Sherlock’s Bookstore (photo from their site) in Lebanon, TN, is a wonderful, wonderful place for booklovers. There were 11 authors the group booksigning, many members of my RWA chapter, MCRW, plus a few more local authors. Authors included besides me (Jody Wallace / Ellie Marvel) were Alethea Kontis, Annie Solomon, Dianna Love, Haley Elizabeth Garwood, Marie-Nicole Ryan, Missy Lyons, Ramona Richards, Shannon Dauphin (aka Gwen Masters), Sherri Kenyon, and Trish Milburn.
Alethea Kontis (http://www.aletheakontis.com/) writes in several genres, including romance fiction and children’s fiction. I remember meeting Alethea several years ago, when Sherri introduced us at a conference in Knoxville, TN. She gave me a bracelet that said “Telefab” for my daughter in honor of her recent book contract. She told me yesterday it was a collector’s item because the publisher changed the title of her book to “AlphaOops: The Day Z Went First”. I’m hoping to see more of Alethea and invited her to visit us at MCRW. (Yes, I confess to a certain overweening pride in my local RWA chapter, even when I have differences of opinion with the National organization *heh*)
Annie Solomon (http://www.anniesolomon.com/) sat to my left during the signing, and actually during lunch as well. I’ve known Annie since I joined MCRW 8 years ago, and in that time she’s published a number of gritty romantic suspenses and won herself a RITA. Annie and I talked clothes and shoes, since she has a finely honed sense of fashion, and because she thought my shoe disaster from Friday (long story I may or may not reveal here) was funny, even though I think she had to sit through it twice. Photo from l-r is Annie Solomon, Jennifer Ray from Wild on Books, Ramona Richards.
Dianna Love (http://www.diannalovesnell.com/) was in MCRW for several years, so I had a chance to get to know her at a couple of our annual retreats. Dianna has a gift for gab–the ability to talk a lot without ever being boring! She likes Harley Davidson motorcycles and writes romantic suspense, most recently in conjunction with Sherri Kenyon.
Haley Elizabeth Garwood (http://www.haleyelizabethgarwood.com/) is a role model of work ethic and dogged good health! She has roots in WV, where my mom grew up. Haley self-published (in the true self-publishing sense) a warrior queen series of historical novels, teaches at a university, and single-handedly maintains a farm. It’s not necessarily a commercial farm, but the woman drives a tractor, what more do you want? She is such a trooper she can withstand the bite of a cottonmouth! That’s her story to tell, and she tells it well.
Marie-Nicole Ryan (http://www.marienicoleryan/) and I have been buddies for some years, bonding over a shared streak of meanness and an interest in incorporating the digital sector of book publishing as part of our career journeys. Marie has already gotten a Kindle, of which I am immensely jealous, although I can’t choose between the Kindle, the Sony reader, the iPhone, and the not-yet on the market perfect reader (hey, if they can perfect the Ipod…). I am still transferring my ebooks to my little old PDA.
Missy Lyons (http://www.myspace.com/missy_lyons) attended the signing and stayed the whole time even though she recently had a baby. Man, I wouldn’t have left my house that soon after giving birth, and not merely because I was all maternal and grumpy. I was really impressed she was not only conscious but cheerful and pretty. She had nothing but smiles for everyone in the bookstore. She only phoned home to check on things a couple times, too. Missy writes erotic romance, though she said she hasn’t written in a couple months. Wonder why? 🙂
Ramona Richards (http://www.ramonarichards.com/ — photo above with Annie) is one of those multitasking women of the publishing industry who wears several hats — author of romance, author of inspirational romance, journalist, public speaker, author of nonfiction and devotionals, author of erotic romance (!), and editor. She is, unsurprisingly, a consummate professional and gracious enough to laugh at even the bad jokes I tell. Her recently revamped website is gorgeous, too.
Shannon Dauphin (http://www.shannondauphin.com/ & http://www.gwenmasters.com/) is relatively new to my local chapter but already we’re all thrilled she decided to join us. She is a dynamic career woman whose efforts at promotion have stimulated our group to look into more opportunities ourselves, like the Sherlock’s booksigning. I am amazed at what she juggles while also having a family, and now that I’m no longer on the Board of my local chapter, I should have more time at the meetings to pick her brain for tips.
Sherri Kenyon (http://www.sherrilynkenyon.com/) has, like Annie, been in my local chapter since before I joined myself, and we’ve gotten to see her career go from zero to five hundred in what feels like sixty seconds! I like to think of myself as a good luck charm, but in actuality, Sherri’s dedication and talent were all the luck she needed. We don’t get to see as much of her at chapter meetings as we used to, for obvious reasons, but her company is always a pleasure. And she also introduced me to one of my favorite local restaurants–bonus! In the photo she has been presented with a custom made, super fast Dark Hunter RC mustang by the Sherlock’s staff.
Trish Milburn (http://www.trishmilburn.com/) is one of the most determined authors I’ve ever known. She knew what she wanted to write and where she wanted to publish, and she pursued it doggedly until she got what she set out to achieve. It was a long and winding path many would have quit walking long ago. She earned several Golden Hearts and GH nominations from RWA during her journey, and I’m sure one day she’ll add a RITA to her collection. Maybe she’ll let RITA wear the GH pendant when it doesn’t match her outfit.
The bookstore staff was so friendly and helpful I suspect it’s going to be a crushing disappointment when I attempt to enter the real world of author booksignings. The store was a dream and even had a bookstore cat. They fed us lunch and seemed truly interested and invested in all of us as local authors, no matter our rung on the career ladder. There was a cafe, free wireless, a small movie theater where they show free movies, shopping carts, plenty of room to move between aisles, an RC track out back, and a great selection of books as well as other items. I confess that I am green with jealousy that this store is in Lebanon, an hour from my house, instead of closer. Much closer. Like next door.
Of course, I’m fond of my next door neighbors, so I wouldn’t wish them to disappear, so I guess I’d settle for the next street over. I don’t know most of the people over there.
I did a spot of booksigning at the Lori Foster event in June for Secrets 17 & 22, but because both Samhain and Sherlock’s worked so hard to get A SPELL FOR SUSANNAH into print for me several weeks early, this felt, in essence, like my first real booksigning. I had 3 books to sign! My first published single title novel plus Secrets 17 & 22. It was an occasion, and I couldn’t have had a better bookstore experience. The book (SFS) looks simply gorgeous, too, and once again I must give props to the cover artist, Christine Clavel. My friend Kim had sent me a photo of SFS and the Secrets anthologies on the shelf from her cellphone the night before, and that was neat.
My friend Marie used my camera to try to take pictures of me, but for whatever reason lately–as shown above–I’ve blinked in all flash photos. So I found a remedy to that situation.
And yes, my coat is awesome, even if the sleeves are a bit too long.
If you’re ever in the Nashville area, be sure and put Sherlock’s bookstore on your list of places worth visiting!