Thursday, August 31, 2006


Southern Booksellers Independent Alliance! It's on the horizon ... the past three days, I've been packing and repacking ... preparing for this mammoth trade show. An opportunity to network like never before with Southern booksellers.

As Chairman of the Sisters in Crime/Mystery Writers of America BOOTH in Orlando for the 2006 trade show, my job began in January this past year. The list was endless ... registering, contacts, signing schedules, booth decoration, simply endless attention to detail. And I've loved it. Although, I'm not sure I'd do it again, but it has been a unique experience. One for the memory books.

I've attended Book Expos and trade shows for some time, so I knew I had a good handle on what needed to be done ... (beside the fact that this is my background ... I've done stuff like this for hosptials for years.) Now, however, it's for ME and for the writers near and dear to my heart!

There's been a little politics involved, but nothing this old broad hasn't handled before. Besides, I love a challenge. The road to success for any other is not an easy one. Those who look for easy, won't find the blue ribbon they hope to achieve. Not really. Not for the long term.

Good writing, fabulous story, and all craft aside ... when you dive into the publicity world of books, there's nothing like a book trade show or festival to either get your feet wet, or make your mark on the memories of booksellers. Hooking up with Sisters in Crime, although I'm not a mystery writer, (but writing is writing) has offered me wonderful opportunities. I love the Sisters in Crime concept, the reason they were created. To offer writing, research, publishing, selling opportunities to women!

Spreading our little show all over Booth WL#57 will prove to booksellers we came to play ball! Over here! Look over here! Our booth screams with excitement and up to three authors will be signing their books at the booth round the clock. We come complete with graveyard, skeleton heads, crime scene tape, and spider webs. But besides the cool decor, we offer free books to booksellers. The best mystery writers together in one place!

It's been a busy couple weeks ... organizing and planning. But we're off next Tuesday ... gone for a week to the wilds of Florida and SIBA!

Right now I have to finish putting the bow on a raffle basket ... a super huge basket we award one lucky bookseller daily... hmmm, where'd I put my scissors?

It's a mystery.

Blessings to you and yours.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Rules? What Rules?

Throw all those rules out the back door and write whatever you feel like writing.

I think all rules ever made by writers, even the evil point-of-view rules, the backstory rule, or number of characters rule can be broken. My God, has anybody read Beach Music by Pat Conroy? Talk about a rule breaker! His books are a category far and above those who write the rules. Beach Music is a masterpiece. Of course ... that's Pat Conroy--I know, I know--he's pretty much able to do what he wants. After all, he's no longer considered a "first-time" author.

Still, I've got a shelf longer than my left leg, full of books on writing ... and I've yet to find anyone with all the answers.

However, the tension-on-every-page rule is a pretty damn good one to follow if you want to attract today's "weekend only" reader. Or, "I only read on vacation" reader. Better yet, "I can't find time to read my Bible, why would I want to read a book?" reader. Then there's the vegging couch-potato that reads nothing but the Sunday comics, the TV Guide, and the menu at Dennys. Not much you can do with that.

And yet, tension is what makes a mediocre book a great novel. It's the reason for telling the story--tension and the effects it has on the reader and on yourself as an author. If YOU don't feel tension as you write your story, you're not going to sell many copies of your hard work. Nobody's going to care about your story, your characters, the reason you wrote it.

Aside from the rule of tension, I say write how and what you want, as long as it's a damn good story.

I think a writer's got to enjoy writing whatever he or she writes--not an intellectual satisfaction in their research that turned their prose into something credible. But a writer must find a way to string together words that turn into amazing plots, sympathetic characters, exotic places, and interesting dialogue.

You've got to write what blows your skirt up--and find a way to blow up your reader's skirt.

That's all. Enjoy the process ... God knows the crap that's published. Every once in a while, a flower pokes through a cow patty and get's noticed. I hope it's your story.

Blessings to you and yours.

Thursday, August 24, 2006


I was requested to "kick off" the series for the year! The Working Women's Wednesdays series in Alamance County, Burlington, NC. Thrilled when they invited me to speak at their monthly meeting, I also found myself eager to attend this event. Yesterday ... was once again, surreal.

