Pics from last week’s reading at the Watertown Library

The official photographer* has sent me photos from my e-book talk and reading of Beware the Hawk at the Watertown Library last week. I’m only going to share a few shots with you here because there are something like 20 very high-res photos and, also, I know all of the people in the photos, so reading the captions for all of them would read like a trip down memory lane.  But here are a few shots. Let me know if you can find the hawk circling outside the window. I’m told it was there, but I can’t find one in the photo.

Deborah Weinberger, president of the Watertown Library Association, speaks about the library's new collection of e-books and provides the introduction. Note the "e-book" balloons to the right and left.

I speak about e-books, clutching my index cards as if I could absorb all the information written on them through the skin of my fingers.

Me with one of my parents' neighbors during the book signing. I used to get in all sorts of trouble in her yard. I fell out of one of her trees, I accidentally injured her daughter's bunny, I contributed to the decay of shrubs on her property by building a fort in the hedge... In fact, now that I think about it, it's a wonder she came out to the reading.

This is Mr. Fava, formerly of Watertown High School. I was assigned to his study hall as a freshman. I did no homework in this study hall. Instead I wrote novels. I am proud to say that you will never, ever see any of those novels.

And that's my grandmother.

UPDATE & CONFESSION:  I misused an apostrophe in the original title of this post; the one that went out to Twitter and Facebook as a status update. I wrote “weeks'” instead of “week’s.” I know. Not a big deal. Still, I’ve posted about apostrophe abuse so often that I feel I must own up to all apostrophe crimes. Feel free to report me to Strunk & White.

* My dad.

Last night’s author event at the Watertown Library.

Photo taken by my husband during a smoke break.

Wow. I’m still a little overwhelmed by last night’s reading at the Watertown Library. Going into the event, I was having nightmares that I’d walk in to see hundreds of folding chairs and that only a few would be filled by my family and by the folks who work at the library.

In reality I walked into a room decorated with balloons bearing the world “e-book.” There were just barely enough seats for the people who came out to hear the lecture and reading. And those people included my friends’ parents and siblings, my neighbors when I was growing up, the people who employed me when I was a teenager, a high school teacher and his wife, and of course my family.*

I was kind of nervous, even with all the familiar faces. I’ve done readings before – but always as part of a group. This was just me, and part of the event was a lecture about e-books. I’ve been doing a lot of research about e-books lately and I had note cards and everything, but there was this one dreadful moment when everything I knew just disappeared and I accidentally entered that blank-slate state of mind that I’ve been trying – and failing – to cultivate during meditation. Holy horrible timing, Batman. But then the moment passed, and everything from that point on went smoothly.

One of the most thrilling things about last night: there were people I don’t know in the audience, including a 13-year-old writer who wants to have his own book published someday. I used to be the 13-year-old going to readings with my parents. I don’t think he could possibly know how much it meant to me to sign his copy of Beware the Hawk (even though I told him to wait a few years before reading it.) It’s the circle of life, people.

Speaking of circling, I read with my back to a huge window, and I’m told that a hawk was flying around on the other side of the glass during the reading. As I posted on my Facebook author page last night, I want to try to duplicate this experience by naming future titles after animals that might appear outside of a library window. I’ll name the next one Beware the Squirrel. Or something. There is an interesting discussion about possible common-animal book titles going on over there right now.

Thank you so much, Watertown Library, Friends of the Watertown Library, and people of Oakville and Watertown. You’ve made me so happy.

*My father took scads of photos last night. I will post them when I get them.

 

 

My first reading is today.

Today is a big day for me. It will be my very first “author event,” a reading and discussion of e-books at the Watertown Library. 

I posted once that I get stage fright before every class I teach. Well, I’ve got stage fright now.

Part of my brain is babbling incoherently about having to stand up in front of a bunch of people who probably knew me as a child, and ohmygod, what if the nun who taught me in the fifth grade is there and I forget to bleep myself out while I’m reading? What if my shipment of books doesn’t come in this morning and I have to go to a signing without them and what if my car breaks down or I have an allergic reaction to my lunch or my one print copy of Beware the Hawk spontaneously combusts and I lose my voice and pass out?

Another part of me knows that’s just stage fright. I hear that kind of nonsense from my brain at least three times every week.

A third part of me – the part I’m paying attention to – is so very excited to be going back to my hometown to read from a book that I wrote and that a company published. I can’t wait to get up to that podium and talk about e-books. I can’t wait to see Watertonians that I haven’t seen in ages. I can’t wait to sit down and sign some books.

And if the books don’t come in? I’ll sign Post-Its instead.

And if I lose my voice? I will use large poster boards to deliver the talk silent-film style.

