How I Survived My Second Book Signing

IMG_20180512_131558590.jpgMe^ (Photo credit: R.A. Johnson)

Don’t let that relaxed, calm, and passive face fool you 😉 I was STRESSED about my book signing last Saturday. I showed up an hour early, with all my stuff and my friend and her son and my mom…because, let’s face it: If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Ten minutes in, I was sweating…well, more literally than proverbially. TMI?

How did I survive? What did I do right? What did I do wrong? Buckle up, folks! It’s going to be a bumpy ride.


What I Did Right

  • I reserved the venue (my local public library) five months in advance (before the calendar filled up for 2018)
  • Contacted my baker way in advance (Cross’ Confections. YUM!)
  • Stayed in touch with my baker every so many months, until it got closer; by then, I was contacting her every so many weeks
  • Sent out personal invites to friends and family (you can do e-invites, but there’s something about getting actual mail in the real-life mailbox…)
  • Had swag related to each book
  • Had my help lined up months in advance

If possible, get a free, public venue. I could have asked a church, but some people aren’t comfortable in a religious setting, and you have to pay to rent a room. Plus, if the church doesn’t approve of you book…well, that’s a whole ‘nother dilemma.

Baked goods are optional. I wanted to feed my guests. Did it cost me? Yes (not nearly as much as if I had gone with another bakery, but still.)

Keeping the lines of communication open with your venue and your help/baker is essential. People are busy and sometimes forget to write things down. You are not being a nag contacting them on occasion to finalize or go over plans.

A personal touch can mean the difference between a yes and a no. Want people to come to your party? Make them feel like they’re wanted. Because they are!

Giving away swag related to your book is a fun way to keep you and your work in people’s thoughts. Let’s face it: you have to see/hear of a book several times before you break down and read it.

Putting the burden on your own shoulders alone will break your back.

What I Did Wrong

  • I did not set a budget. This is CRITICAL for any party planner: make certain you have a limit on what you want to spend. Things add up FAST! Whether you’re selling books or Mary Kay, you don’t want a deficit. Come out in the black!
  • I had my expectations set on my last book signing. By doing this, I kept comparing. And when you compare, you tend to get negative. You doubt yourself and your ability to write, sell, or throw a party.


For refreshments, I had my high school friend Beth Cross of Cross’ Confections make three types of macarons (strawberry, blueberry, and I think the green one was matcha with a mint filling), chocolate chip scones, and shortbread cookies. Mmmm!

IMG_20180512_140939602.jpg(Photo credit: R.A. Johnson)

For book swag, I had postcards for Lady Catherine Says

Lady Catherine Says cover2

Lip balms with the cover art for Lady Catherine Says, along with information on where to find the book; postcards for Circus in a Shot Glass with pens attached…

CIASG post cards

Buttons for In a Pickle with the words “I’VE GOT SOME HISTORY TO FIX” printed on them; and bookmarks for those who bought Lady Catherine Says, encouraging people to leave reviews of my books on Goodreads.

With twenty-four people in attendance, I’m calling the official book launch/signing for Lady Catherine Says a success!

Keep your pen on the page and your nose in a book,

P.S. Here’s a link to my radio interview last Thursday: Listen Here!


Me Tackling Fear — On the Radio and in a Crowd

002.JPGMy sister got me a cute shot glass ^ in honor of CIRCUS IN A SHOT GLASS’s upcoming release!

But before I think about CIRCUS IN A SHOT GLASS, I have to finish getting through this week. If all went well (I’m writing this post on Sunday), I was on the radio yesterday and will try to see if there’s a link to the segment on the station’s website. And tomorrow…is my book signing!


It would seem I’m tackling a lot of my fear this week…head-on! I HATE being in crowds and I do not like being the focal point. Oh, and did I mention that I’m TERRIFIED of talking on the phone?

What about you? What are some of your fears? Have you tackled them?

Keep your pen on the page,

Cover Reveal? (Things Heard in a Graveyard)

I’m not entirely sure that this is what I’m going with, but here’s what I’m thinking for my cover. Any thoughts? Suggestions? Should I scrap it and buy some different art?

THIAG cover reveal 2.png

Front and back, there it be^ (Sadly, I cannot do anything but color on the spine. I only have Paint to work with for that sort of thing.)


No word yet on a cover for Circus in a Shot Glass. I imagine there will be news in the next few months. Stay tuned and…

Keep your pen on the page,


Things Heard… Cover Help!

Later this year, after Clean Reads has released Circus in a Shot Glass, I’ll be releasing a novelette (Things Heard in a Graveyard) under a pen name. My editor is all lined up, formatting is looking good. There’s one big thing I’m missing: THE COVER!

Please help me decide on a cover. I have three options so far, and your vote matters. Here is the blurb first (the tone of the book is often humorous with irreverent looks at death and loss):


And, without further ado, here are the cover options:

A: THIAG cover


B: Thingsheard in a Graveyard.png


C: Things HeardIn a Graveyard.jpg


Thanks in advance, and keep your pen on the page!

I Used to be Her Jo

I was writing poetry this (Thursday) evening, and really got myself in a funk. The topic of the poem was a personal look at how a loved one used to see me versus how they see me now. For better and for worse, I’ve changed over the years.

I’m not a good poet, but here’s what I wrote (I stopped writing is because I was getting too emotional.) It’s called I Used to be Her Jo:

I used to be her Jo, Joy

I used to be her Jo

Father didn’t want me

But Marmee loved me so

I never was Pop’s Joe, see

I’m not a good girl-boy


I was steady hands, she said

My darling girl, my Jo

Whenever there was need

Wherever there was woe

She called me her Jo, see

But now that girl is dead


I used to be her Jo, Joy

I used to be her Jo

That’s a very personal, raw part of me coming out. I might delete it. Who knows?

Here’s a kitty pic to cheer us all up:


Keep your pen on the page,

Trigger Warnings


It would seem that edits for Circus in a Shot Glass are done! …knock on wood. I mean, I haven’t heard anything, but I’m assuming that they are. But there was something I was wrestling with that I contacted Clean Reads about:

Does my book need a trigger warning?

First, let me explain what a trigger warning is: It’s a label put at the beginning of a book that warns readers of potentially upsetting/disturbing content.

My publisher was fine with me putting one in, so wrote it and sent it off. There are internet debates about whether or not warnings should be used. Some claim is coddles the reader. Others state that warnings are spoilers. But I think, as far as my writing goes, it’s important for me to give my readers a heads-up. It’s a courtesy, a kindness.

What are YOUR thoughts on trigger warnings? (Rude, argumentative responses will be deleted.)

Keep your pen on the page,

Lc Author pic.png