War Bonds

Indies First a boon to authors and booksellers

 

This weekend during Small Business Saturday, I got to spend a few hours as an honorary bookseller at Auntie’s Bookstore in Spokane. Saturday was a designated Indies First event.

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Indies First is a collaboration between authors, publishers, retailers, and readers, and it celebrates independent bookstores and local communities. Speaking of local, this national movement was launched by author Sherman Alexie, who was born and raised on the Spokane Indian Reservation.

Authors/honorary booksellers signed copies of their books, visited with shoppers and offered book recommendations. I was thrilled to see scores of shoppers buying stacks of books!

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Plus I got to hang out with brilliant authors like Jess Walter.

My shift also overlapped with Bruce Holbert and Shawn Vestal.

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Bottom line? When you support your local bookstores, everyone wins.

War Bonds

Hey! I’m collectible!

I hadn’t checked my Amazon author page in awhile, but two new reviews prompted me to take a look.

While I’m thrilled War Bonds: Love Stories From the Greatest Generation  is still generating reviews 18 months after publication, what caught my eye was that the list of copies available from Amazon now includes “collectible” editions!

Having no clue as to what makes recently-published books, collectible, I clicked on the copies offered.

To my delight it was the signed copies that were deemed collectible and offered at higher prices than the unsigned copies.

This first-time author is tickled to find the signature that graces school report cards and field trip permission slips is now “value-added.”

What a wonderful world 🙂13254332_1088081834563776_7878354948230130632_n[2]

War Bonds

The house that love built

The other night I had a reading/signing event at Touchmark Retirement Community.

An employee approached me and said while she hadn’t read War Bonds: Love Stories From the Greatest Generation, her daughter had.

It seems her daughter and her husband were looking for home and found one they really wanted in Millwood, WA.

“It wasn’t the house so much, it was what they felt when they were inside it,” the woman said. “There was such love in that house.”

A neighbor chatted with them and told them the couple who had lived there had built the house and had been married for more than 70 years.

“Their story is in a book,” he said.

Alas, the couple didn’t get the house, but they did buy a copy of War Bonds. And they fell in love with Warren and Betty Schott, just like the rest of us.

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Warren and Betty on their 75th anniversary

 

Columns

So, this is August?

In my most recent column, I bemoan the fleeting days of summer. And what happened to July anyway?

Apparently, I blinked and missed July. How can a month with 31 days just vanish? I feel like I’m in an alternate version of a John Lennon song: “So this is August and what have you done? Another month over and a new one just begun.”

I spent much of last summer out of town for “War Bonds” readings or events, so this summer I planned to make the most of the longer days. My list of things to conquer seemed so manageable back in June. But now it’s August and I still haven’t even worn the swimsuit that arrived too late for our Hawaii anniversary trip in March.

June was a blur of end-of-school activities, and by the time we celebrated Sam’s stellar report card and Zack’s graduation from Spokane Falls Community College, the month was mostly gone. But July stretched languorously out before me and I’d planned to squeeze the most out of those summer hours.

At the top of the to-do list? Get braces for Sam, which seemed a simple enough task. After all, I’ve been down the orthodontia route with his oldest brother. But the orthodontist we used back then has long since retired. Finding time to take him to visit at least three specialists to get quotes has proved impossible.

 Sam’s been busy stripping and painting his grandmother’s deck and volunteering at the North Spokane Library. When I have time – he doesn’t. When he has time – I don’t.

At this rate, he’ll be in college by the time his teeth are straightened. Actually, he will be in college because while we haven’t done the orthodontic visits, we did enroll him at Eastern Washington University. This fall he’ll be a Running Start student at his dad’s alma mater.

I’d hoped to take day trips around the area, but the farthest I’ve ventured is my backyard. Why waste gas when the garden is glorious, the flowers in bloom and hours drift by while I devour a great “beach read” beneath the Great Gazebo’s generous shade?

Instead of exploring area day hikes, I’ve stuck to my regular neighborhood walking route, despite the challenge of navigating massive roadwork projects.

The other day as I approached some work in progress, a kind flagger escorted me across the street. Apparently, I look like the type of person who might fall into a 5-foot crater, even though it was filled with three guys in hard hats and marked by orange traffic cones.

Taking the cats to the vet is always on my summer list. Because I’m no glutton for punishment, I always schedule separate visits and insist one of the boys accompany us. Milo and Thor have plenty of time for a car ride. Zack and Sam do not.

Last year at this time, we were inundated with zucchini. In anticipation of this year’s bounty, I spent quite a bit of time finding and organizing recipes to showcase our squash crop. My mouth watered with thoughts of zucchini casserole, cookies, breads and fritters. But so far our zucchini crop has been a bust. We’re awash in tomatoes, carrots and onions, but nary a squash.

