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Posts Tagged ‘book festival

So last weekend was the biggest literary festival in the Northeast, the Printers Row Lit Fest in Chicago. I drove out as usual, but this time my son was not with me. He had summer classes, so my daughter went with me instead, which was useful as my daughter is much more sales-oriented than my son, so we were able to handle the crush of customers and keep track of what we were doing much better. That was important as we were experimenting with a new pitch and had more than usual to keep track of. Can you spell BOGO? Well, actually, you can since I just spelled it out for you. On the other hand the stuff we had to keep track of over there meant we had less to put out over here, so we were able to fit the rest of our books on the table in a much more pleasing display. Not crammed.

Friday was the long drive, a 14-hour trip through 6 states. NY and NJ are okay, about 2.5 hours total and done. Pennsylvania is a bit harder to take, a 4.5 hour trip that is enjoyable at first but you really can’t wait for it to be over by the time you’re done. It doesn’t help that parts of PA put up mile markers every tenth of a mile, so you’re forced to watch the pot boil and we all know watched pots take just forever to boil. (And I have that same trip to look forward to next month when I go to Pittsburgh for Confluence. Except that the roads will be worse and it’ll take me 7 hours to get out instead of 4.5. These last 2 years I’ve gotten home from Confluence at 2 in the morning, after leaving at 4:30 on a Sunday afternoon. What the hell all those cars and trucks are doing on the road at that hour I don’t know.)

Anyway, I also realized that my first trip through Ohio years back I must have been diverted way the hell north through Cleveland, which explains why the trip that year took so much longer than any other year. There isn’t much to say about Ohio and Indiana except that they’re flat. And there was an accident at some point, a tandem trailer that tipped over and crushed some poor car. I hope there was no one in the passenger seat. I met a lady at the next rest stop who decided to buy a copy of St. Martin’s Moon because it isn’t every day you get to meet the author. That was nice.

We were at a Days Inn again this year, and my publisher and all of her authors gathered there as well.  We got into the hotel parking lot just as they were getting into their cars to go to a restaurant for a dinner together, so naturally we went along. It was more of Chicago then I’ve been able to see so far, since previous trips involved highways that took me to and from the event with little opportunity to see anything. Then we went back to the hotel and basically crashed until the next day. Thanks to some construction we were turned around but managed to get there right behind the rest of our group, who had, like, directions and stuff. Cheaters.

The weather was not cooperative. We’d been told it would be cool and rainy, only it was hot. We were all overdressed for that day. Like every other PR for the last few years it rained, but we had several tarps and some good notice, so when the skies opened up we had everything under cover and all the boxes off the ground. And the people of Chicago don’t let a little rain stop them. The following day was a lot cooler, and of course we were all underdressed for that weather, especially towards the evening when we were in the shade and Dearborn Ave became a wind tunnel off the lake. We sold about twice as many books on Sunday as we did on Saturday, so I’m not complaining at all.

There were several of us there, Echelon being the sort of publisher that really makes an effort to get its authors out and about. Sean Hayden, Gale Borger, Jen Wylie, Bob Goldsborough, Claudia Whitsitt, Luisa Buehler, Marlis Day, Jenny Turner, Sam Morton, Norm Cowie, and Martin Bartloff were on the other three sides of the tent (yes I remembered them all and yes they’re in order), along with a lady who wrote children’s books and seemed very nice, but whose name I never got. She’s identified in several of the photos everyone else managed to take. Usually when my back was turned.

The trip back was a bit longer than the trip out, since I didn’t get a lot of sleep the night before and that really sucks for driving 800+ miles. But we survived. This post is the longest piece of writing I’ve done since then, so I must be feeling better now. We managed to sell over a hundred books, and gave away even more ducks! I also came up with a story idea. Martin and I had been talking about pantsing v. outlining at dinner, and I imagined (while driving home on Monday) him proposing a line to see if I could pants a story out of it. Which I did. But I really want to finish Ghostkiller.

How was your weekend?

Yeah, I know, but I go to South Carolina for the Book Festival they have in Columbia, and I don’t go to Alabama at all.

Speaking of the Book Festival, I just got back from there on Monday after spending four marvelous days in weather that wasn’t rainy and was warm. This time around they decided to hold the festival in May instead of February, and I was lucky that my local festival, Duck Pond Day, wasn’t the same weekend. Actually it was my publisher who was lucky since I wouldn’t have traveled 800 miles for the privilege of losing money if an event literally down the hill from my house was waiting for me. Duck Pond Day is next Sunday, so life is good.

It was also the weekend my new book came out. Yes, St. Martin’s Moon is officially released, although at this moment it only appears on and the sister site All Romance Ebooks.  I also got a fabulous Triple Espresso review.

At I-Con last month I got to use my new handmade wooden bookshelf on wheels. At SC I was able to use both of them, although I think I’ll have to get some new wheels, the big ones I have don’t fit right and the shelves tilt. We had no room for anything else, there were lots of other authors sharing the space and space was at a premium. Having a lot of shelves was very handy. I even sold a few electronic copies of some of my short stories, that’s never happened before.

The other authors were Sam Morton and Connie Hullander, both of whom apparently live in Columbia or thereabouts. Everyone else had to travel a bit, Sean Hayden and his son Connor came up from Florida, Kieryn Nicolas came down from PA, Marlis Day came out East again and Gale Borger traveled the furthest of all. Even better, almost every one of them had a new book out, and this festival was where it was going to debut (at least the paper version)! I picked just so many new titles to read! And I have to read them, of course, otherwise how could I promote them to all the lucky patrons of my other bookselling events?

One thing we had no room for was a place to sit. I spent every hour of both days on my feet and moving around. You can imagine how stiff I was when I finally got a chance to sit down. If you’re lucky you can’t.

The trip home was less fortunate, in several respects. I left SC on Sunday night after the event ended, making it about halfway through North Carolina before stopping at a motel. After getting lost twice. The motel, a Best Western, was a little pricier than I would have liked but I wasn’t really motivate to try the non-name brands down the road. At least they had a decent complimentary breakfast, and a busload of friendly tourists who were no doubt occupying all the cheaper rooms. And Julia, my daughter who was doing the event with me, got to use the pool. Yay. Well, at least she was happy.

The next day I was supposed to stop in at my publisher’s warehouse and pick up my books, every copy of A Warrior Made I could find. I’m pretty sure most of them were buried, I never saw so many boxes of books in my life! People, you gotta get out there and start buying Echelon books. I mean, seriously.

Anyway, for the last part of the trip I had a thousand pounds more weight than I was used to, and of course that was when a serious accident on the NJ Turnpike closed the road and forced us to make a detour onto Rte. 1, at rush hour. I don’t think we made much better time than the parking lot we left behind. When we finally got back to LI we had to deal with the crappy paving job that I felt every pothole and crack of, thanks to the aforementioned extra thousand pounds. And I was too late to catch the season finale of Chuck. Thank God for VCRs, except of course something went wrong. Thank God for!

Next month, Chicago!

See you there?

Unbinding the Stone

A Warrior Made

A Warrior Made

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St. Martin’s Moon

St. Martin's Moon

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Chasing His Own Tale

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Struck By Inspiration

Struck By Inspiration

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Steampunk Santa

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Bite Deep

Christmas among the vampires!

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Cyber-pirates. Sort of.

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Off the Map

Reality TV...without the Reality!

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