Friday, March 13, 2015

And Then You Celebrate

I have a to-do list that I need to knock off between now and tomorrow morning. Allowing time to go into school and get some work done in between. Luckily, next week is spring break at my university, so I have some catch-up time. But tomorrow I have the book launch party for What the Fly Saw, the second book in my Hannah McCabe near-future police procedural series. Look to the left to see the gorgeous cover that the art department at St. Martin's Minotaur created. That cover has been getting rave reviews. I hope a lot of potential readers are judging my book by its cover.

The official publication date for Fly (note the cute abbreviation -- could also be an acronym, WTFS, but that sounds like a radio station) was March 3. But I was able to do a pre-publication "sneak preview" at Sleuthfest, an annual conference sponsored by the Florida chapter of Mystery Writers of America. That was the last weekend in February. This weekend, I'm launching my book in Albany with a book signing/reading:

The Book House

My McCabe series is set in Albany – or an alternate universe, near-future version of Albany. The Book House, a local independent, conveniently located, with a great staff, is the perfect place for the launch party.

I'm excited about the party tomorrow. However, I'm not the most relaxed of hosts. I always make a to-do list and then live in fear that I forgotten something. But with a few launch parties under my belt, I've finally figured out that you just go with the flow. That doesn't keep me from searching the Internet (and back through old posts for my fellow Type-Mers) looking for tips about how to do a terrific book reading/signing and/or launch party. The two are not necessarily linked. One could do a book reading/signing without providing refreshments. But I like feeding people. I think the mood of the event is much more upbeat when people have a chance to nibble and chat.

Here's my to-do list for tomorrow:

1. Order book-themed specialty cake
2. Order platters of cheese and fruit
3. Stock up on beverages
4. Stock up on plates, cups, napkins, etc.
5. Remember to bring serving utensils
6. Bring sandwich bags, garbage bags, aluminum foil
7. Call bookstore about cake being delivered by bakery
8. Make guest book to get sign-ins for newsletter
9. Pick up book-themed items for door prize
10. Take box for entries
11. Select and practice excerpts for reading
12. Remember to tweet, Facebook, send e-mails
13. Charge camera and remember to bring
14. Pick up Harry's give away
15. "Celebration of life" theme

The list above is not in the order of importance. But once I have the food out of the way, I can focus on the more serious issues. I've been so busy that I had to make time to get to the bakery and order the cake. With The Red Queen Dies, the cake had an Alice's Adventure in Wonderland theme. This time, I asked for a cake that duplicated my cover. The inspiration for the book was "Who Killed Cock Robin?" The bakery's going to add birds around the sides (is that called "the base") of the cake. Can't wait to see what it looks like. Last time, the cake was so gorgeous, no one wanted to cut it.

My reading will be brief excerpts from the first three chapters. That's because reading for 15 or 20 minutes straight makes me nervous. I know that sounds odd when I teach three-hour classes and have no problem doing presentations or appearing on panels. But in those situations, I know the material and I just talk with occasional glances at my notes or slides to stay on track when it's a presentation. When I'm reading, I'm no longer in contact with my audience and I can feel that spotlight glaring. That's why I like to read a little and talk a little and have some interaction.

The reference to Harry is to my Maine Coon mix, the cat I adopted back in late October. Harry has his own page on my website. That's because I find him fascinating (never having had a cat as an adult). I have a Maine Coon cat who appears in my first Hannah McCabe book and that was what led me to Harry. The reference above is that Harry is going to have his own giveaway at the party. No, he will not be attending. He prefers to stay at home looking out the window.

If you're wondering about the reference to "celebration of life" theme, in Fly, an 85 year old woman throws herself a party to celebrate her life. As some of you may know, this is becoming more common -- to do a celebration of your own life that you can attend rather than waiting for people to say nice things about you at your wake. I'm going to invite my guest to share the theme they would select for their own celebration.

Got to run. If you're in Albany tomorrow, please join me for my book launch.


Donis Casey said...

Oh, my, I wish I could be there, Frankie. Eat a piece of cake for me, and I hope you sell out.

Frankie Y. Bailey said...

Thanks, Donis. I've been spreading the word, so hopefully I'll have people coming by even on a cold, rainy day. In fact, rainy days sometimes work better than sunshine, don't they.