War Bonds

Visiting my three year-old at the bookstore

Every author will tell you it’s a nail-biting moment.

Your book has been out for some time and you pop in a bookstore for a visit. Just to see how its doing– maybe sign a few copies.

There’s always the fear that you’ll find the book you labored over with blood, sweat and tears languishing in the clearance bin. Or worse. You won’t find it at all.

That’s what happened to me last week. Kind of.

I’m getting ready to pitch my second book, so stopped by my local Barnes and Noble to scan the shelves for similar titles. Of course, I checked on my firstborn.

But War Bonds was nowhere to be found!

The book launched February 22, 2015 and is still generating sales, but still it’s three years-old.

Gathering my courage I approached a bookseller and offered to sign any copies– if they had any.

“What’s the title?” he asked.

I told him.

“Oh, War Bonds! We always have copies on hand. Let me check.”

Nervously, I watched him click the keys of his computer.

“Wow! We sold out again. That’s a happy problem to have.”

I took a breath.

“Are you going to…?”

“Yep,” he interrupted. “We’ve already ordered more.”

I said thank you and left with my purchases. Amazed, thrilled and blessed that readers are still finding the love stories of the Greatest Generation worth reading. And worth purchasing.

Thank you dear readers. And Happy 3rd birthday War Bonds!”

10929058_10203559455213962_6120318413619356176_n[1]War Bonds at Barnes and Noble Northtown

 

All Write

Preview my new book “Tiaras & Testosterone”

On Friday night, October 27 at Auntie’s Bookstore in Spokane I’ll be reading a sneak peek of Tiaras & Testosterone as part of author Kay Dixon’s launch of her newly released book Tales of Family Travel: Bathrooms of the World.

Kay has four daughters and I have four sons– we’ve got the family bases covered, and we covered it (and survived) with a huge amount of humor.

My first book War Bonds: Love Stories From the Greatest Generation (Casemate 2015) has been well-received and is still garnering great reviews. This time I’m tackling a more personal topic. For 10 years I’ve written a popular column for The Spokesman Review, chronicling my experience of life in a “man’s world” with poignancy, affection and a whopping dose of humor.

“Your columns read like what would happen if Anne Lamott and Erma Bombeck had a love child,” said one longtime subscriber.

Now, I’m collecting those columns in Tiaras & Testosterone.

Sections include Boy Crazy, Working from Home and Other Technical Difficulties, It’s a Woman’s World and Terrible Teens: Boys to Men.

Join Kay and I Friday night at 7 PM.  I would offer a money back guarantee of a good time, but the event is free.
And I’m an author 🙂

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Kay Dixon

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Cindy Hval at Auntie’s.

 

 

 

 

War Bonds

Happy 2nd birthday War Bonds!

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Two years ago today, I was humbled and amazed by the turnout for the launch of my first book.

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In the five years it took to write and publish War Bonds: Love Stories From the Greatest Generation, I lost so many of the couples featured. It broke my heart that some weren’t there to see their stories in print.

In the two years since publication, I’ve lost several more. Each death leaves an ache in my heart.

Yet at the front row of the book launch party many of my War Bonds couples were present as well as widows and widowers. They were in awe of the size of the crowd and watched with joy as every single copy of War Bonds sold out at Auntie’s Bookstore.

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I’ve learned a lot about publishing, publicity, book tours and public speaking over the last two years– knowledge I know will serve me well when my next book  comes out.

Today I’m still somewhat disbelieving that War Bonds is on bookshelves, in libraries and for sale in bookstores all over the world.

I’m so thankful for those who stood with me during the long journey from idea to pub party.

Thankful for readers who bought the book, read the book, reviewed the book and recommended it to others.

Thankful for bookstore owners, civic groups and organizations who invited me to share the message that true love can survive anything– even a world war.

But more than anything I’m thankful for my War Bonds family. They opened their hearts, homes and lives to me and allowed me to poke around. Then they trusted me to share their stories with the world.

What a journey.

What a blessing.

What a privilege.

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Columns

Shopping small has big impact

By 10:15 Saturday morning, the line at the counter at Auntie’s Bookstore was several people deep. Shoppers juggled stacks of books while reaching for their wallets. A toddler clutched a board book, unwilling to part with her find even for the minute it took to ring it up. Teens milled around in small herds, jostling each other in the aisles, while parents pondered coloring books and consulted Christmas lists.

As a reader and an author, nothing makes me happier than spending time with book lovers. These are my people – my tribe, and in their company surrounded by bookshelves, I am happiest.

While I love to browse at Auntie’s, I wasn’t there to shop, but to take a shift as an honorary bookseller during Small Business Saturday. The day is also a designated Indies First event. Indies First, a collaboration between authors, publishers, retailers and readers, 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.

I have a vested interest in the success of bookstores, and as the wife of a small-business owner, I’m passionate about seeing locally owned companies succeed. I’ve helped out at my husband’s store on occasion, but I have to admit I’m better at selling books than cutting tools. I may not know a drill bit from a tap or a reamer, but I do know mysteries from memoirs.