Writing during the summer is always difficult. My rarely quiet home gets even noisier with kids and company. I’d hoped to be to the halfway point on the first draft of my second book, but, alas, I’m nowhere close to making that goal.

I did however record several episodes of my new podcast “Life, Love & Raising Sons,” which debuts next week at SpokaneTalksOnline.com. The program shares the title of my second book, so I count it as progress.

Even more fun, Zack and Sam joined me for the first two episodes. If you’ve ever wondered what a Hval family dinner table conversation sounds like, you can tune in or download the podcast once it’s posted.

So this is August and what have you done? Me? I just ripped up that pesky summer to-do list and put on my new swimsuit. The month is looking sunnier already.

Contact Cindy Hval at dchval@juno.com. She is the author of “War Bonds: Love Stories From the Greatest Generation.” Her previous columns are available online at spokesman.com/ columnists. Follow her on Twitter at @CindyHval.

War Bonds

Spokane Authors and Self Publishers

Happy to be speaking at the meeting of Spokane Authors and Self Publishers tomorrow, July 7 at 2:30 at The Golden Corral, 7117 N Division St.

I wrote about the group several years ago in a feature for the Spokesman Review. Who knew someday I’d be returning as an author?

Copies of War Bonds: Love Stories from the Greatest Generation will be available for purchase.

Guests are welcome, so I home to see many local writers tomorrow afternoon!

War Bonds

Rotary embraces War Bonds

War Bonds at Rotary

I had the privilege of speaking to Spokane Rotary Club 21 on Thursday. Several folks from the Greatest Generation are members of this Rotary club and were among the more than 100 members present.

Rotary has long appreciated and honored the U.S. Armed Forces, so this was a perfect venue to share the stories of love, devotion and courage featured in War Bonds: Love Stories From the Greatest Generation.

Auntie’s Bookstore was on hand to sell copies of War Bonds after the luncheon and sold all 30 copies they had in stock!

While signing books, I was tickled to find that many of the purchasers were husbands buying copies for their wives. The husbands of Rotary excel at romance 😉

Such an honor to present to a group that gives back to our community and to the world in myriad ways.

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War Bonds

The thrill ain’t gone

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Even a year after publication, it’s still a thrill to be asked to sign a stack of books! So grateful readers and booksellers are valuing War Bonds and the stories shared within.

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A recent reading at a local Barnes & Noble prompted a slew of interest and phone calls, so I was delighted to stop in and sign more copies.

As we head into Memorial Day weekend I’m even more conscious of the privilege I’ve had in being allowed to share these stories before they were lost.

I feel like “thankful” should be part of my signature.

War Bonds

Reading in the Hundred Acre Wood

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Spent a delightful evening at Barnes & Noble last night. I was joined by fabulous poet Zan Agzigian and amazing blues/jazz songstress Heather Villa for an evening of poetry, prose and song.

The reading was held in the children’s area of the store because that’s where they have the stage, so it was fun to read from Pooh’s Hundred Acre Wood!

In addition to reading from War Bonds, I shared a portion of my work-in-progress, and the reception was warm and enthusiastic. A much-needed boost in the slow-going labor of writing my next book.

Even more fun was having my youngest son, 16-year-old Sam, in the audience.
“I love to hear you read,” he said. And he snapped the above photo.

At the signing afterward, a woman approached and asked me to sign a copy of War Bonds .

“It’s not my copy,” she explained. “It’s my 17-year-old daughter’s. She’s already read it several times and she often reads the stories aloud to me. She wants she and her fiance to be like the couples in your book, growing old together.”

How cool is that? A teenager who values the stories of the Greatest Generation! Nothing, makes me happier or more hopeful then know these stories are appreciated by the next generation.

 

War Bonds

How long do you want to see your books on the shelf?

War Bonds at Barnes and Noble Northtown

The question took me off guard.

I was chatting with a fellow author whose second book had recently come out and mentioned that I was still doing a lot of readings.

I’ve just begun work on my second book and was wondering how long I should plan on continuing War Bonds events and promotions.

“How long do you want to see your book on the shelves?” she asked.

What a great point! When War Bonds came out last year I was swamped with invitations to do readings and signings. I often did two or three events a week. It’s fantastic to have that much interest in your debut book.

Now, that the invitations have slowed to a more manageable once or twice a month, it feels like a treat to get to talk about my book and to sign copies.

I’m going to keep her question in mind as I continue the lonesome labor on book number two. As long as I receive invitations to speak, I’m going to keep saying yes.

I never want to see a blank spot on bookshelves were War Bonds used to be!