Friday, October 23, 2015

Sharing the excitement

Volume 4
The books are back from the printer, the promotional posters are being printed and the official book launch is just two weeks away.

These are exciting times for any writer. The release of Abigail Massey at McAdam Station, Volume 4, is even more exciting for me because I get to share the experience with another writer, Mary E. O'Keefe. For Mary, this book represents her first big publication and it's been a lot of fun to re-experience those first-time feelings with her.

Mary is a retired nurse and a wonderful author in her own right. She has contributed two of the six stories to this collection and I'm happy to admit that they are two of the strongest of the six.

In fact, her story, "University Bound", is the first tale in the volume and plays the important role of both giving one of our central characters a well-deserved send-off and setting up the remaining stories in the book.

Mary E. O'Keefe
And she seems to be enjoying this, her first real creative publication, immensely. I watched with no small amount of joy as she took the first copy of the book into her hands with something close to reverence, her eyes shining.

Mary will be taking part in most of the promotional events with me on this book and I'm delighted by that too. With my sister (and co-creator) Lynn far away in Ontario, it's great to have part of the creative team with me for this new voyage.

The book launch is scheduled for Sunday, November 8 at 1 p.m. in McAdam and we're hoping for a good-sized crowd. The event will feature the first public showing of our fabulous new trailer for the proposed Abigail web TV series, plus Mary and much more. If you're in the area, please make it a plan to attend this fun, free event!

Monday, October 12, 2015

Hamilton book event a standout emotional moment

The author behind the window display
There are moments...

I think that's a wonderful way to start a blog post, especially one that is going to be so entirely filled with happiness and delight as this one.

There are moments when it all seems worthwhile.

There are moments when a writer gets the positive feedback he's been hoping for.

There are moments when friends and family (and even a few strangers) gather together to enjoy your work.

There are moments when things just seem right.

My sister Lynn and I enjoyed exactly those kinds of moments last Wednesday evening at a small but fantastic independent book shop in the west end of Hamilton, Ontario, the city of our youth. Bryan Prince Bookseller has been a fixture in the city's west end ever since we were young. More than just a book shop, Bryan Prince offers exceptional service from a group of dedicated employees who take the time to get to know not just their many loyal customers but also the books they offer for sale to those customers.

Clare reading Abigail so beautifully
Often, when my nieces and nephews were young (and the children of my close friends were also in their formative years) I would walk into Bryan Prince looking for just the right book to buy for a particular child's birthday or other special occasion. After asking a few questions (such as how old is the child, what are his/her interests, what kinds of books does he/she usually read), the staff member would walk over to a shelf and pull down two or three possibilities, explain each one to me and then permit me to choose. Without fail, the books offered were new releases; in many cases, they were lesser known or from new authors; in all cases, the book I bought turned out to be the perfect choice for the particular child.

I've heard from many many friends who live in Hamilton and the stories are all the same: if you want service, if you want information, if you want a pleasant atmosphere and the perfect book, Bryan Prince is the place to visit.

For Lynn and me, Bryan Prince was also the best place to hold the first Abigail book event we've ever  mounted outside of New Brunswick. Owner Kerry and her staff were exceptionally helpful and cooperative and the space was perfect for our needs.

About 40 people came to the event and it went over really really well. The highlight for me (and I think for many many of the people who attended) came when Clare, 16, read from the most recent collection of Abigail stories. It was a perfect, dramatic reading of the story and it brought my characters to life. I personally get very nervous when asked to read in public so I have to give Clare real credit for being so calm as she delivered such a wonderful reading to such a large crowd.

The author speaking (not quite so beautifully)
As you have probably already figured out, this was quite an emotional time for me. I was more nervous about this event than I have been about any other Abigail related session I have done. I felt the history -- my own personal history -- all around me as I spoke to my friends, my family members and the other kind people who came out to the event.

And I felt like so much of my work toward becoming an author had led me to that moment. In front of those people. In that wonderful book store.

There are moments when life seems to be working out right.