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Posts Tagged ‘Changing Hands Bookstore’


lucky_sevens

I have made mention before that I consider myself a “Realist,” which could be convoluted, upon occasion, to infer that I am negative at times. Negativity is toxic and punishing—as if life weren’t challenging enough. Life is chocked full of challenges and obstacles, and the Dark swings a big stick.

Sometimes life is just plain ugly.

But sometimes there is basis in fact for “negativity,” although the mere mention of a dark thing based in fact surely falls under the category of Reality. I submit to a candid world two such facts:

One: I am—until such time as I publish again—a first-time author. With such a pedigree comes the responsibility of proving oneself on a number of levels, not the least of which is the hearts and minds of readers. Readers tend to be a little more forgiving of freshman mistakes, but the more critical among the literate turn up their noses at the offensive stench of unproven writers.

Two: My Arizona Diamondbacks are in the midst of one of their worst seasons ever. Individual team members are having a statistically sound year (like my guy, Stephen Drew!). They’ve lost—no lie here—almost a full three-quarters of the home games my son and I have gone to watch at Chase Field.

So going into Saturday, July 25th, 2009, I began the day with the factual deck stacked against me. But as I’d alluded to in a previous post, regardless of the outcome I would spend a day with my son living amongst the comfort of books and steeped in the great American pasttime of baseball.

In all honesty I was quite alright with coming out of the day with an ‘L’ in both columns.

First up, my book signing at Changing Hands in Tempe. They had set up for a full blown ‘talk’ instead of just a book signing. I was under the impression I was doing a simple signing, so I was haplessly unprepared. Fortunately there was a podium I was to stand at while I winged it—fortunate because I think better standing up, not because I’m in any way speech-friendly.

I’ll spare you, kind reader, with all the minutiae, but it went far better than I thought it would. I had no acquaintances or family show up for the speech-on-the-fly, but I did have seven complete strangers sit patiently and listen, then ask questions I could easily answer (phew!).

I signed seven copies of my book, and no, not one to each person. To put that in perspective, a lot of book signing authors I’ve read about have typically sold (on a good day) two, maybe three, copies, after sitting at their table for three to four hours. I was there an hour-and-a-half.

I must also thank the staff, who were unspeakably supportive and accomodating, and a genuine pleasure to work with (thanks Jamie!).

A quick note: Lest you think this was some small-time neighborhood used book store I’ll have you know that Changing Hands was Publishers Weekly number one independent bookseller in 2007.

“So what?” you say, incredulous.

At the end of this month alone they will host J.A. Jance, and next month are hosting Garrison Keillor. In the past they’ve hosted Stephanie Meyers (Twilight series), Christian Lander (Stuff White People Like), and a Who’s Who of other notable and hugely popular authors. Joey Kramer of Aerosmith will even be there next week to sign copies of his book!

What’s not to like about being included with company like that . . . win or lose!

I finished up there, thanked mom and dad for showing up too (yes, they showed up as well, but got hung up in traffic on the way), and then my son and I went to take in the Dbacks vs. Pittsburg Pirates. Now, they’d won the night before, but given their ability to crash-and-burn at will this season I wasn’t holding out a lot of hope for a ‘W’.

Guess what — they WON! And the score . . .

7-0

It’s way too cheesy and coincidental for me to have made up. A day of sevens, and I got two W’s for the day!

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One of the best things about having your own blog is you get to dictate the content—it’s your party and you’ll cry if you want to . . . or whine, rant, make fun of others, or indulge in a touch of shameless self-promotion.

So this post won’t contain any breathtaking prose on politics or current events, no mental wanderings on things in my little corner of another summer in Hell Arizona.

See, I’m fast closing in on my first book signing ‘thing’. Next Saturday, July 25th, at Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe, from 2:00-3:30pm. Should be a good day. I’ll have all new experiences in anxiety and stress at the bookstore, and then afterwards my son and I are going to a Diamondbacks game; the way they’ve been playing chances are I’ll come up bigger at the bookstore than they will in front of a stadium half-full of fans.

Doesn’t really matter. I get to have a bona fide day to carefully tuck away in memory.

In anticipation—and because I think I’d be remiss if I didn’t do so—I stopped by the bookstore to see if my book was on the shelves ahead of the signing:

The Author Events section

The Author Events section

In case you missed it . . . my books . . . on the shelf!

In case you missed it . . . my books . . . on the shelf!

Any questions? OOH-RAH! If nothing else I get to see my book on a bookstore shelf. I may not sell a single one that day, but I got to experience something I never thought I would. It was a moment of quiet intensity.

I’d like to ask for your indulgence one moment more. I wanted to share this review—not because it’s another glowing review, but because of something better than that. About three weeks ago I’d sent out a press release and receieved almost thirty requests for review copies. For one in particular, I visited her blog, only to discover she’d very recently had a death in her family. Along with the book I sent a note expressing my sincere condolences. I figured she wouldn’t get around to reading the book, much less writing a review, for quite a while given the circumstances . . . and that suited me just fine. However, within about two weeks she’d written me back stating she had, in fact, read it and done the review. First, here’s the note she sent:

I want to first thank you for the nice note you included with the book you sent for review. Your expressions of sympathy for the loss of my sister were very kind. I am thankful you sent the book when you did. It was wonderful and I needed to read it.

Nice, indeed, of itself. Next, the review she wrote:

The Light, The Dark, & Ember Between is beautifully written, and is an uplifting, thoughtful, intelligent, and heartfelt collection of short stories. Fifteen stories in all, each is so very different and from different points of view. All of the stories bring the message of hope to the reader. This is a book that lives up to what it promises – the message of hope as the “Ember Between.”

I have to say that this book came to me at just the right time. I needed to read it because it reminded me that hope doesn’t just happen. We have to keep our eyes open and watch for it. This is a lovely book that I recommend for personal reading or as a wonderful gift.

By the way, on Amazon she gave it 5-stars, and entitled her comment “Better than 5 stars.” (Remember, this is my blog!)

Her review, of course, is wonderful. But I submit that the higher reason for basking in it isn’t because of what she thought of the book, rather because of what it did for one person—a complete stranger. Should there ever be any doubt or argument about the power of angels? I have the warmest suspicion that the timing of my press release was guided by a power far greater than any visible entity I know of.

Every so often, if we listen very carefully, closely, without remission of heart, we may hear the whisper of an angel telling us we’ve done well. I like her review (of course) but am far more fond of what she’s said between the lines. I managed, in some small way, to make a difference—and I have to say it feels exceptionally good.


If you’d like to see the rest of the Amazon reviews you can find them here.

I have all the reviews (Amazon’s included) posted at my site, Avomnia.com.

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