Over 90 members of this group, also part of the Women's Resource Center, gathered for lunch in a sprawling country club for lunch and to listen to a speaker ... this time ... it was me. The topic - Reiventing your Life, from Office to Author.

I'm finding today's women like it given to them straight. They appreciate the fact that I shoot from the hip, and I don't color it up with fancy words or flowery ideas.

"This may not even be the Rah Rah speech you came thinking you were going to hear. The kind I’m sure one you’ve heard over and over from Corporate Women Cheerleaders the world over. They all tend to say the same things, don’t they?

But this is about REAL life. What I’m trying to tell you is that no matter how desperate your situation, no matter where you are in your job or career, when you’ve been told all hope is gone, when you’ve believe there’s nothing left to live for, when you think you’ve sunk as far as you can go and there’s no more light left in your tunnel, my message to you is … there is life … there is hope … even after hitting bottom. I want you to know … no matter your age or how fraught the circumstances, you can still inch your way up and come out of the dark and into the life that is calling your name."

The response was once again, tremendous. Heartfelt wishes and expressions of gratitude came pouring through the lips of these women ... all of course, in line to purchase a copy of SOUTHERN FRIED WOMEN. I was touched and moved at their emotion and response to me.

I found myself inspired ... when it was me who came to do the inspiring.

Again today, I met with three wonderful writing friends for an early lunch before one took off to fly to the Maui Writer's Conference. We huddled around a table at Panera for two hours and shared our writing lives. Dena, Lisa, Carol and I laughed and learned from each other ... all of us amazed at the energy we produced.

The energy I find so evident each day as I network among women could light a city for a week! The flow of nuturing women transcends time and space ... from that of mother, wife, sister, grandmother, aunt, cousin into that of friend, confidant, caregiver, ally, and colleague.

Women are continually pregnant with energy ... we are all things to all people.

Blessings to you and yours.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

A Glimpse of Eudora

I spoke at a Senior Citizen retirement home yesterday... these folks were GREAT! I talked about Southern accents and Southern Literature. And what fun questions these folks of gray hair and soft eyes asked. Pointed questions about writing. Their interest in me and what made me tick as a writer moved me. I had a blast! Their hearing not quite acute, but their minds were sharp and their tongues like a razor.

I enjoyed every second as I related to these old souls in their love of family, home, and hearth.

One question was, "Who is your favorite Southern writer?" Of course, that answer is often varied ... but naming Eudora Welty sparked the interest of one woman in the corner.

Afterward, she came up to my signing table to buy a book and said, "My name is Margaret H. Williard Pipkin, and I used to live in Jackson, Mississippi and I used to go grocery shopping with Eudora."

Imagine my surprise. "You did?" Shocked, I wanted to touch the hands that may have touched Eudora.

"Why, yes," she said. "She lived in the strangest purple house."

And that's all she would say about her. But her smile was warm and I found her eyes smiled as big as her mouth. She was remembering. Going back in time to the days when she and Eudora Welty must have walked to the Piggly Wiggly or shared a car ride to the corner store. Maybe comparing their grocery list or coupons. Trying to remember the basic ingredients for corn bread casserole or sweet potato cakes. I watched her sip her ice tea while I signed a few more books hoping that I could ask her a few more questions about her old acquaintance.

But when I had finished ... Margaret H. Williard Pipkin was gone. All she left in her wake were a few words that stirred my creative juices and made me wish that I had but one moment with Eudora ...

As I rode home, I realized, I did have a moment with Eudora. Through her friend, Margaret, Eudora Welty reached out to touch me yesterday. It may be as close as I'll ever get ... but I will never forget that smile on Margaret's face. It was as if she were having a conversation with her in her head. Maybe she was.

And that's good enough for me.

Blessings to you and yours.

Monday, August 21, 2006

You Take The Good With The Bad

I have had the most overwhelming positive responses to my speaking appearances ... everything from standing ovations and long lines of people to buy books to an audience of two or three during an open mic in the coffee area of Barnes & Noble who really didn't come to hear me, but decided to stay, drink their coffee, and listen anyway.

