Heart of Texas Gift Gallery hosted me during the Nacogdoches Blueberry Festival this past Saturday, and you can’t imagine what a blessing that was. Let’s start with the obvious: Temps were over 100, and I got to stay inside a nice, air-conditioned building while I autographed my books. Let me tell ya, I owe owner Gerry Larabee a year’s worth of hugs for that alone!
We arrived in downtown Nac early, like 5:30, and scored a wonderful parking place behind the store. Gerry had let me bring most of my things in the day before, so we just had a few last-minute items to haul inside when she opened at 8:00.
MSB and I strolled around, watching others set up their canopies, and learned what to do for our turn on the street in Bremond in a couple of weeks. Wherever I could, I passed out my book marks to good merchants who were willing to set them out for me. While we waited for Gerry to open her store, we helped our church set up their water booth. Every year, Calvary Baptist gives away bottled water at the festival, and the best (and only time) to get me to work with them is early in the morning!
But, I’ve gotten off track.
Nothing is more fun than meeting people, chatting with them, signing a book for them. MSB enjoyed it as much as I did. As soon as someone showed the least bit of interest, he’d grab a book, ready to hand it over at the first sign of encouragement. His technique often worked, too!
A few of the highlights:
A local, Glenda, came in and told me she’d bought my book at M&S Pharmacy (which, by the way, sold out twice!). She was excited to meet me in person, she made me feel like a superstar! She’d already read it, loved it, and wanted to buy another one for someone else. When it dawned on her I was autographing the books, she said, “I want a signed one for myself. I’ll give away the other copy!”
Later in the day during a slow point, I checked Facebook on my Blackberry. Glenda had already “liked” my fan page and left me several uplifting comments. What a sweetheart!
One lady, Laurie from Lumberton, Texas, had seen my sign outside the store. She walked in, glanced around until she saw me, then made a beeline. “You’re the reason I came in! I love Christian fiction. Westerns especially!” She bought one and apparently spent yesterday reading it. I got an email from her this morning:
I ALREADY finished your book 🙂 It was JUST the kind of book that I enjoy reading 🙂 Cowboys and cowgirls and Christian western romance–today or yesterday (historical) –I LUV IT ALL!!! 🙂 Can’t wait till your next book comes out–getting your book at the blueberry festival was the best part of the festival–I’ll want to order a copy to put in my sis -in-law’s church library . . .
Is that not a great way to start a day?!
Whenever it got slow, I would watch the folks go buy, drool over the festival food-on-a-stick, catch sight of whatever merchandise I could–like a gorgeous string of polished amber chips in the booth just to the right of the store. As I made my way there, a couple of teenagers said, “There she is!” They’d been looking at my poster with Greg, their father, who turned out to be a Christian fiction author also. He came in with his girls, and we chatted about writing, marketing, our works in progress. Then he bought a book for his darling daughters. A chorus of “Please, Daddy?” along with two pairs of pleading brown eyes can turn a man into pancake syrup. Gotta love it.
Since I didn’t get a chance to advertise the week before the festival as I’d planned, I was afraid we’d be in for a long, dull day. But Gerry has the right idea in her store. Aside from all things Texas, she also sells blueberry lemonade and vanilla ice cream with blueberry syrup–and she keeps the AC cranked up. With the traffic her store generated–not to mention a few sales to some friends–I had a good day.
No, I had a great day.