I recently saw a documentary on the plight of Albinos in Tanzania. As you may know my heart is touched whenever I see children suffering. The situation here in Africa effects both adults and children but many of these children never reach adulthood because they are often murdered before they become adults.
Neglected Child in Public School
The Albinos in Tanzania are hunted for their body parts and their blood. There have been many, many slaughterings and dismemberment of Albino children. A news article reported recently on how young albino girls have been raped as a result of a mistaken belief that it can cure aids.
How can we help? There’s a non-profit organization called Under the Same Sun that has been working diligently to help People with Albinism (PWAs). They accept contributions. Also these children are in dire need of having their eyes protected from the sun. So starting December 1, 2011, I will donate a pair of sunglasses for every one of my books that is sold online (either paperback or e-book form) to these children in Tanzania. I have three mystery novels, The Advocate, The Advocate’s Betrayal, and The Advocate’s Conviction. (The main character is an advocate for abused children.) Any of these books will qualify and they are available in paperback on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and about any e-book form you want. If you purchase a book I will use my royalties to send the sunglasses to help protect their sensitive eyes. Together we can pay forward and help these unfortunate children.
This past weekend I had the wonderful opportunity of returning to two Barnes and Noble stores that I haven’t been to in a while, Fullerton and Long Beach Towne Center.
I have spent a lot of time in these stores in the past signing my first two books, and this past weekend The Advocate’s Conviction was featured there. It was great seeing the old staff and meeting new ones. But my favorite part was seeing my readers, many of who started with my first book and have continually returned to get the latest one. Nothing feels better to an author than to have a reader show up to purchase your book because they love your writing. Thanks, Long Beach and Fullerton readers…you made my weekend!
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I had yet another incredible weekend in the Barnes & Noble store in Torrance. The staff there is so wonderful and the readers have become my friends. I get hugs from some of the regulars and lots of smiles from readers. There is one special lady (we’ll call her Marilyn) who comes in every time I’m there. She always takes the time to stop and say hello and chat for a bit. Marilyn is very sweet and although there isn’t that much difference in our ages, there’s something about her that reminds me of my mother which makes the visit even more special.
I’m always flattered when people are excited to see me just because I’m an “author.” I understand why that is because as a reader I’m always excited to meet an author whose writing I admire. It’s just that I’m still surprised when it’s me. Sometimes parents will come in with their children and say, “Look, little Hayden, this woman is an author. She wrote this book.” Often the kid isn’t too impressed and the parent is apologetic because she expected a different reaction. I find it humorous since I’ve worked with enough kids to know the “Legos” display will get a lot more attention than me. But one experience last weekend is worth noting. A little boy about 7 or 8 years old stopped about ten feet in front of me. He looked at me, then at my 8 foot sign, and then at the stack of books on my table. He didn’t say anything. He started to walk away from me glancing back occasionally. Then he disappeared into the store.
About five minutes later he returned with a big smile on his face and said, “Are you the Arthur?”
I so wanted to respond, “No, I’m the George.” But of course I didn’t because he was too young to get the joke and besides he was so excited about meeting me. I signed a bookmark and gave it to him. His smile beamed across his face.
As he walked away, he nodded his head and said proudly, “I’m taking this to my teacher.”
The children, the booksellers, and readers like Marilyn are the things that make the book tours so much fun for me. There’s always some very interesting characters…even some fodder for my books. I should carry a warning sign: “Be careful, you may end up in my novel.”
I just spent another great weekend in Barnes & Noble signing my novel, The Advocate’s Betrayal. This time I was in Ventura. That’s a long drive…but well worth it. I sold out and met another group of interesting people. I also had the added bonus of spending some time with my nephew and niece who live in Ventura.
While at the store, I do what they call a “Meet & Greet” which basically means I greet people when they come in the door and let them know who I am. I offer them a bookmark and try to determine if they read mysteries. No hard selling. I know if they don’t read mysteries chances are they won’t like my book. Oh, I’m sure a few would buy it because of my charming personality, but then they probably wouldn’t read it anyway, and I want them to read my books! But I often get some very interesting answers to some simple questions. For example, I asked the question, “Do you read mysteries?” Here’s some of the answers I received this weekend.
“Not since I got cable.” “No, we’re here to buy a book.” “I’m a fan of mysteries, but I don’t read them.” And my favorite: “Not now, I’m about to pee my pants.”
It’s always an experience having a “Meet & Greet” and I truly meet a lot of wonderful people. Thank you, readers of Ventura.
Last weekend I had the pleasure of signing books at the Barnes and Noble in Henderson, NV. The booksellers were great to work with and the customers were fantastic. I spent three days there and signed a lot of books. One woman named Kelly came into the store early on Friday and bought “The Advocate’s Betrayal.” On Saturday morning she returned to tell me she couldn’t put the book down and stayed up most of the night reading it. That’s what keeps me writing!
