A weekend among the book people

I spent this past weekend on my feet talking about What Remains Unsaid to anyone who walked by. That’s not as weird as it sounds, since I was at the Bay Area Book Festival in Berkeley, California along with a handful of other authors published by Sand Hill Review Press.

Sand Hill Review Press Booth

We’re an award-winning bunch: ten over the last few years. Those little circles and rectangles on the badges below represent IPPYs and IPAs.

Tory Hartmann (publisher) and authors Nanci Woody, James Hanna, and Elise Miller.

Of course, I couldn’t take a picture of myself at the booth while I was behind it, so I had to get someone else to do that. Thank you, Margie Yee Webb!

Me, with my book.
Invitation to a signing.

We didn’t have set signing times—basically whenever someone bought a book.

I never felt weird talking to people who approached the booth. “Hi,” I’d say. “What kinds of books do you like to read?” Usually, this started a great conversation. I never felt awkward or like I was giving a sales pitch. I knew everyone who walked by had some interest in books, as a reader or writer or both.

From there, it was a natural next step to tell them about my book. Of course, my book isn’t for everyone. I did get a few grimaces after people read the cover blurb. That’s okay. That’s what marketing is supposed to do: weed out the people who are not interested in your product and attract the people who are.

I managed to sneak out from behind the booth a few times. Here are some of the more interesting things I saw.

The Prisoners Literature Project is an all-volunteer non-profit Bay Area group that has been providing free books to prisoners for more than 30 years.

Prisoners Lit Project

The Independent Eye is a professional theater founded by Conrad Bishop and Elizabeth Fuller in 1974. I loved their whimsical figures. These are nearly life-size statues? puppets?

The Independent Eye

I snapped this because I love the idea of minds on fire. University Press Books has been igniting since 1974 (a popular year, it seems for the arts).

Minds on fire!

What are we going to do with all the old books in the world? Make things, like Yes and Yes Designs does. It’s a jewelry store with a story.

Jewelry and art made from old hardback covers.

Almost every writer I know struggles with finding time to write. There’s help for that. I recently started attending Shut Up and Write Meetups locally. They’re nationwide and if you don’t have one nearby, you can start one.

Shut Up and Write

Finally, I got to spend the weekend in the company of the delightful Laurel Anne Hill, queen of steampunk (and former underground storage tank operator), who never travels without her entourage. Dr. Who and the giant squid brought people to the booth… they came for the animals and stayed for the books.

Laurel and Dr. Who

If you’ve never had an opportunity to be among “your people”—whoever those people may be—I can’t recommend it highly enough. Although my feet ached and my throat was sore from talking, I felt great at the end of the weekend.

And I have more opportunities to connect with readers over the next few weeks and months. See below.



Guest post on C. S. Lakin’s Live Write Thrive blog 
June 8 is the post date, so if you’re reading this on or after that day you can click over to her blog and read my guest post about why writing short fiction is beneficial for novelists. Or bookmark and return and scroll down if you don’t see it right away.

The Literary Stage at the San Mateo County Fair (June 10-17)
Sunday, June 11 from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. – “Ask the Editors” panel
Sunday, June 11 from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. – offering writing consultations
Thursday, June 15 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. – Fault Zone readings
Saturday, June 17 from 2:45 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. – Author Day


Main Gallery in Redwood City
Wednesday, July 26 (to be confirmed) – A reading with other local authors


Literally – The Shop@ Flywheel Press
Tuesday, September 26 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. – A reading with the amazing poet Devi Laskar

I’ll be sending updates and reminders in future blog posts and emails. If you’re not yet on my email list, now’s a good time to join. I usually send only one email a month, and when you join you get an as-yet-unpublished story.

The summer of free books

Of course I’d love you to buy my books. But I also want to get them out into the world. I’m doing two Goodreads giveaways this summer. The first starts today, for three copies of Dance of Souls, running between June 6 and July 6. Enter now!

The second giveaway will run July 7 to August 8 for What Remains Unsaid.

Happy reading!













10 thoughts on “A weekend among the book people

Add yours

  1. What a great book festival! Sounds like you had a great time meeting readers and writers. Nice of your publisher to sponsor a booth like that too!


  2. Looks like fun and thank you for the tip on what to say. I’ve been wondering about doing something like this, but any fairs I’ve come across so far have table fees for $100 or more and I’d never sell enough books to make up for that. Hopefully I’ll find a cheap enough one someday. Congratulations on your books – I’ll make sure to spread the news about the giveaways!


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