It’s been a whirlwind of a week (in some ways quite literally)! On Monday, November 28, I held the official launch party for Warrior of Light at the Bismarck-Mandan Chamber of Commerce. I was incredibly excited for this event: I had beverages, appetizers, door prizes, books, mugs, and t-shirts ready to go – and then North Dakota showed itself to be, well … North Dakota. A full-on blizzard hit Bismarck, starting early Monday and pummeling us through the end of the day Tuesday. From Tuesday evening to Thursday evening, my street in Mandan was completely locked in, and my only way out was to hike to the nearest open road and snag a ride with a co-worker. Last winter, Bismarck’s total annual snowfall was 24 inches. Las week alone, we received over 18 inches, with more on the way as blizzard #2 has hit this week.
So there I was, standing in the meeting room at the Chamber of Commerce, staring out the window at an icy wasteland reminiscent of Dante’s ninth circle of hell, and in my mind’s eye I saw the launch completely flopping. I told myself – hey, sometimes that’s just how the dice shake out. Maybe next time, don’t be the dumbass who publishes a book in the middle of the winter, eh?
But then people started showing up, first a few, then a trickle, and it didn’t stop until the room was full. I can’t express how grateful I am for the show of support. The roads were icy, driveways needed to be plowed, and people still found time to stop by. We ate, we drank, we voted on how to pronounce “Boblin Kule”, and it was completely wonderful. So thank-you all, thank-you Bob, Mary, Andrew, Robert, Caitlin, Adam, Gene, Lazetta, Jamie #1, Jamie #2, Ed, Kyle, Ryan, Gina, Laurie, Jen, Lee, Cody, Kale, Stephen, Amanda #1, Amanda #2, Mariah, Stacey, Jason, Joan, Tyler, Erick, Matt … and I know I’m missing names, so please forgive me, but thank-you everyone who made it. Maybe next time I’ll release a book in the summer and we can go to the sandbar instead.
I then drove home and became separated from my car for two days when drifts blew in and locked out the street. For what it’s worth, while housebound I stayed sane by getting some chapters completed in Book 2, so there you go!
By the time the weekend rolled around, things had cleared up nicely, so I packed my vehicle and made my way to Barnes & Noble for event #2. This was where I knew the stakes were raised. Every writer, even those with New York Times Bestsellers under their belts, will tell you that bookstore signings can be hit and miss. Sometimes folks show up, and sometimes they don’t. As it turns out, the first buyer (go Chance!) was there even before I was. I stayed at the store for three hours, and it was as awesome as anything I could have hoped for. We sold every last copy in the store, brought in a box of mine to restock, sold that box, opened another box … heck, even my date to senior prom showed up, and I went to high school five hundred miles away. (Sarah Bibb takes the win for surprise visit of the day!)
So what’s next? I’d had intentions to arrange a signing in Fargo, but the process of locking a date in December unfortunately fell through. That doesn’t mean I’m not making it to Fargo, it just means it won’t happen before the end of the year. In the interim, I will enjoy the warmth of my cozy writing office as I work on draft one of book two, most likely with a cup of coffee in hand and Christmas music playing in the background.
Thanks for reading! Stay warm, stay safe, and I hope you’re starting the holidays with a good book.