Thursday, September 14, 2006

The Best Way

The best way to relay my experience at the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance Conference and Trade Show in Orlando last weekend is with an e-mail I sent to all the authors who signed their books at the Sisters In Crime and Mystery Writers of America booth.

A warm hello to all my new friends from Florida and around the country!

I just arrived home Monday evening and since then, have been pouring through about 200 e-mails and washing a mountain of clothes. Is everyone as tired as me? The Gaylord Palms Hotel was beautiful and our booth simply ROCKED! No doubt, the BEST SINC and MWA booth ever!!!

I believe most everyone gave away most, if not all, of their books. Our booth was by far the busiest booth at the show. It looked great, and we placed information in every booksellers hands that walked by or stopped to chat.

Winners of the baskets - Saturday's basket winner was Genie Ford from Books & Crannies in Middlebury, Virginia. Sunday's basket winner was Kathy Acree from Ivy Books & Gifts in Glasgow, Kentucky. As soon as possible, I will be sending each of you who participated in the booth, a data base of every bookseller that submitted their business card or filled out a form to our raffle box. You can use these as labels for mailings or however you choose. It's great for your marketing purposes.

I will be sending a link for pictures to all of you in the next day or so. There are some great ones!

Many, many heartfelt thanks to Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America for their wonderful support throughout the years and in providing authors a venue to show their work to the industry.

Thank you, Beth Wasson, for your encouragement and support.

Thanks to the writing team of Charles Todd for stopping by on Saturday afternoon and giving their support and encouragement.

Thanks to Christine Kling for your help and for buying me one hell of a good margarita.

Thanks Bob Morris, you party animal you. You and your beautiful wife did an outstanding job in Satuday evening's dinner! The food, the atmosphere, the drinks and the packed house proved that we came to work and to have fun too! I'll never forget it. A perfect evening.

Thank you, Cathy and Bob Pickens, for the Moon Pies and making me laugh so hard at dinner. I want to party some more with you, chick.

Thank you, Dawn Kravagna, for helping me set up and being understanding when I called you Don instead of Dawn. (Geesh.)

Mary Clay, thanks again for the champagne and the books! What a great gift of love! What a smile you have.

Margaret Maron, I was honored to have signed with you. You are an inspiration to us all.

Nancy Cohen, Diane Vogt, Margee Bugbee, and Cathy Pickens ... you four got the day started off right! Whew! You set the bar for the rest of us! You ladies know how to work a crowd!

Mary Clay, Martha Powers, and Dawn Kravagna were up next! What a trio! Martha you rock!

McKenna Davis you're a "Joy" to be around. I hope you had as good a time as your husband seemed to be having!

Blaize Clement ... you, like Margaret Maron, are an inspiration. I felt a true energy just being near you. Christine Kling worked hard and got her books into the hands of a "right smart many" booksellers!

June Weltman, Alexandra Sokoloff, and Chris Kuzneski ... the picture I have of you three should be on the cover of some fashion magazine! What a handsome trio of mystery writers! Chris, I can't tell you how many booksellers came back to the booth on Sunday asking for your book! Made me wish I'd had asked you for a copy. Now I have to go buy it along with Alexandra's book! Best of luck to you, Alex, at Quail Ridge tonight! I expect to see you sometime on the Today Show. And June, my niece grabbed your book out of my hands today and has had her nose in it all evening.

Lynn Sholes, Joe Moore, and Jonathan King rounded out the day on Saturday. Lynn (you shameless hussey) you. She and Joe made sure their book got into as many booksellers hands as they could find! Great job, both of you! And Jonathan, I could see you were having a great time. Of course, I could see you anywhere in the room, you towered over the rest of us by a few feet!

Gammy Singer! Give my regards to Broadway! See you in New York City next year! Barbara Parker and her 10 or 11 published books wowed and amazed the booksellers. Saturday she took a zillion pictures, and Sunday her books flew off the table. Thanks for helping tear down, Barbara! Thanks so much. Terry Lewis, let's make YOU the next John Grisham! And last, but not least, Mary Anna Evans. A true "Relic." You remind me of a porcelain doll. Thanks for helping me tear down along with Barbara, Christine, and Terry.

A few very important people I almost forgot, but certainly not on purpose. Jan Fogt, Karen McCarthy, and Robert Woodring ... now there are some real troopers. They came to learn. They had no books to sign and give away. They were volunteers that wanted to network and help in any way they could.

And they did.

Thank you, so much, to these members who stood in the gap and made the work a little easier. We wish you all the best on your own books.
I can't wait to read all of your books! Truly. I wish you all the best in life and I do hope to see you all again. If not at a SIBA conference, then on the BESTSELLER list!

God richly bless you all. This has been an experience I'll never forget. Thank you all again! It's one for the memory books.

And that's the way it was.

Blessings to you and yours.

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