This weekend was my very first author panel. I was fortunate to be one newbie among great authors I've followed and admired for years: Marissa Doyle, Kate Milford, Deva Fagan, and Ellen Booream, all of whom participate in the Enchanted Inkpot blog for fantasy authors and enthusiasts. I was excited as I drove to Tatnuck Booksellers in Westborough, MA on the first beautiful day in over a week; that plus the pre-scheduled Rapture was enough to make any indoor speaker a little nervous. But the store is gorgeous, welcoming, and totally stocked (and if you've never been there, you are missing out!), my fellow authors were all beautiful, erudite and wonderful, and I was thrilled to see fellow Elevensie author, Kim Harrington sporting her new Spring haircut (which is devastatingly cute) and awesome book blogger, Gail Yates, from Ticket to Anywhere! What could be better?
I'd prepared for the panel by repeating my segment about mythology, legend and folklore in fantasy over and over in the car ride down and I'd prepared for the signing afterward by bringing bookmarks and my trusty silver pen so I'd have something to do while the other authors signed books, knowing mine wouldn't be out for another month-plus. I was not prepared for the professional-quality talks that the others gave (with notes and everything!) about character and history, plotting and genre-busting; I was so enthralled I forgot that I was supposed to be speaking too! (Note: me forgetting to speak is like Homer Simpson forgetting to say "D'oh!") But nothing prepared me for what I saw as we begun organizing our signing tables:
On the cart, along with everyone else's hardcovers and paperbacks, were brand new copies of Luminous.
I stopped. It couldn't be... but it was! An entire shelf-load of hardcover books with my cover art. I stared, actually gaping, and Ellen asked, "Is this the first time you've seen your baby?" and I nodded and got a hug. Congratulations abounded. I grabbed one and held it up. I couldn't believe it. My book. MY BOOK. On a shelf. Here. In my hand. EARLY! A ton of them waiting to be signed. "I don't even have these yet!" I laughed. "I've got to meet whoever works here because they've got connections!" It blew my mind, which would explain my first reaction to finding a stack of my own hardcovers was less dignified author and more like a giddy kid with Lego blocks:
Talking with Gail afterwards, she even lead me into the store itself where I got to see the one thing I've been waiting all my life to behold: MY BOOK! On a shelf! MY BOOK! In a bookstore.
So, although Luminous isn't due to come out yet for another month or so, I know a place where you can get signed hardcover copies before anyone else (even me!) ;-) Click here! But I'd love to see you at my *actual* launch signing, which is at another fabulous indie bookstore, The Odyssey Bookstore in South Hadley, on Wednesday, July 6th from 7-8pm followed by another signing at yet *another* fabulous indie store, Pandemonium Books & Games in Cambridge, MA, on Wednesday, July 13th, from 7-9pm, right before ReaderCon! I can't wait!!!
But this, here? This was a lifelong dream come true.