How did I spend my summer vacation? Book touring, of course!
Earlier this summer (and are there any sadder words?), my Maine Crime Writer colleague Kate Flora wrote about touring Maine for author events, and all the neat places it brings her.
It was something I’d been thinking about a lot.. The writer’s tour is one of those things — and there are so many — that you never imagine is going to be part of being a published writer until it happens. And when I say the “writer’s tour,” I’m not referring to some planned schedule that the publisher launches you on. I’m sure there are writers in this world who have the benefit of that kind of deal. But most of my Maine crime-writing friends are like me, we fashion our own.
There’s everything from the solo library gig or book store signing to the multi-writer conference, and a lot of things in between. Every one of the events is unique and I have to say I’ve never come away from one that I wasn’t happy to attend. Last year, when I had one book, Cold Hard News, the first in the Bernie O’Dea mystery series, I happily went to events, but also nervously, worried I’d be seen as a one-book wonder. The second in the series, No News is Bad News, came out in July and this year I launched into the touring season with, well, two books.
Regular readers may know that I hurt my arm a couple weeks ago rescuing some orphans and nuns…oh, all right, slipping on a wet bathroom floor. It’s still sore, so I’m going to leave it to mostly photos as to how I spent my summer. So far.
APRIL 28: Belgrade Library author talk
My first solo talk! Knowing that no one wants to listen to be blab on for 30 or more minutes, I put together a slide show to give them a distraction. Technical glitches ensue (I’ve since bought by own projector). Still, my hometown audience was gracious and fun.
MAY 4: Newport Library author talk
With some of the technical glitches ironed out, I took myself and my slideshow to Newport. I was trepidatious — it was far away territory where no one knew me, and what if no one showed up? I was stunned and amazed at the large, interested audience, many of whom had already read Cold Hard News and had a lot to say about it. Authors, if Newport beckons, go.
JUNE 11: Guilford Library Local Authors Fair
A really nice event with a ton of local authors, each with our own niche in the library, food, and so many book lovers attending! It was part of the town’s 200th anniversary celebration, but let’s hope the library makes it an annual event.
JULY 4: Belgrade Lakes Fourth of July
Fellow Crime Writers Flora, Dick Cass (and his wonderful wife, Ann) and Vaughn Hardacker joined me as we greeted the masses that come to the village to eat, enjoy lake views and buy stuff. Including mystery novels, it turns out.
JULY 9: Books in Boothbay
One of Maine’s cooler book events, Books in Boothbay, is sponsored by the Boothbay Harbor Memorial Library and features writers of all genres. We were blessed with a rainy day and a crowd of book-hungry folks. Fellow Maine Crime Writer Jen Blood, also a member of Sisters in Crime New England, added to the fun by setting up a murder mystery for attendees to solve. I was a suspect!
JULY 23: Book signing at The Children’s Book Cellar, Waterville
Book seller Ellen Richmond is a huge supporter of the arts, particularly the literary ones, in Waterville. Her store at 52 Main St. hosts regular signings and I was lucky enough to have one there.
Summer isn’t over, and truth be told, the writing tour continues wherever and whenever they want me.
AUGUST 10: Author talk, 6-7:30 p.m. at the Maine Lakes Resource Center. It’s free, but you need to RSVP at centralmaine.com/authortalks. Come on and see if my slide show lives up to your expectations. And there are snacks! And, of course, books for sale and signing. I’m also city editor of the Morning Sentinel in Waterville in my secret other life and my employer, Maine Today Media, who is generously sponsoring this event, is sponsoring one with outdoors writer George Smith on Aug. 17, too.
AUGUST 27: Designing Women artists and crafters show, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Longfellow’s, Puddledock Road, in Manchester, Maine. I’m joined by Maine Crime Writers Lea Wait and Jen Blood to talk mystery, sell and sign books. The great event benefits local sexual assault crisis and advocacy centers. There’s also food and live music!
SEPTEMBER 10: I’m joined by fellow Maine crime writer Gerry Boyle team up at Mainely Murders, 1 Bourne St., Kennebunk to talk journalism, crime, mysteries and writing. 3 p.m. Gerry is one cool cat, so be sure to check this out. And I can’t say enough about this really awesome store. If you love mysteries, make the trip.
SEPTEMBER 20: Reading and book signing, Curtis Memorial Library, Brunswick, Maine, 7 p.m. Another chance to see my solo act.
SEPTEMBER 30, October 1: Murder by the Book, Jesup Library, Bar Harbor, Maine. Details to come on this wonderful two-day author fest!
Maureen Milliken is the author of the Bernie O’Dea mystery series. The second in the series, No News is Bad News, came out last month. Follow her on Twitter @mmilliken47, on Facebook at Maureen Milliken mysteries and look for more info on her website, maureenmilliken.com, where you can also sign up for email updates.