Signing books at Book Carnival and Mystery Ink is always fun. Orange County, where both signings took place, is my old stomping grounds. After moving to the US from England, I grew up in Anaheim and graduated Anaheim High School in 1967. Last year we held our 50-year reunion. How on earth did that happen? Where did 50-years go?!
Last November I had a new book out–Written Off–so I bit the bullet and made the 100-mile drive. It took about four hours, but seeing some old friends and making new ones made battling the traffic worthwhile. I had the great pleasure of welcoming several high school classmates to the two book signings.
At both events, I shared the podium with fellow mystery author, Patty Smiley, who was promoting her book, Outside the Wire. At first I was a teeny bit confused. The year before, my release was titled Outside the Lines. The penny finally dropped and I understood we were talking about two different books.
The two independent bookstore owners, Anne Saller at Book Carnival and Debbie Mitsch at Mystery Ink are unfailingly welcoming and ready for the signing. You might think that goes without saying, but in my experience, the big box stores aren’t always as well prepared. Debbie drives wherever I need her to act as my bookseller at book launch parties and other large events. She’s always efficient and on time. I know I can count on her.
Whenever you can, please support your local independent bookseller.
All the 2018 book events made for a busy year where I had fun around Southern California. At the L.A. Times Festival of Books I signed at the Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America booths. Those 2018 book events included author panels at several Southland libraries: Culver City Library, EP Foster Library, Thousand Oaks Library , Camarillo Library.
Ventura hypnotherapist Bunny Vreeland hosted a book event at her office, where she gave eight local authors a forum to display their work. Another venue was the Latino Expo at the Ventura County Fairgrounds, Seaside Park. The Expo is held twice a year, it’s full of fun, vendors, free food and tequila. At one event, the Ojai Valley Retired Professional Businessmen’s Club, members bought a ton of books, which always makes me happy. Ventura Barnes & Noble hosted a writers panel. It was fun to be back and see my books in the store.
Check my calendar to see where I’ll be next. I’d love for you to come out and say hi.
Dozens of friends gathered at Mimi’s Cafe in Ventura on November 14, 2017 to help me celebrate the release of my latest book, Written Off. Food, prizes and lots of fun. As she has for all my other releases, Debbie Mitsch of Mystery Ink drove all the way up from Huntington Beach to sell books at the Written Off launch party.
We had such a great time, I plan on doing it again when my next book, Proof of Life, comes out early in 2019.
Local author and buddy James Francis Gray also had a table with his books.
James is the best-known author in Ventura. He belongs to every networking group there is and he’s the best person to know if you need the word spread about something you are doing. He touts the Latino Expo and has made Tatiana’s Coffee & Tea the most popular independent coffee house in Ventura. Tatiana and Diego display local vendors’ wares there, several of which are authors, including yours truly.
Everyone seemed to be having a great time. I gave anyone who brought a prize a 30-second commercial to talk about anything they wanted to. There were all kinds of prizes. My good friend Tracey Bolton, a phenomenal psychic medium, donated a reading. The person who won really lucked out. Everyone who buys books gets a free ticket for each one they purchase. Then I do a drawing free handwriting analysis.
Since moving to Ventura in 2004 I’ve made some great friends, many of whom became my readers. When I got published, they all came out and supported me. It’s warm feeling to know you belong to a community.
At the end of October, 2017, the zany ladies of the Hillside, Ventura, Book Club read What She Saw (a young woman with amnesia. For the second time, my friend Amy Herron invited me to attend their meeting as guest author. They met the night before Halloween and they dressed up as characters from the book. What a thrill to see my characters come to life that way! Almost as good as having it made into a movie (almost).
Irene Mefford (in mermaid green) hosted the event at her home in Ondulondo, a neighborhood in the hills high above Ventura. Imagine the view of the lights at night, the Pacific Ocean during the day. Irene went all-out with fabulous Halloween-themed food. She created claw-shaped meatloaf, witches head apples in cider, Jello shots in huge syringes. As you can imagine, by the time we got around to judging the costumes, everyone was in a great mood.
Teri Casey dressed as Jessica Mack’s backpack! How’s that for creativity? She won a prize for that great costume.
Tragedy strikes the book club
Tragically, few short weeks later, Irene’s beautiful home became one of a thousand casualties of the Thomas fire, a heartbreaking loss. Other club members in the neighborhood were also evacuated. These terrifying experiences teach us a lot about what is really of greatest value in our lives.
The good news is, the book club continues to meet and I hope to be invited back again some time. How would they dress up for my upcoming book, Proof of Life, which is the sequel to What She Saw.
What She Saw, a young woman with amnesia. Imagine waking up on a train and realizing that you don’t know who you are, where you are going. or where you came from. Furthermore, something tells you that you can’t call the cops.