Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Houston Author Bash, 2016

I made it back from Houston in the wind and rain, but I was grateful to avoid tornadoes and snow along the way. February is always a dicey time to travel and plan events. I'm really grateful that my time in Houston went wonderfully well and the Houston Author Bash was well attended, even with the last-minute change of venue.

We lived in Houston for a few years, so I know there are some things I must do when travelling there. I was sure to hit one of our favorite stops on any road trip. I think it's the law in Texas. You must stop at Buc-ee's at least once.

Buc-ee's in Madisonville, TX
First and most important, in case you didn't see it on Facebook, I was apparently followed by a special agent I don't know. She was waiting for me outside my window in Houston. Those agents are tricky, but I caught her. She wandered off once she knew I'd discovered her.

The Houston Author Bash event was one I highly recommend for other authors (and readers). Moving the event a few days ahead of time must have lost some traffic, and it was no longer at a school, which was appealing to me with my middle-grade books. But there were serious book shoppers there for most of the time, and they were ready to buy. I sold 27 books and a few toys. That's a good day for me!
It's a bit blurry. My phone doesn't always cooperate.
Houston Author Bash, 2016, at The Cellar Door Winery
The Houston Writers Guild was on one side of me with lots of books to share.
The lovely Vincetta was on the other side of me with her brand-new book.

Across the room was Romance Author Row.
Their hard-working assistant is diving out of my way so I can get a photo.
I was sure to include him. 

This group from Crimson Tree Publishing had beautiful books with fantastic covers.

Author friend from the area Kathryn Lane stopped by to visit and pick up "At the Corner of Magnetic and Main."
Her new book is coming out in just a couple of weeks.
I was her editor though Pen-L, so it was fantastic to get to meet her in person.

There was a separate room for the steamier books. If you had half-naked people on the cover, you were over in the winery. I said that the cats on my covers are naked, but that's not what they meant, I think.

If it works out in my 2017 schedule, I'll do this event again. I can't imagine how great it would be if everything had gone off smoothly as planned. They brought in lots of shoppers with advertising because it wasn't in a location to just happen upon. Very impressive.

The rest of my trip to Houston was great as well. I got to spend a few days with my mom and celebrate her birthday a few days early. I also got to visit with my sister and her husband from Michigan and my brother-in-law from Houston.

Steak for everyone at Texas Roadhouse!

I even added a new friend to the pack during my annual visit to the Disney Outlet Store.
The weather while I was there was fantastic. Maybe even a bit too hot for my expectation in February.
Almost 90. Whew. Glad I packed those sweatshirts!
But the day I headed home, the weather took a sharp turn. Chilly wind and pouring rain. Not a fun drive. I was trying to beat the snow they forecasted for Arkansas, but all we got was a dusting. A very blustery dusting.

The Snickers pick me up at my favorite Choctaw travel stop in Oklahoma summed it all up.
Home is always my favorite place. Today is all about laundry and tucking in the details from the book event and settling back in. Tomorrow it's back to editing for Pen-L and getting my final proof of "Slinky Steps Out" ready to download to CreateSpace. We just need a cover, and then we are off to the races! Very exciting.

And, just to make you smile, this is what goes on daily at my house.

Max: "Let me up. Let me up."
Chee: "Let me down! Let me down!"
She hates that divider more than anything in the world.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Houston Bound

Exciting News!! The BookBub promotion for Max's Wild Night was a huge success and led to enough sales for it to hit #1 in it's category for children's dog books. Yay, Max!! You now have a best-selling book!

That promotion and the sales/ranking boost have also lead to a huge increase in the "pages read" through Kindle Unlimited and some additional sales beyond the bargain price. Definitely a promotion that was well worth the cost and covered its costs. I hope to run one for Why Kimba Saved The World when Book 4 comes out in April.

After some quick packing this evening, I head to Houston to spend some time with my mom, visit other family, and attend the Houston Authors Bash, 2016. Scott is prepared to hold down the fort (aka clean all the litter boxes) until I get back.

Wednesday will involve around 12 hours of drive time alone in the car with nothing but my iPod and the scenery to entertain me. It's a drive I've made over a dozen times from when we lived in Houston and took our daughters to camp in Missouri, not to mention the trips back and forth before we moved to Arkansas. There's not a lot to look at most of the way, so I'm glad my iPod is fully loaded. Adele, Bruno Mars, Michael Jackson, and an assortment of '70s and '80s bands will keep me going. I have Twizzlers and Chex Mix, so I'm ready to roll.

I really don't know what to expect from the Houston Authors Bash. I think it would have been a large and well-attended event, but the school cancelled on the group a few days ago. Organizers managed to find a new venue, but not everyone will fit and it's a totally different atmosphere -- one I wouldn't have signed up for in the first place -- at a wine bar. It's sure to be a big party for the Houston authors who are friends. How many books will sell is a totally different matter. I'll have to get back to you on how a kid's book series does at an event at a wine bar. Let's hope the parents and grandparents there like to buy gifts for the kids in their lives. Maybe At the Corner of Magnetic and Main will do better.

Houston Authors Bash, 2016
Katy, TX
Saturday, February 20
10:00 am - 3:00 pm

Hope to see you there!

We did have a great time at the Cocktails for a Cause event in support of the Eureka Springs Library. I sold several sets of books, including a set to my daughter's English teacher. Her daughter is already enjoying Max's Wild Night, which includes "Leia's" illustrations.

Kimba and Hiro were quite impressed by this bottle. The mojitos were not quite that large.
There was not as much success at the Kimberling Library Author Event. It's a wonderful place, and we love supporting it, but there wasn't much traffic. It was too nice a day, I guess.

When authors get bored, light saber bookmark battling goes on.
Okay, that was more Scott than me.

Kimba and I just want someone to talk to.

Library events are often like this. The one in Kimberling is the only one I will do this year because it's just such a great, volunteer-run place. I never heard a total, but I hope they raised some money.

March is free of actual book events. Between spring break bookings at the guest house and starting back up with docent work at Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge, there's enough going on. But I will be at the Northwest Arkansas Writers Workshop in Fayetteville on March 19th. I also start teaching a class for the Story Circle Network about self-editing on March 14th. That's a new venture for me, so I hope I get some students signed up. I'll be talking and promoting that more once I'm back from Houston.

Besides catching up with family, I'm sure there will be a stop at Bucees (because this is the law when traveling in Texas). I also need to wrangle a stop at the Disney Store Outlet around the corner from Mom's house. My mini-plush collection is missing several Star Wars characters. That makes all the other toys sad.

Have a great week, and I hope to see you on Saturday!