As we move into the holidays for 2017, I am astounded to look back and discover I’ve done thirty-one book talks, book signings, or both. Jim Jacobs, another author, has really nudged me about doing these events, and I am thankful he has. Going out on the road with another writer is much more pleasant than driving alone. We have lots to talk about.

Next, a thank you is in order to each of these people and places.

I love libraries, and as a member of Sisters in Crime, I’m proud to say our organization supports libraries. In my own town, the Warren County Public Library is filled with astonishing librarians and workers who are always positive and supportive. They also can find any research source I need for my books. Upstairs in the library building is a genealogy department that is also my haunt while I’m researching the Midwest. I’ve done several book signings this year at WCPL, and those people are special.

 

 

Down the road is the Galesburg Public Library in my hometown, and they have gone out of their way to host me in book talks and signings. Both these area libraries have bought Kindles and have pre-loaded  my novella about Detective TJ Sweeney for patrons who don’t have their own e-book readers. Their area history archive is headed by Patty Mosher, and what she does NOT know about area history could fit in a thimble. The Henderson County Library has hosted me on several occasions, and they are a real hub of community activity out in the rural areas. I always find a warm welcome. I’ve also done a signing at a Peoria Library during this past year.

 

I’ve picked up my activity at book clubs. Barb Weaver hosted me with her club at Soangetaha Country Club. A smaller group, hosted by Jan Peters, was a joyous occasion because several members remembered my parents. My mother has been gone since 1972, and my father died in 2007. It was wonderful to talk with Galesburg readers who knew them. One of my friends from high school is also hosting a book club talk next week.

In the past year, I’ve signed books at three Barnes and Noble stores in Peoria, Champaign, and Bloomington, Illinois. Stone Alley Books in Galesburg carries all my books and has had me in for book signings. Independent book stores from the Quad Cities to Peoria—six of them—have invited me in. The last of these was Book World in Galena. Two other signings in Peru and West Burlington, Iowa, were cancelled because Book World, sadly, is closing its 45 Midwest doors. I always find it a pleasure to talk with customers in book stores because they have wonderful comments to make about books.

Then we have the many, many groups of people who invited me in to do a program. These would include four PEO chapters, Rotary, Kiwanis, the Warren County History Museum, and the McDonough County Retired Teachers group. (It’s always a pleasure to talk to retired teachers since we speak the same language, and I pay Illinois taxes on books I sell in the state, so I feel like I am contributing to our precarious pension fund. If the politicians would only do their part!)

I had some unique and wonderful programs at art galleries on my calendar this year. Buchanan Center for the Arts, right here in Monmouth, has sold my books and asked me to stop in and talk. That’s been a great way to introduce my new book. Another unique program, Waterline Writers in Batavia, Illinois, asked me to stop in and do a reading from one of my books. They have amazing programs for writers and artists at Waterline Studios.

Finally, I should mention a couple of unique programs. I did an online Mystery Party with Karen Wood on her Facebook page, Mystery Readers and Writers, and I’d never done such an event before. It was intriguing and stimulating. I also paid a second visit to Malice Domestic, a huge book conference in Bethesda, Maryland. I enjoy that event because it gives me a chance to talk with old friends who write and new acquaintances who write or read.

And so, 2017, you are winding down to an end, and I will rest a bit over the holidays. I’m already booking dates for 2018. My newest book is finished and off to publishers, so we’ll see what 2018 holds in store for my writing.

A huge—as our president would say—VERY HUGE—thank you to all the readers who have read one of my books this year, come to a program, or just plain talked up my stories to their reader-friends. You are the ones who finish my story.

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