War Bonds

Impromtu book signing!

A few weeks ago, I got a nice email from a lady in regards to a recent column. I thanked her for her kind note and for taking the time to write to me.

Soon I received another note from her.

“I recently sent you a a brief email thanking you for a particularly good article, and you graciously replied, which made my day!

I was inspired to purchase War Bonds for my 89-year-old mother for Mother’s Day.”

She then asked if it was possible for me to sign the copy for her mom. When I found out the writer lived near the grocery store where I do my weekly shopping, I offered to meet her there and sign the book.

She showed up with a lilac bouquet– my favorite flower.

And that my friends, is how you turn grocery shopping from a chore to a delight.

Never forget, readers make a writer’s world go ’round!

13124457_1071231572915469_2096273102234023988_n[1]

Advertisements
Columns, War Bonds

That literary glow is tinged with blue

If today’s column seems littered with superlatives and exclamation marks, you’ll have to pardon my excess. I’m still coming off a literary high.

No, I haven’t been sniffing bookbinding glue, but I am basking in the bookish brilliance of Get Lit! 2016.

April 11-17, Spokane was awash in literary events. Poetry, panels, pie and whiskey, and plenty more were served up at venues across the city.

What began in 1998 as a one-day event filled with literary readings is now a weeklong festival. Conceived as a way for residents to engage with writing and working writers, Get Lit! offers aspiring authors, poets and folks who love reading a variety of ways to learn from, and engage with, published authors.

Best of all, most events are free. However, the festival is like a luscious chocolate cake, you’d like to consume it all, but frankly it’s just not possible. So it’s important to grab a guide and map out the “must-dos” on your literary list.

This year’s festival featured everything from “Sexy Beasts” to “My Worst Job” and included dozens of local writers as well as visiting scribes.

One of the highlights for me was the Shawn Vestal/Sam Ligon book launch at the Washington Cracker Building. Vestal read from his debut novel “Daredevils”; Ligon read from his short story collection, “Wonderland,” as well as from his novel, “Among the Dead and Dreaming.”

Jess Walter served as emcee and quipped, “One middle-aged white guy introducing two other middle-aged white guys. Guess that’s why they call this the Cracker Building.”

I had to miss one of the most popular Get Lit! attractions: Pie and Whiskey, which is just what it sounds like – an evening of pie and whiskey featuring short readings by authors whose stories feature, you’ve got it – pie and whiskey.

Fortunately, I got to hear one of those stories when I served on a panel with author Elissa Washuta. Her summary of the Tinder dating site was witty, poignant and razor sharp.

The panel “The Nuts and Bolts of Creative Nonfiction” was at Spokane Community College and also featured author Julie Riddle. Both sessions were filled with a mix of students, faculty and community members.

The audience was engaged, attentive and asked great questions that prompted interesting discussions.

The Convention Center served as the Get Lit! hub. I accidentally wandered into the wrong area where some kind of business conference was concluding. I asked an usher for directions to the Get Lit! panel I was looking for and one of the conference leaders overheard. He said, “Get Lit? That sounds a lot more fun than what we did today.”

“It is!” I said, and promptly invited him and his friends.

Kris Dinnison, Stephanie Oakes, Sharma Shields and I had fun serving on the “Queens of the Page: Debut Authors Tell All” panel. I’m not sure if we really told all, but we told quite a bit.

A scheduling conflict meant I had to miss Garth Stein’s reading at the Fox. This was a disappointment, but in some ways a relief. I really wanted him to autograph my copy of his best-selling book, “The Art of Racing in the Rain,” but I didn’t relish explaining why the edges of my copy are bright blue.

I’d borrowed the book from the library awhile ago. It absolutely captivated me, so when I traveled to my writing retreat, I tucked it in my bag. Some cleaning supplies were also in the bag. Somewhere en route, the toilet bowl cleaner tipped over and splashed “The Art of Racing in the Rain.”

Did you know toilet bowl cleaner may clean stains off toilets, but leaves stains on books? Neither did I. Neither did the librarian who took the cash I offered as I purchased the now-bluish book.

