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Author Book Signings with a Twist

You may know you can find me on the worldwide web, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, GoodReads, the Book Club Network, and here on my Hindsight blog. You may even know you can connect with me through my quarterly e-newsletter update, but you may not have thought to look for me at a chuckwagon supper or at a carriage house.

Book 3 in The Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek Series

Last month, Bob and I embarked on a Colorado Road Trip Book Tour for The Bride Wore Blue, the third book in The Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek Series.

Book signings give me the opportunity to connect with bookstore managers and staff as well as with readers. That’s all good! But since I was going to stack a few book signings back-to-back, I tapped my fingertip on my chin and set myself to thinking of ways I could mix it up a bit.

I don’t know that you’d necessarily consider my ideas brilliant, but they were definitely fun to instigate.

Play Dress-Up

I write western stories set in the 1800’s. Furthermore, my present series is set in the late 1890’s. While I feed stories into my computer, I try to bring my time period and characters to life for my readers. Why not do so during promotional events?

That question sent me on a search for period appropriate costumes. Gowns, day dresses, skirts, shirtwaists, petticoats, gloves, boots, and hats. No crinolines, corsets, or bustles for me. That decision saved us the trouble of having to haul around a fainting couch.

My sister, Cindy, the “tea party lady,” told me about www.recollections.com and the owner of a cowboy shop in Sedona told my hubby, Bob, about the Wild West Mercantile in Mesa, Arizona. Both were much more reasonably priced than other resources I’d investigated.

Glen Eyrie

Several years ago, at Murdoch’s in Montrose, Colorado, I’d found a pair of brown lace-up boots. My sister, Linda, and I both bought a pair. When I bought a purple and black lace Victorian set from the Wild West Mercantile (www.wwmerc.com), I needed a pair of black boots. My hubby Bob found them at a yard sale in the color and size I needed. You can see more about Bob’s yard sale treasure hunts on Pinterest at http://pinterest.com/monahodgson/bob-s-yard-sale-finds. And don’t miss the upcoming post that features Bob’s top tips for yard sale success.

Add a New Venue

I appreciate traditional bookstores and booksellers, and included several in my stops on the book tour. The staff and customers at Mardel Christian Store in Colorado Springs loved the costumes.

Flying W Ranch

As I planned this trip and thought about my particular target audience—the readers of historical fiction, I began to brainstorm venues that might hold special appeal for my particular audience. For its western theme, I came up with the Flying W Ranch. The chuckwagon supper and cowboy show was a bonus. For its historical appeal, the Glen Eyrie Bookstore, which is set in a carriage house. Glen Eyrie is the home of the Navigators and the grounds host many historical markers, including a castle. Both venues provided grist for this historical novelist’s idea mill.I’m making a list for additional pieces I’d like Bob to find for my costume wardrobe and I’m always on the lookout for book signing locations that offer a twist. Might you have ideas for out-of-the-ordinary venues for my book signings?Side note: I purchased the calico set from www.recollections.com and the purple and black lace Victorian dress at the Wild West Mercantile in Mesa, Arizona (www.wwmerc.com).

Read Excerpt, The Bride Wore Blue.

What About Bob?

Glen Eyrie Bob

Bob looking dapper for a book signing at Glen Eyrie in Colorado Springs.

When the idea of writing for publication first flitted through my mind, my hubby Bob began encouraging me. “Well, you do like to write letters and you’re good at it,” he said. When I approached Bob about my desire to attend a writers’ conference, he began a long haul of personal sacrifice and made a way for me to attend the Mount Hermon Christian Writers’ Conference in 1988. Bob has made sure I had a space for my writing paraphernalia. First, a wall here, or a corner there. Now, I have a dedicated office.

Bob taught me how to boot my first computer, cut and paste, and how to load paper into a dot matrix printer. We’ve joked about his job description: “Everything Else.” But it’s no joke. He’s my computer tech, trouble-shooter for anything electronic, and website designer and guru. If I need business cards, flyers, posters, stickers, or address labels, I go to Bob.

I’m hearing from fans of The Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek books who commend me for the authenticity in my settings and time-period details. Bob is due much of the credit. One, he is a walking database. For instance, the particulars, smells, and sounds of a narrow gauge locomotive. Two, he thrives on research. Everything from hats to photographic plates, and telephone switchboards to surreys.

If you enjoy historical fiction, you no doubt thrive on history and research. Good news! Bob’s going to share his wealth of knowledge in “Bob Features” on the blog. He’s taken fun photographs of historical items that he’ll talk about. He’s even shooting videos for us. So, stay tuned!

History in Hindsight

Ta-da!

I am now a blogger. What excites me most about the new title is that writing a blog gives me another point of connection with you. Even better, this particular gathering place offers the opportunity to share more on a personal level than is possible on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, GoodReads, the Book Club Network, LinkedIn, or even in my quarterly e-Newsletter.

High School, my yellow phase.

Given my experience with high school history classes, it’s nothing short of amazing that I write historical fiction. Three memories of high school history class stand out. 1) My most memorable history teacher preferred his role as the basketball and baseball coach. 2) I recall a lot of doodling, which included hearts and arrows and the initials of one or more of the wanna-be jocks who sat in front of me. 3) I remember nodding off every time my teacher chased a basketball or baseball rabbit down a trail.

I don’t remember much real “history” being taught. Consequently, I didn’t assign value to much of anything that had occurred in the long-ago. How could the past be important while my present was being shaped by bucket loads of teenage angst? I finished my history studies with a quivering C, doing so on an auto-pilot that annulled most historical names, facts, and dates upon my high school graduation.

Then I met and married Bob Hodgson. He’d had a high school teacher dedicated to demonstrating the relevance of history. Bob thrived on anything related to science and history. Proof, opposites do attract.

Somewhere along the way, history began tickling my subconscious. Bob’s enthusiasm for history swayed me, I’m sure. So did the wistfulness and wonder that came with maturity. My interest in historical fiction grew as I pondered places and circumstances foreign to me. As I wrote nonfiction for adults and fiction for children, my curiosity took on a magnetism that pulled me into the 1800’s. I had to know more about history.

One of my favorite places: The St. Charles Historical Society

Today, I’m the one most eager to peruse history books, visit museums, and ponder archives. I’m now the author of four historical novels in The Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek Series and two historical novellas. A mind-boggling fact that points to truth. Beyond our wildest imaginings, dreams, and abilities, God has a plan for you and I (Jeremiah 29:11).

Hindsight is about observation, retrospection, and perception after the fact. Thus, the name and focus of my blog.

I welcome your comments and suggestions as we connect on a more regular basis through Hindsight.

Mona

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