Monday, August 25, 2008

Book Signing at BYU Bookstore, by Lael Littke

Nancy, Lael, and Carroll with new friends from Australia

Last Thursday, Nancy, Carroll and I signed our three-novel series, The Company of Good Women, at the BYU Bookstore--during Education Week! The final book, Surprise Packages, had been out a few weeks, joining its sister books, Almost Sisters and Three Tickets to Peoria.

Signing during Education Week is always an adventure, starting with finding a parking place near the Wilkinson Center. Nancy, who was our chauffeur, definitely had parking karma. She found us a spot just across the street from the WC.

Finding our table in the bookstore wasn't hard, either. It was marked by a big sign featuring each of our names. There were stacks of all three books on the table, as well as signing pens and the always appreciated bottles of water.

No sooner had we settled down than faces from the past--my past, mostly--came by. Cousins, former students, old friends, a man who'd grown up in my East Pasadena Ward, my Denver roommate from when we were career girls there. Nancy's niece and her four delightful children also stopped by.

Then there were new friends, one of whom we'd just shared a table and a Subway sandwich with. We were thrilled when someone would stop, snatch up a copy of Surprise Packages, and exclaim, "At last! It seems like I've been waiting for this forever!" And when readers who'd already purchased the book stopped to say, "I loved it--it was the best of the series."

A final delight just before we left was meeting a mother-daughter set from Australia. We were on our way out, but they heard us talking and recognized us from having seen the signs above our table. We stopped to visit for several minutes because they were so delightful. Books were sold, pictures taken, e-mail addresses exchanged, invitations given. 

Then it was over, our fifteen minutes (actually a little over two hours) of fame. But from it we harvested new friends, great memories, and a vow to write another book together so we could do this again.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


This summer has been a season of firsts for me: two grandbabies reaching their first birthdays, a first luxury vacation to Hilton Head—may it set a precedent please, a first broken water main when we returned—no precedent desired, a first virtual book tour, and a first LDS Book Sellers signing.

I was surprised by the whole convention setup, having no real idea of what it would be like when I arrived. What an amazing amount of interesting information was available to help book sellers succeed in promoting LDS literature and products. A whole week’s worth of classes and seminars were scheduled.

Lael Littke and I signed books for sellers on Friday as the conference was wrapping up. It was a delight to meet the book sellers who stopped by, especially those from the small independent book stores scattered over the U.S. who making an heroic effort to provide LDS material to the Saints in that area. Not to mention that they were all charming to talk to.

Lael returned to manning the Whitney Awards booth and I had a few moments to check out the booths before I had to be at another appointment. Among the “new on the scene” folks I had a chance to meet where the representatives from Silverleaf Press and their companion, Leatherwood Press. Between the two they hand everything from The Sacrament Meeting Time Coloring Book--I am a Child of God, by Madeline Elsey, and Secrets of Companion Planting, Plants that help, Plants that Hurt, by Brenda Little to books on how to be a Union or Confederate soldier.

Then I spent a few minutes with the Book of Mormon Tours folks and had a look at their terrific maps and the new updated Exploring the Lands of the Book of Mormon by Joseph L. Allen PhD, founder of Book of Mormon Tours.. Package tours and dates call 1-888-226-5205 o5 click on Those are trips I would really like to take!

New on the music scene is Music for Worship, created by popular LDS arranger Brian Jensen. They are a young artists with a fresh new look at sacred music appropriate for Sacrament Meetings and other sacred settings. They currently have four series including vocal, solo, choir and keyboard. For more information, especially if you are interested in mp3 and PDF downloads contact Music for Worship c/o The Song of the Heart Distribution. PO Box 1255, Provo, Utah 84603 or get on line. Website: and e-mail,

My last stop was at Barbs Goodies and Gifts, What a treat. She gave us samples of pretzels dipped in caramel and white chocolate then drizzles in milk. We tasted round pretzels filled with English toffee topped with white chocolate and then white. And, my oh my, true melt-in-your-mouth-couldn’t-have-made-it-better-myself-on-my-best-cooking-day white chocolate popcorn. My daughter and I purely drooled as we savored the samples. To me the perfect Christmas treat is something that tastes better than homemade and it what I would cook and serve myself if I had the time. Barb’s treats at Barb’s Goodies & Gifts are exactly that! The information that I received listed only wholesale prices and purchases had to be made in batches of six. For retail distributors contact her at the website above or at 1060 N Kingswood Road, Kaysville, Utah 84037, or phone (801)-546-2491 or (801) 792-2621.

My best wishes to all these new kids on the block. Try them out!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Impromptu book signing

Knowing that Gary and I would be in the Jerome/Twin Falls area for two family reunions the end of July/first of August, I called Deseret Book to see what I might be able to set up to promote Surprise Packages. I was scheduled for a "meet and greet" at the Boise Deseret Book store (such nice people!), but was told there wasn't a bookstore in Twin Falls.

(True--there is no Deseret Book store there. But as I was to find out, there are two independent LDS bookstores!)

Since I did know about the Barnes and Noble at the Twin Falls mall, I stopped by there to introduce myself and sign the books that were on their shelves. They had Surprise Packages, but not the first two books of the series. The associate I talked to immediately got online and ordered copies of the other two! Reason enough to be glad I dropped in.

Later, Gary's cousin Janet mentioned she'd gone through the recently completed Twin Falls temple and that the open house was continuing. Would we like to go?  Of course! Although she wasn't LDS, Janet called her good friends who were, and the four of us went through the temple together. It's an incredibly beautiful edifice, with amazing workmanship evident at every turn. 

Afterward, the couple drove us to Bell's Family Bookstore, a small independent LDS bookstore they knew of. I signed some copies and talked to some customers , much to the delight of the woman manning the store. (It's so fun to know people love your work!) Having visited Barnes and Noble and this store, I figured I'd done what I could re: promotion.

But on Monday, the day before we were supposed to leave, we were directed to another independent LDS bookstore, Crowley's, a pocket store on the opposite side of the mall from Barnes and Noble. Okay, I thought. I'll drop in for another meet and greet. Not!

It's hard to describe the welcome I received from Richard Crowley! He'd put a lot of effort into getting writers to his store during the temple open house, because he was anticipating a lot of business. He'd asked DB for help in this regard, but they were understandably too busy getting ready for the LDS Booksellers convention to respond to his request. So he was thrilled to have a DB author show up on his doorstep—even if it was on a Monday morning. And he wasn't going to let this opportunity pass by.

Before I knew it, he'd set up a table near the entrance and talked me into staying for a hour-long impromptu signing! I felt sort of silly. Who would stop by on a Monday morning? But I had a delightful time. Who wouldn't when a reader comes looking for Surprise Packages and is totally thrilled to meet one of the authors! I also met someone who knew Lael from her Mink Creek days. And I know that from establishing this personal connection, Richard will direct readers to our series.

Oh, re: the reunions: We had a wonderful time with picnicking with Barga relatives at the Jerome city park. The next day we were at the park again to enjoy spending time with Morris relatives. What nice people they all are. I'm lucky to be part of their family.