First Signing Appearance and Holiday Nonsense

Hello again, readers. Another general update today; I’m lucky to even be updating during the holidays, but I must admit that I’m a little bummed with my seeming inability to create some of the more pop-culture-oriented posts for which I have become known. I’m sure there will be far more time for that come January, but for now, this is simply how things have to be. I hope everyone is having an awesome holiday season. I know I am, but it’s practically flying by with all of the work to which I’ve committed. I’ve allowed myself a bright little pocket of Christmas on my desk at work, though. Check it out:

Come on, you know that’s festive as all hell.

I hope I’m not alone in remembering those who maybe don’t have enough this holiday season, or who feel lonely at this time of year. It’s a tough time for so many, and it hits particularly close to home for me, with some of my friends really struggling right now. I think sometimes, especially as a writer, it becomes very easy to disappear into our own little worlds and forget about those folks. I don’t think it’s a malicious or careless attitude, just human nature.

I do, however, find this stuff to be important enough that it precedes talking about my actual appearance. You see, my wife and I run a humble little Amazon Webstore, Brown Pig Brown, which is named for my beloved lost guinea pig Milo. Now, I’m not doing this as a sales pitch or an advertisement, I’m trying to raise some awareness. We have begun donating 10% of our proceeds to the Capital Area Food Bank, and you would be amazed at how much can add up in such a short amount of time. Now would I love for you to make a purchase from us? Of course, I’m not going to lie – and you could know that a portion of your purchase is going to the Food Bank, but if nothing else, I’d be moved if you made your own donation – a lot of folks could use your help, and not just during the holidays. That link up there goes straight to the Donate page. It’s a worthy cause. I don’t think there’s any excuse for starving children in America. There should be more than enough to go around.

Oh, and I guess I should also mention that 10% of my book sales also go there, so that’s another venue.

That’s enough of my bleeding heart stuff. I promise not to hit you over the head with it too much, but I think we need to look out for each other.

So…anyway. Yesterday was my first signing and sales appearance at the Greenbelt, MD Festival of Lights arts and crafts fair. Let me tell you…

I actually had a great time. I had been invited to join in as a member of the Maryland Writers Association, and chose yesterday afternoon as my time slot since I had to attend a friend’s 40th birthday party. Come on, you don’t miss those.

The fair was held in the Greenbelt Community Center (that’s it on the right), a 1930’s era schoolhouse whose design is emblematic of the art deco style used in constructing the city. You see, Greenbelt was built as a cooperative community during the New Deal era, and it has a pretty fascinating history, one that I had been completely unaware of prior to yesterday’s show. They’re celebrating their 75th anniversary, so this year’s show was a particularly important one, as it’s become an annual tradition.

I loved the building itself; it’s one of those old schoolhouse style buildings on the inside, all wood paneling and vinyl floors. I spent my formative years in a similar environment (that’s my elementary school on the left), and I always feel at home in these settings. True, they had tucked the writers and artists away in a small room known as the “Humanities Mart”, which was somewhat difficult to find, but I still felt honored to get the change to participate.

Set-up turned out to be very, very easy, and I shared table space and time with MWA Montgomery County chapter Alix Moore. She was great company and a tireless advocate for the group. I have a whole lot to say about what she teaches, but I want to save that for after reading her book and attending one of her classes. Let’s just say we have a similar creative philosophy.

Here she is sharing some of her philosophy with an interested reader.

I felt pretty pleased with my set-up, and it showed just what a boon Ryan Bibby’s covers can be. Check it out:

Honestly, I didn’t expect much out of the appearance. I had the last two hours on the last day of the show; I figured even one sale would make the thing worth the experience and let me know if I wanted to continue down this path.

Surprise, surprise, we got a last-minute rush and I made a respectable amount of cash; certainly enough to justify going. I also gave away some digital copies, but, more importantly, some folks connected with me and I got a wealth of useful information. A helpful journalist/blogger photographed us and got some information, as well. You know I’ll be sharing that when it goes up, but I can say to keep your eye on http://greenbelt2012.wordpress.com/.

By the end of the day, the pile had come down somewhat:

I mean, sure, could have been better, but not bad at all for a little over two hours worth of work. I also enjoyed the experience immensely and have begun planning out my winter and spring appearances, which will last a lot longer. Could Balticon be far behind? We’ll see…

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Okay, one last note of self-promotion. I’ve mentioned my short story On the Air a time or three in anticipation of getting it out to readers. Well, that time has come: Somewhere in the Shadows has released! Right now it’s Kindle-only, and I have no idea what other formats might be coming, but the entire anthology is very much worthy of your notice. Go get your copy now!

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5 Comments

  1. May I admire you again today?

  2. Jonathan,
    We did have fun, didn’t we?
    And since, then I have finished Corridors of the Dead and started Room 3.
    About Corridors I have to say–it was really really good. As good as things I have read with a status label on the spine. If you detect a note of surprise, it’s because I am continually amazed by the level of talent present in all of us who publish independently of the large publishing houses. We are taking our power to share our words, and our words are worth reading. I loved your voice and your quirky sense of humor. When’s Book 2 coming out???
    Alix

    • We definitely did! And thanks a lot, it made my day 🙂 I’m actually working on Book 2 now and hoping to have it out in the Spring, but knowing my history it will probably be more like June or July. Glad you enjoyed it, though 🙂

  3. Awesome! Congrats. I love that you donate a portion of your book and store sales to the food bank too. Great inspiration for others.

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