Of course there was a red-neck heckler in the back while one of my colleagues read her piece of prose ... but 99% of the time - the response everywhere I have been has left me with feelings of gratefulness, inspiration, hope, and awe.

It's funny ... because the emotions I strive to instill into each audience whether they hear me speak or read my book are truly what I receive in return. Even during events where I sign books and nothing else, the response at my table is always ... "I love to read about the South," or "My mama would love this," or better yet ... "Just make it out to my wife." Those guys aren't kidding me ... they'll read it before their wives do!

And yet ... I received a sad response from a very dear friend recently (a friend I love and care about) who wrote that she couldn't ask me to speak at her church ... because "the women's ministry head thinks because you are not currently affiliated with a church body, she can't ask you to speak to our ladies. There is also the issue of some of the words in your book, which I understand you are using for reality's sake, but I myself don't feel comfortable selling the book in a church facility for that reason."

Hmmm ....

For clarity sake, please know that the few cuss or slang words used in my book are few and far between ... and certainly are nothing any good Christian man or woman hasn't heard before. It's amazing to me, that some of the best Christian people I know, are some of the most closed-minded. Not necessarily meaning to be, they discriminate when it doesn't fit into their beliefs. And really ... it's okay. I'm not into pushing my product where it's not wanted. But those kinds of responses are the exact reason why I'm not a part of any "body of believers." It's why I choose to worship at home.

But I find it amazing as I stand before a crowd who have come to hear me speak and I look out over a sea of faces and think how many denominations are truly represented here and how many will my message help. The "church" is listening (and buying my book) ... whether "they" want it to or not.

And what they fail to realize, is that my speech of inspiration to men and women of all walks of life ... is a also a speech of hope and light. A tesimony to God's love and mercy the likes of which many in the church have NEVER heard before. I can almost guarantee that. A speech that would uplift the destitute and downtrodden of their congregation. But ... of course, there's the issue of those few "bad words in my book." Words, I don't necessarily say ... but my characters certainly do.

And of course the speech I give at a church group is without any offensive words as opposed to one that may be given at a secular facility that may have a few choice words placed for the sake of meaning. Isn't it amazing how ALL of us act differently when in church than when we're not? Don't we all find ourselves being just a little hypocritical that way? Or is it a matter of respect and using good judgment? By nature, I'm not a conformist ... maybe that's why I don't belong to any church.

Yet, my friend went on to say, "... I know you are annointed by God in your storytelling, and in how you relate to women ... I truly love you, and I support you 100%, so please don't be offended, and understand that I am sincere in my relationship with you, and in my praise of your skills. I really love your book(s), can't wait for Televenge, and all the rest that God is going to give you to write ..."

It's a lesson in taking the good with bad.

I wanted to blog about this, not to embarass my friend nor to speak ill of her church ... she is a wonderful woman with a beautiful spirit ... it's just that I find the whole response an interesting insight into the human spirit. It reminds me of those groups who refuse to take medicine, yet fail to realize it was God who divinely inspired the production and use of medicine.

Ah well ... ONWARD! I still intend to speak to any church group that will have me. Quite possibly they will surprise me after all ... it may be the Catholics or the Presbyterians but who knows how the message will get out. Only God does.

I'll close today's blog with the following endorsement, a speaking testimonial if you will, from one pastor who heard my speech:

From the Reverend Frank D. Stewart Pastor of Bethany Presbyterian Church, Statesville, NC
“Pamela King Cable invites her listeners and readers to consider the incredible faith potential that awaits us outside our comfort zones. Pamela is a wonderful storyteller, and yet much more. In a “Southern Fried” woman’s style, she weaves a spiritual cloth that provides us an avenue for growth. After hearing her speak I realized this woman has the power to mend our spirits, strengthen our weaknesses, and restore our hope. Pamela has a special gift to place us in time machine and transport us back to our past so that we may discover our future. It is my delight and pleasure to recommend to everyone the remarkable talent of this fine speaker and storyteller, Pamela King Cable.”

Blessings to you and yours.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Love In Mass

I'm up very early this morning, and everyone knows ... I'm not a morning person. But I can't sleep. I'm overwhelmed at the response I've been receiving when I speak. This week I've delivered my soul with my words to two large groups, both men and women. Yesterday to at least 100 people (I'm guessing.) But that doesn't matter ... what matters is that this audience welcomed Michael and I with open arms, heard me speak, and then stood in line and bought my book, a show of support and of love. Their warm words and actions afterward will forever be stamped on my memory.

