Every year, second Saturday in June, Nacogdoches celebrates God’s gift of the blueberry. Blueberry pancakes, blueberries or blueberry sauce on ice cream, blueberry soda pop, all combine to create blue tongues and lips and chins.
Like any small town festival, this one comes with a variety of vendors–clothes, jewelry, handmade knickknacks of all kinds, music blaring from several points on the town square and beyond, food, food, and more food–anything you want served on a stick or in an aluminum wrapper. People, fascinating to watch, are everywhere–including my booth: The Canopy Bookstore.
Some of you may recognize this banner. MSB and I opened our traveling bookstore in 2011, when Give the Lady a Ride debuted. We took my new release and the new releases of several other authors on the road in East Texas and sold at several festivals, something we intended to continue doing until I got sick and couldn’t anymore.
But we’re back! Unfortunately, we only have a couple of festivals planned. The Blueberry Festival was one of them, because, after all, how can we not join in the festivities in our own town!
Back before I relapsed with the blasted Crohn’s disease, several friends and I did book signings throughout East Texas, and I was tickled to have a couple of them join us in the reopening of our store. In this shot, you can see MSB in his hat on the left, Patty Wiseman, whose 1920s mystery/romance is based on her own intriguing family history, and Eddie Hancock on the right, who writes intense detective thrillers set in nearby Longview, Texas.
Splitting costs with fellow authors is definitely the way to go with these things. The vendor’s fee for the Blueberry Festival was $150, but dividing it three ways meant that each of us had a better chance of covering that expense with the day’s sales, and each of us did. Besides, it was just plain fun.
We’d catch the eyes of those ogling our books and ask, “Do you like to read?” Every “yes” answer stirs the blood. Unfortunately there aren’t as many yeses as we’d like. These days, there are too many other things that demand time and attention. But true readers are wonderful folks–they can never get enough books. And one true reader can make up for two or three nonreaders, so that helps.
Next comes the line, “We are the authors of the books you see here,” which immediately draws interest–but we up the ante with “We are all from East Texas.” Everyone loves meeting the author, but more, they love having bragging rights over a perceived celebrity. You’re from here? Oh, yes! Please sign my book!”
Each of us have our pitches down for our books, the quick one or two lines that piques a reader’s interest and curiosity. Since The Cat Lady’s Secret is so new, I still fumble with that one, but it sold nicely in spite of my tangled tongue.
By four in the afternoon, all of us were hot, tired, and reasonably satisfied with our day’s efforts. MSB and I got home, unloaded the truck, and collapsed. I don’t think I moved much at all until it was time to get up again and head to Bryan for Father’s Day with the kids.
Great weekend all the way around, and I’m one tuckered redhead!