Thankfully, only the edges were blued and I got to weep my way to the finish of this beautiful novel. I think Stein would have been happy to sign my copy, but unless he returns to next year’s Get Lit!, I’ll never know.

War Bonds

Three exclamation points and a hug!!!

20160405_115624
War Bonds at the Lions Club

I had a wonderful War Bonds reading/signing event at the Central Lions Club in Spokane on Tuesday.

This group gives back to our community in myriad ways, so it was great to have an opportunity to speak at their weekly meeting.

Afterward during the book signing a lovely lady asked me to sign a copy to Bob Baker, a WWll vet. I gladly did and added, “Thank you for your service.”

Then she asked, “Do you give hugs?”

Well of course I do. Especially when someone has just bought my book 😉
I gave her a warm hug and turned to greet the next person in line. A few minutes later, I noticed the lady had returned with her copy. She waited patiently and when it was her turn she had another favor to ask.
“Could you add ‘Happy 90th Birthday,’ underneath your signature she asked.

Happy to oblige, I asked, “Who is Bob Baker?”

“He’s my boyfriend,” she replied, with a shy smile.

I wrote, Happy 90th Birthday!

She seemed pleased, but had one more request.

“Could you add two more exclamation points?”

I did so and teased, “Please don’t tell any of my journalist friends I did that!”

So there you have it– a three-exclamation-points-and-a-hug book signing. Lions may just be my new favorite civic group!

20160405_135639
War Bonds at the Central Lions Club, Spokane

 

 

 

War Bonds

My favorite type of book buyer

I know authors shouldn’t play favorites, but I confess I do have a favorite type of book buyer.

As I reflect on a year spent reading and signing at bookstores, libraries and civic groups, etc. one type of book buyer never failed to make me smile.

It’s the buyer who says, “I’m going to read a chapter to my husband/wife/partner every night before bed.”

You can’t write a book like War Bonds without being a romantic soul and thinking of my book being shared this way thrills me to the tips of my hot pink toes.

What could be better than knowing the love stories of the Greatest Generation are safe in the hands of new generation of lovers?11001726_10203518846031682_9073187678075970162_n[1]

Reader Jeri Kennedy, Illinois

War Bonds

Happy Bookiversary

In the rush of Monday deadlines I didn’t even notice that yesterday marked the one-year anniversary of the release of War Bonds: Love Stories from the Greatest Generation.

10984491_10153087958214556_3333040675051039268_o[1]

The Facebook Memories app reminded me and as I pored over pictures of that special day, I was overwhelmed.

10995923_10153087961739556_3470153634427158925_n[1]

A mixture of joy and sadness flooded my soul. Joy at the fabulous launch at Auntie’s Bookstore. Joy at the fact that the first print run sold out in a month. Joy at the relief of finally seeing my book baby in the hands of readers.

1798867_10203559455453968_7245892183934310853_n[1]

And sadness that so many of the people featured in War Bonds have passed away in the year since publication.

But mostly what I’m feeling is profound gratitude. Thank you so much to all of you who were part of that amazing book launch on February 22, 2015. Thank you to readers who savor these stories and understand their importance. Thank you to booksellers, civic clubs, retirement communities etc.who’ve invited me to come and do readings. And thank you to those of you who’ve written reviews on Amazon or Goodreads.

The love stories of the Greatest Generation will live on because of you.

War Bonds

And They Said He Wouldn’t Last

12717183_1021783834526910_3479326674103224818_n[1]

Had a wonderful time at yesterday’s War Bonds reading. My special guests were Dean and Betty Ratzman, from Chapter 18.

Here’s an excerpt from their story:

While Dean wasn’t injured during the invasion, his health still took a beating. He contracted dengue fever several times during his stint in the islands. While in Saipan he got a hernia from lifting a large battery. Following surgery, he was sent to a hospital ship, the USS Sanctuary. There he received some startling news. Doctors aboard ship discovered Dean’s heart had been damaged during his bouts with fever.

