Today I returned from an overnight trip to Manistee, Michigan. The trip came about from postcards I mailed to libraries last January announcing my second P.J. Benson mystery, AS THE CROW FLIES. Soon after Five Star (which is part of Gale/Cengage Learning) released AS THE CROW FLIES, I was contacted by one of the librarians at the Manistee Public Library and asked if I’d be interested in doing a program for their Authors Series. Although the date for the program was months away, I said yes. And I’m so glad I did.
I was blessed with beautiful weather for the drive and a gorgeous view of Northern Michigan’s fall colors. After arriving in Manistee and checking into a Motel 8, I drove over to the library. The library is a two-story building on Maple Street with friendly librarians who welcomed me, showed me where I’d be speaking in a few hours, and told me the best place to park and to use the elevator to bring my materials to the room.
My talk was scheduled for 6:30 p.m., so I arrived a half-hour early and was greeted by Andrea, who’d set up the talk. By 6:30, roughly a dozen people had arrived, which considering the beautiful weather and the fact that I was competing against a make-or-break Tigers’ baseball game on TV, I figured was a good crowd. And best of all, once my talk was over, the library served refreshments, including a green-tomato-mince-meat pie that one of the patrons had made and brought. (I would love the recipe. It was delicious and a great way to use up those green tomatoes that are still on the vine in the fall.)
Those in attendance said they enjoyed my talk, and I sold a few copies of AS THE CROW FLIES (and my last hard copy of THE CROWS), but most of all, I had a wonderful time meeting people who love reading books.
Was the trip worth it? That’s one of those things I’ll probably never know for sure. The library did pay me a stipend that will cover my motel and gas costs, and after my talk, I went back to my motel room where I had complete solitude away from every-day-life demands, time that I used (both before I went to bed and then in the morning until I had to check out) to work on my new mystery. I also met some people at breakfast who wanted to know more about my books, and one man who said he belonged to a group that invited
writers to speak. (He asked for my business card.) So who knows. I know I certainly enjoyed the trip and the people I met.
My next jaunt will be to the Grand Rapids Regions’ conference “I Always Wanted to Write a Book” being held in Grand Rapids on October 22nd. I’ll be talking about writing the mystery. Hope to see some of you there. http://grandrapidsregionwritersgroup.blogspot.com/p/ive-always-wanted-to-write-book-hosted.html