I've been walking around in a daze ever since yesterday. How can I write about this and sound grateful and humble (which I am.) How do you tell the world through this media of Internet that no matter the size of my audience and its response, that I will forever feel that way ... I will never forget where I've come from and the struggle and pain it took to get even this far.

How does one love in mass?

Mass quantities of love ... is it possible? Because that's what I felt yesterday. Amidst the sea of faces before me, I felt that light at the end of the tunnel that God showed me years ago. It opened up and I walked through it. It's been a very long time coming ... but I know this is only the beginning. Thing is, I know my heart and I can say I'm not looking for a pot of gold at the end of any rainbow, nor am I after what it can bring ... but I know my message and what it can do. The healing that it can deliver.

After all, isn't that why God allows us to travel to the bottom of our barrels ... so that when He leads us up and out of those dark, murky, waters ... we can "testify" as to where we've come from and how we got there? Isn't that the real purpose in any speech like mine?

To help others find love in mass.

Love that I never knew existed, until yesterday. It was an amazing sight to behold. I shall never, ever forget it. And I will always be grateful for it.

Blessings to you and yours.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Be Careful What You Wish For

When I started this Journey back a few years ago ... I wished for so many things I think all writers wish for. A certain amount of success, to be published, go on a book tour ... not realizing that what seemed so far away then, so dreamy in its infant wish-like state, would one day be reality. At least to a small degree.

In building my platform, the reality is ... there's much to consider when wishing for dreams like this. Juggling a schedule, finding time for everyone, trying to make everybody happy, and the cost involved in getting to where you're scheduled to be.

I chose, early on, to get out there and promote my work. To network and to believe in my message to my readers and to the many writers I come in contact with. I talk to many groups about publishing and networking ... but I think we need to come up with solutions of how to handle time factors. Or rather ... never enough time factors. The biggest being ... Where do I find time to write, edit, and publish my next book if I'm working my publicity machine?

But, alas ... I am a storyteller. And the true reality of it all is, if you want your stories to be heard, you have to "tell" them. Writing them down and then telling the world about them is all part of it.

Still ... it can be overwhelming at times. Balance ... I wish for balance!

Ah, well ... until I find that level of perfection that some circles of religious zealots claim to have achieved, I suppose I'll make a few mistakes, errors in judgment, bad choices, and be a big goof from time to time.

But in the meantime ... I will be thankful. Because everyday I wake up and I realize I'm NOT a perfect person, I wish for forgiveness, I wish for people to see my humility, and I wish for less struggle and always a full, receptive, and open audience like the ones I've had this week. That was one wish I'm so happy I wished for.

I wish you peace today. And love. Lots of love.

Blessings to you and yours.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

It's My Birthday And I'll Laugh If I Want To

I'm selling BOOKS! Whoopee!

Friday, at Bliss Spa and Salon ... I sold 16 books! Saturday (today) I walked away with another 19 books sold! For a first-time author on a book tour ... that's pretty good. Include the 21 I sold on Wednesday at the Women's Professional Forum meeting ... that's 56 books in a week.

Not a bad birthday present. I'll be celebrating yet another year gone by in my life on Sunday ... proving to myself that life doesn't get shorter and I'm grabbing what I can on my way out.

The signings this week were wonderful ... meeting so many people ... mostly, women. But there were that handful of men that bought the book for their "wives or mothers." Once they realize, it's not chick-lit ... they may find they love the stories as much as their wife. I've had many men tell me just that. But the week was full of validation and satisfaction to the degree that I feel good about taking my birthday off and not thinking about writing or publishing or publicity for 24 hours.

Especially after the day I had today! I've said it over and over ... and sometimes I wonder if writers really hear me. Networking is the key to any writer's success. It has become my mantra.