When the ship docked in Oakland, physicians at the naval hospital diagnosed the 20-year-old sailor with two leaky heart valves. “The doctors said there wasn’t anything they could do,” Dean recalled. “They told me I probably wouldn’t live past middle age.”

…Betty recalled his proposal. “He told me the doctors said he wouldn’t live past 40. Then he asked me to marry him! I told him, ‘You’re not going to get out of it that easily!'”

Almost seven decades later, she smiled at her husband. “When you’re 20, 40 seems like forever. I figured I’d get another one (husband) after that.”

In June they’ll celebrate their 70th anniversary, so it looks like it will be awhile before Betty can replace him, and you know what? She’s just fine with that!

 

War Bonds

Meet a War Bonds couple!

If you’ve ever wanted to meet one of the couples you’ve read about in War Bonds, you’ll have the opportunity on Thursday, February 11.

Rockwood

The Ratzmans’ story is told in chapter 18 “Letters From Home.”

They are a delightful, sharp-witted couple who truly fell in love through the letters they exchanged while Dean was serving in the South Pacific.
Here’s an excerpt from their story:
But it was her letters that kept a young man far from home from feeling too lonely. “Betty is a great letter writer,” he said. “Her letters were a highlight for me– but I didn’t know who else she was writing to.” He shot her a sideways glance. “She was very patriotic.”

This is a great opportunity to purchase a copy of War Bonds and have it signed by one of the couples featured.

PS: Valentine’s Day is SUNDAY 😉

War Bonds

Santa and War Bonds

12390951_992203017484992_8317599898444074866_n[1]

This weekend I had my first book signing event on a military base. The folks at Fairchild AFB were great to work with and as you can see I had a great location at the Base Exchange entrance.

155819_992203084151652_7828742122717744933_n[1]

Santa was also there just a few feet away.

12376105_992276927477601_5343926742743324545_n[1]

This was the real deal. Turns out authors top his nice list! And Santa tops mine. Another author was doing a signing nearby. He told us that teenage his granddaughter had recently died in a horrible car accident. A scholarship fund had been established in her name. They wanted to have Santa attend the fundraiser, but were told he’d charge $100 per hour.

This Santa took the author’s card and said, “Let me know the day and time of next year’s event and I’ll be there. No charge.”

Now that’s the Christmas spirit.

Speaking of,  books make great presents! Wrap up a copy of War Bonds today:-) Available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Independent booksellers nationwide.

 

 

War Bonds

Sharing Hearts– and War Bonds!

War Bonds Sharing HeartsI had a wonderful time in Davenport, Washington, where I was the guest speaker for The Lincoln Hospital Foundation’s annual Sharing Hearts Luncheon.

The organizer had adorned the stage with  her father-in-law’s WWll uniform and her mother’s wedding dress.

War Bonds Sharing Hearts Book Table

They had this beautiful book table set up for me and I ended up selling every copy of War Bonds: Love Stories From the Greatest Genereration, I had!

War Bonds Sharing Hearts 2

The people of Lincoln County are gracious and generous. It was a delight to be a part of their yearly fundraising campaign.

War Bonds

Recapping Night at the Library

12042911_951508148221146_3726872796445275643_n[1]

Auntie’s Bookstore was on hand with copies of the author’s books.

What a great event! Night at the Library featured readings by six authors. PEN/​Robert W. Bingham Award winner Shawn Vestal read from his soon-to-be-published novel Daredevils. Sharma Shields read from The Sasquatch Hunter’s Almanac.  Bruce Holbert read from his as yet unpublished 3rd novel. I shared from War Bonds and poets Maya Jewell Zeller and Laura Read, shared some of their work.

12036882_951507911554503_3645061453383375386_n[2] 12032954_951507958221165_6342525377371645951_n[1]

Best of all, new friends were added to the Friends of the Spokane County Library, so we can schedule more fantastic programs like this!

Thanks so much to all who attended and for all who support their local libraries!