The October Update: NEIBA, PW, LJ, Booklist, and More

I am an absentee blogger. Always have been. The last few weeks have not been quiet (or sane, really), but they have been fun. Before I get too far behind, I figured I'd fill in the gaps. In September, I started a new job, the kids went back to school, soccer filled up the calendar, my work in progress stole my attention, and book-related news and activity ramped up. As far as the update, I’ll stick to the book-related stuff.

Last Monday, I attended a small cocktail reception at Northshire Bookstore in Saratoga Springs, where I met a group of wonderful, enthusiastic readers (and Northshire supporters). I was lucky enough to be one of three authors with forthcoming books at this event. The other two writers, Peter Golden and Elizabeth Brundage, are both terrific and accomplished. You should check out their work, if you haven’t already. Their timely advice for me, the uninitiated, was very much appreciated. Besides the meet and greet, the attendees left with advanced reader copies (ARCs) of Lay Down Your Weary Tune. Technically, it was the first time I signed my books. The verdict – I need to work on my technique. It was a fun event. Credit belongs to Rachel and Northshire for organizing it, and I can’t thank them enough for including me.

Mid-week, I drove down to Providence, Rhode Island for the New England Independent Booksellers Association’s conference (NEIBA). My publisher set this up several weeks ago, and I didn’t know quite what to expect. When I arrived on Wednesday, I was greeted by the inestimable Jeff Waxman from Other Press. Jeff knows what he’s doing, and I’m grateful that he was willing to impart a tiny fraction of his knowledge to the newbie (over an undisclosed amount of scotch). During my day and a half in Providence, I met dozens of booksellers, from favorites such as Oblong and Odyssey, to new friends such as Eight Cousins, the Harvard Book Store, Toadstool, and others.

After sliders at Harry’s (thanks, Percy!) and a reception at the conference center, Jeff and I had a fantastic dinner with Dick Hermans of Oblong Books & Music. Leaving aside the book for a moment, it was great fun to talk to Dick about both stores, the Hudson Valley, folk music, and his radio shows, including The Borderline. (I may or may not be obsessed with his podcasts. I confess nothing.)  

On Thursday, I signed ARCs of Lay Down Your Weary Tune at the Other Press booth, but by far, the best part of the conference was meeting all of these fine folks at independent bookshops and talking about their stores. Not surprising to anyone who truly knows me, I’ve been to many of the stores, from Bennington Bookshop to Phoenix Books in Burlington to the Bookstore Plus in Lake Placid. Now, I can’t wait to get to An Unlikely Story or Village Square Booksellers or a dozen and a half others. I have been known to plan vacations around bookstores.

Besides the conference, last week was also when reviews of Lay Down Your Weary Tune began to appear in the trades. Still three and a half months out, I was surprised by the news from my publicist at Other. First, Lay Down Your Weary Tune was chosen as a Title to Watch in January by Library Journal. Then, while cheering the LJ news, great reviews rolled in from Publisher’s Weekly and Booklist. Besides Twitter and Facebook, I'll try to post the reviews and links on my always-neglected Tumblr.

Apart from the conference and the trades, Pine Hills Review reached out for an interview, which I completed on Thursday. It should appear online soon. And speaking of interviews, my interview with C.W. Huntington, Jr. (aka Sandy), the author of Maya: A Novel, will appear online at Entropy on Thursday (10/15). Also, I received word that Post Road accepted a recommendations piece I’d submitted several weeks ago. It’ll appear in their summer issue.

Last by certainly not least, a couple weeks ago Battenkill Books was kind enough to provide a pre-order option for anyone who wants to order a signed copy of the book. Many of you have asked how you can get it signed -- Battenkill is the answer. My tour will mostly focus on New York and New England, so if you live elsewhere or you don’t think you’ll make it to an event but want a signed copy, you can go to Battenkill’s website and order away. A separate post on pre-orders is in the works.

So, all in all, it’s been an incredible few weeks. Having been on the other side for so, so long, chipping away at the manuscript, not sure if I’d ever get to this point, I don’t take anything for granted. It’s a strange process, full of ups and downs, but I’m grateful for everyone who has helped along the way.

There you have it. 

My best,