And if I forget to bleep myself out and my fifth grade teacher is really in the audience? She’s heard those words before. Probably from kids who were published for saying them. I’ll just have to resign myself to having my mouth washed out with soap.

The reading/talk will take place at 7 p.m. today at the Watertown Library in Watertown, Connecticut. If you are free, come by. Maybe you’ll get to see me get my mouth washed out with soap. Maybe not. Either way, it should be a blast.

I get my first proof, and get very excited about some very local press.

This is the sort of thing you could see all the time if you followed my author page on Facebook.

Remember how yesterday, I posted that my proof for the physical copy of Beware the Hawk was coming very soon? Well it did – I got it yesterday, and everyone who follows my Facebook fan page was forced to look at a crazy photo of me holding it.

It was amazing. I ran around the house like a little kid. I stared at it. I read it. I stared at it some more. I waved it at my husband. It’s right next to me now.

And then I talked to my father on the phone and he told me that this week’s issue of my hometown newspaper, The Town Times, ran an announcement about my upcoming appearance at the Watertown Library. Now, I used to work at a local paper. I’ve placed people’s announcements. It was no biggie. If there was enough space for them, I put them in. Nothing to get worked up about. I could understand people getting excited if a reporter wrote about them and someone came out to take a photo, but a press release? Not exciting.

Well, I don’t know when I got un-jaded.

When my father told me that my press release was in the Town Times I flipped. I freaked out like Time Magazine had named me Person of the Year. Why? I don’t know. Probably because when I was a kid, it was my great ambition to make it into the Town Times. Whenever a photographer from the Town Times went to anything, I tried desperately to look extra involved in whatever they were photographing so that they would take my picture. And then the paper would come on Thursday and I inevitably wouldn’t be in the photo and I’d sulk.

Clearly this attention-hungry child lives on within me.

You know, if I knew I’d get this much of a rush from being in the Town Times, I would have let my mom submit my wedding announcement.

Who knows? Maybe my desire to get into journalism came from my weekly desire to see myself in the Town Times. I knew that I’d be guaranteed a byline whenever the paper came out. All in all, today was a very good day to be a writer from Oakville.

I’m reading at the Watertown Library! (And not silent reading like when I used to do my homework there.)

Ladies and gentlemen, I am pleased to announce that I will be doing my very first reading in just a little less than two weeks at the Watertown Library in Watertown, Connecticut.

This reading, which will take place at 7 p.m. on Wednesday March 28, will be very special because Watertown is kind of my hometown.* Also special? My mother worked for the library when I was growing up. She worked at the Oakville branch of the library and did all the story hours there for years. So I spent most of my time there during grade school and middle school. I shelved books and did my homework and occasionally had to be told off for being too rowdy.

And that may be what happens again, because I’m hoping to draw a big crowd to the Watertown Library’s main branch on the evening of March 28.

Here’s the deal: Watertown Library included e-books in their collection on the first of March. Because my book is an e-book, I’m going to give a talk about my experience publishing an e-book and then do some reading. And then? We party. Responsibly, and in a literary fashion, of course. I have no idea where people go to party on a Wednesday night in Watertown these days. If I’m honest, I didn’t even know where to party in Watertown when I was living there. But no worries, we’ll figure something out.

Warning: Parents of young children, my book has language in it. Not language, but language. Also, it has situations in it, which cannot be bleeped out the way language can. I will do my best to read responsibly, but my book contains adult material and I don’t recommend bringing the kids to hear me read.

Hope to see you all there!

*Actually I’m from Oakville, which is a big neighborhood/”census-designated place” in Watertown, but to people who aren’t from there, it’s basically the same thing as being from Watertown.

Fabulous book news!

Last week I spoke to my editor at Vagabondage Press and she delivered some fabulous news: Beware the Hawk is coming to print on March 20!

This won’t come as a surprise to the people who follow my Facebook author page; they hear just about all my news just about as soon as it happens, thanks to my raging social media addiction and my possession of a smartphone. (Just another reason to “like” my author page, or stay the hell away from it.)

Beware The Hawk novellaI’m pretty excited. Beware the Hawk was planned as an e-book and an e-book only, so it’s exciting that a print edition is being released. Since it’s a novelette, it will be a pretty slim volume, but it will be fabulous to have it, to be able to do real book signings as well as virtual signings, to carry a bunch of books around in the trunk of my car so that I can peddle them.

Even better, it will be nice to have a copy of my book accessible to the folks who can’t read it on an e-reader, or who prefer not to. There are, actually, quite a few people who have approached me and said some variation of “I’d like to buy your book, but I don’t have an e-reader.” Well folks, save the date. On March 20, physical copies of Beware the Hawk will become available.

Another announcement: I will be doing my first actual event in my hometown, Watertown, Connecticut, at the Watertown Library. The date has changed from my original announcement. I will provide more information soon.