I'm gearing up for the book launch party for Gumbo Justice this Saturday at my bar-that-isn't-really-a-bar-yet. We've had some Code Enforcement issues with zoning and parking, so the parish hasn't given us a liquor license yet. The only difference is that I have to give free drinks instead of selling them, and people can bring their kids because it's not a bar but a private building. If anyone is in the New Orleans area, it's at 424 Destrehan on the Westbank, Saturday at 7 p.m..
Sarah Cortez, who I met at the PSWA conference, is coming in with her husband for the night to attend, which is exciting. I am also having a gumbo contest, inviting people to bring their pots of gumbo. Everyone will get to vote on the best tasting and the winner gets to name a character in the follow up novel I'm currently working on. I have 3 or 4 people definitely signed up, and a few more just found out and have expressed interest, so it should be fun.
I don't know if I will actually sell that many books, although I will have them available. One of my friends from high school and gymnastics reserved 2, one for her and for our gymnastics coach from way back, but most of my friends have already bought the book, so we'll see.
I also had 40 invitations printed through Vista Print--it was relatively cheap to get invitations with my book cover and the party info, my email, website etc., and I printed directions on the back. Both sides were in color and the invitations came with little envelopes. Since I invited most of the people I know through Facebook, and by telephone and email, I sent the invites to the book stores in the area. It wasn't quite forty stores, but it was enough. I figure none of the store owners may show up, but it will get my book in front of them to consider. And we have spoken to some of the owners already, so hopefully it will be a reminder to them if they are interested in selling the book.
I also had a newspaper interview last week in Fayette, Alabama, where we keep an evacuation house. It's in north Alabama, in the hills, and the paper probably covers an area of about 12, 000 people. The reporter was just as interested in how we found Fayette in the first place as she was in my book, and she was floored when I told her my mother in law, my husband's aunt, and the aunt's sister have all also bought houses there.
The reporter also wanted to know if I was going to ever write about Fayette, and I told her I planned to have Ryan Murphy, my lead character, visit Fayette in one novel and a murder or attempted murder will happen. (They have had 2 or 3 murders total in the last 25 years in Fayette, so that would be a big deal indeed.) She said she can connect me with the local police investigators if I ever need to talk to them, and the fire people, etc., which is nice to have an "in" in the town.
The paper only comes out on Wednesdays, the same day of the week that the garbage is collected, so the article will either be out tomorrow or the following Wednesday. The reporter is supposed to email me when it comes out, and parts of it are online, although I don't really think my book will make front page news to make the online version, even in such a sleepy town. But if it does, I'll post a link.