Today, I signed a book to Jacquelyn Mooney, a book to Maya Angelou, and a book to Oprah. I met someone with a strong connections today who felt very sure she could get my book in to the hands of these women. You can only imagine my thrill and delima. How do you sign a book to artist Jacquelyn Mooney, author Maya Angelou ... let alone ... Oprah? After several drafts on scrap paper, I opted for something simple and sincere.

So who knows. Will they actually get the book? I feel pretty confident in my connection. Will they read it? Maybe. Possibly. Will I hear from any of them? ... Well, it's the dream of most writers, isn't it?

But you know what? Just to be able to say that I actually signed a book to these women ... is a great honor. Knowing that I signed it anticipating it would actually get into their hands ... I'm content. The rest ... is up to the good Lord above.

Later today ... another piece of GREAT news ... a five-star review from Midwest Book Reviews! And I quote "... Pamela King Cable is one of those infrequent writers who can bring reality to fictional characters so strong that you'd swear you had encountered them in your own life's history. Southern Fried Women will leave the reader looking forward to more from this accomplished, imaginative, skilled, and entertaining author!"

It's my birthday ... and I'll LAUGH if I want to!

Blessings to you and yours!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

What's On YOUR Bookshelf?

I receive emails from “Emerging Writers” and I thought the answers to the following questions were interesting. So I’m following suit. Why not ask yourself the same questions … then go back in a few years and see if your answers have changed … Hmmm.

One book that changed your life.
To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

One book that you’ve read more than once.
Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell

One book you’d want on a desert island.
The Bible … (that’s if I’m shipwrecked.) Then again, if it’s a vacation on miles of white sand with tropical drinks and sun block … How Stella Got Her Groove Back … now that's a great beach read.

One book that made you laugh.
Lessons In Stalking … Life With Cats by Dena Harris – Super funny!

One book that made you cry.
It’s a tie - Ellen Foster by Kaye Gibbons --- Secret Life Of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

One book that you wish had been written.
Beach Music by Pat Conroy and Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier runs a close second ...

One book that you wish had never been written.
Godless – The Church of Liberalism by Ann Coulter, actually anything she writes … an amazingly outspoken conservative voice and I question her motives …

One book you’re currently reading.
The King Of Lies by John Hart … the “new and improved John Grisham!”

One book you’ve been meaning to read.
I’m wanting to lock myself away and finish Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series … a must read for any true lover of books!

Happy reading!

Blessings to you and yours.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Whirlwind Weekend

Michael and I are writing a column for a new, slick, local magazine called ... Piedmont. It covers a five county area bordering Virginia and North Carolina ... by and around the Blue Ridge ... the piedmont.

Saturday we toured Patrick County and you'll just have to get a copy of the magazine in October to read about it ... but let me tell you ... music and the mountains go hand in hand in this area of God's country. And food ... let's not forget food. Needless to say, the people, the scenery, and the antique shops are but a few of the highlights of that trip. You need to make it one of your destination goals ... to visit the Blue Ridge Parkway and many of the small towns around it at least once in your life. They're a country and a culture unto themselves ... no finer place in the world ... in my humble opinion.

Sunday ... Wine, Baseball and good friends. Dena, Blair, Michael and I spent a leisurely afternoon in the warm breezes of a somewhat cooler summer afternoon at Childress Winery. Go experience it for yourself, if you can. Lunch is excellent and the wine at Childress is the perfect compliment to the meal.

We laughed, ate, drank, enjoyed each other's company and then headed to Greensboro and a baseball game at the new stadium. The Greensboro Grasshoppers are on a winning streak and the place was fairly crowded, but comfortably so. It's a fabulous new stadium. Clean and the food is first-class junk food! After two hotdogs, a beer, a tub of popcorn, a smoothie, cracker jacks, a soft pretzel, and an ice cream cone later ... we were ready to pack it in. I can usually last until the 7th inning, and then it's time for me to go.

Baseball, for me, is a social game. A place to go talk, eat, and get an occasional thrill watching a home run or see some young kid catch a fly ball. Otherwise ... I don't see the excitement. Unless, of course, the team is on some great winning streak. But, I recognize it's an American passion ... and thus, at least once a year ... I support my local team.

Great food, tons of fun, the best of friends ... a winning combination for the memory book.