I had a few other interesting experiences as well. There was the woman who nearly passed me up when I offered her a bookmark. She took it and scurried off. About ten minutes later she returned, apologized for being rude and explained she was embarrassed because she hadn’t had her toes done. Of course, that drew me immediately to look at her feet. They looked fine to me, but apparently she never leaves the house without polish on her toes. She turned out to be a very sweet woman and she even purchased my book.
I really enjoy the face to face contact with readers. It’s one of my favorite parts of this whole “author” experience. One thing I find interesting is some of the unusual names I see every week. Most unusual this past weekend was “Janina”. Have you ever met a Janina?
This past weekend I spent three days signing “The Advocate’s Betrayal” at the Barnes and Noble in Del Amo Shopping Center in Torrance, CA and I met some wonderful people. I also encountered a few unusual and interesting folks.
One very nice woman asked me to sign a book for her which I did. But the conversation with her quickly turned to a wonderful gentleman she had met at a signing at the store last year. She said, “I tried his book and I really liked it so I think I’ll try yours. His name was Jeff Shirt or something like that.” I knew right off it was Jeff Sherratt. She wasn’t aware of his latest novel, Detour to Murder. When I told her about it, she laid my book down and went upstairs to the mystery department. I sat the book aside in hopes she would return thinking maybe I shouldn’t have told her about Jeff’s. About twenty minutes later she came back and told me she couldn’t find his book and asked for my help. So I went up the escalator with her and found it on the “New Releases” shelf. She was afraid to take the escalator back down (she told me she’s okay going up, but gets real nervous going down). When I offered to stand in front of her she said she would be okay with that. She was so sweet. And she was just tickled to get Jeff’s book. At that point, I didn’t much care that she had left mine behind. I watched her as she went to the register and stood in line. A few minutes later she returned to my table and said, “Oops, I forgot something,” and picked up her signed copy.
In contrast to that a man stopped and looked at my book. He read the back and saw that I was an attorney. Suddenly his voice got very loud and he started ranting that “lawyers and liberals have ruined this country.” Needless to say he didn’t buy my book.
A couple who previously purchased my books while I was signing in Long Beach saw that I was at Torrance and stopped in to say hello on the way to a soccer game. Another gentleman offered to bring me a cup of coffee from the cafe and yet another gave me a paper heart that he had torn out of a napkin while sitting in the cafe. These are the things that really make me smile when I’m signing.
This year’s ThrillerFest was held at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York, a bustling, energetic hub of mystery writers and readers. I know, because I was there! On July 7th, I met up with the Barnes & Noble representatives at the event who were promoting both of my titles among their debut authors. Sales were good, but the best part was meeting so many legends among the book world. Clive Cussler, Ken Follett, Michael Palmer, and Sandra Brown were some of the biggest names. To the left you can a picture of Clive Cussler signing a book for my good friend, Ron Vincent. I also had a great conversation with Lisa Scottoline, and was even able to give her a copy of my newest book! Here we are on the right after we signed each others’ novels…a couple of lawyers turned author. That woman is a hoot! Great writer, great speaker, and truly a great woman.
There were several events at the festival, from panel discussions to banquets, but the best part for me was meeting fans, making new friends, and listening to those wonderful authors mentioned above who have so much to teach us newbies. All in all, it was a wonderful experience. I’m already excited for next year! It may be too early to buy tickets, but it’s never too early to mark your calendars.
It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything to this blog, but that’s certainly not because things haven’t been happening. Along with my friends, fans, and family, I celebrated the release of my most recent book, The Advocate’s Betrayal, early in July. The book follows Sabre Orin Brown as she attempts to solve the murder of a close friend. All our favorite characters are there, of course, plus one or two new ones you’ll hopefully find intriguing. Yet again, the outlines of many of the court cases are drawn from real experiences. And yes, I have chased a woman’s mysterious past all the way across America. Such mysteries are real for many people. That’s the darker side of these books. The brighter side looks a bit more like this:
It was standing room only at the launch party in July! Many thanks to everyone who came to support me and celebrate the new release. Your generosity and encouragement are unspeakably appreciated. I also owe a thanks to Linda Dilday, the community relations manager at the Barnes & Noble, Galleria Mall in Riverside. She and her crew of booksellers and cafe workers were beyond gracious.
The launch was followed by several other events, signings, and travels, but those are all for another post!
My new novel, THE ADVOCATE’S BETRAYAL, will be released June 29th! I am so excited. I had to show off my cover. Matt Pizzo designed it for me and I think he did a fabulous job.
I have a new publisher for this book, ZOVA books. ZOVA is having a contest on Facebook where they are giving away an autographed copy of my first novel, THE ADVOCATE, each week until the release of this second book. If you haven’t read THE ADVOCATE, you should enter the drawing…You have a good chance of winning. If you have read it, enter anyway. You could give the copy to a friend or relative or donate it to your local library.
My launch party will be held at the Barnes and Noble, Galleria on Tyler in Riverside, CA on July 3rd. So if you are close by, please mark your calendars.
THE ADVOCATE’S BETRAYAL is available for pre-order on Amazon.com and will soon be available on ZOVA Books.