I returned last night (Monday) from my latest book-promotion journey. I signed books at three Barnes and Noble stores–Denton, S. Arlington, and Ft. Worth respectively–and had a grand time. Two of the signings were almost sell-outs. One store had a slow day, but I still managed to sign and sell 15 copies of Jim Limber Davis: A Black Orphan in the Confederate White House. On the way to Denton, I set up a signing at the Books-A-Million in Bossier and in Longview, Texas. (I might have one at the Barron’s bookstore in Longview as well. I’m awaiting final word on that one.)
I had a hard time getting to Denton. It took me four hours to get through Dallas because of the many wrecks, a bad day even by Dallas standards. I-635 was completely shut down, and if I hadn’t gotten off and circled around it via Beltline Road, I would have been late to my signing. Next time I do a signing in Denton, I’m going to circle around Dallas, even if it means driving an extra 50 miles or so. I figure I’ll still save time. I left the signing and drove to my parent’s house in South Oklahoma, arriving at midnight. I had the other two signings on Saturday, and as I said, they also went well. I spent Saturday night and all day Sunday with my parents, then started back to Louisiana on Monday morning. I have a goal of stopping at 10 places every time I take a trip, and I reached my goal this time–6 libraries, 2 bookstores, and 2 school districts. I made some sales and also set up some presentations for later in the year.
This trip I met many really cool people–some from other states, even some from other countries. I am truly becoming a gypsy writer. In the evenings and on Sunday I managed to do some reading and some writing to feed my starving writer’s soul. The weather was abysmally warm (in the 100’s), but I’d rather drive in the dog days of summer in clear weather than in the rain.
I returned home, finding myself behind in work. So, time to get at it. If any of my readers have attended one of my signings, I’d like to hear from you. Write me at firstname.lastname@example.org
This may be my last post until Monday, depending on whether I can access wireless Internet while I’m traveling. I’ll be at the Denton, Texas Barnes and Noble Friday, the Arlington and Fort Worth Barnes and Nobles Saturday. Sunday I’ll spend with my parents. I’ll stop at book stores and libraries on my way there Friday and back on Monday. Wish me luck. I’ll spend Friday, Saturday, and Sunday night with my parents in Kemp, Oklahoma.
I had a great day with my grandson Mason today at the Monroe Zoo. I’ll miss him so much, but I know I’ll still see him often in Ocean Springs, MS. after they move. Lots to do yet tonight, so I’ll sign off now.
Today, I’m doing the grandfather thing and keeping my grandson. He and I are going to the zoo. It will be my last day to be with him for a while, as he and my daughter and son-in-law are moving to Ocean Springs, MS. next weekend. So, I put my many projects on hold to spend this day with him. He’ll be with me from 8:00 am – about 2:00 pm when my daughter will pick up when she’s through with work for the day. I’ll miss them terribly. They already have jobs (there are few really good jobs in the Monroe area for some reason) and a house. The only good thing about their leaving is that I’ll have a place to stay when I work Mobile and Biloxi and other nearby cities when I do signings.
I rose at 5:00 a.m. today, did a couple of writing exercises, and finished reading a short story in the New Orleans Noir collection. This afternoon after Mason Alexander Shelby has left me, I’ll make phone calls and set up some more appointments for signings and programs. I must also contact those I work with at Pelican. They are so overworked (and I know they have MANY books to worry about and I only two) and I hope to set up as many appointments as I can without interfering with their assigned work.
I had a good day yesterday: I went to Minden to research the historical play I’m writing, set up a signing at the Bossier City Books- -A-Million for Saturday, Sept. 22, and I also set up programs for two of the Bienville Parish libraries on Tuesday, Sept. 4. If I can set up a couple of appointments every day, then I’ll have a very full year.
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I’ve also tried to include a pic here of Tom and me. We are in a Scots-Irish band.
It looks like I’m back to my early morning writing and writing work schedule. I was most fruitful when I did that, and I’m going to try to hold to it. I rose at 4:00 a.m. and was at KTVE, Channel 10 by 5:30 for my TV interview with Angela Cruz. Betty Neatherly, the librarian of the Ouachita Valley Library was also with me. She is hosting the Book Talks for the library. The interview went very well. The library is located at 581 McMillan Road, West Monroe, LA 71294 and their phone is (318) 327-1471. The program is schedule to begin at 6:00.
