Saturday, August 21, 2010

Wearing two hats...

I wear two hats: bookseller and book writer. For the past few months, I've been more of a seller/PR/marketing gal.

My writing hat, which is pink and red, painted with gold stars and adorned with tassels, has been sitting in the corner.

Today, I'm putting this hat back on.

I hope to continue to attend book clubs and discuss The Handbook for Lightning Strike Survivors, sign books, and have fun meeting new people, but I also look forward to writing again. Writing more and more often. And hopefully writing something worth reading. XO

Here are some emails and responses from readers over the last few months:

Two words for you. (whisper) Fucking awesome!

Your book is like something you made, like a pie with lots of really good fruit in it.

I loved it. Just talking about it, I get choked up.

The characters are really really real.

You've made me want to write down my own lightning story.

keep writing - whatever, really are a talent

I don't usually do this - but just finished your book and absolutely LOVED it!! What a great, funky, compelling read - and it takes a lot for me to hold my concentration these days while I run around after my 2 yr old boy! I recommended it to all my bookclub peeps. Well done you - was sad to have just finished it

Michele, what an awesome first book! I could not put it down. I share your love for the ocean, we are going through some sad times down here in New Orleans with the oil spill, it breaks my heart that my beautiful coast is being ruined! Keep up the good work, I can't wait to read your next books!

Hello Michele. I recently completed your debut novel and I loved it. I found it to be an amazing blend of creativity, feeling, and true-to-life quirkiness that I love to have in my world. Your profile on brought to my attention that males are rare amongst your readers. As a man, i thank you for writing The Handbook for Lightning Strike Survivors. It has filled my days with laughter and happiness.

I love love love your book! You knew just where to end it! So many books fail to instill the satisfaction I felt as I put your book down, logged onto, and gave it 4 stars. I look forward to reading your next book. Wish I had something more profound to say here but it is 6:14 in the morning and I have to get ready for work. Cool hair.

just finished reading your book and needed to tell you how much I enjoyed it and needed it. It was like reading an indie film.It was wonderful.

Thank you,


Why Barnes & Noble at Short Pump Town Center in Glen Allen, VA SUCKS

*Disclaimer: I do not feel this way about all Barnes & Noble's, just the one at Short Pump Town Center in Glen Allen, Va.

I try to never write a "negative" blog entry. That said, this store is begging for it. The story: A very nice man who lives in my neighborhood drove out to Short Pump's Barnes & Noble in search of my novel, The Handbook for Lightning Strike Survivors. He had his two daughters with him. According to my neighbor, when he asked where he might find the book, he was told, "We don't have any in stock, and we've sent them all back."
He said, "She's a local author."
Apparently, this bookseller could care less because rather than saying, "I didn't know that. I can certainly order the book for you," the bookseller acted condescendingly toward my neighbor and said, "If the book doesn't sell, we don't stock it."
This same day, my neighbor conveyed this exchange to me at our local pool. I was also informed that the bookseller yelled at his daughter simply because she was riding on the escalator!
I telephoned the Barnes & Noble at Short Pump Town Center that same night and asked to speak with a manager. I relayed this story. She told me, "We do have a copy of your book in stock." Why is it that the bookseller was unaware of this fact? My neighbor had driven twenty miles out of his way.
The manager also told me that they don't always know which authors are local. So I guess they don't read the local newspaper or get lists of local authors from the major publishers. She then informed me that the only way I could be assured that my book was in stock was to arrange a book signing at their store. I said, "Sign me up." She said, "Our events planner is at lunch." I said, "Well, she can call me tonight or tomorrow to arrange something. I gave the manager my phone number. Do you think the Events coordinator from Short Pump Town Center called me?

Of course not!

I like Barnes & Noble just fine. I like all booksellers, especially local Indie sellers like Chop Suey in Carytown and Fountain Books in Shockoe Bottom. In fact, Chop Suey and Fountain have signed copies of my novel in stock right now.

That said, I have NO use for Barnes & Noble at Short Pump Town Center. As I understand it, the first thing that a bookseller should say when a customer requests a book not in stock is, "We can order it for you."

I don't typically burn bridges, but I'm burning this one with this particular store. With the way the book market is today, there's no excuse for booksellers to be rude or condescending with customers or authors.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Vacation Bible School

Meet me on the mountain is this year's theme. It makes sense: A mountain is a prime spot from which to jump.

My son, who is attending Vacation Bible School this week, is understandably very curious about God. Here’s a sampling of questions and answers--why I might jump off that mountain:

“What do people eat in heaven?” “Will I have to sleep on a cloud? I don’t want to sleep on a cloud. I want to sleep in my own bed with my blue dog and all my things. I want you to be there and daddy. Will you be there?”

“Of course I’ll be there…

And no; you don’t have to sleep on a cloud if you don’t want to. I haven’t been to Heaven personally so I don’t know what they eat there, but I am pretty sure it’s all your favorite foods. And yes, your beloved Blue Dog, who you’ve had since your first Christmas, will be there too.

And here’s the other thing: You don’t have to worry about dying or going to Heaven for a VERY long time.”

“But what if I die before you? I don’t want to be alone.”

“I’ll still be there.”


“I just will.”

“Does Jesus know Mother Nature?”

“Well, certainly.”

“If God is Jesus’s dad and God is powerful, why did he let Jesus die?”

“It’s complicated.”

These are just a smattering of the questions that Vacation Bible School elicits from loquacious, charming and curious son.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Win a free autographed book! 51 authors are participating!

To celebrate the paperback release of The Last Will of Moira Leahy, Therese Walsh is sponsoring the “My Sister and Me” contest on her Facebook Author page. The idea being that if you’re one of the winners, you’ll have a copy of one of these 51 books to keep and another copy to share–with a sister or a friend. Click here to see the list of generous authors participating:

And then, once you’ve drooled through the list, added these authors to your Twitter feeds and friended them all on Facebook, please go to Therese's Facebook author page, click LIKE it, then follow the simple instructions for entering the contest for a chance to win two copies of one of these books. Want to spread the word? Visit Therese's Facebook page to learn how doing so can earn you extra entries in the contest.