Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Meet Me At The River

After my third mystery, Hell Swamp, debuted I was fortunate to get an email from Raleigh Parks and Recreation. Carmen Rayfield, Director of "Read and Go", told me that seniors at RPR were reading North Carolina writers' books and then traveling to visit with the writer. She wanted to plan a visit with me. Wow! I was honored and thrilled. Together we planned a picnic on Black River at Black River Plantation, a 200-year-old mansion and the scene of the crime in my book.

On May 14th a tour bus arrived at the plantation, followed by a caterer and two reporters and a photographer. Ed Padfield, the owner of the mansion, had already opened the gates and doors, set up tables and chairs on the front porch, and covered the tables with red cloths.

What a memorable day it was! Both reporters interviewed me and the photographer took many pictures. I inserted a few here just to give you an idea of how special this event was to all of us. You may be wondering how this all came about. It all started at Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh, where the folks have been truly supportive of me. By the way, they are regarded as the most highly respected independent bookstore in the state--another honor for me to be part of their huge inventory. In my opinion, they blow the big chains out of the water;-]

I'm told that Susan Alff of Quail Ridge gave Carmen my name and contact information. The rest is history, as they say. I have to thank Susan and Carmen for making me feel like a star in the east. I will continue to support Quail Ridge and RPR. THANKS SO MUCH!!!

You, as a writer, can have the same kind of event in your area if you are visible. Be certain to get to know store owners. Many of them are like family. They want us to succeed! We want them to succeed as well. Plug the indies every chance you get. I have over a dozen with whom I do consignments. I get to see them regularly, and you never know when something awesome like a readers' picnic might crop up. Let folks know you're willing to speak, read, or just sign copies of your books on the street or inside the store. Go to a few festivals.

I could go on, but you get the message. I hope this blog spurs you on to even greater success. Step outside your comfort zone and ask your local parks and rec, civic groups, and stores about events they might not have thought to ask. Enjoy the pictures.