There is a quaint, but exclusive, little bookstore in our neighborhood in Chelsea called 192 Books. My husband and I pass by their store five to ten times a week, and for years, each time that we do, I tell my husband, “One day my novel is going be in their window.”
Two weeks ago, we were passing by just as I was about to recite my mantra when I noticed a book from afar with similar colors as my novel’s cover, so I inched in closer and yelled for my husband to come quick. “It’s my book,” I cried out.
There in the front window of 192 Books with a Pulitzer Prize winning novel at its crown, and flanked by the novel that won the Man Booker prize, was my debut novel, Circus of the Queens: The Fortune-Teller’s Fate. Now I go to the bookstore and stare in the window, so proud that my dream came true.
Circus of the Queens enjoying a prime seat at the Barnes & Noble Union Square, NYC!
I found out my novel arrived in the store Thursday evening and on Friday I was invited to come on up and meet Karen in Fiction on the 4th floor. Very generous and kind in spirit, she put up with my excitement when she setup a little spot for me to autograph the books as she put stickers on the covers notating that they had been signed by the author.
Liking the book’s cover, Karen placed my novel in a small stack front and center on a table that carried other “cool” looking books and covers. I was seeing my dream unfold before my eyes and could not have been more pleased. I believe this might be the season of pleased for me.
I love my book! I can’t begin to tell you what a wonderful feeling that is. I carry a copy of it with me everyday and am shameless about its promotion. I can’t seem to help myself.
When sitting on the couch, I put it on a table in front of me just so I can stare at it, and in my bedroom, I put it in different places on my bookshelf to see how the spine of my novel looks next to other books I love. I receive immense pleasure every time I read from it and feel the paper and admire the print.
My husband and I play a game. We will call out a number between one and three hundred and twelve and read whichever page that ends up being. We laugh, we cry, and then we laugh some more when we find ourselves crying from a page that we could almost recite word for word because it still moves us, no matter how many times and how many ways we have gone over the page.
It gives me an incredible sense of well being and satisfaction and joy. Knowing that it is putting smiles on complete strangers faces, as well as friends and family members, and touching peoples hearts, and giving them big belly laughs, is oh so rewarding.
I talk about it to anyone who will listen, then I hand them a card with a photo of the book cover. I gush and I can’t help myself. I am that happy!
Yesterday was a dream. I autographed copies of my novel, Circus of the Queens: The Fortune-Teller’s Fate, at the Strand Bookstore in Manhattan. Fresh off the shelf, here are photos Gary took of me with Strand employee Spencer and another Strand employee reaching for my book.
I just returned from a short West Coast (Portland, OR, Oakland, CA, and Santa Cruz, CA) tour promoting Circus of the Queens: The Fortune-Teller’s Fate. It was a great experience and very successful! My nephew Jon helped with all the things that are now difficult for me to do, like carrying things. A big shout out to him and the others who helped by sponsoring events and inviting people to attend, like Tiffani LeClair, Becky O’Flannagan, Fredi Schilter, Kathy Miller, and Bobbi Todaro. Thank you to all.
In the meantime, I was honored to be a guest blogger several weeks ago for the wonderful and well-known Jane Friedman. I wrote about health and creativity. The article is called How I Used Writing to Survive, and so far it has gotten over 600 FB shares and 15 LI shares.
Amazon has sold out of their copies of my novel at least twice. That tells me we are selling more books than they thought we would. And just this past week I was invited to speak on the same subject, creativity and health, and read from my book at the Woodstock Library Forum in Woodstock, NY. The date has not been pinned down yet, but as soon as it is, I will let you know.
News of the day: Circus of the Queens: The Fortune-Teller’s Fate is now available on Kindle as of today. It’s beautiful! Just wanted to alert those of you who have been waiting.
Happy Holidays to us all! Donatella sends her regards, too, and I’ve been told that whoever reads and finishes her memoir, our novel, and honors her journey, will get a question of the soul answered this Holiday Season!
Nothing feels better than basking in the sunshine of your hometown.
This past Saturday, my husband and I flew to Ohio for a book launch of my debut novel, Circus of the Queens: The Fortune-Teller’s Fate. It was held at the O’Neil House, a big old beautiful Tudor mansion and one time home of the family that started General Tire. My mother’s baby sisters, age 95 and 88 were both in attendance looking beautiful, statuesque and proud. Oh how they loved my mother, who had had a degree in English literature. They knew how she and my father were rooting for me up in heaven. My sister Laura and I could almost hear our father proclaiming, “You see that? My baby wrote that!”
My husband Gary said he could see our fathers hanging out together, both with big grins on their faces, while we knew Gary’s mother was saying prayers on earth, so happy for our success even before she knew that the booksellers from The Learned Owl in Hudson had sold out of books. Friends from high school and even the baby crib showed up to pay their respect. When I left Akron at age 18 to start my own life adventures, I had no idea what something like this would mean to me later. I’ve lived west coast and east and in-between, but after this weekend I know, I’ll always be from Akron.
Welcome to my world and that of the Circus of the Queens. It’s a beautiful world, one where I hope you will feel welcomed and at home. I have been on an interesting journey most of my life. I am an artist and tend to like people and things that are different.
Several years back my muse and protagonist Donatalia began telling me a story, her story. It was as if she whispered it in my ear with the intention that I would write it down and share it with the world.
I didn’t start out thinking it would become a novel, I had never written one before. It just happened over time, and the closer it came within my reach the more I found that I wanted it and she wanted it and neither of us could stop until I wrote, The End.
Donatalia led me into a new world, one of ballet, imperial Russia, the deep South, and pieces of history I knew nothing about. I learned about Anna Pavlova, and what a roisinback horse was, I came to understand the life of a Mahout and a lot about elephants and circus. I discovered that a Calliope was a set of steam whistles activated by a keyboard and a Circus parade used to be almost as exciting as the circus itself. And with this new found knowledge I listened to Donatalia every day and if I didn’t understand what she said, I looked it up, and I wrote and I wrote until I wrote, The End.