Open Wounds


Indie Excellence Gone Bzrk

2012 Indie Excellence AwardsI’ve been away in my mind for the last two weeks. That’s what bloggers say when they’ve been away from their blog – at least that’s what this blogger says. Yes, I am a blogger. I’m surprised to see myself write this but it’s true.

So, I’ve been busy with my day job and putting words on paper for my new book – more day job than new book but I have clocked in my first  100 pages so I’m pleased.

I’m in Nashville right now, at a Starbucks Coffee mixing with the mall rats from across the street’s giant Greenhills Mall and just visited Parnassus Books (in a small mall on my side of the street)  – an awesome indie with a saleswoman who was nice enough to take two copies of Open Wounds and put them on the shelf and consider stocking them – consider, I can ask no more.

It helped that my book has just been announced (no megaphone or loudspeaker, just a quiet facebook mention from my beloved publicist Julie Schoerke at JKSCommunications) as a finalist in the historical fiction category of the 2012 National Indie Excellence Book Awards. I’m very excited, especially since I’d completely forgotten that I’d entered my book in the contest. Julie had recommended that I do so and I’m glad I did.

So I was at Parnassus looking for Michael Grant’s Bzrk and they had the book (many indies have not, I’ve asked at five so far) but only at the warehouse. I couldn’t buy it because after the conference I’m presenting at is over tomorrow I’m heading home and the store is out of the way (two bus rides for this writer and an hours travel). But you can bet they’ll have it stocked on the floor tomorrow. My search for a non-Barnes and Noble purchase of Bzrk goes on…

Oh, but I did buy a book while there (I have to support the indies!). I bought the new Stephen King book in the Dark Tower Series – my favorite books from Mr. King.

Now it’s off to the bus stop and back to the Opryland convention center where workshops on LGBT Issues, Teambuilding, and Cultural Competence await me.

Conspiracies, Obsessions, and Crossing Boundaries

Virginia Festival of the BookIt’s coming.

My first book festival in which I’ll be on a panel discussing a subject that has to do with my book.

I’m very excited about this. So far I’ve been to a few (3) conferences (ALA, BEA, and a NYC Dept. of Ed Librarians Conference) and each of them I’ve signed and done some author speed dating but no presenting on panels.

It seems like a cool thing that an author would do. I’m excited about it.

The Virginia Festival of the Book invited me (thanks to my great publicist JKSCommunications!) and as a Yankee, it’s a real honor to have been picked. Maybe the road trip last summer down south paid off. Whatever Goddesses were looking out for me I’m one happy camper.

I’ll be on two panels.

Panel 1: Conspiracies and Obsessions – novels of unravelling lives – with Alma Katsu, Virginia Moran, and Amelia Gray (and me). It’s an adult author line-up, not YA. I’ll have to think about the context but it sounds like a good fit for Cid Wymann and Open Wounds.

Panel 2: Crossing Boundaries – novels about family drama, love, and loss beyond borders – with N.M.Kelby, Jacqueline E. Luckett, and Elizabeth Nunez (and me). I can’t forget me. Also adult novels but I think I’ll fit in with Open Wounds just fine.

The festival is on March 21-25 and I’ll be on panel 1 on Thursday the 23 and panel 2 Friday the 24. If you’re in Charlottesille VA around then… come say hello. I’ll be the author with the big smile on his phiz.

And here’s the real kicker. The panels will be at a Barnes and Noble. They won’t carry my book normally in store (although they do sell it online) but I’m betting they carry it for the festival. Oh yeah. Uh huh. Oh yeah. I’m still stopping at indi New Dominion Bookstore – oldest in VA. That’s going to be even cooler. Maybe I can convince them to carry my book…

Here’s the link: Virginia Festival of Books

Joemamma and Leafing

Open Wounds was selected by two review sites as best book of 2011. This is cool.

