's footsteps.  That is, I'll be doing book readings and events at many of the Underground Railroad depots/historic sites Fairfield used when he was helping slaves to their freedom. I can't wait!  I'll be posting the full itinerary soon, and if you are going to be in any of the areas at that time, please stop by and attend one of the events.  At each stop I'll be doing a special reading and "photo presentation" related to the story.
     This past week I spent some time in New Orleans and wanted to jot a few words about that.  The world of technology available to authors is simply incredible right now.  It is still difficult for me to wrap my head around this, but I was actually able to do one book event in N.O. while seated on a bench at Jackson Square, right outside of St. Louis Cathedral (with the Mississippi River only a short distance behind me).  The setting was incredibly beautiful -- and it was mid-80's and bright sunshine the whole time.  The truly amazing part to me was being able to use "Face-Time" on my I-Phone to link up to readers over a thousand miles away -- and hold an hour discussion!  Face-Time can now be linked to multiple computers, so authors can visit easily with audiences all over the country.  In addition, no longer is there a lag where a person's lips move and the sound follows several seconds later on.  At present, with the new applications, everything happens perfectly in "real time" for these sessions, which makes the experience positive for all.  I'm going to attach to this message two pictures.  The first is of the statue of Andrew Jackson, which is positioned right in the middle of Jackson Square and immediately in front of St. Louis Cathedral.  For the book event, I was seated just before the statue.  The second picture was taken over a thousand miles away from me by a few members of a group I was visiting with at the time about my book Inman's War (they were at Prairie).  In the picture, my image can be seen on one of their laptops (this was taken while we were having a Q&A session).  They could see me fine, and they looked like they were all right in front of me as we spoke!  Yes, the new technology is really something.  To think that this type of communication has become so simple and easy to use for authors and readers.  Amazing!
    One other quick note: I just finished the manuscript of another book.  Details will follow in the next post.  In the meantime, enjoy the spring weather -- and happy reading!


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Best Seller.....again!

January 13, 2015
Hi, All!
    I hope all of you had a wonderful holiday season -- and that the new year has started off as you hoped it would.
     I'm posting today because I found out something that surprised me yesterday -- and made me mighty happy.  I was told Shell Games has once again landed on some Best Seller lists!  In the very "different and unpredictable" world of publishing, it is not always easy to know what is going on.  Shell Games was a runaway success when it was first published but, as is the case with most books, popularity eventually wanes.  Therefore, I was surprised, and positively giddy, when I received the following news yesterday afternoon:

Best Sellers Rank:  Shell Games -
         #74 in Books > Biographies & Memoirs > Regional U.S. > Midwest
                  #88 in Books > Biographies & Memoirs > Leaders & Notable People >  Social Activists

     I'm not sure why Shell Games is so popular once again.  I do know that many "history organizations" have discovered the book.  At the same time, biographies are the #1 selling category of books right now, and Shell Games definitely also falls into that category.
     Also, recently an incredibly talented designer, Mary Falchney, who owns and operates a company called "Fabfusions," created a line of purses "themed" around famous and important American women -- and she did a wonderful line of purses about the book and Pearl McGill; national sales of the purses, too, may be sparking interest.  I've recently had several people ask me where they can purchase the Shell Games/Pearl McGill purses.  There are several places, but the easiest for most people would be on, which is an amazing site for all sorts of wonderful items.  All one would have to do is go to the site and type in the name of the company, "Fabfusions," into the search box, and the purses should be in with the other items in that store.  In the meantime, I'll provide with this post pictures of a

couple of the purses so that all can see what they look like.  It's a genuine thrill for an author when a product is created related to his/her work, and I absolutely love what the designer did with the purses.
     Whatever is happening in terms of renewed interest in Shell Games, I'm thrilled.  It is one thing for an author to hear a book has hit Best Seller lists after it comes out; it is another thing entirely when the book suddenly pops back up in popularity again later on.  All in all, this is really great -- and I can't stop smiling today.  Ah, I do love the "different and unpredictable" world of publishing.....
     Another subject:  I'm closing in on finishing another book, but I'm not at liberty to say much about it yet.  My deadline for finishing the manuscript is later this spring, so I'll be posting information about it when I can.  I will say this much for now: I believe it will be of great interest to a HUGE number of people!  That is all I'll say at this time.
     Happy reading!