My book launch for Demons and Destiny at Owl’s Nest Books on December 5, 2016 was a pleasure. It was a cozy, inspiring gathering.

Authors Adam Dreece and Amanda Audit dropped in and their additions to the discussion were immensely valuable. Both Amanda and Adam’s books are available for purchase at Owl’s Nest. I had Adam sign my copy of The Yellow Hoods and can’t wait to delve into it.

Adam has been such a support since we began talking via Twitter last year. His conversations, blog posts, and participation during the launch were deeply honest and treasured. He has been a support to many authors. It was wonderful to finally meet him in person.

I also met Amanda Audit, author of the Children’s books My Family and Yours and Life Advice from Donuts. She is an intelligent, caring individual who is a professional early childhood caregiver. I was humbled to be in the company of such well known and renowned authors. Both offered encouraging words, great advice, and warm, honest support. I look forward to connecting with them again in the future.

Owl’s Nest Books … How do I describe that place… Friendly and welcoming, with an incredible selection, with two decades of operation under its wings. It provides a level of service that is all too rare. I was able to meet one of the original partners. He was a kind, warm man who clearly loved that store and the books in it. The store is filled with giftware and memorabilia from some of my favorite things like Dr. Who to Van Gogh, and half the store is dedicated to children and youth, a.k.a. Owlets. Did I mention the event coordinator is also an author?

The relaxed discussion with readers and writers lent itself to deep reflection. What I try to achieve at each of these events is a sense of connection. One that isn’t just about the books, but about the relationship authors and readers have. About the magic of words and how much they influence our lives – a question I posed to attendees. Yes, it’s an event about me, the author and the books, but it is really about you. Readers who have questions, readers who share, readers who connect (or don’t) and the whys. It’s about more than words on a page. It’s about inner worlds, about finding each other and being heard. I can talk about my work, and I do, but it’s more important to connect. And I walked away from the event much like I did with the Magic of Words workshop, remembering why I write in the first place – why I need to write.

As soon as a work leaves my world for yours, the meaning and experience becomes more than anything I wrote. It becomes an experience for you. You see things I don’t, connect to characters differently, find yourself in a theme, a phrase, or immersed in the world itself. You interpret it and garner meaning and escape, and then it may or may not transform you in some way. At least, that’s how I experience works I connect with when I read.

A reading from the first scene of Demons and Destiny followed and I could see the half-glazed expression of a reader, artist, or writer lost in another world across the faces of those in attendance. That’s when I relaxed. That’s when I knew for sure we had connected. And that was when I surrendered to the experience.

After an hour or two, discussions wound down and people braved the frigid cold winter to return home. After the readers went home a few of us lingered to talk about the challenges and joys of being an author and hosting or speaking at author events.

The nerves get to us all. We ruminated about managing negative (constructive and non-constructive) feedback. Facing empty author events until one opens the door to success. Being a dynamic presenter and managing future signings. Lessons learned. It is in these moments I am reminded that although we authors work alone, we write together, we experience together. But more importantly, we are a community.

What’s next? For the new year, I’ve got a signing on January 7, 2017. Three books are in the works, NaNoWriMo project Through Dragon Eyes, a novella and book three of the Angels and Avalon Series. Two more book concepts are drafted out for future projects. I also have regular writing and editing clients and hope to offer editing services and writing services to a few more in the new year. My holiday wish would be to sell enough books to cover outstanding expenses and the year’s upcoming ones, but it is never easy to reach a wide audience on limited resources. I will keep you up to date on any future events and projects through blog posts here, and by Twitter and Facebook posts.

Happy Holidays and may your new year be filled with adventure and lots of stories worth reading and telling.