A whirlwind of a weekend? Yes, indeedy. 'Cept next weekend's my birthday ... I don't believe it's going to be any less of a tornado than this one was.

Blessings to you and yours.

Friday, August 04, 2006

" ... and they're off!"

I loved watching horse races as a kid. I still do. Last night, just before I stood up to speak to a group of Sisters In Crime members about publishing ... I thought of those Derby races ... how the horses are lead to the stalls ... the jockeys wait in heightened anticipation that flows through, I'm sure, to their horse ... the bell rings, the gates swing open, and the mad dash to the finish line begins. It's like a rocket going off.

I presented my journey to publication, or rather PUBLISHING FROM A WRITER'S POINT OF VIEW, last night to an eager group of listeners who were truly searching for answers about publishing and publicity. Michael and I presented "our story." And even though we're certainly not at the end of our own journey ... we've been down the road a far piece, researched, experienced, traveled all over the country finding our own answers ... and now it's time to share what we've learned.

The group was intense, took notes, asked tons of questions ... we loved it! It was, without a doubt, the threshold ... the launching pad ... the starting gates to our very long list of speaking engagements and it thrilled us. The response was tremendous and we felt very good being able to "give back." Especially to this group of writers. Michael and I know it will return to us many times over.

The meeting was open to the public, there were a few visitors, and I sold some books. We stood at the open door of something great last night; we could feel it as we walked through. I don't need to necessarily win the race, I just need to place well ... finish the race.

The past few weeks we've been laboring together, coordinating this long list of places for me to speak about my stories, my life, my work ... and last night it all came together. I laughed to myself as the meeting began. I imagined that horse race ... I could hear a voice in the distance....

".... and they're off!"

Blessings to you and yours.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

The Heat Of The Oven ... It Comes To Us All

Oh the lessons in life we learn ... do they ever stop? As I grow older, I feel like a roast that's been in a slow oven ... over time the oven has broken down the meat, the seasoning has soaked in, and the tenderizer has done it's job.

I used to bristle when someone tried to rock my world with comments or rather criticism about my work, or about me in general, but these days ... I just simply smile, say thank you, and go on.

Not that unkind remarks and nasty comments still don't piss me off ... people can be so damn cruel. But that's not what I'm talking about. I'm not talking about things said in anger.

I'm talking about people making "comments in love" "for your own good" "because we care" ... you know ... those kinds of comments.

There are people in our lives who think they know you but really ... don't. One day, someone says something to you about your work or your attitude or even the way you wear your hair and you realize ... hey, they don't know me at all. Hmmm. I thought they did, but I'll be dogged, they've not got a clue what I'm all about ... or what my message is.

And then you think ... Well, damn. I don't know them either.

Maybe my idea of who they are and what they stand for is all wrong too. Life is funny like that, isn't it? It's amazing to me ... I have learned over the years to open my heart to every type of person I've come in contact with. I refuse to have a closed mind or fist or heart for my fellow man. Now that doesn’t make me a saint. Lord, no. But in the process of living my life this way ... I've come in contact with people who were not raised like me ... new age people ... who I thought were open minded to begin with and didn't have to strive to open their hearts to the rest of the world.

Last night I realized, there are closed-minds in every walk of life. I am who I am. Your comments, though sweet and well intended, make no sense to me. It's very sad you think about me and my words the way that you do, but they are my words, my emotions. I cannot follow the pack. I never could.

I know my motives are good ... they're what makes me tick ... the part of me that pushes me along. It's part of the determination that saved my life a few times ... and it's a good thing. A very good thing that needs to be shared, not "toned down." But neither do I shout it from the rooftops in the fire and brimstone of a driven evangelist. Because, truth is, I've been quiet. A long, long time.

But I was not born to remain quiet. Not after one has been through the fire and flood. Eventually, it has to come out.

Though I'm not opposed to change ... God knows I've changed ... like the roast in the oven. It's just that now is the time in my life that hopefully ... I've been taken out of the oven and can share the tender, juicy, pieces of what I've learned with the world.

There are some who have remained in their ovens and become burnt, tough old birds. You can chew on their words a while, think about them for a moment, but in the end you just got to spit them out. No sense in swallowing something you know you can't digest.

Blessings to you and yours.