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December 2005

December 1 * The Tri-State Packet, the magazine of the Tri-State Genealogical Society, issues a positive review of Thunder From a Clear Sky.

December 3 * Book Signing- Readmore Books 'N Cards, Madisonville, Kentucky

It's hard for me to put my finger on the most significant development in the Newburgh story since the publication of Thunder, but its probably getting to know Susanne Siria and her mother, Sandra Smith. They are the present-day descendants of Elliott Mefford, the famous Newburgh conspirator. They live in Madisonville. Susanne found me at the Rivertown Antiques book signing in June and I was keenly interested in knowing more about Elliott. Later, I thought Madisonville would be a good appearance location due to the Browning Springs tie-in and my local contacts Susanne, Sandra, and Harold Utley helping me out. I contacted Readmore Books in Madisonville and they were great to me, displaying my advertising materials, and setting me up in style on the day of the event. They never asked a thing from me in return. You don't find a lot of organizations like that.
       I was supposed to have a radio interview on WFMW, Madisonville, on November 28, but the tornado that hit town on the 15th changed everything. The radio slot was used to talk about tornado relief activities. Honestly, although the engagement had been planned since summer, I felt guilty selling my book while others were hurting. What I decided to do was to donate all profits from my appearance to a charity in Madisonville helping with relief efforts.
       Susanne and I ate lunch (my first veggie burger) before heading over to Readmore and, again, I was nervous. And again, I shouldn't have been. We arrived about fifteen minutes early and a line was forming. I sold all my hardcover books before the event officially started at 2PM. It was a constant flow of people with almost no let-up. Readmore said they'd never seen anything like it before. I signed about fifty books in two hours, unbelievable. It wouldn't have been possible without Susanne and Harold. I donated $320 to the James Larmouth Family Resource Center as a result of the two hour appearance at Madisonville. I think I'll be back, but I'm not sure when.

December 4 * Book Signing- 3rd Annual Indiana Historical Society Holiday Author Book Fair, Indianapolis, Indiana

This was a long weekend. First, I drive 100 miles roundtrip to Madisonville on Saturday, then over 400 miles roundtrip Sunday. I won't be doing that again. To me, this is the big time- The Historical Society. But no one knows me in Indianapolis, well, almost no one. My editor Cindy Long comes to see me and we chat. I worked hard to sell fifteen books in four hours. The Society bookstore wanted me to leave seven books to stock their shelves- so I do twenty-two books in all. I was set up in a nook off of the main thoroughfare, and there was essentially no publicity tied to me at the event. And, surprisingly, there wasn't that much traffic considering that its a major metropolitan area. The doors opened at noon and things didn't really get going until 1:30 or so. The last half hour was quiet. I'm sure others will remember it differently.
       Make no mistake, the Society is a great organization. They served a first class lunch to the authors before we started, everything was organized to the nines, guest musicians played in the background, and the people were all welcoming and professional. This event has been growing every year and I think it will keep on growing. For me, 400 miles is a long trip. I'll be back in April of 2006.

December 17 * Book Signing- Barnes & Noble, Evansville, Indiana

My last appearance of 2005. Marianna Mudd at Barnes & Noble is the most energetic bookstore proprietor I know. She was another person who took a chance on me early on. I'm extremely grateful to her. I've worked hard for this appearance, throwing my entire bag of publicity tricks at this last event. I knew things weren't going to be easy, especially since I had done six previous book signings within a twenty mile radius the last six months. By now I'm thinking that I've probably mined the surrounding Evansville area, so I'm very apprehensive about the response for today.
       What can I say? Every last copy B&N had on the shelves, about 40 books, sell in the two hours I'm there. I sold Barnes & Noble out, twice in six months. Frankly, I'm looking forward to a rest. I'm taking off January and February, 2006, to recharge the batteries. While I'm home I'll be redesigning the website in my free time. Next March we start again.

December 21 * I submit the paperwork for iUniverse Star Book status. I've been agonizing over it for months, editing it like a book. I'm confident I've done all I could. Making my books returnable is a huge plus for retailers.