20 October 2015

After the Ashes Book Launch

The official book release of After the Ashes was October 15, and I held a book launch at Blue Willow Bookshop in Houston on Saturday. If you've never visited Blue Willow, you should. It is an amazing bookstore, and they host hundreds of events each year.

After the Ashes on display. Note the perfectly-
placed tropical plants.
photo from Sara K Joiner
When I walked in, I saw a gorgeous display of multiple copies of After the Ashes complete with tropical-looking plants.  So perfect!  There was also a customer there who was picking up her pre-ordered copy of the book in preparation for the book launch at 2 p.m. Here's the important part of that: I did not know this person!

The event took place in the rear of the store. My mother made a chocolate cake, which we christened Dutch chocolate in honor of the book. I also had Dutch cookies available, and I decorated the signing table with giant plastic stag beetles similar to those the main character might have collected.

Prizes, including Lava soap, Dutch mints in a tin, and a copy of Krakatoa by Simon Winchester, were given out to people who asked the first questions.

Cathy Berner, a former librarian herself, introduced me, and we were off! I talked about how long it took me to write the book, and how often I revised it. I pointed out early readers who were in the audience and had given me helpful tips.
Me and a member of my critique group. She 
brought me roses!
photo from my critique partner

Me signing books for a friend. She'll 
be doing a giveaway on her blog.
photo from my critique partner
I read a brief passage to whet people's appetites, and then I answered questions. Once the questions were over, I signed books and took pictures like a real author! It was a bit surreal, to be honest. People I've known for years were buying something I wrote and getting me to sign it.

There were about twenty-five or thirty people there, including some I did not know. More than the person I mentioned earlier. That was a thrill! Blue Willow sold out all their copies of After the Ashes. My mother didn't even get to buy one!

My roommate, me and my friend—
all Texas Lutheran alumnae!
photo from my friend
It was also a little mini-reunion of sorts for some Texas Lutheran alumnae. My roommate, one of my friends and a former co-worker all came down from Austin and Seguin to attend. Thanks so much, y'all!

Even these two books were gone before 
the end of the event.
photo from my critique partner
I cannot thank Blue Willow enough for all they did to make the day special, and I cannot thank all my friends who came and supported me. Honestly, it was better than I could have imagined, and I'm still smiling!