The Guilty Party

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

On the Bookstore Shelf

There 'tis, snuggled alongside Escape Artist (an Edna Ferber Mystery) by Ed Ifkovic and published by Scottsdale's Poisoned Pen Press, and Bloodmoney (A Novel of Espionage)  by David Ignatius, published by the folks at W.W. Norton. Kind of makes me wonder if I need a parentheses sort of title to play with the big boys. The book on the other side, The Fourth Codex, by Robert Houston, is a used volume, with Amazon showing a publishing date of 1990, so Mr. Houston can be excused for the absence of any parenthetical appendages I suppose.

The shelf shown here is in the Mystery section of Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe, Arizona. I'm not so sure that Boomerang qualifies as a mystery, it being more of a comic crime novel, but as Comic Crime has not yet earned a section of its own in any bookstore I know of I will be content to loiter amongst the Christies, Parkers, Graftons and Ifkovics of the literary world. If only the end of the "H's" wasn't on the bottom row...

I paid a visit to Changing Hands this morning to bring them a "staff" copy of Boomerang, hoping, of course, that at least one or two of their booksellers will give it a read, like it and tell customers about this gem of a book by a local author. Since the chances of it even being glanced at in a place swarming with ARC's (Advance Reading Copies) and all the other worthy volumes the place is swamped with every day is slight in the extreme, I made sure my book was accompanied by food. A lone book by an unknown author is, understandably, easy to ignore, but when it is ribbon tied to a bag of peanut butter stuffed pretzels and bucket of bite sized chocolate chip cookies in the employee breakroom I've got to believe it's bound to attract at least some attention. Shelly, the consignment manager, even said she would put a "Please Read Me" sign by Boomerang, so I'm hoping the combination will make at least a little bit of magic.

Beginning on Thursday, September 1, Boomerang will be on a display wall near the front of the store in a spot where they feature Local and Independent Authors. None of this spine to the public nonsense, instead a full face forward with Laura Lakey's terrific cover art shouting "buy this book!" to anyone within ten yards. Of course, just as publishers pay to get books they are trying to push in the windows and on the front displays of bookstores, there is a monthly fee to have ones book featured on the Local and Indy wall. The strategy of making my debut there in September, one of those "thirty days have" months, may be open to debate, but there you go, at least it's not February.

I will certainly be making another visit to Changing Hands as soon as I can once Boomerang is face forward. Take a photo, accost innocent book browsers, make a megaphone announcement about a blue light special at the Local Author wall. Whatever I can get away with.

Go Ye Forth and Do Likewise.

Friday, August 5, 2011

More from North Carolina

A few more photos and notes from our recent trip to North Carolina. Or, to be more specific, Western North Carolina. Quite a few times we saw the WNC acronym, on both publications and signs. It signifies the mountainous nature of the landscape, at least as mountainous is defined in that part of the country. This part of the state has the Appalachian Mountains running through it, dominating the landscape. The term rolling hills came more readily to this Arizonan's mind, but if they want to call them mountains it works for me.

As I said in my last installment, we were not enthralled with what little we saw of Charlotte. But a short drive outside the city took us to the Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens where we had a wonderful time touring their formal gardens as well as the Meadowood Walk and the Orchid House.

I don't recall ever seeing crape myrtle trees before. They have lovely trunks.

Those who ventured under these arching streams of water did so at their own peril. They shut down every once in a while, causing the water to fall onto the path and anyone who happens to be on it.

Inside the Orchid House

Photo credit for this one goes to my wife, Anne.
There are no restaurants at the Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens, but the very nice lady at the information counter gave us a sheet listing local eating establishments and told us that Sammy's Neighborhood Pub in Belmont is a particular favorite of her husband's, which means that they dine there just about once a week. We checked it out and found the food quite good, the service excellent and the beer selection extensive . I imagine that may have something to do with her husband's affection for the place. I had a nice pulled pork sandwich with a side of deep fried okra and a glass of Death by Hops beer produced by the Olde Hickory Brewery in Hickory, NC. It was a good choice.

And now a few words about the place we stayed in Asheville, Carolina Bed and Breakfast. The innkeepers, James and Susan Murray, are, simply put, doing it right. The location is on a quiet residential street, the facilities are comfortable and clean and very nicely decorated, and the food is amazing. Susan is the chef and James the host and they both excel at what they do. Of course it didn't hurt that the people at the breakfast tables the mornings we were there were interesting, good conversationalists and a general delight to spend a bit of time with before we headed out for whatever the rest of the day had in store for us.

The dining room at the Carolina Bed and Breakfast. I asked James about the portrait on the wall, expecting it to be something they picked up at an antique house or yard sale. Fact is, that is an ancestor of his. I should have been taking notes, because now I do not recall the gentleman's name, although I think there may have a been a Colonel attached to it somewhere. The painting, James told us, has been all over the world with them. The Murrays lived overseas for twenty seven years before settling in Asheville and purchasing the Carolina B&B.

We stayed in the Cottage, just out back. Lots of room, a kitchen we never used and a more than decently sized bathroom. It was, in a word, perfect.

One last photo and then it will be time to bid farewell to WNC.

May today find you just where you are supposed to be. 

Whatever that means.

A Bit About Me

My photo
I am a writer with a longtime interest in photography. I'm a dad, husband, photographer, and not very good guitarist. My first novel, Boomerang, is available in both paperback and ebook form at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and As a matter of fact, my second novel, The Baer Boys, can be found at exactly the same places.