In addition to interacting with customers, I got to hang out with some pretty cool local authors. When I arrived Jess Walter was already there, and he’d brought donuts a la “Citizen Vince.” Walter fans will remember the protagonist in that novel was in the witness protection program and worked at a Spokane donut shop.

Walter dispensed donuts, recommended books and offered writing advice to an aspiring writer.

“Writing is more like a religion than a career,” he said.

And writers around the world whispered, Amen.

Author Bruce Holbert joined us, and when I mentioned how much I’d enjoyed, “The Mountains and the Fathers: Growing Up in the Big Dry,” by Joe Wilkins, he said, “Oh yeah, I know Joe.”

Turns out he also knows Craig Johnson, author of the Longmire books; the books on which my husband’s favorite television show is based.

I admit to having a geeked-out, fan girl moment or two, but then Shawn Vestal showed up.

I’m sure Shawn knows some awesome authors too, but we mainly discussed surviving a post-election/post-apocalypse Thanksgiving meal – which could be the basis for a hair-raising short story. Stay tuned.

When a customer asked if there was a coffee shop nearby, it was fun to be able to point them to Madeleine’s and Atticus, both nearby, while there wasn’t a corporate coffee shop in sight.

After my stint at bookselling ended, I headed out for my own shopping spree. I stopped to take a photo of the Clocktower against the background of Saturday’s blue skies, when a scraping sound jarred my ears.

I caught a movement out of the corner of my eye and watched in amazement as an elderly woman pulled out of the parking lot and onto the sidewalk! Pedestrians hollered and jumped out of the way as she slowly proceeded down the sidewalk along Spokane Falls Boulevard.

Sometimes shopping is scary, but I made it safely to Boo Radley’s where I purchased some Spokane-themed items to send to my son in Columbus, Ohio. When the clerk rang up my purchases she said, “By the way, I really enjoyed your nonfiction panel at Get Lit this year.”

Shopping small put a smile on my face. It makes business owners happy, too.

John Waite, owner of Auntie’s Bookstore and Merlyn’s Comics and Games, said of Saturday’s event, “We were up from last year at both Auntie’s and Merlyn’s.”

While it’s great to have a day dedicated to supporting local businesses that help create jobs and boost the economy, shopping at small businesses can have a far greater impact if we patronize them more than once a year.

“I can’t stress enough what it means to our local economy and local jobs,” said Waite.

That sounds like a big reason to shop small all year long.

Contact Cindy Hval at dchval@juno.com. She is the author of “War Bonds: Love Stories From the Greatest Generation.” You can listen to her podcast “Life, Love and Raising Sons” at SpokaneTalksOnline.com. Her previous columns are available online at spokesman.com/ columnists. Follow her on Twitter at @CindyHval

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

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!

War Bonds

Books: Buy Local!

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Local authors rock!

They sit  on my bedside table waiting to be read. The stack topples over and spills to the stacks on the floor below.

I LOVE books and I especially love books by local authors! Here in Spokane our literary community is thriving. It’s so cool to go to a bookstore and find books by people I know– people who live and work in our community!

Stephen King is great. I’m sure John Grisham is a nice guy. But I’d rather spend my dollars supporting local authors.

The only problem? I’m getting ready to pack for a trip and I can’t fit all of these on my carry-on!

I suppose I could get an e-reader. My stacks would diminish and I could take all the beach reads I want. But then I wouldn’t have this colorful stack of books to pick up and pore over.

Plus, these are signed copies!
Support your local authors. Buy books and buy local!

PS: All of these lovely volumes are available at Auntie’s Bookstore– an independent bookstore that keeps Spokane’s literary scene, thriving!

War Bonds

Thoughts From the Road

Spent some time sharing War Bonds: Love Stories From the Greatest Generation with readers in Wenatchee, WA. and had a signing event at a wonderful indie bookstore in Leavenworth this weekend.

Safely home now, but the Sleepy Hollow wildfire is  burning in the area I just left. Many homes have been evacuated and my thoughts and prayers are with the people in Wenatchee during this fire season– especially my family there.

The reading at the Wenatchee Public Library was especially cool, because my sister and her family live in Wenatchee and my niece works at the library! War Bonds Family

The crowd was wonderfully responsive and asked some great questions during the Q&A time.

War Bonds at Wentachee Library

Then it was on to Leavenworth, WA and the delightful bookstore, “A Book For All Seasons.”

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This store is a must visit when in Leavenworth. They have a great selection of books and a welcoming, knowlegeable staff.

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Perhaps not all authors will agree, but for me the best thing about being an author is meeting wonderrful readers and interacting with bookstore staff. It’s good to be home, but I’ll never forget the people I’ve met during this adventure.

War Bonds

No extra charge for tear-stained copy

War Bonds at South Hill Hastings

It was pretty quiet at the South Hill Hastings store at Friday’s signing event. But then a woman my age stopped to get a book signed. She called her mom over and her mom said she and her husband celebrated their 47th anniversary yesterday .
“He had a stroke seven years ago,” she said. ” I cared for him at home as long as I could, but he finally had to go to a nursing home. So, last night I broiled a steak and made a shrimp salad and took it to his room. We had the most wonderful celebration!”
And then her eyes filled with tears.
And so did mine.
PS: They don’t charge extra for copies dampened with the author’s tears