With small distribution to bookstores and mostly online sales the fact that my book has reached so many people (enough to get a second printing and hopefully, soon, a third) is a testament to my publicist JKS Communications (Julie Schoerke, Marissa, and Samantha) and all the review sites they were able to get copies of my book to. Evelyn Fazio at WestSide also had a lot of faith in my book right from the start and gave it as much of a push as she could.

Joemamma’s review from Life Happens While Books are Waiting was one of the first bloggers out there who reviewed my book and I had the wonderful opportunity to meet her, her daughter Jennifer, and her granddaughter Victoria for lunch when I was in Denver last spring. I had the best time talking shop with the three of them and it really set the marker for me in meeting reviewers and getting to know the review side of the marketing puzzle. They are book-lovers and good people. Getting listed on her site as best book she read in 2011 is an honor.

Megan’s review site is Leafing Through Life and I met her at BEA last year. Her review of Open Wounds just came online. It’s funny because she was hesitant about picking my book up to read and once read says it’s the best book she’s read in 2011. There is nothing quite like finding treasure buried beneath an unsuspecting cover. Check out her review using the link.

Not a bad way to start out 2012.

Orca Pass – Seattle, Day 1 of 3

The next four entries are from last week in Seattle.

Facilitation Skills training in Seattle, teaching court practitioners how to facilitate training sessions around an online curriculum.

One day of travel.

One day of work.

One day of travel home.

Mockingbird Books

Sue Nevins at Mockingbird Books

Sue Nevins at Mockingbird Books

I stayed at a hotel in the South Center, near the airport so I had to really work to get downtown. Shuttle to the airport. Light rail to the last stop. A bus and some walking took me to Mockingbird Books.

Sue Nevins was prepared for me, having looked up information about Open Wounds on my website. This has never happened before. I don’t have to pitch. She has questions already ready for me about where to place the book shelf-wise based on language and content. Sue is incredible.

The store is a beautiful bookstore thriving selling children’s books, with a small café and children’s play area. If we lived in Seattle we’d be hanging out at Mockingbird. And Sue knows her books. For almost half an hour she gave me a tour of books that my son might like. I left with four. He got Amulet: Stonekeeper Book 1 (a beautiful graphic novel of mystery, spookiness, and adventure), Sticky Burr: The Prickly Peril (graphic novel about burrs – work with me on this it’s very funny and cute and good for budding artists with graphic novel potential), Merlin (Merlin’s story at the age of 12) and Virus on Orbis One (science fiction to give my son something a little different for him to chew on).

I should do a better job of planning these things out. My publicist (JKS in the hands of Sami Lien who does all the finding of bookstores I should hit and contacts them to see if they’ll take a visit with a smile and calls the fencing salles too) draws a big net. I’m ambitious but come up against the constraints of time and transportation every trip.

Sue told me I should go to Third Place Books also because it was in walking distance – only about twenty minutes – and they had a good pub underneath them. I was thirsty and I needed to eat dinner. The three-hour time difference was knocking me out.

At Third Place I talked to the owner, Michael Ravena, and he seemed pleased both at Sue’s referral and to listen to me talk briefly about Open Wounds. He read a few pages of different parts of the book while I watched, and smiled at a description of Nicolai Varvarinski. “That’s great,” he said. With a handshake and a thank you, I asked for directions to the pub.

The beer (Seattle has a lot of home local brews) was good and the food was even better. The World Series was on the television – no world cup rugby but that can wait until early Sunday morning when France and New Zealand will remake the clash of the titans.

Of the Number One Thousand

Open Wounds has gone into its second printing.

As of last week 1,042 copies have been sold and some 968 copies are out there in the USA at Ingram, Baker & Taylor, other distributors, Amazon, and independent bookstores near you.

So the decision was made to do a second printing.

This is good news mostly due to the help of  my terrific publicist Julie Schoerke and the JKSCommunications gang of Marissa, and Sami. And of course, all the folks who gave up their cash and pulled the book off the electronic or wooden shelf.

Thanks everyone.