Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Four Virginia Booksignings

This is my last post on my VA/PA tour. The Tuesday after the Festival of Mystery, I dropped L.C. Hayden off at the Pittsburgh airport after rooming with her for the festival, then drove south to Charlottesville, VA. I arrived at my sister's house half an hour before she got off work and napped in the rental car while I waited for her. After a quick hug and change of clothes, we headed off to the Barracks Road Shopping Center for dinner and my signing at the Barnes & Noble store there. My beautiful college-aged niece passed out fliers at the front door, and my sister greeted friends that she had invited to come. It sure helps to have family do marketing for you!

The store had scheduled a discussion, which meant my sister and I chatted with her friends and anyone else who showed up and I answered questions about the writing process. What made this event special was my first "groupies"! I had met two lovely ladies at the Malice Domestic conference, and when I found out they were from Charlottesville I asked them to come to my signing so I'd have an audience. They did come and talked one of my sister's friends into attending Malice next year. I really appreciate the favor, gals, and you made me feel so special!

The next day I drove to my parents' home in Hampton, VA and loaded their washing machine because Thursday was going to be a busy day. My mom and I worked my noon - 3 PM signing at the College of William and Mary (my alma mater) Bookstore. She stood by front door and handed out fliers, suggesting a mystery novel made for a great Mother's Day gift. (Thanks, Mom!) My good friend, Grace, stopped by and bought copies, then made me look popular enough that other folks came by and bought also. I told her she was my good luck charm. At 2:45, my mom plopped down in a chair next to me. When I asked her if she needed a rest, she said, "No, a boy threw up on the sidewalk right outside the front door, and I don't want to look at it."

After a laugh, we made bets on which store employee would draw the short straw and have to clean it up. A short while later, a man hustled by with a full package of paper towels. After that auspicious ending, we had just enough time to pick up my dad and drive to the Newport News Barnes & Noble bookstore for the second event of the day. I had a lovely dinner with their Mystery Book Club, then signed from 7-9 PM. My dad took his turn at the door with my fliers, announcing that a new mystery author was signing today, then leaning over and adding, "And she's my daughter." That sentimental approach made quite a few sales for me. (Thanks, Dad!)

After a restful Friday, I drove up to Richmond for a joint signing with Agatha-award-winner Sandy Parshall at the Creatures 'n Crooks bookstore. My ex sister-in-law and niece surprised me by driving down from Crozet to have lunch with me and buy copies. Boy, it sure is nice to have relatives around at signings! And chatting with Lelia, the owner, who's so knowledgeable about the mystery business, was a pleasure. Then it was on to Ashburn to stay with friends before getting on a plane and flying home. They took me to the fancy new $28 million Clyde's restaurant complex there and wheedled a tour out of the manager for the "famous visiting author." (Thanks, Dave!)

I returned home on Mother's Day to flowers from my college-aged daughter and a homemade chocolate cake (and trashed kitchen) compliments of my high school son. What a wonderful ending to a wonderful trip.

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