Last night, I finished editing Angelic Upstarts, a novel by Eric Chapman. In genre, it is a Utopian novel, with a unique African-American focus. I’ve honestly never seen anything like it. Chapman is a skilled writer, and he provides sharp insights into both Black and White American culture, asking and addressing many of the questions related to race that many are afraid to ask. In the tradition of the Dystopian and Utopian novelists, he looks into the future and asks relevant “What if . . .” questions. I think his novel has the potential of stirring thought and motivating individuals, especially African-American readers. Chapman’s novel is a philosophical, rich in historical allusions, and generally a heady read. At 600 plus pages, it is not one for the faint of heart, but if you like to think, this uniquely structured novel will open your mind.
The life of a writer is full of little ironies and juxtapositions. We must be magnets that draw those coincidental events and experiences. Anyway, I was editing a new writer’s manuscript, and listening to Zipless by Vanessa Daou, when I heard this song, which I recognized as a poem of Erica Jong. Here it is. Appropriately, it is called, “Sunday Afternoons.” Though written from a female point of view, I still can identify with some of the lines.
I sit at home
at my desk alone
as I used to do
on many sunday afternoons
when you came back to me,
your arms ached for me,
and your arms would close me in
though they smelled of other women.
I think of you
on Sunday afternoons.
Your sweet head would bow,
like a child somehow,
down to me –
and your hair and your eyes were wild.
We would embrace on the floor-
You see my back´s still sore.
You knew how easily I bruised,
It´s a soreness I would never lose.
I think of you
on Sunday afternoons.
My signing at the Monroe, Louisiana Books-A-Million was a success. I signed and sold all but three of the books the store had ordered. The managers were very pleased and I’ve already been invited back for another signing when Stories of the Confederate South comes out in October. This collection of short fiction did well with Booklocker, and I’m hoping it will do even better with Pelican and that publisher’s larger distribution network. The collection of short historical fiction will also be a natural to sell alongside my children’s book, Jim Limber Davis: A Black Orphan in the Confederate White House.
I was delighted to see that you can already pre-order Stories of the Confederate South on Amazon.com.
Tomorrow, I’ll have to be up early to be on Channel 10’s (KTVE) morning show with Angela Cruz to tell viewers about the program at the library that evening. Today, I’m deeply buried in editing work.
I’m trying to keep up on my self-imposed reading pace and finish one book a week. I’m a little behind schedule. New books on my shelf include New Orleans Noir (a collection of short fiction in that noir series), Room to Write (writing exercises) and Write Away (a novelist’s approach to writing fiction).
School is beginning soon, and while family and friends are gearing up for another year of fighting the powers of ignorance and darkness, I’m preparing for what looks like the busiest fall of my life. My book tour is taking shape and my calendar is filling up rapidly. Though I’ll be traveling a good bit, there are two important parts of my day I want to keep up with: reading and my own personal writing. I’m getting a good bit of editing work, and those jobs always have deadlines, so there’s some pressure there to finish them up. I also must devote my self to promoting and marketing my books. An ideal day (a day without crucial life-chores, etc.) would be constructed like this:
1. Reading (at least one chapter of current book)
2. Writing (at least one poem, one scene of a play, one chapter of a novel, or one creative nonfiction piece)
3. Promotion of books (I do five things every day to promote them in some way)
This Saturday, August 4, I have a signing at the Books-A-Million in Monroe, Monday, August 6th a presentation at the Ouachita Library in W. Monroe. The next weekend I go to the Ft. Worth area for some Barnes and Nobles. I started to list the cities in the South that I’ve targeted, and then I realized that every major city is on the list. I’m determined to get the book out to bigger markets where there is more money and more people. Here’s a Latin quotation that is my inspiration today:
Fortes fortuna adiuvat – Fortune favors the brave. (I’ve read that this now famous proverb is a line from Terence, a 2nd century BC Roman playwright.)